SkiBike Tour 2013-14 - Le Crozet Foggy Day

Posted: Sunday, 2 February 2014 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Last night heavy snow was forecast right down to the level of Geneva airport which is opposite my window, what twaddle. Torrential rain fell, all quite depressing and no different to the weather I left behind in London.
My hope was that a few hundred metres of elevation would have pushed things past freezing point and there would be freshies to ride today.

I made a split second decision to head for Crozet, it is only 20 minutes away, if the weather failed me I could come back in a flash. I also had lots of new toys to test out, if I met with failure it was good knowing that I was close to Geneva base camp. Lastly, if the weather closed in it was a place I have explored before, hopefully I wouldn't get lost.

I arrived before 09:00 expecting the place to be empty, but there was already a queue on the steps leading up to the gondolas.
I followed my standard protocol of making a ski based warm up. I had some new (to me) Salomon SB 9 Snow Blades to give a good working out on some real snow. I picked them up in the late summer off eBay for a steal. I know at one Andy Upsylon was running the next generation of SB 10 on his LenzSport, if it's good enough for Andy, it's definitely good enough for me.
For Salomon this era of design heralded a marked change from making mini-skis to a proper ski board. The side cut radius is typical of this style of ski, but they were substantially fatter than previous year's models and had the binding mounted dead centre and not offset to the rear.
On your feet they reward good technique, ski parallel with good weight distribution and plenty of angulation and they are a treat. But try to lazily skid around corners and you are informed that they are most decidedly not amused. At the same time I was able to replaced my tired Raichle Flexon ski boots, with a new old pair, exactly the same. Oh and in the correct size too, it seems my old pair, sold to me as size 8 were much closer to 11.
Skiing in fresh snow is tiring though, especially when you are as out of shape as I have become, after half a dozen runs I was getting exhausted.

The antidote was a trip back down the hill in the gondola to dig out my skibike. This too has benefited from some new features, the most obvious being some shiny new (to me) Line Mike Nick Pro skiboards. As a design they are the same vintage as the Marin frame and Alpine Skibikes adapters, so it's all locked in the same era now - Retro Skibike.

A mix of late 90's technology - my retro skibike

The riding was excellent, with a good foot of fresh snow on the ground and a temperature just below freezing point you couldn't ask for better. Sadly for most of the day visibility was an issue, but almost all the runs are through trees so at least you get some sense of speed and direction in such conditions. I alternated between every conceivable run and then did a whole pile of off-piste before ending the day with some speedy easy runs as the station began to empty.

New vs. old ski boards

I went back down the hill reassured that my skibike mojo is coming back to me and this is just day one. This season could be epic.