We enjoyed temperatures ranging from the 20s to the 50s, and clear, starry nights. Lassen Volcanic is known for having some of the darkest night skies in the U.S., and it didn’t disappoint: we got amazing views of the Milky Way, stars we had almost forgotten existed amid the bright lights of the Biggest Little City.
Although snow conditions aren’t nearly as grim this year as they were in 2012, we could really use quite a bit more snow — at least to refresh what’s there. But one makes do — after all, you don’t ski on the snow you wish you had …
We’ve been asked, “What kind of skiing is this? Is it downhill skiing?” Well … sort of. It’s a combination of shuffling along on skis, usually uphill, and gliding downhill when possible. We don’t use wax to prevent slipping downhill; instead, we use climbing skins, which have a short-nap, carpeted surface with a sticky backing. Clips on either end keep them fully attached to the ski. They were once made from real sealskin.
Skins are like 4WD for skis — with them, one can ascend straight up slopes that would take much more time and energy to ascend any other way. When it’s time to remove them, a quick r-r-r-rip! gets them off the skis. You fold ’em up, put ’em in your pack, and away you go!