Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ski-mo AT gear Building

Ski-Mo SKIS!
The minimum race ski length for women is 150 cm. Most companies only make a race ski in 160 cm, the minimum race ski length for men (which usually come up to their shoulder height!)

Since I'm teeny, and squeamish on descending, the shorter the ski the better in my eyes at this time.

I was kindly set up with the Hagan X-Race 150 cm (skis and skins) from US distributor Mike Hagen at a nice deal. With the shorter ski, the weight was crazy at 635g per ski.

I wanted to go as light as possible, with a binding that has a manual locking toepiece, to leave unlocked descending for an easier release (need be!). For this reason, I chose the Dynafit TLT Superlite at 185g (actual 200+g). Beautiful looking binding, too!

Mike set me up with some beauty mohair Hagan skins. Still deciding to keep the tails on these ones, and set up a shorter pair without tails.

BOOTS - checked off my list last Dec with cute Dynafit Dy.n.a's. Not the lightest out there but pretty darn reasonable. Very sharp!

I'll be using my Swix Star CT1 carbon fibre x-c classic poles. A little long though adaptable. Nice & light.

Back to the comment "I'm teeny", so weight matters. I went with the lightest that I could find within race regulation.

CAMP Carbon Fibre Avalance Probe
CAMP Crest Shovel
Pieps Freeride transceiver

Picked up the CAMP Rapid 260 pack as it had all the bells and whistles on it for AT racing and is so crazy light. Comfy and negligible when I tested it on a Ha Ling hike/run in the snow.

Took the basic avalanche rescue course offered by U of C Outdoor Centre this past weekend Dec 8.
Simulated an avalanche situation. Full force action to dig

Checking our snow pit
During the practice situations at the avalanche course, I could see how the Crest shovel would not be sufficient for rescue in a "real" avalanche. The CF probe seemed do-able. Would also use the suggested standard of a 3-antenna transceiver.

Discussing snow build-up and how best to travel
(though every guy was eyeing that snowy pitch at the top!)
When we practiced searching with the transceivers, I used the Ortovox D3 given to me to use in the course, as well as tested my Freeride. I found that the Freeride started tracking 10 metres after the Ortovox. So, it functioned well, just not as strong with the one antenna vs three for the Ortovox.

Checking out the snow layers. A practice not utilized much anymore

Back to the gear, and usage:

My worst fear of going into my first Eco-Challenge (--- photos)  
back in 1999 (--- story) with many of the disciplines of events new to me (mountaineering, whitewater paddling, horseback riding, rappelling - no biking!), was I didn't want to be profiled like the racers on TV that didn't know what the heck they were doing. So, I took the time to learn.

So for AT, uphill, no problem. Transitions, definitely need practice. Now, to get out and learn how to descend proficiently!!

For the avi course, I rented the Manaslus skis, women's version in 160cm.
Pretty awesome ski and binding setup for when I go into the real backcountry
Thanks to lots of feedback and heckling of rookie gear questions to National Ski-Mo racer Peter Knight, and the input from Mr Al Black, or was it Bo(!).

Saturday, November 03, 2012

X-C season starts!

We had ski-able snow in the city before Halloween this year.

Tim, Marg & Marcus make the excursion out to the Hinton Nordic Centre. Early season Nov 3!
Bruce in Hinton saddling up while I await on my pony. Took opportunity to ride after helping feed the horsies that night on a local ranch Bruce helps out at.
Drove to Hinton via Jasper-Banff highway.
Most Outstanding Scenery, way better than summertime
Road was challenging to drive in spots after the prior days snowfall