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Old 02-13-2013, 05:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Please rate my grogress.

After a little learning frustration and i really dont don't want to loose any motivation to continue with learning. I would apreciate any advice needed on how my progress can get better if i'm doing it the wrong direction.

Visit 1. One on one with an instructor on the basics for 2 hours and 45 minutes alone on then kiddie slope. Rode just once on the easiest green lift.

Visit 2. One week after. Just rope beginner hill for 2 hours trying to get comfortable with the new board a true twin flat camber 3/5 flex. I was trying to get the same comfort with regular and goofy disregarding the pain of the countless falls even a hard one falling back down the slope on my back hitting my head on hardpack after I cought an edge toeside. I also did a 360 after I was made aware by the rope operator when he asked me. and I said i don't know what it was but I was just trying to prevent myself falling down. I could recreate the trying not to fall down 360 at will after that.

Visit 3. After recovering 2 weeks from body aches including a bad headache and stiffneck after the big back slam. Green lifts entire day and my new found fear were the lift dismounts and the steeper starts of the hills. Can do the falling leaf and can only turn heelside after the toeside phobia that gave me a back slam. Speed was also an issue because i instinctly turn heelside when i get too fast for comfort but I can switch back between regular and goofy after the heel only turns. I was made aware by the end of the day I had sore thighs and calves from +30/-30 binding angles which was said to be too much because I installed the bindings myself.

Visit 4. New bindings now are +12/-12 and rode for 2.5 hours to get used to it and could bend knees better and be more relaxed without soreness. Still only heel turns and alternate switch and regular but not comitting to faster speeds and out of the falling leaf on the steep starts of the green runs.

Visit 5 yesterday. 4 hours still on green and lift dismounts are not an issue anymore after some reading abouth weight on the leading foot. I got out of the toeside phobia and could ride on edge with only having an inch or two of base surface in contact with hardpack which is the only snow condition I ever rode on and crashed on since starting out my learning because they did not have a significant snowfall since the start of this year. I am able to link four carves regular and three links goofy and switch in between before i fall or slow down. I had a chat with the lift operator that verified i did carves and not slide turns but this was at a comfortable speed to me and very wide apart between switching from heel-toe-heel-toe. I can't seem to turn instantly because i slowly shave hardpack going into an edge between turns and take too much time to ease out of an edge or else I crash. I get the falls when I overthink I am getting too fast and then forget the basics of the turns. I only got to partially commit going straight down once on the steep starting part of the green run.

I drove home somewhat frustrated thinking my ways of progressing is a mistake specially starting out switch that maybe overwhelming me specially looking at others learn the quick heel-toe-heel changes to controll their speed after less time i than me.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe77 View Post
After a little learning frustration and i really dont don't want to loose any motivation to continue with learning. I would apreciate any advice needed on how my progress can get better if i'm doing it the wrong direction.

Visit 1. One on one with an instructor on the basics for 2 hours and 45 minutes alone on then kiddie slope. Rode just once on the easiest green lift.

Visit 2. One week after. Just rope beginner hill for 2 hours trying to get comfortable with the new board a true twin flat camber 3/5 flex. I was trying to get the same comfort with regular and goofy disregarding the pain of the countless falls even a hard one falling back down the slope on my back hitting my head on hardpack after I cought an edge toeside. I also did a 360 after I was made aware by the rope operator when he asked me. and I said i don't know what it was but I was just trying to prevent myself falling down. I could recreate the trying not to fall down 360 at will after that.

Visit 3. After recovering 2 weeks from body aches including a bad headache and stiffneck after the big back slam. Green lifts entire day and my new found fear were the lift dismounts and the steeper starts of the hills. Can do the falling leaf and can only turn heelside after the toeside phobia that gave me a back slam. Speed was also an issue because i instinctly turn heelside when i get too fast for comfort but I can switch back between regular and goofy after the heel only turns. I was made aware by the end of the day I had sore thighs and calves from +30/-30 binding angles which was said to be too much because I installed the bindings myself.

Visit 4. New bindings now are +12/-12 and rode for 2.5 hours to get used to it and could bend knees better and be more relaxed without soreness. Still only heel turns and alternate switch and regular but not comitting to faster speeds and out of the falling leaf on the steep starts of the green runs.

Visit 5 yesterday. 4 hours still on green and lift dismounts are not an issue anymore after some reading abouth weight on the leading foot. I got out of the toeside phobia and could ride on edge with only having an inch or two of base surface in contact with hardpack which is the only snow condition I ever rode on and crashed on since starting out my learning because they did not have a significant snowfall since the start of this year. I am able to link four carves regular and three links goofy and switch in between before i fall or slow down. I had a chat with the lift operator that verified i did carves and not slide turns but this was at a comfortable speed to me and very wide apart between switching from heel-toe-heel-toe. I can't seem to turn instantly because i slowly shave hardpack going into an edge between turns and take too much time to ease out of an edge or else I crash. I get the falls when I overthink I am getting too fast and then forget the basics of the turns. I only got to partially commit going straight down once on the steep starting part of the green run.

I drove home somewhat frustrated thinking my ways of progressing is a mistake specially starting out switch that maybe overwhelming me specially looking at others learn the quick heel-toe-heel changes to controll their speed after less time i than me.
if you can hang on and suffer the pain of learning 50% regular and 50% switch you'll be glad you did later, but if not then just ride regular, sounds like you're progressing just fine. Get another 1 hr lesson and then practice after.

forget the carving stuff and just work on skidded turns for now, carving comes much later.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First thing I'd recommend is to wear padded shorts, helmet, wristgaurds if you can(and are not already). Falling sucks so try and reduce the penalty in doing so. As you say, taking a bad fall can give you a mental block that will take a while to train yourself out of. The good news is you will eventually fall way way less and even then they don't tend to be the painful type.

I agree that taking another lesson would be a good idea - even if you understand the theory they will be able to see what you're doing right and wrong much better than you can and be able to give you feedback accordingly.

The things you should focus on are, awareness of you body position. Keep balanced and shoulders inline with the board at all times and a quiet upper body. You can (and people do) get away with all of these things but it will make everything more difficult. If you are properly balanced at all points during the turn, it makes it much easier to stay in control and stay upright. Instructor feedback will definitely help here.

The second is edge awareness. The more you get a feel for the edges, the more you will relax and allow the board to do it's thing and the more comfortable you'll feel keeping you body balanced. It takes a bit of practice, especially to feel really comfortable turning through the fall line but it will come. Knowing that you have good edge awareness will provide a good platform and help you control speed to a degree.

What you should be aiming for is to be able to allow the board to turn into the fall line in a smooth manner (quiet upper body), to let the board flow smoothly through the fall line with your body fighting the urge to lean back (away from 'danger') then let the board come around to the new edge as one smooth motion. If your body has kept balanced throughout, you'll start to notice that the edge change can happen fairly quickly without the need to rush it. The more you bend your legs when on an edge generally the more you will control speed. The more you control speed, the less rushed you'll feel in general and the easier the whole process gets. If you feel the board pick up too much speed as you turn (runaway train feeling) the chances are you're leaning back (in fear of the slope). That makes it take a lot longer/more effort to engage to new edge and you'll pick up speed. Try to notice the opposite - if you keep some pressure forward, you really feel the change happen positively. To use a car analogy -The difference in feeling is like going from bald front tires in the wet, to fresh tires. There wont be several seconds zero control that you may or may not recover from when you make a turn.

It's a circular loop - the more you control your body position and speed, the less you will fall and the easier it will be to feel whats happening with the board and the easier it will be to control your body position and speed

These things quickly become second nature and will allow you to safely progress to the next level.

You've already had some achievements in your progression. These will continue and whatever they are, you'll know them and will be stoked

Last edited by Slush Puppie; 02-14-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That was a bit hard to digest, but the one thing I pulled out of all that was you keep on switching which foot is your leading foot. You need to choose a foot and keep it that way. You shouldn't start riding switch until you can ride okay normally. If you keep switching, every time you want to make a turn but are not completely comfortable, you can just take the easy way out and "go switch" which I just consider falling leaf at that point, not true switch riding.

Lead with a single foot for an entire day, making good carved turns w/o falling, and then you should think about riding switch.

I'm not entirely sure the lift operator actually saw you carving. Maybe he did, but based on your description of your learning process, I would be more likely to believe you were making skidded turns. You can still angle the board with minimal contact of the base to the snow and only be doing a skidded turn. Did it feel like gliding like on an ice skate? Was it virtually devoid of sound/scraping noises? If not... then no carved turn. Remember unless the direction you are moving is parallel to your edges, you are still skidding. You have the right idea about tilting the board on edge, you just gotta make sure you are cutting into the hardback (could be next to impossible if it is icy or extremely hard) making a small line only 2 or 3 inches wide as your track you leave behind. If it is any wider, skidding is still happening.

Last edited by BigmountainVMD; 02-14-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the sugestions and advice. Now that i am thinking back and after some more reading, I think I was not carving but just scarving and skidding on the turns.

My leading foot is somewhat regular but duck is not far behind and the thought of dismounting off the chairlift with either foot strapped feels like almost equal to me. I tried the floor slide with socks trick but I am not sure which foot feels more comfortable going first but if i were to guess maybe left by a slight margin. I write and throw a ball with left hand, i play guitar regular right, i used to play socker and can kick a ball with both feet with the right slightly more acurate on goal kicks.

My improvement may be a little slower than I would like but at least it's still progress. So far I am handling the physical abuse using wrist protectors and padded armor uppers and lowers inside my jacket and pants that i used for DH MTB since I fell hard and they all stare at me looking surprised when i take off my outers getting ready to get home and expose whats inside.
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