Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010/2011 Blizzard Crush... early rise = bliss in all conditions!

photo by
2010/2011 Blizzard Crush… early rise tip and tail, bliss in all conditions!

I went to Academy in Snowbird, Utah last week and for the first time got on a pair of Early Rise skis, the Blizzard Crush. At 98 underfoot, it’s a fatter ski, with an early rise tip and tail, the base of the ski is flat, or 0, from the middle of the heel piece to about four inches in front of the toe piece.

Most of the time, the snow was manky monkey snot, late April in Snowbird, Utah, and when I first got on these skis, I tried to move to the forebody of the ski right off the bat, only to feel like I was falling into outer space. On my Elan Deep Spice, a more traditional big mountain board, I had gotten used to opening everything at the top of the turn, and allowing the ski to run into the fall line. Because those skis have a turning radius of about 30' or so, and are 105 under foot, I didn’t have to do much, and I had a patient top of the turn, adding a shot of rotary at the bottom before opening again. They were happy at speed, but nimble isn’t a word I’d use to describe them.

The Crushes, on the other hand, because they only contact the snow for about a foot and a half of the ski, are incredibly pivoty and easy to turn. I found them turning immediately, I felt at first like I had no control over them, I’d twitch and they’d be under me and across before I was even ready.

On the firm, they felt like a beautiful carving ski, but I was getting a huge amount of chatter. I couldn’t figure out why this amazingly turney ski was bouncing across the firm. Trying to move on it in a traditional way was a disaster, I moved to the front of the ski to try to engage it in the forebody and it just collapsed under me.

“How do you like em?” Katie asked me.

“I’m not sure, I’m confused by them. They feel so weird and different, they won’t act the way I expect them to.”

After four days of playing on them in all different snow conditions, I’d decided that I couldn’t live without a ski like this in my quiver. In fact, this ski might BE the quiver.

The trick? I realized eventually that it was a bit like skiing on a snowblade or a hockey skate. I needed to be right in the middle of the ski and it would work beautifully in the soft stuff. The turning radius when it was in the deep was super short and pivoty. The turning radius when it was on edge on the firm was about 18 meters or so.

Moving forward on the ski moved it off its performance area, so it forced me to stand in the middle of the ski, feeling the entire ski working from tip to tail, curling and bending. Suddenly, my fore/aft balancing quieted down and I found myself listening to my core, softening and firming and working the ski from the feet under me.

We got lucky enough to get about 8” of powder on our last day at Snowbird, and I went out again on the Crush. What a treat. If I thought it performed well on the groom, in the chalk, in the mank, bumps and in the snot, I was totally unprepared for the easy silky smooth ride I was in for in the powder. April what? Let it snow, I’m ready to get out there and bounce!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Friday, April 16, 2010

What is a Goal?

I've been thinking a fair amount about what it means to have a goal, and how that goal is perceived by others, and what having a goal means to me.

When I was skating, the goal, ultimately, was to win the pride of my parents by making an achievement that was exemplary. I lived in pursuit of this goal for many years. I hoped to achieve highly so that my sense of self worth would be granted to me by my Step Father. I had worked in pursuit of his pride.

The interesting thing about living your life so that someone else will be proud of you is that you are never quite enough for you. You live in pursuit of validation from outside sources. I'd been challenged by him to be the best, better than him, and most of my steps were measured and graded: was I fast, strong, smart? Was I faster, stronger and smarter than he was?

During my careers in skating and acting, I missed a lot of the journey, ever in pursuit of the final end product, the statement, "You did it well enough that I'm proud."

Because we can always improve, and because I always chose careers in which intimate and exacting critique were a manner of course, I never achieved that moment.

The lesson of leaving skating in such a despondent state, of abandoning something I'd loved once because it hadn't given me what I thought I needed in life, namely the love of a parent, was a resounding one.

At a certain point, we were going to start a family, and I wanted my kids to grow up feeling sure, secure, and like they had wings to be who they wanted to be. I knew they couldn't do that if they saw me looking to the outside world for validation. I went back to therapy.

The long and short of it is, I do believe in goals. But now, I see them very differently. Today, I see a goal as a dot in the distance that you walk toward, so that you have some focus in your life.

But I also strongly believe that wishing that something was other than it is is the definition of suffering, and that to really live your life, you have to practice accepting where you are in your life right now in this moment. Who you are, what your circumstances are, what the realities are.

So for me today, I don't wish that I was on the team. I don't wish I was a better skier than I am. The team, for me, is a dot in the distance that is worth walking toward, having some focus like that helps me to be happy with what I have, and know that I can continue to grow. Having a goal allows me to remove impediments and just enjoy becoming.

I'll either become in a way that gets my feet and soul and teaching and person to a place where I'd be an asset to the team, or I won't. That's not, and really never has been the point.

The point has been each of the people I've met along the way. They've all taught me to do something that I love, and I've learned to love learning it. Having a goal helps me and some of the people I work with to understand that I like to train hard and I'm not afraid of hard work. Having this goal was a way, originally, for me to ask for someone to take me seriously and really work with me. In the process, I got to take him to lunch and listen to his stories, and learn about the history of skiing, of PSIA, of the team. This was a hugely humbling experience for me.

I guess what I'm trying to get across here is that I feel that goals are important in your life, but they aren't a terminus. They aren't the point of life, you don't "win" when you get there. A goal, for me, is a point in the distance you walk towards, so that you have a reference to grow by. I like to put my goals way up in the stars, because that way, I don't limit myself. Even though I might only make it down the block, by putting my goal further away from myself, I give myself a little bit of permission to practice believing in me, being enough, not having to look outside, and just growing.

Congratulations, Shannon!

Congratulations Shannon on passing your Level 3 this year!! It was awesome to train with you!

Skiing in the Shower 2.0

I received a letter today that got me thinking about perception.

Because of this letter, which was hard to read, but important to receive, I realized that I need to make a change. I'd like to change the focus of my blog. To those of you that have been following for the last three years, I'm not abandoning my goal. I am skiing toward becoming a viable candidate for the 2012 tryout. But to that end, I'd like to turn the focus of the blog to the same focus that I've gone to personally over the last season, that of the process as opposed to the goal.

I have always felt for me that the whole thing was about the process, but I realize today that there is still some perception that requires me to listen. I feel humble and grateful in my heart, but I'm not sure that translates clearly into my blog.

I considered whether I should stop writing my blog, and I don't think that's fair to the people that enjoy reading it and have been so kindly on my journey with me, through all the ups and downs. But I do think that I need to be open to the fact that living my life out-loud is frustrating and offensive to some people. And for that, I'm really sorry.

The goal remains, and I'm grateful for it, it helps me remember why to work hard, but the point of it all is, and always has been, the journey. I guess my job here is to work hard, for myself and for my readers, on becoming. The blog for me has become a bit of a challenge, in public, to live with integrity and to be honest when I stumble, and brave enough to grow. I'm glad I got this letter. I hope I can rise to the challenge of being a person that is more clear in intention, and is more humble.

So to that end, Skiing in the Shower 2.0 is going to focus on my journey (the blog is about my experience in the skiing world, so I can't not write about it from my own perspective) what I'm learning and how it makes sense to me, how I'm learning to apply it, with thanks to those who take the time to teach me. I'll still write about my life, my love, my family, the journey isn't just about skiing, its about all of us that are on the journey together.

I want to say thank you to the person who took the time to time to share these thoughts so honestly. And to the folks today that helped me puzzle through what it meant and how I can grow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

our mallards

Spring at the ranch is going to be a wonderful experience for the boys and for mom and I! We have two ponds just a stone's throw from the porch, and as previously reported, we have some ducks that are making a nest here. Looks like we can look forward to some ducklings, frogs and trout to swim with this summer!!

Spring is HERE!

Its been sooo awesome to have the week off and just hang out with the kids. Our pond is melting, and yesterday, they went tromping around in the snow on the edge, looking at frog eggs, and checking out the Mallard couple that have taken up residence.

Despite the thick blanket of snow that we still have, the trees are budding and the pond plants are growing, we have a willow tree that's already sent up green chutes!

We are firming up our plans for the summer, and they are shaping up well. It looks like this May I'll be able to get in a bunch of back country skiing, first in Telluride with Scotty Kennett, and then I'll travel down to Jackson to visit with my friend Selko and ski in the Teetons.

The kids get out of school in June, and we'll head up to Whitefish to spend a month camping and playing with Mike and his kids on the river and at the skate parks. What does that mean? It means we are open to possibilities.

We've decided that it doesn't have to be normal or usual to be right, so we are just going to roll with it and see what happens.

In July, the kids are going to get to go to our ACES camps here in Aspen, and I'll be training in town, playing with them, and then, take a week and go to Whistler for Big Air camp with Momentum, where I'll write an article on us old folks learning to huck our meat!

In August, its back up to Whitefish with the kids, for two weeks, for more summer river fun, and then I'm off to Chile for steeps camp with my friend Chris. I'll be back before school starts, and then the calm fall season begins here in Aspen.

Kids in school, hiking around locally, writing a lot, hiking to stay fit, book study and MA sessions with my friends who are also training for the team, and lots of family time.

I'm really glad for how things are smoothing out, its amazing to be able to share this world of adventure with my kids, and wonderful to balance it with other kinds of adventures: Bodhi just started his birding list, (he's learned how to use a field guide), Ethan is writing to Dr. Robert Ambrose again, the lead scientist on the Robonaut project for NASA.

We spend about every afternoon tromping around in the creek watching the snowmelt, reading the books that my mom brings home from the library... Ethan's aeronautical skills are improving daily as he practices new and more complicated paper airplanes. Bodhi's written another book, which we are laminating... its amazing what these kids come up with since we don't have a television.

I feel, at the end of the season this year, that my mom and I have come to a strong, supportive understanding of how to balance training and family time, and I'm grateful for our strong relationship and the tribe we've made here in Aspen.

The ducks are landing on the pond, and we are just back from a long two hour walk up the Maroon Creek Road with Weems and the boys, who found a beaver house. The insanity of winter is slowing, the rhythm of spring is beginning, and I feel very grateful.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Where Are You in Your Skiing?

What a strange question to answer. And it gets asked often, I think its a good question, because while I think about it all the time, I don't often put it into words. Practicing talking about it allows it to become an investigation in curiosity rather than something else.

I feel very much like my skiing is something that changes almost every turn, and often every run. The rate at which it changes also changes. But there is something I can learn, if I listen, from each turn, from each portion of the turn, in all kinds of snow.

Sometimes, I listen from the mindset of a technical, analytical perspective, and sometimes, I listen from an esoteric, feeling place, trusting that something is evolving, that my feet are teaching themselves.

Most of the time, I feel like I'm looking closely at individual pieces, which I know are part of a greater whole. I'm usually not sure where in the whole they fit, and figuring that part out is usually my present from my skiing once I've been open enough to each aspect.

I have described it a couple of times as feeling like I have a small pile of Legos in my hand, and I know that they make a car when you put them together well. But trying to guess how they go together, I can often make some semblance of a car, but I always have pieces left over.

When I take the time to investigate each individual piece, how big is it, how many connector pieces are there, what are all the characteristics of each of the pieces... When I take the time to do that, I find that I get a spatial picture, in the back ground, of how it all fits together. And suddenly, one day, I realize that I'm not looking at the pieces anymore, but that I'm experiencing the whole in a new way.

I love to hang out and admire the new car, enjoy it, drive it around, and play with it for a couple of days, but inevitably in a few days, I realize that there is another model, one that performs better, has a few more (or fewer!) pieces, but takes a greater depth of understanding to put together.

Actually, the further along I go, the fewer pieces there seem to be, but the more depth of understanding you need to fit them together.

One of the things that's been really exciting for me this year is fading back and forth from dedicated technical training most often on easy slopes (most recently, 8000 retraction turns on groomed blue, six days of wedge Christies on groomed green, an hour a day on turn initiation, and four weeks on giant slalom skis no matter the terrain), to feeling, experiencing, absorbing, either by chasing someone and "watching" with my proprioceptors what my skis and body are doing to match their movements, or by skiing hard, off piste, off axis, in the air, with curiosity and no judgment. I wonder what happens when I ski this snow like this...

I found that honing issues in my skiing down to specific questions, and trying to read, watch, and self coach through them, and then taking the very specific question to someone who I learn from well (Weems, Kurt, Schanzy, Megan, Cindy, Jonathan, Josh, Kevin, Tim...) it usually only takes about five or ten minutes of discussion and I have a new outlook and something to go try again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Playing in the Park with Ethan

Playing in the park with Ethan today was absolutely the best thing ever. His confidence is bubbling up, his control over his little body is suddenly increasing, he's realizing its okay to fall over and get a bruise when he's playing.

This morning, the kids both wanted to go to Snowmass and play in the park and pipe, they were excited to see what I'd learned in my Freestyle accred, and they really look up to the Stief kids, who can throw down on their skateboards and their snowboards. They are ready to play with the big kids.

Ethan earned his tricks today, hiking the park over and over.

What drives us?

Who do you admire? Do you admire the people that history tells us to admire? The doers, the thinkers, the accomplishers? The dedicated, the hard working...

I think a lot about what drives us, what drives me, why do I care, why do I want to keep working so hard to be better and better at what I do... what is the point? Am I missing the point?

I mean, to be an Olympic level athlete, you have to have a certain amount of OCD. Is success in career just a pathology? Or is it the ability to balance and commit and know that it will get easier, and building relationships that support the journey is how you teach your kids that they are loved?

I'm happy to see my kids blossoming, opening, becoming. I'm happy to see that about myself, about Mike, about his kids. I'm grateful that all those kids see their parents working hard, staying true, doing what they love, not "Drinking the Kool-Aid" and creating the job that makes them feel fulfilled.

I think a lot about the family that Mike and I made last summer, about how it really was the ultimate. For me, for Mike, for all of our kids, even for my mom. Together, we made some sort of significance, we created a raft that floated all of us, without being to the detriment of any one of us.

I look at this, at Mike's 13 year old saying to me, “How long until your tryout? Three years? Okay, you can live in Aspen for three years, I guess.” I think to myself, again, at what cost?

Mike is in the same situation, his job is important to him. His career is taking off as well, he is being thrust into opportunity in much the same way that I am, he is seizing that opportunity, not only of making more money, but of making more money doing the thing that he loves.

He is making a difference, he is outside, he is getting paid to travel the world. We have the same goals, and it seems like at some point, they might actually align, Mike an international medic who can focus on expedition medicine, and me an international ski teacher who is putting together groups to go exploring all around the world with the people who know that area best.

In the mean time, we have five kids who thrive on our contact, who grow exponentially when they are with us, who grow even more when we are all together in a tribe.

So what is the balance? I don't want to step off my path, and Mike never asked me to, to the contrary, he loves my goal, likes that I'm driven and wants to see me succeed. I don't want to pull Mike off his path, his commitment to his kids is one of the reasons that I love him.

And so we decide. He's in Whitefish. I'm in Aspen. We are both pursuing, with some success, careers that are helping us feel like we contribute in some meaningful way to the world, that allow us to take care of our kids with more ease, that give us the opportunity to be outside and to travel.

But that nest we know we can make when we are together, is it at the cost of that.

So this leads me around and around in a spiral. I often land back at the question that Tom asked me: Why can't you just be happy being a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl? Why isn't that enough for you?

I don't know that I have an answer to why I'm driven to improve. I know that I love getting better at skiing, just for me. It makes me feel like I'm alive. I stay committed to the fact that I can improve in every run, understand more and play more and be in the mountains more confidently, with less fear and more confidence.

When I continue to improve my own skiing, I realize how important it is to my own sense of well being, my own understanding of my limitless capabilities as a human, and social restrictions in regards to age, gender, the fact that I'm a mother, ideas that I'm not “a skier” because I haven't done it my whole life fall away. And I want to share this with other people, so that they don't swallow the lie, so that they can take their experience, whatever it is, back to their regular lives and feel unlocked a little, feel some of those restrictions and social impositions for the falsehoods that they are.

Coming here to Aspen has landed me amongst people who want to help me improve my own skiing, my ability to communicate my love and desire to live openly and vibrantly to others, and who believe that there is space for everyone at the top.

Because of that, I feel even more unlimited, because I'm not swimming upstream. I'm in a river with a bunch of other fish who all swim differently, who respect that we all do it in our own way, that everyone brings something, and there is this great sense of overall movement towards something better.

Whether that ends me up on the Demo team or not is another question. I feel like it would be the best avenue for me to connect with as many people as I can, spreading the idea that you are never to old to remember how to play, and that skiing is a fun place to start, reconnecting to yourself, to your family, to your love of life.

I feel for the first time like there's a possibility that my feet will get there. I have a long long way to go, and a lot of skiing, reading, training, talking, thinking and playing to do.

When I think like this, I know that this is my path, and I know that I couldn't step off of it, I'd end up wherever I went trying to fight for the same goal with even more obstructions in the way. I don't seem to be able to let go of loving this path, of feeling so right walking down it, regardless of its terminus.

So the question of why? Why isn't being an instructor at our local ski hill enough for me? I can't answer. I don't know why. I know that I loved that place, that I miss it, I miss Montana, and Bridger, and the friends I left behind, and the love I left in Whitefish.

But I know that to get where I'm going, I have to leave things behind. That's the nature of moving forward. Why do I want, why do any of us want to move forward and become who we can be, follow our paths with curiosity and end up where we never dreamed possible?

Why would I want that at the expense of long summers in the canoe with my love and his kids? Does it have to be at that expense? I can't answer those questions. I'm not even going to try to. I think looking for and at that answer may be part of the point of me being on this journey.

I think that trying to know how the story ends is part of how we mess it up. I think we have to follow what reverberates that feeling of purpose and wholeness in our selves, and keep checking in to know that our sense of wholeness honors all the aspects of life, our love, our family, our impact on planet and people.

How the story ends, and even what's in the next chapter, well, that's the point of being on the journey, isn't it?

Could it be enough to be a family together in June and August, and just let the rest float and land where it does? Can we all become who we are meant to be, reaching our best ability to inspire others to take a risk to become who THEY can be?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day one of Freestyle Accreditation

I have this to say: Squatty and Ceasar wore onesies. I got out of our 22' superpipe! Buttering is hard to do on stiff alpine skis. I like skiing backwards.

I think I may be in love with Freestyle!! Crossing fingers that I can get to Freestyle camp this summer in Whistler.

Must sleep now, more sooon!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Final day of Demo Team training

Leaving my house at the T Lazy 7, fresh snow here, over a foot on the top of Snowmass!

Today, while it was dumping, blowing and howling, I got out with my friends who are all training toward trying out for the 2012 Demo Team. Josh, Schanzy, Will, Kristen and Squatty and I went ripping around Snowmass in about a foot of fresh powder.

I was excited to see what had stayed in my skiing and if my day skiing Telluride with Scotty Kennett was a fluke or not. I have to say, that I've been feeling like I opened the door to another level of skiing that day with him, and I've been hoping that it would stick.

I tried to explain it to Josh Fogg today while we were hanging out waiting for the rest of the group to pop out of the trees. I feel like I have a new beginning. Things feel simple, easy, unconfusing.

I feel like NOW I have a starting point. I don't feel like I'm constantly trying to find the right place to stand on my skis, even when I am out of balance, as we all often are when we are skiing, I feel like there is a movement pattern (oh, there's an App for that...) just something to do to get comfortably back in the middle.

I feel my feet and my skis in a way that I haven't before, I've let go of my heavy dependence on rotary and added a lot more patience in my turn, finally finally my BODY understands why that's important. Before it was an esoteric wish without a practical application.

I feel like most of my work with Weems has been in where in the turn to apply the things Ive learned in Demo Team training, and most of the time its in the transition. How much to I want to move to the foot, how fast, with how much pressure, and how much edge. What do I want the ski to do?

I'm skiing through mank and crud at speeds I've never felt comfortable at, and skiing in the tighter trees at speeds I didn't know I could ski at.

Of course, in the trees, I'm chasing Schanzy, trying to stay right on his line so that I can learn to make these movements at speed in a place where there are consequences. All I want to see is the turn and when to make it. He's far enough ahead in the trees that I am following the line he's left in the snow, and making the tactical choices that allow me to follow his line, more often than not accurately enough to make me feel happy and free.

When I can get on his tail, I like to stay about two turns behind him and just ask my skis to do what his did right in the same spot. I'm not so much looking at the terrain or making choices as I am purely mimicking him while trying to keep up. In this way, I get a purely kinesthetic lesson, and my skis do things without me worrying or wondering if they can. I realize in that moment that in order to make that turn, I have to make my feet do what his did, its really that simple.

I wasn't as confident jumping off stuff today, I was on my Magfires rather than on my big fat skis, and it was good for me. I've gotten so used to kind of cheating on the fatties when I've allowed myself to get on them, that getting on this heavy all mountain ski, (which is short, I ski it in a 160) and trusting that it would come back up was a great exercise.

I took a good digger hucking off a tiny little kicker, landed a little back straight in the fall line and going mach chicken. Rather than bouncing and making a turn, I gave up and took a big one, lost a ski and learned a lesson. Turn your feet, Kate.

The other little hops we took today were a lot of fun, I skied out of all of them, some of them had a surprising amount of fall away and longer air than I expected, and that felt good. I had one really good one with a nice landing that reminded me of my new understanding of platform angle in powder, I landed at the angle that the ski would plane at rather than trying to match the slope angle and that went really well.

All in all, it was a playful day, no feedback whatsoever from the group, and I was kind of glad of that, it felt like a day to sort of flip through what we had worked on all year and rip around trying things out, seeing what had stayed, and how my beliefs about making the ski work had changed.

I'm looking forward to Academy because I want to ski hard like this, with some feedback and see what someone from a completely outside perspective thinks about where my skiing is and how far I have to go.

Its an interesting place to be, today I felt like, if I wasn't heading for the team, I'm happy with my skiing. I feel like I can ski the whole mountain and that I can work on certain aspects, but I don't feel like there are huge holes in my skiing anymore, either condition or terrain specific. There are certainly some things on the extreme end that I could work on, going straight and drops of more than ten feet, but on the whole, I feel like I have an understanding and the ability to ski effectively enough to have fun playing without feeling like I'm hanging on for dear life.

I'm glad, just for that reason, that I am going for the team, because its exciting to be at a place where I could get complacent, and wonder what kinds of doors will open after that? If I keep learning and I keep skiing and I keep asking and trying, what in the world is it going to feel like under my feet at this time next year!!??

I want to say thank you to Schanzy, Will and Josh for letting me tail them all over then mountain, its very kind to let me be your shadow, I learn a lot on your tails, and I'm grateful.

Deer Valley

After I left Telluride, I traveled to its polar opposite for five days, Deer Valley. I had heard a lot about this place, that they excelled at service, (in fact, someone once joked to me that there is someone standing every ten feet on a run to wipe your nose with a tissue as you ski by...), that the grooming was legendary, and that it was the home of Stien Erickson.

I have to admit, I was curious.

We drove in and stayed at the St. Regis Deer Crest, which is absolutely the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen. We were in a two bedroom suite, with a living room, dining room, three bathrooms, and a full kitchen, fireplaces in all three rooms, televisions hidden in the mirrors in the bathrooms, and a butler named Mathew at our beck and call.

A far cry from the comfy couch I'd crashed on in Telluride, for sure. This is one of the things that I love about traveling. I find it takes openness and tolerance on all sides. It would be easy for me, coming from Montana and driving a beat up Bronco to turn my nose up at luxury, or to make judgments about what I think skiing is.

Skiing is something that everyone does differently, that everyone appreciates differently. Sleeping on Annie's couch and skiing the steep back country of Telluride is one way to experience it. Sleeping on 600 thread count sheets and having Mathew bring me coffee in bed before I ski out of the hotel and onto a perfect groomer with a couple of rowdy kids is another way to experience it.

This hotel was spectacular. And obviously, they did something right, as the entire place was sold out to young families.

The volume that Deer Valley was dealing with while we were visiting was astounding, and I have to say, they handle it really well. I heard that the ski school was sold out for three of the five days that we were there, and that they broke attendance records on one of those days. I wouldn't be surprised if that was true, it was packed.

There was a sea of green coats helping folks find their way, and most of the folks that I saw skiing are beginner to upper intermediate level skiers. They ski with their families, and one thing that Deer Valley does extremely well is take the hassle out of guessing what to do and where to go.

The person that told me there is someone there to wipe your nose is wrong. There is someone there to point you in the right direction, the staff is amazingly friendly and knowledgeable, coming to you if you look lost, making suggestions, and I saw more than one mountain host calming down a harried parent and harassed child and getting them sorted.

As far as skiing for grown ups goes, we had 16" of fresh snow and it just kept dumping. The gladed tree skiing looked phenomenal, and very untracked. I went out hunting for a long ripping groomer one morning to feel my ski legs, and it was so crowded that morning that I couldn't really uncork it, but to be fair, this was the attendance record day, and I didn't have a guide. Hiring a ski instructor or asking a mountain host is a great way to go.

Skiing around in my Aspen Ski Co Uniform was also great, I was welcomed by everyone and sent home with a long list of people to say hello to. The staff was very busy and focused on their clients, and still had time to make me feel really welcomed.

As far as the ski in ski out experience, I can see why people with families enjoy making Deer Valley their second home. The real estate development is extensive and cleverly integrated all over the mountain, it feels a bit like you are skiing through a neighborhood set on a hill. With a chairlift to take you wherever you want to go, there are miles and miles of easy runs to explore, with lots of old mining history dotted all around.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thoughts on the end of the season.

I'm sitting here in the Denver airport waiting to catch a flight back to Aspen. Its been a heck of a season, and its "winding down" now. Aspen just extended through weekends of April 25, and I have the Freestyle Exam, National Academy, and the possibility of taking the Rocky Mountain TA exam, as well, all in the next month.

To this end, I went and saw Brent Amsbury of Park City Pedorthics to try and eek the rest of the summer out of my boots. its a tall order, there is the possibility of a Big Air camp in Whistler, Race Camp in Mt. Hood, and Steeps Camp in Chile, and another possibility of Alaska in June.

I hope that those things happen, they will be great for my skiing, and helpful if I do end up taking clients to them, for travel experience, and for my financial situation this summer.

If they do work out, I hope to take my kids to Race Camp at least, like I did last summer. It was so much fun to have them in Hood with me!!

The problem, again, is that I always end up enrolling at the last minute, because I never know what my financial reality is going to be until about five days before I'm supposed to leave. I'd hoped that would change by this summer, and while its getting better, its still pretty close.

One foot in front of the other, along the path, things either work out or they don't. In any event, I'll either get where I need to or I won't. When I get the chance to train, my skiing comes up. My skiing has improved so much this season, I'm excited to keep skiing hard.

I guess its for that reason that I'm looking forward to Academy so much, a week of skiing hard and training. I'm hoping to get a critical eye on my feet and getting a handle on how far I am from the standard, so I can push as hard as I need to to make it happen. I want to know if I'm on track or not.