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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter · #648 ·
Went snowboarding this morning, and I took the EJack, just for a change of pace. And wow, does it make a difference! After several days of the Cheater, I actually had problems with the EJack on my first run. It felt squirrelly, I felt out of balance, and I almost regretted picking the board. Then on the second run, I got my legs back, and after that it was all good. Better than good, really. I guess I learned a few things while pushing the Cheater around, because controlling the EJack was a dream. I did several mogul runs over the course of the morning, and pretty much aced them. Well, if acing them can include three head-over-heels falls :sneaky: .

Interestingly, all three falls and all of my almost-fails on moguls were from failed attempts to turn to toeside. It seems in all cases, I did some combination of standing too tall, leaning back (or not forward enough, anyway), and failing to bend my knees to engage the toe edge. So basically, a failure to commit. If I can just get past that, and my tendency to turn too far to heelside, I'll have moguls nailed.

Other than that, it was a pretty good morning. Not terribly crowded, although the 10:30 peak still showed up. But it thinned out just as quickly as it showed up, and after that I was basically sliding right up to the chair.

The snow wasn't great, but not terrible either. Some patches of ice have been scraped clean, and the contrast between sunny and shaded areas made me lose sight of the snow a couple of times. But nothing insurmountable.

Tomorrow is supposed to snow a bit, so it should be even better. I'm hoping to hit all five days this week.
 

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Went snowboarding this morning, and I took the EJack, just for a change of pace. And wow, does it make a difference! After several days of the Cheater, I actually had problems with the EJack on my first run. It felt squirrelly, I felt out of balance, and I almost regretted picking the board. Then on the second run, I got my legs back, and after that it was all good. Better than good, really. I guess I learned a few things while pushing the Cheater around, because controlling the EJack was a dream. I did several mogul runs over the course of the morning, and pretty much aced them. Well, if acing them can include three head-over-heels falls :sneaky: .

Interestingly, all three falls and all of my almost-fails on moguls were from failed attempts to turn to toeside. It seems in all cases, I did some combination of standing too tall, leaning back (or not forward enough, anyway), and failing to bend my knees to engage the toe edge. So basically, a failure to commit. If I can just get past that, and my tendency to turn too far to heelside, I'll have moguls nailed.

Other than that, it was a pretty good morning. Not terribly crowded, although the 10:30 peak still showed up. But it thinned out just as quickly as it showed up, and after that I was basically sliding right up to the chair.

The snow wasn't great, but not terrible either. Some patches of ice have been scraped clean, and the contrast between sunny and shaded areas made me lose sight of the snow a couple of times. But nothing insurmountable.

Tomorrow is supposed to snow a bit, so it should be even better. I'm hoping to hit all five days this week.
Donutz aren't you 64yrs....., still out there charging hard. Eligible for pensioner concession lift pass soon.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter · #650 ·
Donutz aren't you 64yrs....., still out there charging hard. Eligible for pensioner concession lift pass soon.
Yup. Another month and I'm officially a senior citizen. I should check the price on the Whistler pass...
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter · #652 ·
There was supposed to be a bit of snow today. And there was. A bit. Not enough to make a difference, although I kept hoping. The snow was sort of the opposite of fluffy today. Where it wasn't ice or hardpack (or groomer) it looked like new snow, maybe chopped up a bit, but it was heavy and hard to turn in. Very weird feeling, not really elephant snot, but maybe just heavy without being wet.

I did the park today. Did one box and ended up sitting down. I did the jump line 3 times, and sucked at all 3. The problem right now is that the park is all ice or snowcrete. There's no give whatsoever when you land, and any edging or directional control has to be exaggerated to get any effect. So not a good day. I'll try again when conditions are better.

General riding was pretty good, though. I'm continuing to home in on my form issues, and improving a bit every run.

And lastly: wow, the feel of the EJack is different from the Cheater. I feel so much more stable on the Stranda.
 

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Discussion Starter · #653 · (Edited)
I did manage to go snowboarding every weekday last week. Skipped yesterday (Monday) and went up today. I'm getting the numbers, in terms of days on the hill, but wow is the quality ever low. We had a short period of good snow between mid-December and mid-January, more or less, but other than that it's been ugly. Several atmospheric rivers haven't helped the overall snow base either.

Today I decided to try something a little different and went down Franz to Whistler Creek. I can see how that could be a fun run in good conditions, but today was not that day. Lower Franz in particular seems to be one of those runs that they groom only sporadically, and it also seems to share the weather patterns with Upper Franz, i.e. foggy and icy with a lot of freeze/thaw cycles. Combine that with the uninspired grooming and you end up with a run that is a base of rough and chundery ice, covered with icy chunder and death cookies, and hidden by pea soup fog. I was fucking terrified going down that thing, and it's only supposed to be a blue run.

There was no line-up at the Creekside gondola, which doesn't really surprise me. I imagine people use the gondola only first thing in the morning to get up the mountain, then never go near it again until quitting time, where I bet a significant number will download rather than ride that WROD to the bottom.

It didn't help of course that I was trying out my Ride Algorythm for the second time, so I was a bit tentative to begin with. But even with the EJack, I wouldn't have been bombing any of that shit.

The Algorythm continues to not impress, although I think I have established what the proper conditions are for it. I'll put up a review on the main forum and post a link here when I'm done. (Edit: here )

I am hoping that this is just a weather pattern like 2010, where massive dumps started in late Feb and continued until season end, rather than an honest to God end of the season where things are just going to get warmer and warmer. And yes, that would mean an early start to mountain biking season, so it's not all downside, but I would like to get my money's worth out of the snowboarding season as well.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter · #655 ·
So far this week I have only been up once, and conditions were not impressive. Honestly, I'm getting worried. There's still a chance this is going to be a repeat of 2010, with huge dumps starting in late February. The beginning of the season certainly has matched the pattern--initial huge dumps, followed by sweet fuck all.

If we do get the 2010 dumpage, I'm going to take full advantage of it to the greatest extent possible while it lasts. But if things continue the way they are, I'm going to be getting my bikes tuned up a lot sooner than expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #656 · (Edited)
We're now at the 20th and I still haven't been up since the 8th. There's been miniscule snowfalls here and there -- measured in a cm or two. Seven cm over the last week, woohoo! 💩

My knee has started bothering me again, but I think it's at least partly because I got complacent and thought I had it under control. So I'm back to advil, a cane, and wrapping the knee. Also rolling, which seems to be the most effective therapy. And the one that I drop first, sadly.

Still waiting for that late Feb dump. It actually looks like it might be starting to happen this weekend. We'll see.

And I've started taking my bikes in for early-season tune-ups. Just hedging my bets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #657 ·
Wow, March 3rd. Almost a whole month since I've been up. Mind you, in terms of timing this actually has worked out okay, since my knee has been really bothering me the last couple of weeks. Turns out I was right in the previous post, and failure to do the required exercises is my primary problem. As soon as I got religious about it, the leg improved rapidly. So a lesson for next time my ITB starts acting up.

It's been snowing semi-regularly since about the last week of February. The Whistler website is showing 60+ cm in the last 7 days (2 feet for the imperialists among us). It's not great snow--temps are hovering around freezing, so the snow has very much the consistency of spring snowcones. I mad a point of putting on a Tensor brace on my right knee, just in case, but it really didn't bother me, other than being a bit weak, probably from me favoring that leg for several weeks.

I took the Ride Algorythm, just in case this is my last chance to try it out. I have to admit I'm liking it a little better than the first time. It's still way down the list of my favorite boards, but I'm not waving my fists and screaming about selling it any more.

Essentially, this is a board that's at its best when it's up on edge, and the more so the better. Flat-basing is still not confidence-inspiring, although with some new snow on the ground it was a little less terror-inducing. The board can handle hardpack/ice, but you really have to work on getting it up onto the edges. Any laziness or bad form and you're just sliding sideways down the hill. From that POV, this is actually a good training board. It's not catchy, but it will punish you for bad form, by simply behaving badly. I found that I really had to concentrate on staying low and keeping my upper body from counter-rotating downhill, or my turns suffered immediately. On the other hand, when I was doing it right, the results were so much better. Instant gratification is a good inducement.

I'm going up again tomorrow, but I think I'll be taking the Cheater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #658 ·
I went up a couple of times this week, riding my Rome Blur. First time this season I've used the board, and I'd forgotten what a blast it is to ride. This is the board that will fling me into the air coming out of aggressive turns. This is the board that will follow whatever radius of turn I command without complaint. And this is the board that doesn't get squirrelly on icy flats. It's also, for some reason, the board that's the first to cut loose when trying to skate on hardpack, but no board is perfect, I guess.

Anyway, yesterday was the same hardpack we've had for weeks, but today there was a couple of inches of new snow to play with. Plus the temps were up so the base hardpack was not as hard. I had a lot of fun, but didn't get too adventurous. I'm still taking it easy on my rear knee, more out of caution than anything at this point.

Had an interesting realization today. I went top to bottom of the gondola run three times today, without stopping to rest on the way down. That's both gratifying and a little irritating, since it shows that I do have a conditioning problem at the beginning of the season.

Other than that, nothing special happened. Just a good riding day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #659 ·
Welp, it's the end of an era, and the beginning of another. Today I made the decision to not renew my Seymour season pass. The reservation system that Seymour has implemented is just too stupid to deal with, plus they've cranked the pass cost up to the point where even the early bird price is close to the same as Cypress (which doesn't have a stupid reservation system). And let's face it, I didn't go to Seymour even once this season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #660 ·
Today felt like possibly the best day of the season, for no particular reason that I can come up with. It hadn't snowed overnight (well, a cm or two) and it was still pretty chopped up from yesterday. It's spring break, so it's crowded AF--my snowboarding ratio is running about 1/3, where it's usually closer to 1/2 on Whistler during the week. So really, it could have been a crappy day. But for some reason I was totally on my game today. Hit several mogul runs well enough to feel proud of myself. Sailed down a bunch of steeper runs at speed. Bounced through the chunder and crud without losing control. And managed to get in more than three hours of riding, only quitting because of scheduling.

That last item is interesting, in an I'm-not-sure-it's-a-good-way way. I theorized some time back in my blog that the reason I'm having conditioning issues with Whistler is because I don't spend as much time (relatively) in the line and on the lift. Higher snowboarding ratio equals more work per unit time equals a tired snowboarder. And today does kind of bear out that theory. I spent a lot of time in the line-up today. It was back to the end of the ropes the whole time I was up there. Never let up. So yeah, lots of time standing around.

Still, I do think I'm also getting better conditioned as the season progresses as well. And for next season, I have biking for as long as the weather lasts, then a treadmill and weights to bridge the gap. And who knows, the pandemic might be done to the point where I'm comfortable going back to the gym.

Meanwhile, though, the snow is disappearing quickly at village level. I bet I could bike the Lost Lake trails by now. Sure as hell there's not going to be any cross-country skiing going on there at this point, not if you value your skis. It's still a little cold, but merino layers and long pants are good for that. Bring it on.
 
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