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Did You Improve?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
did you step it up this year? add a new trick the bag? strengthen a weak area? feel good about particular progress you made on the hill? was it sheer mileage that made the difference or dedicated drilling? what other way could i ask the same question?

you've seen those turns where the skier kind of lifts the tip of the ski off the snow and twists it around to re-direct the turn, well, i have finally gotten to where that doesn't happen so often, as it used to on steep terrain and difficult bumps; those tips pretty much stay on the snow now, and i feel real good about that; it's taken some focus to lose most of that ugliness.

the bumps are coming; i'm absorbing, anticipating, and enjoying them, whereas i used to avoid them.

what was steeeeeeep the year before loses an e each season. (gotta say, there's nothing like spring skiing to allow one to hit terrain that is otherwise too intimidating; knowing those skis are going to grab and things are going to slow down is a huge confidence boost, which opens the door to the necessary level of committment to the line.) i'm convinced that the turns i make at the end of each year in mammoth carry over nicely into the following season.

my eyes are beginning to look at the park/pipe scene with curiosity; used to be all i could visualize was me busting my ass or noggin. same with gates; a race camp next june may be in order.

i had easily my shortest season but i am a better skier than at the start.

are you?
post #2 of 30
After 40 years of skiing I improved a great deal this year. The main improvement was a new ability to ski steeper terrain with less effort.

Next year, I'll be adding tighter turns to my hardpack skiing. My new 165cm Fischer WC SC just became my new short turn carving coach .


post #3 of 30
I went from nothing to one of the top on the ski team.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
congrats ; i bet that feels good.
post #5 of 30
Great question. That's what it's about for me, I'm an adult-onset skier (started about 5 years back at age 40 or so).

Originally Posted by ryan View Post
the bumps are coming; i'm absorbing, anticipating, and enjoying them, whereas i used to avoid them.
That's my year in a nutshell. After knee surgery last summer I started slow but took a 2-hour private to focus on bumps, which were always tough but scared me with the new knee. I called ahead to ask for a Level III cert ... ended up with ski school director, great teacher. As expected we spent an hour on groomed working on short turns and pivots before going anywhere near bumps. And then an hour in the bumps, I flailed, it was ugly. And it stayed ugly for another 5 or 6 days where I'd go into the bumps but skied "survival mode" only.

And then one day mid-season the lesson kicked in. By late season I was really seeking out bumps (especially after they soften up in the spring). Not a zipperliner yet, but handling just about any pitch, any size, any length bump run with a steady pace. It's like going down stairs, but way more fun.

Added bonus -- teaching this to my daughter, who didn't like having her brother (and me) wait at the bottom of bump runs. One day in March she asked for help -- and after a two minute explanation of releasing and engaging edges, pivoting, and absorbing on the top of the downhill bump, she ran a 1000 ft double diamond bump run. It was like she just turned on a switch. Now she's the one waiting at the bottom.

So that's how it is. What took me a two hour lesson and half a season took a kid two minutes. But still, I'm glad for any improvement at any pace, I've got a lot of catching up to do.
post #6 of 30
Well-- After a hiatus of a few years where I got less than 5 days on the snow (one year, I didn't even get one ), I managed to ski in 4 different states and to get in my first double digit year in the 21st century.

As for progress, I don't feel that I'm skiing with the level of confidence I had before i moved to a flat state with lousy winters (35 degrees and raining = worst winter weather possible) when I was getting 50 or so days a year, but it's definite improvement over not skiing at all!
post #7 of 30
Either I've improved my standards or my skiing has gotten worse.
post #8 of 30


After 80 days on snow, I can't say I noticeably improved my skiing. Snowboarding, however, is another story. I finally became comfortable riding tight trees (proved that to myself at Stowe and Jay), bumps (K-Mart on Cinco de Mayo) and park/pipe. I now feel ready to take my LIII on a board!

I also discovered the joy of a digital camcorder and FCP. Here's a quick edit of the last few weekends of the season...skiing only, save for one snowboarder eating it

post #9 of 30
...like a fine wine.
post #10 of 30
I wasn't consistent, however some of the best runs of my life, skill wise, happened this season. The equipment makes a difference - Top Fuels. ESA made a difference and of course skiing with Bears.

I was told a few years ago that I was "on the back 9", so I am happy about the season. That comment scared the sit out of me. It's possible to keep getting better and that's what I want.
post #11 of 30

post #12 of 30

This is the first year I "really" get back to skiing. (last year I had ONE lousy day!). So it's easy to say "improvement"!

But really, I started to get the hang of the shape skis (I quit when straight, narrow planks dominate). The new skis make it quite a lot easier, especially when it comes to bumps. I had taken some bump classes right before I moved away from the snow. So the theory and the concept was there but not quite in the muscles yet. Now with the shorter ski, it just clicked! Bumps are fun!

I was also lucky to happened upon some really nice nice, fluffy powder multiple days in a roll. So I took some powder specific lessons just to get started. It worked wonders! Turned out the "old school" technique (legs close together & bouncing up and down! ) worked better than the carving style in powder. Piece of Cake!
post #13 of 30
I didn't digress any this year. Once you're past 40 that's considered a gain.
post #14 of 30
Originally Posted by ryan View Post
did you step it up this year? add a new trick the bag? strengthen a weak area? feel good about particular progress you made on the hill?
*(diclaimer...this ended much longer than I intended. just couldn't stop once I got rolling )

Hmm...did i improve...tough question. Lots of what i wanted to work on this year was mental. Last year, was my full first ski season after coming back from ACL reconstruction, so the goals of last year centered around proving to myself that my knee was strong enough again to ski the way i hoped to. and I thought I had accomplished that last year and was happy. so this year, I turned to more of the mental aspects....e.g. i tend to hesitate a bit and don't ski as fluidly as i'd like to...and thus, wanted to work on that a bit this year.

so one of the ways I test myself in this regard is through freeskiing comps. hesitation in comps will kill you, and thus, a perfect proving ground to get myself over my hesitation hurdles and see where i stand.

Luckily for me, this was easy to give a shot as 1 of the US Freeskiing Tour stops (Squaw) and the 2nd World Tour stop (Kirkwood) were in my hood. So I really had no excuse to give 'em a shot.

I've tried to qualify for the Kirkwood event in the past ('02? '03?), but crashed one time, and choked and skied a mellow line the second time barely missing the cut both instances. ACL reconstruction and a following regaining of confidence and strength kept me out of them for the next 2 seasons.

So the first event for me was the Squaw Valley event, stop #2 on the US Freeskiing Tour. My goal was to ski a line that alot of the top guys would be hitting and see if I could advance to the 2nd day. Anything past that would be icing on the cake in my mind.

There weren't a ton of options as far as rowdy line choices went for the first day, so I figured that top competitors would all hit this one blind 20 footer to icy sketchy landing, and then make there over to this billygoat rock shelf area where there'd be multiple options to piece something gnarly together. During my inspections, I took a peak at the 20 footer at the top and disregarded it....the landing area looked too small and it was a reall sketchy landing. If you didn't hit it precisely, there was a hail crash factor, and the way the cliff was set up, you don't see the landing until your basically in the air (you had land very close to the base of the cliff to hit the tranny). Anyway, I figured I shouldn't even deal with it as I thought it would be too risky for me...and just should pick up a fast fluid line to the billygoat section at the bottom.

So Day 1 at Squaw comes up and I'm in the start gate and i'm sitting there thinking and arguing with myself, "****....I have to hit this top air...all the top guys are hitting and making it look smooth"...."but crap, i didn't even scope it."......the race started asks me if i'm ready...i nod sure...."dammit. just hit it. all you have to do is stay tight, stay composed, and stomp at the base of the cliff, and ride it out".......starter starts counting...3! 2!! "crap...do i hit it?!" ...1! GO! SKIER ON COURSE!..."F-yeah!! go for it! this is what I'm here for!"

so out of the start gate, I push off and make my through the trees above the air chanting..."don't slow down. don't slow down. fluid fluid. dont' stop. keep going.". i spot the edge of the cliff 10 turns in front of me and start visualizing flowing off the lip, stepping off, and tucking, and stomping....so i flow into it, get the speed right, pre-jump from about 2 feet back so i land right at the base, air over the edge and sight the landing right below me:

as soon as i spotted the landing I knew I had it and was stoked. STOMP! ride it out and make my way to the bottom section. Now at this point in my mind, my run was over. The crux of my line was behind me, and i knew the rest of my features like the back of my hand and I was just flow right into them. (or so I thought). Unfortunately, as I landed my next air, my skis got stuck in sun-baked bomb hole and I double-ejected after perfectly p-tex-ing the landing sending me off the second part of my double stager and ending my comp.

So i was bummed that because of the crash, I didn't make it to the second day, but these comps are a huge mindF**K, and overcoming the hurdles your mind throws in a front of you are a big part of these things for me. So i was really stoked that i overcame my fear of the top air and went for it. big improvement in my mind. and even with the crash and double ejection ended up mid-field for the first day. I guess i'll take that.

So the Kirkwood comp comes and being a World Tour event, you have to make it through an extra pre-qualifying day in order to earn the right to ski against the pre-qualified world tour skiers. My goal here, similar to Squaw, was just to qualify, and then have fun with it and see where i could go from there. In the back of my mind, I knew how sweet it would be if i could make it all the way to Day 3 of the event, the Finals on Saturday, but knew I had a looong way to go to get that far.

So qualifying day comes and due to high winds there's an announcement in the morning that there would be NO inspection runs. Due to the winds an upper lift was closed, and they'd be carrying competitors to the top via snowcat which wouldn't allow any time for inspection. what this also meant was that nearly everyone would be taking the most obvious identical lines off the top and it would be very hard to make yourself standout.

I had about 30 skiers in front of me and sure enough, as I watched, nearly everyone was taking the same line. Most other stuff was kind of risky to ski fast, fluid, and aggressive w/o knowing your line ahead of time....but that being said, I was determined to find something different. So while at the bottom scanning the venue looking for my line, my eyes were drawn wwaaaay to skier's right where there was a hanging thin snowfield above a complete close-out line with mandatory cliffs. "hmmm....if there's a way through those cliffs that would be a cool line that I bet no one else is even considering." the mandatory air at the close-out appeared to be 15-20 feet while viewed from the bottom and i thought I should be able to hop off of it, to mandatory stick, and then get it together quickly so air off the next rockband and then i'd be done.

My only questions were.....1) with no inspection, I won't know if it's doable until I'm on top of it. 2) I won't know what the landing is like until I'm standing on top of it, 3) Once i'm top of it, I for sure wouldn't be able to turn around whether it's doable or not , and 4) I wouldn't know where to take off from until I'm top of it.

so maybe there were a few questions But when I got to the top....and still not one skier was contemplating going where I was going....I knew it had to be done and had to go for it. "Going for it" at the top air at the Squaw comp helped prep me a bit for this and I didn't have any doubts that i was going for this line even though I didn't really know if I could make my way through the close out cliff at the bottom.

so I'm at the top along with a dozen competitors, some patrollers, and the starter. Everyone...except me...is off to skiers left. but i'm alone way to skiers right. The starter yells out the next 5 guys and i'm the 5th to go out of this batch. I skate down to the started and tell him that i'm going to start way the hell over to skier's right and to tell the judges to look for me going that direction off the top. he just kind of looks at me oddly and says 'ummm...ok'.

so I skate back over to my line to wait, alone, as the other 4 skiers drop into the same line that's been getting hacked over and over again. as i'm waiting, one of the KW patrollers comes up to me and asks where i'm going.

I point to my line. "Geoff Small gap"
"but that doesn't go this year"
"yes it does"
"you sure?"
"well, good luck."

3!, 2!, 1!...skier on course starting way skiers right!

so with that vote of confidence from the patroller it was go time. Push off and straightline this easy chute off the top, get up over a little windlip and set my sights waaaaay down to the bottom where the close-out cliff dropped away. I was was focused on the bottom section, that I missed some opportunities for air at the top and picked my way through a rock garden when I should have blasted through it, but regardless, i was through the rock garden and making my way down to the close-out cliff...

"crap...there it is...I think....this looks totally different from the bottom."
"aha...there's that big hunk of rock on the right. If i stay straight I should be right above that ice waterfall..."
“ok, now I’m on rock…mmm this isn’t it, oh ****, that way doesn’t go either”
turn back around…
“aha…here it is…snow looks good in that drift, **** I have to push off pretty far off this rock…crap, go, losing fluidity points….”

(vid of run)

so with that I qualified. was (am) super stoked, as i hit a long time goal of mine.

now that I qualified, I wanted to survive Day 1 of the World Tour and advance to the Finals the next day. Already way too long story short, i skied a super conservative line and barely made the cut for the next day. Looking back on it, I'm glad I made the next cut, but am kind of mad at myself because I took a much easier line than I originally intended. i didn't 'go for it' as I did at the Squaw comp and on qualifying day and I basically played it safe. Same thing for the next day (video below)....I played it safe, hesitated a ton my lines, skied slow, traversed way too much...blah blah blah....now I look back on it as kind of bittersweet in that i made my overall goal, but I look back at through my super critical hindsight i'm kind of mad at myself for not really giving it my all during the final two days of the comp.

(vid of finals...slow, hesitant, lot 'o traversing, mediocre...)

So now with that opinion of my finals run.....i go into next year. I know what i have to do to improve and given the time and opportunity, hopefully i'll have a chance for some redemption next year
post #15 of 30
[quote=ryan;712928]did you step it up this year?

first post --- great forum !! skiing almost 30 yrs, quit in '91 and started back 3 yrs ago.. .. ski gentle to steep groomers, run gates, the occasional bowl, very few bumps (bad knees)... '05 learned new shape skis --telluride, '06 skied my fischer 165 wc sl -- steamboat: some heavy snow made me think I needed different ski , '07 Breck in Jan--cold--fischers did ok until last day 6" dump, Beav Crk in April -- demoed x-wing tornados 170 and metron b:5's 172 -- boilerplate mornings, spring corn, crud and 6" fresh last day made me realize I was on right track for skis, had a ball, technique improved (probably due to equipment) and I felt I made huge strides in short time. Want to widen off-piste experience and varying conditions-- looking at threads (eyes bleary), considering AC4's, IM78's or 82's and Nordica AB's. I'm 6'2" , 220 so looking at 170-180 range. Lots of info in this forum of knowledable skiers -- really enjoy hearing from the Bears.
post #16 of 30
FKNA Ty, that was fun to read.

I definitely made some major improvements in my powder and crud skiing, and some not-so-major improvements in my slalom turns.
post #17 of 30
I improved but not enough. biggest thing for me this year was being more comfortable in the air and more comfortable skiing high risk lines faster.

I need to condition my stabilizer muscles so i can power through uneven snow/terrain better than what i can now. Longer skis will help this too.

I cant wait to next year to get my clock cleaned by the seasoned freeskiing competitors. It going to be a blast just skiing with those guys.
post #18 of 30
I basically kicked ass this year.
post #19 of 30
I don't improve anymore. I'm either in shape or not. On it or getting it back. I'll spend the first month or two just getting my balance spot-on. And, I have gone entire seasons never feeling on it.

In pow- once I develop stable ollies, and my air-feet, it's on. Progressing, becoming a better pow-skier, imo, is all about your air-feet; your ability to not touch the snow. The flutter-factor. The less you touch the snow, the more control you have. That concept is so counter-intuitive to skiing, that it can take some time.

Powder's opposite= Carving. The only progression I have to worry about all winter in regards to carving is the fear and the trust that my skis will hold at those speeds. I scored some Jet Fuels this winter for my groomer skis. (basically GS race stock in a 126-84-112/r20) I spent many evenings arcing cord and crud under flood lights and I never got to max-out my skis. Carving machines, they are, carving machines... Going 50 and linking tight GS turns with your hip inches from the ground is so easy, it's frightening. And that fear is the hardest thing to stomach. It's hard to get used to so much moving around at such high speeds with such quiet edges. Powder too is quiet, but it is ssooooo much easier than cranking trenches at 50. There'sw just no effort in flying on the surface of pow. But a huuugge amount of physical effort goes into keeping your body still while cranking turns on hard snow without letting a flake leave the ground.
post #20 of 30
Like Ryan, I worked on Bumps this year. I no longer avoid them but I'm certainly not proficient at them.

At the start of the season, my goal was to feel more comfortable with air, and though progress was made, I still feel a bit lame with the small air.
I did accidentally get about 4 ft of air at the end of the season, and found out I could survive............now I have to build on that.

My new years resolution was to do a helicopter by the end of the season, which I didn't do.

I learned a lot more about my skiing, and my ability at ESA Stowe than I had anticipated, and found out that I didn't totally suck. Now, I suck at a higher level

Next year, real air time and the helicopter!
Iskitoofast.......thanks for the video!
Tyrone....gimme a shove!
post #21 of 30
Wonderful examples given as I find it unimaginable you could not find some aspect of your skiing has improved this season. How mundane otherwise.

For me, I was fortunate skiing this season with Bears such as Tsavo, Bong, ssh, Uncle Louie and cgeib each providing a practical nuance that helped to improve my overall skill set. Memorable were positive comments made EOS that encouraged me to continue to hone those lessons working towards an exciting new season…and further opportunities to improve.

And for those here who take the time on the slope to encourage and help others improve their skills or write of personal insights [e.g. Tyrone Shoelaces] for us to consider; good on ya!

Ps. Welcome rapid
post #22 of 30
Had fun, skied hard, got hurt. A wash in all.
post #23 of 30
Not really.

I got hurt at the end of last year, a crash that really screwed with me mentally, which was especially unfortunate because I improved by leaps and bounds last year. I spent most of this year trying just to get back to anywhere close to the way I was skiing last year. This problem was compounded by the fact that I spent most of this year skiing Bridger Bowl, which is pretty much billgoating terrain, not the high speed wide open stuff on which I excel. In Bridger's tight exposed lines, I consistently found a reason to always just "take it easy this run". Bridger also had a very low snow year this year, so that didn't help. I also bought a pair of the 4frnt EHP 193s this year, which are a tiny bit of the spat type design. Being on these screwed with my skiing in general. I found that I lost the ability to really drive a big traditionally shaped ski after spending some time on the EHPs. Finally, during spring break, I was back home at aspen, and lapping highlands bowl, I finally started to ski well again. Not even close to the way I was skiing last year, but its a start.

I did spend a lot more time in the back country this year than I ever have before. Even though I didn't really improve, I think that this will help me improve a lot more in the seasons to come. The BC just seems to allow for a lot of stuff resort skiing does not.

Not a bad year I guess, no such thing as bad skiing right? Just not quite on par with last year, excepting the injury part that is.
post #24 of 30
My rate of improvement never catches up with my expectations of how I should ski, so in general I don't feel like I improve much from year to year. I think I would need to ski much more in order to see real improvement.
post #25 of 30
Yes, I definitely improved! For several reasons...

* I'm a lesson junkie. I always sign up for some kind of ski camp each season, and I attended 2 of them this past season.

* I lost about 15 pounds of weight compared to last season (190# vs 175#).

* I'm starting to work on improving my balance in the offseason. At the age of 44, I'm slowly starting to learn how to rollerblade. I've modified my exercise program to start including more balancing type of movements (functional training) in addition to trying to either improve or maintain strength.

My goal this past season was to improve in powder and crud, and I believe I accomplished that.
post #26 of 30
I jumped off my first cliff this year
post #27 of 30
Had a great season skill-wise. Really worked on the bumps, skied more trees than ever and had probably my best season to date. Really focused on keeping a tighter stance in the bumps, better A&E, more aggressive (straighter/faster) line. Out of the bumps, I worked on improving turn initiation and really learned to drive my tips to start a turn. Got to the point where my tails often left the snow.
post #28 of 30
More bumps, more trees, more fun!!! It was a good year with around 50 days on the slopes including my first trip to Big White.
post #29 of 30
I think I stepped up my beer drinking skills just slightly. Had some good nights. Had some bad nights. Good nights outnumber the bad. Yeah, it was a good season...
post #30 of 30
I decided to spend a month in Whistler earlier this year. After about a week, I decided to book into a super group (max of 3 skiers) There were only two in my group so it was like a private lesson. A few pointers from the instructor was all it took for my skiing to improve out of site.

I was starting to wonder why the black runs were so easy until I bumped into a fellow Australian who mentioned how much harder the runs were compared to Australia. I realised then that I must have got better.
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