You don't dry your skins in the shower?!

Temperatures fell to single digits, it dropped six inches of blower over night, the wind died, the sun came out, and I once again found myself laid out like a sorry little sea creature on the uphill route. Unlike yesterday, today there were other skiers skinning toward the summit, and from my snow level vantage point I had the perfect opportunity to watch them move across the 30 degree pitch of glare ice with only minor hesitation and baubles. What the heck?!

After a few minutes, I gave up, slid into some wind protected trees, stripped the skins, and amid bouts of wallowing like a pig in mud through two plus feet of wind blown and death gripping ice nubbins with my free hand, I kickstepped to the top. Then, because the turns were worth it, I did it again.

I think I have decent skinning technique. I stand up straight, try not to break at the waist, breathe, and attempt to keep my skis flat and my skin surface plastered to the ground. Starfish mode is not part of my regular skinning game plan. On the way off the hill, I stopped in at the local backcountry supply shop. I was thinking maybe taller climbing wires might help me focus my weight over the center of my skis, when the owner came over to chat. I explained my experience over the last two days, and in general. I said that I didn’t really think it was a gear issue, as I’d watched other folks maneuver across the death sections on similar set-ups. It must be something I’m doing wrong, I said. He looked me up and down.

You really want to know? he asked. Your “petiteness” is your problem*. Those other people were probably all quite a bit bigger than you.

So what, I need to start eating butter? He grinned, and suggested Deschutes Brewery Porter. Not funny. Not funny at all.

Frustration is a great motivator, as is pride. I’ll be spending the next bit trying to move from decent skinning technique to pretty near perfect. I’m going to stick just like the big kids.**

*While I admit I’m on the shrimpy side, there are a ton of other folks my size and smaller out there killing it.

**If that doesn’t work, I’ll be buying rounds, and asking for extra fat with my dairy products.

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