November 6, 2009: New Board!

Copper Mountain, Colorado – I took up my new Kessler board today. I had been riding a used one that I bought from one of the top women racers, and while that board has been really good for me, it’s about time for some new and fresh equipment.

I took a couple of freeruns and immediately noticed a difference. The new board is stiffer, feels more solid and is more damp (doesn’t snap out as much, which for me is a good thing). I still wasn’t totally comfortable on it (it’ll take a couple days of riding), but I jumped in the gates anyway. Best way to know what the board is going to do is to ride it in the course and see what happens. Also there were too many courses set to really freeride.

My first run felt good. The board was pretty solid and seemed to cut through the snow nicely. The nose of the board also didn’t flap too much like my old board did. Of course that also means that I have to work harder to bend that nose of the board to initiate my turns, but that just translates to getting more forward and driving it down into the snow. The next few runs felt fine. Not great, but okay. I was still pretty conservative on the board, not as aggressive as I was yesterday because I wasn’t sure how the board would react. Still testing the waters. Although on my second run I overturned/bottom-turned and ended up in the fence. Again. Thrown into the backseat and got stuck there. But it was simple fix: get forward and don’t bottom turn.

About halfway through the morning, Coach Mark told me that I wasn’t starting my turn high enough. I was getting on the new edge and pressuring it only two board lengths above the stubby, whereas I should be initiating at about four board lengths, and that was causing me to bottom turn and shoot across the hill instead of down the hill. To me that meant switching edges about halfway between the stubbies. But that was his lesson of the day: High line, high edge angle. A side lesson is that I need to carve right from the get-go to set a good rhythm for the rest of the course. On a few runs I would get a bad pull out of the start because my brace gives that arm a different pull from the other so I’m a little lopsided going out and then would slide into the second gate. Ugh, same problem as before. So I have to remember to stay forward after coming out of the start and to really carve that first gate.

Coach Shan also made a good point that we should be riding with the flow of the mountain and gravity, and when we’re fighting the forces we’re moving across the hill instead of down, which means lost time. It shouldn’t be such a fight.

Overall it was an okay day. I didn’t feel like I was riding my absolute best but I did want to take the day to get used to the board. My toeside felt a little funky, not like the toeside I had yesterday. I couldn’t find the balance point today. I still have develop a trust for the board and things will come around.


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