Thursday, February 3, 2011

In which we get back on the horse after The Big Wreck

I was slightly terrified, I'll admit it. My pointer finger and thumb are still numb, and I'm not sure if that's because of the exacerbated injury to my neck, or because I did something bad to my shoulder, which still hurts quite a bit.

I'm choosing to believe that it's because of my shoulder. My body felt like it was run over by a truck until this morning, a week after the crash.

I'm still sore in my whole spine, and of course, more so in places where I was already injured, in the SI joint, and in the cervical area where I have previously compressed discs, and where I broke off the bone spur.

Yesterday was day one of Precision Skiing 401, a clinic that is a recommended prep clinic for the Rocky Mountain PSIA Trainer's accred. I was SO stoked when I walked in and realized that Jenn Metz was leading the clinic, the wife of Todd, who I had just taken Clinic Leading 401 from in Vail. How often does that happen?

These guys are inspiring for so many reasons, not the least of which is that they have been happily married for thirty years and are still madly in love. They are both extraordinary teachers, and I was excited to meet the other half of this dynamic duo!

Jenn has a truly inspiring way of presenting information, the group was moving, the clinic was tailored to the needs of the group really well, we got a wealth of deep technical information without bogging down our minds, and our skiing dramatically improved as a group. My only complaint is that I didn't have a video camera, because I would have loved to watch the things she told us over and over again so that I could remember every single tip and explanation. They were all really well said, clear, concise, and easy to digest.

Day one for me was scary, I was shaky on my skis, afraid to fall, worried what would happen if I did fall, and I felt like I was floating about six feet off the snow. Visibility was challenging, and we were skiing Snowmass, whose terrain I like, but I always feel a bit disconnected when I am there, slightly lost, even though I know where I am.

I felt like I demonstrated the worst of my adequate skiing, if that makes any sense, and I wondered, if I ski like this at selection, will it be enough to meet the standard? Jenn told me she'd let me know at the end of two days.

I stayed on my feet, and by the end of the first day, I felt much more connected. We got some great work done skiing basic parallel slowly through moderate bumps, and I was grateful for the pacing of the day.

The next day, today, was at Highlands, which is probably my favorite place to ski. It is also where the TA selection is going to happen this year, lucky me!!

I got back on my Blizzard Crush's (I had skied the day before on my GS skis, which are precise, for sure, but unforgiving), and we skied the 9+ inches of fresh pow with huge grins on our faces.

Something was different. My body still feels a lot of pain, but I was connected to the snow like I was before the crash. We dove into Sodbuster and skied what felt more like about 18" of windblown pow over huge bumps. It wasn't my best skiing, but it was okay, and I took three falls along the way. Hey, if I was going to fall, this was the place to do it. The snow was soft and forgiving, and even though the falls were ALL highsiding on a turn to the left, I landed comfortably and let go of my fear.

Sodbuster - like terrain
Jenn had some fantastic specific feedback, not just "do this" but why. Why she wanted it, the expected outcome on the ski, how successful she expected me to be at it, all the points that we are supposed to hit when we are giving clinics, but very few trainers hit every point every time. Jenn is so accomplished at delivering that message succinctly, that I felt really motivated to make a change.

Over the course of the day, my understanding depend, and my ability to move changed, and my skiing improved. It was an incredible day, no more falls after that. We skied hard all morning, double black bumps until lunch, and then got into Wedge Christy land. This went surprisingly well, Squatty's old advice about the slinky, about pressure management like a slinky going from one hand to the other is still fresh in my mind, and with some tweaks from Jenn, suddenly, I had a passing form.

We jumped into SodBuster again at the end of the day, and I was stoked to ski it well, even with tired legs, and no falls. I asked Jenn what she thought about the skiing over all, and she told me on the first day, I was below the bar to just touching it all day, and on the second day, I was above the bar to just touching it.

I was happy to hear this, as today I felt like I skied fairly average. It wasn't my most accomplished skiing ever, it wasn't a super star day, but it was solid. And what feels solid looks above the bar most of the time.

I am so happy to be in that place, I have some great notes to go work on and keep making positive change, I have a LOT of work to do to complete the application and requirements, and I have 12 days until selection!!

Thanks to everyone for their help and encouragement, and good luck to everyone who is going to selection for Examiner and TA!!

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