Off-Piste Cross-Country Shredding: The Soul of Skiing

Fun with logs and XC skisFun with logs and XC skisSure, kick and glide, kick and glide. It's a wonderful feeling. But sometimes it's great to go back to the soul of skiing: simple gear on ungroomed snow and maybe huck a log or two.

Some of my friends think I'm "anti-telemark" because I say if I'm going to put 12 pounds on each foot, I want it to be a releasable alpine binding. They miss the IF. One of my favorite things is to put on some waxless XC skis and take them off trail. This year I even got some super skinny climbing skins for my backcountry skis.

I love the go anywhere aspect to these skis. With a 70mm shovel, they still fit in the tracks. But they're good for fun in the powder to (to a point of course).

On Saturday, I had an amazing lesson with Sean Thomas, a 19 year-old with Down's Syndrome who is in a wheelchair (he can stand a bit with a walker). We did a bi-ski lesson and raced his brothers, did a little tiny bit of off-piste and sang Born to Be Wild at the top of our lungs on the lift and on the slopes.

The work day done, I traded my alpine skis for my cross-countries, shouldered the backpack and schlepped uphill for a couple of hours. Morning dawned with some excellent conditions for some off-piste cross-country skiing.

Sunrise on Tempo Dome in Yosemite
Do I have to go skiing?
Yes, Get your lazy butt out of bed
Okay, I'll go skiing
Recipe for Fun: Light Snow, 70mm Skis, an Incline and Log
I guess it was worth getting out of bed
Who needs fattie skis?
And all the loose boulders hidden under the snow
Fat skis don't let you thread tight trees!
Evidence of an evening and morning well spent