Monday, January 30, 2012

Montana Pond Hockey

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Gliding has many common themes in the winter... We love them all. Skating feels like cutting the ice, smoothly sliding along the edge of steel. With so little resistance, the momentum available to the skater is incredibly high and makes skating on the flats so efficient. In fact skating down a hill would be terrifying.

The Lifeline of Skating: a Puck
  • JL
  • The Lifeline of Skating: a Puck

Downhill, that is left to skiing, a rather similar sport especially skate skiing. The action of skating uses more muscles than down hilling does with a premium on the powerful groin muscles as well as quads. Effective cross training in the winter includes both disciplines of skiing and skating. Blessed in western Montana with great places for all the sliding sports, Lake Como was great skating earlier this winter before the big snows. Now we have the local ponds where skaters convene in teams: red pinneys and the others and chase the black disc. For hours and hours. Always amazed at the draw of the rubber disc, hugging it to your stick and feeling it slide across the smooth ice is a sensual experience.

Skate skiers convene in Pattee Canyon and Lolo Pass and Lake Como and Skalkaho trails, waxless gliders do their thing at Lolo and Lost Trail Passes and across the golf courses and campuses of the valleys given the right conditions. And the backcountry skiers bring it to whichever slopes they can find good access and surface conditions, from the once in a decade run down Mount Sentinel to the yearly pilgrimage to Lolo Peak and Trapper Peak and so many others.

With the canyons of Western Montana filling in from the recent storms, I find myself switching from skiing the faces to longer more extended tours up the major and minor drainages of the Bitterroot and Mission Ranges. With peak to creek skis the ultimate experience in the world of Backcountry skiing, they are opening up to us for this brief window where we must exact all the disciplines to pull skiing them off before they melt away in another month or two.

Skiing Bass Creek
  • JL
  • Skiing Bass Creek

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