Wednesday, April 1, 2009
So I'm up here in Big Sky, hangin at the Huntley with my new friend Tricia, and Tess from Bridger. I have to say that it was awesome to get up here for the last two days and just relax. I feel like I've been on vacation, surrounded by positive, encouraging people, training just a bit, relaxing, eating well, and just playing.
I think we forget to do this, to consider taking care of ourselves as a crucial part of training, and last year, I came up to Big Sky as well to ski with Squatty and Weems at EpicSki, because the exam was at Big Sky. So I wasn't so much taking care of myself as I was learning the snow up here and getting more familiar with exam terrain.
This time, the point was to be next to my Coach and my... what would I call Weems? It feels like he's been my friend and playmate for centuries, but I just met him last year. I think a lot of people feel that way about him. Anyhow, the idea was to be near these two incredible friends, to ski with them, to demo for their groups, to listen to them teach, to take it easy and feel my feet and practice the move that I'm working on.
Today, even though its still dumping, I managed to stay off my skis, and just be. I'm trying not to rush home, and get a bunch of stuff done, but to just stay, relax, be here now. I slept in, ate a nice breakfast (Thanks, Tricia!), and went down to soak in the hot tub.
While I was down there, I did a long meditation in the water, which was great, slowing my brain down, feeling focused and centered and present (another reason why its been great to do massage for the last couple of days up here, just being fully present like I have to be while I'm working on a body is great training).
After my floating meditation, I was sitting on the step and thinking about the short turns I did yesterday in Weems' group, and the fact that they still have a pop in them.
I started skiing my hands, looking at the sensations, and I realized that in my short turns, I still have a two legged extension! So the invaluable feedback that Andy gave me about extending the new outside leg while shortening the new inside leg, I had only applied to medium and large radius turns.
I sat very still for a second as I thought about this, and then floated myself off the top step and tried to ski short radius turns. I realized while I was doing this that I am still long at the bottom of the turn, and that I don't start releasing the pressure on the outside ski until I am ready for the new turn. In other words, I'm still hanging on to my turns.
I slowed down the turn and worked on large radius turns, trying to change the timing and movements and see if I could walk through the whole thing, it worked like this.
Starting neutral at the transition, both ankles closed, leg length equal and flexed, I begin to point my toes, opening my ankle into the new turn as I let my leveled pelvis be drawn across the platform. The inside leg is soft, and continues to shorten, being drawn up the inside of the new outside leg. Softening the new inside leg while pointing the foot was challenging, and I realized that this might be why in the short turn, I'm extending off both feet, because oppositional movements are difficult at best, and this is a secondary set of them. (The first being lengthening one leg while softening the other, the second being opening both ankles while softening one leg).
Now we are at the apex of the turn, the longest and strongest, and this is where I should begin letting go, rather than twisting hard at the bottom of the turn and coming off the heel (although that helped out yesterday in the deep mank, and Weems said he was skiing off the heels a bit in that stuff as well...) Anyhow, Apex. Outside leg is long and strong, advancing, inside leg is soft at the knee, falling to the inside of the turn, strong in the ankle as both ankles close and flexion begins. Inside foot is pulled back strong for me, as I love to let that sucker squirt forward. Now we are in the bottom third of the turn.
I should begin letting go (if you ski close to me, you'll hear me saying "soften!" at the bottom of every turn) of the outside leg, and as a result, ski begins to flatten, and I travel back over the platform. Ankles begin to open, diving toward the new turn as inside leg softens and draws up. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
So, now I'm headed down to the sauna to ski in there and see if I can keep the timing of this in shorter turns, practicing opening my ankles while softening, taking the sensation of my upper back stiffening and being pulled back when I open my ankles out, and trying to reprogram a soft spine with an easy, flowing attack with the core. I'll let you know how it goes!
Heading down the hill this afternoon, first, gonna stop at the Moose and buy cookies and chocolate and red bull for my jacket for the next two days. Then, gonna snuggle the kiddos, then Alex is coming over and we are going to do a traditional Crow smudge ceremony for serenity and balance, good night's sleep.
Up at six to wax the skis, on snow by 8:30, let the games begin!
Thanks so much for all the encouraging emails and notes, its been WONDERFUL to read them!! You guys rock!