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Home > Magazine > Skis > Snowlife is Marvelous: Tracks, Treads and Traction

Snowlife is Marvelous: Tracks, Treads and Traction
January 11, 2016

Here are a few things which seem marvelous to me...

*Sharp ice skates with strong ankles driving them along in perfect balance and relaxation.

*Boots creaking on packed powder snow.

*Walking through the snow. ...If you're not post-holing.

*Walking a walking-packed snow path. Nice square tread. About 2 ft wide.

*Snowshoeing.

*Snowshoeing a nicely tromped-in snowshoe path with a nice square tread. ("Tread" means the level of the surface being trod upon.)

*A well skied-in ski trail snaking up and down through terrain, sometimes with tight turns. Where the skiers are always going the same direction through. The step turns all get the same marks. A nice firm stable skiing surface is created. It's a work of art. It takes artfulness to create it. Artful skiing that is. Or, just plain skiing. I think it's cute how, generally, skis will be used in the same pattern each time through a piece of terrain. ...But if skier skill and maybe even size varies enough this might change a bit. Or a lot. If we're talking non-skiers.

*When BC skiing, no tracks are usually best. But the uptrack back up a slope can become a thing of mesmerizing beauty. Enjoy.

*Various trail users all using a nice snow trail surface. Each user leaving his mark but none too deeply to mess anything up for the others. All the different sign. I enjoy marveling at various boot treads. I like seeing the nowax ski patterns left after a nowax ski stops during its brief second to grip. But zero nowax marks might be a little sweeter yet to see.

*Snows all around. ...Driving in a snowstorm. Or in dicey conditions. Packed powder, ideally. But I mean vehicle tires that grip, bite and do what they're supposed to do, transforming what could be a sketchy situation into pure delight. Perhaps this miracle is more common now, with AWD and traction-control, 4WD, etc. But Hakkapelittas ain't bad neither. And a couple years ago in a blizzard the Town Car with snows all around sure was doing better than 90% of other vehicles on the freeway, during a blizzard, in 8" of snow -- with every single one of the other vehicles more modern by far. Like, I could still go 50 while they were 20. It was interesting to come up on the creeping lines of new AWD snails. ...Something about those snows.

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