Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cold weekend at Sugarbush

I was surprised at the turnout with my ski group this weekend.  Six of the 7 boys showed up, ready to ski, despite cold temperatures and high winds.  It was so cold that I really couldn't do any teaching outside.  I had to keep the kids moving all the time to keep them warm.

We had a couple inches of fresh snow and early skiing was a lot of fun.  Stein's Run had gotten a lot of man-made snow during the week and it was groomed on Friday night.  It looked like a lot of fun.  But, of the students who showed up, it was the first day of the season for one of the boys.  I watched him on some easier black diamond terrain (Waterfall, Lower Organgrinder) and it was clear he wasn't ready to go to Stein's.  I was afraid he would get up there, feel some fear, and his form would regress so badly that it would take weeks to recover.  So, we passed on Stein's.  We spent a lot of time in the NASTAR course, where I witnessed a few students completely unlearn all I've worked on for the past few weeks.  I've been so focused on getting these boys to turn by standing tall and rotating the skis under the body, and then in the race course, half the group reverted to turning by rolling their shoulders to initiate the turn.  That gave me something to work on Sunday morning.

Sunday's weather was a repeat of Saturday, and this time, I taught a lesson, but I did it indoors.  We then went outside and I gave a quick demo of what I wanted them to do.  I was very happy that they all got it, did it reasonably well, and they all wanted confirmation that they had done it correctly.  From there, we returned to the NASTAR course and everyone stayed more upright, facing down the fall line, and turned their legs under their bodies a bit better.  There was still some shoulder rolling, but not nearly as much as the day before.

At lunchtime, the student who was there for his first weekend went home early.  Snow guns were blowing snow on Stein's and we headed there right after lunch.  The snow was variable and challenging, but it was mostly the steepness combined with poor visibility that made the run difficult.  My tendency is to be the "sweep" for my group.  That way, if anyone takes a fall, I can ski down to help out, rather than having to hike uphill to help.  But, the group is so fast that I can normally ski pretty fast as the sweep.  On this run, I could see a bit of apprehension in a couple skiers, and I had to slow down to make sure I stayed in back.  Even though a couple boys slowed down, they did manage to maintain a good stance and didn't regress at all.

Finally, about 1:00 or so, the winds seemed to be dying down.  We managed to get two runs in a row off Super Bravo with no breaks to warm up - the first time we did that all weekend.  At 2:00, we took a hot chocolate break, and when we got back outside at 2:30 or so, the wind had really picked up again.  We skied two runs off Gatehouse and the wind was whipping groomed granular snow into the air.  At times, it felt like my face was being sandblasted.

Monday would have been the day to ski of the last 3.  It snowed all day and the winds were greatly reduced.  But, I was back in my office, trying to catch up with work.  I've taken off a lot of time over the past 2 months to help my wife with some medical issues, and I seem to never catch up at work.  Right now, it's time to focus on that for a while.

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