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Spirit Mountain 20/21


rwmaron
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Now we're talkin'. :biggthump Much better grooming today. Wonder if they are reading this as I type it?

4pipe, SkyHooker, Gandy all good, even humpy JugglerJoe. Snow is still hard, but the groom was deeper, consistant and smooth enough to ride hard. ScissorBill was great, picture below. Russ was there and so was Ken.

IMG_5690.jpg.3556b94ff74d920e4e6eb652cc5cdcd3.jpgAnother cold day starting out below zero, warmed up to about 10°.

Rode hard for 2½ hrs. til the light went flat.

Word is that they're building a banked slalom/borderX course on our private carving section of the park. They're still working on it today. 

Thinking of a day trip to Indianhead tomorrow.

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We had about 2". One inch groomed in overnight left 1 " on top of the groom. Off & on snow all day with peeks of sun. :1luvu:

I was up top for 1st tracks. It had that first day soft groom feel where trenches are actual trenches, 3+inches deep. 

My chance to ride the new 181PC swallowtail. It's a little softer flex than my carving boards, but man, it carves just as well, yet soft enough not to burough in too deep in a carve in soft snow. Sooo fun! :biggthump Didn't want to stop.

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Rode for 3 hrs til about noon. Ken was there. He quit one run before me and it turned out to be a good call as it got way more crowded fast. There were races over on Gandy along with big lift lines. It was also fat bike Sunday which slows the express lift loading. Fortunately the Summit chair was running too. And it's still snowing.:ices_ange

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Woke up feeling pretty tired from 5 hrs of riding yesterday at GR. But, the sun was out, so drove to the top for 1st tracks. Someone laid down some tracks before me! Saw the culprit riding up the chair @jolsonas I was going down.

Snow was a nice firm carvable groom everywhere on the hill. Started out on the 185 8rw and moved to the 179 Coiler rev with Geckos because the hill got rutted up pretty quick with 4 carvers on the hill. In addition to JO, I spotted Leighton on a new Donek and rode with @khoward who was on his (my old) 159 Generic SL. Never hooked up with Jim or Leighton. Rumor was that Jane was over in the park.

Went right over to Gandy to lay down some early tracks with the 8rw...

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Ended up riding 3 hrs, til about 1pm. Funny how as soon as I started making turns, yesterday's fatigue melted away.

We've got some interesting weather coming. Looks like Indianhead is gonna get some out of this storm. Us, not so much. I might hit the road...

 

 

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Thursday 8:50am

2-3" snow and no freezing rain down by the river. It's a baby pow day!

1"-3" over groom on the hill. Fun day for soft turns with the swallowtail carvers.

IMG_5760.jpg.0dad16038c71c1326e37b9db99825dd6.jpgthe 1st track on the hill:ices_ange

Russ was there too! :biggthump

Indianhead supposed to get about a foot with some lake enhancement. Heading over tonight.

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Return of the polar vortex...:eplus2:

Surprise, surprise, Spirit plans to be open Sat and maybe Sunday. The Atmore FIS race this weekend is likely the reason. Anyone going to come out and make some subzero turns on an empty hill?

As I remember, the video below was made on a day that started out at -20F.

 

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Went out for a few runs this morning. As I was buckling my boots at home, the 2nd strap (over the forefoot) on my rear boot broke. Since I was all ready to go, I went anyway.

Showed up at the express chair at 8:55 caught the first chair up and still made the first tracks on 4pipe. A beautiful sunny day, but cold at -8F with a 15-20kt west wind. The snow was hard and fast, the groom smooth. Compared to yesterday's 6" deep trenches at Indianhead, today's tracks were reduced to mere 1" deep grooves. Without another soul in sight I could make sweeping super G sized turns across the slope on the 8rw. It was surreal. My phone (camera) was dead by the second ride up the chair despite being fully charged and in a pocket that normally is warm enough. 

Since my rear foot wasn't held down in the boot, I found myself using the souls of my feet to pressure my edges. It's an interesting exercise worth doing.

Felt sorry for the Atmore racers at the top of windblown Gandy.

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Spirit open today reduced hours 12:00-8:00 due to the extended cold. It was only -12F this morning, around zero at noon and sunny. Snow was crunchy, crusty groom with spotty soft spots and some hard bumps, otherwise known as "groomer features". The groomers are barely churning the surface deep enough to get a consistent groom....

The only place you can find that is in the parks. I went through the big air park which had a sign at the top that read "caution, grooming" (what can be more enticing than that?). So, I went down somewhat slowly to scope out what they had done with our sacred left hand side. It has been desecrated with rails and more jumps, maybe some interesting berms to carve off, but the groom in between was purrfect. Looks like it's gonna be a lot of work to maintain. After one run through I was asked to stay out, and they proceeded to erase my tracks. :nono:

Ken was there making tracks. One of our favorite carving runs, Scissor Bill, now has "features" like jumps and rails etc. :angryfire

Made my last run through pristine untouched soft groom in the rope tow park and leaving a sign, "I'll be back". :eplus2:

The 1st track...After which I had to go home briefly to re-repair my jury-rigged boot strap (2nd buckle) made with baling wire while awaiting the replacement part from Mountain Slope.

IMG_5791.jpg.243a5c5fc1a6d81daa90015c667230fd.jpg

 

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-25F this morning at the river, -5 at the top of the hill at the noon opening. Upper midwest packed pow-crete? I'll just call it typical Minnesota firm. 1-1½" deep trenches. A more consistent groom than yesterday, but still required purposeful, energetic carving. Not a day for relaxed carving. It was cold and hard. Nobody there, except 3 carvers; me, Russ, Ken. So much room that we often each took our own separate run, had it all to ourselves and met up at the bottom.  There were about 5 other people there somewhere, but never on any run that I went down.

It was brutally cold. I only lasted about 2 hours. Was warm until all of a sudden I wasn't. 🥶

 

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It's warming up?  Only neg 18°F this morning down by the river and it warmed up to -4 by the time I drove to the top of the hill. I thought the snow was a little better today, Ken disagreed. 1½-2inch deep trenches where it was soft on 4pipe and 1" deep everywhere else. SkyHooker was hard, but smooth and consistent. My old knees approved. There were about 5 more people on the hill today, so, like yesterday you still had every run to yourself.  It felt colder today with a NW wind. I only lasted for about 1½ hrs before the cold seeped in everywhere, but it was a stellar day...

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Starting to feel like a polar vortex groundhog day. So cold I had no propane pressure and had to go out and give the tank a shake. The slowest start for my car so far in this vortex. -27° this morning, about -5° by noon start at the top of the hill. We have not risen above 0°F in days.

So, what to do when living the same day over and over? Drive to the top of the hill and make 1st tracks and catch the 1st chair back up and try to do it all better than the day before. Ken was there for the next ride up...or was it Ned Ryerson? Snow was about the same as yesterday. After several runs more people showed up on the hill making it more difficult to get a clean run. Still, we made it for a little more than 1½ hrs when the cold started getting to the core. 

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Little colder today. 🥶 Drove to the top for the noon start. -8°F with some wind. Very few people. Rode for 2 hrs until I felt like I was risking frostbite on parts of my face that I had trouble keeping completely covered. The snow is getting softer under the chair. Carving was very satisfying. Rode the 175 Super. Feeling weightless in the transitions.

IMG_5824.jpg.5ffe478fa13f5bcada9495d629435467.jpgThe groundhog day spell is broken. No Ned Ryerson. :ph34r:

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Broke through the zero degrees barrier yesterday, briefly. Back to -15°F this morning and 10 below by 1st chair at 10am. A balmy +10 at 1pm when I left. Clouds moved in, flat light, more people on the hill. I think I prefered the subzero temps with sun and no bodies. :confused:

Started out riding the Super. Snow is about the same with the best groom under the chair, 1-2" deep carves. And the typical hard everywhere else. I even think I heard the ice base under there somewhere. :eek:

Ken was there.

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Maybe ½" overnight, a dusting over the groom, enough to soften it up for a great day of carving. Noticeably easier on the old knees! :1luvu: It was snowing lightly at first and then the sun gradually shone through. Not very busy either. Ran into Steve from the twin cities who was on skis today, but carves down at Buck and Welch. No sign of Russ. :confused:

Sky Hooker was nice today. Rode mostly on the express side and as usual the best snow was under the chair. Juggler Joe was fun on a turny board carving around and over the humps.

Tried the titanflex risers on the PCjv and liked it. :biggthump Took a few runs on its big brother, the PC 181 just for fun. Even though it's a powder board it's really a fun carver, and technically speaking there was a dusting of powder, so....

Ended up on the 171 XC for most of the day. Seems this has become my favorite and most versatile ride this season.

Rode from 10-1. My tracks from the morning, though only 1-2" deep, were eraser resistant...:eplus2:

...from the last chair ride up...

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Another skiff of snow overnight and it's getting warmer day by day. The snow was great today! Sky Hooker was a dream. Everytime I went down, I had it all to myself, able to make large sweeping turns across the hill with the added encouragement of hoots from the chair above.

Ken was there riding his 157 Rev. I rode the Super 2½ hrs today.

An XC race course at the bottom diverted any traffic east of 4pipe to the Summit chair. It will be a zoo this weekend; xc races at the bottom, Alpine races on Gandy, fat bike races on Timber & JugglerJoe, $5 lift tickets and rentals for Duluth residents.

I'll be heading over to Indianhead tomorrow. :biggthump

Heelside on SkyHooker...Yup, still pretty firm, but soft enough to leave hand tracks.

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Snowed all day and we got maybe 1-1½ inches, maybe more up on the hill? I went up for the last hour before closing after crowds thinned out. I didn't have the energy for an early morning after a 10 hr day to Indianhead yesterday (5 hrs driving/5 hrs riding).

Lots of nice soft snow and push piles that were easily sliced through with the 181 PC swallowtail. It has a soft enough flex so I could really lay into turns without digging in too deep, making 4" deep trenches. A pretty thick fog rolled in during my last 2 runs, but it was so soft that you didn't need to see.  Soft snow is kinda fun! :1luvu: Sure is easier on the body than our typical hard stuff. 

I saw Ken ridding the chair when I checked the webcam this morning.

It's still snowing. Too bad Spirit isn't open tomorrow. It would be good. Might be a good day for a hike.

 

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Was out the last two mornings and burnt up my old-man under-used leg muscles but had a couple days with Ken (ever present) and finally, after two years rode the lift and down the hill with Russ....Dave was AWOL surprisingly.......Less than a month left I am betting given the temps but hill is holding up nicely.  

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2/25/2021

Five - count em - five hardbooters at Spirit today!
Jolson, Khoward, Leighton, patroller Don, and patroller Russ (me).

Thin groom over a hard base, bright sun, typical week day crowd....

As they say in the church bulletins “A good time was had by all”

😎

 

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17 hours ago, rwmaron said:

2/25/2021

Five - count em - five hardbooters at Spirit today!
Jolson, Khoward, Leighton, patroller Don, and patroller Russ (me).

Thin groom over a hard base, bright sun, typical week day crowd....

As they say in the church bulletins “A good time was had by all”

😎

 

Ken said he saw Collin (Donek metal FC 163) too.

17 hours ago, jolson said:

....Dave was AWOL surprisingly....... 

@jolson Yeah, I was busy...😉...

After 3 days at Indianhead (which opens at 9am), I showed up at 8:45 at the top of the hill this morning and was surprised I was able to get a primo parking spot. As I was getting ready to clip in and make 1st tracks, I realized...it's Friday...and I'm an hour early!:smashfrea

Glad I didn't go down before realizing that.

It was overcast with peeks of sun and a building wind. Snow was soft and if you carved hard, the ice base was lurking here and there with an occasional ice chunk surprise. :nono: 

Ken was there. :biggthump

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You can almost see the ice base under the 2" surface groom. It's nice carving until it starts breaking apart. Sky Hooker was pretty good as was 4pipe under the chair.

Lots of lessons on the hill today.

 

 

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3 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

I can already hear you...

Before you comment, the 2 guys without face coverings have had their shot in the arm...plus we're outside and only stood there for 1 minute.

But I was going to say @jolson didn't get the wear red text. 

Edited by lonbordin
Wear your masks!
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To start the day, there was a 15 min delay while waiting for a promotional snowmobile photoshoot to get off the slopes. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the express lift, the corrals overflowed with impatient people threatening insurrection.

But, if you live for those days of carving on bone rattling rough ice, today was your day! Yesterday's melted surface groom was pressed into the base leaving ½" of groomed sugar over the frozen impression of the tractor treads.  It might get warm enough to soften the ice tomorrow afternoon, and certainly this weekend, but it's unlikely today. It used to be, on a day like this you could find soft turns in the park. The last time I was in there they had littered every available space with "features".

2 runs and done for me! :mad:

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