If you’d seen me walking into Whitetail Mountain Sports on Thursday, you’d be forgiven for thinking I was on my way to adopt a child, or do something more momentous than what was actually happening: I was picking up my new skis!
My level of enthusiasm when I laid my eyes on the K2 True Luvs, my first new pair in a staggering ten years, was indeed closer to what one might feel about a new baby than new ski equipment: Hello, little skis. I’ve wanted you for so long!
They are pretty. They are springy. They let me ski the same way I did before, but with less effort. They have pink ribbons on the tail, making me think they’re giving a shout-out to my dear friend Alexis, who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. And they came just in time for my first day of ski-and-toboggan training as a Whitetail Ski Patrol candidate Saturday—the main thing motivating me this week.
The training, which lasted all morning on Saturday, consisted of having a cadre of instructors carefully assess me and my classmates while we completed what should have been simple exercises: snowplow, side slip, and short-, medium- and long-radius turns. No brain-busters there, right? We all knew how to snowplow, sideslip, etc. What we didn’t know: All the stuff we were doing wrong, form-wise. One classmate learned he kept his skis too close together. Another learned he was leaning forward from the waist.
My lessons: Though I thought my upper body was the only part I got *right,* it turns out my torso is a hot mess. Rather than keeping my torso facing consistently downhill while my legs do the work, I rotate every which-way while I ski, which in turn throws off my whole stance. Steve and I had actually filmed each other skiing moguls a few days beforehand, and my bad habits are painfully obvious there: It looks like I’m trying to conduct a choir with my poles!
And that’s not my only bad habit. I also bail on my turns before I carve a complete “C” shape across the mountain, failing to engage the edge of my inside ski and making turns that look more like a “Z.”
Is there anything quite as motivational as knowing how to improve? I finished the morning exhausted, and anxious to practice my new skills. The only bummer: At the bottom of my last run, a snowboarder slammed into me from behind, and I tweaked my knee just enough to freak me out. I’ve been staying off of it, and am seeing my marathon-running, expert-skiing, former Navy SEAL, rock star of a sports orthopedist to get it checked out today. Wish me luck!
What’s motivating you this week?