This weekend we journeyed to the XC skiing mecca Waterville Valley, with the express intent of enjoying our final ski for the season. Of course, since the trails still boost a foot and a half of packed snow, the ski season will continue well into April, but we were determined to make this our final hurrah, a resolution that was strengthened by skiing uphill for 2km on a black diamond trial called Criterion in the buttery springtime snow on top of a layer of ice.
Below is one of my favorite pictures from this long, fantastic XC season: Mr. Pinault skiing down the alpine-style open slope at Windblown XC. If you’ve ever been on XC skis, then you know that it takes an absurd amount of balance and skill to control those twiggy skis, especially while descending a long hill. To do this with style is Mr. Pinault’s speciality.
Mr. Pinault is a rare lifelong Alpine skier who abandoned his easy-going, high-thrills sport in favor of the physical rigors of XC skiing. He does not miss the Alpine skiing lifestyle that much (the expensive lift tickets, the freezing mountain tops, the crowded lodges) but when we go to the open slope, he starts pulling out all his Alpine skiing moves like pivots, carving, and parallel turns, and he is so elegant and graceful that me and all the other snow-plowing skiers gape at him in disbelief.