|The tree tunnel buried in snow|
Back in 2006 when I started this venture, I was living in Vermont and skiing and working in the ski industry. I was labeled a skier. A nordic skier (of all ilks). Which I am. But again, I was not ONLY a skier.
I was a kayaker, a skier, a mountain biker, a climber, a fisherman a hunter etc. Lately I think folks have been liberally calling me a Fat Biker. Which I am, but like I said before.....
Bikes and skis and boats and poles and guns are tools, tools meant to be used to explore the great outdoors, so do yourself a favor and defy labels yourself. Learn to use em all and then pick the best one for the job.
This winter in my world it has most certainly been a great one for skis and that has been a long time coming.
So when I had a chance to drive up to the Keweenaw to work with my fellow co-worker Lori Hauswirth I accepted with glee.
The week before I headed up I called Aaron Rogers to see what sort of tools I should be hauling along. Fat Bike? Skis? I was told that as of that week they had 110 inches of snow on the ground.....Skis!! Fat ones!!
I tossed in the boards and drove on to defy some labels.
|Grease em up!|
|Light as a feather|
Driving through the tree tunnel was like a magic. With over a hundred inches of snow, the trees hung with heavy burdens. The world looked puffy. Since then they have received at least several feet more of snow and I am betting that the skiing is just amazing.
I sacked on Aaron's couch and busily delved into pulling my gear together. It was a mess. Just a scant few years ago I was skiing over a hundred days a year, nearly all backcountry. My return to the Midwest put a shuttering halt to that pastime.
I still have the skills, but the gear is spread far and wide. While I put it together I felt that familiar stoke and I began to get excited. Flashbacks to another life exploded in my brain and the chemical results were satisfying.
The day of skiing was just as good. It felt so good to skin and ski and to trust the snow, to feel the bounce and experience the speed. It was also fun to see the MTB trail system buried deep in the powder. At one point I caught myself boosting off of a berm and laughing my ass off about it.
|Typical winter night in CH|
The ice was just starting to shape up on the harbor and Aaron and his friend Allan were about to head out to catch Splake.
I was in.
|Frosted shredded wheat|
|Ice auger contest|
They are anywhere from house sized to hut sized to car sized. Because of the wind direction they tend to bunch up on one side of the harbor or the other until they finally get a chance to bond. This day, they were not yet bonded. So we hopped from flow to flow and until we were a good distance out to have a chance at a Splake.
Allan, Aaron and I warily kept an eye on the shore in case the wind shifted and our flow started to head out to the big lake. At times the cakes spread up to three to four feet and we were forced to jump back to the edge in case the whole flotilla started to move out. It was exciting. Duce the dog, barked and sniffed at the cracks, clearly un-nerved by the movement caused by the wave action.
The mere 40 inches of snow we have looked paltry in comparison to what the Keweenaw is dealing with.
However it is more than enough for me to keep defying labels....