Backcountry Skiing News Roundup

Post by blogger | November 3, 2010      

Wow, kind of a sea change election yesterday. How did it go in your region in terms of outdoor recreation? Here in Garfield County, Colorado, a Republican fellow named Tom Jankovsky unseated Democrat Tresi Houpt for one of our board of county commissioners. Campaign rhetoric says Jankovsky was powered in by outside oil and gas money so he could unseat Tresi, who tended to align with the anti energy development folks. Be that as it may (probably blown out of proportion), what’s interesting and possibly beneficial about Jankovsky as a Commissioner is that he’s been able to keep a small ski resort afloat through some very difficult times (Ski Sunlight), and is thus no doubt a recreation advocate (and a skier).

I look forward to Jankovsky being a voice of reason when it comes to things like balancing multiple use recreation with Wilderness land designations. As for our energy development issues, I doubt he’s out for environmental destruction. But we’ll see. “They might be the best person around, but once they’re elected they become a politician…,” as one person said to me recently. More here.

Always interesting to see what cannon fodder the ski film industry is bringing to the front lines. This video of Matchstick skier Tim Dutton cracked me up at the beginning when the young squire goofs around about where he is in Chamonix, but the guy’s athletic ability does garner respect.

Just a reminder, the Canadian Avalanche Center has updated the decision making tool they call their “Avaluator.” We covered the first generation of these in this blog post, nice to see ongoing improvements. You can get one on the CAC website.

How do you get in shape for the ski season? My approach is to keep some sort of cardio base through the summer. Come fall, I let our lifestyle kick in for leg strengthening with early a few early season turns along with a bit of elk chasing. I show up at the gym as well, to do weight circuit training a few times a week. My timing is usually off and my legs come in around sometime in February, meaning my January Europe trips are sometimes a struggle when trying to keep up with the locals. I could do better if I spent more time on leg work in the summer, but athletic training isn’t my life, so it tends to get prioritized down the list rather than up. If you’re motivated, I found a good summary of how a ski training program should be set up. Check it out here.

Weather here in central Colorado is too dry this week. Typical. We get a thin layer of snow in the mountains, then the precip stops, the snow rots out and turns to sugar, then it starts snowing again on that excellent avalanche layer. Such bad base layers can haunt us all season long. Holding my breath. Meanwhile, it was good to hear from my son Louie that the Mount Baker area in Washington got hammered and he was up there backcountry skiing on a nice dense layer of PNW stability. Safe and fun, that’s what we like to hear! Baker photos.


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29 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing News Roundup”

  1. cory November 3rd, 2010 12:13 pm

    I must say, I’m rpoud of ‘ol CO when it comes to the election. It seems (unlike much of the US) that we got past all the “talking points” and actually voted for who we felt would best represent us. Almost a third of the state is independent voters and have not signed up to be a part of one of the two political machines. Post election, it seems like a good time to critically ask yourself, “Does it really make sense for me to try and align my personal thoughts with a group or am I strong enough to declare myself independent?”

  2. mtnrunner2 November 3rd, 2010 12:56 pm

    >How do you get in shape for the ski season?

    Um… running mountains 😉

    >How did it go in your region in terms of outdoor recreation? … Campaign rhetoric says Jankovsky was powered in by outside oil and gas money

    I don’t imagine there will be much change for Jefferson County, other than the fact that government will be strapped for cash for a while.

    I don’t think there’s any *inherent* conflict between energy development and recreation; it all depends on how each is implemented. I’ve been leaning towards a case-by-case approach to judging.

    Frankly I’d rather see potential recreational lands out of the political football arena for good, and safe in the hands of someone like The Nature Conservancy or a similar trust.

  3. Bar Barrique November 3rd, 2010 8:53 pm

    Politics aside; I think the best off season conditioning comes from my mountain bike, cross country style. Intermediate downhill trails can be challenging for me, but I enjoy old mining/forestry roads, and, trails. The “up” portions of the trails provide the kind of aerobic effort that is very similar to BC trail breaking.

  4. Pierce Oz November 4th, 2010 8:15 am

    That training article was spot on, at least for me. Lots of hiking, core, jumping and skipping around really work great for the quads. Also, running hot laps on the early season white stripe of your choice also works wonders.

    Two things that I think every BC skier should have in the house are a good wobble/balance board land a NORDICTRACK! I like holding tucks and doing squats on the wobble board. It has helped my skiing more than any other one thing I can think of. You want one like this: The bongo boards that only roll back and forth seem to be excellent for cracking teeth and smashing large holes in your walls, but a solid core and small muscle work-out. You want 360 degree articulation. Those are also key for rehab-ing leg injuries. I use it for rehabbing a tweaked knee or keeping my repaired achilles stretched out throughout the year.

    And, yes, dust off that nordictrack in the basement or your mom’s basement (or find one dirt cheap on CL), set it up in front of your tv with ski video and get after it. Nothing works for skinning endurance like the old nordictrack. I like that they simulate the real range of motion for skinning, the mixed pace and resistance, and balancing you need while doing real climbing. Jack up the front legs on it to get the steepest climbing setting and bump up the resistance so you are at your normal skinning pace. You can even do it in your AT boots for added realism. Maybe even add a pack! I usually keep this up a few times a week until backcountry skiing really gets going and then hit during the season to get ready for hut trips or big climbs.

  5. Lou November 4th, 2010 8:54 am

    Pierce, yeah, I thought that article was pretty good. GREAT idea about the old Nordic Track! We used to see those out on the street with a “free” sign, but haven’t seen that for a while. If I do, I’ll pick one up and blog about it. Seems like the perfect thing to have in the corner of the office.

    We used to have a bongo board around here. Agree that getting on that thing every day is incredibly beneficial.

  6. Matt Kinney November 4th, 2010 10:00 am

    I used to wait till the first snows and ski myself into shape followed by beer. Now, at over 50, I have to go at it year-round or suffer chasing the younger skinners on guide days. I am not ready to concede the skin track chase or breaking trail yet. The regime mentioned above in the blog post seemed geared toward younger skiers. Occasionally I get beat up by the “uber” skinner older than me, but that’s cool and that’s skiing.

    Over the past few years I have discovered yoga and swimming. These are routines I can continue to do during ski season to enhance strength and maintain flexibility. One thing the article did not mention is diet, which should be considered a crucial component of any conditioning program. With a healthy diet free of any alcohol, free of all meats (except fish-pescatarian) and most fats, my joints feel great compared to just a few year ago. Combining a healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine rarely if ever finds me sick. I cannot remember the last time a cold or flu put me down.

    I avoid exercises that produce impacts on joints, such as running or falling off wiggly bongo boards. 😀 I like summer cycling along with mountain biking on country roads. Entering ski season in better shape is more rewarding on day one. The swimming has been amazing for my cardio and builds upper body strength and tone. Yoga has produced flexibility that I never imagined possible. I have added more nordic “real” track ski skating sessions during inclement weather days adding a powerful ski discipline I have always enjoyed to my overall health. The main thing is to enter ski season in good enough shape to survive falls and be able to recovery from injuries as quickly as possible.

    As far as politics, my Green-Tea Party did as well as expected. :mrgreen:

  7. Lou November 4th, 2010 11:54 am

    Matt, thanks for sharing what works for you. I’d agree that diet is super important. I’m guilty of too much sugar and beer, and do notice that when I cut back on that stuff it makes a difference. I don’t think giving up red meat is that big a deal, but cutting back on it can really help your joints for some reason I don’t understand but know works for me. Hence, we don’t eat that much red meat but do enjoy bacon in the morning on occasion, or the occasional steak. If we shoot an elk or two we eat a lot more meat, but still not that much. I do notice that regular intake of salmon and omega-3 caps helps the joints as well. Younger guys should take note of all this. Change your diet now and you’ll be a lot more spry in 15 or 20 years. Perhaps you’ll even ski off the summit of Denali when you’re 58, like some other creaky jointed greyhead did a few months ago (grin).

  8. Njord November 5th, 2010 11:07 am

    Good to see Tom J. elected… and have a voice of “reason” in the county! I think he understands both the need to balance protecting the wilderness and business in a sensible manner. Haupt had no clue about either…

  9. cory November 5th, 2010 12:52 pm

    Njord, please elaborate and provide some support for your attack on Haupt. Is this true or is it just your opinion?

  10. Dave B. November 5th, 2010 2:53 pm

    Really enjoy and appreciate the comments about ski fitness training, especially for older guys. Maybe start a thread devoted to this?

  11. ed November 6th, 2010 8:23 pm

    Njord, Cory, this is a ski web site, lets please keep it that way.

    My summer of mountain biking really seems to have helped my fitness level exponentially on the couple of skin laps I’ve done this winter. Hopefully this winter will be awesome!

  12. Lou November 7th, 2010 4:12 pm

    Ed, thanks. Yeah you guys, just because we mentioned the election results doesn’t mean get all crazy 😀

  13. Steve November 7th, 2010 6:16 pm

    I have a few friends who rave about this p90x workout series. I’ve never been interested in video workouts but then my daughter came home and told me she’d done the plyometric dvd and it was perfect for skiing. So I did half an hour of it two days ago and my legs are still sore. Lower body wise, I’d say it’s an awesome workout that’s pretty transferable to skiing. I also try to stand on a swiss ball like Lindsey Vonn.

  14. Lou November 7th, 2010 7:23 pm

    Steve, that sounds good, but my understanding is that if you’re gauging the quality of a workout by how sore it makes you, you are on the path to getting injured. And who want to get hurt in the gym!

  15. cory November 8th, 2010 3:08 pm

    I was disappointed in your post. One of the topics introduced by Lou was the election. You should have said, “Lou this is a skiing website, let’s keep it that way.” (Instead of going after those who commented on the presented topic.)

    …and as far as getting in ski shape, paddling, rowing, running, climbing and of course…Skiing! 3 days in so far (and I must say it has exceeded expectations).

  16. Alex R November 8th, 2010 4:04 pm

    I wish I had 3 days of skiing in already this year…but another great way to get/stay in shape for skiing (and anything else the mountains might throw at you) is Cross Fit. It’s a great mix of strength and endurance exercises that build your funtional fitness. Over the last 2 years I have found it really improved my skiing, biking, and climbing.

  17. Lou November 8th, 2010 4:33 pm

    Cory, in my opinion political leadership is appropriate for a bit of blogging on my part now and then, mainly because what the politicos do does affect us. On the other hand, I have no wish to turn this into yet another blathering politics blog, so all we need to do is strike a balance. I’ll do my best to moderate and be fair, and unless you guys are too strident, give you the last word.

  18. cory November 8th, 2010 6:56 pm

    I agree completely. This is your site and (especially if politics have to do with skiing) you should blog away. My beef has more to do with Ed lecturing me on the topic when I didn’t bring it up, I just commented on it.

    That said, what do you think Palin is skiing on? Obama? (Really, we all know that Ford, Carter, the Kennedys, and Cheney are the real skiers. I’ve also seen pics of Teddy Roosevelt on snowshoes, but we won’t hold that against him). 😉

  19. Steve November 9th, 2010 10:21 am

    You’re right, Lou. Getting sore isn’t a good gauge of workout effectiveness. What I should’ve said is that I was sore in the same places that trail running doesn’t hit but that get sore after the first time out on skis – like hip flexors and deep glutes.

  20. scree November 11th, 2010 4:38 pm

    I’d love to see more fitness and rando race training stuff here (or anywhere for that matter… not much out there in English that I can find).

    Lou – I posted a similar comment a few days ago and it showed up (after you must have approved it) then it disappeared. Why?

  21. Michael Silitch November 12th, 2010 2:54 am

    I heartily agree: more fitness, diet, training, rando race!!!!!

  22. Wick November 12th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Agreed Michael…maybe we are just demented 😉

    Found great pow up in the Ruby Range this AM 12″+ storm totals!

  23. Lou November 12th, 2010 7:21 pm

    Scree, I don’t know what happened. Sorry about that. Imperfect science, all this.

  24. scree November 12th, 2010 9:15 pm

    no worries Lou. Just weird because the original post wasn’t provocative or anything, yet it disappeared.

  25. Lou November 13th, 2010 7:44 am

    Scree, can you re-post something similar? We do delete spam fairly frequently (sometimes a few a day, but recently none), and we do moderate posts now and then and delete them, but rarely. I could have deleted it by mistake for all I know, being human and all (grin).

  26. scree November 13th, 2010 3:13 pm

    Lou – I already reposted what was deleted. I just was saying that I’d love to see more race stuff. Fitness and training (esp. in the summer).

    Thanks for this site, I enjoy this blog especially when it deals with muscle powered recreation.

  27. Lou November 14th, 2010 5:09 pm

    Scree, yeah, it was probably a mistake or glitch. Sorry about that. I’m totally up for more fitness and health stuff. It be coming. And we are all about muscle powered rec, though I do enjoy covering what gets me to the starting point (and sometimes beyond, if the mood hits me.)

  28. Bar Barrique December 4th, 2010 10:41 pm

    Under the banner of “backcountry skiing news roundup” ; I see that you are quoted in the Globe and Mail regarding Greg Hill’s attempt at 2 million feet of vertical in a single year. Good luck to Greg, and, hopefully he can soon take a “day off”.

  29. Lou December 5th, 2010 3:53 pm

    Shoot Bar, I guess I need to get on the case! Having too much fun this weekend…

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