Squatty Schuler's Epic Ski Group at Big Sky Montana
Okay, lets back up... lets see. So Weems and Squatty came to Bridger Bowl to play on Saturday! It was awesome. Shannon and I got to ski around with them and their Epic group, we took them over to Slauchmans, and Weems asked what I was working on. I told him I was trying to figure out how and when and where and why to open my ankles, and while it had been happening to some extent, the timing was driving me insane. I couldn't get it consistent.
Weems basically said, oh, yes, that's very important, here is the move, it looks like this, and here is when you do it, and here is where you can practice it, now ski behind me, good,you are doing it! It took about one run. He turned around and coached me through it, helped me with my pole plant as well.
After Squatty did a huge tumbling Superman down Slauchmans proper, we headed back over to play in the gullies with Alex, and I just kept working at it. I had been moving too fast with my feet, too abruptly, so I was able to slow it down and feeeel it. Meanwhile, I'm watching Weems chase Alex down the gullies, going off little jumps, getting airplane air, just playing playing playing. They were like two little kids, it was awesome.
That night, I went down and saw Brent Amsbury, my bootfitter, who was up from Park City and fitting the Bridger Crew in Shannon's bike room. It was Awesome to see him, he's so incredibly positive and encouraging! We got to chat and catch up, and he worked his magic, getting me into a tight fitting performance liner, pushing out a buckle and the ankles of the boots a bit. He double checked my alignment, and noticed that my left hip was pitched forward. He put a lift under my right foot and it evened out my hips, which is interesting because its my turn to the right in which I still dump my hip.
For now, he duct taped a 5mm heel lift in my right boot, but this summer, I have to go do PT and get some rolfing done in order to unwind the musculature that's holding my hip like that. I skied the next day with the heel lift in, and while it felt weird under my foot, it improved my turns quite a bit. Leaving it in for the exam. My boots feel absolutely incredible. Just totally dialed. I love to put them on! They fit like total custom work, they feel like high performance sports cars, and I can wear them all day. Thanks, Brent!
The next day I was going to take off, but I really needed to teach, so I told myself it was going to be a mellow, low end day with lots of rest. I went up and we played with Duct tape with Alex's boots, got him canted well so his knees are tracking properly. Now I just hope the tape stays on!
We went out with Kurt Blunck late that morning and lapped the whirlpools. I was hoping that the move would have stayed in my skiing, but it was feeling elusive that morning. I skied down out of the whirlpools, sort of doing it, still a bit heavy in my skis, boggy, and stuck, but I turned around and watched Kurt ski down to me, and I saw it clearly again, I could see the ankle opening and the inside edge of the outside ski seeking the top of the turn, the body traveling with the gear, the core strength moving into the fall line... It clicked, and I turned around and skied down the toughest pitch at Bridger for me.
I never ski the whirlpools well, there is something about the aspect of the mountain, the deep snow all manky and thick, the steepness, and when it dishes out and gets to be about 25 degrees, and just goes on and on, I STRUGGLE to get the skis to come around. They just feel stuck most of the time, even if I soften my old outside ski to start the turn.
Adding this, seeing it clearly, and then turning around and mimicking what I had just seen, with the last two days of trying to understand it quietly in my head, suddenly, this snow, this gnarly pitch, was easy. I could do short radius turns in the mank!!
By the time I got to the end of the pitch, I was covered in goose bumps, and nauseous from the huge adrenaline rush of realizing I had finally figured something really important out. Its so subtle, the timing is so important, it has to be progressive, and now, I can ski! I feel like I unlocked the mysteries of the universe, i kid you not.
Totally pooped again by the end of that day, my legs are heavy and sore, but Id rather ski on tired legs and have this stick than go with out it. Thats what Redbull is for! (Yes, I'm back on the sauce...) It was Bridger Bowl's awards banquet that night, and then I had to go to my massage space and break down my table so I could come work on the Epic Ski folks here in Big Sky.
Monday I drove (slowly) up to Big Sky because it had been DUMPING all day on Sunday, took my time, got some breakfast, headed excited out for a run, and hooked up with Tess and her friend on snowboards, We went over to Andesite, and skied War Dance, this awesome little steep steep shot with baby trees all over it in knee deep powder. I was excited to ski it well, but my legs were shot, it was steep, no warm up, I got hung up in the back seat, i fell, sat down, ugh, it wasn't pretty.
But I wasn't too worried about it, I know I'm tired and I need to take it easy right now, the exam is the day after tomorrow! I got ahold of Squatty and headed over to the moonlight deli, gave Robin and Bob Barnes a hug, saw the crew from last year, set up massage appointments, and then followed Squatty in the afternoon. His group was moving slow, and working on terrain I needed to be on, so it was a killer, low energy, easy day, calming and fantastic next to Squatty, who just does beautiful beautiful things for my energy. I love this man!
Took a run with Jill and Stew, didn't ski terribly well, but again, not too worried about it, I skied well with Squatty slowly, and my legs need to rest. Got the massage work done last night, then headed down to the meadow for the Big Sky employee party at the Lotus Pad with Chris, wow, that was fun! So, didn't sleep much last night, forcing myself to take it easy this morning.
I feel how heavy my thighs are, so even though I was geared up and ready to go at 9, I'm sitting in Trischa's (from Ski Divas) room writing my post. She was nice enoughto let me bunk up with her! I love the ski world, meeting someone and five minutes later you have a place to sleep. Excellent. Next, a short hot tub, then breakfast and coffee, then wander over to ski school to hook up with Robin possibly for the afternoon ski. Gonna take some runs with Chris, too, I hope, then do some more massage.
Tomorrow, drive back to Bridger, one run on the snow to see how the conditions are, rest, sleep. Almost there!