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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter · #641 ·
This is a great season so far for snowfall, but a not-so-great season in terms of weather variability. After a couple of weeks of friggin' cold weather (cold enough to make our complex's elevator break down), we now have another atmospheric river coming in. Temps are above freezing in Whistler, even up on the mountain. We got 15 cm of snow overnight at the snow stake, then it started to rain. So spongecake. No thanks. Been there, tried that.

I had a great day yesterday, though. I didn't get up early to get first gondola, because there'd been no new snow. But when I sauntered up to the mountain after 9 or so, it was starting to snow. And it pounded all morning, to the point it buried the hardpack. I had the EJack (for the aforementioned hardpack) so I was in great shape for the day. Ended up doing nine runs, including going to the bottom a couple of times.

I'm still not completely caught up to last year end-of-season. Notwithstanding my comments in other posts, it doesn't all come back quickly. I can get to about 90-95 % in a day or two, but some of the fine techniques take time to come back. One of these is moguls. I spent a significant amount of time yesterday working on them, and I've come out with some areas requiring improvement.

1. Look ahead. Looking at just the current mogul is a recipe for eating shit. I do much better when I know what's coming up and can set myself up better.
2. The best movement for handling moguls seems to be: Go in leaning significantly forward. As I go into the turn, shift my weight back. At the point where I'm about to turn, suck legs in and shift forward again. Push down into the turn, again leaning forward.
3. Turn a little sooner. I tend to leave it just a hair too long.
4. The most important part, because this is causing me problems... I tend to turn too much on heelsides until I'm pointing right across the hill. This causes me to need a bigger turn to heelside than necessary in order to recover. I know what I'm doing, I'm panic braking on the heelside turn. Have to break that.

Anyway, it's an ongoing process. But my speed desensitization is well in hand, as is my quick S carving. I'm still unsteady on chopped up terrain, and I end up having to brake every once in a while.

I ran the jump line in the family bowl a couple of times as well. Small jumps, but good enough. I did overshoot one, panic braked, and ended up sitting down. But like everything else, it's a process.

Unfortunately, with the atmospheric river coming in, I'll be sitting it out for a few days. Oh well. More time for writing, I guess.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #642 ·
I decided that today I would concentrate on practicing +/+ angles with the Cheater. I went to the Magic Chair a little after 9:30 and did several runs, changing the angles on my board a couple of times. I eventually got to the point where I figured I could go up to the Roundhouse and hit the bigger runs. But partway down to the Red Chair base, I finally gave up and put my bindings back to my normal +12/-9 angles.

So what happened? First, I couldn't find a +/+ angle that I liked and that seemed to bring anything to the table. Second, double-plus angles were hurting my back knee. Third, there's a complication with +/+ angles that I hadn't really anticipated--because of the mechanics of the situation, bending your knees (or alternatively, straightening up) shifts your weight forward/back a little, changing the turn physics. All in all, I simply came to the conclusion that changing my angles wasn't going to pay off in any way that mattered.

So I finished the run down to the village with my traditional angles. And the Cheater is fine with duck. In fact, it's quite a rippin' board. Fast, stable, and great edging. Honestly, I think this might be my favorite board for conditions that don't favor magnetraction (I'll still use the EJack for hardpack/icy days).
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #643 ·
Un-fucking-believable. This season really seems to be jinxed.

I decided to hit the mountain on Sunday--something I'd never normally do, but the crowds have been non-existent the last couple of days, mostly due to the crappy conditions created by the latest atmospheric river. Plus I was really excited to try my Cheater on a full morning's riding without worrying about bindings or angles or whatever.

There was a bit of a line-up for the gondola. so I decided to take Fitzsimmons/Garbanzo, just for a change of pace. Got to the top of Fitzsimmons, started skating over to the Garbanzo loading line-up, and all of a sudden my back knee popped. Agony. I had to just stand there, breathing, for several minutes before I could even think about moving. Ended up going up Garbanzo, then down to Emerald loading, up Emerald, then downloaded on the gondola.

Anyway, my knee is screwed, and I've spent the last couple of days hooked on Advil, ice, and heat. And using a cane, FFS.

Interestingly, I had very similar problems with my left knee back in 2016--see here for details--which culminated in a pop and a hiatus to the season. I've been getting much the same thing the last month or so on my right knee, which I think was exacerbated by my efforts to change my binding angles on the Stranda. Hopefully it is just an IT band problem, and it'll heal up now. I'm going to see about a knee brace today as well.

Sigh. Just one thing after another, some years.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #644 ·
Updates...

The knee is getting better. Still just a bit of soreness when I move it certain ways. A knee brace really helps, far more than I would have expected. Maybe it's the compression? Anyway, I'll be ready to go again on Monday, I think. And I haven't really missed anything. This week has been a washout for snow conditions. Yes, even at Whistler. I hope this improves and things get back to something like normal winter patterns. I'd hate for this season to end up as a fail. Actually, come to think of it, this is kind of a normal winter pattern. I think January is typically not great for snow, while February gets nuked. Here's hoping.

The last of the stuff I ordered from Burton has finally arrived. I now have way too many Burton jackets and bib pants. I'll need to redistribute items between here and home. Eventually.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #645 ·
First day back after the knee injury. I still felt a tweak here and there, mostly when trying to drive my heel down, but it didn't affect my riding. In any case, I took it easy. I spent most of my morning on the bunny slope, with one run down from the Roundhouse to close out the day.

I used the Stranda Cheater, which I am beginning to like more every time I use it. It definitely isn't a freestyle board--no good for quick turns, moguls, or trees. But for bombing runs, it's easily my best board. Holds my heelside carves, and is actually pretty good on hardpack/icy conditions as well.

I also took the GoPro MAX to the hill with me and got some recordings. Turns out I still am going way up on edge mostly just in my head. Granted I was being more aggressive before I brought out the camera, but even so, I'm barely crouching at all, never mind being in danger of dragging my ass on the snow. So there's something to work on, and preferably with the camera, since it gives me immediate feedback with no guesswork.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #646 ·
Second day. Conditions were pretty much the same, hardpack and ice, and snow-cones once things started getting scraped up. I used the Cheater again as I was favorably impressed with it yesterday. I've posted a review here. Bottom line, I love this board. Maybe more than my EJack.

Based on my videos from yesterday, I tried to make a point of getting lower today, both during turns and just while riding in general. It made a huge difference. My control was better, not getting bucked around as much; my control was better, not feeling like I'd lost the edge; I didn't get as much muscle fatigue, especially below the knee; and my turns were far more railed. Basically, no downside. I think this is one of those things that I give lip service to every year, but have to effectively re-discover each season. Hopefully I can make the point to start doing this on day one next season.

The Cheater is a very stable board at speed, maybe not surprising considering the length and effective edge. This added to my confidence and, along with getting lower on the board, allowed me to really cut loose today. I was well and truly over the speed sensitivity thing. I broke my personal best top speed--in the usual spot, of course. I also found myself blowing past other riders and skiers in a lot of cases, so I'm no longer the slow half of the population, at least on intermediate runs.

On steeps where I go to C turns to cope, the Cheater really excelled, even though those slopes were hardpack to icy. Of course, some of that might be due to my technique improving, but either way I'll take it. I rode Roundhouse to Village three times, and didn't have to stop to rest on the third run, because getting low for some reason relieves muscle fatigue. Or maybe just doesn't create it in the first place. I ended up having one of the better days this season, despite the conditions.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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7,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #647 ·
Nothing much happening today. I'm staying home because the fireplace guy is supposed to show up this morning. I'm not sure I'd be heading up in any case. Still no new snow, and the runs are really looking kind of sad. Even so, the line-ups at the bottom are still significant. And yesterday there were lessons everywhere. I'm sure today will be as bad or worse.

OTOH, the predictions are starting to look hopeful. Snow starts on Saturday, and we should get significant new stuff over the weekend (of course), plus on-and-off snow all of next week. I'll be going up Monday, so I should be able to enjoy the benefits of a weekend dump anyway.
 

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