Okay, Brent, you might not want to read this one! So I went up to Big Sky for the last two days to film for an NRM version of Just Good Skiing, and I forgot to bring my boots down from Bridger. My amazing, incredible, perfect boots that I love. Dalbello Proton 12s, modified by Brent Amsbury. The boots that Brent has worked on for nine or more hours, that have been just tweaked and dialed until they feel literally like glove. They are supple, and subtle and gentle to my tender and whiny feet. They fit so snugly that when I twitch my foot, the boot and ski move. Its awesome.
So I forgot to bring them down the hill. And I though, oh, that sucks, but oh well, I have last year's boot, those worked really well, and the fit can't be that different, Brent worked on them, too.
YEAH. Okay, first of all, there's no footbeds in last year's boots, because I took them out and put them in this year's boots! There's no heater, the liner is wickedly packed out, two buckles are bent and the shell is giving in. These boots have over 300 days on them!
So I figure, well, whatever, I should be able to ski in ill fitting boots and make it work, just like skiing on an ill tuned ski is a bummer, but you can make it work.
RIIIiiighht. Day one: Total and complete junk show. I was sitting on the lift after the first run and just feeling like crap on a stick. What is this? I couldn't figure it out, and then it occurred to me, OH, this is what being sick feels like, I'm still sick. I'm sicker than I thought. My legs were tired, I was out of breath and sleepy and exhausted, and I was skiing like a total spaz.
Ben Bruso was shooting promotional material for Big Sky, and he needed a student, so I got to pretend to be his student for the photo shoot. After a couple of runs, I knew I was in trouble, I was skiing worse than I've skied all year.
I went to the bottom and drank two big red bulls, ate a banana, put a granola bar in my pocket, pounded some water and took a bunch of Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and got back out there. I tried to muster the will to save my skiing, and usually, I can pull it together and ask myself to perform, but it didn't seem to matter what I did, I was just skiing like crap. I felt out of control and slippy and slidy and in the back seat and defensive, it was awful!
We filmed all afternoon, in the slushy mank, which I usually love skiing, and I was just surviving, basically. I was so embarrassed at my skiing, I felt like someone was going to come up and take my pin away! I felt appologetic and embarassed, but we stayed at it, and the folks I was skiing with were very nice about it, supportive, told me that it was normal because I was sick and still really tired from the exam experience. But it felt like an excuse, I don't ski like this, I don't have sensations like this when I'm skiing any more. And I couldn't fix it, it just got worse and worse.
This morning, Ben and Steve Hill and I went up and filmed in the third gully, but to get there, we had to ski Otter Slide, and for the first time in about a year, I got gripped and in my head. "If I fall here..." it was total slide for life terrain, buffed and hard pack, and my feet were swimming in my boots, I'd move them and the ski would wait, and then do something, the movement was sloppy and unpredictable. I was miserable, and I felt so stupid for not being able to pull it together!
The snow in the Third gully was great, its very very steep and exposed, with a big pinch in the middle, such a beautiful ski, but I was gripped and I stem christied down most of it. We skied Khron's and the Cold Creek chute on the Moonlight side, and then went in for lunch early.
During lunch, I decided to go in and buy a pair of Superfeet, because my feet were so uncomfortable just on the boot beds with no footbed, and so much extra sloppy room... I put two toe warmers under the heel of my right boot to simulate the lift that Brent just put in, and then I put in the foot beds and clicked in. WOW.
If I felt stupid before, it was NOTHING compared to what I was feeling NOW! I can't believe i whined and complained for a day and a half before putting footbeds in. They were fine. They were just great, the boots fit well, I went out that afternoon and we filmed lap after lap in Wounded Knee, the Blue Room, BlackBear, and so on, lots of playful bumps in the trees (which I couldn't ski AT ALL this morning), and it was fine, and fun, and fast, and after about three runs, I could ski again.
SO: Note to self: BOOTS MATTER! Yes the footbed matters! Yes, the amount of space around all parts of the foot matters! YES, it can affect your skiing massively to get your boots done!!!
Sheesh. Sorry, Ben and Christine and Steve, that you had to listen to me moan about my crappy skiing. Lesson learned.
PS: More filming for NRMJGS Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at Bridger Bowl!!