Check out the photos from the Tour:
The decision I made last weekend to bail on a ski race for some backcountry turns is one I've been thinking about a lot this winter.
No I don't have a crystal ball, I couldn't actually foresee it, but I kind of could.
Last winter skate skiing was the big thing I did. I spent many a weekend doing long skis on the trails and exploring different place on the skinny skis.
This year the splitboard has stolen my heart.
I don't want to get too far into talking about the splitty, but it's definitely relegated skate skiing to more of a mid-week afterwork activity than a general pass time.
The thing is, skate skiing is awesome, it's like a combination of road biking and mountain biking, in winter.
You get way more of a workout on skate skis using core and upper body compared to riding though, and can get that workout in less time.
Perhaps the best part of all is that skate skiing is excellent training for biking. When I did a freak road ride a few weeks ago it was my "sit bones" and neck muscles that were grumbling toward the end of the ride. My legs felt like they could have done another 20 miles no problem.
That says a lot I think.
Skate skiing, like mountain biking, also offers daily variety. Fresh snow, warm temps a cold snap, moose tracks, whatever, can drastically change a workout.
When ee get our usual warm low pressure system move through once a month dumping rain, followed by a dumping of the mercury, the roller bearings on ice conditions become rocket fast and it's easy to think you might qualify for the Olympic ski team as you set new personal records and climb hills in high gear.
A week later two inches of fresh dry and airy central Peninsula snow falls and despite the best grooming in the state, getting around even half the trail system is an exhaustive task.
Skiing at night, even with a headlamp, breeds its own talent. When I say I think I could ski those trails with my eyes closed, I'm not exaggerating that much. I know the corners of those trails probably better than I know the back of my own hand.
I can't look past the camaraderie either. While some nights you can go out and ski the whole system and never see a familiar face and that's OK, it's nice to know that if you hang out in the soccer fields or ski a trail backwards you'll probably get company if you want it.
All of this being said, this is what makes skate skiing after work or on weekends when the backcountry's not safe such a great activity, but when the mountains call, you can't turn a deaf ear. Case in point, while the bright blue skies of last weekend and the first half of this week seemed eternal, a new weather systems is moving in with lots of dark blue, purple and green on the radar and this weekend the sun will be a rare sighting in the passes. I'm hoping I'll still get to go, but when there's fish in the river, you go fishing, it's that simple.