Looks like the Sugarloaf race last weekend was my last ski of the season. A long ride is planned Saturday. Sunday looks like warm rain in the mountains. As such, I put the skis up with a coat of storage wax this evening.
Warm/wet conditions structure on left
I first took a photo of the bases of the two skis I used most the last couple months. When I bought a used pair of softer flex skis with a fine structure, I had my gouged up RS:11s ground at S&W Sports in Concord, NH. Not sure of their expertise in this area (they are primarily an alpine shop in winter months). I had them give me a warm grind structure. Only cost $10. They look very much like skis that had been rilled for wet conditions. The one time I used them when the sun softened things up, they clearly seemed to be faster than my skiing partner's skis. In new snow on another day, they were much slower than my cold grind skis. This is obvious to those that have been skiing a while, but only recently did I prove how obvious this is to myself. For you mountain bikers out there, you can kind of think of this as full knobbies vs. semi-slicks. You wouldn't want to ride the knobbies on hard as pavement trails. They squirm out around corners and are slow. Likewise, semi-slicks would not suffice in loose gravel or typical slimy New England rocks and roots. With tire tread, you try to optimize traction for the conditions. Ski base structure, along with appropriate wax, can have similar impact on skiing performance and enjoyment.
Wider toe box boot in right side of image (left foot, black). Both are size 41 and a third.
I made another change right at the end of the ski season. While picking up my re-surfaced skis at S&W, I noticed their boots were on clearance. I have never liked the Salomon Carbon Pro's I bought a couple years ago. In fact, virtually nobody I know likes them. The toe boxes were too small and your feet we either scream for mercy after a couple hours or immediately go numb if it was cold out. It turns out the newer comparable model, the RS Carbon, had a completely re-designed toe box. The exact same size boot felt almost too big. I could even wear a normal XC ski sock in them, not having to resort to ultra thin socks to get my foot to fit right in the previous model. Does one boot appear bigger than the other in the picture? They are both 41-1/3 size.
Right thumb still swollen all the way down to the wrist with shades of green
Last but not least, I will probably carry a reminder of a great ski season well into summer. My right thumb is getting back to normal size but still is pretty much useless. It has some interesting shades of yellow and green to it. It will be many weeks before I regain full use of it. I either need to learn how to go down hill on XC skis or learn how to crash without jamming my thumb into the hardpack. Others offered great practice advice for next season. At least my thumb doesn't hurt on a road bike. I haven't tried MTB shifters yet, where the thumb actually needs to do something. I crash maybe once or twice per year on the mountain bike. Since I log a lot of solo miles in the woods, I do tend to ride descents conservatively. On the road, I've experienced only one crash in perhaps 50,000 miles. It was a freak lunchtime recovery ride thing where the guy in front of me somehow unclipped going uphill. He piled in, and I piled over him. A helmet clearly saved my noggin.