Stuck at home this weekend, but 4" in NYC was enough for turns this morning
(though probably not by this afternoon).

Funny, it's been such a difficult season for me this far, I was really antsy
going to sleep last night, with rapidly churning thoughts about which skis
I'd use, which stuff I'd wear--trivial tihs, but the kind of thing that
keeps my mind going on a night before a ski adventure.

Out the door and in the Park by 7:00. Beautiful soft morning light, with
sun's rays reflecting off New Jersey and across the Hudson River, and
everything all bathed in pretty shades of blue (water and sky), white, pale
orange (sun highlights) and pale pink (lamplights still uselessly, but quite
pleasingly, on). No, I can't say I spend much time thinking "can't wait to
get in some turns in Riverside Park," but maybe that's why, when the
opportunity's there, or, even more so, when it's the only game around, I'm
always a bit surprised by how sweet it is.

Snow was a bit short in the quantity department, but just fine in quality.
Slightly wet and heavy--but with only 4", you wanted that density and there
certainly wasn't enough to slow you down--and pretty slippery.

I brought out from retirement my very first pair of "telemark" skis,
Rossignol "Telemarks". Why they're called "Telemark" is, these days, a
mystery. They're waxless XC double-cambers. Skinny by today's standards, but
at one time they seemed oh-so-wide and--the big deal--they had metal edges.
Well, usually in Riverside I'm on tiny tiny XCs, no edges, and with
sneaker-like xc shoes. Suddenly my Rossis and Merrell leathers seemed like
power monsters. I ripped every line I could find in that park, zig zagging
up to 125th street and back down to 100th, maybe 20 runs, none of them much
more than 50 verts. Couldn't do the same run twice 'cause under every set of
ski tracks were left twin lines of brown leaves, and under every turn a
wider arc of bare ground. But for those first runs of untracked powder, the
skiing was surprisingly nice.

The underbrush has gotten a lot thicker this year, which added some
challenge, and over-excited doggies that kept nipping at skis and poles
provided another, but the power skis made what I usually think of as
challenging runs seem a bit too easy. Not sure which I'll try next time.

But to finally get out--first turns in January--was a mellow joy. The city
park atmosphere is unlike any other ski experience, and the nearness of it
all made it all seemed like a taste of what you VTers (that was the token
content) take for granted: turns outside your door. Heck, it was like having
a season pass.

Can't wait till they put in a rope tow!

telenaut Dan Barron
west side manhattan
800/251-4545, x20

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