Archive for April, 2010

Winter Camping with Shejumps

Posted in Ski Jumping on April 11, 2010 by Vanessa Pierce

I was invited by Shejumps to go on a winter camping adventure. Of course the first thought in my mind was how cold I was going to be, but decided to go on an adventure. This was something I had never done before, but have wanted to do. This year seems like a good year to try new things. With a break from jumping I have been able to do some new things. I had always put things on hold to train, travel, or compete in Ski Jumping, but this year I am making time to have new adventures. It’s good for my soul!
The destination for the winter camping was up in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Willow Creek area. I had packed my big pack the night before hoping I was not forgetting anything. I looked at the list, and made sure I had everything. I have learned from my traveling experices to check a few times. The pack was heavy, at least 45lbs packed with everything I needed to skin up, cook food, sleep, and enough clothes to keep me warm. I had done a bunch of tours before, but not with a heavy pack like this. As I slowly made my way through the aspen trees it reminded me lifting weights almost. Each step a little bit harder with the extra weight. The skin trail was great. There were not too many steep places, but a nice gradual trail through the aspen trees. The light shining through the aspens at 7pm was colorful and kept me motivated to keep seeing what was around the next switchback.

It did not take too long until we could hear some call outs through the trees. We called out back and fourth until we could see their bright colors through the aspens. Some of the group had come earlier, and some were coming later. As we got there we immediately started digging a hole for our tent. You want the tent a little protected so digging a small pit was ideal. The other ladies slowly assembled through out the night, and the last one coming up alone at midnight. Props to Laura for skinning alone in the dark.
After setting up the tent and putting on all my layers it was time to dig out a kitchen, and a fire pit area. All the girls were diging out a pit for a fire in the middle with seats and back rests around. It was such an awesome set up. We sat around the fire going around the circle talking about random things, and learning new things about each other. I met four new women, so that was pretty cool. It was neat to have twelve women up in the woods with the same interest having a great time. Claire cooked us an awesome meal of quinoa, and brats. Food always taste so much better when you are outside!
Shortly after dinner it was time to hit the hay. Winter camping makes bed time an adventure all in itself. We packed three girls into the tent for body heat, which was a great idea. We all had our own sleeping mats, sleeping bags, and a whole lot of clothing on. I learned that dry socks were really key in staying warm, as well as going pee. Your body spends a lot of energy keeping urine warm, but if you go to the bathroom your body can use that energy to heat the rest of your body. I put one pair of dry socks on with a foot warmer beween a second pair of socks. This kept my feet warm all night, or I don’t think I would have been able to sleep. I slept quite well considering we were outside.
I woke in the morning to the sunlight coming through the tent. We made some coffee, ate some awesome that Claire made. One of the girls brought a sled, so we all took our turn down the course each time getting faster and faster. It was great to see all of these women having fun in the woods. We slowly took down camp and packed our bags. I was really looking forward to the ski down. I like going downhill, that has never been a problem for me. So with twelve girls all packed with huge packs we set off into the aspen glades. It was so fun to see all the colorful ladies weaving in and out of the aspens with our huge packs on. The skiing was quite good, and we hit the corn cycle perfect that morning. This was just an intro to winter camping, and skiing. Next time we will go farther in, and do some more touring.
I have learned for next time to pack as light as possible while bringing the proper equipment and right layers, and I cannot wait to have another fun winter camping adevnture.


New Skiing Adventure

Posted in Ski Jumping on April 11, 2010 by Vanessa Pierce

It has been quite a while since my last blog post. I have been doing all sorts of new, and fun things including skiing in my first Big Mountain skiing competition. The competition was held at Snowbird, and it was the World Championships of Freeskiing. It was a new and refreshing experience for me. I was able to compete in a sport I love without the pressure and expectations. It was great to compete again, I think I was missing that. It was new and fresh which was defiantly something I needed. I have been Ski Jumping competitively for 19 years, so it was time for a little change. I have always enjoyed skiing when I had time between jumping, but this year I was able to ski a lot more. It was fun to do something away from the Ski Jumping world, and get my mind off of it.
The conditions for the qualifier day at Snowbird weren’t ideal, but hey it’s a winter sport and it is what it is. The qualifier was on West Baldy at Snowbird. West being the keyword. In the spring the west facing slopes get a lot of sun, which makes the snow nice and mushy like mash potatoes. The problem is when it freezes overnight, and becomes a boiler plate come time for the competition. I skied pretty hard, but didn’t push it too much. This was my first shot at competitive skiing, so I had no expectations. The snow conditions made it rough but I qualified 2nd, and was able to compete in day 1 on Silver fox.
Silver fox is right under the tram and is a north facing slope. We had about 3 inches of new snow the night before, so that added to the north slope made the snow much more ideal. I was 2nd to run the venue. I picked a line down a chute with a mandatory cliff out at the bottom. I had no problem with the difficult top part of the line, but caught the back of my ski, and went for a rag doll. I flipped and flopped over and over again. Interesting crash, but the skis didn’t come off, so I was able to finish my run ending in 21st place. Obviously falling is not ideal for moving onto the 2nd day, so that was the end of my free skiing adventure. I did see lots of great skiing from the other women and look forward to skiing with them again next year. I had a great time doing something new and refreshing. It was something that I had wanted to do for a little time, so felt good to get it out of my system.