Pinged Rusty

A couple weekends ago a buddy pinged me and wanted to know if I was up for a snowboarding day trip to Mt Washington. The weather was looking a little sketchy, but the morning of we decided to go for it.

What a great decision. The day was pretty good. The weather was decent, and although there wasn’t much new snow, what they did have was plentiful, and pretty soft. The temp was just below 0, which was good for my buddy since he forgot his jacket, and had to borrow a fleece jacket of mine.

My first ride of the day is always an eye opening experience. Riding the lift up I feel rusty,and am sure I won’t be able to turn very well. As soon as I start heading downhill, my muscle memory kicks in and I just go. We rode pretty hard in the morning, then hit the pub for lunch.

After lunch we did a bunch more runs until my buddy ran out of juice. I did another 4 or 5 runs to round out my day before heading back to the car.

It was a long day going up from Victoria and back, but it was fun. A quick stop in Nanaimo for coffee on the way home was good too. Crappy thing was that at 5:15 the Serious Coffee in the north end was closed? Really? That is very odd.

Just for fun, I had my phone record my tracks while boarding. Pretty funny looking. The stats are interesting too. From my experience they are pretty accurate, but I still find it hard to believe I hit close to 60KM/H on a board.

View Mt Washington 23/02/2013 in a larger map

Total distance: 39.43 km (24.5 mi)
Total time: 3:59:27
Moving time: 3:21:45
Average speed: 9.88 km/h (6.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 11.73 km/h (7.3 mi/h)
Max speed: 58.55 km/h (36.4 mi/h)
Average pace: 6.07 min/km (9.8 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 5.12 min/km (8.2 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.02 min/km (1.6 min/mile)
Max elevation: 1594 m (5230 ft)
Min elevation: 1073 m (3521 ft)
Elevation gain: 4732 m (15525 ft)
Max grade: 118 %
Min grade: -67 %

Season Dilemma

Back in January I had promised myself that I would go snowboarding at least once this season. Mt Washington was having another stellar year, and I didn’t want to miss out again. I sent some emails out, and only one person got back to me about going. I was a little bummed, but at least I had someone to go with.

Two nights before the day of the trip, the friend had to cancel due to a bum knee. He felt bad, and was a little sorry for himself. I was left with a dilemma. Do I still go? If I do, should I take the Ski Bus, or drive?

I ended up choosing to go alone. I really wanted to get on the slopes, and I couldn’t pass this up. I drove to my Mom’s the night before, then the day of, I headed for the hill. The drive up was very easy, and soon enough I was parked and getting my gear ready. I was pretty pumped to be there. Did I mention that in the previous week the mountain had received crazy amounts of snow? One night they had over 80 cms. It was also a blue sky kind of day.

I rode the singles line all day which meant I got plenty of runs. I hit the major chairs except the boomerang. Also, since I was riding alone I didn’t do many tree runs. I found the snowboard cross coarse next to the terrain park, and had a blast making runs down there. I was surprised there weren’t more people on the hill though. The lines really weren’t that long, especially over on the orange chair where I could almost board straight onto the chair.

At lunch time, there were no lines on any chairs. Very weird for such excellent conditions. I took full advantage. When the crowds returned, then I headed in for some lunch.

I always eat at Fat Teddy’s, the pub like restaurant. Even though it wasn’t slammed when I got there, the service was horrible, and I wasn’t that happy with my burger (mass produced and frozen patty, same for the fries). Full, but $20 poorer I went back out to the slopes.

All too soon they were taking down the barricades. I made a couple more runs then called it a day. Awesome to be sure. Very glad I went, despite how expensive the day turned out. I forgot to mention that my first shock was the price of a lift tickte. $76. The last time I was there it was $58 I think.

Conditions Ungroomed

can you believe this is Mt Washington

Super mega wicked awesome, that was yesterday.

Friday night I climbed into be a little later that I had wanted, and tried to fall asleep quickly. The windstorm did not help though, and I probably got no more than 5 hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 5 am. Yikes. Pitch black out, wet, and cold. The only reason I could do it was I knew I was on my way to go snowboarding. This may turn out to be the only day I get in this season too.

Mike stopped by my place, we took off, and snagged Shane along the way. With everyone in the car we started the long drive to the mountain. Further up island we could see stars. We couldn’t believe that we might actually have nice weather considering the storm the night before.

On the mountain we could not believe the conditions. Stunning. While in line for our first run we could see the fresh snow, and desperately wanted to be on the slopes making first tracks. Once at the top, it was simply unbelievable. Light, fluffy, white gold. So very unlike Washington.

Pics are here. Read on for more.

After a couple quick runs for a warm up we hit the trees. Pure ecstasy. Loads of light powder, nice glades, tight turns, tons of fun. Each run down the mountain had different weather too. Sun, cloud, sun, snow, sun, wind, sun, fog.

The lineups for the eagle chair were pretty long so we got a good break between runs, but we wanted more. We decided to get a hot dog snack, and continue riding while everyone else went in for lunch. Good idea, but the hot dog stand was run by a bunch of dim wits who just didn’t get it. They were cooking the hot dogs as people ordered them. WTF? It is a hotdog stand right next to the busiest chair on the mountain. Throw a ton of them on, and you can get people eating quicker. It took us a half hour to get 2 hot dogs. That is just stupid long.

Once fed we headed over to the Boomerang chair that had finally opened. They were blasting for avalanche safety earlier and this caused delays in opening the chair.

What an addition to the mountain. Expert ungroomed runs. Steep, tight glades that were at my limit of comfort. I had to keep in mind that for terrain like this you have to attack the slope. You can’t be hesitant, you have to go for it, make your turns, not stop. It was awesome. The snow on this side was even nicer. Some of the short steep runs were super fun, but the longer runs were real leg burners. We did a few of the longer ones, and just as we decided to head over to the other side. As we loaded we heard the lifties called out last run.

Back on the other side we did a couple runs to get us back to the eagle chair. I decided to call it quits while Shane and Mike did one more run. I was so happy with how the day turned out, and I was already so tired, I didn’t mind at all. It gave me time to get changed, call Sox, and relax a bit before starting the drive home.

What a day though. I was completely wiped by the time we got home. I was able to unload my gear, grab a beer, check my email, then hit the sack. It was such an awesome day. I can’t accurately describe just how good the boarding was. I pushed my abilities, but never really felt like I was in over my head. There was one extremely steep, icy face that I ended up on that I would have rather avoided, but the whole way down all I could think of was how I could get in a position to start my turns. The new terrain is a wicked addition to the mountain. If only every day up there was as good as yesterday.

Goofy Powder

Shane and Sean

An early morning led to a spectacular day. Spectacular in the fact that I had a great time. Myself, Sean, and Shane went snowboarding today, and it was my first time this season. What a way for me to start the season.

wind blown flags

Let’s start with the pre game show. I managed to pick up Sean and Shane on time, so we were able to leave Victoria on time. The drive to the mountain literally sped by. On the hill while gearing up I could tell that the snow was in great condition. Thursday night there was a 55 cm dump, then a smaller dump Friday night. It was also cold, colder than I was expecting. Combine these two conditions, and you get wicked powder!

snow on my board

Yep, the quest for the day was untracked powder. It was delicious, and I consumed all I could. While Sean was taking a break, Shane and I hit a few tree runs. More powder. Along the sides of the groomed was more untracked powder. It was amazing.

chairs disappearing into the fog

The weather was a little foggy at times, but it was always clear at the bottom. The wind kicked up a couple times too, so that added to the chilliness.

shane fixing his board

I felt pretty good all day, but my right foot was always getting sore on the lift up. I ride goofy foot, so maybe the weight of the board was causing it, I am not sure. I also think I want to buy some better bindings. The straps on mine would loosen part of the way down the run. Take out the equipment factor, and I was very happy with the day.

snow covered trees

All in all it was a long day (left Victoria at 5:45 am, and got home 7:00 pm), but it was most definitely a fun road trip.

shane getting ready to ride

sean boarding