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.

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