Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mogul Physics

Moguls are pretty much the bane of existence for most skiers. On the east coast, there tend to be more runs that are open and accepting of such runs. Although over the past few years I've found less and less resorts with dedicated mogul runs. On the west coast, there seems to be a very strong attitude that moguls are not any fun (minus the folks at MJ). I've been told that the public just doesn't care for them.

For our tiny resort, the problem has been that customers do not want mogul runs on the mountain, as such they get milled away each night. Our customers would prefer to have steep, deep, and when thats not possible tree runs. The same can be said for the neighboring two resorts as well. Corpy will occasionally create a tight zipper line run down some of their black runs though, which is usually self contained off to the side.

I've never been a good zipper line rider. Maybe it's that my skis are too long, too heavy, or not able to execute a tight enough turning radius. Maybe it's that I'm overly knock-kneed in one leg, weak on my inside half, too stiff on moguls, scared, or trying to rush through the run. Or maybe I just ski poorly and that's pretty much the end of it (I'm told I lead with my head too much). All of this doesn't matter as the PSIA Level 2 and Level 3 exams require passing a mogul proficiency test. For Level 2 it's moguls on a blue run, and Level 3 is on a black run (or greater).

Due to some interesting weather patterns recently, one of our double black runs has been able to actually build up a collection of large bumps (they purposely stopped grooming the side of the mountain). I'm not talking about mere animal sized bumps you regularly see, but VW bug sized bumps that go on for the entire hill. These dumps had deep enough troughs on them that the skier would literally disappear for a second or two. Things I've learned from 3 days of playing on the moguls with other Level 2 and Level 3 cert wannabes:

  • I'll never be an Olympic quality bumps skier.

  • Speed hurts on smaller bumps.

  • Speed hurts even more on bigger bumps.

  • Air carving (the act of launching off of one mogul top and landing on another's downside) isn't all it's cracked up to be if you mis-judge the distance.

  • Repeat last learning except on larger bumps it can result in double ejections.

  • Moguls tend to move up the hill as time goes on

  • It was this last one that got me confused. I repeated crashed near the top of one mogul and noticed only after a few days that I was no longer on the same treeline I had been originally. This had me go searching online to find an Physics Today Journal on moguls with a really interesting read. Well worth it!

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Spring Break

    It's spring break time, and as per usual a few trees end up with a collection of ladies underwear, typically bras, covering it. I've always been curious who/how they get the bras out as I've never seen or heard of anyone doing so. Anyways riding up the quad-chair with another instructor (me in uniform him not) and two women in their 30s. As we passed the tree in question the two women started to giggle and turned to me and asked:
    How do they get the bras in the tree?

    Without missing a beat my coworker responds with
    Hand me your bra and I'll show you.

    The next 40 seconds of the lift ride left some rather interesting banter between the four of us and drinks at the end of the day.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Making the Rounds

    I haven't been able to play online much in the past few weeks, and suddenly find my email has been subjected to a few people sending me this link:

    #1 Skier Dad

    It's an interesting video (safe for work although language gets a bit foul), and I'm sure one that will be around for a long long time. Anyways, watching the video I've got a couple comments upon seeing this.

    Watching the snowboarders trying to turn a relatively flat cat track into something more enjoyable is actually inspiring. They seem like they're pretty stable on their boards as well until one of them has to do some massive recovery moves. At this point the camera swings back enough to see that this is a really busy section of the trail and probably not the best place to be pulling tricks. I'm not sure what type of terrain this run feeds into or out of, but regardless of that no one wants to come to a stop on a cat track. It sucks to get moving again (especially for a snowboarder) and there typically isn't very much area to avoid people with.

    The Dad's request wasn't unreasonable, but the quick remark back (while not incorrect) most likely wasn't helping the situation any. Then it went downhill from here. The boarders were doing alright, staying calm, and keeping their language pretty clear. If I were to have arrived on the hill at this scene until this point I would side with the snowboarders. It's once the guy starts taking off his shirt while people are moving to break things up that the snowboarders enter the douchebag level they were so nicely skipping.

    In the end, I'd have pulled all passes for the day. What's your take?