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Sand Skiing - Great Sand Dunes - Early October?

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  • Sand Skiing - Great Sand Dunes - Early October?

    Who's up for continuing the tradition of resetting the ski season on sand? [Note there's a thread for Bruneau on here somewhere too.]

    Well, September is kind of a mess, as always, and cesare has indicated he's unlikely to find the time this year. So I'll be heading there October 4 - 6, and I'll be skiing even if no one else is. Yes, it is common to have a mix of skiers and non-skiers on the sand trips. 10/4 is a new moon, BTW.

    As usual, the plan is to camp at the Great Sand Dunes National Park campground and take things from there. There are no reservations at the CG in October - first come, first served, with two vehicles per site.

    Since all the past info on TTips is now out of reach.... a quick summary...

    You'll get some sucky views from the CG (from 2012):

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    The dunes are the tallest in N. America, but we usually ski a ~400' dune at the right edge of dunes in the above pic. The weather can be anything from relatively hot in the day to sub-freezing at night. Rain brings cold, but that's OK - you'll get something that is easiest to describe as corn sand that skis a lot faster.

    You don't need (or want) skins. There's enough friction on the sand for a fairly quick climb, at least on teles. Snowboards and alpine skis work, but you'll have to carry them up the dunes, which results in a significant fun unit reduction. AT bindings work too, but I'd be wary of using AT or alpine bindings you care about.

    The skin track, on corn sand (from 2009):

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    The pic below shows a nice selection of sand-appropriate skis from cesare's library (from 2010). They all have fairly simple tele bindings (nothing for sand to mess with), and hard sintered bases. Extruded bases (like those found on all modern K2s) are really slow on sand - the material is too soft and the sand digs in. Most of the colored (not clear over graphic) bases are sintered - common on older skis. On black skis, sintered bases are more difficult to identify but are noticably harder in a side-by-side comparison. Fat skis and sidecut are wasted on sand, so dig around in your local junk store. My setup is a pair of ex-rental Rossi Nepals that jarlybart was getting rid of ~1998, chili bindings, and rootbeer T3s. Sand is the only skiing that any of that gear sees these days. Note that a few runs on sand is not hard on your skis, but a lot of use will start to polish them - some of cesare's skis double as shaving mirrors.

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    About the wax - no, you don't want any. Get rid of ALL the wax. Just slows you down.

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    As you see, this is one of the few national parks that welcomes dogs (pic from 2010). Yes, you may crash, and next time you wipe out on the white ribbon of death, you may find yourself emptying half a pint of sand from your left boot. It's OK.

    Cesare demonstrates correct landing technique approaching Medano Creek (from 2012).

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    UPDATE 9/15: Date no longer negotiable.
    Last edited by stinkymonday; 15 September 2013, 08:44 PM.

  • #2
    ooh, I'd love to go. Be pretty cold then, but I guess I often do "aspen" camping then and survive. We'll see. Would be great to see you guys since I've missed most of the group events and y'all missed the one I made (Indy this year).

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    • #3
      I'd love to make it again, but I doubt it this year, my Bruneau trip is getting buried so guess I better bump it.

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      • #4
        Given that I managed to miss the entire T.Talk contingent at GSDNP last year - I'll try again for this year.

        I don't have a strong preference for which weekend, other than NOT Sept. 28 & 29, which is already filled on my calendar.

        Fingers crossed,
        Dr.(de-lurking)F.
        Last edited by Dr.Faustus; 9 September 2013, 02:18 PM.
        Love the Mountains. Ride the Snow. Reduce your Carbon Footprint. www.SnowCode.org

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        • #5
          Dan - It would be great to see you and the fam also. I think we can assume that the weather will be a crapshoot - I've been snowed on there in early September, and been plenty hot at the end of the month too. October I'm less familiar with. Probably more of the same.

          Dr. F. - Feel free to invite the David + Hugh + etc.. contingent - I don't have contacts for all of them.

          TV - I know you're watching. Do you need me to bring a bottle of tequila?

          I don't know how many of the regulars will see this, so I'll probably issue a bunch of FB invitations soon as well. Apologies if you get invites from more than one place.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stinkymonday View Post
            TV - I know you're watching. Do you need me to bring a bottle of tequila?
            I'm on a short leash these days and can't get away overnight. Let me know when you're down for a marg sometime and I'll fill you in.
            backcountry in northern New Mexico

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            • #7
              Originally posted by stinkymonday View Post
              Dr. F. - Feel free to invite the David + Hugh + etc.. contingent - I don't have contacts for all of them.
              I like the date and will do my best to rally the NorteŁŒos.

              Dr.F.
              Love the Mountains. Ride the Snow. Reduce your Carbon Footprint. www.SnowCode.org

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              • #8
                <<< B U M P >>>

                OK, looks like there are a few of us at least (from the Facebook end), with a couple more probables and a few more possibles. I'm planning on rolling in sometime middle of Friday. Have no idea how busy camp is this time of year, but there is a message board at the campground entrance that can be used to coordinate. It's first come, first served this time of year - no reservations. There is some discussion of mountain biking Sunday, so I might bring my bike too....

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                • #9
                  I'll run it by the Mrs. She didn't enjoy sand skiing last time but had fun on the trip. Maybe she could go to Joyful Journey while I ski with Mini Me.

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                  • #10
                    Welllllllllllll........ I guess we'll have to see where this shutdown is going. I'm guessing it'll take a day or two to reopen the park if they close down completely....

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                    • #11
                      D'oh! Well maybe this will be in my favor. I'm on call for work this weekend so I'm out. The following weekend would work for me and then I'm on call again the one after that.
                      Stupid job!

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                      • #12
                        Almost loaded the skis this morning on my way to Paonia, then I had my D'oh moment also, besides the forecast looks rather iffy anyway.

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                        • #13
                          Past time to call it. First ski trip of the season, officially canceled by our government.

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                          • #14
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                            ..........

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                            • #15
                              Matt, I know the skit of which you speak and are just trying to be funny, but if this starts into a political thing these will be deleted
                              Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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