So at the end of the 2009 ski season, I got a great deal on a pair of Atomic MX:7 skis (with Black Diamond Riva Z Telemark bindings – for those of you dieing to know…), and they have been sitting in my closet ever since – waiting patiently to be taken out for a good run!

Right after Christmas, my buddy Mike and I decided to drive from Oakland up to the Sierras for a quick day trip to the snow,  so I pulled my ‘new’ skis out from the back of my closet, we loaded our gear into Mike’s truck, and off we went…

We figured we would exit Highway 80 after about 175 miles, right by Boreal Mountain Resort, then cross under the freeway to go back country skiing at Castle Peak. Unfortunately, a LOT of other people had decided to get off at that same exit, and traffic was lined up for 1/2 a mile on the hard shoulder, all waiting to exit the freeway and fight over a limited number of parking spots. Since we were more interested in skiing than tussling for a parking spot, we headed on over Donner Summit and down to Truckee, 10 miles further on, which turned out to be a smart move!

XC skiing, Coldstream Canyon, Donner Memorial State Park
XC skiing, Coldstream Canyon, Donner Memorial State Park

Donner Memorial State Park is right off the freeway at the 1st Truckee exit, so we pulled in there to ask the rangers if they knew a good spot nearby to do some back country skiing. I had been to the park in the summertime, and remembered a pretty nice campground with a few short trails near Donner Lake. What I didn’t know was that the park connected to Coldstream Canyon, and a lengthy trail that stretches right up to meet the Pacific Crest Trail.

We strapped skins on our skis and skied about 3 miles up the Canyon on fresh, crisp snow.  The trail was wide and easy, and we met a few people on snowshoes and skis, most of whom appeared to be locals. We went off the trail in a couple of spots into fairly deep powder, and when the sun started to edge towards the horizon we turned around and headed back down the trail.

The Atomic MX:7 skis performed well. They were (as expected!) much more maneuverable than my lengthy, aging Tua Mega MX planks. It was also great to find a new trail to explore – note to self: get there earlier next time to explore much further up the trail!

Next? I want to get back up to the snow several times in different conditions to check out how the new skis perform skiing downhill, and with different snow conditions. I particularly want to see how they handle in icy spring conditions – I’m hoping they bite better than my Tuas!!

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