Good Skiing Part 3

By Susi, Instructor at Snowbird Mountain School

5 Secrets to Managing Powder Gracefully

The Powder came right on time for our Wednesday morning coaching session.  The Skimums ventured out to lower Old Ladies (don’t read anything into the name; we don’t judge the guys when they ski Baldy) then to Hoop’s and found some nice creamy powder to play in!  Skimums found 5 simple rules to turned them into serious powder hounds.

1.  It’s all about the flow: Think about flowing down the mountain in a smooth line making round turns with little edge angle. Create a rhythm!
2.  Patience is key: In powder it takes more time for the skis to react to skier input. Steer your legs to create open round C-shaped turns, so that the skis keep flowing. Z-turns are harder to manage and interrupt the flow.
3.  Speed is your friend: The skis are buried in the snow which creates more friction compared to groomed terrain. Powder slows you down and you need speed to keep moving!
4.  Stay balanced over your feet: Contrary to common belief, you don’t lean back in powder. Ski in a balanced position (think “crouching tiger”).  Conditions change with every turn, so you have to work constantly to stay in balance!  Backseat skiing is not healthy for the knees and way too tiring!!
5.  Build a platform:  It is very helpful to narrow your stance, so that the skis build somewhat a single platform and are easier to turn.  Most importantly, to become great in powder you have to keep skiing powder!Hopefully, we get another powder opportunity this week and we can even explore other secret places on the mountain!!

Come out and join us for the last coaching session for the Skimums this season!!  RSVP by Tuesday afternoon so we can have plenty of Mountain School instructors there.
If you did not have a chance to join us, check out this video: http://youtu.be/SavrnMGIhzg
Sources: www.thesnowpros.org
PSIA Alpine Technical Manual

Good Skiing Part 2

RSVP TODAY FOR FREE GROUP LESSON #3 THIS WEDNESDAY.  Powder?!?

By Susi, Instructor at Snowbird Mountain School

IMG_2085

Skimum Nicole gains greater control by pointing that Belly button downhill, getting the weight on the outside ski and “schmearing”

 Leg rotation and skiing bumps efficiently  

Our technical focus in our second coaching session was turning our legs more than our upper body… What??? Yes, it is the truth: a turn starts with the body parts closest to the snow: the feet and the legs. Often times we use our shoulders or our hips to start a turn, we are twisting shoulders and arms uphill at the end of a turn, we flail with our arms to help us stay in balance… These movements are not very efficient and not always graceful  😉.

The Skimums worked hard to keep their upper bodies disciplined, rotate their feet and legs to steer their skis through the turn, while keeping their belly buttons – and other body parts – directed towards the tip of the outside (or downhill) ski. We realized that the release of the energy created by twisting the lower half against the upper half of the body made it much easier to start a turn and to point the skis in the opposite direction.

We also put our “schmearing” skills to use.  We’re not carving into the turn.  As Skimum Denice visualized, “It’s like spreading cream cheese on a bagel — the schmear.”  As we release energy placing weight on that outside ski, gravity allows the entire bottom of the ski to coast downhill. More contact means more control over our direction and speed.

To apply the new skills we found some crusty and then soft bumps, where we POINTED our belly buttons into the direction of travel, rotated our legs on TOP of the bump, SCHMEARED down the back side of the bump to control our speed, then GLIDED up the next bump!  Like magic, Skimums found they had total control.  Turning and shmearing, turning and shmearing… In control, with grace and efficiency!!

If you did not have a chance to be with us or you want to review turning the legs under a stable upper body and bump technique check out these videos

Good Skiing: Pro Tips for Skimums

RSVP BY TUESDAY FOR FREE GROUP LESSON #2 ON WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28TH

By Susi, Instructor for Snowbird Mountain School

DSC02112What is good skiing? The definition of good skiing is different for everybody. I like this one from David Oliver, PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Alpine team member: “…. The idea of good skiing is about the ability to make a choice about where you want to go at any moment – whether its forwards or backwards or in the air, or moving down a race course at 70 miles per hour…”

Whatever the intended and desired outcomes are: skiing is based on a common set of fundamentals that can be universally applied.

What does that mean for the Skimums? During our ski lessons at Snowbird we are working on improving our skiing to enjoy this beautiful mountain and all it has to offer even more! In session 1 last Wednesday, we focused on directing our balance toward the outside (or downhill) ski. Why? The outside ski is our workhorse. With the outside ski we get stability and we control the shape of the turn.

If you did not have a chance to join us on Wednesday or if you want to review the one footed drills check out the video with Katie Fry and Nick Herrin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSRk9dB8adk

Join us next Wednesday for more tips and tricks to improve your game!!  To make sure Mountain School sends enough instructors, please RSVP by Tuesday for the January 28th FREE Group Lesson (gratuity suggested) by sending comment below.  

IMG_2026Sources: www.thesnowpros.org, PSIA Alpine Technical Manual

FREE GROUP LESSONS START THIS WEDNESDAY!

IMG_1978

Snowbird Mountain School is once again offering FREE group lessons to Skimums for the next FOUR Wednesdays. If you’ve done it before, then you know how great Instructor Susi and her team has been.  Based on conditions, we decide what to work on.  This is for Int/Adv skiers.  If you’re a beginner or a “Returner,” then check the Mountain School website for some incredible new programs (that Skimums kind of suggested).
We’ll meet at the GADZOOM lift at 9:30am.  The lesson ends at noon.  As usual, some Mums stay, others jump into their pumpkins and head back down the mountain.

YES, IT IS FREE, but a gratuity is suggested ($10-20).  To help Susi get enough instructors, please, RSVP below by TUESDAY AT 6PM.  

YES, YOU CAN BRING FRIENDS.  We get a lot of new Skimums this way, and the Mountain School likes to show what it can do with grown-ups (the kids can’t have all the fun).

NO, YOU CAN’T FIND OUT ABOUT THIS ON SNOWBIRD’S WEBSITE.  Just here.  Email below if you have any questions.  See you on Wednesday!

I Can’t Find the Plug!

IMG_1322If Skimums preaches anything (and it doesn’t; well, not often), it’s to remember to recharge your batteries so you can give more to others.  This Wednesday is your chance to do just that before the last holiday push!  Snowbird is hosting a SkiTreat, a morning lesson by the Mountain School from 9-noon, lunch, spa tour and half-price access. The cost is only $40. #cheeperthantherapy (and a lot more fun).  RSVP to the Mountain School today at (801)947-8222.  This event will get you plugged in, charged up and ready to handle the holidays and the New Year.

Snowbird Offers Early Treat to Wasatch Women

DSC02112Snowbird invites Skimums and all Wasatch Women to take a break from the December madness at its first-ever Holiday SkiTreat on Wednesday, December 10th.  Work on your turns during a half-day group lesson with the Mountain School (9-noon).  Then, enjoy lunch, laughter and a chair massage in The Atrium at Cliff Lodge (noon-1). Cliff Sports will introduce you to the most-innovative and stylish gear for women (take pictures for your letter to Santa), and the Cliff Spa will give you a tour of its jaw-stopping rooftop facilities and let you stay for half-price (fyi — it rarely does this).

DSC02284This is a great day to catch up with old ski friends, meet new ones and, as always, enjoy the beauty of the mountain in your own back yard.  For Park City, Provo and Ogden friends, this is a terrific opportunity to come explore Snowbird with Skimums and other gal pals.  The cost is only $40, an absolute deal for lesson, lunch and other goodies.  Reserve with the Mountain School at 801-947-8222.

IMG_3325

The Mountain of Youth

Skiing into your 50’s, 60’s and…

By Skimum Beckie

Snowbird Road to Provo Skimums Women Skiers 50'sSkimum Paula recently asked if I would write a blog post about skiing tips for women over 60. I politely refused, because, as I informed her, I am not yet 60 for a few months…So, what would I know? As she quickly extracted the ski boot out of her mouth and mumbled something about 50+ women, I laughed, relented and agreed so she could save face and we could get on the slopes.

This is my first season back on the mountain after a 7-year hiatus. Skiing was always what I was going to do when I had time, or when there was great snow, or when my house was clean, or when there were no lines, or when I had more money, … sunny day, bills paid, etc. It took until I retired from 34 years of counseling hormone enraged tweenagers in local schools and found a great group of skiing women for me to remember what I was missing.

OK, confessions of a skier over 50… When I met up with the Skimums for the first time in January I admit I was a bit anxious not knowing whether my body was going to meet expectations. I wasn’t the oldest on the mountain, but I knew many of these women and wanted to keep up with them — and I did. Like riding a bike (or my Italian scooter; yes, I ride a scooter off the mountain), my body remembered the flex, the balance, the movement required to glide down the slopes. It also occurred to me that in skiing (unlike sunbathing), gravity is your friend, and good skiers of any age take advantage of it. So, I didn’t try to do too much at first, because while skiing isn’t any different at 50 (or 40 or 30 or 20 – physics is physics), it woke parts of my body that have been hibernating for some time. So, I was a bit tired and knew when to stop, but I had a great time and was hooked. Each week, I’ve skied longer and better. Aside from the social aspects (these Skimums are very, very funny – must be the adrenaline), I felt stronger and more accomplished each time. In case you’re wondering whether I’m a triathlete, GOODNESS NO, but I do work out twice a week with a trainer and keep active with the typical Salt Lake pursuits, e.g., hiking, biking, meeting friends, things I know keep me happy and healthy.

The biggest difference between skiing when I was younger to skiing now is the equipment. I skied in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s…. I was the girl that skied in Levi’s and a matching jacket to look cool. I was cool – actually, freezing cold! Helmets were unheard of, and only geeks or racers wore goggles. Times have changed, fashions have changed, and technology has made it easier and more comfortable for people of any age to ski Snowbird. Today’s skis, for example, make flying down Path to Paradise or carving through Black Forest or floating through the powder in the Rasta Chutes much, much easier. Yes, I can do all of those things today, things I’m not sure I could do as well when I was in my 20s! My “old” skis (circa 2005) were straight, long and heavy, and the only “rocker” I knew of sat on my porch with the cats. So, while I considered myself a good strong skier in the past, the newer, wider parabolic skis have me widening my stance a bit, giving me more stability and, actually, more comfort, control and confidence. Yes, I needed to create new muscle memory, but the newer skis make it much easier to ski various terrain and are definitely on my wish list for next season.

The other big gear issue was that my old boots killed my feet. During one of Skimums’ lessons, our Mountain School “coach” said something incredibly profound, “It’s hard to ski, especially ski well, when you can’t see and your feet hurt!” Well, this may seem like a “duh” statement to most, but the only “duh” was why was I waiting to do something about it. Some Skimums introduced me to Chris at Incline Foot Science where he custom fit my ski boots, which may seem ridiculous for a non-competitive 50+ skier, but I’m exactly the person who benefits the most from a fitted boot (or liner or insole) in terms of comfort, warmth and performance – things that will keep me skiing into my 80s and beyond. After a few days on the mountain, they started to feel pretty good, and my skiing started to look even better.

Snowbird Women Ski Lessons SkimumsWhy is skiing so important to me at this time in my life? For three decades, I’ve been working with teens, and now hospice patients, and their families trying to help them find their power and positive paths during life and their dignity at the end. For me, living in a town where I can get on the slopes within 30 minutes, get to the summit in another 12 and just stop, breathe and sail to the bottom with friends, many of whose children I watched grow, fills me with a sense of peace and wonder. It’s like being a kid again. Skiing has brought this to my life. This is the Mountain of Youth.