Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Grunge - What makes a good ski partner

Jared's late
I've had several conversations over the past couple months about what makes a good ski partner.  My outing with Jared yesterday was a good example of many good (some bad) qualities.  Here's a short list.

1. BE ON TIME!  We were supposed to meet at 5:30.  This was the only day I had to sleep in this week but I decided to get up early.  If I'm not going to hit my snooze button I don't want the person I'm skiing with to hit it either.  At 5:25 I got a text saying Jared forgot something and that he might be a minute or two late.  10 mins later he comes rolling up.  Turns out he would have been able to run back home and still be on time but in a rush to make it he was pulled over.  88 mph on the on ramp is too fast?  Who would have thought.  At least the since of urgency to be on time was there.  Luckily he's a lawyer and got out of a ticket.

2.  Have similar goals.  I wanted to go HUGE yesterday and even had a pretty good tour in mind but the forecast was less than favorable for an all day outing (60 degrees).  We talked about it and agreed to head to Timp and check out the Grunge and possibly hit Cold Fusion as well.
Jared sharing the breaking duties
3. Don't be lazy.  I don't think trail breaking needs to be 50/50.  It should be whatever's going to give the team the best chance of success.  If that means one of the partners breaking trail all day so be it.  Just be willing to do your share. We took turns and moved fairly well all day.

Several hard jumps
4. Equal (or similar) risk tolerance.  Jared wrote about his risk tolerance here.  Andy and Twight went up the Grunge the day before and told us there was dry, stable,  sheltered powder but as we entered the chute, we found a 2 foot deep supportable slab.  We talked about bailing and decided to dig a little.  If there were any warning signs we were both ready to go home.  After isolating several columns with no results we dug a rutschblock.  This took several hard jumps to fail and the shear was far from clean.  Feeling good about this we continued.  
Led to this
5.   Be psyched for adventure, even if parts of the day a awful   No one wants to spend the day with a partner who isn't psyched to be there.  Sometimes it's cold, or wet, or you don't feel like walking in your ski boots.  It's all part of the fun and too much complaining gets old. As far as being a good partner's concerned, I think excitement, to a certain extent, out weighs skill.  I would rather ski with beginner who's loving the experience than some unenthused expert.  Jared and I have both been working too much so we were loving it!

Jared mid choke
6. Sense of humor.  At some point in the day you should be laughing.  Whether it's making fun of each other, joking about the huge cornice that's about to fall on you, or just loving the skiing, conversation should be fun.
Monster conices threatening all day
Our tunnel 
7. Good vision.  Although our idea of skiing the Grunge was far from original, we tossed around a bunch of ideas for the future.  Coming up with a good idea's half the battle and skiing with some one who can contribute to the tick list is a big plus.
Jared near the top
8. Know your limits.  You can ski like crap (I did),  get scared (Jared did), or want to bail because you're uncomfortable.  Just don't be a liability.  When Jared said, "wow, this is kind of steep/scary."  I didn't think he meant, "wow, there's a good chance I'm going to fall and you're going to need to carry me out."  When he saw my ugly turns I hope he wasn't thinking that that either.

At the end of the day weather blew in and we called it quits after the Grunge.  It wasn't the huge day I was hoping for but it was stellar nonetheless. The above list is far from complete but that's all I can think of right now.  Let me know what I missed.
Just above the choke
Exiting the Grunge


  1. funny you posted this today, as did the same. Between the two articles, this is comprehensive and thought-provoking. Thank you for you take on it!

    1. Thanks for the link Brody. Looks like you're having a good time oversees, keep the instagram pics coming! They make for a good diversion when I'm stuck inside.

  2. I was going to point that out, but it looks like Brody beat me to it:

    I do like what you included about vision, sense of humor, and psych. While I suppose that I hinted at those in the post that I wrote, I didn't get at it explicitly. The value of a partner who can laugh at the wind while it stacks rime ice on the windward side of his face is so much greater an asset than one who's just a trail breaking machine.

    I guess we were on the same wavelength for the day. Cheers!

    1. I guess we were on the same wavelength. Great write up! Thanks for sharing.