The Last Temptation of Crust

Attention: Everyone who selected April 22 in their office pool for “the day that Cory finally ignores Doctor’s (and wife’s) orders and goes skiing,” please pick up your winnings at the front desk.

Monday of this week was the first day of excellent crust ski weather we’ve had so far this spring. Blinding sunshine, frozen snowpack. But I was a good patient and stayed home (well, at work actually).

Tuesday was also an epic crust day and I probably would have given in, except that my son was sick. I figured that if my wife had to stay home with vomiting toddler, I should probably go to work and contribute to the collective family good, rather than go play in the sun. I’m very sympathetic like that.

But when Wednesday morning dawned with clear skies and cold temperatures, well, I think we can all agree that no mortal man can be expected to resist that temptation three days in a row.

One reason I hadn’t been skiing (or doing anything mildly active) prior to today was that my ankle has continued to be swollen. Not good for healing. No matter how I try to baby it, the swelling doesn’t go down. But then yesterday, I had my first real physical therapy session. The therapist really stressed the ankle a lot more than I ever had in the past six weeks. At first, the tendon felt extremely tight and weak, but the more I worked it, the better it felt. And then, when I woke up this morning and saw that the ankle was less swollen than ever since the injury, a lightbulb went off in my head. Maybe a little bit of activity is exactly what I need to reduce the swelling, to get the blood flowing and flush out the ankle. That was all the excuse I needed to grab my skis.

So this morning I drove down to Portage Lake. I picked Portage because its a short, flat, easy ski with spectacular scenery. I could get my crust ski fix without pushing my Achilles too much. But when I got there, there were signs saying “DANGER! Blasting in area – Stay off ice.” The lake looked fine and it didn’t look like they were blasting today, so I thought about going anyway. But I was by myself with no one else around, and on a gimp leg, so I decided to play it safe. I drove down the road to the Placer River valley and headed towards Skookum Glacier instead.

The crust was near-perfect: rock hard with no volcanic ash. My technique was a little sloppy, and I fatigued quickly (did I really lose that much fitness in six weeks? Ouch.), but the ski was spectacular.

I knew I needed to be extra careful of my tendon while skiing. So it was fortunate that I had a pair of Salomon’s latest top-secret prototype boots to protect me. Currently I think there are only three pairs in existence. Mathias Fredriksson has a pair, Andy Gerlach had a pair, I have a pair. Check out my photos.

The whole trip made me so happy. Early morning drive down Turnagain Arm, cruising on top of the firm snow while the crystals sparkled in the sun, feeling my blood pumping again, soaking up the sunshine, and even stopping for a snack at the Tesoro on the way home. It was great to be back in the spring routine again, if only for a day.




Cory Written by:

One Comment

  1. Mike Beiergrohslein
    April 23, 2009

    Cool pics cory, I’ll be heading out again tomorrow if your leg’s still holding up

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