K2inCanada's Blog

January 29, 2018

Summing up January

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 11:01 PM

Darn, I wanted to be more diligent again with my blogging this year but January just flew by. Anyhow, here a summary of all the weekend activities for January. Temperatures were rather mild and lots of rain.

Jan 6-7, was a mix of skiing and paddling. It was rather warm in Manning that Saturday with 0C. Quite different from our last ski there, which was on day 1 of our 9 day long 6th annual ski trip around southeastern BC (blog to follow soon) when the temps hit -17C. That was too cold for me. No worry this time around and I did not burn my toes again after a 3+hr ski at 0C, my first 30km long ski of the season. Loppet season is just around the corner. The trails were a bit iffy with lots of frozen snow bombs on the trails. There were a few occasions where arms were flailing and one ski was up in the air while I was trying to stray up after hitting an unexpected bump on the descents. Other than that, the snow was extremely fast. Jeff loved it, it was good for double polling. My skins skis worked great for me with enough grip in and out of the tracks.

Sunday was a very wet and rather cold, blowy day in town. Jeff and I had planned to go for a paddle but we needed some motivation to leave the warm house. And what better to get us going than the promise of a race. Matt and Chris were putting on the 1st annual Winter Delta Race out of Deas Slough, two laps of 5km. As mentioned before it was wet and cold and we decided to bring out the Accord, our trainer K2, since it had cockpits, in the hopes of staying a bit warmer than in the double surfski. Mind you, we hadn’t paddled that thing in quite some time and both of us are struggling with balance these days. So this was going to be interesting. When we arrived at the starting area they even was a little tarp set up for us to huddle underneath while waiting for the start. Nobody wanted to go on the water early. Warm ups are highly overrated, especially in mid Winter :-). About 12 people came out, most of them hard core TNR paddlers. The race went okay but it was hard!! Much harder than I thought it should feel. Shane was way ahead! We had a race to the finish line with Chris and just nipped him by a boat length. Did I mention it was cold and wet and windy? With the race finally in the bag, we could head for the pub. Warm food and cold beers was what I needed. Matt and Chris even had prizes for everyone. A great little winter “fun” event.


Mind you, I could feel the effort all week long….gym workouts felt very hard.

Jan 13-14. First loppet weekend. We had to make a choice . Three of the six classic loppets we usually do each season were all schedule for the same day. Not sure what Cross Country BC is thinking when they put schedules together. Originally one of them, Sun Peaks, was supposed to be on Saturday and Manning’s Blackwall Bash and the Apple Loppet in Kelowna were schedule for Sunday. So our plan had been to ski Sun Peaks Saturday and Manning Sunday. But then the Sun Peaks people moved their loppet to Sunday as well and we ended up skiing Manning both days that weekend, one of them the Blackwall Bash. Saturday was just for fun (me) / 50km distance training (Jeff). The trails were in slightly better shape than the week before but it was even warmer and still many snow bombs littered the trails. There was a tree down on North Gibsons but one could get by – just.

We were lucky to get a last minute room at the lodge – they had been sold out for weeks prior to the event – which we shared with John. There were a few other buddies of ours staying at the lodge and I think we drank a few too many pitchers of beer Saturday evening.

Loppet day started out overcast, with low hanging clouds, although the forecast was for sun. Peter and I started 30min ahead of everyone since we were the slowest skiers by about 30min :-). Usually Peter is a much faster skier than I but for some odd reason in the past 2 years I made it up that damn mountain, 850m of continuous climbing, ahead of him. But this years goal was not only to stay ahead of Peter but also to stay ahead off Jeff who would start 30min behind! Last year we were separated by just over 30min. I went off hard, much harder than I should have to shake Peter but he stayed behind me for quite some time. It took the first little bit of a flatter section, where I could double pole, to drop him. By about the 7km mark we broke through the clouds and from then on it was skiing in the sun under blue skies. It was warm too!! Too hot and I was struggling not even half way. I was the first to make it to the lookout, halfway at the 8km mark, and Jo was cheering me on. That renewed the energy a bit. At km 10 though, the first two skaters passed me. They had started 45min after I did.  They finished the whole damn race in less time than it took me to the halfway point :-). At the 13/14km mark I could hear another classic skier behind me. But lucky for me it wasn’t Jeff. I was sooo tired but pushed on. My heel on my left food was on fire. More and more skaters past me, including John, which didn’t really help. But at the end I finished a couple minutes ahead of Jeff :-). I was happy. Skins worked well for me again. The sunshine was beautiful with the fog filling up the valleys below us. I took my time going down. Well except when the fog swallowed us up again after the lookout. The one bad thing, I had a huge blister on my left heel which broke open during the race. Hence no hot tub that day. And it really hurt for a couple of days.


Jan 20-21. Second loppet weekend. The Reino Keiski Salmo loppet in Salmon Arms. We left mid day Friday since the loppet starts early on Sat and it is a 5+hr drive. John came with us again.

Loppet day was overcast with a very light snow. Larch Hills had gotten 3-5cm of fresh snow that night before the groom. Tracks were in good shape but a bit slow. It was about -3 or -2C at the start. I used my skins again. This course is 2 laps of 17km. It’s a lot of up and down really, although there is only one extended climb at about 8km. I started hard and was not the last person out of the stadium, yeah, but it did not take long for everyone to catch me. I hung on though and somehow miraculously passed a whole bunch again on the long uphill. Normally, everyone passes me on the downhill but not this year. I managed to stay ahead till the end of lap one but that’s when it hit me. My leg started to get heavy. Paddling friend Philippa flew by me and was doing all I could to keep her in site but the distance increased steadily. Last 4km and my so beloved skins started to ice up. Rats. I was walking and Philippa was gone. More people started passing me again. I was done. I managed to kick the snow off again after about a kilometer of limping but all the energy was gone. Disappointed, I finished the race. I was not dead last but I felt I should have done better (not sure why since I really don’t train). Ready to quit skiing right there and then.

The boys wanted to ski at Stake Lake the next day. So we spent that night in Kamloops, again drinking way too much beer and eating way too much food.

It was very windy at Stake Lake on Sunday morning and lightly snowing. I wasn’t really looking forward to get out there but then the guy at the ticket booth told us about a moose and calf sighting that morning, and that past week a family of 8 lynx had been seen along the inner trails. Despite the wind and my vow from yesterday to never ski again, I was eager to go see my moose and the cats. Due to the wind, we reversed our usual ski direction and I started out were the moose was seen. Could not find them though, only the fresh tracks all over.  Then up the big hill to the high point, my legs started reminding me about my decision from the day before but the moose/cat stories kept me going. The tracks were filling in with fresh snow and even the downhills were slow. At the lower end of the trial system which is more open, the wind was howling. Luckily, it was mostly a tailwind and with temperatures around 0C it did not feel too terribly cold. At one point the wind pushed me along a flat section of the trail. For the most part though it was a slow grind. Never got to see any moose or cats or anything really but blowing snow and the odd skier. Still, glad to be out there and enjoy nature and fresh air, getting me ready for a week at my desk again.


Jan 27-28. A sleep-in both days weekend – yeah. Lots of rain in the forecast. We initially wanted to go to Whistler but they just got dumped on with fresh and we ended up going to Manning again. Jeff needed to train for his two 50km loppets in Feb.

If you go for the afternoon ski in Manning (start past 12:15PM) you pay only half price and you get off the trails just in time for the pup to open at 4PM after a 30min soak in the hot tub and cool down in the pool. Pretty civilized. But the day did not quite start that way. We were 15min early to leave home but when we drove out of the drive way we heard this clunk noise in the car. And again and again, every time we turned the stirring wheel. How can a car break siting in the drive way? We drove it last time on Wednesday for night skiing at Cypress (which was awfully soggy) and everything was fine. Anyhow, usually not a big deal since we have a truck with M&S tires but unfortunately the truck was in Penticton. Jeff’s parent had borrowed it since none of their cars is winterize. So the only other car we had was Jeff’s mom’s Nissan Versa with summer tires. And the law on BC highways says you have to have winter tires. Not all was lost though since buddy John was coming with us again and his Mazda 3 does have winter tires. So we loaded everything from the Golf into the Versa, drove out to Surrey to load everything from the Versa into the Mazda. The Mazda is quite a nice car but not quite as roomy as a Golf Wagon (or maybe only because I usually do not sit in the back :-)) and it does not go up the hills as smoothly as the turbo diesel that was sitting in our driveway :-(. But we made it to Manning with enough time for a ski, hot tub and beer. Manning also had gotten quite a bit of snow and the tracks were filled in with powder. It was still snowing and the going was slow, not ideal for Jeff’s training. I took it easy. But this was the first time ever my skin ski completely deserted me – they iced up right at the start (we started at the bottom that day) and I had to switch to my crown which worked great. Up North Gibsons the snow was so deep I could not see my skis and it was more walking than skiing. And near the end I came across a group of trees down. It was just possible to squeeze yourself underneath them while sitting on your skis. Not 500m later there was another group of trees down. No easy way to get by those, other than wading through hip deep snow. I turned around instead. The downhill was fun in the fresh powder. Maybe I should pick up downhill skiing? A nice day outdoors!

Sunday was as wet as the forecast promised. It started out with a drizzle in the AM. Since our car was still broken and we have no roof rack for the Versa we could not take the boats to the Cove. Luckily the river was high all morning long with a small incoming tide. Jeff didn’t feel like paddling in the rain but I was itching for some boat time. So I took my sufkski and walked it to the river by myself. Paddled for ~90min up to Arthur Liang Bridge and back. It was wet and the wind picked up on the way back. Mostly had the river to myself except for the ducks ans seagulls and a couple tug boats blocking the small channel around Mitchell Island on my way back. Trying to get past a tug parking a barge and a tug towing a log boom in that narrow channel at the same time was near impossible. But it all got sorted out. I guess the logging industry does not take days off. Not the most scenic or exciting paddle ever but I was glad to get out in a boat. Below the story of my 4-Bridges North Fraser trip in pictures:


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