Classic diagonal striding is all I used to do, as far as skiing goes.  It’s an odd rhythm, with so many gangly appendages required, but like other foreign and mechanized ways of getting through the world (riding a bike!), once it becomes habit the execution is at least as satisfying as walking.

When I started skiing seriously four years ago I quickly gravitated towards powder hounding in the woods and thus the heavier end of things.  This winter’s wolverine trips have put me back in touch with the longer, flatter, lighter side of things, and gotten me back on the light, skinny gear where things began decades ago on Ohio golf courses and in Michigan state parks.  I’ve rediscovered the efficiency of thin skis with double camber, and am now a good enough skier to control them on much of the steep terrain which had me reaching for plastic boots and fat skis four years ago.  I’m also rediscovering all the shortcomings of plastic boots; the reasons I used to hate those frankenstein things.  My plastic touring boots work pretty well; they give good enough control for turning, have better than decent fore-aft range of motion, and are warm and waterproof.  They suck for hiking, however much rocker they may have, and the rigid sole just fatigues my feet after a long day, even though I’ve now ironed out almost all the fitting nits.  The one remaining issue, which has only emerged recently, is the pressure they put on the inside of both ankles, which in the last few trips has been quite painful.  My theory is that my gentle bowleggedness angles my bone against the cuff, which packed out the liner foam and is now bereft of padding and just owie.  I could stick some cant rivets in and solve that, but then I’d truly have the most advanced pair of T2s on earth.

Instead, I saw some Fischer BCX 675s on sale at REI last week and jumped.

2 lb 7 oz per boot in size 45.  I wish they were lighter, but I’ll take what I can get for a boot that fits.  I have odd feet: low volume, skinny heel, widish forefoot, and unlike my old Alpina 2075s these fit very well.  I would not recommend them for wide and high volume feet, but I have a great fit with a liner sock and vapor barrier.  Based on one outing, they stride great, turn ok, and should hike fine.  I’m wary of the durability of pleather ski boots (after my Alpinas ripped and Mountain Gear gave me tons of crap before agreeing to take them back), so having the REI backing here is crucial.

I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

It was raining in town today, so running high to find snow was in order.  I spent a few hours striding (and occasionally skating) through an increasingly blinding and soaking blizzard, and by the 9 or 10 kilo mark finally felt the old muscle memory wake up and things start to click and chug along.  I had to ask myself why I haven’t been doing more of this in the past few years.  Of course, with a growing ski quiver and a nice fat bike it’s increasingly hard to pick.

Back at the car.  Pictured are clear Remington shooting glasses, which fit great and are dead cheap, and a Rab Cirrus which will be part of a BPL windshirt state of the market report.  We picked from the cream of the crop, but even so I’ve been really impressed with all of them thus far.  Compared to 15 years ago, when Activent was the best available, modern windshirts blend weatherproofing and breathability, weight and toughness in a manner which is very impressive.  I even have only a handful of gripes thus far about fit and features, out of all the test pieces!  In any case, today was the sort of day when it was just impossible to stay dry (caveat, I haven’t worn Paramo), but a wool-poly blend baselayer and the Cirrus kept me impressively comfy for impressively long.