Saturday's snow fall in the DC Metropolitan area was AWESOME... until it turned to wet wintery mix... that layer compressed the fluff that made the skiing so awesome

some words about last Saturday's cross country ski
Saturday was awesome.... dare I say "epic?"
Sunday.. was warm... warm and slushy... stole a second day of skiing from me
I hiked on Sunday... it was a slushy slog

here are my words...

yesterday I was slow out of the gate...
Saturday and I got to sleep late
the kids are running a different routine
neither of the boys are playing indoor soccer
neither of the boys are studying Karate\Tae Kwon Do any more
this allows for sleeping late on Saturday
or does it

well... I don't always get to sleep late... the boys have Ski Development\Ski Racing at Liberty
which should have both of the boys out of the house and in the car at 7AM
turns out Grant was opting for a Bowling Birthday Party while Dean would go to Ski Racing with his mother
this left me pretty much free after I sent Grant off with his ride to go bowling

Grant left off with a wrapped remote control helicopter
so I left out with Didg
Didg had been patient
much like today... Didg was mellow about the late start

I left off into the woods for a short loop
my distance did not match up with my duration
Didg had the pleasure of encountering a number of dogs that he enjoys interacting with
while I got to chat with their owners

my plan for the day included ice skating on the C&O Canal
this long streak of super cold days has certainly frozen the canal
so... as I walked my dog I plotted my day
as I plotted my day it started to snow

the snow was not characteristic of the usual snow in this area
the snow was steady
in minutes there was a dusting
although I had not seen a forecast
I felt that the current rate would give enough coverage on the already existing packed powder base

plan modification

skates were traded for skies
the days plans had been altered
I left for home where I would make lunch and see if I could find anyone to partner up with for my afternoon ski

at home I sent out a message to the DCMTB list serve
there was already some electronic chatter about heading out at 2PM
I had no intention of driving
these people were coming from the north and were headed to more northern parts of the park
with my leaving straight out from home I was not certain that I would make it far enough to connect with them

after I ate my fried eggs with pepperoni on rye sandwich I suited up
with the dog at my side I left out for the woods
thirty minutes later than my intended 1 PM departure from Piece Mill and I was on the planks and pushing forward
breaking trail on the path where a thin layer of snow covered the deeper snow that was already several days old

not sure of my trajectory I guessed my way around the trails
looking for the best snow
trying to avoid the post holes from hiker and seeking out the cross country ski path
steering clear of sun baked shrunken snow and seeking out shaded untouched snow

when I got to the point in the park where Beach Drive is closed off to traffic I leashed my dog
there was a Park Ranger vehicle on the bike path... I let them drive forward before I crossed
I guess the driver was more focused on me than where he was going
the officer took a left turn in his SUV right over the street sign marking the presence of the median strip



while the officer tended to his error I took off to the same loop I took after the last snowfall
not the first trail... but the second
it is a gradual grade up.... swoop down.... then a climb with some water bars
the road flanked my trail both left and right
the winter trees had visibility so clear I could see that I was also running parallel to another foot path

the snow was SWEET!
swooshing fast
no sticky snow
it was amazing

the powder was deep enough that I was able to get some comfort trying to control the skiies

the path offered the option for straight or left
I stayed left knowing that straight would send me on a steep downhill and a hairpin turn with another steep that would be tough for me
more than likely impossible with the water bars and their drop offs

so I stayed left knowing that there was a slight downhill and then a slight climb
I was the first tracks on the fresh snow which made for slow down and slow up

when I got to the top of the hill I turned it around and retraced my steps
rather than just looping around I decided that I would follow the lead of fellow DCMTBers Mike Scardaville and Brian Poochigan... each of these guys talked about "practicing"
Practice? Gentleman do not practice!
but I realized... it would be to my advantage to retrace my fresh tracks

I went ahead and ran this same down and then up each way a few times before moving on
it is true... I am a total "green horn"
an absolute beginner
I cross country ski a few times a year and I have no alpine ski experience
my comfort and skill on the snowboard does not transfer at all to cross country skiing
totally different head

across the road and onto the horse trails
passing the equestrian pen
and into the woods
still headed north
still not many people in the woods

to my pleasure some people had been through this area on their skies
so I got to glide a little
then found myself on another downhill with an easy run off that fed into a slight climb
I ran the same up and down... back and forth... rinse and repeat formula

it made sense
make the track
ride the track before hikers come marching through
it also made sense for me to attempt downhill sections that I knew had an easy run off
each downhill started off slowly and got faster with each consecutive effort

it was a pleasure to get some comfort on the planks
still a green horn
still an absolute beginner
but at least I was progressing

yes... I had seen Mike Scadaville practicing his turns on the sledding hill... and Brian Poochigan had sent a message to the group expressing how certain obstacles were barriers but he was gaining comfort
so... although I was not in the woods with these guys... I was using their efforts as inspiration

I pushed north on the horse trails
then there are a few FOOT TRAIL ONLY-NO HORSES trials
even with the water bars these were my preferred routes
again... with the deeper softer snow I was able to navigate these sections that previous brought anxiety and fear at 6 mph
on this day I was able to ski down these sections
terror exchanged for elation

Didg had gone from romping to trailing behind me
I am not certain if he was confused my my "rinse and repeat" motion
as I would think the up and back\back and forth would get annoying
as the was no effort to offer up logic or reason to my four legged friend

no... Didg had gone from romping in the snow to walking behind me
this had me thinking that he was getting tired
it would be time to focus on returning home
it was tempting to take a few more up and backs
but really... I did not want to keep Didg out any longer than he was comfortable

the path from the closure along Beach Drive to Piece Mill and beyond is flat
a few streets to cross and then home

my house is SKI In-SKI OUT!
does that increase the property value?

what a day...
too bad we had wet wintry mix last night
all the fluff is packed down
I may head out this afternoon
but first... I still need to walk this dog

he is dog tired and I am feeling lazy
he has been let out.... but not walked
time for me to suit up and make that happen

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