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highairlo 01-01-2013 01:16 PM

Blue to Black Transitioning at Jackson Hole
Hi all,
This is my first post after years of lurking! I need some help transitioning, so here's my story...

I have two traditional camber boards; a 167 2008 Flow Solitude (freeride board) and a 159 2008 Flow Infinite (all mountain). I weigh 220 now (was 282 with the solitude) and am 5'11". I only get a few days in a year, and the last time I went snowboarding was in Taos in March 2012 and at Big Sky during February in 2011, both at 280lbs. Haven't yet ridden at my new weight which I am anxious about. Will be going to Jackson this February.

This year I hope to start doing blacks at Jackson (at least by the end of the trip). So a couple of things:
1) What's the easiest black to start out on out there?
2) Having some technique issues with learning forward on steeper runs, and leaning back in powder (i think the 60lbs I lost will help with that hopefully). I know I can adjust my bindings to help, but I think it's a mental thing. I find myself in a c-shape posture (upper body over the front and hips over the back) and it makes my front leg straighten out enough that I don't feel control in my turns. Tricks to overcome?
3) I'm finding that I am not loose in my legs at high speeds so when I try to stop heelside, I chatter and skid out on my butt. How do I loosen up my lower body to absorb the bumps at high speed while keeping control?
4) Only taking one board. Which one for what I want to do?
5) Any other tips anyone can offer to help me out.

Thanks everyone!

grafta 01-01-2013 01:27 PM

Either get a lesson, or at least watch some of the vids here >

Sounds like you should chill on wanting to hit the steep shit, and just get your technique down. Don't sweat feeling like you 'have' to 'do blacks'. Just ride and have a good time

Alt_Reality 02-06-2013 03:25 PM

Totally agree with Grafta on placing emphasis on having fun. It's good to progress your skills but dont put too much pressure on yourself to ride blacks just for the sake of it. JH has tons of spots for intermediates to enjoy.

That said, there are double blues (dotted lines on the trail maps) you can try out. Laramie Bowl looks scary on entrance at the top but once you get down a bit, it's just hard work of the fun sort. Since it's ungroomed, recommended trying it if it's powdery or mash potatoes sunny.

As for technique on steeper runs, learn to trust leaning forward on your front foot - think of it like a pivot point. You'll find that pivot allows the back of the board to wash around much easier. Seems counter intuitive but it works like magic!

Lifted 02-07-2013 10:22 AM

For progressing to blacks I'd start out on Hanna and St. John's off of the Apres Vous lift to get your form down and get comfortable. JH has excellent grooming on the AV side so you'll be able to focus on your riding (if you get there early it's wall to wall perfect cord). Both those runs are double blues and are the steepest intermediate runs on that side of the mountain.

If those runs sketch you out I'd say just have fun and try to get the fundamentals down. Casper lift has the easiest blues on the mountain.

I'd defenately watch a video on dynamic turns. Focus how the riders in the videos bend their knees and stick out their butt. It would be hard to be in a "C" shape if your are crouched down more with weight over your front foot. Also pointing your back knee out on heelside turns should help get some wight on the front.

Check the morning grooming report to see what they've groomed, they usually will have a few black runs groomed every day.

Ranger off of the Gondola and Bivoac off of Sublett Chair are the easiest blacks IMO when you're ready

poutanen 02-07-2013 11:00 AM

Agree with Grafta, if there are things holding you back, work on those before you worry about the colour runs you're doing. Once you're technique is dialed you won't even look at trail maps or run designations again!

Lessons are your friend. Bending knees is your friend. Work on carving and being REALLY comfortable on blues before you head for steeper stuff. Heelsliding down steep terrain should be an evacuation procedure, not a method of boarding down the hill!

highairlo 02-09-2013 11:45 AM

Thanks all! I am definitely going out to enjoy myself on any terrain I encounter there. I am not obsessed with doing blacks, but I feel like at some point I need to start getting used to it. Thanks for the apres vous and casper lift advice. It was my plan on using apres vous and spend a day of double blues before I think of running down any blacks.

i went to my local ski hill the other day after a foot of snow had fallen last week and practiced on all their "blacks" (probably double blues out west). I practiced quick pivot turns on both of my boards and the easiest way I felt like i was leaning forward was to crouch lower to move the COG over the center of the board and pseudo-bounce and unweight right before the next pivot. it seemed to work well since i could feel how much easier it was to swing my back leg around.

I got more pivot turns in on the smaller board, but the bigger board I felt the sidecut bite in better on my carves. The only issue I had was a couple of wash outs on both boards on steeper terrain because I can't stop the chattering on my heelside speed checks. Still can't loosen up my knees across the chop and ruts and I bounce around instead of absorb. The only way to stop without washing out was to try to round out and carve back up the hill on the heelside but it was hard to do without full sidecut engagement because of the ruts and valleys i would cross. Not getting this down is going to kill my tailbone (at least 220lbs is better than 280lbs)!

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