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Defining moments in your skiing.

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

I am having a lot of fun with the 1%'er  thread I started but this time I want to be a little more serious.


Tell us about a defining moment in your skiing.  You know the moment when something clicked and you got it.  Or perhaps an obstacle that you had to overcome, or a skill that escaped you until that moment when it was do or die.  I am pretty sure that most advanced level skiers have had many of these over the years.  Here is one of mine.


About 20 years ago when I was patrolling at Seven Springs (Safey Rangers) I had the opportunity to go on my first real "guy trip" to Whistler Blackcomb with  a couple of guys I patrolled with and a bunch o their buddies.  In all about 10 of us went.  Now I had been out west twice before, once as a struggling intermediate to Vail and again several year's later with my then wife to Breckenridge as a strugggling advanced level skier.  But this would be my first time going west as a little more accomplished skier, plus I knew I would not be the best skier on the trip.  And those better skiers like to explore.  Out of the 10 skiers on the trip I placed myself #3 in the pecking order.


This was in the early 90's when of piste skiing was just getting popular and I had no real big mountain experience, as my previous trips out west were limited to groomed runs or bumps.  To topit all off, I was just OK'd to start skiing again after my one and only serious knee sprain and was fitted with a Donjoy brace, promising my ortho that I would take it easy....yeah right!


Well I did take it easy the first day, testing my knee, gaining confidence through out the day.  On the 2nd or 3rd day the 2 better skiers than I took me to my very first western double black diamond.  Don't remember which one, but boy did it look steep!!  I hadn't ever skied anything that steep and gnarly which of course made me pause at the entry.  My buddies saw my hesitation and said, do some hop turns on the steepest section until it flattens a bit.  I replied that I have never done a hop turn before.  They said watch us and do what we do.  So I watched them do  a series of linked hop turns, visuallized doing the same, took a deep breath, pushed off and to my surprise, instead of tumbling down the slope, I performed a series of linked hop turns.  I am sure it wasn't pretty, but I did it!


That defining moment gave me the confidence in my skills to tackle tougher terrain and to push myself further than I ever could back home at Seven Springs.  I have been pushing myself and tackling terrain that others ski away from ever since.


So please tell us about your defining moments in skiing.


Ski On!


Rick G

post #2 of 54

Two defining moments.  The first is when I figured out I wasn't faster because I wasn't strong enough (and never would have the legs of a world class athlete).  Athleticism is an important factor in most sports.  Fast forward four decades and I accept my limitations because there isn't too much I can do about it.  Skiing has become more enjoyable in my fifties now that equipment has made up for what I lack in athleticism.  


The other defining moment has to do with the simplicity of  Warren Witherell writing something to the effect, "If you put a ski on edge and pressure it correctly, it will take you where you want to go."    That is the fundamental theorem for most types of skiing, and after reading it my skiing improved (for one thing I started carving turns).  The "how" to pressure the ski, and "when" to put it on edge can fill volumes, but the fundamental theorem holds regardless of changes in equipment and technique.  Look at the junior skier on the cover from this book (the reprint from Amazon) an tell me if there is a more simple way to describe and/or understand turning:






How the Racers Ski

Edited by quant2325 - 10/20/11 at 10:11am
post #3 of 54

A number of them for sure, but maybe the most memorable was the transition from skinny to fat. Was teleying the old TUA excalibur mitos which I thought was a dandy ski on day one of a big cycle... every turn a blinding face shot. Day two, same conditions as day one.  I brought out the 193 Rossi XXX's, V.1.0, for their debut. Honestly, I had no idea if I'd like them or even if they'd be 'teley'able', but after the third SG turn at full speed just surfing and playing with the terrain, there was absolutely no going back. Mind blowing... changed the whole ski experience.

post #4 of 54

Well, some years back i was (ashamed to admit this), getting bored with skiing. That was way back when i was only skiing groomed terrain and in the park. Everything seemed so repetitive. I actually went so far as to skip a season and not ski. So the next winter comes along, and its just hammering my home resort with fresh every day it seemed like. A couple of friends said that i didn't know what i was missing. So i give in and decide to go up to the hill for a day and demoed some fat rockered sticks. I had never skiied powder before that. I was impressed and was thinking skiing may be fun for at least a couple more years, until i threw a massive slarve in about 20' of fresh. I wasn't able to see due to the amount of snow in my face. I kept on down the run, half blind not knowing where i was, but not even noticing because of how much fun i was having. At the bottom i realized that i really had been missing out. I hate to think that i almost quit skiing for good. I honestly haven't missed a pow day since that day. Thats deffinitley the moment for me.

post #5 of 54
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post


How the Racers Ski

I have had many defining moments, & reading that book ^ as a youngster was one of the bigger ones!






post #6 of 54
Originally Posted by rickg View Post



Tell us about a defining moment in your skiing.  You know the moment when something clicked and you got it.  Or perhaps an obstacle that you had to overcome, or a skill that escaped you until that moment when it was do or die. 




"An obstacle that you had to overcome" hits home with me.  Defining moments used to be all about overcoming obstacles for me....turning negative energy into positive forward motion in skiing, and in some aspects, life as well. (this is probably gonna be long...but screw it, I'm sitting in a hotel room late at night in a foreign city and can't sleep...what else am I gonna do).


Along with overcoming obstacles comes overcomingfear.  Sometimes the fear is a small quiet 'feeling in your gut' that you might get, but other times, it's the BIG BOLD CAPITAL LETTER FEAR that has you gripped.  All fear can be overcome once you come to terms with it, so I guess this is really more about overcoming fear than obstacles...They're almost one in the same.  


(Since this is so long, here's a song about overcoming fear, and using that energy to your advantage, by my favorite band of all time, Hot Water Music.  At :24 seconds are the lines:


We set up our falls

Hold on tight to your fears.

Cause it's your hatred

and it's your love as well.

Learn to use all your fears.  

As a fuel.  

As an engine.  

To get you where you need)




...so true...


Here we go....this is a bit of trip down memory lane


Looking back, I can think of several 'defining moments' of skiing for me.  Way more than several probably...I mean, I can remember way back with great clarity my first day on skis ever when I think I was in 1st grade (I'm 36 now).  I can remember being in a huge line up that day at Jack Frost Mtn (Pennsylvania) with my older sister (who had already skied once) and the instructors started dividing us up into "never evers" (me) and newbies who maybe had a lesson or two under their belt (my sister).  I was pretty freaked out scared (but extremely excited) and didn't want to be in a group where I didn't know anyone else, so I basically latched onto my sister (whether she knew it or not..I don't know) and somehow I snuck into the "experienced" group even though it was my very first time on skis.  I can still remember how I was flailing through several of the "drills" and lessons from this day and how horrible I was and it was pretty clear that I was just runny nosed dumb shit kid who was super excited but didn't have a freaking clue what I was doing, but the instructors kept me in that group anyway....and it forced to learn, fast, and to try to keep up with the older and more experienced kids...right off the bat from day one.  Skiing had it's fangs in my neck without much of a fight...Obstacle overcome.  Was filled with negative energy but said "F@ck it" (hell yeah I knew the F-bomb in 1st grade!) but somehow converted it into positive energy and moved forward against that fear.


Fast forward to high school now.  I'm 15.  Sophmore. I'm guessing this is somewhere around '88 or '89 because I swear I remember watching Blizzard of Ahh's this same season and thinking that someday I want to be like Scot Schmidt and Plake and the gang hucking and straightlining the Palisades at Squaw.  But all I have at the moment are the ice moguls at my northeast PA mountains.  My older sister has been a ski instructor at that same mountain from the first story, Jack Frost, for a few years and I had been lucky enough to be able to tag along with her every single weekend so while she was working and teaching, I was off just ripping around the mountain by self or my seasonal "ski friends" who were in a similar situation and all we did was ski moguls run after run after run.  This is the year I finally learned to stick a 360 and I was launching them everywhere.  Once I finally overcame the mental block of sticking one, they become as easy as a spread eagle.  One day me and my friends were sessioning a little lip with a very icy landing (think blue ice with cat track tracks still frozen in it), I launched for a 360 and for some reason I stalled out and only made it 3/4's going fast, and my edges caught the ice when I landed and slammed my head extremely hard into the ice (and these were the days waaaay before helmets).  I never regained memory of the incident...I can recall (to this day) getting on the lift at the bottom of that run, and then next think I know I'm in an ambulance.  Apparently I whacked my head, blacked out, went into convulsions, my friends scramble up to me and my eyes were rolled back in my head...yadda yadda.  I nearly got lifeflighted but the CAT scanned showed that the swelling in my brain wasn't as bad as it could be.  And after a night or two of hospital rest I could go home.....


...after that weekend, somehow, my Mom got over her frantic-ness and allowed me to go skiing that VERY NEXT WEEKEND.  I was scared as hell, but even at 15, I knew i just wanted to get back out there and didn't want to become scared away from skiing.  I think deep down my mom knew how much I loved it and didn't want that to happen to me either.  After a morning of just cruising around with my friends, we went into the mogul field and there was a perfect jump at the top of the main line.  I looked at it and told my friends I'm going to try a 3.  They really didn't want me to do after my accident just last weekend because if I hit my head again so soon I could be in deep shit again.  But something inside me made me go for it despite how freaking scared I was....I think my knees were shaking.  But I remember just skiing very slowly up to the lip of that jump, kind of winding up, barely catching any air at all (seriously I almost could have still been on the ground) and just wrenching the lousiest looking 360 around and skiing away.   The feeling of relief and accomplishment after that little victory almost brought me to tears.  After that....I think I really learned how to control fear and the voices inside your head.  Obstacle overcome.....


Fast forward from age 15 to age 29.  Yep..nearly 30 years.  I'm living in NorCal and have been in Kirkwood pass holder for a few years.  I had finally knocked Heart Chute off my list...which had on my list ever since I was 15 and heard Plake talking about breaking his Femur in it during Blizzard of Ahhh's....and I'm really starting to progress my skiing by following a bunch of lifetime Kirkwood skiers around who were (are) WAY better than me and took me under their wing.  In September, before what became the epic winter of 2004 - 2005, I tear my ACL while playing soccer.  I'm devastated.  I was on the cusp of a ski season, training hard to have a banner year, and I'm staring at missing the entire season (my first ever missed ski season in nearly 20 years of skiing) and I'm freaking out.  Will I ever be able to ski again?  At what level?  Will I be able jump off cliffs?  Ski fast?  Compete in big mtn comps? Or will I be relegated to groomers and a bum knee the rest of my life.  So many questions.  Long story short...after coming to terms with the injury...and having full reconstruction surgery in October of 2004 I set my mind to destroying rehab over the winter and coming back to skiing STRONGER than I was before the injury.  


...so surgery happens.  rehab related pain happens.  probably some mild depression as well as the winter sets in.  but I'm motivated.  working my ass off.  It's not an entirely linear or smooth process but around a 1.5 month post-op I'm jogging a little, and with a crazy PT routine and tons of cycling related rehab on my own at 4.5 months or so my doctor gives me the OK to make some easy turns on a groomer so long as I wear my ski brace....So I go and ski this with some friends:  The hanging snowfield adjacent to Moon Crescent Couloir (the ski down wasn't bad, but the skin out there and climb up was hell on my knee):




After that day, my lower leg looked like this from having my brace so tight and with all the fluid from my knee draining on down as it swelled:




Obstacle overcome...in skiing and in life? one and the same?


By now, it was April, and I really didn't ski much of anything else at the end of 2005 - 2006.  That was enough for me :) But I continued my crazy rehabbing all summer, because the goal wasn't just to ski again, but it was to come back STRONGER than before, even if it took a year or more, I was going to do it.  So that summer I rehabbed like crazy, then planned a late Summer trip to South America to ski Las Lenas...ski some powder there, hit some lines, but still extremely scared to take any air at all on my "new" knee.  I still had a huge fear of taking any airs...all I could imagine was putting the landing gear down, my knee exploding, and all that hard work getting thrown out the window.  That Summer in Las Lenas, even if I was physically ready to start taking some airs, I wasn't mentally ready...the voice in my head was still to loud.


Then the 2005 - 2006 season started in Tahoe.  First powder day out my friends are getting ready to hit a small little 10 foot cliff.  Normally I would cruise right off this particular little and not think twice, but the voices in my head about taking any air at all on my knee were still raging.  And I couldn't quite shut them off yet....but I couldn't walk away this time either.  I knew that if I walked away now, the voices of fear would be raging all season and it was kind of a now or never moment if I was ever going to overcome this. It took me a long time up on that little cliff, and a lot of encouragement from my extremely patient friends, but I finally turned the voices off, hit it, landed and skied away no problem and it was like the weight of the world fell off my shoulders.  It was the easiest little "cliff", but I had the fear of my knee giving out so built up in my head it may have well been a 100 footer to ice.  But it wasn't of course, it was an 8 footer to a perfect powder landing, but I had to turn those voices off.......and this was a KEY moment that particular year.  It truly was like a switch and once I learned to control it I and learn from it, I had all the confidence in the world.  HUGE obstacle overcome...


The knee brace came off and I threw it in the garbage.


Up until that season the biggest air I ever hit was probably 20 feet max.  But now filled with confidence, and with total control over the fearful "voices" that can creep into your head...and with some great ski buddies that were equally as confidence filled that year (we fed off each other..big time), I started stepping up the airs gradually from that first little 8 footer that had me frozen in my tracks.  


By the end of January, I had moved up to hitting a 20 - 25 footer (the very popular cliff called Kodak at Kirkwood...which I had never hit before then), to sticking and skiing away from about a 50 footer (Big Danger at Kirkwood).  I thought that was where it would end, but it just kept snowing...



The rest of the season went well, it kept snowing and snowing like crazy, me and my friends kept pushing each other and hitting airs and watching Kirkwood fill in.  By the time March came around, Kodak was probably a 10 - 15 footer, but other airs began to come into play.  Such as Big Jim's:










And then a few weeks after that, after a bunch of more epic storms, came Hospital Air at a little over 120 feet:










But it wasn't all 100% confidence and GO GO GO that year...there were many things that I backed away from because that voice of fear would creep in, but I learned that when that voice did come back in a certain kind of very vocal way it was for good reason.  Case in point...the voice of fear was SCREAMING in my head later that same year (2006, April) when I made a trip to Alaska and was perched above the monster pictured below.  I even had the spotters at the bottom giving me the go ahead....but it didn't feel right, I hadn't done enough homework on it, and I walked away (probably for the best...don't regret it at all).  I'm the tiny dot at the top, and I would have landed so far away from the bottom of that cliff that it wasn't even funny...definitely would have been bigger than Hospital:



Obstacles overcome...These were definitely the most defining moments in skiing for me, by a longshot.


So now I'm 36.....and I really don't put myself out there that way anymore.  And I have no desire to overcome anything.  I guess I got it out of my system now, and also of course, I am getting older, and my body probably can't / shouldn't take the impacts anymore.  I still enjoy getting myself out there on the edge of cliffs, scoping it, and visualizing it, and maybe giving the confidence to someone else to hit it, but I don't feel the need to hit things so much anymore myself.  I more often ski around, than off, these days...even if the fear voice isn't there and all signals are go.  And I don't feel like I have to overcome something in myself anymore....which is nice.


If any of you have taken the time to read this entire thing, which I guess has now morphed into more of a blog post, I hope you notice one theme in all of this.  That I was never competing with or comparing myself to anyone else during any of these moments.  It was all an internal struggle and a competition within myself.  So that whole 1% thing?  The only 1% that mattered to me was the 1% of myself that said, "wait, yeah I think I can ski that", when the other 99% of me  was screaming out, "hell no, don't go down there that shit is nuts".  Because that's when then the competition begins within oneself to convert that negative energy into positive...and then you go, and then you learn, and then you overcome.






Edited by Tyrone Shoelaces - 10/20/11 at 9:36pm
post #7 of 54

Wow, you weren't lying when you said it would be long. haha. Seriously though, this has got to be the greatest post i have ever read. Confidence is a crazy thing isn't it? It doesn't even seem logical to be afraid of an 8 footer at the start of a season to hitting over 100 footers. The mind is a powerful thing, as shown in your post. Thumbs up to you man!


post #8 of 54
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

Wow, you weren't lying when you said it would be long. haha. 



heh...no I wasn't.  And the crappy thing, even after writing all that (I guess it didn't take all that long), I'm still not tired and still can't sleep.  Dangit.


PS - you might want to edit your post above and take out where you quoted my entire post.  Just simply because people have to scroll through the entire thing again to read subsequent posts :)



post #9 of 54
Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post


heh...no I wasn't.  And the crappy thing, even after writing all that (I guess it didn't take all that long), I'm still not tired and still can't sleep.  Dangit.


PS - you might want to edit your post above and take out where you quoted my entire post.  Just simply because people have to scroll through the entire thing again to read subsequent posts :) 



Yea haha i was just thinking that. Oh yeah, Great pictures and video too!


post #10 of 54


post #11 of 54
Thread Starter 

Tyrone Shoelaces, great post!!  Me thinks that if I am skiing in your group, no matter how great I think I am in my own head, I would be in the bottom 1%.  Though I do think that even if you weren't comparing yourself to other skiers, you were comparing yourself in someway to your buddies, trying to determine if you could do the things they were doing with your new knee.  And as I mentioned in my 1%'er thread, as you get better you really don't notice the skiers below your level anymore.  Your eyes go right to the best skier on the hill.  It is obvious to me, that you are pretty damn close to a 1%'er and rarely are there better skiers on the hill than you or your buddies, so therefore there is no one to compare yourself to.  I really wish I had started skiing when I was 5 or 6 years old.  Starting at 17 kind of killed any notion that I would become a GREAT skier instead of the old mountain master that I am now.  Sure I ski well for a 56 year old, but in my mind, I still want to ski like you!


Ski On,


Rick G

post #12 of 54
Originally Posted by rickg View Post

  Though I do think that even if you weren't comparing yourself to other skiers, you were comparing yourself in someway to your buddies, trying to determine if you could do the things they were doing with your new knee. 


yes of course that's true.  And we're always trying to push each other and trying to 'one-up' each other in a friendly fun way...just like any other tight ski crew.


post #13 of 54
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

Well, some years back i was (ashamed to admit this), getting bored with skiing. That was way back when i was only skiing groomed terrain and in the park. Everything seemed so repetitive.


Nothing to be ashamed about in that....felt the same way last year and even though I still skied, I dialed my days on the hill way back.  It happens.  Keep it fresh.

post #14 of 54

I grew up skiing in the upper Midwest US. On my first ski trip to Colorado as a young teen I discovered, much to my amazement, that you could have winter and sunshine at the same time. As soon as I got out of school I moved to the Rockies and have been living and skiing here ever since.  I lived in western Montana for a few years, but eventually came back to southern Colorado because of the better weather and sunshine skiing.  That initial revelation shaped my ski life more than anything else that has happened on the slopes.

post #15 of 54
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

 On my first ski trip to Colorado as a young teen I discovered, much to my amazement, that you could have winter and sunshine at the same time.


Isn't that the best? I grew up here, mostly, but did move away a couple of times. Kept coming back, won't leave again. 


post #16 of 54

Like most of the posters here, the defining moment for what I now think is the ultimate in skiing, was the first real powder run of my life.


Alta, 1976, Rossignol ST Comps, off Germania Chair, a hike up and to lookers right and onto a ridge above what looked like a moonscape. 2' of fresh on steep terrain that stepped and rolled over, and over and over again. (Don't remember the name of the run, but you have to take a long level rope tow back to the main frontside runs, Wildcat or Bear something??)  There were a few tracks and skiers sitting in deep holes at the end of each one. At first, I was like: whoa! looking down at something I'd never seen before. Then I pushed off and let speed build up and flew down that deep blower, clear to the outrun. I had never smiled so big or for so long. It just wouldn't go away.


But in the last 15 years, all my defining moments have been my son's breakthrough moments, because I coach him, or did till he became a teenager.  The first time he skied Palisades was an epic powder day, all the heavies were hiking, and damned if he wasn't going to carry his own skis, about 8 years old at the time I think. And he absolutely crushed the run, got total stoke from all the skiers up there. He was cute and bad ass at the same moment, that's a defining moment for sure. (wish I'd taught him to bang at the entrance cornice with his pole!) The next was a few years later when he mastered a truly difficult line up there. Nothing cute about that one. just real scary.

post #17 of 54
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

But in the last 15 years, all my defining moments have been my son's breakthrough moments,


Yes, I've been scratching my head trying to think of something, and the only things that come to mind are the kids.


Cliffing out at Whistler with my 10-year-old son, and having him handle it like no big deal (the guide said "go right" when he meant "go left" -- he apologized after, but oops).  Watching my 7-year-old daughter whimper and whine on the top of Sawtooth at Copper (making me feel like The Bad Ski Parent), and then finally getting to the bottom and saying Do It Again, then skiing it beautifully five times in a row and proclaiming it her favorite run.  Taking them to Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole, and seeing their eyes get wide, and then hearing them say, No, THIS is my favorite place. Stuff like that... 



post #18 of 54

Exactly. Sport is often narcissistic, self-centered. Which is great as far as it goes.


When you share it with your kids it becomes more, the ultimate of generous and other-directed behavior, rich on many levels.

Edited by davluri - 10/22/11 at 7:57am
post #19 of 54

How long is a moment?  I have some defining highlights, not so sure about moments.


The first one that comes to mind is my first trip to Vancouver Island.  I had skied mostly in Ontario Canada.  There were tips to Tremblant, the Eastern Townships, and Jay Peak in northern Vermont, but mostly it was on a 760 vertical foot sloped skating rink with rocks. 


The first thing that impressed me was the snow; there was so much of it.  The mountain had trails on the trail map, but at the top of the mountain there was just snow and on the way down for the first little bit, if you saw a tree, it was a ghost, just the tree-top covered in snow.  It took me a few days to learn how to ski in the deep snow without tripping myself up, but I soon got the hang of it.


The second thing that impressed me during that trip was the steepness of the marked runs.  The east just doesn't have sustained steep runs.  Right after that trip I went to Tremblant, every black run there seemed to me like it should have a blue square on it.   will admit that Tremblent was icier, but that didn't mean much to me.


Third thing about that trip was skiing off-piste, and by off-piste, I mean off the marked trails.  I came to discover this facet of skiing in a most interesting fashion.  I was bombing along not sure where I was and came out of the widely spread trees onto a marked run about 8 feet off the snow doing about a mile a minute.  An older gentleman who was in the general area took offence; he felt what I was doing was unsafe and potentially endangered other skiers.   A run or two later he was waiting for me at the top of the lift.  After a discussion he showed me a couple of areas where I could ski and attain great speeds without endangering others.  They were behind the ropes.  I remember the first one was ok, but my response to the 2nd was I'm not crazy.  Funny thing is three days latter I was skiing the 2nd one.  I've been hooked ever since.


Next defining highlight was buying a pair of skis and discussing my sking with a shop owner.  He showed how the sidecut of a ski would interact with a hard surface and how the tipped and decambered ski actually worked.  The light came on.  I suddenly understood how I had been doing what I did all those years.


The last defining moment was a crash a couple of decades ago wherein I knocked myself out and came to at tree-top level.  I've been a lot more careful since then.



post #20 of 54

1. in march or so of 2007 i posted a video on youtube. it was the crash reel from the 2007 freeskiing comp at kirkwood. from time to time i would check in on my youtube page and one day i noticed the video's views had gone crazy. i followed the 'what links to this page' link and ended up on TGR. at that point i had one or two friends i skied with regularly. one of those has since moved away but i have whole host of friends to ski with just about any time of year now. additionally, my level of skiing has improved dramatically since then as well as the new friends tend to push me much harder. coincidentally, it was tyrone shoelaces that started the thread and posted the video (thanks dude!)


2. not really a moment per se. i used to occasionally tour alone when a friend backed out or something like that. at some point i realized that when i'm out in the backcountry alone i can really get inside my head to figure out what's bothering me and how best to deal with. now i will sometimes avoid a text or call so i can go out there alone just to get away.


3. not even skiing. in the mid 70's i was around ten years old when my family decided to drive across amerika (from florida) during a summer to visit relatives, one of whom lived in san francisco. when i first saw the rockies and then the sierra i knew i would eventually end up in the mountains. we were in tahoe on july 4th (somewhere near camp rich i believe) when we awoke to almost an inch of snow on the ground. this was the first time i ever saw snow. 20 years later i chucked it all and moved to tahoe, where i've lived for the last 17 years


anyway, those are what popped into my head

post #21 of 54

I'm going to take this kids angle in a different direction.  This was a clear aha moment for which I have my older daughter to thank.


For those not familiar with Squaw, there's a stretch at the bottom of Red Dog where the freestyle team trains.  It's fenced off and contains the competition-style zipper-line of holes.  Anyway, it's late April and training is over; so, they ripped out the fencing and trashed the jumps, but left all the "bumps".


Anyway, moguls are what I usually like to ski, but I never skied WC bumps.  I figured they'd be too hard and I'd make too much of a fool of myself.  But, my then 7-year-old had no such ideas.  We were skiing as a family down Red Dog and she makes a bee-line right over to them because, I guess, they looked cool.  So, as the responsible father, I just have to follow her.


The first time through, it was pretty ugly.  I was trying to bash the bumps in order to slow down.  I was leaning back to do it.  I was getting progressively more out of control with each one.  Of course, my little girl was doing fine.  It helps when the bumps are almost as tall as you and your skis are nice and short.


Of course, she wants to keep hitting Red Dog and keeps veering over to the freestyle course.  And I keep following her.  After a couple of laps, the light in my head goes on.  I start doing that stuff that you're supposed to do on regular moguls: aggressive downhill pole plants, pushing the skis down the backside, projecting the torso downhill.  I don't know why I was amazed, but it worked.  I still may not have looked good, but I was managing.


This is a moment that I often find myself thinking back on.  It was sort of my last image of last season.  I can't wait to repeat it.

post #22 of 54

For me it would have to be my first trip out west...  a couple "moments" were skiing Tower 3, and seeing mini-slough from my turns sliding hundreds of feet down beneath me, and then skiing a 2-foot fresh day at Grand Targhee in a blizzard... the latter was one of those moments everything else just zoned out, and floating in pow was all that mattered.  It was pretty cool.

post #23 of 54

Turning back the Way-Back Machine takes me to my first season, late March at Sugarbush. I have about 10 days and nights under my belt. My Gurus take me past Killington for the first time and up Rt.100, past Granville gulch to the Mad River Valley.

So on a beautiful sunny saturday morning they talk me into going up the Castlerock Chair to Castlerock Run. Big mistake! Powder choked with A-Flight  'Bushers blowing by me. Yikes! I'm one big pool of sweat and linking maybe two turns at a time. Over my head? Yep! One of my Gurus stays with me for what seemed to be an hour and helped my maintain my moxy.

Well I made it down. I think my soccer background mindset and physical conditioning were the only things that got me down. It wasn't my skill set.


First breakthrough moment would be the next season. It is late January and my wife and I rent a condo at the Big K base area. Both enroll in a week long mountain class. Do they still do ski-offs for matching ability levels for a class? Well they did back then. Got into a great group of guys all in our early-mid twenties, and we get the local Atomic rep as our instructor. THis is where it gets interesting. The first night after our first class it starts to snow. The next day we had about a foot, but it is pounding down hard. Classic coastal low, though we didn't know it back then. No Weather Channel. Our first run down Snowdon produced countless crashes and one multiple pile up. We were laughing our asses off. So after all our goggles were toast it was the end of the session.

It doesn't stop for three days, over 40 inches of classic VT powder.

Here is the breakthrough moment. I miss the class at the Peak Chair due to snow choked parking lot, but I'm in hot pursuit as the sun is breaking through for the first time in four days and the skiing should be EPIC!!! I spot the boyz cutting POW turns just below the mid-station, but during my attempt to flag them down, I drop a pole. SHIT! They grab it and plant it in the snow for me to find. So now I'm left to pole-passing turns, which actually worked. I got a great cadence going all the way down to my pole. WOW, I was stoked by my new found technique. BREAKTHROUGH !!

Funny thing was, after I grabbed my pole I lost the beat for the rest of that run. Though it might have been from exhausted body syndrome.

post #24 of 54
Thread Starter 

Being a Father myself I am enjoying the stories about your kids breakthroughs.  Here are a couple of favorites with my daughter.


One was when I took my daughter when she was about 13 to Alta/Solitude along with a buddy and his son.  We were skiing off piste somewhere at Alta sking Adult-Child-Child-Adult when we came to a narrow chute for about maybe 50 feet which opened into a bowl.  It was a little scraped, but nothing I didn't think my daughter could handle.  Anyway, my buddy went first, then his son and it was my daughter's turn.  She froze at the entrance looking down the chute.  I asked her if she was ok? She looked at me with her big eyes almost tearing up and sheepishly asked me, "Daddy, would you be mad at me if I just side slipped down this section?"  She was thinking I would be dissapointed if she didn't just rip down through the chute like my buddy and his son had done.  But this was only her 2nd trip out west with the first when she was only 10.  I looked at her in the eyes and told her, "Honey, this is a dificult section but you can get down it.  You have to use all of your skiing skills, no matter what they are to get down safely.  If that means you are only comfortable to side slip, then that is what you do.  The next time you might only have to side slip 1/2 of it,and the next time you will rip it!"  She proceded toside slip most of the chute, but came out of it before the exit with me following.  She looked back and gave me a big thumbs up!


Another was a couple of years later when I took her to Mont St. Anne in Quebec.  I still had not convinced her to wear a helmet and as a 15 year old teenager she could be quite argumentative, about EVERYTHING,telling me how stupid I am, part of my Father's curse I suppose.  LOL   Anyway, I was leading her down a black diamond tree run that was quite bumped up with some icy bumps. and she was having some trouble.  I was coaching her as to how to approach those bumps and what to do and it struck me that she wasn't mouthing off to me and arguing like she normally would about anything I was telling her.  Well she made it down and on the next chair up I asked her if she was feeling ok?  She looked at me puzzled and said she was fine, and why did I ask her that?  I replied sarcastically that I was concerned because she hadn't talked back to me and argued when I was coaching her like she normally does. She looked back at me with those big eyes and said, "Dad, when it comes to skiing you really do know what you are talking about!"   At the end of that day, we were at the base and I pointed up the mountain and said to my daughter, "Look up there, we own that trail, and that trai!  We own that whole mountain!"  She looked at me once more those eyes, and said, "Dad, if I am going to ski those kind of trails with you, maybe I should get a helmet."  I looked around, saw a ski shop, walked her right in and bought her her first helmet.  Nothing like reality finally sinking into her beautiful little head.


Ski On!


Rick G

post #25 of 54

Defining moments, hmmm. One defining moment for me had to do with moguls. For years, my brother-in-law had been trying to teach me to ski moguls. Probably since i was 9 or 10 years old. However, no matter how many times I tried, I couldn't get it down. I always felt like the moguls were coming up too fast, and that they were rocking me. The moguls always skied me, I never skied the moguls. Over the course of years, I got to the point where I could survive moderate moguls, but never skied them well, and surely never enjoyed them. Then came the day that I switched from long GS skis to a pair of 160cm freestyle skis. Suddenly I had room to breathe in the bumps. I didn't feel like the bumps were attacking me. I did a bump run, and I actually liked it. I did another, and I loved it. At that point, my technique was awful, and I was having to stop every 3 or 4 bumps. But I finally could think about something other than survival. I started looking down the line, I started smearing the backside of the bump, I started putting my pole plants where they needed to be. Within a month, I was doing bumps all day, and loving it. This translated into so much more of my skiing as well. I took those skills and brought them onto the groomers, and my ability to cope with varying conditions got better. My edge control got much better. I brought it into the trees, which I had struggled with before then. Suddenly, the trees were the greatest place on the mountain, and the trails were just a way to get there. The way I ski, and the way I've looked at skiing changed drastically from that point on.

post #26 of 54

Thanks for the long input from all you fellow Bears!On the subject of bumps,,  One dude in 1981 taught me Mogul skiing technique in 2 chair rides.

I had moved from Detroit to Vail in 1979, with a short stop at Lake Eldora outside of Boulder,, Tried to follow a guy named Craig Hubble, down Prima, Pronto Log shoot in Vail, one day busted a set of Lacroix Mach Racer 203's I just bought. , he saw my ski flopping on the cat track on the way to Log Shoot, and said shit I gotta help you out, 1, with your bump techniques and 2, with some bump skis,,

Learned Project Mogul by Hubble

POINT 1,  Look 20 bumps ahead not 2, you have no time to read the terrain and react when it's right there in front of you,

POINT 2 Presorb and lower your center of gravity, see whats coming and absorb it before you get there

POINT 3  Head up and shoulders square so you stay directly over the middle of your skis

POINT 4 Screw your turns don't shit em!  Drive from your hips and knees, not your ass

POINT 5 Where good solid Orthotics in your Boots sou can feel the change in terrain and conditions

POINT 6 Shorten your poles, as not to get it stabbed to hard into the bump rolling shoulder back


Anyway my first zipper line was on Prima, after that I was hooked,, my pro deal with Craig Hubble was PURE GOLD SKIS,, marker,


post #27 of 54

In the late 70's I'm out of school a decade and playing golf every week at home when I travel to Denver on business in late March. I've never skied but always wanted to. Many of the folks I meet in Denver had skied the past weekend. My hotel had a beautiful view of snow covered mountains. I decide to stay over the weekend and go to the mountains. My brother and I go to K-Mart and buy stuff we could use (like jeans and sweatshirts) when we get back home in the south to use a ski wear. We get to Breckenridge too late to ski on day one so we rent Snowmobiles and have a blast. (we dirt bike at home so it was a natural) We sign up for two days of lessons and spend most of the first day walking up a small hill and then skiing down - at the Breckenridge altitude it was exhausting and not much fun but at the end of the day they took us on a beginner's chair and we at least got to see a ski hill. That night we were exhausted. The Defining Moment was the next morning. It was warm and sunny and by 10am the girls in bikini tops and short shorts started hitting hill. We could not believe it! It was like going to the mountains and the beach all rolled into one. I think that's when I became sold on skiing! Two hours later a storm blew in and the ski bunny's turned blue as they hurried down the hill to find their coats and pants. I've had a lot of good days on the mountain since but never a time I was so surprised as I was that warm spring day that was my second day on skis.

post #28 of 54

My defining moment was when my wife told me she wanted a divorce about 11 years ago.  I had skied a lot in high school and college but had cut it down to around 7-10 days per year for about 20 years while I got a profession and kids, and my wife spent all of my money.  The kids were older and my son and I had been skiing together some so when the word came I was in a good position to go for it.  I bought my first season pass (and one for my son, it's amazing what it's like to finally have money) that winter and never looked back.  I've been skiing about 45 days or more per season since then and I've been enjoying it more than ever.

post #29 of 54
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

My defining moment was when my wife told me she wanted a divorce about 11 years ago.  I had skied a lot in high school and college but had cut it down to around 7-10 days per year for about 20 years while I got a profession and kids, and my wife spent all of my money.  The kids were older and my son and I had been skiing together some so when the word came I was in a good position to go for it.  I bought my first season pass (and one for my son, it's amazing what it's like to finally have money) that winter and never looked back.  I've been skiing about 45 days or more per season since then and I've been enjoying it more than ever.

Good for you man!


post #30 of 54

A memorable defining moment for both my wife and I was when we rolled up to one of our favorite blacks and exclaimed in tandem "darn, they groomed it !" That's when we knew that we had made peace with moguls and that our lives would never be the same. No big deal, I suppose; but we started skiing pretty late in life and I'm happy to report that in our mid-60's we still enjoy the challenge of skiing non-groomed. 


Cheers,     rickp



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