April 23, 2009: Lessons Revisited

Sunshine Mountain, Banff, Canada – Spring in Canada certainly means something different than spring in Los Angeles. Yesterday it started snowing and didn’t stop until this morning, and 10 cm of fresh snow later, temperatures were at a brisk minus 9 degrees celsius. It looked and felt like it was in the middle of winter.

Fortunately Sunshine Mountain was true to its name and was sunny despite the cold temperatures (around 16 degrees Fahrenheit), and thankfully it was not windy. But we welcome the cold temps so the snow stays nice and firm and doesn’t melt too fast and create difficult riding conditions.

We trained slalom technical drills continuing from Tuesday’s focus of solid positioning on the board. We started off on the easy green runs to really focus on keeping a quiet upper body and building the platform for each turn. We held our foam cues like they were ski poles in order to maintain a solid, non-twisting upper body position. It was awkward at first and took a while to get used to, but after a few runs my coach said that my transition from toe to heel was cleaner. And after a few more runs it felt faster and easier, not a lot of fighting.

Then my coach stuck on me about creating a platform. At first I thought I was doing it because I would really push against the board at the top of the turn and exert a lot of energy doing so. But apparently I still wasn’t doing it. Frustration. So he told me to dive in at the top of each turn (combination of the tipping drill and ankle/knees drill) and get my body inside the turn and let my feet come around to catch up (“upside turn” or “reverse traverse” where your body is a step ahead in the turning process and then your legs follow and turn the board to catch up to your upper body). It was a little scary at first to trust the board and myself but I slowly got the hang of it and by the end of the day he said I was doing it. Yay, success! And when I told him that made things a lot easier, he agreed and told me that before I was working twice as hard then I needed to.

It’s a little annoying because these are the exact things that I was working on before I semi-retired three years ago. It’s frustrating because it took me a whole day to do stuff that I was already doing in the past. But I guess that’s all part of it. Plus I didn’t have a good journal like this one to remind me of everything that I’m working on and the proper technique. There’s always something to work on!

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