Fall 2013 Shoulder Season Over

posted Dec 1, 2013, 5:06 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Dec 7, 2013, 8:50 AM ]

The shoulder season, twixt kayaking and skiing, is pretty much over here in North Idaho. Schweitzer Mountain is now limping off to a pre-holiday start with a very few rock and treetop-littered alpine runs open. The foot of new snow received in the most recent 24 hour period is obviously helpful, but it is forecast to be followed by a blustery arctic high pressure. Today Eli and I skied our first alpine runs of the season, a day starting with 6" new and snow continuing to fall. We took about 6 powder runs before the large crowd on limited terrain destroyed the surface - for us fussy people. Until today's new snow we weren't desperate enough to venture out on the alpine slopes.

We are accustomed to sparse coverage on limited alpine terrain at season's start. Generally, by Christmas the hill is in decent shape. However, both of us really enjoy skate skiing at Schweitzer on its Nordic track system and it has been in superb condition for early season.

The only reason we tried lift-served skiing today was because the amount of new snow would have made the skate skiing brutal. Plus I was a bit tired from skate skiing 4 days in the last 8.

Eli won a skate skiing lesson in a raffle at a Nordic club fund raiser earlier in the fall. She gave the opportunity to me, because I'm the one who really needs it. I've skate skied enough so that I've integrated bad habits deeply into my technique. I suggested to the Nordic club that they assign to me an instructor who doesn't cry easily. My immediate goal is to improve my technique so that I need not stop to rest on my chosen circuit of the (quite hilly) trail system. My longer range goal is to be the first septuagenarian to win an Olympic Nordic medal. I firmly believe that I will reach neither goal.