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.
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.
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.
Labels: skiing, Squaw Valley