Saturday, March 22, 2008

skiing: Advanced Ski Clinic

I took the Squaw Valley Ski School's recent three-day Advanced Ski Clinic, with Dan Ray, Tim Reeve (the two top instructors with whom we had private lessons last year), and Jim Moore. I kept a lid on the pernicious rumors that I'm a former ski instructor myself; skiing isn't a sport you master, it's a sport in which you progress, and like most skiers expert tuition accelerates my progress. My group of 3-5 skied with Dan Ray. Ahh I remember back when he was a kid hucking technical lines between ski lessons.

Here are the instructors scoping out a steep firm icy chute under Olympic Lady chair (off KT-22) for our video capture.
looking down into a chute under Olympic Lady off KT-22
A big part of the clinic is daily video recording, with review at lunch and further review in the evening. At advanced levels this is incredibly useful, because all skiers need to be more forward yet most skiers think they are pretty forward, until they see incontrovertible video evidence of themselves in the back seat/on the toilet/riding the backs of their skis. At expert level video review is less useful because the focus is on moving your hips and upper body down the hill/into the new turn/across your skis; you don't need video to know you haven't got that subtle complex motion right and you would need an overhead tracking camera to best capture the movement. The video showed my hands rising way up away from the snow instead of a tight reach downhill, I had no idea I was doing this.

Here's Dan on Dead Tree, also off KT-22. Also pretty steep.
Dan Ray on Dead Tree run off KT-22
I would have liked to ski even harder terrain, such as the entrance to Dead Tree or hike somewhere, but that's a lot of pressure on the instructor—one participant falls and the day is over. Once we reached easier terrain Dan skied ridiculously fast. I could keep up with him for one flat-out run but then the little speedometer in my brain would flash red and I'd scrub off speed. Skiing fast recalibrates your skiing.

Three days with a great skier full of technical expertise who loves to ski, what's not to like?

Even though I didn't master the hip move downhill into the new turn, I improved. My goal was not to shred my skis and while working on other things that problem cleared up.

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  • I was expecting to see some footage :(

    By Blogger gpinto, at March 24, 2008 11:37 AM  

  • The camera woman will sell me a DVD of our runs for $$$... I'm considering it. Then I'd have to convert a segment of a .vob file from the DVD to YouTube format, I bet Adobe Premiere Elements won't do it. So don't hold your breath. Google for Squaw Valley ski chute and watch the real experts in the video results.

    Last week I hiked the Palisades and skied Kitchen Wall, alas no video.

    By Blogger skierpage, at March 25, 2008 2:52 AM  

  • I have taken an ASC course at Squaw with Dan Ray and Tim Reeves as well. They are excellent. You will have a great time as you learn tons. Well worth the money. My next ski trip to Vail was like butter after their eagle-eyed correction. I cannot recommend them enough!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 21, 2008 10:40 PM  

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