Journey into Winter ... Part 2, Pole plant/Face Plant

It's always gratifying for me to learn something new.

I was hoping to take at least one ski lesson this season as I hadn't had one since my 2 novice lessons 4 years ago.

I didn't get a lesson yet but my friend taught me two valuable things that should hold me for this year.

The first was a tip for carrying our ski poles.

I've always found it a challenge carrying the poles. They just don't want to be carried. Especially if you're trying to carry two pairs! This is a big deal because we also carry boots, a big bag and a backpack with us to the lodge from the car.

He showed me how to loop the straps over the front of the skis and carry the skis horizontal to the ground over the shoulder with the poles hanging down. Simple. No extra equipment required.

The other thing he taught me was about pole planting when making a turn.

Smuggler's had got a few inches of powder the night we arrived after the slopes were groomed. I've never really skied powder before so I was in for a bit of a challenge.

Also, it was a bit windy at the top so the surface was very inconsistent. You would initiate a turn on an icy bit of corduroy that had been exposed by the wind and then plow into 6 or more inches of powder that had been piled up by the same wind! I went down immediately.

The pow itself wasn't too bad once I got the feel for it and kept my weight back a bit so the tips would be up. I'm a very "weight-forward" skier so this was a little adjustment for me.

Brian showed me how to use my poles when initiating a turn. I had never really paid any attention to pole use before except to drag them behind me in an attempt to slow down. :-(

Bend the knees, plant the pole, turn. I still have to think about it but once I got into a rhythm, it worked very well.

I'm absolutely ecstatic about having something new to work on for the rest of the season even if I don't get a formal "lesson".

One notable event occurred early in a run on Madonna Mountain. There was a short but steep section on lower Chilcoot with a hard right turn at the bottom.
I was going a little to fast for my comfort and when I turned at the bottom it was into a pile of crud.

My skis stopped but I didn't. "Click - click" as I neatly popped out of both bindings one after the other.

Face forward I went ... 2 bounces to the head and a pretty green light.

Back up the hill my 2 skis were perfectly placed side by side at just the right stance as if to say "Why are you down there? We're waiting for you."

It was very funny in retrospect. Too bad I don't get these things on video.
(to be continued)

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