Early Season Notes - Balance

A few thoughts and impressions from the first couple of days of skiing for this season. Early days are really shakedown days. A time to revisit equipment issues (which rock skis to use), get the logistics tuned (what goes into which pocket?), and trying to get back in touch with sensations that seemed so familiar last season (but now not so much!).

Early season skiing has some real pluses. This is a time to revel in being back with longtime friends having fun in a beautiful outdoor setting. And it is a time to rejuvenate some basic technique, usually urged by the way our skiing feels during the first few rusty runs of the season. After several months, many idle 'do: skiing' circuits have gone dormant. What used to be second nature is much less so, leaving room for errors to occur, each error a relearning instant.

Such as becoming aware of my balance, or lack thereof. Sometimes it was good, reassuring. Other times, less so, somewhat upsetting, literally. It rarely felt great. Happily, past years tell me that my balance will return with a bit more mileage. Especially during the early runs, I often found my weight on the wrong foot. So I dug up one of my time-tested favorite tips:  for a while don’t think of anything but having whatever weight is on the outside foot during each turn be perfectly centered. Think:  ‘outside foot, outside foot, outside foot…’ 

Then there was the occasional skid-out. The snow was quite firm in spots, sometimes much slipperier than appearance suggested; a good test that encouraged centered balance. If the tail of my outside ski skidded out, like a car spinning out in mid corner, this told me my weight was too far forward. With than in mind, I sought where exactly to feel my weight on my outside foot so my ski would stay pretty much on line even when crossing over hard patches of snow. When successful, the ski may still have been noisy on the snow, but it behaved much more predictably and calmly. Good confidence booster.

Early season skiing has its rewards, both in terms of overall experience (great to be back on hill with friends again), and a chance to hone our balancing skills, which includes standing with weight in the right place on our outside foot each turn. Embrace it.

Next Post:  Early season notes - Timing.