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Year 2, Days 1-2

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I posted last year about my first set of beginners lessons (Seattle area; Snoqualmie Pass), and received much welcome and good advice. So, the progress report.

I found decent skis and boots and bought them. I've only managed to ski twice this year so far.

It didn't start our the best. Riding the lift with a snowboarder who was new at it and couldn't get the board straight when getting off the chair. Hopped right only my feet and, since I'm not good enough to compensate, down I went. "Sorry, dude" and he was off. Now I begin to understand what the sharp ends of the poles are for.

From then on it was great. My first reaction to shaped skis and real boots was that, even with almost 9 months off, I was better in 10 minutes than I was at the end of last year. I won't say the skid is gone, but it's at least fading. The basic feeling now is turning and accelerating rather than pivoting and skidding the tails out.

I have to thank Bob Barnes for two things. I started to turn because I wanted to go there, not because I wanted to slow down or stop going where I was going. I turn to accelerate, not to slow down. Second thing is that I scrub speed by completing the turns more (if traffic allows), not by skidding. This feeling is great. My speed is way up (translate for you guys: slow), and my fear is way down. This business of falling into the turn and trusting the skis to come around is definitely NOT there yet, but the idea of moving into the turn and wanting to accelerate and "go there" is. I feel much more, as was said here, that I'm skiing in the direction that the skis point. So while there is clearly alot of skid, it's no longer the predominant feeling (or sound). The result is that speed feels more stable, not less. I think my feeling about moderate speed (we're talking easy blues here) is that, although if I fall it's going to hurt more, I'm much less likely to fall than when I'm going slow. I love it.

One hard part: the first day the top halves of the blue runs were totally fogged in. I had serious trouble sensing the terrain when I couldn't see more than 50 ft, and everything was white. (Plus I was trying to keep an eye on my 7 yr old at the same time.)

The other problem: the new boots hurt. When they were fitted, the advice was that they should be tight, and that I should feel my big toes against the end of the boot until I pushed forward on the boot cuff and flexed my knee. All true, but my toes hurt and are a bit numb at the end of the day. Day 2 better than day 1, so I'll give it maybe two more, and then go back for some boot-fitting (part of the deal: a good shop with a long, good reputation).

So, thanks for the advice, I'm having a great time. By the way, my 7 yr old daughter is doing another year of lessons now. Day 2 she had a substitute (death in family of teacher). She conned him into taking the class down the steepest run there, and then into clearing the boarders out of the half-pipe for 5 minutes so her group could try it out! Love those low-to-the ground kids. But, she'll never put on skis without first putting on that helmet.

post #2 of 6
Sounds like you're having a great time. Keep it up!

Enjoy your skiing

post #3 of 6
That was a good report.
post #4 of 6
Very nice report.

A couple of things:
When visibility is really low, staying close to the trail edge and skiing next to the trees helps with depth preception.

It is not uncommon for boots to hurt first time out. Try spending a couple of hours in them at home before heading to the hill next time. This would help break them in a bit.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Good tip about the boots, I'll try it. Actually I forgot the main question I wanted to ask, about pole planting.

What is this for?? (Sorry to be stupid)

From other threads it seems that just the act of swinging the pole out there helps move your body into the turn, which I get. But is there really any function for "planting" the pole on the snow. I can't imaging that you're actually planting the pole into the snow with anything like enough force to have much effect on your line or speed. Or am I missing something. So far, I use my poles mainly to keep from slipping forward in slightly downhill, narrow lift lines. Hardly an excuse for lugging them around all the time. Never heard a word about them in lessons.
post #6 of 6
Good Job SB

Welcome to the next level!

poles are balance devices and for assisting in propelling you along flats. They are not "stop-um sticks"

They also assist you in timing as you turn.

The balance thing is most important at this time. If you think about trying to stand on one foot for any length of time you will find it is pretty hard. with out poles it would be very hard to "touch the ground" to steady yourself. Try standing on one foot, and close your eyes. You will find balance is pretty tough. Then stand near a wall and just put your finger on the wall and do the same exercise. You will find that your body steadys up real fast.
If you could touch the ground the same effect would happen.

By using the poles as an extension of your hand they make it possible to "touch the ground" with out bending over.

From there, there are additional exercises that will help you with timing and balance.
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