February 20, 2007:
My leg is starting to look and feel pretty good; range-of-motion is good but noisy (lots of clicking), muscle mass in the calf is almost back to normal, and I have little pain riding the bike or in normal walking. Just in time, because the powder is back.
I've finally had a chance to ski my new "heavy" touring setup, which has been sitting around in my gear room since December - the retro ash-and-carbon fiber Trab Stelvio Freerides, a fresh set of Dynafit TLT's, and a new pair of Scarpa Spirit 3's.
Here's my take on the gear:
I bought the Trabs because they had almost exactly the same profile as the Atomic R:EX's I've skied and loved but had a slightly softer tip with more upturn. That plus they just look cool. I admit I was taking a bit of a chance on the fact that Trab would see fit to build a torsionally stiff ski that would hold on hardpack and perform at speed, but my previous experience with my Freerandos has been very positive, so I bit. The skis are exactly what I had been looking for - five or six runs on frozen bumps with a little heavy fresh on it, then a self-powered jaunt in the corn at Hyak, told the story. They ARE INDEED like the Atomic R:EX/TM:X of old, but with all the improvements I'd been yearning for. Softer tip to ride up over crud, more upturn in the tip to prevent diving while touring, a little lighter but still with a tenacious grip in the icy troughs. Perfect!
The Scarpa Spirit 3's are slightly stiffer and also slightly heavier than the Garmont G-Rides they replace. While they don't tour like F1's, they seem pretty comfortable considering the new contours on my left ankle (plate and screws are palpable just under the skin, and are still a little tender). The 3-buckle arrangement is a blessing, as they miss the plate/screws completely, and I was able to create a little pocket over that area of my leg. Small gripes include the shape of the middle buckle not allowing you to get your fingers under it to undo it (the top one is OK), the bulky nature of the black plastic holding the bottom buckle on (already chopped up in two days of careful skiing), and the relatively large size of the boot at the cuff (can't fit my Arc'teryx Beta LT pants over them). They ski great and if I can tolerate them for several hours with my still-not-totally-healed leg, then they must be comfortable.
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"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2007 Gregory C. Louie