Running gates in Vermont

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Running gates in Vermont

Postby patmoore » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:13 pm

I'm the NASTAR coordinator and Pacesetter at Okemo. For the second consecutive year, I'll be setting one course with snowboard-specific gates and one with traditional ski gates on weekends this coming season.

I'm trying to encourage more boarders to try racing. NASTAR is a great no-pressure introduction to the sport. Who knows? You might wind up winning your age group at the Nationals in Steamboat.

If you find yourself in southern Vermont this winter, make it a point to look me up and run some gates.
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Postby John » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:50 pm

Pat,

I've run NASTAR twice, though oddly enough, never at home. In 2007 it was at Crested Butte, and in 2008 it was at Bretton Woods.

In both cases it was part of a friendly outing with fellow writers of stuff about snow, though out of 50 or so people who participated, I was one of maybe 5 snowboarders.

SO ... we used ski gates. My goal the first year was simply to survive and not crash into one of those things.

Then at Bretton Woods I biffed on my first run but got up quickly and finished it. The second and last run I was this-close to getting a bronze.

Any tips for running the course?

By the way, the person with the slowest time took about a minute. (Gold times are about 20 seconds, if I recall). Then again, she had a good reason: She's blind! It was an impressive show, to be sure.
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Postby patmoore » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:48 am

John wrote:Pat,
Any tips for running the course?


Glad you had a chance to try NASTAR, John. Stick with it.

One tip you might find helpful: The first time most folks run gates, they have a tendency to head straight toward the upcoming gate and turn after passing it. That results in a skidded turn that scrubs speed. Whether you're on a board or skis, you can shave time by "turning high". In other words, complete your turn before you get to the gate so that you're set up properly for the next gate. Picture it as a series of S turns rather than Z turns. Lisa Feinberg Densmore wrote an excellent book called Ski Faster that does a wonderful job of explaining the proper line to take in GS racing. It applies to snowboards as well as skis. Amazingly I found a website that has the entire text of the book online.

Next time you find yourself on a NASTAR course, ask the starter for some tips. They'll be more than happy to do so.
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Postby John » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:33 am

When I've run the course it's been in an atmosphere of friendly competition. We divide into teams of 8 and then times of the top 2 finishers of each team are compared to see which team wins. As you might expect, my time has never been used for comparison purposes.

Yeah, I get the part about making S-turns. The skiers who went before me (some of whom made gold) clued me into that. But I still get nervous about crashing into the GS gates so perhaps I scrub more speed in the turns than I need to.

By the way, do skiers ever give you grief for messing up their tracks on the course?
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Postby patmoore » Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:37 am

John wrote:
By the way, do skiers ever give you grief for messing up their tracks on the course?


Not really. I do lay down trenches but no one has ever griped - at least not to my face. I create trenches with the skis too but I can usually get lower on the board than skis.

ImageImageImage

Note a severe case of "A Framing" in the first ski shot. Three surgeries on my right knee have resulted in a 5.5 degree cant. Since that shot was taken, I've gotten plug boots and we shaved the soleplate with a planer to return my alignment properly. The new boots are doing the job in the third shot. The bad alignment of the knee doesn't present a problem when I'm on a carving board.

Our store doesn't carry race boards but we do have a nice selection of traditional snowboards, bindings, and boots. We can offer special discounts to Grays On Trays Forum members. You can email me at webmaster@suburbansport.com for details.
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