Thursday, 26 February 2015

Free Skiing Steamboat Springs

Today I free skied the big resort.  I've always wanted to ski here.  It rectified all that was "wrong" in my world.

It was a bit of a task to find a ticket on the deal we were promised, but it ended up working, which was fortunate as full price day tickets are $127 US here, which after the credit card ding on exchange rates would have been a $160 CDN day... crazy considering my season pass this year was only $40 more.

I started navigating around all the west chairs to get a feel, and the skiing was all a bit laboured.  I went in for a snack (pocket snack, god stuff is expensive here).  Then all of a sudden I found my groove.  I chatted to the guys who were just starting to re-set the start area for tomorrow's race.  They had a junior race of some sort on Vagabond that morning.  He just said go for it, so I ran the course.  It's long, and not super steep, so carrying speed will be key.  But more importantly, unlike Howelsen Hill, there was room galore for self feedback.  Howelsen is short, and the way the race course occupies it, there isn't really even a side run to ski and get your flow.  I realize that now.  Half way in, I was making the best turns I'd made all week.  I stopped for a breather as the elevation was getting me.

I did a whole bunch more runs, it felt great.  Each turn I was working on something, and to be honest I think the sum total of being here, seeing people, racing, then really having a think last night on what I needed to work on... led to the best several hours of telemark skiing I've ever done.  I worked on edging deeper, more angle.  Both right and left turns I could feel the articulated knee of my snow pants brushing the ground.  I could put my hand down and touch it.  I was working on extending down the hill in transition with active hip movement.  It all felt so right.  Late a couple days, but so right.

The trick is to get that onto courses.  Racing well and skiing well are so different.  For next time I know to disappear off to the side of a real run and just get my groove going.

Top looking towards town.

West edge of area looking south.  That ridge run is Vagabond where the race will be, and the top of that knoll is where the gondola and a few of the lifts unload.

So after tiring myself out on the hill, I learned a couple of pertinent things.  I was scheduled into a work conference call tomorrow at 9am.  Secondly, I found out the results of Tuesday's Sprint on the FIS site are better than what I had seen online before (FIS site has me at 24th and the other graphic from the broadcast had me at 29th).  Which then means that I earned enough FIS points (err, reduced my FIS points) such that I have below 150 and am qualified to race the Classic tomorrow!  Step one: find a workaround with my client (whom thankfully understands) and do a detailed email status update to him tonight.  Step two, get those legs as recovered as they can be from my free skiing adventure today!  My mindset is optimistic.  I can ski well, I know that from today... it's just if I can translate that to a race course.  You'd think it'd be easier... but I know it's going to be a long lung and leg burner for sure!

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