Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cherry blossoms in Aspen. Beautiful on a rainy day!

Thats the st regis on the left, and chair 1A at Aspen mountain on the right! How perfect would that be? Good interview just now, hands on interview with spa gm of st regis tomorrow at 330 cross fingers!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rainy day in salt lake

Back from walking around salt lake city in the rain. What a beautiful day!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Perspective on the move to Aspen

So this is why we have a support group of great friends! Thanks for your emails and support, guys. After talking it through with my sister and with Tom and some friends in Aspen, and sleeping on it, I feel much better.

I think some of my frustration was coming from an afraid place, and now I don't feel quite as owned by that emotion.

Right now in Bozeman, I have a private practice with my massage therapy business, and I'm enjoying that freedom, but I do think that while one day I'd like to have a private practice again, in moving to Aspen, I will start at a spa so I don't have to worry about starting a business and all the associated expenses and extra rent.

I was going back and forth between this and trying to find a small space to start a private practice in, or working out of my apartment, wherever that ends up being, but while I'm gonna keep daydreaming about the wellness center I'd love to open one day, I'm not gonna spend a lot of energy (other than positive, dreaming energy) in that direction right now.

Baby steps and Patience! Don't Panic!

Looks like we are going to be just fine...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to get there.

The last two and a half years have been leading up to this moment. The move to Aspen. We never could have anticipated all the things that have lead to this, and we both know that its the right thing to do. It is true that Tom and I are divorcing, but we are very good friends, and great co-parents. We share a house, and do well at that. The plan to move to Colorado is scary to all of us, we will be selling our 2000 sq ft house on 2 acres and moving into employee housing.

Unfortunately, this seemed like a good plan that would work well before the economy tanked. Now, we have friends who have had their houses on the market for months. We have some construction that we have to do to make our house ready to sell, and we don't have the cash to do it.

Tom feels stressed and rushed, and so do I.

We've been trying and trying to figure out how to go about this in a way that is least impactful for the kids, and emotionally manageable for Tom.

So here is the new plan. We will be refinancing our house to get some funds to finish the remodel. Tom will do the remodel with the help of some of our friends, but he's going to take the next year to do it.

I will be moving to Aspen in late August, early September on my own, and the kids will be coming down every long weekend, and Tom and the kids will be coming down for all vacations. They will be moving to Aspen in June of 2010. Tom will get the house on the market around August so we have until June to sell it. If it sells sooner, they will move sooner, if not, they will come down as soon as I have us in a larger apartment in Aspen.

In this way, Tom can take more time to finish the build, and can feel more secure about leaving his job eventually, or doing it remotely from Aspen (which I'm sure he'd prefer), saving up some money, and we will be that much closer to qualifying for the lottery to buy an "affordable housing unit".

I will be able to go down, really focus on training, find a place to open my massage business, find some business partners, and get our home all set up.

This idea is terrifying to me. I don't ever want the kids to think I've chosen skiing over them, that I've left or abandoned them. I don't feel happy about being away from them overnight, let alone for a month. Tom is fairly certain that they will be able to come down once every three weeks or so, and I hope that's the case.

I do think that this will be better for Tom's state of mind, I know he feels rushed and frightened about if it will work, if I can support us as a family, and I hope that this extra time will help ease that.

But Aspen has been recruiting me for two years, and they've taken great care of me, extended every courtesy. I feel ready to move to my new job, and its been in all of our minds that in making this move it would be better if one of us could go down ahead of time and pave the way.

Holding breath with hope that this will be the last scary bump, and then, poof, we all live in Aspen where I have two good jobs and we have a modest lifestyle and Tom can be with the boys more and will be less stressed out because he doesn't have a job in an office, but he gets to be outside, teaching skiing, or guiding rock climbing, and doing freelance design.

Cross your fingers, these here are uncharted waters, and lets all say HELLO to eating disorders. Crud, the stress of this decision is making it flare back up. Breathe, Kate, Breathe!!

Just back from a long walk. And the reality is that I've been quitely and obsessively stressing about this for months, I had a feeling this was going to happen, but I couldn't really write about it.

I'm sad and scared and not sure how I feel about it. Tom is reassuring me that we will make the most of it, that the kids will be fine with it, that he'll bring them down a ton, that it's only 6 months, that lots of families have a dad who moves with a job and then the mom and kids join him...

I'm just sad and scared.

ethan and Bodhi practice the five senses meditation.

Necessity is the mother of invention i guess.

Bodhi made a bed of ice packs because He's hot.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Schedule your massage on-line! No more phone tag! Get the appointment you want!

YAY! I signed up for Schedulicity, an online scheduling software! Now you can schedule a massage with me any time, no waiting for confirmation or return phone calls!

Go to http://www.schedulicity.com and type in Bozeman, MT for city and state, and then Solace for Business.

You can also click HERE.

Click on Solace Healing Massage, and make your appointment! You can schedule appointments for when I am in Aspen May 25-31 as well.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Homework homework homework!

All done! My favorite part is when they use the allen wrench to tighten the steel post into the hold they just drilled into your jaw, That's awesome! Now, pick up drugs, go home and do lots of HOMEWORK!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

GEEKING OUT on Edging your skis in my sleep...

Disclaimer:First, I'd like to say THANK you to all the skiers I have had the opportunity to shoot at PSIA events. The snow was INCREDIBLY challenging at both the Tryouts in 08, and the 09 Academy (where these were shot.). All of the skiers here are very talented, capable of handling difficult, steep, mixed terrain and conditions. I have chosen a few snapshots that give a general idea of the movement patters I am describing.

If I used your picture and I don't have your name, or your full name, let me know!

Here's how big of a geek I am... its been three weeks of huge personal growth and hard work, as I re-enter school, I am in this incredibly intensive situation where we are meditating a couple of times a day and doing mindfulness and connectiveness exercises all day long, then I'm hiking, which is very meditative for me, and getting body work, which is therapeutic and moves energy, we are in psych class and integration class, which are all about mindfulness and processing... and also in Chinese theory, which is basically Buddhist philosophy applied to the body... so things are changing and shifting and moving and I am psychically EXHAUSTED! (Which is when you tend to give up and stop fighting and let change happen...)

I could write about all of that, and I have been in my journal, and I'd love to share some of it with all y'all, but here's what trumps all of that, that I MUST share first...

Its 11:30 at night and I have a MASSIVE breakthrough in my understanding of

moving along the length of the ski!!!!

skier: Mike Hafer

Here it is. There is a lot of discussion about moving along the length of the ski. What it means, if you can do it, what it looks like , how it makes the ski function in the snow, when it happens in the turn, if it can even happen at all. Some people hate the concept, for others, it unlocks their skiing.

I was laying there thinking about it, and I slowed the film down in my mind and watched the feet and skis. Can you truly move along the length of the ski before you initiate a lateral movement, and does that change your turn, how early you can edge? Rick Vetrmile asked this question of Megan in a clinic I was in at Aspen. I didn't really understand the question, but Shannon and I spent an entire powder day trying to figure out what it meant and if you could do it. When we came back the next day, our skiing had changed dramatically. This was two Februaries ago.

But what, exactly were we doing?

In my minds eye, I see the end of the turn, I see the bottom third of the turn, both skis are beginning to flatten as the down hill leg begins to soften. But before you allow your body to cross your platform, as you are coming across the hill on your uphill edges, you move forward. After you feel that you've "traveled the length of the ski", which I believe is a "proprioceptic imaging", an extended feeling of what part of the ski you are pressuring the most (The bottom of the turn tending to want to load the back of the ski, and as you move forward, even if its just an inch or two, if you are cued in, you can feel the pressure moving from the back of the ski, to the middle, to the front third, and even to the tip if you go that far forward...)

So if you are tuned in to the moment, and you feel the pressure "traveling the length of the ski", and you then allow your body to cross your platform, the skis are pulled to their edges.

(See, Squatty? I'm combining the balls that are in the air...)

skier: Jennifer Simpson

This is where the light bulb went off and I got all excited and literally sat up and bounced up and down in bed clapping my hands. Yes, I am a total goober, what's your point?

Moving the Length of the ski is the SAME THING as pulling your skis to their edges, and if you combine the concepts, the pull happens when it should in the turn!!!

WAHHH!! Oh my GOD!

Here is Squatty's concept on pulling your skis to their edges as I understand it and have been teaching it:

Stand in a skiing position. Your right foot is your outside/downhill foot, you are at the bottom of a turn.

Add pressure to your ski by PUSHING on your feet harder. Where did your center of mass/hips go?

Down and back, most likely.

Now, stand in a skiing position, and "PULL" your feet to their edges. (Increase edge angle to add pressure).

Where did your center of mass/hips go?

Most likely forward and across, just a bit.

Torso moves first, pulling weight off the outside ski, rather than pulling the skis to their edge and allowing the Center of Mass to travel across the platform in relation to the feet.

When you PUSH on your ski to add pressure, you separate the pressuring movement from the directional movement that you need. You make the critical edge angle, the magic ingredient that makes the ski slip or grip, a guessing game, your mass goes back, increasing the likely hood that you will have to make a big move out of the "back and in" position into the next turn.

When you PULL your skis to their edges, you combine that directional movement that you need to start the next turn with the edging movement, so you are moving simultaneously with edging and pressuring movements, your feet and core are talking to each other, you are not guessing where your CM should be, your CM is traveling to where it needs to be according to what your edging movement is. Because they are tied together, they tend to happen at the "right" time, and be proactive, both producing positive results, rather than sequential, each move requiring a compensatory move. (ie: Pushing to add pressure puts you in the back seat, you must move forward further before you edge. Pulling to add pressure puts you forward, increases pressure and begins the turn all at once.)

Before we go on, let's look at the "Balls in the Air" concept, also from Squatty, as retold by me as I understand it...

Skier: Stepehen. Bending the ski by pushing on it. Weight goes slightly back, ski slips.

Imagine that each step that you do to make a turn is a ball that you throw in the air. So I had time to think of each one of these things in every turn, my OLD jugglinlg pattern would look like this:

From the apex of the old turn: (This is carving on ego groomer snow.)

1. Continue to direct core energy straight down the hill, no matter the size of the turn. Imagine that your INTENTION can continue to follow the fall line of the Apex of the turn, as your legs begin to turn under you. (No matter the size turn. The countered position that you ski into will be appropriate for the size of the turn, either the turn will be long enough at at some point that "down the hill" energy of the turn will diminish and you will ski into a more square, less countered position, or, the turn will be short enough that your "down the hill" energy can continue, does not get dissipated by the un-winding forces of the turn, because its over already, and your legs turn under you as you stay in a more countered position.)

Skier: Nick Heron. Body, energy, intent, continue down the fall line.

2. (Right that's a lot to think about in the split fraction of a moment that your body is in the Apex!). Legs start turning across the fall line

3. Downhill leg begins to release

4. Skis begin to flatten (This may happen just JUST after the apex, but lets draw it out into all the thoughts)

5. Body begins to lengthen

6. Body begins to move forward

7. Because downhill leg is so soft, body begins to travel across platform as gravity pulls your core downhill

8. Edge change occurs

9. Move core to apex of new turn (Problematic for achieving Critical Edge Angle...)

10. Rotate femurs to the inside of the turn

11. Which increases edge angle, and pressure

12. Long leg, short leg, and flexion movements occuring

13. Bend the ski!

14. Keep energy moving down the Apex of the turn as your legs begin to move under you across the fall line

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Skier: Nick Heron. Softening.

If I wasn't so excited, I could probably think of fifteen other things to put in the turn, about hands, head, eyes, sensing, toes, arch, stance, and all that jazz, but lets just stay with feet and core. I think 14 things to think of every .75 seconds is plenty.

To juggle 14 balls, I"D BETTER BE A PRETTY DAMN GOOD JUGGLER! I'd better be able to throw each one of those balls in the air with confidence and excellent timing. I'd better know just how high I have to toss them to keep them going.

It would probably be easier just to juggle fewer balls.

Squatty's idea combines several of those ideas into one idea so you juggle fewer balls!

Here's the new concept of the turn, cleaning up some movement pattern ideas, and adding some inside knee stuff I learned at the same time from Weems, before the length of the ski epiphany:

1. Apex of the turn, energy continues to move down the hill

2. Down hill leg softens

3. Pull the ankle bone (Maleolus) of your foot toward the opposite metatarsal (Not the toe! The ball of the foot.)

4. Roll through the transition, patient

5. Allow inside knee to drive into the turn while pulling inside foot back hard,and drawing it up the leg. (Soft, Back, Allow it to draw up as a function of being soft, this develops long leg/short leg).

6. Legs turn in the true hip socket, allow energy of core to travel down the Apex fall line again.

Skier: Tim. Bracing, Pushing before edge change, rather than softening, pulling.

WOW, we went from fourteen to SIX!

Pulling the skis to their edge combined a bunch of movements, pulling back the inside knee allowed me to be stable to allow higher edge angle, eliminate shuffle, make skis move simultaneously into the new turn, and have a very strong inside half, so I could move my core down the fall line in the Apex of the turn.

Now, think about the propreoceptic idea of "Traveling the length of the ski", and add that in.

1. Apex of the turn, energy continues to move down the hill

2. Down hill leg softens and begins to pull back, creating a new strong inside half

3. Travel the length of the ski (there's the patient transition), while pulling the ankle bone (Maleolus) of your foot toward the opposite metatarsal (Not the toe! The ball of the foot.)

4. Legs turn in the true hip socket, allow energy of core to travel down the Apex fall line again.

Now there's only FOUR things to think of in the turn, and your core ends up where it should be according to the size and shape of the turn you are making.

I'm a very happy person right now.

Thoughts? Feelings? Agree? Disagree?

Tell me tell me what you think! I'm going to make a video tonight that shows how my understanding of this has changed the way I ski with my hands. (Which are a representation of how I ski with my feet...) anyhow, that will make more sense when I post the video...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hyalite Canyon Clean Up!

SMCC Members, Skiers, Trail Runners, and General Hyalite Enthusiasts,

It's that time of year again. The gate to Hyalite Canyon reopens on May 16th. Brian McNeil of the Gallatin National Forest-Bozeman District has asked for volunteers to help with the annual spring cleaning. We will meet at 10:00 am next Friday at the Hyalite gate (1st Fishing Access). The forest service will provide tools and a truck to carry garbage. Just bring gloves, food and a good garbage collecting attitude. With enough volunteers, we should be done by early afternoon.

If someone could volunteer coffee and bagels that'd be great. Otherwise, please plan to help, even if you don't need a new TV or sofa. See you all there!
Tom Kalakay
Executive Director-Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition

A Change in Perspecitve... Who Am I?

I have been working for quite a few years on learning to be enough for me. Because I grew up with a parent who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, my compass for my own behavior and decisions is not always very accurate. My friends and family, not to mention my therapist, have been very helpful in helping me find me, find my path, and let me know when I've gone off it like a wild horse.

Learning to hike by myself, ski by myself, be by myself, ski by myself, meditate by myself, has been very beneficial to this journey. The goal is to get to a place where I don't need validation, because I trust myself enough that I can tell when I'm on the right path.

I'm sure that to some extent, my blog functions as that "other" person, it does a few things, it challenges me to be as honest as I can (while protecting people in my life who did not sign up to live their lives publicly), and it allows me to share things I'm doing, but because I just mentally vomit onto the page and then post it into the ether without expecting response or reply, its a nice, cathartic transition.

This week, I'm struggling with some deep, dark stuff from the past. Its been coming on since the end of ski season, and I'm glad its happening, but its tough. I am lucky to be having a lot of epiphanies, about why my body hurts, about why its hurt in the past, about holding on to emotional memory in my body, about who I am and what I want, and about how to get there. I would love to post about many of these things, but I have to think through them a bit more before I share them. Some of them are relevant to moving forward in this journey (well, they all are for me, but some of them might be relevant to other people as well), and some are just me processing my stuff.

Today, while I was hiking up the M, I had a good one, one that's scary to tell out loud, because it feels like exposing a fault in my person, and for that reason, I'm going to share it.

I've been thinking a lot about where I need to go next as a person in order to be a better person. A better mom, a better coach, skier, teacher, employee, friend. I know that I need to make sure that I am listening as much as talking, giving as much as taking, I want to be able to be on my path, committed to my goal, but to be able to listen, to learn from whatever source is there, to be a good team player, not to dominate, or make it about me.

I struggle with this, because I think that things can come across to others about being self-centric. So how do I learn to honor myself, to take care of myself and love myself, but at the same time make sure that I am humble, grateful, present, willing, committed, and listening?

I'm working on it. Its quite the balancing act. I heard cues about it from several people, I had a friend tell me to be careful that I'm not being selfish with my training goals, I believe he meant that looking for a home in skiing shouldn't just be about what the school has to offer me. I struggled with this for a while, and I think he is absolutely right. What do I give the school? What do I have to learn from the school, not just for my own improvement as a skier and a teacher, but within its history? This was hard because I have always felt that its important to honor the whole community, to look for lessons everywhere. But because this friend told me this, I feel that it is a challenge, and opportunity, and a question that asks me to try harder, to be better in this department.

I had a friend tell me that she was happy that I was more open to personal connection. That before it had been hard for her to give back to me. I was surprised to hear this, I pride myself on open communication, so I was a bit shocked. And then I thought and thought about it, and its true, I do often try to keep up appearances so I don't dissapoint. Thats another thing I love about this blog, it challenges me to say it like it is, warts and all. But saying it in my blog was one step. Living it to my friends, being brave to let down walls and recieve, to listen with more depth, to hear my own shortcomings, again, it challenges me to take something that is important to me and do it one (or maybe two or three) better.

I had a friend tell me that my greatest challenge is going to be integrating into my new ski school. Finding opportunities to learn, to listen, to honor those who have been there for years. Again, this was a hard one to hear. Because I feel deeply that its important to look for lessons everywhere, to honor history, to say thank you to your teachers, especially the unlikely ones. Its important to tell the people in your life when you are thinking about them, that you care for them, that you are grateful to them. (As opposed to telling someone else; "Hey, that Cindy Lou, she's awesome!" Why not just tell it to Cindy? Hey, CINDY, I think you're awesome!")

I wrestled around with this one a bit, I know I can be large, loud, overwhelming and bulldozerish. I like to be unashamed, open, excited and challenged. But I also want to be a person who honors what is there, what has been. So I thought and thought about this.

And I thought, sure, I can do that. But am I just doing lip service, or am I really really living it?

I was stuck in limbo for a while about this. And today, on my hike, I was blissing out on the rhythm of my footsteps and watching my mind wander from this thought to that, when one of those thoughts came in loud and clear. "...so I should just be where I am in my journey and let that be enough."

It almost stopped me in my tracks. Because I've had this thought before, that I'm okay being a beginner, that I don't have anything to prove, that I like to learn and that's why I get so excited and want to keep going and learn all I can all at once.

But suddenly, I realized, yes, those things are true. But there is a part of me that also wants to check and make sure that I'm doing it right, that I'm still on the right path, that I'm not crazy, that I have what it takes, that its possible, that I can do it, that this is the path that will get me where I want to go.

In other words, while I suspect this may be true, I don't trust myself enough to believe it.

And today, I decided that I like to be in the process I'm in, I love the exploration, training, learning, reading, discussing. I'm grateful to my coaches and mentors who have so tolerantly pointed me, over and over in the right direction.

But I think that the prickly issue, the commonality between the comments from my three friends, and the problem that I'm facing is that I need to believe in myself, not in the Macro sense, but in the micro. In the day to day decisions, and understandings. This is a bit esoteric, I hope it makes sense...

So I came to a conclusion that I've come to before, but I think I understand it on a new, deeper level, and that is that I am where I am on my journey, and I can enjoy being here, with whatever skill set I have.

I don't need to check that its okay, that I'm okay that the path is possible and the goal also possible. I can trust that, and enjoy the journey EVEN MORE, by having even MORE acceptance of where I am in the journey.

I guess that I had equated part of this kind of acceptance with giving up a part of my goal, or some intensity toward training, or desire of my goal. And I wasn't willing to do that, because I like my goal, and I like training, and that's part of who I am. An I didn't want to give up part of who I was.

But now, I think that I understand that this kind of acceptance allows the goal to be what it is, allows me to go after it as much as I want, while being comfortable with and glad for the skill set I have, and the place I am in today in my journey. I think that this understanding will give me the ability to connect on a deeper level with the people in my life who are trying to help me get there, the people that I work with, the people I am friends with, and my family.

It may turn down some of the intensity that surrounds the journey, without taking intensity away from the journey. What does this have to do with a parent with NPD? I connected those dots after I went through this thought process, and the conclusion I came to was that its hard to trust yourself when you grow up thinking every decision you make is wrong, or could have been done better (that's one of the hallmarks of an NPD parent), and I think that I have just stepped across the threshold of letting that idea go on a much deeper level. One more step toward freedom!

I hope this makes some sense, and thanks for reading.

Afternoon Lego bliss

POC records the highest growth rate in Swedish sports industry (5/5/2009)

According to the Swedish sports industry magazine Sportfack, the protective gear company POC had the highest growth rate in the Swedish sports industry in 2008/2009. In an otherwise contracting
market, POC grew 110%.

Read the full article at www.sportfack.se/statistik/article450688.ece and the follow up article www.sportfack.se/leverantorer/article450906.ece about POC aiming for a billion kronor in sales.

“Since our humble beginnings in 2004 we have had fantastic growth every year. The rapid expansion continues as we move into 2009/2010 and we are happy to see that the growth of the company’s 25 markets is more or less the same. The winter pre-orders are up by 65% compared to last year. For the coming season we are producing close to 70 thousand ski helmets. A number that has grown from 2, 10, 15, 35 and now 70 thousand. Our first bike collection, launched to the consumer market a month ago was sold out before it arrived in stores.
We are also very pleased that our newly opened flagship store in Chamonix has been well received by the market, with sales 35% higher than we expected.

We have been fortunate to be rewarded 8 prestigious international design awards in the last 3 months, and our contracted athletes continue to perform extremely well, winning gold medals in X-Games, the World Championships, Nissan World Tour and World Cups. All in all these aspects reinforce our market visibility and sales.

We are particularly glad to show such strength in the current jittery market conditions and although humble about the challenges ahead, we look forward to next season with confidence. “ Stefan Ytterborn CEO and Founder of POC

Looking for a Nanny this summer!

Our summer plans have changed at the last minute, and we are now looking for a live in sitter for the summer! YES, I am still moving to Aspen in August! But the boys won't be going to summer camp all summer, its just too expensive.

Free room and board plus $400/month, M-F 8-5pm.
2 boys, Ethan and Bodhi 5 1/2 and 7 1/2.

2 weeks paid vacation while the kids are with their grandma in California!

Limited screen time, (we do not have cable!) Prefer outdoors crunchy hippie types to look after our kiddos. Adventure hikes, rock climbing, wading in the creek, etc.

We have a dog and 2 cats, our house is tidy but not spick and span, we'd rather be playing.

We live in the Hyalite Foothills in Bozeman, MT.

Thanks very much!

email katehowe at mac dot com!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Never give up on your dream! DJ Gregory inspires.

My coach Michael Hickey sent me this. It is absolutely inspiring, and so very timely. I found myself, as I was watching it, identifying with this man, DJ Gregory, so very much, and at the same time, realizing just how easy I have it.

I know that if I don't loose sight of my goal, if I stay committed, if I put all of my energy toward it, I will be a viable candidate at the tryouts in 1090 days. (Whether or not i make it through the first ski cut or to the teaching segment or onto the team is another question...). My question all year long has been, but at what cost?

Right now, my body is in a lot of pain. My finances are really hurting. My family is in a tight spot with the scary move coming up.

But I watch this video and I think, these are obstacles on the path that are there to train me into a stronger, more compassionate, more committed person. I can do it. And each trial is there to serve a purpose in my life, to teach me to be better, better organized, a better friend, a better mom, a better coach, a better teacher, a better partner, a better skier, better in the back country, better with a map, better at facing challenges, better at meeting obligations, better at living with transparency, consistency, integrity and humility.

Thanks for sending it, Michael!

Mank vs. Powder

Hi, guys! Oh, man do I have a lot to share with you, but I'm gonna start here. One of my readers from the East Coast asked about the difference between skiing mank and skiing powder, so I thought I'd post my response here so we can all talk about it. I'd LOVE to hear what you all think!

Kate - thanks so much for all the updating! I know there are a lot of folks out there always waiting w/ bated breath to learn what goes next!
Skiing the 'mank' - is this what we'd call mashed potato here in the East? Wet wet sticky stuff that doesn't let you turn? You want to push it rather than ski it? Slush??
I wanted to work on this myself this Spring - having just for the first time ever skied powder (big powder in Tahoe)
I applied what I'd learned there; instead of looking for the carve, keep the skis more parallel & downhill all the time, using that 'push' or pressure motion that works so well in the deep. Extend and go long and be patient - that's what worked for me this year!
Somebody who knows even told me that I looked good doing it! YAY!
Am I saying the same thing you are, in a diferent way? Some of your terminology is a little alien to me, but if we're talking the same stuff, then it is great to read your blog and see what you've done to solve the movement mystery.
Good for you - your skiing life is keeping you focused on the future, and that's where your dreams are. You go.

Hi, Windeehill!
Thanks for keepin' me on it, it helps a lot! I want to post every day while I am on the road or at an event, and about three times a week when I'm not, (or more if I've got something burning in my mind), but knowing my readers are out there waiting keeps me honest, and on it!!

Thanks for the push, I need it!!

Okay, so to answer your question about the Mank. I don't have a HUGE amount of experience skiing in powder, this year was my second year trying to unlock the mysteries of that amazing experience, and I posted a bit about it.

Here it is from my take, but take it with a grain of salt, and geek out with it with a couple of other people. I may post this as an actual post, by the way, so we can get a discussion going!

Yes, Mank is Mashed Potatoes, but sticky, hence the Monkey Snot terminology... think of shin deep slop, wet snow, starting to slide, sticky, deep, sucks your skis under. Hard on the knees. I'm not sure what spring snow is like in the East, but I'm assuming wet spring snow is wet spring snow, and this is like late afternoon, way past corn, into slushing and warming.

Yes, extending in the apex is key, that feeling of pushing your feet also was in the mix, but instead of feeling like I was pushing them "away" I guess, pushing your body into a long position against that platform.

Because if you push your feet away, your CM will be most likely out of balance, too far inside, and then, just like in carving, you will get wound into the hill and have to make a big move to cross your platform again.

At first, it was helpful to think of not bringing the tips too far across the fall line, keeping them pointed more down the hill, but as I got into more challenging and steeper terrain, what I realized is that you still need to shape the turn, you just need to listen with your feet and legs and be PATIENT, so that you aren't trying to haul the skis around to make a slowing movement, but rather, bringing them around in time with what the snow wants to make a round turn in these conditions.

This way, you continue to travel the speed you want to travel, rather than the speed that the snow seems to be dictating, which in Mank can be a VERY straight line, which is very scary, because when it IS time to turn, this snow will grab your skis, and over the handlebars you go.

So I would say, the difference between Powder and Mank for me is this:

In the powder, when you can't really feel the bottom, or its knee deepish on a soft base, start in a straight line, depending on the slope, and then, when you get going just a bit slower than you want to be going for the rest of the run, start bouncing, compressing and compacting the snow under your skis.

Obviously, on a very steep pitch, like here at Bridger going off the cornice into the Saddle, that may be one bounce and you are ready to turn.

On lower angle terrain, you can just bounce and go straight all the way down.

Once you get the feeling of compacting the snow under your skis, try bouncing down onto the snow, compacting, and as the skis release, twist the skis together as a single platform across the fall line while they are light. Compact again, then twist across the fall line while they are light.

The light phase is a retraction feel, for me, I was allowing my skis to come up under me and twisting as they crossed under me. In this way, I never felt like they were stuck or diving, and I wasn't hauling my feet around with my upper body.

I practiced this with Mary Ball, who has done a TON of skiing with extraordinary ski photographer Lonnie Ball, and she gave me the hint that when it's time to come UP out of the pow, and twist, throw both your hands UP into the air, (I think of that old Saturday night live sketch SUPERSTAR!)

You don't want to do this in all your skiing, because you are cueing with your upper body, but its a great drill to really feel what its like to get your whole body into the up and down movement, and it allowed me to get "sporty" with the compaction of the snow without trying to pull my skis across the fall line with my upper body in a twisting motion.

Using this idea, I was finally able to keep my upper body moving down the mountain, but having quick feet under me, and still enjoy the sensation of just letting it rip. That was a nice, much less scary sensation!

The next piece of the puzzle for me was opening the ankle at the top of the turn, so I was reaching with my feet at the top of every turn. This magical little moment was brought to my by Josh Spuhler and Weems Westfeldt, and Weems put it this way: its a tiny move, 10% change, with 80% effect. Its hard to pinpoint, esoteric, but once it came into my skiing, my skis felt free to move, turn and play in any conditions! This is the move that unlocked the Level 3 for me.

Mank, conversely, feels more like it wants to suck my skis under. If you compact it under your skis, it doesn't let go, now you are just freight training under it.

Its still a retraction turn, but your intention is different. I'm in the process of working on an article about intention in skiing, its something I learned in Massage Therapy, and I think there is really something to it.

The mechanics of a basic retraction turn are the same, but with some subtle differences. By the way, if you want to REALLY feel an awesome retraction turn, get on the Skiers Edge Machine! WOW!

Okay, so here is the Mank turn: The skis are on a fairly solid platform, that is keeping them kind of rail-roading through it. I felt that I could think of an Edge Change in this snow, where as in blower powder, I'm thinking of skiing in a big box of feathers, trying to squish them down to find a trampoline to bounce off of.

So I started this off by traversing into the hill rather than going straight down it, starting with smaller turns, and then opening it up as I found my rhythm, it helped because I was afraid of ripping my knee to pieces while learning this stuff.

So you are traversing across the hill, get that long "push" feel, at the same time, curling your body into that old school "comma" position, legs long, spine curling, hands holding a beachball, abs engaging as you try to squeeze all the air out. As the feet come back around at the bottom of the turn, allow BOTH of them (retraction) to come up under you and change edges at your max flexion.

Now, your skis are across the hill pointing the other way (and YEAH, I brought the all the way across the fall line because I didn't want to gain a huge amount of speed in this snow while I was learning.) Key to not high-siding here is CORE STRENGTH and engagement. Skiing into and out of counter, thinking about that big beach ball.

Now your edge change is completed, and you begin to extend, but now, engaging your core in the other direction. squeezing the beach ball into your other thigh, feeling the push, like you are trying to push your body away from your feet, but your awesomely strong core won't let you.

Skiing this kind of manky snow felt to me like a huge amount of functional tension in the core, with precise and sensitive feet, listening to every phase of the turn. Being present in the moment is also very very helpful.

Loosing the judgmental voice and simply being diagnostic while learning to ski this snow made every turn better than the last!!

Best of luck to you, thanks for the questions, and thanks for reading!! Let me know if you have any more questions, and what your other ski buddies say, I'm excited to discuss this!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Let the Hiking Season Begin! Systems Check: Emotional, Physicial etc...

Its been an interesting transition between hiking and skiing season. I think I have finally figured it out. Next season, I think I'm going to take about 3 weeks off after Academy and try to go somewhere sunny and warm and rest and go surfing with my boys. That's a goal.

Its true, my body needs a break, a real break, but I get crazy if I can't get outside. So I think an active vacation, with the first like 6 days being all about laying around, would be in order if I could swing it financially. Its a goal.

I have so many things swimming around in my head that I want to report about, lets start with a systems check.

Its been 9 days since I was physically active, and as many of you know, I suffer from an eating disorder. When I am nice and active, It goes into remission, because I can focus on feeding my body so it will perform. I eat a lot, whenever I am hungry, and I stop when I feel full.

When I get sick, or I'm not active for over 6 or 7 days, it tends to rear its ugly head, I feel panicked and afraid to eat, and it creeps up on me over the course of a couple of days, until I am in a very scared place about food, my body, and performance.

It happened again when I got back from Academy, and needed a rest. The first four days were fine, I wasn't worried about food, even enjoyed some Ben and Jerry's (without downing the entire tub).

The nature of my eating disorder is binge/punish, no purging, just out of control binge eating, then emotional blackmail until I feel terrible about myself. Its been a long year, I was diagnosed last July (as was my sister, who went to treatment for the same disorder).

Its an interesting thing to grapple with, because training helps me to keep food in perspective, my goal in skiing is so much more important to me that it trumps my food psychosis, so when I'm actively training my body to be as healthy and strong as it can be, I eat well, feel balanced, and am much happier. The one part of the disorder that I was able to conquer was the exorcise anorexia portion, where I used to count calories and exercise myself into the ground to loose weight. I am happy that I don't have the urge to do that anymore, I feel like to meet my goal, my body has to be strong and healthy, whatever it looks like is a result of how healthy it is.

Its when the training goes away due to sickness or rest that I loose my compass.

Because of this, I'm going back into therapy this summer, now that I have a little more time, to make sure that the decisions I am making in this and in other aspects of my life are healthy and appropriate! I'm excited to re-enter therapy, I like to rip off the scab and get to work, its hard to do, but the other side is SO MUCH BETTER!

On the subject of therapy, I want to say how proud I am of Tom and me. I have tried to avoid posting specifically about our relationship, but its pretty important and impactful, and I have to say that I am really really amazed that we've managed to land where we are.

We went to the movies together the other night, and took the boys out on a family rock climbing trip together. Now that we are not romantically involved, and we've both mourned that and moved on as much as we can, we are taking such good care of each other! We are getting along so well, being respectful and helpful to each other. Neither of us wants to get back together, we know its not the right thing, but we aren't mad at each other, we care about each other, we love each other, and we love our kids. So we are very fortunate to have landed in a place where we can truly be great friends, good parents, supportive of each other, and nurture a deep friendship. I'm grateful for our kids and for us that this is where we've ended up. It was hard work to get here, we had to do a lot of honest talk, we had to both be brave. Its still hard to know that it didn't work out, that it won't work out that way, but I think we are both happy that we've got what we do. And I'm glad that we did it in a way that honors both of us and what we need, but takes good care of our kids, to minimize the impact.

So here is the Scary Things systems check:
I was afraid to go to Academy, because my sponsors were going to be there, and I can't do what I'm doing without them, I just don't have the financial resources to buy the gear and be on the road like this. I want to make sure that I'm doing every thing I can to say thank you to them, to promote their gear (and I'm fortunate enough to be sponsored by people whose gear I LOVE), and just to be helpful. I live in a bit of fear that they will say, well, thanks, but we are done... its just not working out.

So showing up at Academy was scary, but it ended up being nothing but good to see the Elan/Dalbello guy, Scott, who originally took a chance on me, we got a run in together, but definitely need to get more turns in than that one of these days, and I got a bunch of runs in with Brent Amsbury, the boot fitting magician, and it was great to connect with him on snow, I met Joel, the CEO and inventor of Skier's Edge, and we hit it off really well, and I met the VIO guys, and that went well as well. When I got home, I found a box from Cloudveil of spring gear to try out, and I just feel totally blessed by all this encouragement and these terrific relationships.

I thought about being scared to go there, and I decided, you know, if they did decide this wasn't working for them today, I would certainty have nothing to complain about!! These companies each took a chance on me, and have made this very difficult year much much easier. If it ended today, I think I would be happy and grateful for all they've done for me so far. So I took a deep breath and moved on from that. I feel like I have a very open communicative relationship with all of them, and I'm grateful for that.

The next scary thing was coming back to school, because my classmates, whom I was very close with before I left for training, were not happy with the fact that I'd made arrangements with the school that gave me permission to miss like two months of class. While I'm still responsible for the material and won't graduate without meeting all the requirements, I do understand that the situation seems unfair to the other students. I was afraid to come back because I used to be very close with a few of the girls who are the most angry and upset about it. It was hard to loose those friendships, but harder to know that they were very unhappy, and I was the cause.

My first day back, I felt very apologetic, like I needed to be very quiet, and silently apologize for being gone, and now for being back, and then to apologize also for any hurt I'd caused. This was, needless to say, not a conducive emotional place to be for learning!!

I took some time and had a meeting with the head of our school, and I decided that as much as I feel bad that this was very hard for everyone involved, I'm in school to learn, and my goal is to graduate. I can't continue to apologize for something that I got permission to do, I need to leave it behind and focus on the future. I finally was able to let it go, and hope that the girls will, as well. Many of my classmates were very understanding and encouraging and helpful, and I'm grateful to those who reached out to me! I miss my deep friendships, but they will either come back or they won't.

Physical Systems check:
My broken wrist has healed nicely, and isn't bothering me anymore. My month long illness is finally over! And my sinuses are very grateful for that. (Sorry for snoring so much at Academy...).

I have chronic tonsillitis, which I've had for about five years, and it gets worse every allergy season. I've concluded that's whats going on with my sore throat right now, Allegra and benadryl seem to help it, but I need a tonsillectomy. I don't have time to do it right now, so I'm gonna do the best I can this summer and work through it, hope to get the surgery done in September in Aspen after the move. The bummer is that when it flares up, my tonsils swell, leak puss and bleed, and my tongue hurts to move. That's very sexy, don't you think? I feel when that is happening like I have the flu, I get all achy in my body, because of the infection.

Its time to get my teeth put back into my head, my mom has agreed to help me with that financially, which is terrific, so I've made appointments to finish all three of my implants. Wow, it will feel good to have all my teeth after a year! One more oral surgery and a dental application and I'm done!

The calf muscle I pulled at Academy is healing, I felt it today on my hike, but I stretched it after, and it feels much better now.

The thing thats bugging me the most physically right now is this series of active trigger points I have in my shoulder that are firing all the time. Last night, I slept on this wooden "thumb" jammed into my shoulder blade to make it stop firing. The sensation goes constantly down into my elbow, up my neck and through my shoulder to the front, like a hot ice pick. Not pleasant. Tamara is working on it again. I got renewed prescriptions for chiro, pt, massage and counseling from my accident, and I'm excited to take care of my body all summer, get it back in balance, and turn down the amount of screaming pain I'm in all the time.OOh, and I'm excited to fix the leg length discrepancy that Brent found from my twisted pelvis. That will help my skiing a lot.

Today, I hiked to M. It's the first hike of the season, and I was worried about where I would be cardiovascularly, since I didn't do a lot of hiking this year, because I was using that time to train wedge turns and wedge christies and bumps for the exam. I had the goal of just walking up to the M, the steep way, at a sustainable pace that felt good for my body, and to go at that pace without stopping.

I was psyched to feel strong and happy on my way up the M, I remember when I started hiking this trail two years ago, how hard it was, how I wanted to turn around every ten feet, how I had to talk myself into keeping going all the time. It was such a huge mental exercise for me. Today, I walked happily up to the M, and I was surprised when I got there! I felt so good, I decided to keep on going. I hiked up to the ridge, feeling strong and happy, keeping bio mechanics in mind, trying to just use my legs in the hip socket, and keep my hips and pelvis out of the walking motion, focusing on hitting the ground with a flat foot, and standing up straight rather than pitching my body forward and using momentum from my torso to move up (which is actually much more work). I didn't wear a backpack or bring any water today, just wanted to go light and easy on this first day. I got to the top in 40 minutes, I think that's about 10 minutes slower than my fastest time last year, which is great!

I feel like I am starting this year's hiking season in slightly better shape than where I left off last year at the end of the summer, and that's exciting. I am constantly amazed at the fact that endurance fitness is something that builds over the course of years, I feel so much stronger in my body and cardio wise than I did three years ago, I'm excited to see where I end up at the end of this season!

Now its time for planning for looking forward:

Goals for the summer are:

Catch up in school, do a good job in school, and graduate from school.

Do a good job on my clients in my private practice, and hand that practice over to someone at the end of the summer with a good list of satisfied clients.

Focus on Energetics, take the Thai massage continuing learning seminar in Jackson.

Go to Aspen and get a good massage job that begins in September, find an apartment that will house all four of us.

Refinance our house and fix it up.

Sell or rent our house in Bozeman.

Sell or get rid of about 80% of our stuff because it won't fit in our Aspen apartment!

Increase muscle mass by 10-12 lbs, increase endurance and speed on the boot pack. Enter the ski season in better fitness than I left it.

Get at least four ski trips in.

Tackle the "major projects list" that needs doing:
Wrap up Jungle Gym Tax situation
Wrap up our fire insurance claim
wrap up my accident insurance claim
send my books off for consideration for publishing
edit and finish my articles and send them off for consideration for publishing
finish the Academy 09 memory book
finish the tryouts memory book

Oh! And go camping with my boys. :-)

I think that's about the size of it. I will be so excited to come out the other end of this year, I knew it was going to be insane and challenging, but so far, I am grateful to say, at the end of ski season, that while it was challenging, and more obstacles presented themselves than I ever could have predicted, with the help and support of my friends, family, mentors and coaches, I met all of my goals for the season. Lets hope the summer goes the same way!

Time to get to work!!

Greetings from the bridger ridge!

First hike of the season, 40 min to the top. The goal was to pick a sustainable pace that felt happy, easy, not hard, and keep it to the top. I'm starting the season in much better shape than last summer! I was just gonna go to the m, but i felt so good, i had to go to the top!