Monday, February 28, 2011

Back from vacation

I took last week as vacation from one job, but used some of the days to teach skiing. I had a great week off, although there is a big work backlog to deal with now at my real job.

Ten days ago, we had a major warm-up here in VT. People enjoyed some spring skiing conditions on that Friday, but on Saturday, the mountain was a re-frozen ice cube. Not good. After some grooming, we had some usable terrain, but not much fun terrain. Some coaches found that higher elevation tree skiing was not affected as badly, but given cold weather and winds, I kept my students away from that terrain. We did some practice on new skills, stayed warm, did some racing, but didn't really push the terrain too hard, due to safety concerns on my part. It was the start of a holiday weekend, and there were too many skiers and riders who were out of control - going too fast and putting themselves and others at risk.

By Monday, while things were still cold, more grooming had improved the mountain considerably. On each of Monday and Tuesday, I was assigned a private lesson for four hours focused on an 8-year-old girl from Connecticut. She really wanted to be in charge, but I was able to get her to compromise with me. In two days, her skiing improved quite a bit and I really enjoyed these two lessons.

After that, I left the mountain for a couple days for a trip to Pittsburgh. My son and I went to Pittsburgh to see the Sharks play the injury-depleted Penguins. We had a great dinner at a steak house before the game, and one of the injured Penguins, probably the best player in the NHL, sat just a few tables away. Since he couldn't play, I guess he could get away with a big steak just before a game.

We saw a great game, with the Sharks down 1-0 early, up 2-1 in the third, the Pens tying the game with 50 seconds to go, and the Sharks winning 3-2 with four seconds left in OT. The next day we flew home and my son and I were very tired from some early flights. We each took an extended nap.

Friday morning, I awoke to snow and a winter storm warning. It turned out that we had too many instructors on duty Friday, so I volunteered to take the day off. As soon as I was released, I started skiing steep terrain and treed terrain. I had an amazing day, skiing the most vertical feet in one day that I'd done in 6 years. I tried to be careful, but I did ski alone in the trees for part of the day, something that is never recommended. A cell phone can't save a skier who has been knocked unconscious. At about 3:40, I took a fall on a fairly easy single black diamond run - a fall I shouldn't have taken. That was signal to call it a day.

Then, I taught skiing the next two days. All weekend long, I felt a bit tired from Friday, but I was able to keep up with the group all weekend and keep them safe at the end of a long holiday week, despite skiing some fairly serious terrain.

We have four weeks left in our teaching season, which means that spring skiing is just around the corner.

Today, we've had rain, sleet and snow and everything is iced up. The temperatures are climbing, but it's kind of ugly outside right now. I have a ski clinic at Stowe later this week - a preparation clinic for the part of my level 3 PSIA certification. I would prefer to take the test in good snow conditions, but I'll deal with whatever the day throws at me.

And, tonight and probably tomorrow, I'll do some upper body lifting in the gym. After all the skiing in the past 9 days, my legs need some rest before I ski 4 of 5 days later this week.

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