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June 15, 2009:


Big time patch skiing - Michael, at right, treks through India looking for turns. Quite a trip, but the skiing was substandard.

It's been a relaxing few weeks for me, with 10 days spent wining and dining (not to mention soaking in the mineral springs and volcanic mud) in Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties. Lindsay and I spent our 25th anniversary at Indian Springs Spa in Calistoga, California and ate dinner at Cindy's Backstreet Cafe in St. Helena, saw our old friend Megan, then continued south to Big Sur where we met up with our ex-next door neighbors the Joneses who were married the same week as us.

Backcountry skiing?

Michael and Christian Trommsdorff recently returned from a trip to India, saying that the trekking was epic but the skiing was a bit of a disappointment, as the snow was mostly gone from the valley they were traveling in. If you don't go, you'll never know. The photo above was taken after they received a dusting of fresh one night, and Michael was able to make a few turns.

Seth Davis' annual birthday ride was held on his actual birthday (June 6), and an enthusiastic collection of skiers and bikers turned out for the event. In addition to the usual retired (and some not-yet-retired) racers, ski tourists Eric Noll and Lowell Skoog came along for the ride, which ran south along Lake Washington Boulevard, through Renton and up the Maple Valley bike path, then wound through some really scenic Eastside roads to Tiger Mountain. We celebrated with the customary Hostess cupcake, then headed back to Seattle. I managed to nudge the mileage for the day over 100 by riding out to Ballard to watch my son Jordan race the Ballard Twilight Criterium.

As usual, the south side of Rainier is the perfect relaxed ski outing this month. I took the new Dynafit Manaslus with the Euro mohair/nylon mix skins up yesterday for a test drive, taking a run on the Muir snowfield proper and then traversing over to the Paradise Glacier and skiing all the way down to the car except for a short 200 ft. transition at 7,400 ft. from the Paradise side to the regular winter climber's trail. Smooth like butter conditions on the Paradise Glacier, and decent skiing on the Muir Snowfield if you stayed away from the hoofprints. The new skins seemed to stay on fine with the Dynafit "beavertail" rubber thingy on the tips and a normal Black Diamond STS strap on the tail; we'll see how the grip is next winter.

Rainier is in this month, with clear skinning right from the parking lot. Close-in parking is limited to 2 hour "tourist" use!

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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 link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .

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