> Finals kcus.  Ask me next weekend.  Hopefully K-mart isn't down to dirt by
> then.  This is a rather depressing report:

Well, here's yesterday with photos:

or, if you prefer,

Depressing.  It's over. Time for a long six-month summer for me.  Back to
catching up with chores, cleaning, lawn mowing, etc. Yuck.

One bright spot in my day was created by a FedEx driver pulling in front of
my house on Friday morning as I was heading off to work. He emerged from the
truck carrying a long cardboard box. Oh, yeah -- I'd forgotten about those!
Hats off to Cuplos for a remarkably short trans-border shipping time -- I
didn't even call to pay for my order until Tuesday.

I had an unexpected opportunity to try out the CMHs before the end of this
season, except that I was missing one tiny yet vital ingredient: bindings.
My deal on the ultralight Silvretta Pure bindings won't arrive until
September. Yet the urge to try out the skis was gnawing at me.

I threw the skis into the car along with the Scream Hot Pilots on Saturday
morning, thinking that I might have a breakthrough idea. Heading up Rte 4
out of Rutland, I ducked into Mountain Travelers. Yep, they had a pair of
Freerides hanging around in my size, but despite repeated efforts to get
*anything* out of them -- a discount, free mounting...something -- I failed
to knock anything off of full retail.  So, here I was sitting there
contemplating my options: stick it out for the Pures and miss the chance to
ski the CMHs yesterday, or buy a heavier binding than I wanted for $50 more
than I planned on spending.  Ultimately I broke down and got them to agree
to try to have them mounted by 1:30 pm. I whipped out the MasterCard and
continued my drive up to K-Mart.

I was standing atop Stupidstar at noon when the cell phone rang. It was Ben
from Mountain Travelers: my skis were ready to go. I skied down, changed out
of my boots and drove back to Rutland. Thanks to the many comments on this
list I had cautioned the shop staff to measure the chord center on the skis,
and sure enough the boot midsole marked on them is several centimeters
behind the true point on the ski. They were mounted correctly. The
standard-issue brake supplied with the Freeride had to be bent outward
slightly to successfully clear the width underfoot on the CMHs, but even
this was done well -- the brakes still lock the skis together.  New skis in
hand, freshly mounted with the Fritschis, I headed back up to the hill,
changed back into ski boots, and boarded the lift again.

It's been a long time since I've skied something with a full metal topsheet,
and the peculiar ringing noise of the skis on the icy base is now a foreign
sound to me. I'm happy with the chosen length of 173cm. The Freerides give
one heluva riser, so I really didn't notice too much the added width of the
ski underfoot, but I just couldn't get into the groove. I doubt it was the
skis, though, for I couldn't quite get dialed in yesterday on my
now-familiar Scream Hot Pilots, either, in the odd snow. I fought both the
skis and myself back to the base, where I played around with the heel
release mechanism for a few moments (striding forward is darned near
impossible without skins to resist the backward motion -- I never claimed to
have any Nordic skiing skills, and Alpine boots aren't exactly conducive to
it, either) before clicking out and stowing everything back into my car for
the drive home.

At least I don't have to stare at the skis all summer wondering how they'll
ski.  Yesterday was on Alpine boots out of necessity, for I'm holding out
for the Garmont Adrenalins (sic) that I'll have access to in September.
However, I'm that much closer to the AT kit that I'm putting together for
next season...I have only the boots and a pair of skins to go. All together
it's a heavier setup than I'd wanted, for those skis aren't exactly
backcountry light, either, but the package will perform well on any downhill
segments. I'm not putting this kit together for heavy-duty touring, but
rather for up-and-down daytrips and near-bounds runs.

So, today will be spent organizing my gear, washing the garments with
Nikwax, and putting everything away as the showers fall outside my window.
Depressing. I don't think that I'll put the new skis downstairs quite yet,
though, instead leaving them against my home office wall for daydreaming.

Marc Guido, Editor and Publisher
First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine
16 Wertman Ln
Loudonville, NY 12211 USA
V: 941.587.9664  F:419.793.8108
V & F: 866.293.9107 (toll-free from the US)

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