Skiing To Work

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4 thoughts on “Skiing To Work

  1. Ah, for proper street skiing you need the following:

    1. An old pair of skate skis you really don’t care about. Preferably with some markings from US Nats 10 or 12 years ago.
    2. A big snowstorm. 4-8 inches won’t do it. 8-12 might. 2013′s 18-30? Yup, that worked.
    3. A storm that cranks over the “benchmark” (40ºN 70ºW) and starts warm but turns cold. If you have a cold storm (like what we just had) the snow never really binds to the pavement, it just blows around. Warm the whole time and it turns to slush. What you need is a storm that starts warm, puts down some concrete, and then turns cold, freezing it in place as a base for more snow to fall.
    4. Enough snow that they don’t salt it until it’s cleared. With small storms, they’ll salt through the storm to keep the roads clear. With large storms, they don’t salt until the end, because they’d just wind up plowing most of it off.
    5. Heavy snow to keep things fresh. 1″ per hour is just about right.
    6. A coastal front which quickly pushes down temperatures once it gets cold. In 2013, it went from 30 to 20 in an hour. That was a nice base.
    7. Not so much traffic you can’t ski around them. An afternoon commute gridlock is all well and good, but I’d rather have empty roads.

    Last February was the bee’s knees. In the evening even the steepest hills were nicely groomed by plows and had 2-4 inches of powder on top at any given time. No road-scraping bottoming out, either, just nice, fast skating and nice turns on the downhills. The next morning, with the snow still pounding, major roads like the J-Way were well-packed by the little bit of traffic, which was going skier speed. That was a once-every-decade storm, though. But it taught me something on what you really need for good and proper street skiing.

  2. I tried skiing back home from the downtown parking garage on a snow emergency, but the sidewalks were covered by plowed-up snow from the streets which had so much sand mixed in that the skis wouldn’t slide well. It seemed like a good idea, but walking turned out to work better.

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