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Spirit Mountain 20/21


rwmaron
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Went out for a couple of runs in flat light this morning. Test driving some used Atomic Backlands as a "softboot" setup for my Contra AT's. Although, I actually tried them on my 169 swallowtail PCjv and they worked great. Really nice boots. They will replace my poorly fitting Raichle 413's. I'll just have to give up step-ins. Since Spirit is closed on M & T I've been doing more hiking up and these superlight and flexy boots will be really nice for the walk up and the ride down.

Went back out this evening for the last few runs before closing as crowds were dispersing. The snow was really nice and soft and made for nice carving. Lots of room for big carves. No ice, or I didn't feel it. Riding a used 176 Coiler safari AT that I picked up from xsculler. Very nice ride, buttery smooth, but I plan to pass it along to someone else. Just wanted to see how it rode after cleaning up the edges.

Slight chance of freezing drizzle tonight, but I see some snow in the forecast for Thursday. :biggthump

 

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19 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

 Test driving some used Atomic Backlands as a "softboot" setup for my Contra AT's. 

Dave are you using the Phantom springs on those B/lands?

Edited by Lurch
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On 1/11/2021 at 2:06 PM, Lurch said:

Dave are you using the Phantom springs on those B/lands?

Yes, but I'm talking to Drupi right now about getting his system which looks better to me. I'm not as interested in the ability to unclip for walking/skinning and would rather have greater ROM in a progressive, graduated fashion for riding.

I have to say that the boots worked pretty nice with the Phantoms. The boots feel great, a very comfortable fit. They're flexy in the right way, responsive and not just mushy, like my Raichle 323's.

I really liked Drupi's dgss springs on my old UPZ's.

PS: DGSS springs on the way. When I ordered them for the UPZ's, they arrived in 2 days...all the way from Italy.

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On 1/11/2021 at 2:59 PM, bigwavedave said:

PS: DGSS springs on the way. When I ordered them for the UPZ's, they arrived in 2 days...all the way from Italy.

i think next time i buy boots i might buy those springs. i was riding the other day and the rear boot would click. the bomber aluminum block was catching on the spring on every turn. i couldn't hear it while riding but i could definitely feel it.

when i would walk i could hear it click.

not sure why that happens. maybe snow got backed into the assembly.

 

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7 hours ago, bobble said:

i think next time i buy boots i might buy those springs. i was riding the other day and the rear boot would click. the bomber aluminum block was catching on the spring on every turn. i couldn't hear it while riding but i could definitely feel it.

when i would walk i could hear it click.

not sure why that happens. maybe snow got backed into the assembly.

 

I had that happen too when I had them on t700's. 

Out for 1st tracks this morning. Sunny and mild. jolson and khoward were there. We made a mess of the hill in short order. Looking forward to getting some fresh snow over the next few days. The surface is getting pretty hard. The best snow for carving is still found on ScissorBill, 4pipe and DoubleJaw. 

IMG_5590.jpg.9a3a186417f446793bc83da211f55936.jpg

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The storm was almost all rain here and there was a little freezing rain and sleet too. :angryfire  It's been in the mid 30's all day. A short fat bike ride for me today. A good day for a sauna. Maybe I should cut a hole in the ice. Fortunately cold weather is moving in, but there are no snow storms in sight. It might take a couple of grooming cycles to restore things on the hill.

On the other hand the river and Spirit Lake should have a good surface for ski or even skate sailing when it re-freezes.

With luck, we'll get some north winds when it gets cold next week and generate some Lake Effect snow inda U.P. and Indianhead.

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Well, it stopped raining and then we had a skiff of snow. A quick check of the webcam--lots of empty chairs and an hour of night riding left...and it's still 35°.

So quick up to the hill for some really fun surfy, slushy turns on wide open, empty 4pipe under the lights. Tried out the Backlands with newly installed DGSS springs (3 days from Italy, thanks @DRUPI!) Thought I'd try them on the 169 PC swallowtail. :biggthump My, oh my, what a fun ride. Felt like I was doing GS sized turns, taking up ½ the width of 4pipe, putting my whole body into the turn and having to get real low. I think I had to work harder to drive the board in these softer AT boots. Everything was all tracked up, but soft enough to slice right through it all. :1luvu:

@Lurch The heelside springs in the dgss soften the bumps nicely on heelside turns compared to the Phantoms. They also have more forward flex. I'm using the green (soft) springs. Don't think I need to try the stiffer blues. They're not as easy to walk in as the flickable walk mode Phantoms. So far, I'm really liking how these boots feel, nice forward flex and responsive lateral stiffness.

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Dave noted with thanks. A pleasure to have your road test. After a trial fit, not sure the b/lands will be wide enough for my platters, but, like everything alpine, I am chasing a similar idea in a WV boot; maybe a Scarpa.

Perfect world; same boots - swich springs for hard pack/ pow. Unicorn? 

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Overcast flatlight all day and Spirit looked crowded on the webcam. I went up this evening, mainly just to see how the hill was when I saw lots of empty chairs on the webcam. Well, it was one run and done! Boilerplate ice (from all that rain) under loose sugary snow that was all in push piles on the ice. Geckos weren't enough to make the ride comfortable. Should'a taken the Rev with Boilerplate.

Might go for morning groomers tomorrow if the sun makes an appearance. Let's see if they can still make that surface groom.

Forecast looks good for a few inches of Lake Effect at Indianhead over the next few days. So, there's that.

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Clouds cleared out just before opening this morning. It was a very firm and fast surface groom. 1 inch trenches at best. Spirit has perfected the art of "surface groom"—an inch or so of groomed sugary ice shavings over groomer tracked washboard ice. Once carved and skidded it breaks loose and exposes the naked ice.

Ken & Jane were there, he on the 4pipe, she in the park.

I rode for a couple of hours. The 171XC seems to be the best board in my quiver to control speed on ice with shorter radius carves, yet enough length to smooth the ride over a rough surface. 

As is typical, slightly softer, wide expanses of virtually untouched groom was found in the bigair park. The low clouds on the horizon are Lake Effect snow coming off Lake Superior over northern Wisconsin. A bit farther East in Michigan's U.P., Indianhead should be getting some of that.

IMG_5610.jpg.adb0e202c250487458c5e386935dff5d.jpg

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Just looked up at the hill and they've got snow guns blasting all over at the top! Guess I finally shamed them into making new snow after a rain/ice event. :eplus2: I had a dream they'd bring the guns back out and touch up the hill.

...and 12 hrs later...1/19/21

...this morning they have moved the guns down the hill. Now I'm looking forward to tomorrow.:biggthump

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There were impressive plumes of snow billowing over the hill in near zero temps for the past day and ½. I went up for a couple of runs this morning to try the AT boot setup on the Contra AT's.  I think I need the stiffer (blue) springs for more leverage.

Home for a bit and then back out on the 171XC when the sun came out. The new man-made snow needs a few more skiing/grooming cycles to get some consistency. There were hard icy brown (river water snow) areas interspersed with some decent carving snow. Went down SkyHooker, which was all ice cubes down the middle, and over to check out the park in search of some smooth groom. The light went flat again, although the park had a consistent but hard groom. There is now a mountainous stash of man-made snow at the bottom of Gandy.  

On an unrelated subject...

I've been growing pretty confident on icy surfaces with studded tires on the fatbike. So I decided to go out onto the wide open expanse of the river ice yesterday. I had a very pleasant ride until I went to turn around and the tires lost their grip and down I went. Whacking my elbow and hip hard on the ice. It's hard to fall gracefully on a bike. Your kind of stuck in a bad position. I wrenched my knee a bit too, but I think it's ok. I broke the bursa again on my elbow. It has some ugly swelling. Fell the same way, same side, as 2 years ago, but I don't think I fractured my elbow this time. My knee was just starting to feel back to normal from the last time! Hope I didn't set it back. I sprained my PCL last time, and with the resultant instability I developed some lateral meniscus issues.

Looking at my tires, I see there are places to install additional studs on the outermost treads.  I need to go see the Chiropractor.

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16 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

There were impressive plumes of snow billowing over the hill in near zero temps for the past day and ½. I went up for a couple of runs this morning to try the AT boot setup on the Contra AT's.  I think I need the stiffer (blue) springs for more leverage.

Home for a bit and then back out on the 171XC when the sun came out. The new man-made snow needs a few more skiing/grooming cycles to get some consistency. There were hard icy brown (river water snow) areas interspersed with some decent carving snow. Went down SkyHooker, which was all ice cubes down the middle, and over to check out the park in search of some smooth groom. The light went flat again, although the park had a consistent but hard groom. There is now a mountainous stash of man-made snow at the bottom of Gandy.  

On an unrelated subject...

I've been growing pretty confident on icy surfaces with studded tires on the fatbike. So I decided to go out onto the wide open expanse of the river ice yesterday. I had a very pleasant ride until I went to turn around and the tires lost their grip and down I went. Whacking my elbow and hip hard on the ice. It's hard to fall gracefully on a bike. Your kind of stuck in a bad position. I wrenched my knee a bit too, but I think it's ok. I broke the bursa again on my elbow. It has some ugly swelling. Fell the same way, same side, as 2 years ago, but I don't think I fractured my elbow this time. My knee was just starting to feel back to normal from the last time! Hope I didn't set it back. I sprained my PCL last time, and with the resultant instability I developed some lateral meniscus issues.

Looking at my tires, I see there are places to install additional studs on the outermost treads.  I need to go see the Chiropractor.

Studded Gnarwahls for a fatbike.  There's a 3.8" for sale in Superior-those are not mine, just saw them.

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Pretty nice day. Rode for 3hrs on the 171XC. Snow is a little better today, still firm to hard & chunky in places. Nice carvable groom was found. Sunny & blustery with little snow squalls. And the one harmed boarder patroller made an appearance.:biggthump

IMG_5632.JPG.757078d4f138c37498fe1e8919616042.JPG

Instead of getting busier late morning, the whole place emptied out from about 11:30-1pm. I found untouched groom over in the empty bigair park. Posting a photo in tracks...

Should be nice tomorrow. Cold, but sun and another day of grooming. Plus I tried to make deep trenches so the groomer will have to set the tiller deeper.

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6 hours ago, bumpyride said:

Studded Gnarwahls for a fatbike.  There's a 3.8" for sale in Superior-those are not mine, just saw them.

I've got a new 4.5" Cake Eater on the front (4" back). Gonna add studs to the outermost knobs...and try lowering the pressure.

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This is from the wheel builder and pretty much snow guru on MTBR, the fatbike thread.  Everything he's said I've found to be true.  I ride with guys on Cakeaters, and I see them washing out on trails and off camber.  We don't ride on lakes, but I've never had a problem with the Gnarwahls on icy stretches that I ride to Hartley.  I bought my Gnarwals and studs from him (Mikesee).

Hope this helps.

 

#56 • Feb 27, 2019

I haven't compared them head to head, largely because of the difference in volume. So my comparisons are mere extrapolations -- take them for what they're worth.

CE's have so much much air volume that they out-float Gnarwhal.

Gnarwhal's tread pattern grips loose, deep snow better.

CE rolls faster on hard surfaces.

Ice performance = I implicitly trust Gnarwhal to keep me upright when ice suddenly appears under my tires without warning. I don't have the same level of trust in the CE's.

Gnarwhal is impressive, trust-inducing on off-cambers, and through ruts. CE is vague on off camber, and easily deflected by ruts.

CE hunts for traction when there is fresh (or wind drifted) snow on top of a firm base. Requires constant steering corrections.

https://www.mtbr.com/threads/cake-eater-vs-gnarwhal.1092855/page-3

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Seconding the studded Gnarwal recommendation, they are confidence inspiring.

Also want to commiserate on how much elbow bursa rupture sux. I ruptured mine a few years back at the MES, without even knowing that anything was wrong. Two days after the MES I ended up with a giant swellbow, sepsis, a trip to the OR and a hospital stay. Protect those elbows....and pray for snow. 

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6 hours ago, Mr. T said:

Seconding the studded Gnarwal recommendation, they are confidence inspiring.

Also want to commiserate on how much elbow bursa rupture sux. I ruptured mine a few years back at the MES, without even knowing that anything was wrong. Two days after the MES I ended up with a giant swellbow, sepsis, a trip to the OR and a hospital stay. Protect those elbows....and pray for snow. 

Yeah, swellbow. Mine's is not as bad this time, but still kind of a weird water balloon look about it. I had wondered if I permanently destroyed the bursa last time, but apparently it's still there.

At Spirit Mt today, a nice sunrise this morning got me up and moving for first tracks. It was -1°F when I got to the top of the hill and then the sun disappeared behind a heavy blanket of clouds. Flat light, icy hard groom, silly me, I was hoping for better after a few grooming cycles. At least the ice chunks were gone and there were no lift lines.

Over in the park and found snow that I could get an edge into, barely.  Only rode for an hour.

Might head over to Indianhead tomorrow for some turns in softer snow.

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Never did go over to Indianhead. Saturday crowds, not worth the drive.

2-3 inches of dry fluffy snow last night. :1luvu: The 1st inch got groomed in last night and softened the base. Blue sky and 2" fresh on groom this morning. To the top of the hill for first tracks with the swallowtail (just for fun). Soft snow carving, finally! 🤪

2009932502_Screenshot2021-01-24at1_23_04PM.png.27feed4fa325467827cfc02f1579df8a.png

After an hour it was pretty tracked and rutted so switched to the 180 Coiler Rev with Gecko's which rode like a dream through the soft push piles and ruts. Finished out the day over in the park with some smooth sweet sweeping surfy turns. Ran into Jane carving up the park on her Coiler bxfr. Then Ken wandered over from the other side, which had turned into a zoo with XC races and the first fat bike Sunday. Saw Collin from the express chair, riding his 163 Donek FC.

Rode from 8:30-noon. The formerly ice groom on SkyHooker, Gandy, CinderSnapper etc, is now a penetrable crust and I expect will be gone after the new snow gets groomed in.

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-5°F at the top of the hill this morning at 10 AM opening. Very firm groom, grippy enough, and soft enough in places, to get an edge in, but you really had to make an effort to penetrate the cord. SkyHooker getting better, no exposed ice patches. I could still see leftover tracks from Sunday under the groom on Gandy. We need more snow! 

I could see some lake effect snow working its way across the lake to the south shore. Dreaming about Indianhead and some soft carves.

But where do we always find nice soft groom? Say it together, "In the park." :1luvu:

IMG_5674.jpg.e96d38ac061f67e911e2cce4a278d5bd.jpg

But my smile didn't last long, as the favored left side was roped off and being dug up and reconfigured. Looked like they were building a giant berm (maybe ¼ pipe?), so that might be fun for banked carving.

Back over on the other side I found Leighton and Ken doing laps on 4pipe. A lot of the groom is real hard everywhere. My old knees are pleading for more snow please! I lasted 3 hours, but it was fun. Nice thing is that these cold days keep the crowds down for hassle free carving.

Finally got in to see my Chiro this afternoon after my crash. Turns out he wasn't on vacation, but had to quarantine for two weeks after testing positive.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bigwavedave said:

I could still see leftover tracks from Sunday under the groom on Gandy. 

IMG_5674.jpg.e96d38ac061f67e911e2cce4a278d5bd.jpg

Good work! I haven't even accomplished that.  Though not for lack of trying. I remember a few of my toesides at the bottom of buttermilk a few years ago that survived a whole day of heavy traffic and skidding by the masses that couldn't survive the wrath of the tiller

Mario

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, big mario said:

 

I don't claim credit for it, rather lay blame on the groomer not setting the tiller deep enough. Laziness?...or probably just saving $$ by doing a quick drive by. Yet they'll have 5 guys plus a Piston Bully spend all day working the snow in the park. It's like they're totally ignoring my efforts to improve the gooming on the rest of the hill. :eplus2:

Maybe if we had an EXCAVATOR! here, we'd get some results. btw, calling myself "the renovator" is purely aspirational.

 

 

 

 

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