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ESA Big Sky - Skiing - What I Learned

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

INTRODUCTION.  As a general prelude it should probably be noted that I signed up for my first ESA rather reluctantly.  My hesitation was based on money, bad general experiences with ski schools, not good familiar ground with instructors in general both as an instructor with 5 years experience and as a student. Should probably include a little info. on myself;  66yrs of age, skiing 38 years, raced, Level I instructor at Tahoe and Idaho.  Advanced or intermediate skier probably based on where and when I am on the hill etc.

 

DISCLAIMER.   Much thought was given to this thread before I actually decided to put my impressions etc. in writing.  It must bre pointed out that I was one of five students in this ESA class and my opinions are not necessarily those of the other 4 persons.  This is not a MA/written essay, not an evaluation of ESA or our instructor Squatty Schuler but is only my personal input on what I learned and the elements of the week that impressed me the most.  Certainly I will leave some of what I learned out of this thread and will even probably misconstrue some elements - so be it.  This was not meant to be a treatsie on ESA or Squatty but just a compiliation of my thoughts on this 4 days of instruction.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE.   During my 38 yrs of skiing; classes, clinics etc. have been taken from many different organizations and individuals.  This 4 days with Squatty Schuler were the best 4 days of instruction and skiing I have ever experienced.

 

WHAT I LEARNED.  [       ] ideas,comments in these brackets are my personal impressions and things that may only apply to my own skiing.

                                        

                    

 

                                   *************************************************************

 

 

SWING YOUR POLES.  Keep your poles moving.  When swinging your poles you are preparing yourself for your next turn, maintaining fore-aft balance in relationship to the terrain and keeping yourself moving down the hill.  [keeps me from getting static/frozen with no movement especially in powder and in variable off piste conditions. When I get static in powder etc. I get back and have always fought this getting back problem].  As the week progressed (and we skied some very variable conditions) this became  valuable to me and helped a lot in keeping me out of the back seat.  [also realized that the times I did get in the back seat - I wasn't swinging my poles].  Keep poles low but in  peripheral vision. Swing pole not whole arm and/or shoulder.

 

 

FINISHING A TURN.  When do you start a turn - when you finish the last one.  This will eliminate the Park and Ride across the hill.  [a simple fact but oh so true-found it hard to do sometimes but will definitely work on this Squatty gem]

 

 

PLATFORM SKIING.   Comment.  This will be hard for me to put in writing so excuse the brevity and non explanatory english composition. In a comfortable stance,  lift up on feet instead of down, lifting up will give you/me more edge angle and let ski's/feet/boots act together and be more connected.  Versus pushing down on Big Toe/shin/ball of foot. Note.  Robin Barnes gave us an exercise at one of our nightly in the lodge meetings to perform this feeling etc.  Place two poles on the floor, parallel to your stance, stand on the poles and move your feet left and right.  This mimics the feeling of foot movement in platform skiing and was a good exercise.  Simple, easy to  do with good feedback to your feet. 

 

[Squatty told us to try this and we would be able to ski LIGHTER and it worked.  A special breakthrough for me.  Special to me because I am a heavy skier, more power than lightness-Cool it works]

 

 

MOGULS.  Wait/hesitate on making your turn when in the moguls.  Wait till the tips of your skis are into their downward movement.  This will make it much easier to make the turn - when your skis have already started their downward arc. [think of a teeter totter and the bump being the center axis, how much easier it will be to turn when my skis have crossed the axis and are starting down on the other side-it works]

 

 

PATIENCE.  Platform skiing, change edges with feet and WAIT for your skis to turn.  [this was especially important to me and a point/tip that Squatty repeated to me as I have a strong habit of jambing my turns especially at the end and start of my turns with power and muscle instead of the patience I should use-real valuable to me and something I have to work on]

 

 

OUTSIDE LINE.  Ski the outside line and control your speed in the moguls and also ski better snow.

 

                You had to be there.  Squatty took his skis off.   Stood in a mogul trough and showed  us the 1) inside line - only a small portion of your ski actually on the snow    2)middle line - ski pretty much all on the snow in the trough-but can be a very fast line    3) outside line-the upper part of the trough where the whole ski is on the snow and the snow is better because it has been pushed there by all the skiers that don't know how to ski "the outside line".

 

                 To sucessfully ski this outside line it is very important to do what is described in MOGULS as described above.

 

                 NOTE.  One  of my typical Mogul problems is;  3 or 4 turns and Warp Out - ah ha Park and Ride in a traverse to collect myself.  By skiing  the outside line and waiting on the turn to enable yourself/myself to ski the outside line really works.  I could actually ski moguls without warping out.

 

 

                  Skiing the outside line also makes my turns in the moguls more round which also is a more efficient way to control speed.  Also in playing with this during the week it also works when not in the moguls and I wanted to make a rounder more controlling (speed) turn off a pile of powder, under a tree, a ledge of snow etc.

 

 

LEG EXTENSION.   When making turns in powder (Liberty Bowl) down the fall line and when legs go into a trough in the moguls - extend your legs.  This makes it easier and more balanced to absorb when your legs are straighter/extended than if they are flexed and have no more room for absorption.

 

 

 

MATCHING TIPS.  Try to ski with tips closely matching. [I ski with one tip way in front of other rather than just a little in front].  This will give me better fore aft balance.  Hard obviously to be looking at tips all the time so go by FEEL,   even tongue/shin awareness, not necessarily shin pressure but more the same shin touching the boot tongue.  This also makes platform skiing more effortless and balanced.

 

 

                                                       ******************************

 

 

   It should be noted that our class spent approximately 10% of our time with verbal instruction and 90% of our time skiing.  We all learned (sorry about speaking for all) more by DOING than listening.  Squatty was a real master at explaining things.  There was never an item of instruction I didn't understand or know the reason why it was important.  Function was first and if I may say; all of our class really improved during the week.  A direct reflection on Squatty's abilities and our enthusiasm for what he and we were doing and accomplishing.  My best 4 days of instruction, learning and skiing in 38 years.

 

 

 Nolo spent some of her time with me on the Pedal Turn and her help will really help me out next year when I can do it with more precision.  I didn't mention above as I didn't want to linguistically hack her pedal turn to death.  Thanks Nolo and thanks also to Phil.

 

 

Once again this is not meant to be a Ski Technique thread as I am not really qualified to put ski movements etc. into the english word.  This thread is more meant to be just my impressions of my first ESA endeavor.

 

Thankyou to my classmates; Lee/Staggerlee, Brian/Bshon, Tricia/Trekchick and Cindy/Keiths Mom. Also thankyous for visiting and skiing with us to Joan/Nolo and her husband Phil and to Bud Heisman our boot guy.

 

BEARS in general.  Don't miss out next year -  Epic ESA was a really great experience, one I will remember favorably for many years to come.

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST.    Thankyou Squatty Schuler you made the week fun and a great learning experience.  Also I  know you were responsible for the great powder, we all thank you.

 

 

 

Personal Accomplishments.   Linking  powder turns in the Fall Line coming down Liberty Bowl off the top of Lone Peak.  Meeting some great people and being fortunate enough to ski with Squatty.

 

THANKS EPIC FOR LETTING ME SKI WITH YOU  !!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 12

Pete, you nailed it!

My nemesis has been my dreaded hand drop back, which is  a move that messes up a lot of the other movements that make powder, tree and mogul skiing more efficient. 

This  quote from you was a huge breakthrough for me.  I know I've heard it and learned it before but this time it seemed to stick!

Quote:

LEG EXTENSION.   When making turns in powder (Liberty Bowl) down the fall line and when legs go into a trough in the moguls - extend your legs.  This makes it easier and more balanced to absorb when your legs are straighter/extended than if they are flexed and have no more room for absorption.

 

 

I'd like to add one more thing about Squatty's coaching that I really appreciated:

His instruction included mountain management and mountain awareness as much as it did about technique.

The wind blows this way, the sun shines that way, the mountain faces that direction..........

I truly believe that this complete package is what sets him apart.

 

Squatty Rocks!!!!

post #3 of 12

Nice post Pete! Thanks for writing that up. So what skis were you on in Liberty Bowl powder? Didn't you have a thread on powder earlier this year?

 

My theory on Squatty:

Squatty's a pirate recently washed ashore. This explains all your weather, and mountain info stuff that he knows. (Don't get into what about snow and pirates- please!... that's trivial and beneath the topic.) Also explains his thing with the ladies - or vice versa since ladies seem to have a thing for pirates. What you really need to know though is he came ashore like the day before or max week before you see him. Impossible? Yeah I know.

 

This brings up the second point. You've heard of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? (if not, use google) Well there's the Squatty Uncertainty Principle. I'd explain it, but it's so uncertain that I can't - words don't work. Roughly though, it's impossible to know where he's been, how he got here, and what else I don't know - the concept breaks down again with the words. Since words fail here, generally, we use a physics theory like some sort of Feynman Diagram, (don't ask me about that cause I don't know enough), and the principle just gets stated as 'Squatty'.

 

See? All is explained in it's inexplicability.

Really. it's just easier to say "Hi" to the guy. You don't need to know about these complicated theories.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Tog,  first 3 days skied on  Atomic Snoops  184 and last day on NORDICA Afterburners 178's.  Yes posted a powder thread earlier this year.  Probably spent 85% of my ski time off piste this year and am improving but it has been slow.  Skiing Liberty Bowl and linking turns in the fall line will do wonders for my confidence next year.

post #5 of 12

You know for some of us skiers who have been around a long time and skied so many years in all conditions, and many different Mountains, it's easy to take for granted what is already known. what comes easy to some, what is easy for us and what others struggle with. It's easy for us to write in threads about moguls and powder and steep skiing what to do to make it easier. And how really easy it is when you don't have to think about what you are doing while skiing. The little things, the slight movements, the hand position, the leg extension, etc.

 

While I've never had to pay for a lesson, I've had the pleasure to have skied with some awesome skiers over these many years. Patrollers, Instructors and friends who I've learned much from. Whom I've emulated and styles I've copied for over 50 years. Self taught? Yes and no. Lucky? Yes. Breakthroughs have come cheap but the fact remains some breakthroughs are priceless. It sounds to me that almost everyone who attends the ESA's come away with something that has changed their skiing life. That alone makes it worth the price of admission. Combined with this years fantastic conditions was the chance to really learn powder skiing from some of the best. How often does anyone get the opportunity like that?

 

Good for you Pete and everyone else who excelled at this years ESA's.

post #6 of 12

Nice post Pete. Glad someone was able to put it into words.  You could help Squatty write a book. My brain's on overload after reading Tog's explication of the Squatty Uncertainty Principle. Clear as mud.  One question. Does Heisenberg's uncertainty principle apply to big air? I was hoping for a Feynman or at least a Venn Diagram demonstrating how 2 bodies can occupy the same space and never collide. Can't wait for the next ESA so I can test out and develop true ownership of these concepts!  Pleasure meeting and skiing with you folks.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Lars.  Wish our ski areas would reopen so I could cement some of what I learned.  I am already anticipating November in Northern Idaho, 2009 too use my new awareness on the snow.  One of the reasons I put this ESA in writing was to review this summer and next Fall.

post #8 of 12

What I really want to know is why Squatty sniffs the air, and makes that weird face that look like a St. Bernard seeking a missing Swiss Miss, just before he finds the crazed woods route to perfect untracked powder? Squatty, I dig the pow but what's up with the faces, is that a pirate thing or your chewin tabaccy, eh?


Edited by staggerlee - 4/12/2009 at 09:23 pm GMT


Edited by staggerlee - 4/12/2009 at 09:25 pm GMT


Edited by staggerlee - 4/12/2009 at 09:26 pm GMT


Edited by staggerlee - 4/12/2009 at 09:35 pm GMT
post #9 of 12

Nice write-up, Pete.  It certainly echoes my feeling about the ESA's that I have attended.

post #10 of 12

Nice Write up Pete it just confirms what I thought we were all working on the same thing just in different conditions. Great detail !!!! 

post #11 of 12

I agree with Pete's assessment of the situation, great detail, similar experience for me just different group.  I think that the entire week was great and I felt that what I learned was incredible,it not only gave me more confidence in my skiing but also exposed me to terrain and conditions that I never had experienced before.  Great job to Bob and ESA Big Sky -

post #12 of 12

Tog, your theories about Squatty are entirely correct.  (Whatever they are!) 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Nice post Pete! Thanks for writing that up. So what skis were you on in Liberty Bowl powder? Didn't you have a thread on powder earlier this year?

 

My theory on Squatty:

Squatty's a pirate recently washed ashore. This explains all your weather, and mountain info stuff that he knows. (Don't get into what about snow and pirates- please!... that's trivial and beneath the topic.) Also explains his thing with the ladies - or vice versa since ladies seem to have a thing for pirates. What you really need to know though is he came ashore like the day before or max week before you see him. Impossible? Yeah I know.

 

This brings up the second point. You've heard of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? (if not, use google) Well there's the Squatty Uncertainty Principle. I'd explain it, but it's so uncertain that I can't - words don't work. Roughly though, it's impossible to know where he's been, how he got here, and what else I don't know - the concept breaks down again with the words. Since words fail here, generally, we use a physics theory like some sort of Feynman Diagram, (don't ask me about that cause I don't know enough), and the principle just gets stated as 'Squatty'.

 

See? All is explained in it's inexplicability.

Really. it's just easier to say "Hi" to the guy. You don't need to know about these complicated theories.



 

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