Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parallel to Powder - Thanks to

"Hey Carl,

Many, many thanks for the "Kill the Snowplough" stuff.

I decided to start to learn to ski in early December last year ('10) because I love to climb in winter and really fancied having a go at Ski Mountaineering. So I thought that, this season, I should first learn to ski downhill competently on and off piste. As a first time skier I decided to book a lesson with the local (Cairngorm, Scotland) ski school which I did in first week of December. However, in an attempt to get as much info before my lesson I Googled "Snow Plough" and came across your Dr Ski article. It made so much sense so, although I went along for my 2 hour morning lesson, at which I was taught to stop and turn using the "dreaded plough", I decided that I would stay on the slope for the afternoon and have a go at "Hockey Stops" etc.
It may have been a very gentle nursery slope with perfectly pisted, fresh snow but it seemed almost vertical to me at the time. However, after a few goes at stopping I pointed  more and more "downhill" until I managed to link a couple of turns. Woohoo! Anyway, by the end of the day I had mastered the Ptarmigan T-Bar and managed to get down the slope a couple of times parallel and managed to stop at the bottom. Must have looked really funny though moving my arms robot-like back and forwards to initiate the turns. Subtle? no - just arms swinging back and forth - but I was turning - parallel....and stopping! Amazing!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have boought myself some K2 Backlite Touring skis with Eagle bindings and Scarpa Flash boots and have done another 7 days on the hill (once a week as work allows) - using mostly your tips and watching other folks' technique (or lack of it!) I am happily skiing all the Green and Blue runs on Cairngorm working on Carving technique instead of sliding around the turns - and am now skiing the White Lady - a RED run. It felt quite steep first time but not that scary as I knew I could stop safely at any time. I don't suppose my skiing is very pretty but I'll work on that later eh? Who cares anyway - I'm having a ball! And it feels soooo good when you can ski fast down the slope and Hockey Stop at the end of the T-Bar queue!

Maybe a bit of (only just!) off-piste and powder next. Had a day a couple of weeks ago when the slopes were just a couple of inches of wind blown powder on top of lots of old icy snow. I fell off lots - just didn't know how to deal with those conditions but I guess I'll work it out (with your help of couse!)

Anyway, thanks to you again for the incredible start to my skiing - I know I could not have achieved it so fast (or cheaply!) without the Dr Ski stuff. 

Kind Regards,

Andy Gatenby