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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #501
Damn it's cold

I got up this morning to go riding, then looked at the temps. 3.5c. Holy God. Waited an extra hour, and finally went out when it hit 5c. I'm wearing the long riding pants now, which helps a bit, and a merino overlayer. Did okay mostly, although I might have to consider a lower base layer as well. When I was done, my abdomen was that bright red that I used to get when running in the winter.

I'm ready to ride as late into the year as possible, but boy I gotta tell ya, I don't like the cold. I might even start wearing the full-face just for the extra insulation. I'm more concerned, though, about wet rocks, roots, and ladders. Granted, we're just getting off some rainstorms, but everything was damp today. I was careful, but it's concerning.

Two things of significance happened. First, my right shoe's lace randomly got snarled with the pedals and started wrapping with each stroke, until suddenly I couldn't pedal any farther. Of course, I started going over to the right, with my foot literally tied to the pedal. Fortunately I thought to do a dismount to that side and saved it. But irritating.

The second thing happened on the rock roll at the top of the Toads rock dome. It was a little damp (as mentioned) so I had to be careful about braking, so I almost didn't handle the transition out. But again, saved it. Not so irritating, more like reassuring.

All in all, a relatively uneventful ride (the best kind), and most importantly, I got my exercise.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #502
Snowboarding!

It's coming up on snowboarding season, so I have to start transferring my obsession from mountain biking to snowboarding. So here goes...

It's looking like a good season coming up. There was snow on the locals back on Oct 11th, which is probably a record of some kind. Whistler's already got snow at the top of the gondola, and the other day I could see snow on the lower runs from village level. Sure, there's always the possibility of a warm front moving in, but the overall trend looks good.

I'm concerned about my Whistler pass, though. It's on auto-renew, but they haven't taken the payment yet. I can't get through to customer service because the Whistler customer service office is closed and the 800 number just thanks me for my interest and hangs up. I've sent an email, that being the only remaining option, but no joy so far.

I posted this six months ago, and it's time to reiterate: I need to read these old posts at the beginning of the season, to remind myself what this season is going to be about:


18/19 season recap
Beginning of 19/20 season expectations and plans
19/20 season recap

And the last item--gear. I've got all the clothing I need. I got rid of about half my boards last season, and bought a Rome Blur. Unfortunately I sold a couple of my boards with my Rome DOD and Targa bindings. I should have swapped the Unions onto them, since I've found I don't much care for the Unions. I'll make a point of re-trying the Unions before I make a final decision, but I think I'm going to try to replace them. And I don't have a binding at all for the Blur. I'm hoping to pick up some Rome Katanas for that board, and I think I'll move it to Whistler. Maybe bring the Heritage with the Flows back to the lower mainland.

And that's about it, for now. Season is a'coming!
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #503
Mountain Biking recap

It's probably a bit early to do this, as mountain biking season isn't really over. However, the weather is getting wetter and colder, which means I will be riding more conservatively from here on in, concentrating more on keeping my conditioning up rather than trying for new highs.

For me, this was an excellent MTB season. For some reason, everything started to click this year. I've started doing rock rolls, rock gardens, drops, skinnies, ladders, and while I'm still not doing trails at speed, I'm certainly not creeping down them any more. I think my only regret is that I never visited the Burnaby Mountain Air Skills Park. And really, that was just a case of not wanting to go to the trouble.

Next year, I hope to start doing jumps (small ones), drops (slightly bigger ones), and taking on more challenging trails. Two trails that are good harbingers are No Horses and Pinocchio's Furniture in Whistler. If I can get to the point of doing those routinely, I think I'll call that a good season.

I'm also considering again the idea of doing some Whistler Bike Park. I still don't think I want to spend the $$ on a downhill bike and season pass, but maybe a couple of day lessons would be good. There are skills I think I could pick up that I'm just not getting on my own. Or alternatively, there are some bike clinics and private coaching companies that I could consider. Dunno, I'll have to see.

But one thing's for sure. This is my summer snowboarding replacement. And I'm not entirely sure I can call it my 'off-season' sport any more.
 

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Sweet, biking season for me starts when the weather gets above 40 degrees and stops when it gets below that. I definitely do both snowboarding and biking during shoulder seasons.

You don't need a dedicated DH bike for Whistler. Any decent, modern trail bike will do until you want to do the more rough and difficult double blacks. Even then you can do them on a trail bike, but they get even more difficult.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #505 (Edited)
I went for a bike ride this morning. I really needed it after two days off. It's all about weather, these days. The weather report says this is an unusually cold October, and a lot of that probably has to do with the levels of cloud/precip. I'm conflicted on this, because while a cold fall is bad for mountain biking, it's good for an early snowboarding season.

But the important thing is that I did get that ride in, because as I write this, it's pouring rain. WTF? The problem with even scattered rain or occasional showers is that it keeps the roots wet. And far more than wet rocks or mud wallows, wet roots are the bane of mountain biking.

I did the full meal deal today, except that I substituted Starz Line 2 for upper Jo-Jo. I wanted to try the small rock roll again, and take a shot at the drop just past it. I did the rock roll with no trouble, and I think I'm going to have to categorize that particular feature as routine now. The drop was a tiny bit more interesting. I scoped it out, and it didn't look bad at all, so I backed up and took a run at it. I did everything right except that I came down a little too far to the left on the trail. I'm not sure if I went in crooked or if the drop is pointed a bit left of trail center, but whatever. The result was that I almost went over a log that marks the left edge of the trail. Braked just in time, but had to hop off and almost dropped the bike.

I actually had a pretty bad day, fail-wise, at least in terms of count. I had the dab mentioned above, plus I screwed the pooch on one of the rock garden sections on lower Jo-Jo and ended up putting the bike down. I didn't go down, and I'm beginning to think I may be learning how to recover from those kinds of bails. I also dropped off the second skinny, but again recovered fine. The high point of the Jo-Jo run, though, was that I executed the final drop beautifully. So that one isn't quite routine, since I still have trepidation, but it's essentially mastered.

I finished the day with the Hett Creek run. When I got to the root garden before the bridge, I initially had some crazy idea of trying to ride it out. Nope. The moment my tires hit the first roots, the bike started picking random compass headings. Ended up walking it, and I think that should be official policy. That section is dangerous when wet.

Other than that, it was a nice ride, if a bit cold.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #506
SNOW!!

It's snowing in Whistler, at village level. It's snowing on all three locals. Woot!
 

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Discussion Starter #507 (Edited)
Brrrrrr!

While it is possible that the temps are going to come up again, it seems unlikely, at least for more than a day or two here or there. At this point, the trails are all wet and slimy, and at these temps they don't dry quickly. Essentially, the mountain biking season is over, although I may still be able to get in the occasional limited ride. I will keep practicing techniques in front of the house, using my Insta camera to track my progress. But although that's exercise, it's not the same as a full ride.

Meanwhile, all the mountains with snow guns are running them full-tilt right now. Even though the predictors are showing a temps bump in a couple of days, it still helps to have a bunch of snow on the ground to keep the ground temp down. It's time to start breaking out the snowboarding gear.

Some small items to aim for next spring when MTB season comes around again:

1. Finally hit that rock roll on North Starz. This really isn't much of an issue--the one on Toads is scarier.
2. Start hitting bike skills parks. I visited Burnaby a few days ago and there's lots of opportunity there.
3. Practice jumps. Both Burnaby Mtn and Whistler have a beginner tabletop jump line. No reason not to.
4. Work on techniques. Now that I've figured out the Insta and the tripod, it's both easy and very, very informative.
5. Start practicing going down trails with less braking.
6. Nail bunny hops.

That's it. I'm really not going to commit to a ton of aggressive resolutions. If I can end 2021 having done all these things, I will consider it a complete success.

For my snowboarding goals, post #502 above lists the old posts that I need to reference. I'll do a recap of the items in those posts as soon as I've reviewed and digested them.

This may just turn out to be my best snowboarding season yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #508 (Edited)
Plans for this season

Okay, so let’s get started on summarizing the 2020/21 snowboarding goals.

First, general technique items:
  • On toesides, I need to make sure my form is good. Hump the air, keep horizon level, keep weight centered.
  • On heelsides, don’t kick into a braking maneuver. Try to make my heelside turns symmetrical with my toesides. Squat and bend the knees to save the quads.
  • At speed, fight the slope less. No cross-slope turns more than 45 degrees. If I need to slow, do a slash-brake.
  • Fast S-turns on moderate slopes, C-turns on steeper slopes as necessary. Bombing steep sections is about strategy.
  • Do turns from the hip, not the shoulders. Keep the lead hand slightly heelside of center.
  • Modify my expectations to match the conditions. Going slow in fog and icy conditions is not failure.
  • On moguls, work on keeping weight forward. Leaning back is doom. Try to carve the sides of the moguls instead of following the troughs. Try to use windshield-wiper turns to scrub speed. Plan my path instead of just blindly charging in.
Strategy items:
  • Decide when to hit the mountain. In icy conditions, going up first thing is pointless and not really enjoyable anyway.
  • Vary my location. Don’t hit family bowl all the time. Make a list of runs on the mountain, and hit at least one new one every session.
  • Don’t quit after two hours, no matter how tired I am. Change locale, or work on small techniques, or take a break.
  • Try to follow other snowboarders that seem a little faster than me. This forces me outside my comfort zone.
  • Ride bumpy terrain and side-hits whenever possible. In and out of the trees. Getting used to being tossed around is excellent for improving balance.
  • Explore a little. Some of the stuff we visited on my lessons are runs I'd probably never find on my own normally.
Specific techniques:
  • Practice things like penguin walk, ollies, nose rolls, nose and tail manuals. Maybe even ground-spins.
  • Practice switch. A lot. I should pick a slope and practice going down the entire way switch. Up the ante once I’m successful.
  • Do the jump line early. It only takes 3-4 times through it to start to get the rhythm, and once I’m comfortable, I will hit it regularly. Wear armour those days if desired to make it a little easier.
Other plans:
  • Use the Insta360. Getting vids of my technique is incredibly valuable.
  • Desensitize myself to speed early. It makes a huge difference to my riding once I start bombing without chickening out. Don’t wait for it to just “come naturally” this year.
  • Get low, and keep legs loose. I always start the year with stiff, straight legs. Get over that. Following undulating terrain requires loose legs, bent knees.
  • Try to move up slightly in park features. Larger jumps, boxes, maybe a pipe.
  • Try to wear armour whenever possible. It makes a difference to my confidence. And with the weight I’ve managed to shed this year, I should be able to do it without feeling bulky.
  • Watch some snowboarding videos as obsessively as I’ve been watching MTB videos. Try out the techniques presented therein.
I have passes for Whistler, Seymour, and Cypress. Seymour is the default goto for weekday riding in the lower mainland, since they aren't busy and have no restrictions for pass holders. Cypress is unknown at the moment. For Whistler, it is conceivable that pandemic restrictions will make weekends tolerable. Test it out.

I will edit this post to add things if I think of them, so I’ll have it all in one place.
 

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Discussion Starter #509
Nope

Well, I have put away all the summer and biking stuff at Whistler, and brought out all the winter/snowboarding stuff. It may be possible to ride bike into November in the lower mainland, but not in Whis. Temps come up above 6 degrees for about one hour a day, if it's reasonable weather. And the snow is sticking now, so the trails aren't going to be in wonderful condition anyway. I'll keep both bikes at home and hope for the occasional day there.

Meanwhile in Whis, the snow line keeps going up and down. In Whistler Creek, there's at least some snow almost all the way to the bottom. IIRC, Whistler announced a Nov 18 opening. I don't know how they figure they can do that, but last year they surprised me. Whatever, I'll take what I can get.
 

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Discussion Starter #510
Huh.

I managed to get rides in yesterday and today, which brings my total for the month of October to 18. That's not great, but it's not terrible either. I think my biggest month had 22 rides. So I don't feel so bad, now. Of course, all my rides for November will be in Coquitlam.

Yesterday it was wet and greasy and splashy and damp. And wet. Very, very wet. Today, not so bad, although I still had to hose off my bike at the end. I did the full run, including Jo-Jo, and did all features except the drop at the end. Just wasn't feeling that one.

So far at least, my fitness doesn't seem to be dropping off. If I can manage to get rides in on one out of three days between now and opening of any mountain, I'll be happy. Once I'm able to get on the mountain, I can let that take over for fitness.

I got tired of waiting for my Park Tool bike stand and ordered a no-name from Amazon. I've already used it a couple of times, and it is more than good enough for my purposes. Makes washing the bike dead easy, whether it's just a hosing or a full scrub-down. It's also good for things like adjusting the transmission. If and when the Park Tool comes in, I can put one of them in Whistler, continuing my policy of having full resources in both places.
 

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Discussion Starter #511
Memorable Day

And not in a good way. I went riding today. Beautiful day, blue sky, warm for Nov 1st. Hell, warm for September. Stuff was even drying out. Everything was good until I was riding out Mama Bear. I met a rider and his (off-leash) dog coming the other way, and squeezed over so we could get past each other. I felt a nip on my calf, looked down, and the goddam dog had bitten me. The owner fortunately didn't go with defiance as a tactic or I think I would have stuffed the dog down his throat. Instead I mentioned the reality of lawsuits and moved on. Didn't see him around after that, so I assume he did the smart thing and took his dog home.

But it's a real problem around Bert Flinn. Either no one knows where the off-leash area is, or no one cares. I've written twice to the city about it now. But I think my tolerance for unruly dogs has just come to an end.

The other thing that happened today was more interesting. In the Chinese way. I was riding Jo-Jo, just past the big A-frame and coming up to the last drop, and I came face to face with a very large, fat, black bear. My wife thinks it was the one that destroyed a car last night in Port Moody. Anyway, I scared the bear more than it scared me, because it went straight up a tree. Fuck, those things can climb fast. Twenty-five feet up a tree faster than I could brake. So i turned the bike around, did a "nothing to see here", and rode on up the trail. I met another group just coming down, and we all decided to go down together while making lots of noise. Seemed to work.

The irritating thing is that I was thinking of wearing my camera today and decided not to. Dammit, first the deer, now the bear. I think maybe I should wear it at all times from now on.
 

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Discussion Starter #512 (Edited)
Misc things

First, biking. I went for a couple of rides today and yesterday. Yesterday was still too wet and too damned cold, so it was a short one. Today was the full course, although I'm still avoiding roots. Zipped on a couple, too. But I've still got most of my stamina, as measured by going up the 12% grade at the bottom of Hett Creek, and going back up Heritage Blvd afterwards. Nothing in particular to report--it was fun but uneventful. I'm going to miss biking this winter, I think.

On the Seymour side of things, they've got a new web sales system and it looks like they lost my season pass from last year. No catastrophe, they have my purchases for this season, and wife and daughter will be auto-loaded (for some reason, they could find their cards). I've uploaded a new pic and I'll probably have to re-sign the release, and I'll get a new card mailed to me. Oh, well.

Cypress released their COVID policies for this winter. Honestly, it's an amazing exercise in vagueness. As far as I can tell, they're going to do things, and it'll result in things. Oh, there are some specifics, relating to no cash transactions and lift-line etiquette and such. But I came away after reading the article thinking whaaaaaat? As near as I can tell, though, no reservation system for season pass holders. So that means both Seymour and Cypress should be more or less the same as ever on weekdays. Works for me.

Whistler's reservation system opened today. By the time I got on, there were more than 100K people ahead of me. Moment of panic, then I realized that's for all Vail properties. Once I got my turn (took 3 hours), I found the Whistler reservations to be pretty much open. I could have booked the Xmas week if I'd wanted to, but I already talked that out with my wife. We're going to avoid Whistler around Christmas this year. Instead I booked 7 days in Spring Break, which actually is usually a really good time to go. I've still got to experience the rolling-reservation system. We'll see how that goes.

And Whistler is expecting to open on Nov 28th, which will probably be mostly a man-made WROD. But maybe not... predictors are looking pretty good, and it's damned cold out there.

Yesterday and today, I spent some time converting from MTB season to snowboarding season. All the winter stuff is out, all the bike stuff is going into storage. Or almost all. I've kept out a day or two of kit, just in case I find I can get some riding in.

Oh, and I have ordered a set of Katanas through Comor and a set of Cleavers through Rome Canada. The Cleavers arrived yesterday and I've installed them on the Blur. It looks great, and I love the straps on the Cleavers. Should be no slippage at all. I seriously might consider ordering some extra toe straps and trying them out on the Now bindings, if the 3D caps don't work well.

The Blur is going up to Whistler. I'll have the Blur, the EJack, and the Heritage there; and the PYL and the Proto HD here. Depending on how well the Blur does for me, there might be some shuffling later.

I am so looking forward to snowboarding season this year, for so many reasons. 1) It is just possible that the COVID thing will result in lower attendance on the mountains; 2) I'm in better shape this year than I have been for at least 5 years; 3) I really have a good grip on what my deficiencies are and what I need to work on; 4) Because of mountain biking, I think my risk aversion will be down a lot; and 5) I've got three fucking mountains available and what looks like a good snow season coming up.

Game on!
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #513
More misc things

Alex Trebek is dead.

Yeah, not snowboard or biking related, but still sad. Howie Meeker died as well. Also sad.

The province and Dr. Henry have clamped down again because of the alarming rise in COVID cases. No unnecessary travel, bubble includes only immediate family, etc for 2 weeks. I don't mind 2 weeks, but I hope it doesn't extend into the actual ski season. Actually, it's not clear if the current level of restrictions would affect the hills, but still...

It's snowing at home as I write this. Piddly little flakes and they aren't sticking, but any snow is good snow.

I went for a bike ride yesterday. It was right at the edge of the temps where I say fuck that, but I put on an underlayer up top and went anyway. Note for next time: use a thicker underlayer, and also wear a lower. Still fun and good exercise, though.

I'm still trying to get in touch with Whistler customer service about my locker at Blackcomb base. Still seems to be closed.

I feel like I'm sitting on hold. Everything is paused. I sure hope 2020 hasn't been saving the best for last, like an asteroid strike or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #514
Opening Day on Cypress

Queue the trumpets...

I left a couple of hours before the opening bell, hoping to get there early and get a good parking spot. Damn good thing I did, too. It took an hour just to get to the freeway. But smooth sailing after that, and I did pretty good with the parking.

The snow was terrific. If we got snow like that all the time, it would be a great season. Obviously more would be preferable, but I didn't actually see any bare patches on the sections that were open.

I brought the Blur with me, and also the PYL as backup in case the Blur turned out to be a problem. Almost switched to the PYL, but I stuck it out. It's too soon to do any kind of review of the Blur, as I'm still getting my snowboarding legs back. I think I'd have to put in a full day first. But an initial impression is that it can carve like crazy, but is perhaps not too forgiving of bad form. In particular, my heelsides mostly didn't go well.

I had to leave after an hour and a half, not because I was tired but because it just got too crazy busy. I think that's just an opening-day thing; I hope weekdays won't be like that all the time. The other problem though is that the crowds were completely ignoring COVID protocol rules for the lift lines. Cypress is going to have to get that under control or there will be an outbreak traceable back to them and it won't go well.

My goggles really gave me trouble today. Lenses fogged up badly and wouldn't clear up, so I swapped in another lens, which immediately fogged up just as bad. I noticed when I got home that the goggles themselves were soaked, even including the foam liners. Not sure what happened there, but I'm considering possible fixes.

Anyway, all in all it was an underwhelming day in many respects. But it was also opening day for snowboarding season, and that trumps everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #515
Seymour

And Seymour has just announced a Dec 1st opening. Great start to the season.
 

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Discussion Starter #516 (Edited)
Day 2

Today was day 2 of snowboarding season--on Cypress again, since literally nobody else is open yet. Today was a far, far better day than Friday, though. First, not as many bodies. I think a lot of people took Friday off for the first day of the season, whereas today was just a normal weekday. Not that it was any kind of picnic. Waits in the line-up were about 20 minutes after about 10am or so. Of course, the big problem is that there's only one main lift operating (Easy Rider hardly counts). Once the Lions Express chair opens, and maybe even the Raven chair, things will ease up considerably. They were actually running Lions off and on today, probably testing it. It might be open next time I'm up. They have a couple of small park features off Easy Rider, and I was tempted, but I'm not quite there yet. Still a little unsteady with unexpected bumps and shifts.

They had Panorama open today as well, which helped with the hill crowding, at least. I did several runs on Panorama. Since it's a green, I desensitize to speed much more easily on it. And I did a couple of blistering runs, too. In all, I did 10 runs, with maybe 50% of my time spent standing in line or going uphill. That's not bad, actually.

On the subject of fitness, I'm lighter and have better flexibility this year, and I could feel it--pants aren't as tight, buckling up is easier, and I didn't get out of breath. Hopefully I won't start gaining that weight back.

I'm really consciously pushing myself this year to get up to speed as quickly as possible. As such, I'm wiping out a little more, although only butt-plants so far. I'm making a point of working on my heelside stutter and slide early, and today I could really feel myself carve those heelsides. I started doing an ollie or two at the top of each run. Didn't always remember, but it's a start, and like any habit, you have to reinforce it. Hopefully I can keep that up, and start learning those small techniques this year. What I really should do, though, is practice them a little at the end of my sessions, if I'm leaving because of crowding rather than exhaustion.

I've been exclusively riding the Rome Blur with the Rome Cleaver bindings. The bindings are nice in the way that matters the most--they don't make me notice them. They're comfortable, they fit, the straps don't give me trouble, and they seem responsive. I'm going to call that a pass.

The Blur took a little getting used to. It doesn't really seem to want to do tight, slow turns like C turns. Rather, it feels like it's made for medium to high-speed carving. Whenever I cut loose on a run and just started doing sweeping S turns, that's when it felt like it was cruising in its zone. This board may just have to go up to Whistler, where it can do justice to the runs.

I mentioned that last time I had a real problem with condensation on my goggles. Well, I think I've figured out the problem, and it seems to be something that's been contributing to my fogging issue since time immemorial. When I get to the lift line, I tend to put my goggles up on my helmet, just above the brim. Turns out that the vents on the top of the Smith helmet are just directing my forehead sweat straight onto the inside of the goggles, where it accumulates and condenses. Seriously. I resolved the problem by the simple expedient of leaving the goggles loose on top of my helmet instead of under tension, and I had not one incident of fogging after that. Not sure what I'll do on snowy or rainy days. Maybe it's better to leave them on my face in those conditions. I may also experiment with having two lenses, with one stored in my coat's goggle pocket, and swap them occasionally.



Anyway, all in all, a really good session today. Hopefully I can get in another one on Thursday or Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter #517 (Edited)
Storm shutdown

It seems to be that this happens at least once every season, usually before New Years. A wicked storm blows in, with warm air and high winds. Shuts the mountains down, washes any new snow away. Well, we had that yesterday. Interestingly, Cypress just announced a shutdown in advance. I guess they recognize the pattern too.

And we got exactly what I said. The storm even put off Cypress' opening of the Lions chair. Apparently it ripped up fences and such, which will have to be reinstalled. However, the predictors are showing snow for the next six days, so hopefully we'll get it all back.

Unfortunately, the weather is carrying over to ground level--nothing but rain, rain, rain, off into the indefinite future. So no relief by way of mountain bike. Yes, I'm a fair-weather wuss. Sue me.

In semi-related news, today is opening day for the Whistler rolling-reservation system, for opening day on the 26th. Now, if the system is going to be constantly six days in advance, that'll mean a little more pre-planning will be required. It will also mean that I can't keep a continuous rolling reservation. There will always be gaps. I'll update this post or add one as soon as I know more.

Edit: So it looks like it's only a week in advance, because I was only able to pre-book two days. I'll know more next time I'm able to get on.
 

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Discussion Starter #518 (Edited)
Yech!

I went to Cypress today. I knew I was taking a chance. The freezing level, though between top and bottom, was pretty high. The aforementioned storm had washed away a lot of snow, so I wasn't optimistic--and just as well. It was raining at the bottom and wet snow at the top, and everything in between in between, if you get my drift. Which, sadly, included peanut butter about halfway down. Oh, and foggy as fuck. I did two runs and came home.

On the plus side, I'm pretty sure my explanation above for my goggle-fogging is solid. Made a point of following the new protocol today and I didn't have any inside-goggle fog.

I was trying one of the new Anon masks, today--the ones with the bigger vent area. Worked quite well. I have more of them on order, and I think they may just become my default masks.

One irritating oopsie today, though--One of my daughter's sets of gloves somehow ended up in my snowboarding drawer, and guess which set of gloves I grabbed? They're large instead of my XL, so I could get them on, but it wasn't comfortable. In fact my hands are still a little sore as I type this. It did highlight one other thing, though--I need to print off an updated snowboarding prep list, which should include spare mask, spare gloves, and spare goggles. Oh, and check for proper pass. I almost forgot my Cypress pass in my other jacket. 🤬

In other news, Grouse is opening today. Not that I'll ever go there, but it will cut the line-ups if people have two mountains to choose from. And come Dec 1st, three mountains. Looking forward to that.

Oh, and it looks like the Lions chair has opened on Cypress. They must have done that mid-morning, because it wasn't open while I was there. More good news in terms of line-ups.

We will be going to Whistler next week, but later in the week. The new blinds are being installed in the condo, and I've given the guy a code so we don't have to be there. When he's gone, we'll head up, and we'll spray the bejesus out of the place. Then, Thursday and Friday are opening day and opening day + 1 at Whistler. I've got them booked. Woot!
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #519
Yyyyyeah...

Another Cypress day. This one looked good on paper (snow-forecast.com) and turned out to be every bit as good in person. At least the first two hours. It was snowing lightly all morning, right down to parking lot level, which is always a good thing. No fog, also good. Crowds not bad at opening--I even got a parking spot in the top section that they sometimes charge for. Lions chair was scheduled to be open as well as Eagle. Everything looking good for a fun session.

So first, Lions didn't open on time, because the ski patrol hadn't reported in. I was near the front of the line so I stayed put, but lots of people took off for Eagle. For once I made the right decision, as it opened within 5 minutes. Did several runs down Collins over the course of the morning. It's fun for a green run.

The snow was good, not mushy or runny. Perfect snowball snow, although it got trashed up pretty fast. Why? Because it was the busiest I think I've ever seen Cypress, weekday, weekend, or Christmas break. Seriously. Now, in fact there've been more cars in the overflow parking lots, like that time that Mike and I had to hike in from the next postal code. But it was busy enough that by the time I left, they were holding traffic and only letting in a car for each car that left. And with only two lifts and limited runs open, everyone was in the same limited area. If the Sky Chair and Raven chair were open, for instance, that would spread out the bodies more. I just hope they don't increase their allowable population when they open those chairs.

The problem, of course, is the distancing rules on the lifts. In normal years, you can fill every chair and get people up the hill in volume. Now, with bubbles only and max 2 singles per chair, throughput is somewhere between 50% and 75% of normal. Which means, if you can handle the math, somewhere between one third longer and twice as long as other years. I actually snarled at one single who tried to join our chair as a third person. The liftie stepped in and explained the rules to him, fortunately. BTW, Cypress now has signs in the lift line, and they're pretty clear. I don't know if I caused that or if they were going to do it anyway, but happy either way.

So I should post a little about the actual snowboarding, I guess... I started the day on the Blur, and I have to say I'm definitely making good progress on desensitization to speed, correcting my heelsides, and getting my balance back for bumps and side-hits. I was having a bit of rear-leg burn first thing in the morning, but I worked on correcting my form and it disappeared. A good reminder that it's all about form.

I switched to the PYL late in the morning, and lemme tell you, I could feel the difference. If the Blur is a great big highway sedan, the PYL is a sports car. That's probably not a fair analogy, but the Blur is definitely a lot happier with high-speed straights and curves, and the PYL is absolutely a lot happier with short, snappy turns and ins-and-outs. C turns in particular, which aren't great with the Blur, are dead easy on the PYL. So I think the Blur definitely has to go to Whistler, where it can take advantage of the long, sweeping runs. Either the Heritage or the Ejack will have to come back. Probably the Heritage. With the Blur and Ejack in Whistler, I don't see the Heritage ever getting any play time up there.

I confirmed that I don't like the Union bindings. They aren't horrible, but I could feel the difference, both when strapping in and when riding. Fortunately, the Katanas will be in at Comor this week, so I can pick those up and put them on the PYL. The Proto HD is also getting a set of Katanas to replace the other set of Unions. Don't know what I'll do with the bindings afterwards.

I did some experimenting with the goggles, and I eventually ended up with a real moisture problem after having put them up on my head. So that's a definite confirmation. I do get some fogging if I'm standing around and running a little hot, but it goes away on the lift when the air is moving. But once I get actual dripping moisture on the inside, I'm hooped. I think I'm going to have to try carrying around multiple lenses to see if that helps.

So around 11am, the line-ups got so bad that I just gave up. Lions was backed up right out of the gates; Eagle was backed up on both sides right up the slope; and even Easy Rider had a line-up. This is a bit of a concern, because Grouse is open, and I'd hoped that this would split the crowds. Especially on a weekday. Seymour opens next week, and I sure hope it isn't also going to be like a weekend during the week. If that happens, this could turn from a great season into one of the worst. And it remains to be seen what Whistler is going to look like.

Well, at least we're getting lots of snow. Sure hope that holds up. I don't need another 2010.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #520
Opening Day on Whistler

And it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it might be.

I started the day by trying to find the end of the Whistler Gondola line. They'd rejiggered things just a bit, and it was actually around the corner. But the liftie that I talked to suggested I use Fitzsimmons instead, as it handles singles better--singles in the Gondola get their own car, which really slows things down. On chairs, they put singles at either end of the chair. I did as he said, switched to Garbanzo, and ended up at the same place. A little faster, I think, honestly. I may use that route in the future if the Gondola line-up is too long, even after covid.

It was a pretty good start day, too. Lots of fresh snow, maybe eight inches deep where it was untouched. Of course, everything got scraped off or blown off eventually, but it was fun while it lasted. But the scraping and trashing wasn't as quick as normal, because of the covid situation.

Whistler is letting up a limited number of people per day, based on reservations. Until Dec 8th, it's season pass holders only as well. The result? Lift lines were probably a little slower than a typical year, because they can't fill up every chair, but there are far fewer people going downhill at any particular time. So less crowding, less trashing of snow. It's a pretty good trade-off, IMO.

So how'd I do? Pretty good, all in all. I still have some problem with speed, but since there's a lot of snowcrete, I don't feel bad about that. As the fresh stuff gradually replaces the hardpack, I'll be able to open up more. But my turns, control, and bumps handling are in good shape--more or less starting from the end of last season. So I think I can look forward to a really good progression season this year.

I adjusted my highback lean partway through the morning, and I felt it immediately. I think I'm going to have to check all my bindings and make sure there's no play between the boot and the highback in rest position. I still have that issue with heelsides, but since I'm consciously on it this year, I think I'll be able to conquer it. I was also able to do some work on commitment on my toesides in mogully conditions, and that's coming along as well. All in all, very happy with my first day.

A couple of negatives though, inevitably. One, I had to quit at noon due to leg burn. I've done a lot better than last year already, but still needs work. The other thing is that I'm still not putting enough effort into learning ollies and penguin walk. I did a little bit of it today, but I really need to put more concerted attention to it.

I picked up my new Katanas today from Comor. They were intended for my PYL, but I've put them on my Ejack instead. The Pilots kind of pissed me off today--even with the new toecaps, the damn things slip off. So I will probably bring the Pilots home, put them on the PYL, and use the toe straps over the top of the boot.

More tomorrow.
 
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