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Author Topic: Back after 10 year lay off - what should I know?  (Read 372 times)

Posts: 208

Back after 10 year lay off - what should I know?
« on: 03/22/20, 01:30 PM »

10 years ago when my wife became pregnant with my first and only child I quit backcountry snowboarding.  It was clearly the most risky optional activity in my life.  There had been a slew of nearby deaths around that time, nearly all people who knew well better than me and still ended up dead on the mountain.  Plus I'd ridden to death my splitboard.  Literally couldn't nurse another trip out of it after ten years of very regular flogging (I favored places like the trees from Silver to Flap Jack lakes, drove to Rainier all the time).  The expense of a new board and skins along with wanting to focus on being a new dad flowed me to decide to hang it as far as the BC went.

A lot has changed in ten years.  I focused a lot more on kneeboard surfing, my most native sport, placing in the finals in some US championships.  I snowboarded plenty inbounds as my girl learned to ski, experienced the glorious parent's journey from "no pizza, french fries!" to working to keep up with a little ripper.  I tore a hammy badly last spring, discovered that snowboarding was a no go, but that skiing was okay.  And more fun than it looked.  At 51 years old I became a skier.

Now I ski permanently, 14 resort days on skis and counting, last few days perfectly comfortable at Crystal in Powder Bowl and Bear Pits if not elegant or impressive.  Have developed an eye allergy that's made contacts a no go, so surfing is unfortunately on ice for a while.  Fold in Coronavirus closures and me being stir crazy AF and I've bought some cheap secondhand AT boots, skins, and bindings.  Intent for the rest this season just to get out to the less avy prone closed resorts (so I'll not see Alpy etc), slog up to get some exercise, rip down to have some fun, both to alleviate some contemporary stress.

So my question to you is what should I know coming back into earning turns in 2020 after quitting in 2009?  From the distance of a casual observer, seems like there are a lot more people.  What else is up? What helpful tips can you give to me, both a beginner and experienced in different ways?  I've certainly forgotten a lot as mind went other places for the last 10 years.


Posts: 432

Re: Back after 10 year lay off - what should I know?
« Reply #1 on: 03/24/20, 08:38 PM »

Hopefully you haven't got toe fungus from your used boots and its never too late to start skiing.
That said I would only feel confident giving you some advice as to gear.   
A good all  mountain ski that does it all as in powder and resort is near 105 in the waist and in the low 130's in the tip and low 120's in the tail.   New gear is pretty costly these days so in the summer or fall at the ski swap pick up a pair of skis you feel good about with sidewalls and a nice wood core.  medium flex.
Boots are something that will last you years and years so if possible get a new pair you can try on for fit and a good weight for resort and bc are three and half to four pounds per boot.   Be sure they are going to work with your bindings.
My all day touring set up is a six year old pair of Scarpa Spirit 4's at 4 lbs. per boot. Ion 12 bindings and an old pair of Hart Outback 105's with a bamboo core
My resort and side country ski is the same but those are mounted with Marker Barons
There is so much hype about going light in skis and boots, but it is mostly hype as the small weight you save at huge expense is not that impressive, as if shaving a half an hour or a bit more of uphill time is really going to make that big of a difference in how much time you have to ski in the day.
I guess for expedition type adventure it is preferable anyway that's my take.
Welcome back from the dark side.

Posts: 208

Re: Back after 10 year lay off - what should I know?
« Reply #2 on: 03/25/20, 07:35 AM »

Welcome back from the dark side.


I took a few get back in the groove laps up that deadly Couloir known as Summit West.  Lived to tell that skinning is way easier when you are a skier.  In my previous BC life the only time I stood like a skier was skinning.  Balance is so much less awkward when you're used to two planking, skating and gliding more natural.

Other than that, and being embarrassingly awkward handling skins and transitioning, all seemed fine.

Gear wise I bought some very lightly used Garmont Endorphin mg boots for 90 bucks, look like 5-10 total days if that, seem like they haven't seen feet for at least ten years.  They fit nicely and didn't give me blisters so that good.  But no toe pin holes!  I screwed up there, bought the boots first and then hamstrung myself on binding choices. 

For skis I'm using a (now) thrice drilled set of 2017 K2 Pinnacle 95s ($120 flat).  Easy to ski, great edge hold, ski pow wider than their waist, powered up tails and damper than their weight.  Thought they'd suffice for the rest of spring corn season and then I'll see about next year, probably go wider as you mention.  The Pinnacles are not so heavy - no metal in them, or at least they drill 3.5mm.  But certainly not proper touring skis!  I like escaping reality by thinking about gear so I'm sure I'll be making some changes.

Bindings I found Tyrolia Ambitions for 200 bucks.  Definitely would have rather gone with tech bindings, but the pin-hole-less boots fit and I already had them.  Easy except needed to clear snow to snap them back down.

Skins I fairly agonized because the BCA skins I used on my splitboard were heavy as hell and seemed to glide and stick poorly.  I went with Black Diamond Ascensions, which felt like a punt, but from all I've read they are pretty grippy and durable so maybe a safe call when I don't know what's what.

All in I think I spent about $600, and in retrospect for a bunch of used semi-oddball stuff that I'll like evolve out of pretty quickly.  Maybe should have come in with more focus and done it right.  But on the other hand it all worked fine, and I got to go outside in the mountains and ski a little.  Call it a win for now Smiley
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