After 10+ years of tele skiing, I switched back to the "dark side" last year, sacrificing the fluidity and grace of telemark skiing for the versatility and power of AT skiing. Even with new gear and high psych I only managed a couple of marginal ski days last season, and wanted to make up for it this year. All that was needed was some snow, some free time, and some solid backcountry partners. The stars finally aligned down in Ouray, and the powder god's even gave us a little treat.
|8'' of pow from the night before|
Not only did skiing sound fun, but skinning uphill is probably my favorite mountain workout of all time. I can rarely motivate my self to go hike up a hill for training purposes, but strap cool gear to your feet and add snow to the equation and I get motivated to plow uphill pretty quickly. The best way to get in good shape for the mountains is to get out and go uphill at a steady pace for a long time. Having spent most of my time in the climbing gym or at Shelf Road lately, my fingers felt strong, but to get ready for upcoming alpine trips I really needed to put in some hours huffing upwards.
Jeremiah, local ski monster Chris, fellow alpine mentors participant Steven and I set out on what would end up being one of my best ski days in recent memory-