I had to bail on a KT ride Saturday due to -19 degree temps with some silly wind chill values. I really wanted to get a bit more time on the fat bike before my next race Thurs so when I woke up Sunday and temps were reasonable and the rain was still en route I decided to make a stab at FFD.
Luckily Franklin seems to have reached a critical mass of winter trail users that has been consistently getting at least a subset of the trails packed out and perfect for fat biking within a week or so of fresh snow. I'm getting better at layering at different winter temps and some of my new winter riding gear is making a world of difference.
Gina got me some Bar Mitts for Christmas and I think I can safely say that they (or something similar) are a MUST for winter riding. Its like night and day. Keeping my fingers warm seemed to be that impossible task that no matter what you tried it never seemed to pan out. Now with the bar mitts I can wear a light glove in just about any temp and be completely fine. And it only took me about 1/4 of one ride to get used to getting my hands in and out on the fly. Couldn't be happier with them.
this was from several weeks ago. lots more snow now.
I also have several rides in on my new winter shoes the Louis Garneau LS-100 0 degree's. Also a great purchase that makes a HUGE difference. Its nice being able to clip in and ride like I'm used to. My first few rides on the flats were not as bad as I thought they'd be but clipping in is always better. My only warning on the LS-100's is they run small. Half size up. Mine are going to work and I don't feel like dealing with returning etc. but if I did I would get a half size larger.
I got a great 9+ mile ride in before the freezing mist started and then I hunkered down for what I thought would be a lazy Sunday / Monday avoiding the crappy local weather. Then late Sunday I got a text from Jake. Day care was staying open for MLK and he had a hall pass and an extra voucher to Jay and was looking for a wing man. SIGN ME UP.
Most forecasts had called for Jay to get mostly snow and be just about the best place to be for down mountain shredding. I figured it'd be a great last second get but I had no idea how ideally the entire day would set up...
I will preface this recap by saying this was, to date, the best post-college ski day I've had. I specify post-college because our college years were far too jam packed with big days, travel to Europe etc. responsibilities were low so we got just about every big day there was. And I've gotten plenty of big days post college but as life responsibilities increase there is more that goes into a 'big day' and most big days come with a price. Horrific travel, home owner duties...all that good stuff.
So nowadays when I'm talking about the BEST ski day I'm talking a balance between gnar conditions at the mountain and 0 gnar life conditions and Monday was all of that. A perfect storm of perfect old man considerations. A zero stress drive. Roads were completely fine on the way up, not death defying in the slightest. Jay had gotten 8-10in of lighter than expected snow. Temps were right around freezing with reasonable wind and it snowed just about all day. Crowds were non existent, didn't wait in one significant lift line all day with most lifts being ski-on all day. Despite the snow during the day the only road that needed attention was the access road. After that it was stress free smooth sailing all the way home. And when I got home I didn't have to shovel or rake my roof or do anything home owner related. AND I GOT FIRST TRACKS IN ARGUABLY THE BEST GLADED RUN IN NEW ENGLAND.
one of the best single runs of my snow riding career
Still don't know how it happened. We didn't rush over there in the slightest but we found ourselves breaking trail on the hike up and over. Coverage was good and the snow was deep. It was a bit surreal. This was a forgiving, go as fast as you want, waist deep in the troughs, face shot snorkel fest. We couldn't help but laugh the whole way down.
later in the day and still SUPER DUPER
I tried real hard to get Jake to ride this tree but he has kids to think about now
So yeah, I'll stop rubbing it in. It was good. Real good. After this weekend I'm realizing my current winter recreation status means I can almost completely ignore the weather. No matter what it does I'll be able to either fat bike in decent conditions or ski in decent conditions. I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD.