After two dry “winter” trips into the backcountry in the past two months, I’d about given up hope, but apparently there is going to be something vaguely resembling winter this season! But finally, we have some snow up there!
The skiing: The weather at the giant Brainard Lake winter trailhead was overcast and car-rockingly windy with light snow, but once in the trees, it was very nice. The snow from the past week covered the windward sides of the trees, but clearly there had been a lot more snow in calmer conditions. The Lefthand Reservoir Road had the usual windblown bare patches, but the CMC trail was nicely covered. The western half of the Waldrop Trail was very deep (first tracks for me!) and Little Raven was in good shape as well. I stopped by the Brainard Cabin and had a nice cup of cocoa with Richard the CMC guy who was there to debug the solar system.
The gear: This was also my first outing on the new, light-weight cross-country skis. Yeah, I grew up on real wooden jobbers from Norway, but lately I’ve been on old Choinard Telemark Skis which are (or were) metal-edged with a nominal waxless pattern. Neither worked all that well and they were a couple pounds each. My new Fischers are air-core, edgeless, waxless sticks in good shape. And they’re amazing! Sure, they don’t edge real well on hardpack nor do they have a ton of floatation, but they weigh basically nothing. They scamper right up 10% grades (would have needed skins for that on the old sticks) and actually handled reasonably well on the way down the same grades. Light is definitely right.