Warming up by skinning up to the Snake Creek lift (photo credit Chad, by way of Jason Dorais). I'm in the ninja suit, center, wearing the appropriate attire of lime green Scarpas. 40 people showed up. A super nice crowd.
The course was a series of short and easy laps in one hour, not a full-on skimo race course with tricky technical descents, but it did include a short boot pack which added a simple tactical feature where it was good to sprint out and pass someone before the boot pack goes single file and you'd be stuck in traffic. The race winner did 7 laps in a smidge over an hour. I did 6 laps in about 1:02, and I feel great about that, especially considering I had conventional light touring gear, not the ultralight race gear.
Damn it was fun. There are lots of things one can do to get ridiculously tired, but for some reason doing it on skis, going uphill fast, it just makes sense to me. Consider me hooked.
A big, sluggish finch of conifer forest (mostly spruce and fir, not pines [ironically]), nests in the north or high mountains, wander in flocks when not nesting. Erratic in winter; may invade large areas one year and be absent the next.. Typically uncommon and quiet. Sometimes wanders south for winter; small flocks may feed on berries, maple buds. Can be very tame. Long tail, stubby black bill, two wing-bars. Adult male mostly redish pink and grey, female and young are gray with yellow or orange on head.