Monday, March 03, 2008

Skiing Progress

I'm starting to "get" skiing. Or more specifically, my muscles are getting it. The memory of how to make a proper turn is starting to sink into my muscle memory (ref1, ref2). I'm starting to think of the turn as a whole process rather than over thinking each part of the turn (though I still have to do that some.) No longer do I feel I'm strapped to these unwieldy things whose operation is a mystery to me and that I have to think about every move I make with them or else they will turn on me and throw me to the ground. They do still throw me to the ground from time to time, but I usually understand what I did wrong, and also I haven't fallen when exiting a chairlift in a long time. (Unfortunately, that was also my only chance at being in a Warren Miller film - Yes, I've seen many of them.)

I spent the day on Sugarbowl's Jerome Hill going down the Trailblazer run (over and over again) I'm almost to the point where itn's getting a little dull, but not yet. Then I'll have to go looking for steeper blue square terrain of which there's no shortage of. Next season I hope to be able to start learning black diamond.

My right turns are still awkward but getting less so, but it is my left leg that does get fatigued quicker and I have to stop to rest on the way down the run. As one might guess, the less I'm fatigued, the better my form is. I did a fairly short day today as I wanted the form to have more time to set in rather than having me struggle with poor form when tired. It's tempting to just do half days, but the best skiing conditions span the mornings and afternoon (10-3 or so).

With the climbing season coming up I do need to spend more time actually climbing up the snow, but I think I'll squeeze in one or two times more this season. I will be at Shasta in a couple of weeks, but I really should be snowshoeing then.

The nice thing about learning to ski is that I'm not overcome with wistfulness when I see skiers fly past me on Shasta as I now know what's involved. I will be able to comfortably ski mountaineer one day - just not yet.

I'll have to plan with my trainer Bryce about how to increase quad endurance for long climb and ski days. Probably lots of squats - oh boy. The best exercise is still without a doubt walking around in ski boots, carrying ski equipment. I was thrilled to realize that my heart was hammering away and I wasn't out of breath at all. (I'll credit Indoor Cycling for that)

The only bummer is that I seem to have reinjured the muscle pull near my ribcage (base of the lat). Hopefully it won't take long to improve.

While skiing, I still use my poles a lot to keep me on my feet and the avoid stupid pratfalls. This makes me think that I might not enjoy snowboarding that much as they don't use poles. I'll stick with skiing for now as there's plenty to learn and it's more useful for mountaineering.

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