The season has officially begun

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The season has officially begun

Postby SteveH » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:36 pm

Rejoice! The lifts start turning tomorrow, October 15.

The annual race to be the first mountain open ends in a dead heat. Both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland will open in the morning. ABasin will have the intermediate Exhibition open while Loveland will have the Catwalk/Mambo/Home Run beginner series. Cold temperatures over the last week coupled with some natural snow allowed the crews to finish up the runs.

It's just a little over four months since ABasin closed for the season, and the "good" eight months of the year are just beginning.
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Postby bernwern » Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:53 am

Sweet!

Also, for those following weather tracks, MT/ID/WY got nailed with a big stomr over 4 days last week/weekend. My buddy that lives in Bozeman told me they ended up with 24" in the valley, and as much as 48" in the mountains :) The three main resorts near there (Bridger Bowl, Big Sky, and Moonlit Basin) usually do not open until the first week in December; Bridger Bowl can not open any earlier due to being on National Forest land. Even so, this will help contribute to a good base for snow-pack, ushering in what is supposed to be yet another good winter for them.

-B
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Early snow in the NW

Postby IdahoRider » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:40 am

The storm missed us here in Sandpoint (although Schweitzer was dusted a few weeks ago...the picture is still on their website) but really pasted the Bozeman MT area. Son of a friend is going to school there and he and some friends put on skins and opened the season at Bridger Bowl. Check out the pix at www.thenoslo.com. They are on sticks not trays, and they are kids not grays, but still, to see these early tracks in the snow is pretty cool!
Ed
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Postby leftcoast larry » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:56 pm

It's in the frickin' 90's - the only thing falling from the skies is the gray ash from wildfires

Mtn High and Big Bear/Snow Summit are getting the plumbing ready, setting up the snow guns, maybe, maybe they'll open by mid-November ... maybe

The good news - a Jan 11-18 trip to Vail ... maybe

I'll just sit here on the sweltering left coast and wait.

Well I've been waiting :cry:

maybe my tears will turn to powder, my sweat sure isn't working
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October riding not too bad.

Postby SteveH » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:35 pm

I haven't ridden in October in past years on the theory that spotty coverage would be dangerous to my gear and pinballing riders on a narrow white swatch snaking down the hill would be dangerous to my health. I decided to give it a try this year since ABasin and Loveland opened on the same day to spread the humanity out a little and I was able to get away on Thursday to avoid the weekend crowds.

It was a brisk 30 degrees when I hit the ABasin parking lot around 9:30 after a blissfully traffic congestion free drive from Denver. The main lot was less than a third full and the lift line was nonexistent. I wasn't ready to risk my Skate Banana on the first run, so I pulled out my backup board, a Ride Havoc.

As noted elsewhere in the forum, I had my new Flow bindings all set up with my new Vans Cirro boots. I hadn't thought about the fact that I might be riding the Havoc with old Salomon bindings. Because the Vans are much bigger than my Salomon Dialogue boots, I could barely get the straps to close. Fortunately, I was able to get them secured without a major equipment adjustment.

I didn't fall getting off the lift, which took some doing since with only one lift running, the gear up area was pretty crowded. Once on the run, it didn't feel crowded at all, especially in the wide middle of the run that must be 100 yards plus wide.

Snow was remarkably good for 100% machine made. Pretty soft and grippy with no crust or slush. The coverage was outstanding. Not a rock or a bare patch to be seen anywhere on the run. The snowmaking and grooming crews deserve a big round of applause for a great job.

I was feeling a litttle tentative in my riding at first and the new boots seemed tight jammed into the Salomon bindings. Since the conditions were so good I quickly swapped out the Havoc for my Skate Banana. The Vans/Flow combination is everything I hoped it would be. Getting into the Flow NXT FRXs is a breeze and they feel snug enough for great control. Best of all, the pressure point in the ball of my foot (that was perceptible in the Salomon strap on bindings) completely disappeared and never came back in several straight hours of riding. Since my main goal in switching boots and bindings was to get rid of the foot pain, that counts as a great success.

The Vans Cirros Boa lacing system is also a treat. Pop the knob in a turn until they are a tight as you want. A huge improvement over traditional laces. The dual Boa system on the Vans also allows you to adjust the top and bottom sections of the laces separately for even better fit.

Once I was back on the more responsive Banana, my riding quickly improved and I was making carved turns at good speed after a few runs.

A single open run with machine made snow isn't exactly an epic day, but after four months of snow sliding deprivation it felt awfully good. I hope the rest of you get your hills open soon. If not, come to Colorado. The riding is great.
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Postby runswithdog » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:04 pm

SteveH,

wow! great report. I liked hearing about how all your equipment performed. I was also surprised the "coverage" was that good.

Most people are always saying you need your "rock skis" when you go out to the slopes in Colo.---- for at least the whole first 6 weeks. or so.

Maybe I'll make it to Breck in Nov. this year, if they can at least get all of Peak 8 opened. If not, than the first week of Dec. is usually a given.

A.
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Postby IdahoRider » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:48 pm

SteveH...

Sounds like a great "opener"...glad you found such sweet conditions, especially for this time of the year.

Thanks for the report on how the Vans/Flow set-up performed. It was music to my ears. I ended last season with an inflamed nerve in my lead foot, which I think was due to the capstrap on my B*rt*n Cartels exerting too much sideways force. Anyway, after a couple of doctor bills and a cortisone injection, the pain is gone. I want no repeat of the problem this year, so I invested in a pair of NXT free rides. I will be using them with the same Vans Fargos I used last year...one wire BOA, not the zone system. From the sounds of how things went for you, it sounds like this set up may do the trick.

Thanks again for the report.
Ed
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aka G.O.A.T. (Gray On A Tray)
Sandpoint, ID
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Postby SteveH » Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:47 pm

runswithdog wrote:wow! great report. I liked hearing about how all your equipment performed. I was also surprised the "coverage" was that good.

Most people are always saying you need your "rock skis" when you go out to the slopes in Colo.---- for at least the whole first 6 weeks. or so.
A.

My experience has been that the first runs groomed with machine made snow get excellent coverage. It's when the rest of the mountain opens that the coverage gets sketchy. You often see signs about "variable conditions" or something similar. Translated that means "watch out for the rocks."

Hopefully the storm moving through this week will add some base.
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Postby SteveH » Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:54 pm

IdahoRider wrote:Thanks for the report on how the Vans/Flow set-up performed. It was music to my ears. I ended last season with an inflamed nerve in my lead foot, which I think was due to the capstrap on my B*rt*n Cartels exerting too much sideways force. Anyway, after a couple of doctor bills and a cortisone injection, the pain is gone. I want no repeat of the problem this year, so I invested in a pair of NXT free rides. I will be using them with the same Vans Fargos I used last year...one wire BOA, not the zone system. From the sounds of how things went for you, it sounds like this set up may do the trick.

My foot pain wasn't as severe as yours in that it went away after I got off the board, but it definitely made the later portion of the day uncomfortable.

The toe cap/strap was defnitely involved for me as the pain would change in intensity depending on how I moved the strap around and how tight it was.

Getting into the Flows is a totally differnt experience. The huge powerstrap spreads the pressure out so much that I don't feel the squeeze through the ball of the foot I did with my Burton Triads.

I'm not sure how much difference the dual zone Boa system makes. In theory I like the fact that I can leave the lower section looser to keep the pressure off the ball of the foot while tightening the top for better control. On the other hand, the ability to adjust the lace tension on the fly with the Boa system may make that moot. I've never used a single zone Boa system so I don't have anything to compare it to.

Based on my experience, it seems likely to me you are also in for a much more pleasant riding experience with the Flows.
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Postby IdahoRider » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:54 pm

Steve-

Thanks for confirming what I thought. The toe cap/strap does indeed seem to be the culprit. Funny, though, it only affected my lead foot. My guess is that is has something to do with the additional force directed down and forward during turn initiation.

I mounted my Flows on my board this weekend and judging from how they felt as I ollied up and down on the carpet, I think I am going to like them!
Ed
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Sandpoint, ID
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Postby SteveH » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:58 am

IdahoRider wrote: Funny, though, it only affected my lead foot. My guess is that is has something to do with the additional force directed down and forward during turn initiation.

Ed-

I only had the problem with the lead foot also. My personal theory is that it's the lift that gets you, not the hill. When you unstrap the back foot you release all the pressure and allow it to relax all the way up the hill. Meanwhile, the front foot not only stays strapped in but has the additional torque of the back of the board hanging loose.

My guess is if you rode fakie all day and actually unstrapped the opposite foot the pain would move to the other foot as well.

Steve
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Postby bernwern » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:07 pm

SteveH wrote:
IdahoRider wrote: Funny, though, it only affected my lead foot. My guess is that is has something to do with the additional force directed down and forward during turn initiation.

Ed-

I only had the problem with the lead foot also. My personal theory is that it's the lift that gets you, not the hill. When you unstrap the back foot you release all the pressure and allow it to relax all the way up the hill. Meanwhile, the front foot not only stays strapped in but has the additional torque of the back of the board hanging loose.

My guess is if you rode fakie all day and actually unstrapped the opposite foot the pain would move to the other foot as well.

Steve


This is riding style pain. Most people are taught to turn using their front foot to torsion the board in the direction they want to go, engaging the edge to make the turn. Effective for begginers, but there are alternatives....some working better in specific conditions.

First, you can use lean. This is simply leaning your weight across the board in the direction you want to go. This also engages the edge, but with minimal/no torsion. Weight should be centered, so equal pressure on both feet. Not easy to do unless you have alot of expirience and a good sense of balance.....and also not easy to do at low speeds. Look at how alpine or advance freeriders turn for good examples.

Second, you can use your back foot entirely. Sometimes called muscling or kicking. Essentially, you are using your back foot as a rudder to steer, also weighting about 10% back. Riding this way in powder is essential on regular boards not only to keep the nose up and stay floating, but also to link any type of turns. Very "surf" inspired riding. Alot of freeriders ride this way in icy conditions, as you don't risk spinning out as much or catching an edge.

Third, you can use a combo of techniques. Combining torsion and lean can lead to near alpine riding on a regular board, especially if you have good edge hold. You can also weight yourself in the center, using both front and rear feet in opposite torsion directions to further carve on edge while leaning into the turn. This greatly reduces uneven foot fatigue.

Another suggestion for lifts and having foot fatigue: put your free foot under the back of the heelcup of it's binding. It will even out the weight and wear more evenly on both feet.

Lastly, I think Ihave stated this elsewhere, but the biggest fatigue I get is my kicking leg when skating down by the lifts. Learn to ride well (within your limits, of course) and stop closer to the lines. This minimizes your skating trip. Also, well tuned and waxed boards will glide easier, and couple that with leaning to glide when skating will help a huge amount with leg fatigue.

Hope this helps!

-B
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Postby wrathfuldeity » Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:18 am

Start of the season in PNW are the film fests though there are some that are already hiking the goods...went to Baker's film fest last night driving a wagon load of the daughter's friends.

To add to Bernwern's excellent list.

And at the bottom of the hill, loosen the lead foot straps a notch or two, so that you will get additional circulation on the ride up.

A good foot bed (superfeet, customs, cork and etc.) will help elimate ball foot pain, in my old Vans I threw out the little thin foot beds and used cork beds.

I use 32's 305s with laces and you can have the zone thing. I have the lower boot looser, then wrap and tie the laces at the ankle around the boot and on top really snug the top down...thus to assist with circulation in the feet and toes while the cinched boot cuff holds the ankle in the back of the boot.

On the lead foot (I ride ducked +12 and -9 and maxed out width), I use a velcro strap from an old pair of ski boots to wrap around the top of the binding's (drake ltd corsca...ones with the wide mfm ankle cuff/strap) high back (use velcro stickies on the back of the high back to hold the strap from slipping down) and the upper cuff of the boot to cinch togather the boot/binding...In effect I can leave the boot a hair bit looser but the strap provides additional leverage for being on/doing toe side. Another way to look at it is that the since the leverage point is higher on the shin you can just bend or drive the leading knee to pressure the toe side of the board...its more efficient to use the big joints and muscles of your hip thigh and knee instead of the caves, ankle and toes, i.e., tippy toes.

And to add about steering...for me a lot of stuff got sorted out (including foot pain, calf toe fatigue, general postural form and etc.), when I started using the school of thought "steering with the leading knee." That is, to go heel side, swing your front knee forward toward the nose of the board...then your hip also rotates and shoulder will rise and follow or be aligned. And to go toe side, bend or drive your leading knee toward the imaginary center of the turn (circle)...your hip will rotate and the lead shoulder will drop and be aligned. The general principles are that use your bigger joints and muscle, the closer your mechanism for steering is to the board the more effective and responsive...thus steering with head, hands, shoulders is too far from the board. And proper postural form of having your ankle, knee, hip and shoulder aligned and working togather the easier, more efficient, powerful and responsive (instead of riding stinky butt); and to keep all your upper body quiet and all your body parts inside the box...meaning imagine your board as the bottom of a cereal box and you want to keep everything within the parameters of the box. Additional note is posture extends from your pelvis...i.e., widened duck with hips tilted forward...like humping or like doing the Jane Fonda exercise, back straight and shoulders closed or parallel with the board.

Sorry about the long rant of the postural and knee steering thing but once that sorted out over the course of a couple years I'm a much more efficient rider without nagging aches and pains beyond the customary biffs.
Baker!
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Postby IdahoRider » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:35 pm

Bern & Deity

Many thanks for the long and thoughtful posts. You have given me lots to think about.

I am leaving the Cartels on a second, longer board that I am optimistically calling my "deep day" board. I think I will pay more attention to loosening up the front capstrap during lift rides on the days I ride that board and see if it makes a difference. Don't expect to ever spend a day riding fakie all day, so that idea, although it would make an excellent experiment, will have to remain a thought experiment. Loosening the front binding before getting onto the lift is something that probably will happen, though.

Really appreciate all the good info on stance and "turning with the leading knee" and leaning without putting torsional flex into the board. Also the cereal box image. I can relate and can't wait to put these notions practice.

Thanks again for the really helpful and excellent posts.
Ed
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aka G.O.A.T. (Gray On A Tray)
Sandpoint, ID
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Postby SteveH » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:47 pm

Idahorider
Thanks for the report on how the Vans/Flow set-up performed. It was music to my ears. I ended last season with an inflamed nerve in my lead foot, which I think was due to the capstrap on my B*rt*n Cartels exerting too much sideways force.

Ed,
I have now spent a full 7 hour day in the Flow NXTs. No nerve pinch at all--nada, zero, none. I hope the Flows are the cure for you as well.
Steve
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