Monday, February 16, 2009
Four days ago, I was thrilled and excited to look outside and find two boxes, one shaped mysteriously like skis! YES INDEED! My first big powder boards ever! Elan shipped out the new 09/10 Deep Spice woman's ski to me, and I couldn't wait to try it out!
I've never been on a powder board before, or a ski with so little side cut, and I almost didn't want to get out on it, because I knew I wouldn't ski as well as I could on it. Kurt made the astute suggestion that if I didn't want to be a TOTAL gaper at camp, I should ski them for a day. So I spent my last day in Aspen on the fatties, in about 2" of fresh.
The skis are 133 in the tip, 105 underfoot, and 122 in the tail, and I felt like a pig on roller skates all morning! I was working hard not to get frustrated, because I knew my job was to listen to the ski and see what it wanted (OKAY, it wanted POWDER), and we went out into Canopy Cruiser, a SUPER long, rather steep powder tree run with some bumps. Megan and Cindy Lou and I skied it in the morning, then Kurt showed up and we skied it again, hopping into GLE (Greatest Line Ever!) at the end.
I felt like I had to work SO hard to get the skis to come around, they felt long and heavy and not very turney. I knew that I had become a bit side cut dependent to get the skis around, and tried to find the pivot point.
The skis have quite a bit of camber, and aren't as soft as a traditional powder ski, but still flex really nicely, so when they de-camber, the pivot point is solidly midsole of the boot...
Skiing bumps in these monsters was quite a lesson in humility, and I felt like saying "Okay, I get it, can I have my other skis back??" but I stuck with it. Then, we ran into Bob Pearlmutter and his friend Pete Anzalone.
Bob runs Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, an awesome cat skiing operation off the backside of Aspen Moutnain. We all went for a hike up Highlands Bowl and the FIRST thing I noticed when I loaded these guys into Megan's bowl strap is how incredibly LIGHT they are compared to my Magfires! Less than HALF the weight, I'd guess. Boy, the hike was a LOT easier!
At the top, Bob and I discovered that we have the same boot sole length, so we swapped skis, I rode his Atomic Snoop Daddy's sown, and he hopped in the Deep Spice. I was really excited to hear his opinion, as this is what he does for a living!
We went for a rippin' run, and I was glad to be on a ski with a titch more sidecut for the ride down the bowl, it was a bit more familiar to my newbie legs, so I could ALMOST keep up, and Bob was laughing, and chatting, and HAULING down the G's in the bowl.
His review? "This is an AWESOME ski! I wouldn't call it so much a powder ski as a Big Mountain ski. Elan has never made timid skis, and this is no exception. Kurt will tell you, I'm not a fast skier..."
Kurt interrupts "Bob makes more turns per linear yard of skiing than anyone I know..."
Bob continues... "But these skis are happiest when they are going fast, and I just had to let them run! It was awesome! They are very stable at high speeds, with long, open turns. This is exactly the kind of ski I need for my job. Awesome!"
I was glad to hear this, and when we swapped back, I spent the afternoon trying to convince myself to let them open up and run. By the end of the day, I could do rail road tracks on them, but I was wrecked tired! I tried to carve on them, but kept getting caught on the inside and having my outside foot run away! I tried them out in bumps, crud, pow,and on the groom, carving, and buttering.
I finally came to the conclusion that it was good that I had stuck with it, and that learning to adapt to a big straight-ish ski was really good for my skiing!
That night, I drove to Crested Butte, and got in at 2:30 in the morning. I had to be on snow at 7:45, so on about four hours of sleep, I got after it again. I'm gonna leave the details of the camp for another post, but let me just say thank GOODNESS I spent a day on the skis before camp, and by noon on the first day, I was really REALLY enjoying the sensation of letting the skis have the speed they wanted.
By the end of the second day, I was totally and completely in love, able to ski chop and crud at speeds I've never been able to handle, loving having a big, stable platform to stomp the landing on, and I was able to make short radius turns on them, and carve on the groom to some extent without having my outside foot pulled away!
Long story longer: The Elan Deep Spice is a hell of a ski. In Bob's words: "If this is the "woman's" ski, I'm afraid of what the men's is like! This is plenty of ski for me!" It loves to rip, it loves to float, it loves to drop, and I love to play on it! Up next? ANOTHER PAIR with AT bindings on them!! YEAH!!
For more info on Aspen Mountain Powder Tours: Our direct reservation line is 970-920-0720, our email is:firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find us on the Ski Co website: aspensnowmass.com!