Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Odd Ski Designs

While out riding this weekend, I came across another skier in a rather remote section of the mountain. Having both just bombed through a hill we, were standing on the crest of another checking out terrain. He was waiting for his friend, I was waiting to see what he was about to do (as he was lower on the run than me). That's when I noticed his skis.

Normally most skis have a shovel on the front side that provides some kind of gradual curve. This scoop mechanism is basically provided to help the ski roll over terrain changes such powder stashes, bumps, small children, rocks, and the occasional annoying gaper. (At least that's what I tell my students.) This man's skis held no normal scoop, instead opting for a hard defined cut upwards from the flat of his ski. It basically looked like he had broken his skis and super-glued on the remains after hacking them up a bit.

When I asked about them, he laughed telling me they were designed that way. When I asked how well that changed the ski initiation for turns he said they were awesome. Pointing out that he just bombed down the run and wasn't even tired. I let a little snide remark slip at this time, something along the lines of "so did I, and I've got no weird scoop on the tip." This kind of angered him and he told me to watch.

I proceeded to watch the skier take the run down the hill, Z'ing each turn, and over-rotating with his shoulders to make each one. Thus promptly answering my question for me.

At the bottom of the hill he yelled back and said let's see me do that. I smiled took to the hill, helix'ing each of his turns in what I felt was perfect form. Right up until my right foot edge wouldn't dis-engage for some reason and pulled me out of the track I was following. No falling but it gave this guy a good reason to boast.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Video Inspiration

Looks like the PowerWhores of Utah are hurting a little for snow, much like a large portion of the West Coast US has been. Unlike the rest of the West Coast though, they went and did a little traveling through the back country in search of some pow and put together an excellent little video. With amazing visuals and only minor amounts of skiing, it's some absolutely beautiful scenery to take in. Check out the video...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Re-Booting Up

Since the death of my regular ski boots happened, I've had to pick up a new pair that has proven to be not so much fun to break in. The Atomic boots I selected apparently have a decorative plastic flair near the toe box that has resisted much of the efforts to stretch or re-mold the plastic. I've been in with the boot fitter several times over the past two weeks now working on tweaking the stretch, and kept returning to find the same areas causing pain in my foot.

Finally in a plea to get me out of his hair, the boot fitter offered to come to the slopes with me and do some on hill adjustments. While he was there he set up several other sessions with various folks who have been stopping in with him to just make a work trip out of it. We gave him a pass for the day in exchange for his time with the ski school staff and went to work.

Watching this guy work on adjusting boots to compensate for knock-kneed or bow legged stances (aka 'canting') was as close to magic as I've ever seen.

One instructor, who has been skiing for 30 something years was with me. We did practice balance runs across the hill;
holding the up-hill foot in the air one time in each direction
holding the downhill foot in the air one time in each direction

Basically this is a great test of your ability to balance on edge. The senior instructor though could not get his edge to hold, regardless of what he did. His body was shaking all over, arms moving in directions to support balancing movements, and when he did hold an edge his ski started to turn. We attempted to do some medium radius (about a 2 second count in length) carving turns, where the senior instructor was just skidding out each and every turn. We basically were watching more of a Z shaped turn than a C or S shaped turn pattern.

The boot fitter spent a few minutes taking measurements from knee to toe angles and then placed some temporary shims below the instructors feet, allowing the boot+binding pressure to hold the shims in place. Taking one run with the new shims, the boot fitter recalled the instructor placed different shims in and asked me to join for the third run. This third run, on the same terrain with the same skier/instructor, appeared to be a completely different skier. Each turn the skis were on edge, lined up, angled properly, and allowing the skier to be in control. I was shocked to see the transformation by simply putting shims under the feet.

My own skiing was changed with the discover that I'm a little bow legged and knock kneed in my stance. Canting my left boot out 1 degree, and my right boot in 2 degrees gave me a noticeable difference in my carved turns.

End results, go get your boots aligned this season. You'll find it was worth every penny.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cheap Ski Movies

Okay I'm sure this has been going around for a bit and I've just not been careful to see it. But this movie looks like it'd be a lot of fun. Welcome Cheak Ski Movie!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fun Videos

Found this video today on the Ski Channel website. The short version, it's a collection of everyday people trying to ski on a World Cup run. It's entertaining...

Just curious

Anyone have experience with the Marker Royale series of bindings? Specifically the Marker Jester or Dukes? Maybe even the Schizo idea.

I picked up a pair of park/powder skis and I'm trying to decide what to mount them with. Right now I'm contemplating between the Salomon STH14's and the Marker Jester. But then comes the question of where to mount them... park style, power style, or center-line. I'm leaning towards park as it should be the more versatile setting, but the Schizo series from Marker have caught my attention.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goodbye Boots

I've spent the last five seasons in a pair of Nordica boots that have lasted me rather well. I'm told by several people they're probably too big for my feet, but they've always felt good for me. The toe box being large enough for the front of my foot, with a good amount of coverage around the rest of my foot.

Turns out though, those people I question were probably right. This holiday season was enough to finally pack in the liner enough that I can now turn my foot without turning my ski. This pretty much ensures I cannot control my ski when I want it now. It was a weird feeling to realize while skiing down a bunch of bumps.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thefts Continue

Maybe it was just the holiday times, maybe it's the economy, or maybe it's just more stupid people. Whatever the reason, this season everything seems to be on a free for all grab at the resort.

Over the past week things taken:
- In the men's restrooms above the urinals the baskets for gloves, hats, etc.
- In the women's restrooms paper towel dispensers are all gone now.

Attempted thefts include a team of rather bold thieves who tried to walk off with the 60-something inch flat screen TV in the bar during open hours. The bar staff thankfully called the police, watched the events unfold quietly, and delayed the thieves a bit more pretending to think they were maintenance guys replacing the TV. Police apparently stopped the thieves at their car only to find the car held an unaware family.

Interesting details

I enabled the Google Analytics on this blog awhile back and find myself constantly forgetting they're there. I don't remember what sparked the conversation at the old Beer Stube, but I got home with a reminder to check the analytics.

Thanks for linking to here Colin's Blog and Proskauer34.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why Lie about it

Okay a minor rant here....

This is currently the tail end of the instructing staff and resort super busy time. Holidays tend to bring out lots of people looking for lessons on their new gear, or just because they're visiting family/friends. I was booked out for the entire day between reservations and requests, which in itself is highly unusual for our school.

My 1pm session began with a mother and young male child walking over to me, about age 7. They were to be my next class. After introductions were done, mom pulled me away to talk to me. She informed me that her son just had a complete temper tantrum and meltdown in the lunch room and he was not at all interested in skiing. She wished me good luck and then left.

Working with this young boy, I was able to cheer him up, motivate him and get him skiing. When mom stopped by at the end of the class, we were just coming up the rope tow at which point he yelled out "Mom can I keep skiing?" He didn't really wait for an answer and started down the hill regardless of what mom would have said. I walked over to her to tell her what we'd been working on, how to help him progress, and really what motivated him. She thanked me a lot and ran off to pick her son up as he arrived up the rope tow again.

Two lessons later, I'm working with a different student when angry-child's mom comes up to me and says she left a tip for me in the school. I thank her, and she says a few more words resulting in myself needing to stop the chat as I was teaching. Arriving in the school, the office staff said no one had come in to leave a tip for me today, and there weren't any on the credit card charges seen. We looked around all day but found none.

I have to ask, why lie about it?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Return of the students

Every year it happens, the moment where a past student will come up to me and say something like "Hey how are you? Remember me?" Since we typically teach younger students (ages 4-8 a lot of the time) I find I have had to restrict my initial gut reaction of "Nope" and pretend that I do. Occasionally I actually do remember the students too. Sometimes it's not the names, but the faces, the skis, and the ski styles that I can recall... occasionally it's also what we've worked on.

I had the joy of running into one of those students again. I distinctly remember the lesson with the young boy last season, having had a great time on the snow with him. He started excited to ski and left making some great wedge turns and snow plow stops. In the middle of our busy holiday weeks I heard the familiar "Remember me?" question, turned and was shocked to see this little guy again. His mom informed me that he would only go skiing if he could have a lesson with me again. So off we went to go play in the snow and have a fun one hour private lesson. Apparently I was to be skiing with him later in the day too, his parents having bought a two hour session but decided to break it up for a long lunch stop.

In the meantime I ran across his younger sister whom I also had as a student last year. She still sits back on her skis way to much, and loves making snow angels more than skiing. She was paired with one of our female instructors and was having a blast. She too remembered me.

Having a student/client base that remembers me is what convinced me to stay at the smaller family run resort this season.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Second Thefts

A short while ago I made a post (Alpenglühen: First Thefts) regarding the series of thefts that had been running on the resort. Since that post, things have gotten a lot worse, which is a surprise to all of us as the resort is typically overlooked for the larger places nearby.

Several folks like to park their RV's in the lot over the winter and have tires stolen, broken into, etc. One instructor had their car broken into taking a snowboard+boots, and a select handful of CDs (suggesting there was no rush to get out of the car).

There has been some good news though. A few nights ago, the state and local police stopped a man swiping a board from a rack and running back to a vehicle. The police have been more present since the thefts started and overall it didn't seem to do much. I'm not sure what line of questioning they used to determine if this man actually owned the snowboard in question either.

It became clear though that this wasn't his board when the police found his car after closing and inside were 30+ snowboards and 5+ pairs of skis. Rumor has it that collection of gear was all freshly stolen from that day.

The sad part to this is the man is an enlisted solider in Iraq, home for two weeks leave over the holidays.

Congrats to MySnowPro.com

Congratulations need to go out to Jon and Greg on getting the MSP article in the recent issue of the PSIA magazine. Now I'm curious to see if there is any change in membership/posting with that article being released.

Go check them out at MySnowPro.com

(Yes I know it's a few weeks late, but better late than never, right?)