The temperatures here in Ottawa have been absolutely perfect for outdoor activities. We seemed to have escaped the often experienced January thaw followed a few days later by a flash freeze turning every flat surface into something lethal. That, coupled with the major snowfall we had last Wednesday made for perfect ski conditions...or so we thought...
After the Snow Event (note the proper noun status) of Wednesday, I spent Thursday nursing a pulled muscle in my back. Friday afternoon, it was sunny and I dare say warm. So, we waxed our skis and headed out to the wetlands. We knew, given the accumulation, that we would spend a lot of our time trailsetting. We did that, encountered another friend of ours who also uses the wetlands to ski, and were convinced that the next day - which was yesterday - would be even better.
So, we waxed up after doing our weekly housecleaning, and headed to the wetlands. The day was sunny, the temperatures hovering around 0C and our spirits, not to mention our expectations, high. We entered the wetlands, our skis waxed for warm-ish conditions...and found ourselves slipping and sliding all over the place anyway. The sunshine, beaming on the wetlands proper, had certainly fixed the trails we had set, but it also made for a very slick venture. Some parts of the wetlands are in some semblance of shade, mostly in the form of trails sufficiently deep into the snow that the resulting sides shaded the trail itself, but we found ourselves skidding and slipping anyway. We made it from the southern entrance (Hunt Club Road and Airport Parkway) all the way to Walkley - but we decided then to just ski back and call it a day as opposed to our original plans of doing the whole route twice.
The sky was clouding over by the time we were about half way back and that reduced amount of sunshine actually made for a slightly easier going. Yes, the amount of sunshine - high or low - can affect trail conditions in a very short time but that often means that there is no real way anyone can properly wax for such fickleness. You gotta take what's there and work with it the best you can, which is what we did.
Make no mistake, we enjoyed ourselves a lot even though we both fell down (I did a few times) but the easy time we thought we would have just didn't work out that way. Slogging through conditions will definitely help to keep me in good enough shape for the upcoming trike season just as the long trike season keeps me in shape for skiing.
So now, with yet more snow in the forecast (YAY!!!), and my having reached the 50 kilometre mark yesterday, I am increasingly convinced that I will meet my stated goal of doing 100 kilometres this skiing season. I don't give myself a deadline date because the ski season can extend into early April here...or it can be done by early January. In this time of climate change, there is no way to truly know anymore.