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Winter Euphoria

By johnnyfever in Op-Ed
Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:49:32 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

I was reading some diaries this morning and was reminded that some people around here have never seen snow. Others among us hate snow with a passion.

I can't wait for it to snow. Without snow there can be no skiing.

It's 9:00AM on a Sunday morning in the dead of winter. It occurs to me that most people are still in bed in the warmth of their homes. Perhaps their plans include a trip to the mall with the family, fighting weekend traffic made even worse than usual by the snow and ice on the city streets. I'm glad not to be there as I stand at the top of a snow covered mountain sparkling in the morning sunshine.

From my perch almost 9,000ft above sea level I can see for miles in every direction. In front of me I can see several spectacular snow covered mountain ranges. To the east and west I look down a breathtaking river valley stretching as far as I can see in either direction. The air is crisp and clean, the sky a clear, cold blue.

I look down the mountain in front of me. I can see the approach to the powder filled avalanche chutes that seem to be open to skiers so infrequently (although for obvious reasons!) Which chute to take this run is my only thought, my only concern in the world. Then suddenly, leaving a small cloud of snow sparkling in the sun behind me, I push off.

On a summer hike, one would never even consider ascending or descending the chute which I am now skiing down. The pitch is so steep, and the terrain so rugged, that in the summer one would need climbing equipment. Yet my skis allow me this privilege, feeling the snow tickle my face as it blows up from beneath me. It's almost sensory overload. The sensation of skiing itself, floating down a mountain rhythmically on a soft blanket of snow, the powder hitting my cheeks, combined with a staggeringly breathtaking view and the rush of adrenalin.

There isn't any time to think about delivering projects on time, taking out the trash or any of those worries or annoyances. 100% concentration is required. Looking ahead, I carefully pick my path down the mountain two or three turns in advance. All of my senses are devoted to the task at hand.

I reach the bottom of the mountain and head for the lift line. I think I could have done a little better on that last run....maybe I'll try it again....or maybe a different one....trees, steeps, moguls, or maybe a nice cruiser to relax.

See, winter isn't so bad after all. At least not if you live somewhere with snow and skiing close by!

You may have heard some complaints about skiing, or may have some reservations. Let me try to put a few of them to rest:

  • It's too expensive

    Where I live, a full days lift ticket at full price is around $60 (Cdn) at any of the nearby mountains. I find it pretty hard to argue with that price considering what you get in return. Granted, you can spend a lot of money on gear, but that's what the rental shops are for. I also make a point of packing a lunch. Those burgers on the hill sure smell good, but they are usually over priced, and by the time you've had a big greasy burger and a coupla wobbly pops for lunch you have spent another $20 and your skiing day is finished!

  • It's dang cold out there!

    Unfortunately cold is required for snow. It's a matter of degree (no pun intended.) I will happilly spend a day skiing in -20C. Any colder and I'll at least think twice about it! Everyone has their threshold. If you dress properly, you'll be surprised how comfortable you can be.

  • It's too crowded

    Well that all depends on you. If you stick to all the most popular intermediate runs, then yes, it can be crowded and in my opinion, that's not much fun. But if you get to know the mountain, you can always find runs to suit your ability which are not so well known. The higher your skill level gets, the easier this gets. If you are really against skiing with the masses, there's always backcountry skiing, just make sure you go with a guide and get some training first.

  • It's dangerous

    So is crossing the street. Be sensible, know your limits, and wear a lid.

Well, that's it folks. I hope that I have given you an appreciation for skiing if you haven't done it before. If you haven't skied in a while, I hope I have re-kindled the fire!


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o I already love it, but thanks for the reminder! 35%
o I'm a boarder 19%
o I live in Arizona, thanks anyways. 4%
o Going 50 mph down the side of a mountain in -20C is just plain stupid 35%
o You convinced me to give it a try. 4%

Votes: 104
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o top of a snow covered mountain
o breathtaki ng river valley
o powder filled avalanche chutes
o backcountr y skiing
o lid
o Also by johnnyfever

Display: Sort:
Winter Euphoria | 93 comments (80 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
wow (none / 0) (#2)
by sesquiped on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:23:18 AM EST

I've been looking forward to my first run this winter since about the beginning of October, but this made me sadder than I've been recently that I'm not out there on the mountain right now.

Skiing is truly the most fun and exhilarating activity I've ever experienced, and if you haven't tried it yet, by all means, plan a weekend trip sometime this winter.

+1, lovely (none / 0) (#3)
by swifty on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:35:35 AM EST

I've been toying with the idea of writing this exact same article on mountain biking, but now you've beaten me to the concept. Guess I'll just wait until summer, then plagiarize.

Freiheit ist immer auch die freiheit des anderen.
Stop It! (4.33 / 3) (#5)
by curunir on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:43:21 AM EST

Please, for the love of god, stop rubbing it in my face!!!

Because of work and the holidays, I won't be able to make it to the mountains until after the new year. I'm trying to focus my attention in places where I'm least likely to see skiing references in a well orchestrated campaign of denial. I had though K5 would be a ski-reference-free zone, but you've ruined it.

So, I hope you're happy...now I have to get my old beater skis out and start taking runs on staircases and other similarly angled locations that really should not be skied.

the conditions (none / 0) (#9)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:47:48 AM EST

don't usually start getting good until after the new year anyways, so don't sweat it too much :)

[ Parent ]
Nicely Written! (none / 0) (#7)
by HidingMyName on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:44:17 AM EST

I probably won't get to vote on it due to the holiday and lack of internet access, but it is wonderful. If you live near a mountain, you can sometimes get a season pass, so if you go enough times you can beat down the price. Some regions have ski clubs which may be able to negotiate improved group rates for some mountains.

Indeed. (none / 0) (#15)
by mrgoat on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:13:17 AM EST

Group rates usually start around 15-20 people. Season passes usually start at about 5-6 times a one-day ticket. If you live in northeast U.S., the American Ski Company has a 7 mountain season pass, which runs about 400$. (Or, it did when I had one) And that includes Sunday River, which has a metric assload of peaks to begin with. The price isn't bad if you know how to work around the usually 40-60$ a day price tag.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Lovely. (none / 0) (#13)
by mrgoat on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:06:39 AM EST

It's 9:00AM on a Sunday morning in the dead of winter.
Indeed, skiing is the only thing that will get me out of bed at 3:00AM.
I will happilly spend a day skiing in -20C. Any colder and I'll at least think twice about it!
I hear ya. Counting windchill, I have been skiing down to about -50 or so. Folks, when the ski patroller at the top of the mountain is checking everyone for frostbite, get checked and GO IN if you're in danger of it. Keep moving, dress warm, and stay in the heavily forested areas of the mountain if you can. Always carry an extra powerbar.
It's too crowded
Warm up on a double-black. Continue on to more double-blacks, and if allowed at that mountain, head off-trail into the woods. It's the most solitude you'll find, not to mention a breathtaking experience. Of course, that does imply you can ski that well. If you can't, um, get better I guess. Remember: All the pretentious socialite yuppie skiiers will be on the blues. The path to skiing enlightenment lies in the difficult road.
It's dangerous
Again, I hear ya. I learned the importance of a helmet, better yet, a helmet with a full face gaurd. Naturally, it took a ~20 foot face first superman catapult at about 40mph onto glare ice to teach me the face mask part.

All that said, I'm out of skiing partners. Anyone in the Worchester/Boston general area up for some heavy duty skiing? I'm currently out of people who can go everywhere I do. That mostly includes moguls and glades. I don't like to hit the cruisers or anything rated less than a black if it can be avoided. Steeps will do in a pinch, if they are steep enough.

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--

+1: Pictures of Lake Louise (none / 0) (#19)
by raaymoose on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:21:56 AM EST

Almost time for my first trip this year. It shall be awesome as always. Also will be making the ritual stop at Marmot Basin.

problems I have with skiing (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by jjayson on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:33:12 AM EST

It is too expensive. Spending $60 for every lift ticket is  not cheap. So you can get a season pass, but that is will still run you about $680. Even with a season pass you will want to go to another resort occassionally. Equpitment is also expensive. Renting it for the day will run you $30. Buying isn't too bad, but it will cost you $1000 to get rolling including clothing and such.

It is too dang cold. Even if you dress warm and in layers appropriately you will still get cold. The biggest problem is that you will generate heat when actually skiing, but while taking the lift up the mountain you will freeze. God help you is you sweat, then you will really be getting cold and hating life.  I just find it very difficult to every get a comfortable temperature and maintain it. I am either too warm or too cold. I hate the cold, too.

Lift lines suck. Waiting in the line can take up most of your ski day. The lifts are too slow, taking you twice the time to go up the mountain as it take you to come back down.

Maybe I'm just not a winter person, but there are other things I would rather do.
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

been a while? (none / 0) (#21)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:50:52 AM EST

I can't argue with the money thing, that's a personal thing.

On the cold tip however: Gore-tex is a wonderful invention. I used to get all sweaty and then freeze on the lift, until I got me some breathable stuff and polyprop underwear.

Lift lines these days are hardly a factor with all the quads and six person lifts. In fact, I can only make it about 5 hours these days because I find I'm getting more skiing in a day than I used to...

[ Parent ]

Move to Europe (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by linca on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 04:16:29 AM EST

At least in France, day tickets hardly run over 30$ a day. near my hometown, you can get half-day tickets for less than 8$...

[ Parent ]
skiing (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by merkri on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 08:54:29 PM EST

I had a couple of comments on this article, but they're relevant to your posts, so I'll put it here.

Something to keep in mind is that downhill skiing is only one type of skiing. In my book, there's:

(1) Downhill skiing

(2) Classical Cross-Country Skiing

(3) Skate Cross-Country Skiing

(4) Snowboarding.

Snowboarders might take offense at that, but I think it's safe to put them in the same broad category.

In any event, I consider myself a skate skier. Many people don't seem to realize it exists, but it's a lot of fun. For those who don't know (and I know they're out there based on conversations with my friends from the south), skate skiing is a form of cross-country skiing where you essentially skate on the snow.

Why do I like skate skiing? Because it's fast (somewhere between rollerblading and biking in speed?), it's heavy exercise, and because in my mind the terrain's a lot more interesting than downhill. Because you exert yourself so much, it doesn't seem as cold. Also, generally when you cross-country ski, you only have to pay for your gear once: there aren't usually lift prices or anything like that. You ski at a state park or whereever, and that's the price of admission.

Overall, it's a nice balance between classical cross-country and downhill. I'd highly recommend people give it a try sometime.

[ Parent ]

And... *drum roll* (none / 0) (#86)
by ksandstr on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 05:51:20 PM EST

Then there's the age-old Finnish traditional style skiing. Where you don't have those sticks to tangle up in your feet and your left ski is absurdly long while the right one is more like a miniski-sized piece of wood that you're supposed to use to kick yourself in a forward-ish direction on top of the snow-banks. (The longer ski would also be wide enough to support some of the user's weight in some conditions.)

OK, so you'd be hard pressed to find one finn who actually does that sort of thing these days, but they say that the finns of yore could not only travel but also hunt (with bow & arrow or spear) over great distances with that kind of skis.

Me, I like the classical cross-country style better -- I've never been able to get the hang of the skating style (I keep getting my skis tangled up, plus it feels silly).  Anyway, you can't very well skate through unplowed woods, so I don't see the point.

No, there isn't much snow in Helsinki right now.

[ Parent ]

Missing poll option (none / 0) (#23)
by godix on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:03:42 AM EST

- Between the agony of defeat guy and Sonny Bono I'll never try to ski.

- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
risk management (none / 0) (#34)
by clover_kicker on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 08:44:42 AM EST

>Between the agony of defeat guy and Sonny Bono
>I'll never try to ski.

Hehehe. Do you drive?
I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]

I ain't never seen snow (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by dopehead on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:15:40 AM EST

And I can't imagine anything that would make me want to wade around in frozen water, getting cold, colds, and frozen extremities. No siree, I'll stay right here where the sun is warm, the coconuts nectar is cool, and the girls, them are dancing all the time....

Give a man a compilation tape and he'll dance for a night. Teach a man to scratch, and he'll be dancing for generations!

You have obviously (none / 0) (#37)
by krek on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:18:42 AM EST

Never had a girl try to stay warm with you!

[ Parent ]
dope is right (none / 0) (#92)
by bob6 on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 06:31:20 AM EST

Yeah cool, the snow, the skiing etc. Without mentioning the food and the sexy girls in gloves. Right...
Not as cool as walking on the sand along the beach, nearly naked. With the wind from the sea, you can even get the girl trying to stay warm with you. Of course she won't have those sexy gloves, helmets, skis: she won't have anything at all, just a bikini.
I think that appreciating snow, ski, skate or anything under 10 degrees (Celcius) is goth style perversion. This story makes me shudder.

[ Parent ]
Dumbidea, nice writing (+1 -S) (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by epcraig on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:22:03 AM EST

You're not gonna convince me to strap boards on my feet and skid downhill really fast.

I left New England so I'd not need to deal with snow ever again.
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

About that snow... (none / 0) (#26)
by xriso on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:27:46 AM EST

I've kind of been waiting for it to come this year. I'm 54 deg North, and by this time of year the ground should be a nice thick white. But no, not this year; the ground is still green!

There is no emoticon for what I am feeling!
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

green? (none / 0) (#58)
by raaymoose on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:35:50 PM EST

It sure isn't green. Nothing's growing, it's all dead but there's no snow. It's like spring after all the snow melts but before anything grows, minus all the water and garbage that is released from under the snow pack.

Thank goodness for climate change!

[ Parent ]
Well, our grass is mostly green. [nt] (none / 0) (#64)
by xriso on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:56:54 AM EST

*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Ever tried..? (none / 0) (#27)
by vile on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:25:48 AM EST

Mount Bachelor? Bend, OR. Great snow this year.

The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
Diary? (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by kaemaril on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:50:36 AM EST

Ok, this is a wonderful article but this is surely a diary ent - no, sod it, +1 FP :)

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

Skiing leaves me cold (n/t) (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by LQ on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 04:14:54 AM EST

Zermatt is open... (none / 0) (#31)
by treefrog on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:39:48 AM EST

Zermatt is open. 240cm at the top, and 140cm of powder at the base. Saas Fe is open. Tignes is partially open. Winter is on its way and it's going to be a good one I hope.

This summer, I spent many days walking the mountains with an eye for what they would look like in the winter. I have found a fabulous North facing bowl about a 5 or 6 mile ski from the (winter) roadhead. There is also a hut about 2 miles away. There are also some fabulous two or three day tours I have been looking at with steep hard black territory to ski down.

And on Monday, our new toys arrived. A pair of Ortovox M2 avalanche transceivers. So the next week or two we will be hiding them round the garden and practicing, practicing practicing finding them.

Then, oh how fabulous, two whole weeks at Christmas and New Year. Maybe we'll hit the Three Valleys first, as we have an off piste guidebook, and we know the area. Then down to the flat, and maybe some mountain touring if the snow is up to it (it is fairly far south, so the snow usually arrives a bit later than in the high alps). And maybe a return via the Swiss Valais.

As the man said... if you're not spitting branches, you're not trying hard enough!

regards, and happy whiteness.


Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog

Brr! (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by spaceghoti on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:47:47 AM EST

As a native of Buffalo, I grew up with snow, ice and windy conditions. I can categorically say that there is nothing that will stop the heat-leeching effects of windchill. If you voluntarily provoke a windchill effect by skiing down the side of a mountain, you're going to get cold. Period. Any heat generated by the exertions of your body will be instantly whisked away to disperse in the chilled air. There's a reason they check for frostbite. It's painful, painful stuff.

I'm one of the very vocal individuals who hate the cold. I had a lifetime of it, and if I never see snow again it'll be too soon. I like to say that if I die and go to Hell, I'll spend the first forty years just thawing out.

I really like northern Australia for obvious reasons.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

Try a windproof jacket. (none / 0) (#42)
by mrgoat on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:08:42 PM EST

Windproof jacket, boots, pants, mittens, hat, and goggles. What was that about this silly "windchill" thing again?

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

Haven't seen it yet. (none / 0) (#57)
by spaceghoti on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:11:49 PM EST

I've worn all sorts of "windproof" gear and found that at least to the lake-effect breezes off Erie and Ontario, there's no such thing. Perhaps weatherproofing technology has improved since I last voluntarily stepped out into a winter environment, but I'm naturally pessimistic about it. I find it much more logical to simply avoid snow and cold altogether.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Well, it works pretty well now. (none / 0) (#60)
by mrgoat on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:16:42 PM EST

Sure, it's not totally immune to the windchill effect, but windproof clothing currently can, and does, block virtually all outside air currents from hitting the body, so the insulating layers of air inside the jacket, hat, etc. never gets blown away, and consequently keeps the wearer quite warm. I can see how it might be logical to stay away from the cold altogether, but I have to ask then, where do you ski? Is it actually possible for a person to live a worthwhile life without skiing?

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--
[ Parent ]

pshaw (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by raaymoose on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 05:42:22 PM EST

As a resident of northern Canada, formerly of the NWT and the Yukon, I can catagorically say the worst that Buffalo gets is truely not bad.

I suggest you don't even have a concept of wind chill. Wind chill is not as you describe, rather, all living things are surrounded by a layer of moist, warm air. This acts as an insulator. When it is windy this moist, warm air is removed so you don't get an insulating effect. This is why wind chill doesn't affect machinery and other non-living things.

However, as I am alive and not missing any extremities, I can say you can defeat windchill with confidence. Dress in layers, make sure one of them is wool (or some a synthetic with the same heat retention properties, i.e. keeps heat even when wet), and have a windproof outer layer. I've been out for hours in -90C (windchill equiv.) and have been quite comfortable.

[ Parent ]
You sir, are wrong. (none / 0) (#75)
by der on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:24:34 PM EST

Have you ever even been skiing?

[ Parent ]
Fear of a Flat Planet (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Craevenwulfe on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:50:14 AM EST

Ski-ing is the greatest thing on the face of this planet.

I've got to say, if you have a problem about the cold, ski in Europe. T-shirts are commonplace. I skied in Canada last year and that was _cold_, It was -30 and I had to buy a new pair of trousers which had no lining and I didn't pack any longjohns.
Having said that it was cold enough that the moisture in the air was crystalising, creating the most wonderful sparkly effect and an excellent memory.

The beauty that is Earth is revealed to me when i stand atop the mountains, I think i'm in love with the power of them.

dummy... (none / 0) (#73)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 02:00:21 PM EST

ski in BC (whistler, Big White) and not Banff and you won't have -30 days!


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Bah! (none / 0) (#35)
by rdskutter on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 08:57:28 AM EST

Not one mention of snowboarding. The better way to ride a powder chute.

I started as a skier, got bored and switched to boarding. It really is a lot more fun, and little things (like almost flat traverse runs) are a hell of a lot more challenging than on skis. On the otherhand moguls (which are a real challenge on skis) are easy on a board. Try to ride them as you would ski them, but when you get stuck just sideslip a bit and start again.

Oh shit, I need to get away this winter. I don't care where, just please somebody take me skiing or boarding.

Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

I've always meant to try it (none / 0) (#39)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:32:27 AM EST

But I can never bring myself to spend the time at a beginner's level again!

[ Parent ]
That's the fun part (none / 0) (#40)
by rdskutter on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 11:55:01 AM EST

Learning all over again. It only takes about 3 days before you can cruise down smooth moderately steep runs. (Really shallow runs are a PITA on a snowboard, whilst really steep ones are too steep for learners. I suggest blues and shallower reds (French grading) or steep greens.

Its fun. Try it.

Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#90)
by GravityGuru on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 12:02:33 AM EST

The better way to ride a powder chute? Well first, I snowboard too. But I also have professionally and competitively skied for 25 years. Made the finals of the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships a couple of times -- where we do a little bit of skiing "powder chutes". First off, REALLY steep chutes don't hold powder after your first turn - the snow slides immediately. Second, the world records for steepest descent (two edges more versatile than one), highest air (landed), furthest jump (landed - watch the Olmpics), most tricks pulled in one jump (ever see inverted arialists?), and highest speeds . . . are all held by FAR by skiers. So again, I snowboard too - but if you want to pull that BS about it somehow being more radical or fun, if it is for you . . . cool, but as an abosolute? Well, the truth is out there!

[ Parent ]
Absolutely Man! (none / 0) (#93)
by rdskutter on Tue Dec 03, 2002 at 12:01:40 PM EST

Its all from my own perspective. I find steep powder is much more fun on a board than on skis. YMMV.

Maybe its because of the skis. I've never tried wide skis for powder. I've always used my Salomon carving skis.

Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

9 Tips to keep warm (4.25 / 4) (#36)
by krek on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:02:05 AM EST

1) Your mother was right! Wear a hat, a scarf, longjohns and all that crap, oh yeah, LAYERS!
2) Synthetics are you friends, a well made shell will keep out most of the wind.
3) Polar Fleece on the inside, baby!
4) Make sure at least one of your shirts/sweaters is tucked in, nothing worse that having an opening at the bottom of your jacket.
5) Bring as many pairs of socks as you can, most people get sweaty feet, especially when inside plastics, air-tight boots, the instant those feet start feeling cold, go inside and change your socks.
6) Stay away from empty calories, the only sugars you want to be eating are the kinds in fruit and made from carbohydrates.
7) If you start to get cold, go take a piss, keeping all of that liquid warm is very draining on your energy reserves.
8) Never lean against metal, especially on the chair lift, that shit will suck your warmth without you even realising it.
9) Don't be too warm, in the long run the sweat that is produced by being too warm will freeze you better than not being warm enough in the first place.

That's all I got at the moment.

10 (none / 0) (#54)
by jolt rush soon on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:23:38 PM EST

make sure your wrists are covered if your hands keep getting cold. you have a lot of veins very close to the skin there.
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
yes, mittens are preferable (none / 0) (#55)
by krek on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:39:50 PM EST

Those snowmobile mittens that go up to your elbows are the bomb.

[ Parent ]
where the hell are you skiing? (none / 0) (#72)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:58:09 PM EST


I spent Feb/97 in Nunavut (army) and never used gloves that big before.



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Keep the snow out, fo' sho' (none / 0) (#78)
by krek on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:45:09 PM EST

It takes a brave soul to venture into public with them on, but, if they do, they will be the dead last person to get cold and/or wet hands.

[ Parent ]
Gloves with gauntlets (none / 0) (#76)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:42:03 PM EST

I bought a new pair of gloves last year. They have gaunlets, a gortex outer layer, and a separate, fleece, inner layer. I wore them in Vermont and survived :)


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
ooooh, hi tech! (none / 0) (#79)
by krek on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:48:11 PM EST

I usually just bring about five pairs of those super-stretchy lycra gloves and wear them under my leather racing gloves. If they start getting wet I just substitute. The best part is you can get like four pair into your pockets easily.

[ Parent ]
That's another approach (none / 0) (#80)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 04:38:57 PM EST

I went for the hi-tech option after the most miserable day's skiing in my life, on an extremely wet day in Grindelwalk/Kleiner Schneidig, when the snow was like glue, and at the end of the day there was more water in my ski-wear than I thought existed in the world.

Up until that time most of my stuff had originated in that wierd early-90s era when ski-wear was briefly fashionable, and, because of that, absolutely useless for actually skiing in. It was all pretty much wrecked by that incident. Now, it is all Gortex and fleece.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Come on up to Marmot sometime... (none / 0) (#38)
by jmzero on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 10:32:06 AM EST

On a nice weekday in January there's nobody there.  Nothing better than an empty field of snow, hundreds of yards in any direction.  
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
Be happy you have snow (none / 0) (#41)
by anon868 on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:03:05 PM EST

I've been looking forward to winter and the ski season for months. Here in calgary it's supposed to hit +14 (celcius) again. I did see a tiny bit of snow, where it had been piled up in the shade. Seriously, we've had colder summers than this.

I've been skiing for 21 years & boarding for 8, so I'm in no neeed of convincing, now if only the snow gods would cooperate.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.

Calgary (none / 0) (#43)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:09:37 PM EST

that's where I am too. It is rather depressing at the moment, however I'm planning to go to Sunshine tomorrow. They have 38 runs open, and at least it's not man made snow. I know it won't be great, but I've gotta get out!

[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 0) (#44)
by anon868 on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:36:59 PM EST

I've been to COP a few times so far. I just can't bring myself to pay the money for a ticket at Sunshine until I know the snow's going to be good. Have fun though, like the saying goes, a bad day of skiing is better than a good day at work.
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
I don't get it (3.75 / 4) (#45)
by MSBob on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 12:52:13 PM EST

I've been skiing for a few seasons now. My wife is a skiing fanatic. She obviously has a season pass already (even though the slope's not open yet) and will be there the first day they let skiers on.

I, on the other hand just don't get it. I am a resonable skier (not great but reasonable) in that I can do most runs that aren't off piste and will I've done a number of resorts that most avid skiers find 'exhilarating'. Yet I don't truly like to ski. Skiing as an activity feels quite pretentious and its actual physical demands are relatively low making it the perfect excercise for soccer mommas and middle aged daddies. Most resorts are notoriosly crowded with very pretentious people (only rivalled by the stiffness of golf course atttendees) and are priced accordingly.

I don't get the thrill of skiing... I just don't see the point. You go downhill where your main objective is avoiding soccer mommas cruising down at 1.5 miles an hour watching over their brats doing .33 miles an hour downhill. whe you finally get to the bottom there is the thrill of queueing up for half an hour so you can get to the top and in five minutes be down at the bottom again for another half hour of queueing up. It just feels like a pointless activity that is costly, not terribly healthy and quite pretentious. It lacks the competetive edge you get from team sports and lacks the stamina challanges that mountain biking or climbing can give you. It's the perfect soccer mom sport, the quintescence of white suburbian, middle class America. Thanks, but no thanks.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

you're going about it all wrong..... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:13:13 PM EST

You need to ski some more challenging runs. You won't find pretentious morons or soccer moms on a double black run unless they took a wrong turn. If you haven't skied a good long double black mogul or steep run then you probably haven't felt the stamina requirement either. Just one of these runs is enough to get the ole heart racing and the legs burning...it's usually a true test of your physical condition (unless of course you stop after every 2 turns.)

Skiing down something that you can hardly see down because it's so steep is exhilerating. So is picking your path down a good mogul run and making those turns at the right time. Skiing the trees leaves you very little room for error and you will find that it's very demanding turning in deep powder especially when you don't have the option to miss the turn!

In other words.....stay off the blue runs.

[ Parent ]

I won't do off piste skiing (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by MSBob on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:20:07 PM EST

I'm just not skilled enough to go off piste and the 'black runs' around here (NB) are equivalent to at most red runs everywhere else. Even the better resorts that I skied (spelling!) did not give me the same kick that for example, boxing gave me back in the day when I fought.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
well... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by johnnyfever on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:26:07 PM EST

I guess the only solution would be to put in the time and improve your skill level....if you're willing to. It sounds like you're a skeptic, so it may not be worth it to you, but I can assure you, the rewards are worth the effort. I've always found the best way to improve is to constantly challenge yourself. In other words ski stuff a bit harder than you normally would. You can improve your technique to a degree on a blue run, but that will never get you down a tougher one. You just gotta do it!

[ Parent ]
I don't ski blue runs (1.00 / 1) (#49)
by MSBob on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:40:07 PM EST

I usually stay on red runs in decent resorts and do mostly black runs on easy hills. Having said that I'm not yet proficient enough to forgo the tracks altogether and ski off piste. I think I'd end up hurting myself. I'm no chicken but I'm being objective.

I never did any blue runs. In fact one of the problems I've had is that I never really was given a chance to practice my skiing on shallow slopes 'cause my wife would alwyas drag me out to at least a red run so she wouldn't get too bored herself while teaching me to ski.

I can ski and it's sometimes mildly enjoyable for me but was it not for my wife I'd probably pass up altogether. Just not my cuppa tea, I guess.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
um (none / 0) (#53)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:15:04 PM EST

What the heck is a red run?

Honestly, I've been on the hills since I was thirteen (27 now) and have never seen a "red" run.

green, blue, black, double black...that's all.

At any rate, I think that you're due for a trip out west, away from NB. I grew up in Ontario, and now live in Vancouver, the hills are just slightly different. :-)

Aside from the fact that it may truely not be your cup 'o tea, I think you're not giving it a chance.

Here's some hints:

  1. Get off those intermediate hills... if you're finding them boring, then they are beneath your skill level. You obviously can ski, so it's not like you're going to kill yourself on higher level runs... they will be more challenging, and you will have more fun... even if you have to stop at the bathroom to clean out your pants at the bottom.
  2. Get on a plane and head out west. You'll find that there's a lot more that you may enjoy between blue and 6 foot high moguls made of ice.
  3. Try snowboarding. Dead serious. I skiied from 13 to 22, tried snowboarding, and never went back.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Europe. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
by Craevenwulfe on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 05:37:38 AM EST

Red runs are a european thing.
Europe uses blue (beginner), red (intermediate) black (advanced).

American black compares to European red.

I've skied since the age of 10 (I'm now 25). I also snowboarded between the age of 15 & 22 and then gave it up because i just didn't find it interesting enough for the extra effort involved in taking both ski's & snowboard on holiday.
If you're not acrobatic then snowboarding is nothing special.

Telemarking is where the shizzat is at, I want to learn how to do it. (Just so you know that i didn't give it up because i sucked I've competed internationally in both ski-ing and snowboarding :P )

p.s. Learn to ski in scottish conditions and you can ski _anywhere_ ... with style :P

[ Parent ]
Just keep in mind (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by krek on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 09:06:42 AM EST

That europeans are truly haughty, snob-bastards; they feel that everything, right down to their doorknobs, are better than the North American counterpart.

As far as our black runs being the equivalent of their euro-red runs (I love alliteration!).... Just remember than our mountains on the west coast are newer, larger and steeper, on average, than those ancient, ol' Alps. What europeans do not realise is that anything double black and down is for the tourists, the great runs aren't even marked most of the time.

[ Parent ]
Scottish conditions (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 09:49:22 AM EST

Damn right. I learned to ski on a mixture of ice, heather and rocks. Snow? That's for softies, right?

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Same gripe, different subject... (none / 0) (#56)
by Sairon on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 04:36:04 PM EST

Many times when people don't like something there are alot of "I won't" objections invovled. This is your case, where you refuse to push yourself. Onbviously you'll never be challenged if you don't stretch your abilities. Skiing is very physical, and can be dangerous. Oh well. Just because you don't have the guts to go for it, doesn't mean there isn't glory to be found.

You say there's no competitive edge. You must have the wrong skiing partners, or don't know how to compete with yourself. My partners wouldn't allow me to go and take it easy for a day on the slopes. You just don't get away with it when skiing with us. We're out for points, we're out for blood. We're running far away from the damn lifts.


[ Parent ]

I feel the same way (none / 0) (#84)
by BigNachos on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 05:00:50 PM EST

I went skiing a few times, and became reasonably good at it, but still never enjoyed it. Skiis always felt big and clumsy to me. I guess I just preferred a flat surface, with ice skates on my feet.

The 6th time or so I went skiing, I managed to get my ski caught in a rut or something and completely blew out my knee. Tore a bunch of meniscal cartilage, had a 2nd degree sprain of my MCL, and a minor sprain of my ACL, all in the same knee. Suffice to say, I will never go skiing again.

[ Parent ]

Team = Sheep (none / 0) (#89)
by GravityGuru on Sun Dec 01, 2002 at 11:58:10 PM EST

The "competitive edge from team sports" huh? Personally as a professional skier and martial artist, I've always viewed team sports as the domain of sheep who cannot hack it on their own! :) Back at ya!

[ Parent ]
I don't like snow (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by czth on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 01:54:28 PM EST

Which is precisely why I moved from southern Ontario (Niagara region) to take a job in Memphis, Tennessee.

Actually, I found that job through k5. Strange how things work out, isn't it?


Me either (none / 0) (#52)
by cam on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 03:03:21 PM EST

I went from a Sydney summer in the 40 C range (100 F) to New Jersey in the -10 C (20 F) category. I froze. I had never seen snow fall either and had only seen snow twice as a young kid when I went on school holidays to the Snowy Mountains.

I havent skied yet but I did learn to ice skate and played Ice Hockey last year.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

-1 - You Ski (4.00 / 5) (#51)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 02:41:27 PM EST

everyone knows skiiers are rich, pretenteous fucks who where neon green one peice suits and figure that they own the mountain just because they spend $700 on a pair of skiis so they can hang in the lodge...

Real k5ers snowboard. :-)

just kidding, good article.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

On the poll? (none / 0) (#61)
by srn on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 06:58:28 PM EST

50m/h seems very slow - wouldn't the average run (of what, 250m?) take several hours then? I can belly crawl faster!

um, no (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by jt on Thu Nov 28, 2002 at 07:22:55 PM EST

He means 50 mi/h, and the average run length is usually around 1/2 a mile.

[ Parent ]
I don't get it... (none / 0) (#63)
by goonie on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 12:45:35 AM EST

I've tried skiing a couple of times, but I didn't like it. It's cold, wet, miserable, you fall down a lot, and the ski instructors keep you on the kiddie slopes when probably a more appropriate method would be to put me on a more substantial run and let me fall down at higher speeds.

However, if you replaced winter with summer, mountain with beach, and snow with waves, and ski with body board I'd pretty much agree with you. A lot cheaper, too :)

Woohoo (none / 0) (#65)
by Craevenwulfe on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 05:22:59 AM EST

I fall maybe once per weeks holiday and that's because i've been mucking around completely (or because of a random patch of slush).
The more you get better at ski-ing the better it becomes...

Now snowboarding on the other hand... :>

[ Parent ]
On snowboarding.. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by mikael_j on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 10:54:46 AM EST

Now snowboarding on the other hand...

Are you by any chance implying that one falls down a lot when snowboarding? bah! You sir, have obviously not snowboarded for ten years, after that much time snowboarding you tend to fall down only when doing stuff you know you won't be able to pull off (like jumping in jumps that you haven't checked out beforehand or trying new tricks if you're into that whole "freestyle" thing...).

/Mikael (freeride snowboarder since age 10)
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

My observation ... (none / 0) (#85)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 05:26:34 PM EST

... is that snowboarders spend most of their time sitting on their butts in the snow. The rest of the time they spend scraping perfectly good snow off the mountain :)


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
What?! (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by mikael_j on Sun Dec 01, 2002 at 02:47:15 PM EST

Where I'm from most of the scraping of perfectly good snow is done by tourists, skiing tourists!

Besides, everyone knows that the snowboarders that spend all day sitting on their asses are freestylers, AKA "pipe rats". The snowboarders who are active all day are very rarely seen by slope-dwellers since they hang out in the forest or in other hard to spot places...

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

"I live in Arizona"? (none / 0) (#71)
by ecarter on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 01:47:25 PM EST

There's skiing in AZ:


And let's not forget the southernmost ski area in the US (Mauna Kea has snow, obviously, but there are no lifts):


But then again I've never even put on skis.  I answered "I'm a boarder."

Random Comments (none / 0) (#74)
by jck2000 on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:01:15 PM EST

I miss skiing. I skied 10-15 days a year a while back then got married and had kids. Now my kids are old enough to start and we are living not too far from some great skiing.

I once knew a guy who loved skiing so much that he would vomit (but in joy!) the night before he went. Let's just say he had an addictive personality in a number of respects.

I would advise any beginning skier to invest in lessons -- lessons helped me make progress in days that I wouldn't otherwise make in a season.

Great article (none / 0) (#77)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 03:43:50 PM EST

I'm going to Val d'Isere at Christmas. I just thought you ought to know.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
Skiing (none / 0) (#81)
by jabber on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 05:27:45 PM EST

I take it you've never been water-skiing then. For that, you don't even need mountains.

But yes. Snow is nice. It snowed here the day before Thanksgiving, and it is snowing a bit again tonight. The first time, we got somewhere around 6 inches. Looks like an additional 4 today.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

I moved to Colorado for skiing (none / 0) (#82)
by sakusha on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 06:15:23 PM EST

I was into skiing when I was young, I even took a job in Denver so I could be close to the big ski runs. The 3 years I lived in Denver (late 70s) there was a drought of snow and the whole industry almost went bankrupt. I never got to go skiing ONCE. Well, actually, I did go up to Keystone once, I heard there was enough snow, I took the lift up and I had to walk down the mountain through mud. What the hell were they even selling lift tickets for?
Since then, I have never gone skiing again.

Vote option gripe (none / 0) (#87)
by ksandstr on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 06:11:55 PM EST

I had to vote for the "going down at GAR mph down a mountainside with two sticks on my feet is just plain stupid", since (being in Finland, where there isn't much in the way of major geographical features unless you go way up north) I tend to prefer going through half a meter of snow horizontally at a leisurely 10 km/h :-)

Without pre-made paths.  In the thick of a forest.  Where the squirrels eat small children and drink human blood.  Uphill both ways.

Seriously though, there's nothing quite like sitting down on top of your skis after a 20-km trek through the woods and pouring yourself some rose-berry tea from the thermos bottle you'd wisely put into your pack, while nibbling on a sandwich or two.  After the thermometer hits twenty degrees C below zero, nothing moves in the woods except for a few smatterings of snow that the winds puff from off the tree branches. It's beautiful.

My addiction (none / 0) (#91)
by GravityGuru on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 12:04:24 AM EST

120+ days a year on skis for 20+ years now, mostly in Colorado, California, Vermont and Europe -- and no end in sight.

Winter Euphoria | 93 comments (80 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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