This past Sunday was my first day on snow for the 2012-2013 ski season. I spent the day in a group of 8 skiers, and all of them are very strong skiers and instructors. I was on a new pair of skis and it took me a while to get comfortable with the skis. But, I was very surprised by some comments I received from co-workers. One person described my skiing stance and style as very relaxed. This really surprised me, to be honest. I tend to be way too static most of the time.
Another person, a mentor of mine, with whom I've skied hundreds of times, made positive comments about my stance and my turns. It was the first day of the season, but he said I was skiing as well as he's ever seen me ski. Then, he asked me how much I'm running these days. I told him that I'm running very little, especially in comparison to past years. After averaging about 1800 miles per year for 25 years, my mileage has really dropped off the last couple years.
This year is the first year I haven't done any running races since 1984.
At CrossFit, we spend close to 15 minutes every day doing a warm-up (the warm-up varies every day) that is highly focused on mobility and flexibility. Plus, many of the movements at CF are very dynamic compared to steady state running.
In addition to the prescribed stretches at CF, I often add stretches to focus on ankle dorsiflexion, gastroc tightness, hamstring flexibility and hip mobility. These are all areas where I think that a multi-decade running career has robbed me of flexibility.
It certainly doesn't hurt that I am very strong right now. But, I am also more flexible than I've been in years.
My new skis are also much more an expert ski than the skis I've been on the past few years. With some new features in the ski, plus a lot of structural rigidity and stability, I'm sure they have helped my skiing.
But, my friend commented that my stance is the best he's ever seen. I was very upright and forward - a strong athletic stance.
Maybe it's early in the season and he doesn't have his eyes dialed in yet. Maybe it was the new skis.
But, for years, I've been criticized (not in a malicious way) by co-workers for being too rigid, not relaxed, not flexed into the boots at the ankles, and not fluid in my knees and hips. Sunday was different. Hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come - even better skiing this year than in the past.
Late in the day, we did two runs on an expert level trail that was essentially steep ice. I know that the new skis helped here, but I skied terrain like this as relaxed as I have ever skied it. In the past, after seeing that terrain once, I would have never voluntarily skied it again. But, I did, and the second time was even more enjoyable and controlled than the first.
Hopefully, this is all a harbinger of a good ski season.