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Old 04-09-2012, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Report from 4/8

Hey folks,

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:

The Good:

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.

The Bad:

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)

The Ugly:

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

Next Steps:

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.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey folks,

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:

The Good:

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.

The Bad:

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)

The Ugly:

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

Next Steps:

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.
Wow, I swear this report could have been written by me! I am working on all the same things you are!

I too have no clue as to the flex and extension and when or how to do that. Same with the unweight and upweight - I still have to figure out how to do what Snowolf suggests I work on with regards to unweighting. I read and read and read yet can't put that into doing. I am more visual and I have to see it and have it make sense before I can try it - if not, forget it - it doesn't sink in.

I too had problems with my toes on my toeside turns. When I am on longer runs, i.e. 10 minutes or so, my toes tend to fall asleep and they HURT like a mofo! If I am on shorter runs, i.e. 5 minutes or less, I don't have that problem. My boots feel comfortable, but I think it has to do with how much pressure I keep putting on my toes because I have problems engaging my toeside edge. I got a new board this past week and noticed that I don't have to press so much on my toes - so maybe when we go to Copper next year the long runs won't be a problem.

After these past three days my right knee is totally KILLING ME. I have iced it but still, it is very VERY swollen. But that's just age talking I'm sure!

Handscreate suggested the pant leg for me also so I'm going to try to keep my hands down next year as we are done for the season this year. I also need to work on bending my front leg and leaning forward into my turns on the steep terrain - which of course is scary for this old lady!

Keep up the good work - I know how frustrating it can be!

Vicki
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Keep up the good work - I know how frustrating it can be!

Vicki
Thanks for the words of encouragement! I've been reading all your threads from 2011 onwards to try to learn and was amazed at how fast you progressed! I'm still on greens I'm afraid, since I need to build up more confidence with speed. This past Sunday was the first time I was able to link turns consistently. My knee problems stem from flat feet and a dislocated knee cap ten years ago that eventually led to surgery last summer (insane how that stuff catches up with you a decade later). I'm still doing rehab on the knee so I can get out at most once a week. There's another month or possibly two months left in the season up here, so my goal is to try to get some clean runs on an easy blue before the season is done.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Your welcome! I have no desire to go fast - unless I'm in a car! Something about being confined in something metal I have no problem with, falling at a high speed with the possibility of breaking something or getting hurt at 52 - I have a problem with that! lol

My goal was to snowboard like I was just taking a leasurely walk, heelside, toeside and get down the mountain is enough for me. But the steeper runs - well, let's just say those aren't "leasure" runs! lol They take work and my knee is living proof of that! lol

My second year I have struggled as I started off the year with some Flow NXT AT step in bindings and I could never dial them in. No matter what I tried I felt like I could not turn the board heelside or toeside without feeling like I was going to fall. Yet, I didn't give up and kept thinking it would get better - NOT! It was like I was going backwards in my learning. Finally after 2 months my husband told me to put my old bindings back on - which I did and then I felt like I was back to where I ended the first season. However, then I decided to try a wider stance and that is when the knee problem started up and I still couldn't progress. I suffered the next two months with this pain behind my knee. Then I finally decided about three weeks ago to narrow my stance which was better, but I still hadn't dialed in my angles and was wondering if a different board would help my toeside turns engaging and WOW what a difference! Now that I FINALLY have my stance and angle and board dialed in, the season is over -

So, I can't wait until next year because I feel like this was a wasted year for me - just haven't progressed as fast as I thought I should. Time will tell!
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Your instructor laughed at you for holding your pant leg? I'm sorry to hear that. My friend is a Level 3 instructor & uses that tip to teach her beginning students & more advanced who don't lean forward enough. Eventually you should drop the pant leg once you're feeling more comfortable with your stance.

I would suggest trying your rear binding at a negative angle (angled towards the tail of the board). You will likely find it will aid in your ability to control your turns much better. Also, I don't think it's ever "too early" to start working on flexing & extending the knee to initiate turns. Picking it up early will help to prevent some bad habits & will help you progress a little quicker as you learn to flex your knees in & out of turns, weighting & un-weighting your body - but don't hurt yourself in an attempt to get better or you'll end up regressing instead of progressing. The speed confidence will come as you progress. I think you should develop your skills before being concerned about going faster down runs. One you have the technical skills down you'll find you'll be more comfortable riding at faster speeds since you will have built up your confidence in your ability to handle most anything (if not anything/everything) you'll encounter on the runs you're riding.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Your instructor laughed at you for holding your pant leg? I'm sorry to hear that. My friend is a Level 3 instructor & uses that tip to teach her beginning students & more advanced who don't lean forward enough. Eventually you should drop the pant leg once you're feeling more comfortable with your stance.
Yep; on the milder green I'm able to keep my weight forward but on the steeper green, I just ignored his teasing and grabbed my pant leg regardless

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I would suggest trying your rear binding at a negative angle (angled towards the tail of the board). You will likely find it will aid in your ability to control your turns much better.
Thanks, I'll try this. One thing the instructor mentioned that made sense was that he noticed the bindings were set back from the nose of the board. He suggested moving them forward to help with the weight distribution. I'll try this too.

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I think you should develop your skills before being concerned about going faster down runs. One you have the technical skills down you'll find you'll be more comfortable riding at faster speeds since you will have built up your confidence in your ability to handle most anything (if not anything/everything) you'll encounter on the runs you're riding.
I agree with this approach! It doesn't make sense in my mind to push to harder terrain when I still have to think "front foot, then back foot, then round the knee", as opposed to it being in muscle memory. Throw in "flex the knee, now extend the knee" and I have a lot to think about without worrying about the slope as well
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would suggest riding centered on your board. If your board is directional, you're likely setback a little - in which case you can widen your stance a little - maybe 1 mounting hole out from where you are. If directional, move your front binding forward 1 hole, if twin play with to find a setting that feel comfortable for you. I think you'll find it a little easier to control your board with just a little more length in the nose than the tail.

As far as the difficulty of the runs/terrain, well I am an advocate for pushing ones self onto blues & steeper greens, as you'll be forced to put what you've learned into effect instead of just being "comfortable" riding something that you've come to know. The change in terrain is kind of like muscle confusion in a workout regimen. The more new/harder terrain you try to incorporate, the easier the stuff you know will become & you'll advance faster. However, don't bite off too much more than you can chew. It's ok to side slip a blue or steeper green the 1st time to feel it out, but try to make turns towards the bottom & then the next time going down it try to link turns as much as you comfortably can, even if it means side slipping halfway & then turning, until you're at a point where you can make turns the whole way down. This is a sport where pushing yourself (within reason) will prevent you from plateauing out & getting comfortable with what's easy & familiar. Don't confuse this with me telling you to push yourself to an unsafe riding situation, but more a friendly shove in the right direction
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is a sport where pushing yourself (within reason) will prevent you from plateauing out & getting comfortable with what's easy & familiar. Don't confuse this with me telling you to push yourself to an unsafe riding situation, but more a friendly shove in the right direction
Thanks handscreate, I tried to take this advice this past weekend. Went up to Crystal Mountain in WA for spring riding. Somewhat mixed results. The snow was quite choppy but I was able to link turns on some of the medium greens. Was not able to get enough speed to get through the flats at Crystal, which was quite annoying but I have only my speed fear to blame

I tried the easiest blue on the mountain but the "easiest" blue was covered in moguls and I was like "Um, ok, falling leaf on the heal edge it is". Managed to consistently link on the transition from the blue to the green which was a nice way to end the day. Caught the flu but hopefully will be recovered enough to go again on Saturday. Racing against the summer now; four more weekends before Crystal closes for the season, so I really need to step it up and link on blues before the season is out. Wish I had a camcorder to request a critique, but that will probably have to wait till next year.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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four more weekends before Crystal closes for the season
I don't know where you heard this from, but Crystal will remain open until there's no snow left to ride on, which was all the way until July 16th last year. The snow pack is deeper now than it was at the same time last season, so it's reasonable to expect at least until June, maybe longer so long as the temperatures don't stay too high during the spring.

Your only problem will be that those last couple weeks will only see Green Valley running, and that only serves hard blue/low black terrain. By the time that rolls around you should know whether you can handle those runs or not though.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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As far as the difficulty of the runs/terrain, well I am an advocate for pushing ones self onto blues & steeper greens, as you'll be forced to put what you've learned into effect instead of just being "comfortable" riding something that you've come to know. The change in terrain is kind of like muscle confusion in a workout regimen. The more new/harder terrain you try to incorporate, the easier the stuff you know will become & you'll advance faster. However, don't bite off too much more than you can chew. It's ok to side slip a blue or steeper green the 1st time to feel it out, but try to make turns towards the bottom & then the next time going down it try to link turns as much as you comfortably can, even if it means side slipping halfway & then turning, until you're at a point where you can make turns the whole way down. This is a sport where pushing yourself (within reason) will prevent you from plateauing out & getting comfortable with what's easy & familiar. Don't confuse this with me telling you to push yourself to an unsafe riding situation, but more a friendly shove in the right direction
This is where you start riding with folks better than you and just try to mob the best you can. You will be amazed what you can pull off. And go do a double black a few times then return to a blue and you will find that you have instantly improved. Double blacks here in pnw are now very do-able filled in and corn snow.
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