Spring Skiing: Almost like cheating


Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain

Luckily for me the splint protecting my thumb still allows me to hold onto a ski pole. With Crystal opening for the weekend tomorrow and me in dire need of exercise I skinned to the top of the ski area today to check out the conditions and test my new splint.

While I might not be ready to haul a 200 pounder down the mountain in a toboggan, I was able to hold a pole in my right hand for the first time since the injury nearly a month ago. For anyone with a superstitious bone in their body, it is interesting the note the date of the fall. It was Friday the 13th.

Unfortunately the surgeries aren’t over for me. I also tweaked my left shoulder that day and now that I have the use of my four right fingers I figure I might as well get the shoulder surgery out of the way.

Still plenty of snow in Green Valley

A day in the mountains is a good reminder. This could very well be the last weekend of skiing this season for me. With sunny weather and warm temperatures in the forecast the snow might melt before I recover from my next surgery. So today I slowed down and experienced every 15 minute segment of the day. It was quiet and buttery and easy skinning.

The conditions are prime right now. The snowpack has cooked down to a creamy, not-too-sticky consistency and my turns down were heavenly. The snow cats were out on the hill, which made for some lovely private groomers for me. It almost felt like I was cheating. Almost.

If this is the last weekend of the season, then so be it. It was worth it. For those of you coming up for the weekend, this will be the best spring conditions we’ve had so far. Not too much has melted out and the snow has finally started a legitimate melt-freeze cycle.

10 responses »

  1. Isn’t skinning in a closed area illegal? Not sure of the rules, they are quite different in Europe?

    PS. sorry about your injury, that sucks, despite what you think about me, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but I am an ass and it’s 3 am in Europe, and yes I am and always will be your worst nightmare.

    • Thanks skiclimber. If you’re my worst nightmare than I’m doing pretty good. Crystal is on public lands so when the ski area is closed for business most of the slopes are open to skinning. In fact, its possible to skin up even when we’re open. I remember seeing a sign at Argentiere this winter about no skinning. Is that only during operating hours? In Verbier, everyone seemed to be skinning all over the pistes at all hours of the day and night, training for the Patrouille de Glaciers, no doubt. But then again, it is the Swiss National Sport.

  2. >I skinned to the top of the ski area

    Definitely not cheating when you earn you turns. Hope you have a speedy recovery(s).


    • Thanks Ken. I know what you mean about earning your turns. But still. It was so easy it felt like cheating, especially after a winter of battling with the wind and snow levels.

  3. I’ve been skinning to the top of the Palmer at Timberline ski area. Timberline is great about allowing backcountry skiers, as long as we don’t travel uphill on the groomed runs. Enjoy your last weekend of skiing and hope you have a quick recovery.

  4. Sorry to hear that your shoulder will need work as well. 😦 Not surprised you’re out with your splint, nothing slows you down! Hope your thumb is healing well and very glad you didn’t get these injuries at the beginning of the season.

  5. Pingback: Last Weekend to Ski at Crystal (Plus a Bonus) « Kim Kircher

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