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JONES, Ski Instructor: Summit County, Colorado
Greetings fellow skier,
What anticipation there is looking forward to again slide down slippery slopes and feel the exhilaration of motion and the performance of our bodies in a clean white landscape! And with no mosquitoes or pesky flies as on summer excursions! We can again hope for those feelings of accomplishment when we succeed on a slope that had been difficult, improve a race time, tweak a little movement or balance position during a turn and sense the result, or watch a friend or family member do the same and see joy light them up.
Skiing is a sport we do. It is unlike so many sports we watch. There are skiers in their 80s—even ski instructors in their 80s—and skiers not yet two years old. It is truly a lifetime sport.
Sometimes I wonder why people ski. I even wonder why I ski. I cannot quite understand the sport’s draw. It is almost narcotic. Mostly the sport is not convenient. It is done in the cold. Its clothes are bulky and restricting. It can produce fear. It takes time from other activities and it costs money. It is not normal in the development of humans to slide or to use our muscles and joints in quite the same way as we do in skiing. Yet I and many are drawn to it time and again. Some cannot stay away and even arrange their lives to reside near a slope.
If you are reading this, you are one of those who like me is stuck on desire to do the sport again this winter as often as we can—and even to do it better than before. For me that means not only skiing for myself in what is about my 60th year of doing so, but instructing others again, for something like 34 years now. I suppose I have enjoyed the sport so much that I want to share it and to encourage others to try it out, or if they have already tried it to help them find ways to get even more from the sport. And I keep trying to improve, too, having again this autumn taken a two-day on-snow workshop to brush up on old technique and catch up on new. That clinic and more that I have scheduled will help me keep up, at least in understanding of the sport, with my grandson, who is now approaching the top of the heap of young American ski racers as he follows in the racing footsteps of his dad, mother, sister, cousin, and uncle.
Being based at Keystone (one of the Vail Resorts ski areas) I can give private lessons at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek/Arrowhead. I am also able to teach at Arapahoe Basin and even any resort with special arrangements. Because I have taught at all the named areas in the past, I can take you to the best terrain at each for your stage of skiing so you get the experience you want. Together, we can make the ski-sport more fun for you—with whatever you seek in skiing whether it be improved technique, new terrain, a family experience, just a ski guide or a fellow to ski with, or a combination of learning and exploring—your call. I’d like to share my ideas on how to help you enjoy the sport so you can “learn to ski/ski better/ski my best”.
Thanks for skiing with me in the past. I hope to have the privilege this winter, too.
Once again I invite you to look over my website www.SkiMyBest.com. If you’ve been to the site before, you may have reviewed some of the tips in its included ski manual “Skiing is a Sliding Sport”; one dealing with the new wider skis is included with this letter. Too, I respond to queries about ski technique or anything else relating to the sport—including advice on planning your ski trip and lessons.
Professional Ski Instructors of America—
You can also review www.skimybest.com/skiprivr.htm for prices and cost-savings tips.
If you have been tracking my grandson Riley Plant’s ski racing progress, here is a picture of him from last ski season. (A technical note: How close together should his skis be? Visit www.skimybest.com/skicsw01.htm for ideas. Another technical note: See how his skis are bent into arcs, enhanced by tipping his body, the arcs causing him to turn. For more on this, visit www.skimybest.com/skihowsk.htm). This year he is skiing for Middlebury College in Vermont. (A recent slalom finish for him was 27th out of 199 racers. For his age group he is 10th best in USA in slalom and 61st in the world. For his age group in giant slalom he is 8th best in USA and 45th in the world.) Thanks to those who have taken an interest in his efforts and helped support his quest.
SKI TIPS 2014-2015
Unlike some recent years, there is not a lot new in the ski world this year. You probably know the aspects of rocker in skis, but if you missed ideas about this design factor, see www.skimybest.com/skieqip.htm and scroll down to “Camber and Rocker”. Following are some articles from my “Learn to Ski/Ski Better/Ski My Best” website:
Wide Skis (see www.skimybest.com/howsk.htm)
Why are skis now wider? Eric Gerrmann tells why wide skis became popular, June 16, 2010:
“People ask us all the time about the width of skis... Will a wider ski perform well on groomed terrain? Will I be able to turn a wide ski? Are these skis only made for deep snow?
Skis waist width has been creeping wider over the last few years offering skiers a variety of wider platform choices. With so many wider ski options its hard to believe that so many skiers still haven't made the switch. A long time skiers initial thought seems to be... "Those look like waterskis!". Turn initiation and quickness edge to edge may present more of a challenge by being on a wider platform, but its not as difficult as you may think.
Added float is a huge benefit of having a wider ski. Whether its fresh powder or spring time slush, the greater amount of surface area will blast right over it. The construction quality of wider skis has improved drastically over the last few years. The skis are designed with deeper sidecuts in the shovel, or the tip of the ski, for easy turn initiation.
Torsional rigidity has also improved dramatically since the conception of wider skis. With better torsional stiffness wider skis perform exceptionally well on groomed and hardpack conditions. The torsional stiffness decreases chatter at higher speeds, and allows the ski to have increased edge hold on hardpack snow.
Another huge advancement in the progression of wide skis are the ski bindings. Manufacturers are now making bindings specifically designed for wide skis. These bindings are wider and more rigid laterally making it easier to roll the ski edge to edge and more compact allowing the ski to have more flex. They also raise the skier higher off the snow allowing for more leverage to engage the ski. The way the wide-ride binding grips the boot adds for a increased level of responsiveness, when a skier is transferring from one edge to another. Marker has done an awesome job of designing their "Royal Family" of bindings including the Marker Jester and Marker Griffon.
Wide skis take skiers to a new level of versatility by combining added float, without completely sacrificing edge hold and agility. Whether your skiing on or off trail, in deep snow or hardpack a wider ski gives you the unique experience of being able to handle it all. So don't be afraid to hop on a pair, it really changes the game.” [end of quote]
An alternate view: Depending on the snow, you may not need extra flotation from a wider ski. Even though improved materials now provide greater torsional stiffness, a narrower ski may still be stiffer torsionally and also take less time and effort to move it from edge to edge. Consider a narrower ski for groomed- or packed-snow surfaces, but if you are in powder much, at least have a wider ski in your quiver or at your rental shop. (Manufacturers report demand lessening for wider skis.) Over →
SKIING HUMOR (See www.skimybest.com/skihumor.htm)
This new invention should end the debate about whether the snowboard or the ski is the best tool for snow sliding!
A Skier's Dictionary (abridged)
Alp: One of a number of ski mountains in
Europe. Also a shouted request for assistance made by a European skier on a
U.S. mountain. An appropriate reply: "What Zermatter?"
Answer to kids’ joke prior page: “They all do!”
CONVENTIONAL SKI WISDOMS (See www.skimybest.com/skic00.htm for more.)
Which Conventional Skiing Wisdoms are true--if any? Always, or sometimes? Why? Why not? Actually, there is some or much truth in a number of these beliefs, but many have pitfalls. Some are downright wrong. In Learning to Ski/Ski Better/SkiMyBest, have an open mind. A conventional wisdom may have become part of your skiing style, so feels "right" just as the wrong use of a word in a sentence may "sound" right to you because you have used it that way many times. Thus a modification of ski technique might be logically better, but not feel as good as your pet Conventional Skiing Wisdom does--at least at first.
CONVENTIONAL SKI WISDOM #13: “Don’t wax skis; they would then go too fast.”
In alpine skiing, the purpose of waxing is to make skis more slippery. Fortunately, modern skis do not require as much attention to waxing as earlier models but there are still snow conditions where the right wax will make the skis less "sticky" in the snow. Waxing skis will not only make them go faster when pointed downhill but also make them easier to turn. That's our focus here: to make the skis easier to turn. Then we can change the direction they point more readily and position them in ways they won't run as fast. It will also reduce the effort to turn them, saving our legs for dancing or whatever. Sometimes on gentle slopes the skis will slide only slowly or not at all. Walking down such hills is obviously not preferred but sometimes is required on poorly maintained skis. Too, if you have ski that slides well, you can gather enough momentum skiing down a slope so that you can carry your speed up a rise, saving climbing up the rise.
CONVENTIONAL SKI WISDOM #23: "Skiing makes my thighs hurt (or calves, or etc.)"
Yes it may!
But here are some defenses:
RESORTS LESSON LEVELS (see
Gretchen’s Gold: The Story of Gretchen Fraser, America’s First Gold Medalist in Olympic Skiing. by Luanne Pfeifer. “Gretchen’s Gold rates a platinum. It’s fastidiously researched, historically au point, inspiring and fascinating throughout.” —Doug Pfeiffer, Vice President of the International Skiing History Association and the editor of Skiing Magazine from 1963 to 1976. 6"x9", 184 pages, 90 photos, hardcover, $19.95. ISBN 1-57510-019-3
Breaking Even. by Dick Barrymore. It was the winter of 1969 in Sun Valley. Ski film maker Dick Barrymore had just tried a pair of skis from a new American company. He loved the way they performed and called the company suggesting he shoot a film with the skis as the star. The company agreed to sponsor the film—and pay Dick with a pair of the skis. The rest is history. Barrymore became a well-known movie producer. 6"x9", 344 pages, 60 photos, paperback, $15.95. ISBN 1-57510-037-1
Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter, by May Theilgaard Watts and Tom Watts. Key to identifying deciduous trees in the winter (when they've lost their leaves) by examining twigs and other features. Describes parts of the twig and their function. Line drawings show twigs, buds, fruits, shape, habitat, and range of trees. Covers US and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, except Florida. ISBN 0-912550-03-1. 64 pages. Order # NASG0998 paper $3.95
Yosemite: The Story Behind the Scenery. by William R. Jones, former Chief Naturalist of Yosemite National Park. Not a winter book but one written by Bill Jones, Ski Instructor. Scenery, geology, history, plants and animals. Order # KCPU738 paper$11.95
Send orders to Bill Jones, 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498. Add $3.50 per order (not per item) for shipping. Include your shipping address with check. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.
FREE VIDEO: “Get Schooled with the Pros at Vail Resorts”. By Warren Miller. Limited supply; will ship free--first asked, first served. Send ship-to address to Bill Jones; 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498
WALK-EZ: alpine ski boot walking accessory. The Walk-EZ Revolutions are clip-on attachments for the soles of ski boots that provide a safe, gripping surface and have a curved form which allows a skier to help eliminate a primary complaint that skiers have - walking in their boots. The product folds in half for storage. S (men’s 8-9.5) and XS (women’s 7-8.5). $20 shipped free. Check to Bill Jones; 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498. Include ship-to address.
This "Annual Ski Letter Winter 2014-2015"
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