Sunday, February 07, 2016

Uphill Skiing Walk of Shame

This was my fourth day of uphill skiing at Windham Mountain and I planned to try the new trail called Wolf's Prey to get to the summit of the western peak after two previously failed attempts.  Of course if I had all day, the two previously failed attempts would have been successes but my activities are tied to the time my son is out race training.

The Trail Map that Windham offers is very misleading because I found that Wolf's Prey was essentially straight up.  I grabbed a water break on a corner section of the trail where there was a rock I could sit on and take a little rest.

It was 20 degrees when I left Adaptive Sports Foundation so I stuck with three layers, the outermost being just a sweater.  My old Army BDU cap is great because it has ear flaps but after the first 100 yards of climbing they were no longer needed.  After my little rest break I attempted the final wall of the trail.  Up to this point the trail had quite a few steep pitches ranging from 20% to 40% but the final wall had to have been at least a 60%!

There was too much sugary powder on the side to get enough traction at that pitch.  In fact, I had to side step but with the skins covering my edges, that was difficult.  While traversing laterally across the trail I realized and having no edges I went down and slid for 10 yards.  I was able to stop myself and then finally get to the other side.  I found a flat spot in the woods and took off my skis and walked through the woods! Up to the mountain bike trail, the pitch was 49% and I was on a angle (you see where the trail is in the picture above in the middle and to left).  It was a tough climb carrying skis on my shoulder and poles in the other hand.  I consider this the Walk of Shame!

Compared to what I just went up the final stretch to the top of the mountain was flat.  Along the ridge and through the trees you can see Hunter Mountain.

Grabbed a quick bite of a Cliff Bar, took off the skins, got my jacket and helmet on and headed back down the mountain.  I was maybe 100 feet into Upper Wraparound (the route that I should have taken) when who should come screaming past me but my son Elliot with his Guide de Jour, Mary Alice!

My quads were screaming on every tele turn I was making and I could barely keep up.  Eventually, I caught up with him further down down the trail.

He was having a blast of course!

Next weekend I am going to try a different route and do the Western Summit entirely on snow!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Uphill Skiing to my first Summit

Now that I am know what I am doing when it comes to skinning uphill my third weekend at Windham Mountain I went for the summit on Cave Mountain.  I took White Way to Wanderer.  It's a green trail but going up is still challenging because there are still some steep sections to contend with. Also, you have watch out for blind ascents because you can get some yahoo who won't be able to see you, all of a sudden be on top of you!

Three quarters of the way up I had to hit the bottle.  It started out around 20 this morning but when the sun came out and all the climbing I was doing I got hot and thirsty.  Along the way, I met up with two women on snowshoes.  It's funny but I have yet to see another person skinning.  Plenty of snowshoers but no skiers.  

By the time I got to the top I was drenched!  I had some more water, ate half a cliff bar, changed and then took a really nice run back down the slope I just climbed up.  By the time I was down at the bottom, my quads were killing me.

In the afternoon I tried to summit the second peak but ended up on the wrong trail and didn't make it. Not sure how or why this happened but boot must have been too lose because I terrible blisters on both sides of my heel.  I will have to try a different sock next time.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

2nd Skin

The following weekend it was really cold so I dressed accordingly.  This time around I wore a cycling t-shirt and thermal long sleeve that I also wear for the cycling.  Over that I was wearing my favorite fleece with zip pits.  However, by the time I got to top of Wilbur Park I was sweating profusely once again.

I headed up Wing'n it but then when I saw the last section to the top I knew I wasn't making that so I cut over on a trail called Wintuck, thinking I would probably be able to climb Why Not only to find the trail closed due to ski racing.

In the afternoon I headed over to the western side of the resort to try and climb the western mountain. Along the way I saw Elliot up in the chair.  I was probably 100 yards up the mountain and we was already taking his third run.

I never made it up the western mountain but I still had fun climbing.  Coming down was great, too.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Uphill Skiing is Fun!

I have yet to get back on the bike due to my bike crash late last year but for the past couple of weeks I have felt good enough to ski and one thing I wanted to try this year was uphill skiing.  This is my second year on Telemark skis and it's a such a blast!  Every turn is a learning experience.

I have my son enrolled in an adaptive racing program at Windham Mountain through the Adaptive Sports Foundation.  Last year we were going to Jiminy Peak every week for their racing program but Elliot grew out of that program which has brought us here.  The big difference with ASF is that I can't shadow Elliot like I did last year so while he is off shredding the trails with his guide I have some time to kill.

So, I bought an Uphill Seasons Pass at Windham, which means for $25 I can ski up and down the mountain, I just can't use the lifts.  When you have skins, why would you even want to use lifts?  It sounds like cheating!

Similar to the scales you get with waxless cross country skis, skins let you walk up a slope without sliding backwards.  In fact, they are far better than scales!

My first outing was on a particularly warm Saturday afternoon on Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday weekend.  My first skin was up Lower and Upper Whirlwind and it was basically straight up and I got really hot, really quick!


I went out wearing a t-shirt, turtleneck and a wool sweater and half way up I was sweating profusely. In my ruck sack I am carrying water, a parka shell and my helmet because I knew going downhill was going to be really cold.

But the beauty of this type of skiing is getting access to closed slopes!  After this climb, my down hill selection resulted in finding a slope that the upper part had snow making on it which seemed to be deterring the other skiers from this particular slope.

Thus giving me the entire lower section of the slope open to make some really good turns!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Hucks on the Gussy

Since I still can't ride, I headed out to Upper Paugussett with my son Brodie to do some geocaching and check out some of the new hucks that have developed on the Upper Gussy Trail.  I think it's been 9 or 10 months since I have been in the state forest, and of course that was on my mountain bike.

The first thing I noticed was some new trees down at the top of Sandy's Re-Route.  It was an rotten tree and someone cut the tree with a chainsaw (thank you).  Also, pictured above, someone made a nice log ride, only you have to ride through some low hanging pine branches.  The tranny could be a little better but I suppose it works.

Looking down

Brodie and I were falling the compass on the GPS to geocache that was on the Blue Trail and I happened to notice a line that people appeared to have riding.  A first, I thought it was making the linkage over to the blue trail - there used to be a trail that connected these two areas but it's long gone after no use.  Still, the line seem to end and then I found it!  OMG, what a huck!  And there is a nice kicker, too!

Looking up

Looking up from the kicker

You will never catch me on this one!

Walking back from the geocache, Brodie and I were walking back on the Gussy I found another insane roller.

I think this one is bigger than the one at Sandy's Reroute.

This roller is closer to Sanford Road side of the trail

And it's pretty steep!

The last morsel is an up and over on the stone wall that we broke through to put the Gussy Trail in.  It's really nice and looks like it's getting a lot of use with all the chain ring scratches.

I think after my ribs have healed up I am going to have to get back on the mountain bike again.