November 19, 2009: Freeriding Bliss

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – After taking a few days off to rejuvenate I hit the slopes this morning to do some technical freeriding. Before I left Copper, Coach Mark told me that when I freeride I should focus on high pressure in the turn and really moving through the turn instead of just putting it on edge and standing on it. Coach Shan said that one thing that would help me to go faster is to extend my legs out in the middle of the turn (so the board is further away from my body) so I can really put pressure against the forces on the board and create speed. So a few things to think about, but nothing new. I also decided not to wear my shoulder brace today to see how everything felt since it hindered me a bit in the last race. I was a little nervous at first because I have a nasty habit of putting that hand down, but I eventually didn’t even think about it.

My first run carried the usual slight awkwardness after not being on snow for a few days, so I focused on bending the nose of the board into the top of the turn, which helped me stay forward and get higher pressure. A-Basin had the upper run open and the long lift allowed me to study some of the ski racers that were training. I noticed that they got those skis on edge and were always moving forward, pumping out of each turn to gain speed. It was really valuable to watch and I mimicked them. It was a long but fast run that wasn’t too steep, and the snow was perfect. I continued to focus on bending the nose of the board into the turn and pumping through each turn. I ignored any insecurities I had with my equipment and just trusted that the new board would deliver and/or get out of any tricky situations. My mission became getting my body down the hill as fast as possible.

The cool thing was that when I was riding I was even thinking about getting high edge angle and extending my legs through the middle of the turn. It was pretty amazing because I had so much time within each turn, something I’ve never had before. Usually I could only think of one thing, namely getting forward, but time seemed to slow down to where I could feel every part of the turn and therefore think about where I needed to be in every part of the turn. As a whole I could focus on finding the ‘carve’ and linking those turns. It was smooth and effortless. It was Zone-like. It was perfect.

After riding for a couple of hours I decided to call it a day, not because I was tired or in pain but because I was starving and needed to eat. The pain that usually plagues my legs never materialized; in fact I didn’t even crank my boots down and rode with them a little looser than normal which didn’t bother me one bit. Didn’t even feel any heel lift or any of the usual discomforts of my feet being squeezed. Barely felt my feet at all.

It was the best freeriding day I’ve had. Ever.


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