November 1, 2009: Bending at the Waist

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – Figuring that most people would go out the night of Halloween, stay out late and thereby wake up late, I went to bed with the intention of waking up extra early to get to the hill. Well I forgot about daylight savings time and the fact that on weekends the lift starts at 8:30am instead of 9:00am. Luckily my phone automatically updates but when I got up I was scrambling to get to the mountain by 8am.

When I pulled into the parking lot at a little after 8am, it was already filling up. Ugh. I had brought both my GS and freestyle boards, hoping to get a few solid runs on GS before switching over. I had also heard a rumor that they would be opening the upper lift which would offer more acreage and terrain. But it was still closed.

I hurried through my warm up and by the time I got to the lift line it was packed! Three rows deep, and with the temperatures warming up against a perfectly clear sky, I knew that it was only going to get worse. My first few runs were good. I had to be aggressive and fast to get through the people and surprisingly the runs did have several breaks of open space (probably because everyone was waiting in the lift line). I focused on driving the nose of the board into the snow and releasing at the apex of the turn (moving my turn shape up) and it went really well on my toeside. I felt that my hips were inside the turn and my legs were slightly extended at the top out and I could really feel the carve and the generation of speed. It was exhilarating!

I also focused more on bending a little forward at the hip. I’ve been taught to maintain an upright upper body position but noticed that some of the top women riders bend at the waist in an aggressive stance and it seems to help drive forward. I also realized that when I do keep a very upright upper body and I sink down, all my weight automatically goes to my back foot and thus the backseat, and I can’t push against my back foot and pressure the board with my weight just falling down onto it. But if my upper body is bent a little, then the angle of my body (head to back foot) to the board is diagonal instead of straight up and down, so when I sink down I pressure the back foot simply by pushing and resisting against it. That drives me forward and makes me feel more aggressive.

My heelside, however, was a different story. I didn’t feel the responsiveness that I felt on the toeside and when I put it on edge it felt like the board wouldn’t get as high an angle as normal and it slid around instead of carving. Almost like there was too much play (space) either in my boots or between my boots and bindings. Something felt loose, like my body was in the right position but the board wasn’t following. I’ll have to examine my equipment and maybe tighten up my bindings a bit. The warm weather could also have attributed to the softness of my boots.

After about four runs, the wait at the lift line was getting to be about 15 minutes for a 30 second run. I still noticed that the run itself was not too crowded so I took a couple more. The snow was holding up really well and I was able to get some nice sections in, but when a skier came too close and almost hit me I called it a day.

So today was a little bit of a revelation. It’ll take some to get used to and it feels a little scary but overall it puts in the right position to stay forward and get into the next turn early. We’ll see how it translates into the gates on Wednesday.

Hope you had a nice Halloween!

Crowds at the Lift Line

Crowds at the Lift Line


0 Responses to “November 1, 2009: Bending at the Waist”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: