Racing is so important to so many families and so many mountains.
One snowy day recently I rode the Gore Gondi with Big Zach... as we arrived at the summit of Bear Mtn we were all craning our necks to see if the rope was dropped on the summit...
Zach was like ..."I've got to head back down for racing..."
He's a better dad than I. My head might explode.
Is he a better dad? Or has he simply drunk the kool-aid? Your daughter is learning to enjoy skiing for what it is, the sheer joy of sliding on snow. Don't get me wrong, I understand that racing is the lifeblood of many ski areas, especially small ones like The Bump. And, it gives kids a great foundation of skills for a lifetime of skiing. My point is that the coach should have taken advantage of the conditions, let the kids ski the pow and choppy stuff, maybe talked about balance, finding your centre, or some such thing. Someone who knows about these things told me that the current Hinterlandian coaching model calls for 60% skiing out of gates and 40% in gates. Apparently this coach does not follow that and is GatesGatesGates, all the time. Maybe his Internet handle is SkiBuzzKill.
When I raced, there was definitely a mentality of gates gates gates. No different than a powder hound thinking powder powder powder or trees trees trees. I think the big difference is that when you are racing, you are really focused on a specific skill set and getting in those repetitions. It isn't just the coach, it is the kids too. Time is very limited for training time. Perhaps free skiing should be included in that training time in an ideal world. But you just don't get enough time to practice gates unless you are in a really serious program. I never felt like I ever got enough practice time. It isn't like you can just show up to any hill and practice... you need to have scheduled time with your team. Unlike free skiing which can be done at any time.
The issue that doesn't make sense to me is training on a powder day would require more energy than it is worth because you would need to slip the course out to get rid of the powder. For a small team, that could take hours. We once had a race on a 2' powder day and every racer from every team slipped the course multiple times and it was still dirt slow. Might as well make lemons if you get a big storm and don't have a packed down run to practice on.
So I am slowly getting over the cold that attacked me after last Saturday's ski day. Trying to be good, saving energy for a special event I have to run this weekend. Today, Telemark Dave shows up: "come on, the fresh air will be good for you!" Of course, he is right, so off we go on a mellow tour of the back 40, with a little natural gate practice thrown in.
We headed to our go-to stash, Secret Hill. Utah the wonder dog waits patiently for TD to descend:
TD, prudently sporting a helmet, navigates the grundlefloss:
Secret Hill has its steep parts. These days, not so deep. Creative telemarking is required:
Look out Dave, the Hinterlandian Attack Rodent is after you!
Fortunately, TD escaped the Rodent:
We toured over to some mellower terrain, here is nice sequence for you tele-o-philes:
Then we skied across the bog and headed home. I feel much better, thanks TD!
Grundlefloss: that which flosses the grundle. 'Nuff said.
So I forgot to take a pic of the Snow Depth-O-Meter but things have definitely improved. After I spent my last day off installing my new Burnt Mountain Designs Lite Spikes on my new Fischer S-Bound 112s (full binding review coming later), today was the day to go skiing.
The Lite Spikes require a G3 or Black Diamond jig, neither of which the local ski shop has, despite having about 30 different alpine jigs. I used two different jigs and did a lot of measuring to install the bindings:
Since self-employed Telemark Dave had some work to do this morning, I went to Hidden Bump to start the day. Conditions were excellent and I enjoyed a few hours of skiing fast on hero snow:
TD arrived shortly after I got home. He was of course envious of my new skis, even though they are the same dimensions as his Karhu Guides. Way groovier though, especially with the Spikes.
We decided to check out a glade we haven't skied yet this year, Bonk Hill. As we skied towards the hill, it became obvious that there is quite a bit of snow in the woods around here:
Conditions were primo, so the Hundwalden Ski Patrol agreed to drop the rope on this one:
TD graciously offered me first tracks but he got his picture taken:
I brought skins but someone else left them in the car. En route to the next destination, we took the lower-angle line suitable for the waxless skis and some thicketeering was required:
Eventually we arrived at the top of Secret Hill. Dave is pleased to note that much of the grundlefloss has been buried:
And off he goes:
My turns were less than stellar. I did make it to the bottom so that I could take a shot of TD snaking an awesome line down Secret Hill:
The LiteSpike is awesome. Step-in rules! Pretty active compared to your average 3-pin, so that may take some getting used to. Haven't tried the free pivot feature yet - planned test is tomorrow, will update with the TFTH report. I wasn't going to get the touring clip and heel thingies at first but Louis@burntmountain talked me into it.
The Fischer S-Bound 112 has roughly the same dimensions as the Madshus Annum (formerly Karhu XCD Guide). The Fischer is a bit more burly (and stiffer) but I would suggest getting whichever one you can get the best price on.