Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Finding a Round Line in the Bumps with Josh Fogg

This season I was struggling with bumps. In the past, bumps and steeps have been my favorite thing to ski, and for some reason as I worked on a more aggressive zipper line in the bumps, I lost my reaching round turn.

Suddenly I had no speed control, I was afraid every time I rolled up to a bump line. My heart would start beating super fast, and I fell into a world of stories that said I lacked the skill set to ski what used to be my favorite terrain.

I searched all winter for some tip or help to change my timing, my tactics, to somehow re-access the ability to be playful and free in the bumps. On CLOSING DAY at Aspen Mountain, I had the pleasure of skiing with Josh Fogg, one of the trainers in our ski school at Aspen/Snowmass, and a recent selection to the 2015/16 Rocky Mountain Alpine Team.

In dispair, I stood at the top of Easy Chair, a bump run NOTORIOUS for spiky, cross troughed zipper line bumps. I have never ever skied this short run well from top to bottom, it is fast and difficult and the bumps are enormous. It's not very steep but people ski it with high intensity, so it begins to look like a series of tombstones on the way down. The holes are huge, and with each turn, I think, "I'm supposed to stuff my feet WHERE??"

I turned to Josh and asked him, "Can you show me a round line in here, in Easy Chair?" Josh said yes. He gave me one simple tip: Think of the line as a waterslide. Let the momentum of the finish of one turn exist for the purpose of sending you up the wall to begin the next turn."

I had been searching for the "outside line" all season, but for some reason, I was still losing the downhill ski, I was skiing out of the line after five bumps, I was pushing the tails up the wall rather than driving the smeary ski, or in my attempt to get round, I was getting edgy and accelerating. I was so frustrated, I felt like I would never every figure this out again, it was just gone and I would never give it back.

"Ski it like a waterslide." Josh said, and then proceeded to do just that, top to bottom. A lightbulb went off in my mind, and I followed, for the first time skiing Easy Chair top to bottom with ease and control. I was astonished. The fear went away. The enormous spiky bumps presented opportunity after opportunity to ski like a waterslide. We lapped the run, trying it in Blondie's, and on the back of Bell. Suddenly, I could ski again.

Josh gave to me his time, and energy, it was easy and fun for him to go out and ski, and in this one sort of throw away moment, he handed me hope again.

I was so stoked I asked Josh if I could record it as a ski tip so we could share this fantastic coaching cue with the world, and so I would never forget it again. Kindly, Josh agreed, and the result is the video below, shot on my iPhone that afternoon.

Thanks so much to Josh Fogg, Kurt Fehrenbach, Megan Harvey, and Jonathan Ballou for mentoring me and coaching me all season, I am incredibly grateful for your guidance!!

Finding a Round Line in Bumps with Josh Fogg from kate howe on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Mike Stebbins said...

I tend to visualize my line as a pivot-slip drill. If just my tails are up on the "DarkSide" that's a faster line than taking the whole ski up there. I suppose the pivot-slip connection focuses me to stay smooth and round regardless of line. I like doing pivot-slips just because I am strange that way but I find that by changing up which edge I am moving to next helps me when I get to the bumps. Single footed slips and even old ballet just cannot do them smoothly if your body is out of position or "noisy"