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I like being outside if it's nice out. This includes mountain biking, trail running, sailing, climbing, skiing and much more. If you're going on a fun adventure, let me know!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pattison Northwest Face

Day one on Dynafits.

After eight quad burning years of teleskiing, and styling the free-heel, I decided to lock my heels and dive into the world of Dynafit. Aging telemark? Perhaps.  I'm not sure where this is going to lead me, but hopefully it'll result in more good skiing. Chris and I went looking for powder in May on the Spearhead Range. We found light knee deep powder off the northwest face of Pattison, creamy snow on the Trorey Glacier,  and slightly less desirable but still good snow off Decker.

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Chris dropping the knee towards Circle Lake.

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Somewhere on the east shoulder of Decker. Trorey is the peak on the left, and Fissile is the peak on the right.

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Mid-winter ski quality on the Trorey Glacier. I like powder in May.

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Chris approaching Pattison. The northwest face is the nice open snowslope on the left side.

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The Fitzsimmons-Benvolio icefall.

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Chris makes the first turns down into Pattison. The snow was 30cm of low-density powder on top of a solid base. Sluff management was the main concern here.

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Steep and deep off Pattison. This was a very enjoyable ski descent.

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After skiing down the face, we continued cruising down the Trorey Glacier, enjoying the long heli-run. Unfortunately, there was no helicopter to pick us up at the bottom.

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Our tracks carving through light fluffy snow from earlier in the day on the Trorey Glacier.

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Slushy snow into Bodybag Bowl.

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The darkside of backcountry skiing.

A few first impressions:

1. I'm still not a good skier. I still ski in the backseat, lack flow or rhythm, and carving is a foreign concept. The first turns of the day started down the icy Blackcomb groomers, and my quads continued to burn as I desperately tried to edge. Maybe I need skis that don't flop around like noodles and chatter at the sight of ice? I've heard that parallel turns with a locked heel is a different beast than the same turn with a free heel. I must not be doing it right, as it felt just as similar making parallel turns on my tele gear and the dynafits. 

2. Crappy snow is still unpleasant to ski. I don't think I can blame this one on the binding though. My skinny skis are too narrow for the style in which I like to ski down things, ie. out of control and erratically. Going uphill was effortless, but the downhill was a different story in anything less than perfect snow. As we cruised down through Decker Creek in near-isothermal slushy spring snow, I was trying my hardest to not blow a knee as I snow-plowed through the forest. 

3. Falling is a terrifying thought. I'm a little bit reluctant to have my foot attached so tightly to my ski. I'm not sure what will happen when I do my usually somersaults down a snow slope. In the past, I've usually just cartwheeled and came right back up into the next turn. Something tells me that might not happen anymore. 

4. Rolling terrain is unpleasant with locked heels. This will probably be the hardest part to get used to. More ski days are needed for further field testing of this strange binding. 

The best part of the skiing season has finally arrived. Volcanos, glaciers, mountains, here I come! 

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