Pages: [1]   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Retiring a long tradition  (Read 1130 times)
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« on: December 21, 2012, 11:52:35 PM »

 I started skiing in 1969 with a pair of back-country touring/mountaineering skis made by Bonna (the Bonna Fjeldski) with an ancient version of an AT binding and leather boots.  The skis were wood with segmented metal edges; the bindings would allow the heel to rise (against pretty significant tension) or could be set to hold it down (with uncertain and usually unexpected releases).  With improved fiberglass/ptex skis and three pin bindings, aided by some downhill lessons on alpine gear and a rude idea of telemark technique, I ventured into the White Mountains and ventured up and down some old logging roads without getting hurt.  Modern (for the '80s) telemark gear, T3 boots and some telemark clinics made my first descent, via big traverses and kick-turns, of the Headwall on Mt. Washington possible.  Now riding state-of-the-art Atomic tele skis with Hammerhead bindings and the hot new model of the Scarpa T2 boots, I've added tele runs on Left and the lower Snowfield plus regularly riding groomers at any level around New England and in the West.  

Any hope of achieving expertise at the tele turn expired in the '85/'86 season with my first snowboard lesson.  The entire world of snow was openned to me and regular lessons plus a snow-board camp at Mt. Hood in the summer of 1990 moved me into the "anything's possible on one edge camp" and that's where I still am.  For at least the last 15 years, tele has been seriously in the back seat.  On many one-week vacations to the West, I didn't even take skis along.

Nevertheless, in our current retirement style, I've been using teles about 8% to 10% of the days on snow.  Sometimes, I'd choose tele for a little more challenge when riding a day with my wife (think blue groomers) or as an alternative to low soft boots and back-country touring skis when the way home was going to be down-hill.  

Today, at Snowbird with little to choose between other than which over-groomed blue trail to take (Snowbird's water use is pretty strictly rationed because they are in an essential part of the SLC water shed;  as a result they tend to maintain the easy blues with too much grooming and save the snow-making for runs like Regulator Johnson), I just had a pretty rotten day.  It wasn't just the skis.  Like last year, Canyons has gotten an early season jump on the 'Bird: huge amounts of snowmaking on an interesting layout of intermediate trails and pretty careful grooming generally has made Canyons into a nicer place this time of year.  It was Linda's first day of the season and she was not having a very good time breaking in some tight muscles, loosening up some slightly arthritic joints, and dealing with exercise at 10,000 for the first time in several months.  

Nevertheless, it was mostly the skis -- or rather my lack of instinctive comfort with them.  

Once, when I was teaching snowboarding in Massachusetts, a very good skier who was taking a private board lesson from me asked which edge I would use for a panic stop in an unexpected emergency.  My answer was, of course, "It depends."  Pressed by the skier to consider an absolutely neutral situation where edge choice made no difference or a situation where there was no chance think let alone analyze, which edge would I go to by habit.  I refused to play his game, but instead asserted that edge choice always made a difference and that my instinctive responses were rather well honed to making the right choice.  Especially now, with roughly around 13,000,000 feet of vertical under my edges, habit and instinct make it possible to ride fast and comfortably in almost any conditions.  (My weakness remains steep, bottomless powder -- even out here there just isn't that much chance to get day after day of that stuff.)  My responses are now mostly instinctual.  It's transendental -- beyond reasoning and thinking about turns and balance.  It's what athletes in many sports refer to as being "in the zone" or performing "out of my mind."  

My telemarking experience isn't like that.  I probably have fewer than 200 days of serious downhill telemark in my life, spread over 40 years, and, even then, a "day" of telemarking might mean one descent of the Lower Snowfield and on down the icy Sherburne in survivial mode.

I have to work at telemarking correctly and I worry about error, crashes, slow reaction to events that require a quick response, etc.  

THE INSTINCTUAL RIDING SKILL ISN'T THERE.

Throw in marginal conditions on a tough hill and the fun is sort of lacking.  Add the fact that if I'm on skis it's probably because I'm nursemaiding an intermediate skier grandchild or family friend or riding with my wife in the spirit of shared suffering and, you know what?, telemarking really just isn't worth it.  Riding my board on a green trail with a kid, I can pop a 180 or do a nose roll, or set a good example by taking some air off a cross-over.

I believe that I have decided to give up down-hill skiing, specifically, telemarking.  I intend not to telemark again this season.  If that works out with all of the family, I won't even take my tele's along next year.

I've been primarily a boarder since '86/87.  We started taking Western trips in the winter only after boarding came into my life.  For a few years after leaving one of America's premier law firms, I was a teaching pro as a boarder.  From now on I'm not going to be a boarder most the time.  From now on

I AM A BOARDER!

Tommy T.

(and, a trumpet player, but you get the idea, I hope.)

« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 10:34:54 PM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
atruss
Backcountry Elite*
Backcountry Guide
*****

Reputation: +55/-11
Offline Offline

Posts: 6935


Ntrenttt
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 07:35:33 PM »

I've been meaning to reply to this for a long while.

I'm not ready to retire any sports I enjoy at this moment, I did however try snowboarding.
I had a great deal of fun with it but I fealt like I was cheating on my skis; seriously.

I learned to ski before I can remember and it's apart of me.
I didn't want to trade that for something else, I boarded for 2 seasons I believe.

I did switch to Tele as an alternate but I have similar conflicts with it, but because its quite similar I can rationalize it enough to sleep at night.

With all that rambeling I really meant to say is, I understand
Logged

I think I've figured out Facebook's major appeal. It offers uber-narci­ssists an opportunit­y to have their proverbial 15 minutes every five f------g minutes
surf88
Backcountry Elite**
Backcountry Guide
*****

Reputation: +69/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 3235


climb


View Profile Email
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 07:43:19 AM »

Personally I think Tele at a resort get boring pretty fast.  Like Tommy I only choose tele at a resort when looking for a little more challenge when I go with my wife of neice. What I enjoy most about having the Tele setup is going out and touring for turns.
Logged

More Snow Please?

My Blog:
http://www.outdoortripreports.com/
danishstock
Day Tripper
**

Reputation: +15/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 91


Sluice '08


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 05:33:18 PM »

Was it Socrates who wisely told us, "All things in moderation"?  The only "thing" that must go big is the Thule box to carry all the options!   
Logged
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 10:01:08 AM »

Was it Socrates who wisely told us, "All things in moderation"?  The only "thing" that must go big is the Thule box to carry all the options!  

I sometimes like to consider myself a philosopher (it was one of my college concentrations), but I focus on the meaning and source of knowledge, not civic ethics.  

With Socrates, I have considerable disagreement.   Socrates wished to manipulate all aspects of society in order to obtain his concept of the happy, effective polis.  His program would include rigorous censorship of all the music and literature to avoid bad models.  The works of Homer would not be allowed because they show the gods as often unfair, unethical and at odds with each other.  Stories and music that relate to suffering or death would be banned because they tend to make people afraid to battle on behalf of the state.  Sad literature would be banned because it induces moodiness and detracts from the citizens' dedication to serving the state.  Children would be tested early to determine how they might best serve the polis and then trained in accordance with their aptitudes.

Others have said "moderation in all things including moderation," thus leaving room for an occassional passion.  I would add the withdrawal of the state from its position as the judge and enforcer of moderation, leaving each individual with the ethical responisbility of choosing moderation or not in each appropriate circumstance.  To choose the hemlock rather than public ridicule in a choreographed trial, for example.

Tommy T.

Caveat:  Our understanding of Socrates is, of course, learned through the lens of Plato.  It is often suspected that the Platonic lens was somewhat fogged.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 11:54:48 AM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal