Sunday, January 13, 2008

Experimenting on an unexpected powder day

After hitting up the ski train with the MarkWest folks last week, I had started to catch ski fever again. Sarah & I had agreed to go up Sunday to Winter Park, although a late night poker session had threatened all this. I woke up, read my email and saw Sarah basically said "your call" on if we were going up. After some groggy deliberation, I decided I needed to go.

I had just put the ski rack on the MDX, and it was to make its inaugural voyage to the high country. For some reason I was ahead of schedule and after calling and waking up Sarah, she was strangely ahead of schedule too. This turned out to be a blessing as the expected 1" of powder that had been forecast, magically turned into 7" overnight. Today would be a good day.

Traffic was heavy, per the usual on a powder day, but we were ahead of the masses and in no real hurry. We hit the parking lot right before 8:30, and we were on the lifts within 20 minutes. We did some runs on Mary Jane before we headed over to Vasquez Ridge to avoid the crowds and find some fresh pow.

The experiment I referred to in the title was that today for the first time, I would wear my Polar heart rate monitor to see how hard I was actually working while skiing. It didn't take long for me to realize that skiing gets the heart rate going a lot more than expected. The first run, Sleeper, was a non-groomed blue/black with good slope and lots of bumps. During a tough bump run, I saw HR numbers reach 180bpm which is a significant exertion for me. So maybe my legs being so tired after a tough day of skiing isn't such of a far stretch as I had previously thought. You can see my heart rate in the chart below, notice how it quickly recovers while on the lift which I attribute to lots of base miles on the bike.

Sarah got chilled and took a break, so I took the opportunity to pound out some runs on Vasquez Ridge. I skied nearly every run on the mountain, only missing two bump runs that dumped you out with a long, slow road that I wanted to avoid. I was doing a run in about 4 minutes with an 8 minute ride up the lift, just pounding out one after another.

Shortly after noon, we starting making our way across the mountain back towards the car. After seeing the lines on Mary Jane, we just opted to head to the car and beat the rush out of there. A day cut a bit short, but still pretty good totals.

35 miles
16,000 feet elevation drop
Avg speed around 11.7, top speed 45

Oh and the MDX? Still choice, and impressive motoring up the steep, twisty mountain roads packed with snow. I'll post up my 6 month impressions on my new silver chariot soon.


Jennifer Brandt said...

What's a Mary Jane?

Joel White said...

Its the best ski mountain in Coloraod (in my opinion)...