Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Two-Hour Drill

Guaranteed the year I decide to move to Truckee is the year of the snow drought. Currently looking at no snow worth talking about outside of the manmade at resorts. There was some, but it faceted and blew away.
This is coming off last year when we had "Snowvember" with over 130" at some resorts in the last week of November. We were already skiing in early November of that year:
(that's me at Kirkwood on Nov. 8th, almost three weeks before the lifts started running)

So far this fall it has been about riding the groomed manmade strips among the brown and green (slightly-frosted) slopes as only 18-24 inches has fallen at most resorts. This is great for getting the legs in shape and doing technique drills, but it can be a little boring. To keep it interesting, I do a couple of things. One is to use the close-in parking that is limited to two hours. I call this the Two Hour Drill. Then I try to get as many runs as I can in that time. Also, I put on some music. It may be the same run over and over, but at least the music changes. Today I got seven runs in! Feels great and I'm looking forward to strong legs and sharp technique by the time we finally get snow, which is forecast for around the 16th.
Cross your fingers, not your tips!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Skiing w/o Airbag pack an INCREASE in risk?

In response to Romeo's post on TetonAT about airbag packs still being too heavy:

Outlaw avalung = 1710g
BCA Float 30 = 3000g
Are you saying that 1300g (less than 3 lbs) is preventing you from carrying a piece of safety equipment in the backcountry?
Since avoiding burial is the most important survival factor in an avalanche, it seems to me the most obvious gear upgrade of the season. I bought last year's BCA float that really doesn't work that well as a pack. It's more of a pack built around the airbag system than an airbag built into a pack. BCA packs have always been really well thought out so it was hard to understand this blunder coming from them. Looks like the redesigned line that just came out this year is really well done although they can still work to bring the wieght down, but it may never get below 6-7lbs. The extra weight may make the airbag more optional than a beacon for low-danger days or high and long. Now that I have it though, I feel that deciding to tour without it is actually a reduction in my margin of safety (as opposed to seeing it as an optional piece I can use to increase safety). How worthwhile is an airbag to you?