Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Telemark Ski Clinic - Unanticipated Benefits

Last Saturday, I had the second part of my Babes in the Backcountry Telemark Ski Clinic. It went similar as I started out strong, but was completely exhausted and demoralized by lunchtime and elected to do a little alpine skiing for the afternoon. But I noticed something yesterday and also today (now that my body had had a chance to rebuild). I'm way stronger than I was before the clinic.

I had an indoor cycling class on Monday and I could tell that I was stronger (and I'm already pretty strong at it), but this morning, right as I got up, my usual tottering around wasn't there at all. I can easily stand on one leg without having to concentrate nearly so much on it as I usually have to. I don' t know for sure, but it seems like the last of my lingering muscle weakness symptoms have finally been rectified. Given that I've been working on this for well over 2 years this is most welcome news.

Back to the clinic. The flu really cut into the numbers of the attendees, so it was me and just one other person with instructor Elizabeth. Such a deal. I have the near equivalent of an all day private lesson for the cost of a very inexpensive clinic.

Concepts we covered were:
  • even though you have two skis consider them as pieces of one long ski
  • focus on the big toe for the main turning ski, the little toe for the other
  • bow the little toe ski towards the hill when traversing
  • pole placement (hard to summarize)
  • keep looking down the mountain
  • slide the soon-to-be uphill ski back for the turn
Notes for me in particular:
  • get more comfortable with speed - stay on the easier slopes for this
  • stay in the turn/fall line longer - especially with right turns that I tend to cut short
  • stop trying too hard - that's what's exhausting me
I think I'm going to have to spend a lot of time on alpine skis to get used to speed and pause on the Tele efforts for a bit (though my legs have really benefited). I'm also noticing that March is nearing with the climbing season only 3 months away, so I may have to pause on the whole skiing thing fun as it is and just work on climbing in snow. I'm not going to get good enough at skiing to feel comfortable backcountry skiing this season (I think) so it sounds like that's next season's project - though I'll go a couple more times this season just to practice what I've learned.

Marianne joined us for a little bit and offered advice as well, and I got to meet Leslie Ross, the founder of Babes in the Backcountry. Watching all three of them (Elizabeth, Marianne and Leslie) was completely mesmerizing (the poetry in motion cliche comes to mind - but good Telemark skiing is beautiful) and I felt honored to be there.

Meanwhile back to my hapeless reality. I signed up for Mt. Shasta Guides June 20-22 Women's Climb. With any luck, I'll be on the summit for my birthday. And this time I'll be able to look at the skiers with a practiced eye, and hopefully I won't be battling leg fatigue as much (that's the project of the next couple of months). And I have promised myself not to whine about climbing roped and to just suck it up and get used to it. Though I will have to go up a couple of days earlier to acclimate.

The speed thing is funny as I find a walking descent too slow (I'm not going to whine about that either). I'm a big time glissading nut (the text based definitions of glissading kinda suck so just see the video). There are a lot of glissading videos on Mt. Shasta on You Tube. The first person in this video is most similar to me. Terri says she can look up at climbers descending and can pick me out by being the faster moving dot. I thought I'd be totally into the speed of skiing, but that's faster than glissading and just past my current comfort level which is something I didn't know. With practice that will change, but for now I'm fine with that level. What's cool is that that video is from a place higher on Shasta than I've ever been and it doesn't look too bad. I look forward to standing on it it person.

1 comment:

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