I went up to Cypress Mountain on Sunday as planned. I decided to go for a multi-prong attack: 1) Extended the toe-ramp on my bindings, 2) Practice the slight shoulder rotation as SnowWolf said, 3) Lean even more forward, 4) Signed up for another private lesson. Here's how it went:
1) Extended the toe-ramp
Wow, this made a *ton* of difference! The toe edge really engaged much sooner than last week. Granted, the conditions were also great with little ice, but there were still some icy patches that I experimented on and I was able to get the edge to dig in.
2) Shoulder rotation
This was tricky; the instructor actually advised me to imagine holding a hula hoop and turning it from side to side to initiate the turn. This sounded really shady because everything I've read from SnowWolf and SnowProfessor tells me that the shoulder movement should be subtle and not a swinging motion. Nevertheless, I tried the hula hoop thingie and as I fear, I almost caught the front edge a few times. I told the instructor that I'll pass on the hula hoop and practice the slight shoulder rotation and looking in the direction of the turn as SnowWolf suggested. Much better!
3) I asked the instructor how my posture looked in terms of a) weight centered/forward b) Right hand near the tail of the board and c) Counter-rotation of the shoulders
He kind of laughed at my holding my pant leg to keep my weight centered. That annoyed me. I told him that I had a problem with leaning back and this tip has helped me a lot. He said that my posture now was OK and I don't need to hold the pant leg. Nevertheless, I tried a steeper green later on and definitely needed to use this trick whenever I hit a steeper run. He said I didn't have "much counter rotation" and my rear hand was positioned correctly. I hope he was watching carefully and not just saying that.
4) New stuff
The instructor said I should start practicing flexion and extension even on the easy greens at this stage. I'm not sure if it's early for this and whether I should gain some speed confidence first, but I figured, I'm paying for this, might as well learn what I can. He had me do these drills while traversing in one direction and then the other. I'm fuzzy about the timing (when should I flex and when should I extended). I haven't paid much attention to this yet so I need to go back and read watch SnoWolf's video on dynamic riding.
He also had me do wider arcing turns to gain more speed and confidence. After a lunch break, we met up again and went on a steeper green (Collins at Cypress). I was quite pleased with my progress and was able to link turns on some of the steeper parts without kicking my back leg out. On the flats, he introduced the leaning technique that SnowWolf talks about on his Cat Track video. I found it harder to do this because I couldn't get the board to turn using the sidecut; there was always some skid. Also caught a couple of edges on the flats. I practiced some flatbasing on the flats to keep up speed.
1) My boots are definitely packing in. I can feel my heel lift even while walking now, and was worried I'd twist an ankle while on the runs. I kept retightening the stupid speed laces every run. Ordered size 9 and 9.5 K2 Maysis from REI when I got home. Will keep whichever fits properly (no more stock in store). Currently sporting size 10 Soloman Synapse Wide.
2) My right knee really starts to get sore from the flexion after a run or two. I might change the angle on my rear binding to point backwards a bit (is that a positive angle?) and see how that affects my knee in a couple of weeks
3) My feet burn like crazy on the toe-edge! I think I need to use my orthotic insoles in my inner boot. I have really flat feet (which is what contributed to the knee dislocation in the first place)
By the time of the the third run down Collins, my knees and feet were completely fried and I kept falling and catching edges due to bad technique. I think it came from fatigue. I rested for half an hour and did one more run which went well and decided to end the day on a high note
I'm travelling this weekend so there will be a two week gap. There are still some places open in the PNW so I'll keep trying to gain mileage and confidence with speed. Hopefully the new boots should help too.