Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wherin We Take our New Boots out for a Spin.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous to get out there on my new boots. I thought I had more control to some extent, able to feel the snow better inside my sloppy tennis shoe like AT boots.

Boy was I wrong! First of all, out of the box, the Dalbellos felt amazing. My big toes were still squished, and my pinky toes, as well, but they were still a bazillion times better than anything I’d worn off the rack before.

I got my first six or eight turns in on an easy groomer, and Shannon pulled up next to me and asked, “So what do you think?”

“Its AMAZING!” I replied, “It’s like, I move my foot just a teeny tiny bit, and the ski…”
“responds?” she asked.

Uh, yeah. Gee, I guess I was missing a lot! From there on, I proceeded to have probably the best ski day of my life.

We took it easy on the groomers to just feel the boots and get used to how FAST the skis did what I asked them to do, and then we stopped for lunch at noon. My feet, despite the great fit, were cold and sore, so we took off boots and took our time warming back up. Meanwhile, Joe Krakker showed up. You remember Joe “I’m not lost, I broke a binding” Krakker, don’t you?

He just got back from a month in Thailand after six months on a smoke jumper crew, and now he works at Snowbird.

Strangely enough, he hasn’t changed at all, the first thing he did was throw my new boots in the trash can, and in under an hour had tried to push Shannon over, skid over my skis, popped me out of my bindings and, well, you get the picture. Welcome back, Joe.

We took a couple of runs with Joe off the groomers in the gullies, which had much better snow, and I had the amazing experience of randomly skiing really well. Apparently, its not that random. When you have gear that fits right, its much easier to turn!

At two, we all hooked up with Rob Sogard, the head coach of the Demo team and the Head of Training at Snowbird resort in Utah. This gave us an excellent opportunity to make fun of Joe in his new Blue jacket, but he categorically refused to wear the matching pants, as they don’t emphasize his, uh, enough. So you get the point.

The clinic was spectacular. Its really amazing how fast our skiing changes every single time we clinic with Rob. I shot a lot of film for the new MA online club, which Rob is really excited about, and has promised to visit the site and do some analysis of our analysis! This is really exciting. I’ll get the MA footage up as fast as I can so we can all get rolling on it.

After a couple of runs, Rob gave us a task of jumping in every turn. Let me just say here that I had the run of my life. I have never ever skid like this, and honestly, didn’t think I would touch this feeling for another three years at least. I confirmed my suspicion that I am heading towards a Big Mountain specialty, as I LOVE being in the air.

I got air off of every single bump, just launched it, and stayed squarely over my feet every time. I landed ready to take off again, skid aggressively into the fall line, and was able to stop thinking about it and just let go and ski it. It was the most amazing feeling. It was so incredible that I actually cried on my way down the canyon driving home, I just couldn’t contain the emotion that came up at having felt that, skid that way, made that improvement.

The next run was skill blending in the chop, meaning medium to large radius turns that were smeary and then, at some point during the turn, you hook up your edges and take it as an edging turn. I felt great in this run, as well, able to concentrate on the task and not having to worry about whether or not I was going to go endo and have YET ANOTHER spectacular crash. I am finally at a place where I feel like I can make some sort of purposeful turnshape, more likely than not while staying forward, on most terrain. I still have a huge long way to go, but now I am at a starting point where Michael might actually have something consistent to work with.

At the bottom of that run, Rob told me he was impressed with my “mindful platform” that we had been discussing at Hood, and that now, I had a stance that was consistent through the entire turn, so now I could really get to work on some movements. YES!

Shannon skid beautifully. Her control is amazing, and Rob commented on what an incredible technician she is. He gave her a task and she preformed it beautifully every time. She has the opposite problem I do, now she needs to show us her sparkling personality in her skiing, and I need to calm down and get more specific. That’s why we train well together!

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