Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sugarloaf BX

Mother Nature cooperated today and it was a beautiful day for racing. Granted it was really cold but it's winter in Maine. We got to Sugarloaf, Whitney checked in and got busy with race day prep. They started with course inspection, a few practice runs, riders meeting, then started racing. I decided because it was so cold that I'd hang in the competition center for the first race and would hike up to see her in the second. It was a good plan especially since she only got one run per race and the only good place to watch was by the finish corral. You could see up the course some and there were other parents there so it was good.

Whitney said both races were good. She really enjoyed herself the second race. The first one included some shady riding, nothing illegal or anything she could protest, just stuff that left her and the other UMF rider really irritated. She said the second race was great, lots of fun. There were four open class riders today so good competition. She had ridden against the three others at some point as had one of the other riders, the other two had ridden against two of the other riders so they were all pretty familiar with each other and had all beaten each other at some point so they were pretty evenly matched. Whitney ended with a fourth and a second, a good day at the races.

There were two other UMF riders and a freeskier there today. One was racing with Whitney (she came in third and fourth), one was in jams men and the skier was also in jams men. I liked what I saw of the new coach, I think he'll do well and Whitney likes him.

I'm not sure what's up next. She had planned to take the next few weekends off especially with the possibility of a job but the UMF team is talking about going to the BX races at Holiday Valley in the Western NY series the last weekend of January. The other possibility of upcoming races is a BX race at Stratton, VT and a GS race at Mount Sunapee, NH the first weekend of February. The next weekend she'll be coming home for the BX at Massanutten. She can't wait to race there again and I can't wait to watch her. It's usually good viewing at Massanutten since you can see almost the whole course.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mother Nature Needs to Cooperate

The weather this winter has been a bit on the crazy side. We had very cold weather in Virginia over Christmas, unusually cold weather but it didn't bring any snow with it. It was good for snowmaking at Massanutten. They built a new retaining pond for snowmaking (and watering the golf courses) and thought they'd save some water for when it was cold. Only problem was that the levels were low enough that the water froze. No snowmaking!

It had been very cold in Maine as well but then it warmed up. It was very warm when we got up here Thursday night. Yesterday was still warm and they said a cold front was going to come through and we'd go into the deep freeze again. I think the front must have moved slower than they thought it was because it was still above freezing when we left this morning. Yesterday was rainy and foggy, especially over the rivers. Today it started off raining, then we went through about five minutes of freezing rain before it turned to sleet. On the drive up to Sugarloaf this morning we started off with a temperature about 35* and rain but as we got closer to the Loaf it got colder and the sleet did turn to snow. I'm not sure how much we got since the wind was also blowing but maybe an inch or two. The temperatures also dropped to 19* by the time we left in the afternoon.

So the crazy rain then cold and snow have left the race schedule in tatters. We got a message on the way up that there would be no racing today. I overheard a Sugarloaf employee saying that they had been out since 3am cleaning the ice off the lift chairs and weren't nearly done and this was at 8:00. Today instead of having time trials and race 1 they did practice (a very shortened one to make up for yesterday) and then time trials. Tomorrow they'll do both races.

This morning besides waiting for lift chairs to get cleaned off they were waiting for the temperatures to drop a bit so the snow would firm up some. From all the rain yesterday the snow was very soft and probably a tad on the unsafe side. I got a look up the mountain as we were leaving and there were big sheets of ice. Days like yesterday do a lot of damage to the snow.

Here's to a good race day tomorrow.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Really, Maine?

We're back in Maine; came up Thursday so Whitney could make it to the practice day on Friday and be ready to race BX on the weekend. After a very frustrating morning of phone calls and texts, trying to keep up with information, the Maine Mountain series directors and Sugarloaf decided it was best to cancel the practice.

It was very foggy this morning when we got up and that later turned to rain. The UMF coach was going to hold practice later in the morning and the BX practice was moved from this morning to the afternoon. Instead of doing any snowboarding today we emptied her car, put away all her clothes, books, etc. that she had brought home over break, took a drive, went to the movies, caught up on a few shows we missed, and went grocery shopping so she had snacks for the day tomorrow.

The fog turned to rain which turned into harder rain, then back to just fog, then to rain again. It's been a long day trying to pass the time. She heard from a friend that lives close to Sugarloaf that they closed the mountain early today because of the unrelenting rain and fog. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. A strong cold front is supposed to come through which is supposed to bring freezing rain, then sleet finally turning to snow tomorrow afternoon. If the fog doesn't lift much I may end up just hanging out in the lodge for the day instead of hiking to the bottom of the race course. We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

First Race of the Season, Massanutten GS 1 & 2

We're at Massanutten for the first race of the season, giant slalom. Of course it's one of the coldest days of the winter and one of the coldest days we've had in a long, long time. The temperature when we got up was about 3* with a wind chill of about -7*. Really cold for Virginia. Really cold for a race day. Thankfully the lodge is nice and warm. Bob is helping as a race official today and tomorrow, something he likes to do when the races are down here.

Whitney is racing today and tomorrow and will likely have one other GS race this winter before she goes to USCSA Nationals. I think she's planned to do the GS in New Hampshire which I'll get up for. Next weekend she starts her BX races.

Sunday actually ended up being the colder of the mornings, it was -6* when we got up. Both days went well for her but she was so much faster on Sunday. Her combined time on Saturday was 1:14, on Sunday it was 1:00.02. She was so mad that she didn't break one minute! She had a really good time racing with her friends on the Massanutten team; I enjoyed catching up with some of the parents. It was an overall small group racing and most kids were the only ones in their age bracket, a few had two or three racing. Whitney of course was the only open class woman so she added a couple more blue ribbon medals to her collection. Racing the GS was a good way to start the season. She's got her first races under her belt, on to the BX races in Maine Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

BRRR!! Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Wow, we've been in the deep freeze for quite a while now. It's so bad that we're excited that it's going to be above freezing tomorrow. Whitney is really glad to be home for break right now, with the wind chill it hasn't been much above zero recently in Maine. That makes for very, very cold days snowboarding.

Her first race is this weekend at Massanutten, giant slalom. It's going to be way colder than we had thought; some of the coaches there said it was going to be in the single digits this weekend. Brr. Especially since she's had problems keeping her feet warm. We may need to look into foot warmers for her boots. It would not be good if she got frostbite on her toes.

The downside of all this cold is that there isn't any snow around. We got an inch at Massanutten when we were down last week and some of that is still around since it's been that cold but we haven't had a good snowfall yet. This cold would be a bit more bearable if we had a nice covering of snow. There's an outside chance we may get some here on Wednesday night/Thursday morning but it looks like the best part of the storm will be further east. I did hear that there's talk of a blizzard from the storm up in Maine; just glad Whitney doesn't need to get back up there anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Race Season is *Just* Around the Corner

It's almost December and that means that race season is just around the corner. Season passes (yes, plural) are bought and the ski resorts up north are open. Whitney has been on the slopes once already. A friend of hers from Virginia was at Sunday River for a camp with the Gould Academy and Whitney went over to meet him for a day of riding and dinner. The team hasn't started on slope practices yet and I'm not sure they will before the end of the semester. They don't have snow yet at Titcomb, where they practice during the week and there's only a week and a half of classes left before finals.

Sunday River fun

She's got season passes for both Sugarloaf (which is also good at Sunday River) and Massanutten. She'll need the Sugarloaf one for practice and some races. She'll be home long enough over Christmas to get good use out of her Massanutten one and she's also racing down here twice. All the schedules are out and she's working on her plans but she's going to race GS at Massanutten in early January while she's home, then she'll fly home in February to race BX. She hasn't let me know her other race dates yet so I haven't made any travel plans but I'm hoping to get up to see her race a couple of times as well as going to both Nationals races.

The best news, so far, is that her new snowboard came in just in time for her birthday. She was super excited about it and it looks awesome. The board is so her - her favorite color is represented well, her home state prominent in the design and her home mountain and summer home are marked. Now she just needs that new pair of bindings and she'll be good to ride. Her board was sent home and she left it here when she went back to school; she said she wasn't going to have much time to ride plus she's got two boards at school. She's going to run out of room soon in her dorm room!

her new board

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Getting to Be That Time of Year Again

It may still be 80* in Virginia but the leaves are changing and falling, Copper Mountain got 24" of snow recently, Sugarloaf had a dusting. Winter, snow, and snowboard season will be here before we know it.

Things are slowly starting to fall into place. Whitney is captain of the women's snowboard/freeski team. We talked about getting a private coach again this winter but UMF has a new snowboard coach so it was decided to see how that goes first. She's started dryland practice and has spent a lot of time in the gym already. She's also back to the trainers at school to help keep her body working.

One of her big purchases this fall will be a new race board. She's working with a friend to design a custom graphic for it and hopefully will have it ordered soon. That also means new bindings. At least she got the boots last winter.

Schedules are starting to come out. Maine Mountain Series has theirs done and I'm sure the rest of the USASA series are working on it. The Hole Shot Tour races are also posted so it's almost time to start making travel plans. I know I'll be at Lake Placid for USCSA Nationals in March and at Copper Mountain for USASA Nationals/Hole Shot Tour in April. Hopefully I'll be able to get to a few more races this winter as well.

Here's to a snowy winter!