The Outsider: Pow turns, ice skating and tele demos
It took me all of eight months to forget just how demanding skiing can be.
Yesterday, I took a gorgeous set of Liberty Origins (182 centimeters) to Breckenridge for a taste of fresh lines on Chair 6, or what was left of them anyway. It was worth it, no doubt there, but man, today I am feeling every last sinew my groin, hamstrings and IT bands. And I’ve already had about 20 days on snow this season.
A little background: I’m a snowboarder before anything else. At the tender age of 12, I renounced all snow sports with pairs of two and swore I’d never look back. And, for about a decade, I didn’t. I fell deep and hard for snowboarding, beginning first with old Burton catalogues that I nabbed from a Front Range ski shop before diving headfirst into Mack Dawg videos, the TB series from Standard Films and plenty of snow porn from Kevin Jones, Seth Huot, Devun Walsh, JP Walker, Jussi Oksanen — the list of aging pros goes on.
Needless to say, skiing back then was nothing more than a distant memory and the butt of all jokes. Call me a knuckle dragger? That’s cute, but the choice names I had for two-plankers went far beyond something clever like two-planker. I doubt if the paper would print them. No one ever said I was a mature teenager.
My relationship with skiing changed when I moved from Fort Collins to Vail and met dozens (yes, literally dozens) of people with three or four pairs of skis, two of which rarely saw any action in the heart of the season.
And so, about three years back when I was working security at Vail Mountain, one of my friends gave me an old, beat-up pair of K2 Public Enemys. They were a twin-tip park ski — right up my alley as a snowboarder — and paired perfectly with the orphaned boots I picked up from Vail lost and found.
I got all of five days on skis that season, and oddly enough I loved it. Go figure, right? There’s nothing quite like bombing down empty groomers on skis. The next season I got 10 days and last season I got about the same. My routine was familiar: skis only came out on lazy Sundays, when I was more inclined to take three runs and head to the deck than spend hours complaining about stiff boots and all these damn poles.
But, I’m always down for something new, and this season I wanted to see if I can truly enjoy powder on skis (sacrilegious for a snowboarder, I know). The Origins are the right tool for the job (look for a review in the Christmas Eve edition), but my body wasn’t quite ready for the weird torture of pow turns mixed with lumpy crud on a 182 cm with 116 mm underfoot. I managed all of four runs before calling it quits early.
Will I ever trade my board for skis on a true powder day? Hell no. When the conditions are just good enough for in-bounds fresh, though, I might be swayed. But first, time to earn my ski legs all over again. Never thought I’d say that.
Denver Figure Skating in Keystone
If you’re like me and rest your legs after every third run on skis, head into the base area at Keystone today for two free shows from The Denver Figure Skating Club. The longstanding club, founded in 1938, has been coming to the resort for several years now and always brings a rollicking show, good for kids, parents and anyone else who needs a break. The first show begins around noon at the Lakeside Ice Rink (an outdoor venue found just behind the Lakeside Village complex) and the second show kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on the Dercum Ice Rink in River Run Village. Oh, and did I mention they’re both free?
Tele demo day at Arrowhead
“No one cares that you (don’t) tele.” That’s the tagline for this Sunday’s Tele Sunday Funday event at Arrowhead, the mountain portal on the far west side of Beaver Creek. Hosted by Bomber Bindings (a tele company based in Eagle County), the demo event is a low-key intro to all things tele, with gear and technique tips from the pros. Things get started at 10:30 a.m. in the base area and wrap up around 3:30 p.m. with après. If you think alpine is a workout, give mountainside lunges (aka telemarking) a try.
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