It's always fun being the first to the trails after a fresh snowstorm. Getting the first tracks is, at least for some, a big bonus. Maybe it's the feeling that you have the clean slate upon which to ink your personal interpretation. There are downsides of course. Breaking trail is more work than skiing, shoeing or biking on set track. That doesn't fly far with me though as I just view it as that I'm getting a better workout or more for the money so to speak. Setting track is also a great responsibility. It's like highlighting the important parts of a reference document; you don't want to be the nut that highlights all the wrong stuff so that when you sell the book at the end of the semester, the unlucky person who buys it flunks. Laying down track needs to be deliberate, consistent, well planned and precisely placed, or at least I think they do, dammit.
After shoveling and breakfast we geared up and ventured out in search of trails that had a plowed parking lot. We were happy to find that our first choice, the Carlisle Conservation land trails at Foss Farm not only had a partially plowed lot but also had four other vehicles there. So much for first tracks. We struck out onto the trails and saw a few other happy individuals enjoying the day and the fresh snow. At the junction of the Redtail Trail and the River Trail we opted for the un-tracked River Trail, which took us along the Concord River north.
We broke trail up to the Greenough Land and then headed back around toward Foss Farm. After some time on the open tundra with wind gusts whipping us around, we dipped back into the woods and onto the Redtail for the loop back. All in all an excellent loop which took us about an hour and fifteen minutes moving leisurely and was about 3.5 miles long (the GPS didn't get started until we were on the trail).
I had the chance to try out my new equipment on this adventure. I'd gotten a set of Salomon Snowscape 7 waxless XC touring skis with Salomon Pilot bindings and Salomon Pilot Pro Combi boots. Cathy has the same setup. The boots are extremely comfortable, have great support and should wear like iron based on the 15 year old Salomon Profil Combi predecessor they are replacing. This is a great system for this type of un-tracked terrain. The skis are a foam core glass cap design with a 51-59mm profile. Wide enough to float but not so big and heavy that they are cumbersome. Also cheap enough that you can use them on un-groomed terrain without having a heart attack when you hit a root or rock. The only downside to the system was that I kept getting ice built up on the Pilot binding's stabilizer arm. This then causes a bulge such that the center groove of the boot can't lay flat over the binding. This same thing happens to all systems I've ever tried as well as to snowshoe binding crampons, when you are in deep powder or wet snow. I'm thinking that I may try some tricks like putting electrical tape on the metal arm to try and keep the snow from sticking.
I've got to say that I'm really stoked with them though. As always, Chris hooked me up. Many thanks and it's nice to have the best XC shop in the region in my back yard. I'm also thinking that with all the new and existing Salomon gear I've got, Patrick should be able to retire shortly. I honestly love the stuff and have since I was in 8th grade. I've used their running shoes exclusively for the past 8 years, nordic and alpine skis, boots and bindings and XC pants as well. Good quality gear that won't let you down or inhibit your performance or enjoyment of the sport, and that is the bottom line for any gear that you really intend to use.