Saturday, January 31, 2009

Countdown to Road Trip of DOOOM! (No, literally, count down $$!)

Thanks to Aspen photographer Cesar Piotto ( for the photos for this post, they are amazing! Skier: Trent Jones

As usual, its getting close. I had to do some, uh, work on the Bronco (okay, the driver door won't open again, and the transition is falling out...) but aside from that this little buggy has kept me safe and warm all over the country since 1991. I know it can make it 28 hours plus some just ONE more time!

On Friday, I'm leaving for Aspen, to go visit with and train with an AWESOME group of friends for about seven days, then its off to Crested Butte for Alison Gannet's Rippin Chix camp! If it doesn't work out, I can always sleep in my truck, I actually kind of enjoy eating granola in my sleeping bag... The only down side is how cold my ski boots get.

Devon Ballet, another photographer from Aspen, will be coming with me to shoot pix of me crashing while I huck myself off various rocks and bushes and whatever else Alison points at and says "Go jump off that."

Skier: Reilly McGlashan

I'll be writing my adventures up for my blog, here, but also (cross your fingers) there are three magazines considering this adventure for a feature! Yay! Hopefully we'll hear definitively before Friday, as our lodging and lift tickets in CB are tied to the article... yipes...

I'll be taking a big box of POC helmets and armor with me to do some demos in Aspen and in CB, and... there's a good possibility I'll get to ride on some 09/10 Elan stock for camp as well! Oh Oh OH!

So, we are all set to go, time off from school and work, logistics for shipping of gear are all nailed down, ski dates all confirmed... OH did I mention my MOM will totally randomly be in Aspen while I am there?? How fun will THAT be??

With five days to go, I face a hurdle I've faced many times before, I'm short gas money to get there. Yup... sing it with me... how many massages can I give before Friday?? I have this great nightmare of running out of gas about four hours from Aspen...

Skier: Reilly McGlashan

So I'm very excited about this epic trip, and a bit stressed out, which is okay, but its REALLY funny that its manifesting itself in anxiety dreams like this: I'm getting my hair trimmed, and the dude dyes it bright Ronald McDonald red, and then cuts it into a mullet of dooom. I kid you not. What? Really? I had a mullet in every single dream last night. I actually woke up and rubbed my head to make sure I still had hair! Hee hee! The journey continues...

UPDATE: Looks like I'm getting close! I still have massage openings tomorrow afternoon, and Tuesday and Wednesday evening... 406-599-5070

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thoughts on being stuck. (No, I'm not procrastinating)

Lots of time people ask me how I get so much done. But what lots of people don't realize is that there is always more I'd like to get done, and a lot of stuff that doesn't get done at all. Its a work in progress.

I used to get really unhappy with myself, and judgmental, and mean and angry at myself when I didn't accomplish the things that I felt I needed to, or if something fell through the cracks, like my house was really messy, or I had to cancel on a friend, or let someone down when I told them I'd do something.

Integrity, doing what you say you are going to do, not telling someone you are going to do something if you can't do it... those have been big, oppressive things in my life. They were so important to me, that I became hyper perfectionist about things, to the point where I couldn't get things done at all. At some point, I crossed over a line where I became paralyzed, and procrastinated, because the task before me needed to be done, because I said I'd do it, and needed to be done perfectly, because that was how I measured my worth.

At some point in the last three years since I started skiing, (and started really dedicated myself to getting healthy), I came to realize that I COULDN'T accomplish any of the things that I wanted to when I was so down on myself all the time.

Even if I accomplished something, I could have done it differently, or better, or there was something else that didn't get finished in time... the list went on and on. And consequently, I was, underneath, just kind of unhappy with myself all the time.

I now know that those feelings of inadequacy and supreme guilt about not doing something as well as I wanted to, or not following through with something I felt I needed to, were like little software packages that were installed in me by a parent who had their OWN issues, and who, rather than being a guardian to me as a child, and helping me set up reasonable expectations and the ability to follow through with them, set me up to never be able to succeed with any sense of happiness.

I think that a lot of us experience similar issues, and we've all learned how to cope with them to some degree or another, but deep inside, there is often that nagging voice, you should have, could have, done it better, different, sooner...

That mini negative voice is a toxic remnant from your past, usually, and something that can and should be excised like a cancer.

Sometimes it takes help in the form of therapy, sometimes it takes a gentle shift in your belief system, sometimes it takes a support group of friends, but mostly, I think, it takes honesty and transparency.

Here's how I started on it. After I "weeded my friend garden", I started by telling my support group the truth: I often feel that I've let people down, and that I over commit myself, and come off as a flake, but often times, I've given everything I have and am empty, out of energy, and unable to continue.

Because I told the "shameful" truth to my friends, they helped me understand that my energy is my energy, and that someone else's energy is their energy. So I can be next to someone who is hurting without giving away my energy, and I can be next to someone who is hurting without taking in their energy.

This first, crucial step was a big one. It put a little plug in my energy leak, and suddenly, I was able to accomplish more, because I didn't feel drained all the time. The only problem with this is that I was now able to spend MORE time and energy not doing things as well as I wanted to, and over committing myself even MORE.

The next thing I needed to do was to learn to say no. And to learn to say "I'm sorry, I should not have said yes." as SOON as I realized I was unable to complete a task. Facing the music is never pleasant for anyone, facing the music when you are afraid of failure is very very unpleasant, and for me, on this side of terrifying.

I couldn't learn to be brave enough to face the music, or to say no, until I learned to care for myself a little more. I needed, with the help of my support group of friends, to learn that I was a person with intrinsic worth.

I was afraid to do this, because I thought that caring about myself would mean that I was a selfish person, I had been raised to think that only when you give your entire self away to another person were you coming close to your worth. My sense of self was tied intimately to my ability to put myself aside in favor of someone elses pain or issue.

When I look at it that way, with some historical perspective, its obvious that you can't really give to a friend who needs you if you aren't caring for yourself. You won't have anything to give, you will be depleted, and you will eventually resent it.

So eventually, I came to a place where I recognized myself as a person worth caring for... by me! Its still a work in progress, but I feel much more comfortable in my own skin, and therefore, I'm able to forgive myself when I make an error.

I still feel that meeting my obligations, professionally and personally, is very important, but the difference is that I don't beat the crap out of myself internally when I fall down any more.

I am going to fall, because I am a human, in progress. While I do ask myself how I could have avoided the problem, or taken better care not to get into the situation in the first place, I am finally in a much more forgiving place, which allows me to take the lesson from the problem, and leave it behind me, and keep moving forward.

I am so grateful to my network of friends, to my mom, who was able to take this journey with me, to my sisters, who had to go through the same thing, and to my teachers, who were able to gently point the way to a kinder way to live my life.

I still face the problem of getting over booked, and of hitting a procrastination bump, which can still be paralyzing, especially if the mountain of work that needs doing is daunting. For instance, I really needed to call the State Board in California to deal with an old tax issue from the climbing gym that Tom and I used to own in California.

While today would have been a good day to do it, because I was unexpectedly home, I was having trouble getting started today. I was on the couch in my PJs with my precious boys, both home from school because Ethan wasn't feeling good. We were drinking tea and watching "Meet the Robinsons" together.

I knew that I had a list that was six pages long of things I need to do; emails, netowrking, coaching, things I told friends I'd do, booking of massage, I'm way behind on a project for Bridger Bowl, I have about five weeks of homework, three exams to get ready for, a couple of presentations coming up... my house is an unholy mess, and I need to cook some food and spend time with my kids.

Because I've been going a hundred miles an hour for a few months, a day at home felt really really good. I've been going to sleep at 9:30 for the last few nights, and feeling slightly guilty about it, as I should be doing homework to meet that obligation, and I should have got up at 6am and gotten right back to it.

But what I realized as I was sitting on the couch with my boys is: I was accomplishing one task, I was spending time with them, and recharging myself. While I feel guilty for sleeping a lot in the last few days, my body needed the rest, I've been training really hard.

Yes, I have a lot of things I could have accomplished today. But rather than kicking msyelf for not getting more done, I've finally learned to take my wins and be proud of what I did get done: time with my boys, time caring for my body, dishes, emails, and posting... not a bad day, actually.

Yes, I still have a list I need to do, and no, there won't be a convenient time to get it done before I leave for Aspen. Yes, I'm stressed out about making enough money before I go to cover my expenses while I'm out training for my Full Cert exam and writing an article at Cliff Hucking Camp. But today is today, it has the amount of time in it that it has, and tomorrow will be more productive for the care I took of myself today.

Its a journey in progress, but I'll share this with you: I still don't get as much done as I wish I could, but I'm happier with myself, and because of that, I get more done than I used to, and I'm happier about it most of the time.

I'll take that as a win!

Felix turns on the Flake at Bridger Bowl!

Felix is a mighty athletic four year old, who skied with me for an hour on the Snowflake, and little did he know, he was doing most of his turns all by himself! It was a lot of fun to ski with this imaginative little dude!!

Gin Skis Bridger Bowl!

Virginia brought her enormous brain skiing with her... fifth day on skis, tearin' up Thunder Road, learning to direct her center of mass across her skis to begin the turn, blending her skills (she used to be very edgy), working on stance... this chick has a great future in skiing!

For More video of Virginia skiing, click HERE.

Lizzie Skis Virginia City!

Check out this little hot rod! Lizzie came to me on lesson three of her 1, 2, 3 learn to ski ticket! This is her third day on skis, and she GOT IT! A terrific student, Lizzie progressed really well and kept an amazingly positive attitude!!

To see more video of Lizzie, click HERE.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Virginia visits Montana!

We were lucky enough in the last two weeks to have a visit from a long lost family member, Virginia. She was only here for four days, but we managed to fit a full day of skiing and a trip to Norris Hot Springs in while she was here, as well as a couple of long late night chats. It was blissful to see this beautiful, shining spirit again, and the boys were just ballistic when they saw her! They tackled her and then climbed her like a tree.

And, one of the MOST fun parts? She's an excellent student! This was her fifth day on skis, and she's skiing parallel, blending her skills well, and skiing upper thunder road! That's right, that's my girl!!

Come back soon, Gin, we miss you!!

Cloudveil Granite Hoodie is Awesome!

Alright, I put it to the test! Although, its so cute, that I didn't really want to. I'd been wearing it around town when it was about 40 degrees, and it was a perfect little jacket. I really REALLY didn't want to get it all gross and sweaty. But the time came.

Angela and I went for a ski up on the ridge, we did Morning Glory (WOW the snow was GREAT!), and I stripped off my jacket and did the hike in the hoodie. The wind on the ridge can get pretty fierce, and on this day, it was only blowing about 20 miles per hour, and was probably about 20 degrees up there.

I was warm, did not feel the wind, and I could move, carry my skis, wear my pack, the arms stayed over my wrists, it was great!!

The only thing I wished this awesome little jacket had would be pit zips for the hike up, because the wind pro worked SO well, I was sweating!

I wore it again today, it was about -20, and we went up to ski Slauchman's Ravine, and I had it under my thin down. I was worried I'd be too warm, but once again, it proved to be the ultimate layer! I was warm but not over warm, just peachy happy!

Again, I'd love to have the pit zips for hiking, but I wear this goodie every day!! Thanks, Cloudveil!!

UPDATE: Okay, I put it to the test. It was -11 at the base, and blowing at 40-50 miles an hour on the ridge. So we decided to go ski Hidden, which is this SWEET little shot that is a pain in the butt to get to. We hiked up to the ridge, and then traversed in the wind all the way to the North boundary of the ski area. I was in my hoodie fleece with a down sweater over it, and while my cheek got frostbite, the rest of me was warm, toasty, and didn't feel the wind at all! My new opinion of this layer: KICK BUTT AWESOME!

But I'd still like pit zips!

As a Matter of Fact, the Wheels Have Stopped

WOW, Hi, guys! Its been quite a while since my last post. I know that I'm officially overbooked when I stop blogging, its the last thing to go, and the final indication that I need to take a break, reorganize, and reboot.

Its been a great, and insane, two weeks! Mr. Steve Hill came out from Whitefish to clinic us here at Bridger, so I took a day off of school to attend the "How Close Are You to the Level 2/3 Bar?" clinic. Then, I got a chance to spend a day freeskiing with Steve and Mason and Jeff, so I took ANOTHER day off school and charged all around Slaushman's, which was awesome!!

I crashed a couple of times on those days, um... skied the steep stuff okay, ate it once in the moguls, and once going down a little drop off where I had to point my skis straight. I'm really, really bad at going straight!! By the time I realized that I was actually going to give it a try, I was too far down into the chute to get properly forward on my skis, so I went straight from the back seat, and tried to ollie over a rock rather than just hopping over it, ending up even FURTHER in the back seat, and basically limboing out on my tails. Oops. Glad I was wearing my spine protector!!

We skied a 50 degree chute, which we weren't really sure was 50 degrees, but today I went back out there with Joe Krakker and Kurt Blunck (yay!) and checked it with an inclinomiter and guess what? 52 degrees! Yay! Steep is GOOD!

Something crazy is happening to me in the bumps, by the way, I don't often ski them "at speed", but today, chasing Joe and Zach around, I knew that if I didn't keep up, I couldn't ski with them! So I sucked it up and went for it. It was a bit of a rodeo, but I managed to make some decent turns, and I got launched a few times, but the good thing was that whenever I ended up in the air, well, for the MOST part when I ended up in the air, I knew where my feet were going to hit, and they came down tips first! woo hoo!

So. Lots of good skiing in the last week, a bit MORE behind at school, but catching up today, booked completely for the two day's I'm working at the Salon doing massage, missing my boys...

I gave two talks at Bridger this past week, for which I am VERY grateful to have had the opportunity to share some things I've been thinking about (I took the "A Better Student Makes a Better Teacher" post and turned it into a giving and recieving feedback), and they went really well, I was psyched.

I leave for Aspen on Feb 6, and have to be ALL caught up with all my homework, blogging, emails and bills before then... Mach 6 until then, and I think I'll spend the first two days in Aspen sleeping (HAH! Like that ever happens...)

But I'm psyched to get in two days of skiing with Megan, two with Squatty, a bunch with Kurt, and then its off to Cliff Hucking Camp with Allison Gannet!!


Thanks for your patience, I'll try to get back on track here!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The skier's edge machine arrived!

Woo hoo! The skier's edge came! Un boxing it now!

UPDATE: Woo hoo! It took about 45 minutes including feeding the kids and breaking up an argument to get the machine put together, it went together very easily, and is surprisingly light weight! I hopped on it and was immediately reminded of what a total butt whooping workout this is!

Megan: you asked for tips on riding this thing, I'll post them soon!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Skier's Edge to Sponsor Kate!

WOW! I'm so excited! The Skier's Edge Company is going to send me a machine to train on, and see how it affects my progress! This is an incredible workout, I got to play on one at Fuxi's in Government Camp at Mt. Hood, and now, I get to hop on one of these suckers a couple of times a week here at home.

A day like today would have been perfect, Ethan is sick, I had to call out from Bridger so I could give him snuggles and saltines, but in between puking, he and Bodhi are happily watching Speed Racer cartoons. I could have spent about an hour on the machine total today, in 10-15 minute bursts. Very, very cool.

Thanks, Skier's Edge!

Goodie Bag!

OOOH, ahhh! Today, I opened my door to find a little goodie bag from Cloudveil! Inside it is the most delicious, well fitting, super cute hoodie fleece! And get this: The arms are long enough! I put it on and Bodhi told me I looked like a "cute snow elf". Wow!

Thanks, Cloudveil, for sending this off to me, and I'm looking forward to hiking, walking and skiing around in it, I'll let you know how it works out!

Ski/Ride/Park Tip of the Day cards!

Did you know that you can get Tip of the Day cards free from PSIA-AASI?

These free instructional handouts, sponsored by Subaru, are great to pass along to your guests. They include pre-printed, discipline-specific tips, and have space for you and your students to add personalized notes.

Choose from skiing, snowboarding or park & pipe cards. Just pay shipping – or, add them to your next order and we’ll send you a pack of 50 at no extra charge.

Get yours at or from the PSIA-AASI Accessories Catalog.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Carrie and Kevin ski Thunder Road again and again and again

So I had the pleasure of skiing with Carrie and Kevin (the fearless parents of Emma, Marie Claire and Jack) today, because they need to catch up with their kids! Jack is leaping off cat tracks in to South Boundary, Emma is skiing with a pack of feral ridge hiking kids, and Marie Claire is tackling moguls. Time for mom and dad to get it together!

We made a goal for the day, to technically improve their skiing and cement the new movements as much as we could, so that when they go out into the gnarl following one of their ski-obsessed children (I heard Emma wants to learn to tune her own skis! YES!), the movements would BE there for them to use, and they hopefully won't have to ski defensively as Jack goes Mach 6 through the trees.

We talked a lot about courage and being present in this moment so that you can ask your body to do what you need it to do, and we ferreted out a solution to getting dumped in the back seat. After cycling through all the drills I could throw at them, we came to rest on one that made everything click for Kevin, and Carrie suddenly realized that she can ski. And pretty darn well. In skied out bumped up powder on a black run.

At 9 this morning, both of them were getting tossed into the back seat and skiing with a bracing leg, forcing them to step their inside ski around. By noon, they were both MUCH more forward, and there was little to no stepping occurring! AWESOME! Great work, guys, it was a pleasure to ski with you!

No free skiing for me today, Bodhi had the ick, so I came home at lunch and we made a huge collage out of my old skiing magazines in front of the fire. Ahhhh.

For more videos of Kevin and Carrie, click here!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Squatty!

So there is this really amazing guy, his name is Squatty. He's the kind of coach you hope you meet one day. I was lucky enough to be in one of his clinics in Aspen last year, and then to subsequently get to ski with him often. He skipped an EPIC powder day to teach me how to ski in powder, patiently waiting for me all day long.

This is a man of patience, humor, intelligence... he is so incredibly encouraging and knowledgeable. He's the kind of coach you wish you could one day have, because you know you'd give everything you had every day to him.

And I'm lucky enough to call him coach, and friend. Happy Birthday, Squatty! Thanks for everything you do.

My New Space! Come get a massage!

Well, Solace Healing Massage finally has a home! I am in Tonic Salon (formerly Soucie) in a beautiful brand-new building right on Main st. next to the renovated Ellen Theater, and only two doors down from The Leaf and Bean cafe!

Sunday through Thursday: 5:30 - 9:00pm
Friday: 1:30 - 9:00pm
Saturday: 9am - 9pm

Massage by appointment, only.

$40 for 1 hour, please allow an extra half-hour for your first appointment.

In-Home Massage available for existing clients, $80/hr.

Tonic Salon is at 7 W. Main St., unit C, in the back.

Book directly through Kate at 406-599-5070

My only advertising is by referral, so if you enjoy your time, please tell a friend! Thanks!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thank YOU! (Donation Love)

Thank you very much to a wonderful, inspiring woman who has added generously to my training fund! This'l help get me to Crested Butte and back for the camp! Thanks again, what a lovely gift!

Pics from the Fox Family New Year's

WOW, Zach took some AWESOME pics of the whole Fox family skiing over Christmas and New Years, and here are a couple of Suzie and I!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Video from Dave Casto's Bump Clinic

If you were in the bump clinic this morning, click here to see what little video I caught!

Avalanche Warning for Saddle Peak

This is an excerpt from this morning's Avalanche advisory. PLEASE read it, and visit their website, and sign up for an avalanche class if you ski out of bounds!


Saddle Peak is not within Bridger Bowl’s boundary and has never been avalanche controlled. But you’d never know this from watching people ski it. We’ve seen everything from a mob of skiers center punch the face to multiple groups of two littering themselves all over the slope at the same time. This is dangerous backcountry behavior. Skiing one at a time in avalanche terrain is our backup in case we’re wrong and trigger a slide. That’s also why we carry beacons, probes and shovels. Believe me; we definitely get it wrong sometimes. I study the snowpack for a living, and there’s no way, no matter how LOW the avalanche danger is, that I’m going to ski Saddle Peak side by side with my friends. Who’s going to dig me out?

Emma, Bumps, Steeps, Angels Flight and Skiing on Glass

Today, I had an amazing day teaching Emma how to make more turn shape, and learning ONCE AGAIN how important it is to understand what your client thinks good skiing is, what their mental image of it is. When Emma and I were in the lodge, we did some dry land drills that were SO clarifying to both of us, that we went back out on the hill as fast as we could, speaking the same language, now, and she had a major breakthrough in her skiing, which has been really really challenging for her to do. I was blown away.

For more video of Emma skiing, click here.

In the afternoon, I had the awesome luck to land in Dave Casto's bump clinic, and got the swift and succinct and accurate, direct feedback that I love so much: (it makes you learn so much faster when they give it to you straight)

Doing Medium Radius turns in the bumps requires a buttery touch and a softness that I am not willing to give. Working with Dave totally clarified that for me... once again, I am hanging on to an over edged ski at the bottom of my turn, unwilling to let go of the last turn so I can be ready to move for the new turn. But un-trusting of my platform, I pause, trying to either loose speed or gain composure and a sense of "ready" to move again.

Working with Dave (Javeline Side Slips down the spine of super-steep bumps, anyone?), I realized that this is the same conversation I was having with Emma this morning. She was hanging on to her old turn, or trying to get it over with too quick, and here I am, hanging on, or skiing it aggressively in an attempt to gain control. So I thought about Mike Hickey's slackline again, and I thought about Dave's analogy the other day about skiing on a 1/4 inch thick piece of glass without breaking it. Something is happening, I can feel something important changing in my skiing!

Then, this afternoon, we skied the chair line, which I found out is called Angel's Flight, and for the first time, I felt like I was able to turn down it well, top to bottom, part in due to familiarity, and a large part due to the specific, focused, patient work that Dave did with my glitch today. Oh, did I mention there were like 11 people in our group, and we only had an hour? Yeah. Dave Casto rocks.

Come play with me in Crested Butte!

I'm going to Alison Ganett's Rippin Chix camp Feb 14-16 in Crested Butte! YAY! Check out her webiste, you don't have to be the best skier in the world to go! She has only 10 spots left, and it sold out last year, so go sign up!

What you should know

Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Crested Butte, Colorado

Presidents day weekend - 2009
February 14-15th

How much:
1/2 price lift tickets also available.

whatcha get:
Bitchin Goodie Bags, Free Head and Karhu Demos, lunch, wine and cheese party on Saturday, instruction that will change your skiing and your life, guaranteed.

Champion Instructors:
Alison Gannett (floater), Susan Medville, Carrie Jo Cheroff, Wendy Fisher, Jill Sickles-Matlock, Brittany Walker, Heather Paul, Dana Mulitz, Stacee VanAernem, Sara Fuld, Angie Hornbrook, Shelly Higgins.

Whatcha learn:
steeps, trees, moguls, powder, and a million tricks to tackle air, rocks, stumps and all the yucky stuff.

Sponsors (and goodies):
HEAD, KEEN, Karhu, Patagonia, Smartwool, Clif Bar, Thermarest, MSR, Black Diamond, 22 Designs, Pistil, Buff, Osprey, Princeton Tec.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Slack Lining the variable snow!

Its 4:30 in the morning and I can't sleep because I am dreaming about the amazing afternoon of skiing that I had with Zach and Shelby, two really rippin' skiers who teach at Bridger, yesterday. I skied so many lines that I've never done before, and it was so wonderful to feel really good about knowing that my skis would turn where I needed them to. The snow was perfect "test your skills" snow, firmish and skied out in the off piste, with about 3" accumulating on top of it. Perfect for practice.

I have trouble with strong leg steering in the mank, and staying forward in thick, manky snow, patience is so important there, and yet, when you ski trees and bushes in that sort of snow, you have to make the move you have to make, or, well, hello, you are not going to miss that tree and ski into the open space you are aiming for! So I was grateful that the snow was variable enough to present a challenge, but friendly enough to allow me to experiment and play in.

So yesterday I skied the chair line down flippers about three times, first off, a line I've always wanted to ski but been a bit chicken to take, and chasing Zach forces me to ski at a bit of speed, and see what technique stays with me. Of course, I have a LOOOONNNNG way to go, but I was very VERY happy to feel some good turns with approrpriate pressure, and good directional movements that kept me going forward even on the steep drop offs and over bumps and variable snow. On the flippers run, I got in a little hop turn and a small air, which was thrilling, and while I got tossed a bit on the big bumps up top (okay, I skied those really poorly), the ones on the bottom where the pitch is a bit steeper and the speed was greater, I actually skied just fine.

All in all, four days of skiing Last Chance in slow motion while teaching bumps, and doing NO free skiing has proven to be a terrific thing, and I realized that it gave me a couple of days to let my afternoon with Hickey and Casto to kind of gell and set in my mind.

Michael (Hickey) had asked me to start slacklining when we first started working together, and I did it on and off, this summer I got on it whenever I could, and it's interesting: When you slackline, the line is going to move. You have to accept that. If you fight the movement of the slackline, it will vibrate and move more. If you accept that the line will move, and allow that movement to exist, rather than actively trying to quiet it, guess what? It quiets down. The vibrational experience of the "ground" under you goes way down, and you can walk.

When I was out with Michael and Casto, we were talking about how to get my stance operating in the off piste the way that it is on the groom, and I got two quick and sage pieces of advice that really, really stuck. Michael said "slacklining" and pointed at the South Bowl, and then took of in big, sweeping turns through the bumps, crud and bushes, and I followed. Casto skied behind and watched the results.

Something clicked in my mind about the correlation between not fighting the vibration from the ground in the same way you would on a slackline, but it took about four or five days of skiing in slow motion to really incorporate that and have the light go all the way on in my mind. The other really excellent piece of advice, which works better in mankier snow for me, is ski it like you are skiing on very thin ice or a thin sheet of glass.

Essentially, you are trying to keep the forces even, keep the touch light, the pressure from building, so you never break the ice.

Today, skiing down the very steep and moving from thick cream cheese to buffed out steeps and over some rocks (mini-huck!), I felt for the first time a real acceptance of the terrain variability, and stopped trying to fight it. Strangely enough, i hadn't really realized how much I had been bracing in that terrain previously, I had felt aggressive and forward, but that's really the key. This snow doesn't need aggressive, this snow needs touch. Suddenly, skiing was so much easier!

I think this is the beginning of a type of understanding I haven't had before about how my feet function, how my center of mass moves (how quickly, how far, when in the turn, etc), the beginning of something that feels like reaching for flow and really "skiing" it, rather than loading at the bottom of the turn and trying to reach for "control" (ie, the ability to scrub enough speed that I feel in control before the next move), but just feeling in balance and ready for the next move, so I don't HAVE to load and compress.

It still happens, of course, but there is some sort of fantastic change that's beginning! OH! And another good thing! I'm in fairly stiff boots, but my Achilles tendons are sore, and my quads are NOT, so I'm thinking I may actually be flexing my ankles finally! YAY!! FRONT SEAT RULES!

Okay, must get some sleep, have to get up in two hours and do it all again!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Avalanche Warning: HIGH

image by GNFAC
Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Cooke City

From the GNFAC this morning:



The full advisory will be posted and sent at 7:30 am

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center continues a Backcountry
Avalanche Warning for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, the mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range in northern Yellowstone National Park. Nearly continuous snowfall has kept the snowpack at its breaking point. Natural and human triggered avalanches have occurred on many slopes which have been reloaded by new snow and wind drifted snow. These slopes will produce more avalanches. With heavy snowfall predicted to occur today, the avalanche danger remains HIGH on all slopes. The snowpack is very unstable. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Avalanche terrain and avalanche runout zones should be avoided.

In the Bridger, northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges the avalanche danger is rated CONSIDERABLE.

This warning will either be terminated or updated by 6:30 a.m. on January 3, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jack Skis the Bumps of Last Chance!

This morning I got to rip around with Jack, a little budding freestyler who enjoys launching of jumps under the chairlift and learning to ride the gullies. We mixed up some hard core discipline for his washy skis with lots of playtime, and Jack made HUGE changes in his skiing! Good work, Jack! For more Jack Videos, click here.

Happy Birthday, Mason!

Time to loose the training pants, you's a big boy now! Thanks for all the fun up on the ridge, and for being such a loverly hubby to my girl, Shan. Sorry we will miss the party tonight, Tom has the ick, so I'm on kid duty!