I hope you didn’t stay home on account of the weather. It was -10°C with bright sunshine at Ribbon creek parking lot at 1:30 pm. Best of all, no wind. Snow temperature was -17. Reading the Trip Reports I see that DM had a pleasant ski in -12 temperatures at Mt shark. West Bragg sounds like it’s in great shape and had a temp of -14.
It turned into an eventful day, so let’s start at the beginning. For the first time this winter I headed up Hidden trail, even though I knew it meant I’d be rubbing shoulders with downhill skiers 🙂
Hidden was in excellent shape and I was getting good grip with VR30(-10 and colder).
As I approached Nakiska downhill ski area, ahead of me were two xc skiers looking bewildered. Kate and Dal were wondering how to continue on. I was happy to lead them through the maze of fences, buildings, and ski runs ’til we were able to pick up the xc trail again.
Two K from Ribbon creek, Hidden eventually meets up with Ruthie’s and Skogan pass. With 600 metres of elevation gain ahead of me, I started up the Screamer. A youngster soon sped by me, only to see him stopped soon after, removing a few layers.
I was getting very warm myself, and my grip started to fail. At 5K, I decided to strip down to one layer, and dig out my light gloves and a bandana for my head. While stopped I added a layer of warmer wax.
As I was waxing, along comes a skate-skier. When I started going again, I skied over his lumps that were in the tracks, all the way to the second intersection with the Skogan loop.
Rather than going a further 2.4K to the summit, I decided to ski the Skogan loop. I’ve skied it clockwise a couple times, but never counter-clockwise, so this was going to be a new experience. In retrospect, it was not a wise choice. On my skinny skis, I couldn’t control my speed coming down. On the fastest downhill, I snow-plowed with all my might, yet I kept gaining speed, and had a corner to turn. I’m still wondering how I remained upright. Thrilling but scary. Somewhere today, I reached an Olympic-calibre speed of 58 KmH according to my GPS.
The Skogan loop offers some incredible views. Fortunately the trail levels out in a couple spots where you can stop and have a look at all the grandeur(and give your feet and legs a rest).
I took Lower Skogan back to the parking lot and it’s also in the best shape I’ve seen it this winter. Good tracks, and no debris, however there’s a small ice flow in the usual place where you need to be careful.
Clara Hughes: “If I could trade my two sports, summer and winter, for one sport in an another life as an athlete, it would be cross-country skiing. I love the effort, I love the intensity, the endurance but I wouldn’t trade the technical side and that’s the waxing…”
When it comes to waxing, even Olympic athletes get it wrong, as happened in today’s xc race in Sochi. Watch the video ” The technical aspects of cross-country skiing