Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Extracurricular Activities

School's almost over. This is the time of year when we usually begin to think about going out crust skiing on our skate skis when we have blue-sky days and clear cold nights.  But with this year's lack of snow, I don't how much crust skiing we'll get. Other activities are available, however.
Kathi readying the Reptiles
Reese Hanneman and Kathi
The group.
It's never a bad idea to dig around in the snow and see what kinds of layers are under there.
A nice place to ski
Kathi far away
Kathi up close
 A couple days later, D and I headed north to see what the snow was like in the Talkeetna Range.

A little thin, but skiable.
A nice day to be outdoors
There have been some big surfing waves coming in to Kodiak lately.

If you don't think that's cold water, think again.
But I'm a lousy surfer and was out there alone so I got beat up, I got an ice cream headache, I got scared, and I got out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

If you like snare drums, you're going to love this movie!

Having recently finished up a grueling winter of coaching a college ski team, Andrew figured it was time for a little break, so he traveled around the state of Alaska teaching kids to ski. Or at least that's what I thought he was doing until I came across this video. Apparently, Andrew was shirking his responsibilities again and was off dodging rocks last week on his telemark skis in the Brooks Range near Anaktuvuk Pass.

(Click on the picture to watch the show.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cross-country Waterskiing

At least one member of our team is not ready to end the ski competition season just yet.  Can you guess who?

(Click on the skier to see the video)
(Click on Hanna to see more photos)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say...

...don't say anything at all.

Well, it hasn't been quite like that, but this winter (if you can call it that) has been less than inspiring weather-wise, and I just haven't been able to drag myself to the keyboard and let you, the loyal and committed readers of this blog, know what's happening around here.  And I'm sorry for that.

So it's been like this:
First of all, we survived the NCAA Championships.  That's probably the best way of putting it.  We ended up ninth as a team.  We would have preferred to do better, of course.  But we also could have done worse. Fortunately, Clement came through with a sixth place in the mass-start classic race, and Sean skied a really solid slalom race and finished eighth.  Those two results brought in a lot of points for us, and the team thanks them for it! But the rest of the team were a little frustrated during NCAA week.  Manon had a pretty severe cold all week, though she tried her best and even skied the first lap of the mass-start race in 3rd place before falling back later in the race as her illness caught up with her. Mackenzie and Kathi felt flat all week, as did Etienne and Alex.  They all reported feeling like they just didn't have a "racing gear" all week.

Debriefing after Clement's sixth place race in the mass-start classic race.

The men's podium in the classic race.

Mackenzie and Sean after Sean finished eighth in the slalom.

The men's slalom podium.

The Seawolves '15
The Oosik Classic happened last weekend in Talkeetna.  You can read about it here: Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman article.

So the racing season is over, for the most part.  This is usually the time of year when UAA skiers start asking me if we can go "crust skiing" now, and I have to tell them to be patient and wait another month because all those many meters of snow in the mountains need to pack down and warm up and freeze over, and we still have another four weeks of groomed cross-country skiing at Kincaid Park and Hillside here in town, and  four more weeks of backcountry powder skiing ahead of us before we can start thinking about bringing the skate skis out for some crust cruising in May. But this year is not like other years.  In fact, this year is not like any other year in history.  This was the year of no snow. Alaska has never had a year as bad as this - ever - and if you don't believe me, you can read this news article from the Daily News. So this lack of snow means that our ski trails here in town are completely without snow. The places where we go backcountry skiing are brown dirt. The lake where we like to go skate skiing and look at glaciers is completely ice-free. If there is going to be any crust skiing at Turnagain Pass this spring, we're going to have to hike uphill through the woods to get to the snow, because it's completely snowless at the road. It's a pretty bleak situation around here. This is the first winter in my entire life where springtime has arrived and I've looked back and thought, "...but wait a sec - we never had winter!"  It's a pretty bizarre feeling for me.

Well, it's not completely snowless out there.  Hatcher Pass still has groomed ski trails.
Hatcher again.
This weekend was Skimeister weekend at Girdwood.  There wasn't any snow on the nordic trails, so we skied an insane cross-country course on the alpine hill.  Hey Sparky - keep an eye on this kid in the orange as a future UAA prospect.  He sent it big time in the GS course on Waterfall!