06 December 2009

Ski Days 4 & 5: Calibrating @ Meadows and Evaluating @ Bowl

This weekend was shaping up - in my mind, at least - to be a pretty easy weekend of skiing. The coaches' calibration/clinic for the ski patrol was Saturday, and today was patrol tryouts. I figured Saturday to be a day where I'd just ski a little bit, demonstrate a skill or two here or there, and that was it. Sunday, I figured it would be similar - ski a little bit, watch the potential future patrollers show us what they could do, write stuff on a card, call it a day.

While Saturday was basically a 11am-2:30pm ski day, I put in a good bit of turns at Meadows. We spent a good bit of time working on getting everyone on the same page as far as teaching and demonstrating the fundamentals, as well as the drills to help our apprentices sharpen their skiing skills and turn them into sled-drivers. I was really showing off, too. I'd done a pretty good job on sharpening up the edges of my skis, so they were gripping nicely on the firm stuff where most of the others weren't, which allowed me to really let 'em rip a little bit.

One of the other coaches who hadn't really seen me ski a lot said that he didn't realize I was such a good skier, and asked if I had a racing background. Not only did it feel good to get that compliment, but I really felt fantastic on the hill. Everything just felt smooth and crisp, but also like it was a lot of work. The large radius turns on the hard groomed stuff on Shooting Star Ridge were so much fun, just rolling the skis over and making big, fast, powerful arcs. Still some strengthening to do if I want to be able to go that hard all day. And I do.

Today was another relatively short day, skiing from just before 10 to 2:30-ish, and evaluating people who want to join the patrol as sled-drivers. I wondered if we'd have any 'rock stars' in our group, but secretly hoped none of them ski better than I do (they don't, not the ones in either of the two groups I evaluated with JG).

Without giving too much away (or boring you with the details), we ran them through some 'static drills', then started evaluating them skiing the groomed stuff - carved turns, skidded turns, sideslipping, etc. Part of what we were looking for was how they'd handle skiing the off-groom stuff as well. There wasn't a lot of it on the part of the mountain that was open - high winds limited us to the east side of Ski Bowl, as did time - but the stuff we did find was challenging enough to help us separate the wheat from the chaff.

One of these sections of chunk-n-junk was over on the upper east section of Raceway. That part of the run looked at first glance like a spot where we'd get to see the candidates ski some powder, or at least some loose ungroomed snow. The stuff underneath the few inches of windblown powder was rather firm and very uneven. I volunteered to demonstrate, and skied it very well. So well, in fact, that the guys we were evaluating underestimated just how challenging it was. The first guy crashed about 5 turns in, and one of the others came out of a ski about 2/3 of the way down. I merely grinned, especially when satisfied they weren't hurt, but was positively cackling inside when they all were flipping me crap about making it look so easy. Even JG was impressed.

Shame that after we'd released our group, I went and chattered out of a ski on the lower section of Raceway - in full view of a whole bunch of people looking out the window of the Multorpor Lodge. I didn't go down hard at all, didn't get hurt, but it was pretty embarrassing. I laughed it off, though, since you can't really do much once the binding releases.

JG and I evaluated a second group, running them through all the same kind of stuff, and I had another really good run through the crap on upper Raceway. JG told on me, though, telling the second group not to assume it was going to be as easy as I was going to make it look.

After all the ski testing was done, it was back to the patrol building to de-brief and finally eat my sandwich. Satisfied with myself for having skied as well as I did, and not really feeling too beat up after back-to-back days, I headed home. I'm gonna go ice my knee now.

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