Saturday we signed up for the AMC Doublehead trip. The big prompt to going was Tyson’s new skis that showed up friday. Obviously they needed to be christened on a back country trail.
Bill choose an ungodly hour of the morning to meet, so we were out of the house before 5AM. The advantage of the earlier start was that we could ski the trail more than once.
The Doublehead trail is another CCC ski trail like a bunch in the Whites. It is a bit narrower and has long stretches with double fall lines. I think I’ll have to put it down as not my favorite. The surface conditions did not improve the impression as all the powder from the previous weekend had been compacted into a solid surface.
However, the weather was gorgeous. The views from the top were nice. And the bottom of the trail was wide enough to be pleasant and softened in the afternoon sun.
We hiked up once all the way to the top and then skied back down to the start of the stream crossings. Tyson looked great on his new skis and bindings. I was still feeling quite incompetent until near the end.
Once there we were supposed to regroup and decided if people wanted to ski back up for another run. However, one of the guys whom I did not know had skied on ahead without waiting. And the other two guys who weren’t regulars decided they were done for they day. Bill, as part of his trip leader duities, escorted them out.
This left Darrell, Tyson, Bill’s pack, and myself. Tyson, conservatively, decided to keep the packs company while Darrell and I skied back up for another run. This run went a bit better since it was just the good part of the trail and I had limbered up some.
Then we parked ourselves at the packs to wait for Bill. It was pleasant lounging in the sun. Various people passed us and stopped for a chat. After not too long, Bill appeared around the bend in the trail.
Bill swaped boots and skis with Tyson to try the shiny new gear. Tyson stayed down and took photos while the other three of us headed up for another lap. I would say this lap went about the same as the second one. Not having a pack also makes skiing easier.
Back down at the packs, we swaped skis again. I was now on Tyson’s, Bill on mine, and Tyson on Bill’s (which are actually Ivan’s). Tyson said I looked good skiing his skis. I did manage turning, but I wasn’t having any success controlling my speed. There was one time in particular where I had to ditch off the trail to slow down. The best spot was a gap between trees two hands width wider than my pack. I had enough control to aim for that gap, but yet could not slow myself down on the trail. It was kind of frustrating.
Discussing in the car on the way back, and again today, I think there are some issues that more classes could definitely help with. There is the obvious problem of not enough weight on the back foot. Bill pointed out that with modern shaped skis, I should be using their natural turning action when you put them on age. Then today we were discussing x-c turning technique. There you unweight your skis to turn them, whereas I remembered Tyson and Paul describing an exercise from their telemark class where you were specifically extending (applying pressure) in the turn, and contracting (unweighting) in between turns. So I’m wondering if a bunch of my issues are with the transition from straight to shaped skis, rather than from alpine to telemark stance which is what is usually taught.