Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Turns - Season '09

I took my new (pre-loved) touring skis out for their maiden blast yesterday with DJ Marky Mark aka The Canny Traveler - deals on NZ attractions [observe the way in which I subtly interwove that gratuitous plug].

We opted for some 'slack-country*' touring from the Remarkables carpark, and what a day we had!

Stig of the Slopes**: The Autocrat's true identity remains securely hidden thanks to the shutter lag on Mark's panasonic lumix fx-07

This was my first attempt at 'skinning' - where you attach artificial 'skins' - think 2 metre long lint brushes - to the base of your skis and walk uphill (in the good ol' days we would have attached the furry bits of a recently dispatched harp seal pup to our planks, hence the term 'skins') and it was quite a bizarre experience.

I have been a plain vanilla (sans ice) downhill skier since I was 9 and the immutable laws of skiing gravity and snow slipperiness are well ingrained - basically skis don't go all. So it was a slightly mind-bending experience to waltz straight up the hill with absolutely no back-sliding.

Mark has been doing quite a bit of touring this year already, as tax deductible research for his business I presume, so I was quite concerned about looking like a complete gumby - especially after my recent dice with death. My fears were quickly assuaged when the canny traveler discovered that he had left his skins at home - not so canny me-thinks - but I forgot my camera, so hey....

Boot Camp: the canny traveler works for his turns.

Anyway I got to feel disproportionately fit by taking the lead with Mark boot-packing it old-skool style and we both got some great turns in.

Overall, I likened the experience to mountain biking (when I used to like mountain biking) - you have the satisfaction of the uphill followed by the thrill of the downhill - awesome & much recommended. The plan is to do an avalanche awareness course and hit the back-country proper and hopefully bring back some unique shots from the hills - watch this space.....


* as opposed to back-country - courtesy marky mark.
**stig reference also coined by marky mark.

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