Originally Posted by PhilT
I'll probably end up posting this on TGR but I think its cool that this forum title got edited to include Big Mountain comps, so I'll throw tyrone a bone and post it here first. Anyways this is will be the first year I'll be entering into a few comps I'm 17 years old and a pretty decent skier. I've already signed up for Jackson and Squaw and will sign up for Crystal and 1-2 other "smaller time comps".
Thanks for the bo....err, I mean, thanks for throwing
the bone Phil
. Props on signing up for a bunch of comps...they can be pretty intimidating for the first time, so props on stepping up to the plate.
I'm signed up for the Squaw comp as well so I'm sure we will bump into each other there.
|I think that competing will be really fun and a great experience but beyond that, I actually really really want to do well. The IFSA is not the FIS though there are no development teams, no coaching or any of the other race training type programs available. Most competitors train by themselves and with friends just by free skiing and pushing their limits. I will have the opportunity to ski almost every day from Jan 20 - April 1st this year due to the scheduling of my classes and to the end of me wanting to make a serious go of this competition thing I would like to maximize my "training time". I.e is there anything I should be working on, aiming for while I am skiing this winter. I'm sure I'll have a lot better idea after my first comp but any advice is appreciated. any techniques I should try to work on? anything? Comments, suggestions, heckling are all appreciated.
You're right, there is no formal system of moving up in the ranks of big mountain skiing that is even remotely similar to FIS or even USSA events. Some mountains *might* have freestyle or freeride programs (i think Squaw does and Kirkwood as well), but these are not structured specifically around developing success on the IFSA big mountain comp circuit.
So yes, although competitors come from a variety of backgrounds (i.e. ex-racers, moguls, freestyle...or just plain freeriding) nearly all competitors improve their knowledge and applicable skills for BM comps simply by freeskiing & ripping around with your friends. So obviously, this leads to a bit of a problem...although you might be the 'best' in your 'crew', you'll have no idea of how that level relates to the comp circuit until you actually do one (just like you said). And part of doing well in comps, is understanding the scoring system and seeing how it relates to that particular venue which is obviously something that comes with experience.
After your first comp, you'll get a chance to look at your scorecards and you'll be able to see how the judges viewed your line and how what you did relates to their scoring criteria and to what the other competitors did on the mountain. It's a great learning tool to compare your cards to others so you can see what type of lines the judges score as more difficult. Chatting with the judges afterwards about your line and your score can be very informative as well. And once you get a feel for what the judges are looking for, you'll soon be able to quickly scan a venue and visualize what lines (skiable lines..heh) would score the highest in the line score category compared to others. (which as might already know is the most important scoring category since all the other score categories are based on of your line score).
So my first advice for your first comp would be: Do it to HAVE FUN first and foremost. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. You probably ski your best when your ripping around with your friends just having fun and if you can keep that attitude during your comp runs then you're already doing great. But since you mentioned that you would like to do well in these, treat your first comp as a learning experience....watch how more experienced guys scout their lines, probe landings, and ultimately approach and ski their lines. And learn about the scoring system as I mentioned above.
To do well in these things you are going to have to become comfortable at taking air, skiing fluidly (i.e. non-stop) from top to bottom (easier said than done and very important), and you'll need to get really good at visualizing and knowing your line (REALLY important) from top to bottom. Staring up at a steep, rock and cliff-riddled face, picking out a line that is realistically within your ability, scouting it, memorizing it, visualizing yourself successfully skiing it and stomping it is super critical.....this is something that you can practice at your home mountain and you probably already do this to a certain degree already.
However, come comp time you'll need to thoroughly know EVERY landing n your line (is the landing snow soft? deep? how fast am I going to exit the landing? do I need to go left or right after landing and how will that affect takeoff? etc. etc.), you'll need to know every bump, every landmark. Many of the lines and airs will essentially be blind as you come into them so picking out a feature on the horizon or a tree at the bottom that you know ahead of time you need to have in your sights at takeoff is important. Sometimes having a "A", and a "B", and even a "C" line is important as well in case you got bucked off your line, or miss a turn or a feature, or if snow conditions drastically change throughout the day.
What is your first comp? Is it Squaw? (there aren't that many of them before Squaw so I'm guessing that is is?)
Hope that helps a little...I could ramble on some more about alot of that stuff but I feel like I was rambling on too much already