This year, my friends and I have decided that we need to get up early and get to the mountains before 10:30. This being family day weekend that became doubly important. And so… the alarm sounded painfully in our ears at 6am sharp. It was well worth the suffering as the highway was bad with white out conditions as we approached Canmore. We were slowed briefly by a car being pulled out of the ditch near Banff, but we arrived before the crash on the Lake Louise exit from the TransCanada and saved ourselves an extra 30 minutes of stop and go traffic.
The pay off was fresh snow and light crowds at 9am. Our first run off of the Top of the World chair was spectacular! It was a little tracked up but finding untouched powder was effortless – and it was hero snow, only mid to top boot but just enough to make the terrain soft and silky. They opened the back side around 10am and the first run in was spectacular!! There was a soft crust under the 10-15cms of snow but with the new skis I was floating enough that I barely touched it. Old Ptarmigan also had some sweet turns until the fresh powder started to get scrapped off. Larch was too busy so it already had patches of ice between the fluff by the time we got there. I found more fresh lines in Paradise Bowl but the boiler plate moguls underneath were a bit too hard for me to handle. However, I did like the mid knee powder in between the bumps. But bar none… my best run of the day was Brown Shirt! Always reliable, B.S. offered up untracked powder from top to bottom – very awesome along the rope line. Towards the bottom of the run the snow got heavier and I almost did a face plate as one ski was tugged out of my stance. But the top 80% of Brown Shirt was definitely hero snow! We also found some sweet turns on Meadowlark and Men’s Downhill on the front side – tracked by late in the day but still plenty of loose snow and piles of fluff. It was a great day!
Conditions were obviously perfect for trying out some new boards and I was thrilled with how my new Templar ‘Nobles’ were performing. It wouldn’t have been hard to improve on my old K2 ‘Telies’ that could best be described as ‘classic’. Nevertheless, I wasn’t expecting that kind of performance improvement! The last time a new pair of skiis felt so good was many years ago when I picked up a really snappy pair of Kastle GS skis. Since then, I’ve had new Bandit XX’s (two pairs because I really liked them) and a new pair of Icelantics last year. Although the Rossi’s were excellent performer’s they didn’t blow me away in terms of improving my skiing. Likewise, the Icelantic Nomad’s are a fun ski but I find that you really need some good powder to get the most out of them. The Icelantics also put a beating on my legs in ‘average’ resort conditions. They’re a very fat and heavy ski.
But the ‘Nobles’ felt fantastic right out of the gate. There was no adjustment period to get used to them. It was effortless hopping out of my turns and when I had to stop it was because I was winded, not because my quads were on fire. At the end of the day my legs did not feel like I’d been telemarking. Now I have to give some credit to the G3 Enzo bindings. They seemed to help keep me in a more upright stance and there was virtually no drifting or skittishness in the skis. The other thing I noticed was that when I had to resort to parallel turns the skis performed almost as well as my DH skis. It barely felt like my heels weren’t attached. That says something about how good the bindings are but it also indicates that the skis were very manoeuvrable, very easy to handle – even on the odd ice patch. They also had that pop out of my turns that I haven’t felt since my pair of Kastle’s. OK. I know it’s very much a guy thing to rave about their new gear like it’s the best equipment ever made. But by the end of last season the bloom was off the rose with my Nomad’s. After today, I really have the sense that these skis are going to continue to perform well even in less perfect conditions. I’ll keep you updated as the season goes on.
It was my plan to put together a short video of my first day on the new Templars but my iPhone malfunctioned in the cold after my first run. Here’s what I managed to come up with before the cold did in my phone…
Since I couldn’t get myself showing off on the new boards, watch this next video and just imagine I’m in it. I’m pretty much at the same skill level as these guys OK. Maybe not.