It's been a great winter!

It's been a great winter but it's not over yet!

Men's Bonding Day
Today was supposed to be a ski day for the men's group at the church. Any men, really. You know, men's bonding?
Well, as of this week it was just me and Brad. The other guys couldn't make it for one reason or other. Then, my last hope, Brad bailed on me ("you're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi").

Late to the hill
The original plan was to leave at 7AM so as to get to Butternut by 8:15 when the lifts open. But since no one was going, I decided to go to the Saturday morning men's group which is 7 to 8:30. But after I got home, I changed my mind and decided to go. It was a cool day, high 30's to low 40s so I figured conditions should hold up for awhile.
I got on the hill by 10 and conditions had already deteriorated pretty much. It didn't even look like it had been groomed but someone who had been there at opening assured me that everything had been groomed. It was pretty chunky.

First Run

My first mistake was to break my rule of doing a green warm-up run to check surface conditions and get limbered up. I went right for Applejack which I like for it's interesting terrain. But at the first switchback the heavy crud threw me and I did a "sit down" fall at slow speed. I gave myself a pep talk: "MTBMan1, did you forget how to ski? C'mon you can do this. Think!" Yep, survival mode. Threw all my technique out the window. But I regrouped and figured it out.

Hard Work
The snow was deep and heavy, crud. It was hard work pushing it. It didn't respond the same way as earlier in the winter. Eventually, through rethinking my approach and watching others from the lift, I think I did pretty well. Even had some fun! My newly acquired technique came through for me. Pole planting, carving, upper body forward into the fall line. Keep your speed up. Don't lose your rhythm.

Whiplash, Part 2
Complacency is your enemy!
I did really well on all the harder parts of the trails. Never fell. What got me was this little trail called "Fiddler". It's very deceptive. It just doesn't look steep. But you can get going pretty fast before you realize it. It was really chopped up too, almost mogully. Anyhow, the second time down it, I got going too fast and ran into some bad chop and ... bam! As I'm going down I'm thinking "OK, real injury this time". Head goes bonkity, bonk, bonk. No stars though. That's a good sign. Got right up. Skis still attached. Poles up the hill very nicely laid 180° from each other like I carefully placed them there!
Analyzing this spill later, I think I was a victim of the fear factor. I got going too fast for comfort saw a nasty patch of crud and actually bailed backwards. Always a bad thing for the head. Better to try and ski it, I would probably have made it. Of course this was right at the edge of the trail too. So the fear is that you'll slam into the woods or go down into a ravine. That compounds the fear thing. Better to bail than slam into a tree. That can get you killed.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the day and with myself. It wasn't the best of conditions but I think I did real well adjusting to it. I had some fun and a lot of nice, carved turns.

Next up, Plattekill on Friday. Got free tix burning a hole in my pocket! ;-)

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