Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's All Fun and Games Until Your Eyelids Freeze Shut

Daaayuumm!! 3 hours later and I'm still cold. (And no, I'm not remotely exaggerating about the eyelids.) It was cold, but didn't get uncomfortably cold unless you were right on a ridge getting blasted by the wind. The yuppie skaters stayed close to the lodge on the tree covered trails. Only saw one other guy with the nads to ski out to the back trails.

For those of you not in on "the joke." There is a definite caste system in Nordic skiing on Mt. Spookaloo, skaters being the bourgeois or dare-we-say aristocrat class. They rule the mountain. The world revolves totally around their every whim and desire. All other skiers are only tolerated to the extent that their absence will mean higher grooming fees for the high and mighty.

The Chosen Ones begrudgingly tolerate track skis, make funny faces at anyone with backcountry gear, and they hate dogs. I mean they HATE dogs. You've never seen so damned many "No Dogs/Achtung! Der Hunden Verboten!" signs in your life. Who in the hell ever heard of skiing without dogs? Only on Mt. Spokane with its resident skate Nazi xenophobes does this kind of crap go on.

You can actually identify the non-skaters pretty quickly. They're the only ones who say "hi!" and chat with strangers while passing by.

So, guess which section of the bus yours truly gets to sit in?

Meanwhile, back to the skiing...

It was big fun right up until frozen trees were groaning so much under the strain of the wind that you could tell the trunks were ready to explode. If nothing else motivates one to ski like hell, that certainly will.

For what it's worth, the grumpy old guy at REI was right. Fat skis want to turn. The Atomic Selkirks are about as wide as you can ski on a groomed trail and still have fun. Anything wider needs to be off trail period. Otherwise, they just want to plane and turn. Fat metal-edged skis are slow, but man, the control is almost worth the trade off. I can steer these babies by sitting in the back seat. It's a lot like my old Rossi 4SV downhill skis.

And unless I drop acid, get lured to the dark side, and buy a set of skate skis, I will NEVER, EVER go back to those crappy NNN bindings. Those things are the most worthless POS's on earth. If you have never skied a 3-pin binding with a good boot, you have no idea just how much control you're giving up with that NNN nonsense. Worst of all with NNN, if you break a binding, it's almost always at the pin molded into the boot. Once you do that, you're totally screwed. You won't be able to step back into the binding and you'll be postholing all the way back. It's more than a minor problem when you're even a mile or two back in the woods. Have it happen 5 or 10 miles back, and I really need to explain?

Evil NNN Binding (left) --vs-- The binding the way God intended

To summarize:

  • 3 pin: good
  • NNN: crap
  • Free Wax Job at REI: worth exactly what I paid for it.

My only real regret is that I did not buy TWO pairs of Karhu backcountry boots when they were on sale.

No, they're not as cool as the old, leather boots, but miles better than the goofy NNN yuppie moon boots that are all the rage.


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