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Thread: First slush season with chevron structure

  1. #1

    First slush season with chevron structure

    I luvs it! I'll be getting this grind on at least 3 more pairs...

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Oh you want the long story?

    If you google chevron structures you will notice that quite a few people talk about them being mostly for XC skis. I used to think that.

    Anyhow. For the first part of the long story I will need to -apparently- digress a bit. Trust me we will get around to the present...

    ****

    Earlier this winter we had a local 100K vertical event. Sort of like the old Jimmy Heuga things, yeah?

    A week out from the event, we seriously thought it was going to be snowing, puking snow really because the snow that hit Chicago was going to be directly over the resort.

    It didn't quite work out that way and the morning started out mostly clear at 7:30am :

    http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/loca...iors/23147819/

    The upper mountain was still foggy so all the group shots were done at the bottom of the hill.



    I started the day on Atomics with a linear grind and a warm-weather combo of Hertel FC739 on top of Swix Bp77 prep wax and the skis ran well for the first 22 runs which brought us to 10am ish. I was seriously hoping the fog on the upper mountain would burn off by then.


    No such luck. I handed the bib over to a teammate and went indoors to check on status - and one of the other team's guys had canceled 'coz he was stuck in Boston. Guess I'll have to ski for both teams now.



    Quick scarfdown of an eggcroissant. Oh, crap, one of the other other team's members had only been on snow three times. Quick, let's get him oriented to the mountain and see if he can do anything.

    So he and I spent the next 2 hours lapping the green lift while the blue team and the green team had a boyfriend/girlfriend combo to do runs and keep each other company. Ooof. Ok, he'll probably make it down the mountain OK, lets see if he can handle blue terrain.



    That's when the spitting rain started.

    Our newbie did 2 runs for green team and I was proud of him. I took that bib and went up.



    Imagine: 45mph+ 25 foot visibility.
    Imagine: soft snow with ruts and sloughs that jackhammer your legs
    Imagine: plunging into a field of white, trusting to instinct that nothing is in front of you.

    15 runs later they called mandatory lunch break. I was wet through so new jacket, new pants.
    The Hertel was *gone* from the skis at this point, bases were completely dry.

    I switch skis to Atomics with a chevron grind and cold weather wax of Toko HF blue on them.

    And it's back to the white room.

    With one difference: I am /so/ fast on the runouts that I can move up 2-3 chairs per run just on the last 200 feet of vertical.

    I get yelled at for entering the maze too fast. Fine, fine.

    I get yelled at for jumping onto the first possible chair I can catch. Fine, fine.

    I get told to sit out and let a snowboarder take this. What about the other team? No, the newb's girlfriend is making runs for them.

    FIne, whatevs. We're sitting there at 58 runs and 54 runs per team at 2:30pm and you want me to sit out when I've got the juice and the speed and still dry underwear?
    Hey, you're cap'n.

    So I sit out the next 2 hours - a good buddy of mine shows up 'coz green team WILL need a ringer by the end of the day, just to finish the last 30 runs.

    Almost 5 pm. Still no visibility. I go back out with my buddy and we take over. 69 and 62? Crack. We're going to have a long pull today.

    No matter.


    Back into the white room. Did I mention that Toko HF blue rocks on soupy drenched manmade? It does. Did I mention that chevron grinds are fast? They are.

    Again I start pulling chairs back, 2-3 per run. Except the top is getting crispy now so the ruts hurt more. Crispy as in harder than cut styrofoam crispy.

    Hot choco? GRAB!

    Water bottle? GRAB!

    Ok, downright crust crispy. What did I just hear? Yo! Chris! What did that time guy yell at me? WHAT?

    THEY'RE STOPPING THE EVENT AT 6PM!? NOOOO!

    I cursed for a while, mostly internally, I couldn't tell.


    After 7pm Chris and I felt we had the legs for 10-15 more runs. So we went and did them.

    It was beautiful. Cold, clear, clean and cathartic

    *******

  4. #4
    The second part of the story again involves the tale of two structures - only this time we're deep in March, a wet and snowy March both.

    Imagine a week of melt so that all the snow at the resorts has a coarse, rounded granularity. Sure, the snow is sort-of freezing overnight, but that sort-of is only just enough for the groomers to come through and get rid of the truly egregious bits of frozen coral from the day before.

    Now, one happy happy Friday the temperature drops like a rock around 1am and the gloppy wetness from the day before is falling into a low temperature layer and making, nice fine small-flake snow. The resort gets 6 inches maybe even a bit more. It's whiter than white, and it makes the mountain look like an old dirty friar who put a freshly laundered surplice on.

    Then Saturday dawns. Not just any Saturday but a 60F Saturday. And that surplice of high-moisture small flake snow has definitely *not* integrated into the pack beneath. So that the water melting from the fresh snow is actually caught by and stopped by the old groomed snow. If you were to try to posthole up the mountain, your foot would have two chances to get wet, first as it went through the new snow, then as it punched through the old dirty stuff.

    Wet? Drenched.

    Well, we skied it. Anyone who wasn't on his or her edges hated it because they simply couldn't get and stay going. The green hill had about 2 or 3 people left on it at 12:30pm; the parking lot that was full at 9am was half empty by 1pm. Anyone who didn't stay in the fall line hated it because the snow would change stickiness across the hill, as the new snow agglomerated in patches and sloughs. Anyone who carried speed down to the lower half of the mountain hated it - because the water draining off the old snowpack was close to the surface here and entering that zone with flat skis could almost suck the boots off your feet. Backwards. It was a game of *not* driving forward with the shins but driving the toes forward, keeping the core tight, tight, tight. And absolutely no way to relax.

    Around 3pm I switched to the chevron grind skis. The first thing I noticed is that the sticky bits of undrained new snow higher on the mountain well...disappeared or as close as made no nevermind. Then I noticed that if I entered the lower part of the mountain on high edge I could make 1 maybe 2 swoopy turns without getting yanked backwards and then actually skate through the high-water approach to the lift maze.

    We stayed 'til 10 pm

    The next day was a huge surprise as the snow managed to integrate overnight. Sticky patches? Gone. Both linear and chevron worked great. Superb day with everybody smiling (except for those who came on Saturday and decided not to try again).

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