Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ski Report—Buffalo NY (Elmwood/Delaware corridor area)

2.3 miles: Livingston St. to the corner of Franklin and Edward.

Buffalo got a real wintry treat yesterday when a rare eastern front brought a continuous 24-hour snowfall of foggy, crystalline snow to the city. The walk home yesterday took me about an hour and a half, and I was kicking myself the whole time for not having skied to work as I had planned: it would have easily saved me at least half an hour. So I decided to try it this morning, hoping that road crews and shovel-hardy Buffalo homeowners would have holed up with their favorite movie, book or beverage or, like me, wrote emails and text messages for three hours last night—but this time the street crews and residents had, for the most part, done their job well. This was a good thing for commuters—but bad for the novice cross-country skier.

The best conditions were along the longer blocks that have been shoveled but not salted. I tried to stay on the sidewalks, because not every house salts their walks, and even if they did, there was too much consistent snowfall last night to have melted yet. Skiing along the roadways that still had some continuous snow cover offered a kind of salinated, gritty snow that slowed me down. I tried to pick the best routes that would afford continuous snow or ice coverage, but this made for a convoluted route that increased the distance traveled, and made the duration of the trip about as long as it would take to walk it in dry and warmer weather. So it did save me some time, but not much. The second reason skiing to work didn’t get me there faster was that i took the skis off about three times and walked to cross major intersections with fully exposed asphalt, and then to the next sidestreet.

The worst conditions were right on my block, where someone had used these weird, steak fry-sized chunks of salt on their walk that stopped me like a 4 X 4 in a boulder-field, so i had to shimmy-shally around them. The best conditions were on selected blocks of Richmond, Norwood, and College streets that were shoveled down to a layer of ice that had formed during a thaw and refreeze the week before. I think I fell down twice trying to get out of my skis at intersections, which was pretty embarrassing, and I almost cracked my skis once when I put too much weight on them trying to push head-on over what I now call the “snowplow moguls” that obstruct nearly every sidewalk curb during Buffalo’s snowy days.

all in all, it was a good work-out for the upper body, legs, and feet. But since there was little continuity or chance to establish a rhythm for very long, if I were asked to recommend it, I wouldn’t.


  1. On different note, With Naked Foot doesn't have a paypal button. I can't write checks without landlord flashbacks, and my cash would burn through any envelope.

  2. i'm bringing three feet with me to brokelyn tomorrow (fri.), two in shoes, and one naked, if you're interested.

  3. Wonderful. I think the city could save a lot of money and energy by removing street plows, and everyone could just cross country ski or snowshoe everywhere. This is good practice for the end of the world as we know it. High five, Tuna Fish!