Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

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Young Satchel

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Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:50 pm

Hey Gang,

After concluding my first epic advice-seeking thread after 6-months+ of amazing back-and-forth with . . . GASP . . . A ski purchase (!!!) I thought it only right to begin anew with a thread to chronicle the early days of my XC adventures.

I’m a photographer by trade (amongst other things) and enjoy taking pictures wherever I go and whatever I do, so you can be rest assured that this will be an image-heavy thread. Proceed at your own risk! In addition to recording and reporting on my humble, local tours in and around the Hudson Valley Region of NY, I’ll also use this as a space to discuss and review gear—skis, boots, bindings, poles, packs, relevant clothing, etc...— as well as to solicit much-needed technique tips and general advice from the wiser, more-experience hands among you (read: everyone ;).

As some may recall, I grabbed a solid post-Christmas deal on some Fischer T78s with NNN-BC Manual bindings, Fischer Offtrack Poles (155) and Fischer Offtrack 3 BC Boots. The day I picked them up, it began pouring rain non-stop washing all the snow away, and in the couple of days that followed temps reached near 60F! Not the best start But here we are a week or so later and cold temps and snow have returned to the valley, so what did I do? I got the fuck out there as soon as I could to test my new setup!

For better or for worse I find that in my mid-30s, I am a man with precious little free-time. I have two kids under 5, one of whom has intense special needs, and am the sole breadwinner for our family of four working a full time gig and freelancing to make ends meet. This means I gotta get it when I can get it and get it QUICK. So I threw my skis in the Wagon this morning along with my boys (no ski attachment for the roof rack yet; it’s en route) and no sooner had I dropped them at daycare, I drove to the trailhead to get a 90-minute tour in before work!

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The lot was empty so I had the place to my self, but I found that the main feeder trail out into the preserve was already tracked with boots and skis and snowshoes since the snow had already been on the ground for nearly 24hrs.

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I’m 100% brand new to this Nordic BC shit so I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing. That said, I was so excited to get out on skis that it literally didn’t matter and I had a big-ass grin on my face as I shuffled out towards the quiet, white woods that may beyond....

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I had my morning eyes on “The Yellow Trail”, a lassoed spur of about 1.5 miles leading off to the left from the main access point. This is my normal training grounds as a Trail Runner, so I’m intimately familiar with these woods. I felt like the yellow path’s winding, gentle single track would offer enough variety to keep things spicy, while keeping me on flat-to-slow-rolling terrain that would allow me to find my bearings. As I approached the junction, I saw that what lay beyond was entirety untracked. YES :-)))

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I quickly found my way over the two short bridges and through the fields and into the cover of the woods beyond. I’m not sure what I was really doing to get there, It was equal parts shuffle, and some sort of “jog” on skis. Whatever it was it felt good enough and got me where I was headed pretty quickly and easily....

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The light in the woods was absolutely gorgeous this morning and I could not stop smiling as I traveled through them headed towards the lookout point above the Hudson River. I found the Fischers made quick work of the little climbing that there was once I figured out how to lean back on my heels a bit and weight them properly. There was about 4-6” of relatively light (for the East) powder with no crust on it and the skis plowed through it with relative ease, their tips rising up out of it and gliding Easilt forward with each stride....

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I made it to the lookout and stopped for a quick break, the Catskills and my own little village in view in the distance...

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The way back saw more untouched single track with wonderful fresh snow coating everything in sight

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Following that I tackled my first real “downhill”, a short section of sloping single track of no more than 50’ leading to the base of a wooden bridge. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle a little. This leads me to my first and perhaps most important question: how the hell am I supposed to TURN these things!?!?! Haaaaaaaaaa. I mean, I KNOW it can be done, but I’ll be damnned if I know how to do it yet. I fell the first 3x going down, each time right As I attempted to turn to guide myself toward the bridge. Each time I hiked back up to the top persistently, and on the 4th I was able so nail it by using what I guess would be called a crude, one-footed snowplow of sorts to jam myself to the right and towards the mouth of the Bridge. I mean, whatever works right? Sure...for now, but I’ll need to start trying to figure out how to use these more elegantly effective immediately

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I followed my own tracks back out of the woods on the yellow trail and found my way back to the main drag to take me back to the trailhead. ..

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I REAAAAALLLLYYY did not want to head to work, but I had no choice so I hightailed it back to the parking area, took my skis off, and loaded everything into the Volvo for the quick drive to coffee & work beyond.

All I have thought about all day is my time in those cold, quiet woods this morning. I think I’m going to try and steal back out there and try a different hillier section of the preserve tomorrow morning if I can manage it! I’m fiending for more!!!

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E N D /




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Last edited by Young Satchel on Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Woodserson

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Woodserson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:03 pm

I have not read this yet, but GREAT PICS, really capturing what a good tur is about.

I love the thread title too!

Congratulations on getting out bro!

(I'm going to read it as I eat my pasta)

connyro

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby connyro » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:06 pm

I really like your photos. Thanks for sharing!

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t-$

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby t-$ » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:13 pm

dude,

right on man. love the pics! yeah, i'm with you on trying be more elegant going down on the skis. tough, ain't it?!

keep skiing. i wish i had the motivation to ski before work. i'm lucky to get a shower :?
one thing that helps is finding some ski buddies. i finally got to ski for the first time tonight with a buddy i have had for a minute. we have been trying to get together since the first snow and it finally happened tonight. turns out he's a lifelong skiier and had some nice ntn's and wide fischers. well, let's just say its always good to feel like a beginner again and have more motivation to be better.

keep it up, and thanks again for the pics!

btw, did you happen to see the movies thread posted recently? even though they are subtitled, great cinematography...

happy trails!

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Woodserson

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Woodserson » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:20 pm

So a few thoughts:

Have fun! You are already doing this.

Think about setting the scales with your weight, kicking off them, and gliding on the other ski. Repeat. You'll get into a rhythm where it won't be "shuffling" but an athletic striding, striving forward into the snow. There are great youtube videos everywhere. You can put serious miles on this great ski.

The things that make these skis great for distance make them somewhat tougher skis to easily turn at slow speeds with only 50' of run. Things like this, if you have a run-out, just gun it and go straight and bleed the speed off on the flat and enjoy making distance with no effort! If there's no run-out, snowplowing and dragging a ski in softer snow, dragging poles, or falling is perfectly acceptable. You'll get it kinda. I still struggle to turn the 78's with any kind of grace.

Keep it up, and thanks for sharing the awesome pics!

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lowangle al

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby lowangle al » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:40 pm

Good for you, that feeling of being outside in the woods on a beautiful day never gets old. As far as technique, I would learn basis cross country techniques that includes a strong snowplow turn before you move on to fancier turns. Videos would be good and maybe a book and you'll be on your way.

Young Satchel

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:44 pm

connyro wrote:I really like your photos. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you, man. Taking photos while being out in the woods alone combines two of my greatest passions. Glad the results are pleasing to others


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Young Satchel

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:48 pm

t-$ wrote:dude,

right on man. love the pics! yeah, i'm with you on trying be more elegant going down on the skis. tough, ain't it?!

keep skiing. i wish i had the motivation to ski before work. i'm lucky to get a shower :?
one thing that helps is finding some ski buddies. i finally got to ski for the first time tonight with a buddy i have had for a minute. we have been trying to get together since the first snow and it finally happened tonight. turns out he's a lifelong skiier and had some nice ntn's and wide fischers. well, let's just say its always good to feel like a beginner again and have more motivation to be better.

keep it up, and thanks again for the pics!

btw, did you happen to see the movies thread posted recently? even though they are subtitled, great cinematography...

happy trails!


Dude, I feel you! But before work may possibly be the only time I have to ski—with very rare exceptions—for the foreseeable future, and that’s when I train to race in the warmer months so fuck it, gotta get it in while the gettins good!

I’d love to find a buddy like that to ski with. Sadly I don’t think I know any :-/ Most Guys I know wanna hit the mountain on the weekend to alpine ski or snowboard which I literally could not do even if I wanted to. My only close friend into XC lives 4 hours away and is also an overburdened Dad lol.


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Young Satchel

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:03 pm

Woodserson wrote:So a few thoughts:

Have fun! You are already doing this.

Think about setting the scales with your weight, kicking off them, and gliding on the other ski. Repeat. You'll get into a rhythm where it won't be "shuffling" but an athletic striding, striving forward into the snow. There are great youtube videos everywhere. You can put serious miles on this great ski.

The things that make these skis great for distance make them somewhat tougher skis to easily turn at slow speeds with only 50' of run. Things like this, if you have a run-out, just gun it and go straight and bleed the speed off on the flat and enjoy making distance with no effort! If there's no run-out, snowplowing and dragging a ski in softer snow, dragging poles, or falling is perfectly acceptable. You'll get it kinda. I still struggle to turn the 78's with any kind of grace.

Keep it up, and thanks for sharing the awesome pics!


Fuck!

Just typed out a long reply to your post an Tapatalk gobbled it when I pressed “reply” grrrrrrrr. Maybe it’ll reappear later? I dunno.

Tldr: thanks for the tips and reassurance! I still need to find some good videos to learn and work on technique :-)


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Young Satchel

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Re: Satchel’s Neophyte Nordic Backcountry Adventure Thread

Postby Young Satchel » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:06 pm

lowangle al wrote:As far as technique, I would learn basis cross country techniques that includes a strong snowplow turn before you move on to fancier turns. Videos would be good and maybe a book and you'll be on your way.


Absolutely want to do this.

Any specific recommendation on where to start with books or videos?


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