Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One more passive event, and another "skimo" race

In my last post I totally forgot to include what actually sort of prompted me to write about the passive events that I saw last week: "The Way Of The Rain".  This was a "show" that was performed in downtown SLC as part of the Sundance Film Festival that was not a film, but a strange amalgamation of part 70's variety show, part Laser Floyd show, part Swan Lake (as if I've ever seen any ballet, much less Swan Lake!), part Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and part Georgia O'Keeffe paintings.  

The stage was round with seating all the way around, and dangling from the ceiling were probably 50 cool drapes of colorful, yet mostly transparent fabric, and it immediately became clear that the lasers and lights that they made some super cool effects on these drape/flag things in a crazy kaleidoscope of colors.  The lights and lasers were synched with live musicians on instruments ranging from a lonesome cello to a full-on rock show drumset and electric guitar, and this was all the backdrop for ballet dancers to prance, preen, and race around the stage, whirling the drapes as they did their toe spins and ballet-ish leaps.  

Apparently Robert Redford's wife Sibylle Szaggars Redford is an artist who  -at one of their homes in beautiful mountain scenes, this time above Sante Fe  - paints watercolors.  She once was painting a nice scene as a monsoon rainstorm came rolling in, and she had the inspiration to simply put pigment on a piece of paper and let the rain itself create the "paint" and the subsequent design. Some people would think that was cool and make a few paintings with their new idea; but if you're part of the namesake of a hugely popular film festival you spend a million dollars to get a venue, 20 dancers, a band, lasers, choreographers, key grips, and whatever else is needed to REALLY showcase rain falling on pigment!  

The SL Tribune called it a "flood of creativity": here, and I suppose if you can indeed come up with an hour's worth of lights, lasers, music, and dancers to celebrate rain falling on pigment, that is indeed a lot of creativity.  Interestingly, there were no words other than those done by Bob Redford himself, resplendent in a pure white suit, who doddered around to a few podiums around the perimeter of the stage to do provocative "spoken word" (I think that's artspeak for wannabe singers who can't sing?) pieces about the importance of protecting the environment; how those corresponded to the rest of the show I didn't really understand, but I would never profess myself to be overtopping the dam of  creativity.  

A bit weird, but worthy of the free tickets.....

And then back to the mountains!  A brilliant Saturday morning found a big handful of skinny folks on skinny skis near Beaver Mountain ready to charge up into the hills in the annual Crowbar skimo race (Cache Regional Overland Winter BAckcountry ski Race - an impressive acronym!)  in the Bear River range of Northern Utah. The Crowbar actually comes a bit closer to the concept of "ski mountaineering" because it's the only race that does indeed take place entirely in the backcountry (albeit all within site of the Beaver Mountain ski resort).  They put together a nice course with 4 notable climbs  -including the first and almost-last being nearly 2000 ft - and fun, mostly untracked (??!!?!) descents.  The start found soon-to-the-world championships Meredith Edwards leading the charge followed by Josh Anderson, to which I pointed out that it was the smallest and biggest competitors driving the bus.  
The start.  I'm lunging along behind Josh on the left.  
Once we started climbing in earnest I moved over to the alternate skin track to keep myself from being compelled to match Josh's long strides which would crush my quads, and soon enough found myself at the front and having to pay close attention to the course markings because I was in the rare position of having no one to follow.    Time passed, I marched upwards, transitioned, skied down, then repeated, and finally hit the finish line.  
Apparently I need to haul that gold crowbar around the course in my pack next year?
It was fun to win, but not as much fun as racing hard nearly side by side with your friends the way I've had over a few other recent races with the likes of Chad, Elliot, Noah, Ben, Jason, etc pushing and being pushed.  And it was a bit of a tainted win knowing that not only were those lads not there, but there was the notable absence of the world championships-bound flying Dorais bros, Teague Holmes, and Tom Goth, not to mention worlds-qualifier Lars K and previous Crowbar champeens Nick Francis and SLC Samurai Jared Inyoue (who needs to formally change his moniker to SLC Kamikaze after yet another ferocious crash in last night's Tue night World Cup skimo race trying to blow by someone on a descent and cut his knee to the bone!).    

But watch out boyz; I finally got myself a cool racing zoot suit from Hagan, so I'm far more aerodynamic on those 2mph ascents!  It is mostly white, which I learned long ago is a poor color choice for the likes of maybe I'll go back to my running tights and cycling jersey.....

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