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ESA Payoff

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, I've finally had the opportunity to test my new skills. I skied at Sunshine Village today (I was one of the fortunate ones who made it up the hill before the gondola broke).

What a difference in my skiing since the last time I was here! I comfortably and confidently zipped down runs that I struggled on last time I was here, and I successfully (though not spectacularly) skied runs that I was afraid to try before. I made several runs on steep, moguled double blacks, and never got that "Oh no, I'm about to die!" feeling. I am delighted by the degree my abilities have improved. Thanks very much to the coachs at ESA.

That said, the degree to which my weaknesses are exposed by difficult terrain certainly keeps me humble. Once I get beyond my comfort level, out come the same old bad habits that doom me to look like a gaper. My biggest boogyman is the dreaded straight leg: the more nervous or tense I get, the straigher my stance leg gets as I try to push myself away from danger. I think I may have frightened several passing skiers as I cursed myself roundly for making the same stupid mistake again and again, even though I recognized the mistake and was trying to compensate. Boy, have i got a long way to go before I can ski the whole mountain in comfort.
post #2 of 8
Man, that sounds so great!

It's easy to tell how much you are enjoying your skiing...and how aware of it you are. ESA certainly must be a great thing. You are a fortunate soul indeed!

Best to ya'
post #3 of 8
Stance leg, eh?
post #4 of 8
This weekend (Sun-Wed) I was on-snow again for a lot of freeskiing. In the process, I discovered that I, too, had experienced substantial improvements as a result of a comment made by Vail SnoPro during the coaches' day and drills and comments made by Nolo while I was acting as her group's resident videographer (thanks, Ric and Joan!).

The key for me seems to have been ankle dorsiflexion. I noticed that, especially for my inside foot/ankle, making sure that I was connected at the heel and flexing at the ankle (instead of levering off the ball, which was my habit) allowed much greater sense of flow, carving, and power. I was on the b5s three of the days, and really feel that I made the best turns of my life on Tuesday and Wednesday while I was guiding. A number of the Gang members and a guides actually commented on the flow and arcs! It's an amazing sense of really being connected with the snow and moving from turn to turn. I think that this is also what Pierre has been talking about, but I wasn't quite ready to learn it, yet...

Again, thanks to the coaches and to all who participate here on EpicSki. My skiing is on a transformational trajectory. Thanks!
post #5 of 8
Glad to hear it, Steve! Last week in my classes I focused awareness on the closing/opening of the ankle joint in a turn--that as the inside ankle joint closes, the outside ankle joint opens. You might play around with it.
post #6 of 8
Thanks! I'm up again tomorrow, so I will do that.
post #7 of 8
I've had a couple noticeable improvement in my skiing since ESA.

The most obvious is that I actually look for bump runs now. Who woulda thunk that would have ever happened? Now that I (sorta) know what I'm suppossed to be doing, I've been spending hours a day in them.

In a not-so-obvious improvement... Bob Barnes spent a lot of time with our group discussing the importance of finding neutral -- that point where your skis are just floating on the snow, where the transition to the next turn is just buttery smooth. That's one of the few conscious thoughts I have now while I'm skiing -- where my feet are in relation to the snow. In the past couple of weeks, I've had a couple recoveries that have left me flabbergasted to explain how I managed to not only stay standing but to keep turning like nothing happened. The only thing I can think of is that while my feet aren't where I want them to be, I still know where they are, so I know how to pull out of it. (Other explanation: I ski at Cannon, Bode Miller's old home. That guy is the king of how-did-he-do-that, so maybe there's something in the air.). Besides the whole recovery thing, my turns feel more seamlessly connected.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by nolo
Glad to hear it, Steve! Last week in my classes I focused awareness on the closing/opening of the ankle joint in a turn--that as the inside ankle joint closes, the outside ankle joint opens. You might play around with it.
I did, and you're right. But, at least for me, I found that it gave me too many things to think about (yes, I know it's only two, but it was one too many!). But, I'm going to play with this and go back and forth with my thoughts a bit. This is cool. I think that ankles are a major key to smooth skiing.
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