01 February 2010

Ski Day 13: Eclipsed @ Ski Bowl

Mt. Hood in the afternoon. Didn't have time to wait for the clouds to move off.

Sunday was day 13 for the season, eclipsing my total from the injury-shortened previous season. It started out snowing, changed to rain, then some strange glowing orb made an appearance in the sky. Gotta love Oregon weather. At least the skiing was good all day, even in the slop.

I was feeling good about getting back on the hill for day 13. It's actually a lucky number for me, and a favorite number as well. We had actually got back-to-back weekends of training for my apprentice team, so hopefully some continuity there. And with any luck, we'd have nothing to do but train all day - no cases.

We did have that bit of luck, which the group desperately needed. There were a couple of the guys that had been picking up what we'd been giving them and doing well, but the bulk of the group needed a full day's work. I tried out a couple more carving drills to get them skiing with a better stance and make smoother turns, and it seemed like that was working. We moved on to the sideslipping stuff, and that's where I learned something.

We'd been doing these drills in short bursts, mostly because I was worried they'd get bored doing the same exact thing over and over, but also because we hadn't had a REAL full day to work on this stuff - I was trying to cram in two days of work into one. What I ended up learning was something I should have known all along - the longer we let them run each drill, the better they got. They just needed time to find their individual comfort points with each of the things we were giving them. Things really started clicking in the afternoon.

We moved on to the "rope-a-goat" drills, which simulate being on the tail rope of a sled. The tail roper gets into his normal tail-roping position, but at the other end of the rope, instead of a sled, is one of the other apprentices. This got them to see what all the sideslipping drills were all about and why they're important, which helped them out a great deal also.

We rounded up to RC to grab the training sleds to put them away, but the upper bowl was too inviting to not take a run up there. So we did. It was a little chunky, and was starting to set up some since the sun was no longer shining on it, but it was fun. We paused briefly to take in the view of Mt. Hood, and to allow some of the group who hard yard-saled above us to collect themselves and catch up. We went back up, grabbed the sleds, did a brief demo of running them unloaded, and headed off toward the "Palace".

The apprentices wait, taking in the view, chatting with JG.

Our top two skiers in the apprentice group got a shot at running the unloaded sleds first, but we did get everyone at least a short run in the handles. Hopefully, they'll continue their progress next week while I'm off at the avalanche refresher.

The knee felt pretty good all day, but was fairly sore at the end. Showing off for your apprentice crew is hard work.