Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow by any other name..........

There is a debate over how many words the eskimo or Inuit people have for snow. We have a number of descriptors of various snow conditions ourselves from champagne powder to slush. This weekend the SKOAC Renegade relay team practiced in the icy, wind chilled reaches of Ironwood, Michigan. RonO, TheManFromSnowyLegs, and I hit the ABR trails for a bit of cardiovascular conditioning when the temps were about -4F with a 'brisk' northwest breeze. The trails were sheltered, meticulously groomed, and we were dressed for subzero immersion but it was the snow that threw us off. Ron and I assumed our skate skis would glide like the wind on this hard frozen snow but that was not the case. The snow crystals were so hard and sharp that it was like skiing on sandpaper. No glide at all and the uphills were murderous. We hit the ski shop at ABR and discovered we could iron on some special flurocarbon wax that would help us out. It was roughly the same price as gold dust. We opted for the much simpler and cheaper 'switch to our classical ski's' solution. Even then, using Polar wax, the skis were a bit sticky. Don't get me wrong, I much prefer that to the balmy 35F conditions with sloppy snow that requires one of the nastiest substances known to mankind....klister wax. If you need to use it, rest assured it will be on your skis, clothes, car, face, private parts, and any other surface it can insinuate itself onto. For this reason I invested in my first pair of no wax classical skis this winter. For very slushy as well as very icy conditions the no wax skis seem to perform well, even though some folks liken it to a one speed bike vs a ten speed.

In any event, we hit the trails and got a good workout but not before Ron broke his skate skis and the MFSL broke his sunglasses with a diving Pete Rose-like headfirst slide down a hill. As we headed back to our rental condo to join the ladies for lunch I voiced what all of us were thinking at the same time. "I think maybe I'll have a little wine with my pasty for lunch".

(photo's courtesy of RonO)

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