Sunday, January 4, 2009

Quick rendezvous in Sun Valley

One of my favorite cousins, Peter Damon, who lives in L.A., made an impromptu trip to Sun Valley last weekend with his family, and so my son Quinn and I jetted up there Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with them.

Peter and I took our boys to Dollar Mountain on Saturday morning, and they had a blast poking around in a some powder pockets between the slopes. Meanwhile, Peter and I toured around the big Baldy-o, cranking turns on the groomers, and flying off soft bumps everywhere. The skies were clear that day, so it was brisk on the mountain, but certainly comfortable, with temps in the high teens by the afternoon. Peter kept remarking on how beautiful the moutains were all around us, and I talked about all the yurts I love to visit in the surrounding mountain ranges and the hiking and mountain bike trails, the rivers, and on and on.

On Sunday morning, I planned to go skate skiing on the beautiful groomed trails at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. I thought I was real smart to get my skate skis waxed with a fresh coating of cold wax at the Elephants Perch the day before. My previous outing had been on pretty warm snow (31 degrees) at Jug Mountain Ranch on New Years Day.

But lo and behold, on Sunday morning, it was so crisp and cold that my nose hairs stuck together (reminiscent of my Minnesota childhood), and the danged skate skis didn't glide at all ... they felt just the opposite, almost like sand paper. It was about 10 degrees F at the time.

The track looked absolutely gorgeous. I was SO ready to fly on a groomed track after pushing through tons of fresh powder my last three times out. It looked perfect but I was as slow as a fricking snail.

So I slogged through about 8Ks and came back to the lodge, with extremely cold fingers, and thought, the hell with it, I'm going to go watch the NFL playoffs, drink a beer and relax. But I had to stop at the Elephant's Perch and ask about the wax, and they were like, yeah, skate skiing doesn't work when it's this cold. You should use your classic gear on a day like today ... and I'm thinking, dang! why didn't they tell me that when they waxed my skis?

Live and learn. Skate Skiing Lesson #205. Leave the skate skis in the garage when it's butt-ugly cold. Got it.

- SS