The peaks are collecting an ephemeral white coating about once a week, the leaves are turning in the valley, and my kids are hounding me to watch ski movies—it must be fall. Good thing I’ve been running the hills all summer to get my legs and lungs ready for winter.
Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, said it best: “Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.” Everyone likes to win big. But what were the biggest winning storms—the all time huge dumps, and awesome events? And where did they happen?
After watching their parents float through fluff and rise above backcountry crud for four seasons, my daughters finally drew the line. “We NEED fat, rockered skis!” one said. When asked why, they responded, simply, “Because they FLOAT.”
Elemental carbon is a major component of all living things, plus pencil lead, diamonds, etc. But none of that is useful for making skis. Sure, everyone knows carbon fiber is used in the construction of skis, boots, poles, and probes (not to mention bike frames and fishing rods). But, did you know that you can buy a carbon-fiber coffee table, toilet or even a complete bathtub?
“I like my heavy gear—it gives me more control.” “I don’t need light gear. I’m faster than my partners.” “Saving a couple pounds doesn’t really matter anyway.” I’ve heard all these statements about lightening the backcountry load, but are they really valid? Or does trimming zipper pulls and cutting toothbrush handles really make a difference?
A ski partner of mine always “carbo loads” with gas station “Bearclaw” pastries before tours. His idea of a recovery drink is a post-ski PBR. I, on the other hand, have been caught weighing protein powder on a gram-precise scale. The former seems less than ideal, and the later, inconvenient. But just what should we eat—before, during and after—to log another lap or two?