Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kantohanki! Spring Crust.

Unlike spring in the snow-starved regions, where a few warm days can wipe out all the snow, up here it takes weeks, sometimes months for all the snow to melt.  A week of warm weather may be followed by a wave of cold arctic air.  When this happens, the soggy snow freezes in a hard, strong crust.  The Finnish word "kantohanki" means "supporting crust", i.e. it will carry you.

This offers opportunities for some fast skijoring behind an Alaskan husky.  One might bear in mind that falling on crust is not dissimilar to falling on ice, and that a hard crust offers little in the way of control once you reach a certain speed.  On this particular outing I had the good sense to release Kalevi before we started downhill. However,  I still fell hard going down a rutted icy hill and did some damage to where the ribs connect to the sternum.  But a few hard falls now and then are good for the old bod.   

Crust turns the whole Copper Country into on big skate skiing rink.  You are no longer trail bound and can put the cross country back into xc skiing.

But the real treat is when you can ride a regular mountain bike with 2" tires everywhere.

Insulated barn boots are my footgear of choice for this kind of biking.  From here I headed out to the hills west of our place, through the woods, off trail most of the way.  It's not as fast as skate skiing on crust, but those brakes sure come in handy when you're going downhill.

Two and half hours later,  Yes, it was a cold day.

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