Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Geschmossel "Race Report"

After a solid month off from racing in daylight, I decided to kick off the 2010 nordic campaign at the 37th annual Geshmossel up at Bretton Woods. It did not go as well as last year.

In the grand tradition of amateur racing, it was totally not my fault. After all, who could have predicted that the tracks far away from the start line would be much softer than where the race started, and thus where all wax testing took place? Certainly not me, for I have only been doing my own race wax for 10 years. I am not experienced enough for such advanced foresight.

Also, the temperature rose to 31.5 degrees at race time. Given the four inches of fresh powder, it was basically impossible to wax for. These conditions are so unique that there is a special ski made just for them. As I only have 7 pairs of skis, I could not be expected to be competitive in such conditions.

Finally, as a cyclist I cannot develop the necessary arm strength for January classic racing, and thus I must wax more aggressively than my competitors so that I can compensate for my upper-body shortcomings by striding steep hills. Thus I am more susceptible to my skis icing up at 31 degrees in fresh powder than anyone else.

See? Totally not my fault that I had to stop and scrape ice off my skis. And no one else had this problem (except for 90% of the field) so yeah, that's why I got my ass handed to me so badly I don't want to actually write about it.

Instead I will indulge in some whining constructive criticism about how Bretton Woods decided to prepare the course on Monday, using the tried-and-true "put words in people's mouths" technique that went so well on Kevin's blog.

Note: this is written purely for entertainment purposes, had I really cared about the situation I'd have said something before leaving.

The scene:
Bretton Woods Nordic Center, 7:45 AM. Head grooming guy (HGG) and Nordic Center Manager (NM) are standing in the lobby of the ski center, watching it snow.

NM: Wow. I sure wasn't expecting to get four inches of new snow last night!
HGG: Me neither.
NM: The forecast called for 1-3 inches. This is unprecedented!
HGG: Yup.
NM: So are you gonna head out with the groomer?
HGG: Nope.
NM: Why not?
HGG: Skiers love fresh powder. That's what everyone on the mountain says.
NM: Oh yeah, they do. I've heard that. When I walk around the woods, er, ski, I like when the snow is deep.
HGG: Plus, it's not like we're charging $17 for a trail pass or something...
NM: Actually, we are. But no one would expect adequate grooming for that kind of money.
HGG: Phew.
HGG: Oh, wait, you nordic guys do that skatey-skiing stuff, too. Does that need grooming?
NM: Uh... hmm.
HGG: Well, does it? The snowcat is parked out front.
NM: I don't actually know. I've never actually skate skied before. Probably safer to just let it, uh, settle before we groom it.
HGG: Sounds reasonable. Can't expect a several-ton machine to pack four inches of snow.
NM: Oh, crap! I totally forgot that we are hosting a race today.
HGG: That's ok. I groomed the course last night, remember. Double-track and everything.
NM: Before it snowed...
HGG: Yup! Pretty smart, eh?
NM: Hmmm.
HGG: What? The tracks are still there. Look, you can almost see 'em!
NM: Yeah...
HGG: Oh come on, it's no big deal.
NM: I'm not sure about this, man. I think races usually take place on groomed trails.
HGG: Yeah, but it's starting 11, so you're probably gonna have some tourists out there walking around. That's basically grooming.
NM: Ooh, good call. But some parts of the course are pretty far from here, and in a big field that gets windblown. If no one skis it first, the racers will have no idea where the course even goes...
HGG: Well, what do you want me to do about it? The race starts in three hours. I couldn't possibly drive the 'cat all the way around the course in that time.
NM: Really? I thought you said that thing could groom the whole trail system in a night?
HGG: Sigh. [HGG winks] I said, 'there's clearly no time to drive the cat around the course.' [HGG winks again]
NM: Ohhhhhh. Yeah, probably not, huh?
HGG: Nope. We've only got 30 minutes left till breakfast ends up at the hotel. Better get going.

[Before they can leave, the first racer walks in]

Racer: Excuse me, are you going to groom the course this morning?
NM: Uhhh. Hmmm. Well....um...
HGG: Yep!
Racer: Cool, thanks!

[Racer leaves]

NM: What was that all about?!
HGG: Don't worry, bro. I'll just drive the groomer about a k out onto the golf course, then turn it around, drive 'er back and leave it idling outside. Gives you that "freshly groomed" look in, like, 10 minutes, and we won't even miss breakfast. We do this up on the mountain all the time.
NM: Wow, that's slick. But wouldn't that be false advertising?

[HGG stares blankly at NM]

HGG: Dude.
NM: Just kidding! We're a ski area, remember!
HGG: Ha! You almost got me thre!
NM: So how much snow should I call this on the snow report? 6 inches? 8?
HGG: Better make it 10. Just to be safe.

[End scene!]

11 comments:

Luke S 1/20/2010 11:44 PM  

That sounds pretty spot on from what I've heard. Also wouldn't be surprised to hear it out of the mouths of the Weston crew, but Bretton Woods SHOULD be a different story. Best hope they do better this weekend in Jackson huh?

Ari 1/21/2010 12:09 AM  

Bretton Woods sucks for grooming, and lies in their snow report and is pretty much just crap all around. It's like they don't really want to have a ski area. Unless they are the only ones with snow, I avoid them like the plague. My folks were up there a couple years ago after half a foot of snow and it wasn't groomed at all. Lovely.

Some things I like about the Midwest … if there's a race, they groom. End of story. If the Birkie has a foot of fresh powder the day before the race, they commandeer every sled with a groomer (to compliment their two rockin' Pisten Bullies) in a 100 mile radius to come and pack the course. And anywhere that charges for trails knows that they better have damn good grooming.

And don't knock Weston—they have some of the sketchiest snow conditions of anyone, anywhere, who grooms, and seem to have skiing through the winter. There's only so much you can do with granular ice at 45˚.

Alex 1/21/2010 8:52 AM  

Weston could do a lot more with 45 degrees and granular ice. Like, groom it AFTER everyone has been skiing (i.e. at night) so that it sets up. Or groom slowly enough that you don't rip up ice chunks with your tiller. Or groom the entire area, rather than trying to turn a piston bully around a cone... crap, you got me started.

In their defense, BW was great fun to trudge around, if you weren't interested in going fast.

Cary 1/21/2010 8:53 AM  

Just looked up the results, since there were none in here...didn't look good or bad. Though the Masters did put like 4minutes into you...can't wait to see how you and Luke stack up Saturday.

G-ride 1/21/2010 10:50 AM  

I thought you were going to do an xtra normal with that. or has their 15 minutes passed already?

ps - i just wanted to post something to this entry to legitmize my being a nordic skier type. see, its working great.

Colin R 1/21/2010 10:51 AM  

Yeah, an xtranormal of that would have been about 10x as tedious for all parties involved.

Big Bikes 1/21/2010 11:32 AM  

Aw man,
I read your post and rushed down to click on the comments link anticipating a COMMENT SHIT-STORM!

Where's my COMMENT SHIT-STORM huh?

That is just plain wiggedy-wack.

-t

Luke 1/21/2010 3:41 PM  

Hating on groomers who suck just isn't all that controversial. Its not THAT difficult as far as I can tell.

Brian 1/21/2010 8:58 PM  

You get grooming in any fashion? Spoiled New Englanders...

Luke S 1/21/2010 10:43 PM  

Hey...don't look at us. The Minnesotans are spoiled, they have free pisten bully groomed skiing every 10 miles or so...

Christopher Tassava 1/24/2010 3:52 PM  

"The Minnesotans... have free pisten bully groomed skiing every 10 miles or so..."

Would that this statement were true. Half of my local trails are groomed by snowmobile (dragging a roller), the other half by the feet of my fellow skiers.

Now, those loafers up in the Twin Cities and further north...

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