Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Notes from the Coach

So I talked to Squatty today, I'm dyin' to get out there and make some turns with my powder guru, this is the man who taught me to ski powder and bumps in the same day, yeah, by skiing powdery bumps...

And he asked me how my first day on my face was, and what I need to work on.

First of all, I told him that I was having trouble making lane changes, going from a GS sized turn to a short turn, which is a really difficult task to begin with, but really essential. I told him that when I've done four or five large radius turns, and its time to change to short radius turns down the fall line, I feel like as I make the first turn I'm going to compress the ski and get thrown across the platform and rocketed into the chairlift.

Squatty asked me if I'd ever heard of "progressive edging"... yes... actually the first time I heard of this was at the last Academy where Andy Docken talked about coming on and off the edge in a 1, 2, 3 apex, 3, 2, 1 flat ski 1, 2, 3 apex kind of way. Click, DING! The light went on. Then I heard it again from Megan about "whack whack skiing", whack I'm up on my edge, whack, I throw my skis across and am on my other edge.

I feel when I am entering the short radius turn from a large radius turn that the forces build so fast that it is almost like I'm going from a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 count on one set to a 3 on the other set. That sudden force in the apex of the new turn is so strong that my body feels thrown forward, and I don't trust that the edge will hold.

Squatty reminded me that while the time is compressed, the edging is still progressive, so yes, you have a 1 -5 count on the one side, but still a 1 - 3 count on the short side. Stronger steering and progressive edge in the new short turn. I'm excited to get out there and try it.

We also talked about early season snow density, and while Bridger has had the luxury of 3 percent moisture in the last couple of days, the big early season storm we got was much much thicker than that. You have to have stronger steering, and a LOT more patience in thick, high moisture snow. Get aggressive, and click, boot out! (does this sound familiar?)

Other things we talked about were that you train for skiing by skiing, and I've been off my skis for about 8 weeks because of my car accident, and that the skiing I do all summer, while it builds strength and snow sensitivity, simply the number of turns made is much fewer when you are hiking for them then riding the lifts. Also, skiing spring and summer snow is really different as well.

So there are several "early season" factors that I like to think don't apply to me, because I skied all summer, but they still do: timing, rhythm, fitness, touch and sensitivity to snow all have their antenna turned down, so less aggressive, more listening, more patience, and back in the saddle we go!

Thanks, Squatty! Can't wait to get down there and make some turns with you!!

Squatty Schuler is a lead trainer at Aspen/Snowmass and my head coach. To book him for a lesson in Aspen, CALL AHEAD, I can't get in with him till the end of January or something like that.

Currently, the Aspen/Snowmass Ski School has six people, more then any other resort, on the national Demo Team. Snowmass is also home to the Colorado Instructor of the Year, David "Squatty" Schuler.

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