"To evolve, you must stay involved" Glen Plake
It is easy to get complacent and lazy. It is much harder, having and keeping a beginner's mind, the mind of a student. I have a hard time doing that myself. And it takes me a concerted effort to get there.
Couple of reasons for that. While I am curious I am not a very good student. I'm demanding and stubborn and head strong. And I don't listen well. I have to work at it. It might take cold hard cash to get me to listen at times. My cash! Worse yet I am not generally willing to do anything new. As in a new sport. The sports I do now I have been doing for several decades. And in my own mind I am at least fair at them. It has taken a good bit of practice after all. I haven't done many...so I have worked hard at getting proficient at what I do enjoy. But truth is I aways want to get better. I've worked as a teacher enough to recognise hard case students like myself. It aint pretty. Wish it were different but it is not. A lot of ego wrapped up in all that.
So for me to want to learn something new, I need a harsh reminder that I don't know everything all already :)
A good physical trashing ( or falling even once a day on skiis will do it) generally gets me off the dime and rethinking what I am doing and how I might do it better. But putting myself in the position of a student, and with a beginners' mind is really hard for me. And when I do, I expect...usually demand, a lot. As I said, I'm a tough student.
This weekend is our local skimo festival. It is called Vertfest and has been held at Apental ski area for the last few years. It is a great venue that hasn't yet really seen its true potential. There is a lot of industry support from many manufactures like, Outdoor Research, Dynafit and La Sportiva among others. A full set of demo skis and boots. That has to be fun!
"Precious" @ The La Sportiva tent :)
The Vertfest race was a a great course of either one lap (for 2250' gain) or two laps (for 4100' of gain). My friend Jason Dorais of SLC laid down his two laps before I had done my first one. Time I heard was around 1:15. Which is smoking! Even though I am not really sure Jason thought it was even a decent work out. Others did ;) Have yet to actually see results (shame on you VertFest guys!) But the ladies winner was no slouch either. Sorry, I don't have her name just a pretty picture :) If someone can pass it along that would be great.
Jason Dorais, the Men's winner on Scarpa and Trab
The obviously happy, Juya Ghanaie, Ladies OA winner!
She also finished before I got one lap done!
Congrads to both!!
10 minutes prior to the start
At this point the pack has broken up and we are gettin strung out.
As good as the skimo race is at Alpental, it is the demos and the following Sunday of clinics that is the real high point of Vertfest IMO.
For just under $100 plus the lift ticket, I was able to do two clinics on Sunday.
Not that steep, but there is a lot of ski base showing...so steep enough.
Alpental has a lot of steep terrain in bounds.
The first was an excellent " Steep Skiing" taught by Martin Volken of Pro Guide Service with input by Tim Petrick, currently working for K2. But a legend at PSIA and the US Nat. Demo Team
Martin Volken, photo courtesy Andy Dappen
Alpental offers some steep terrain. We generally had good snow and I learned a few things and was reminded of a few others. You had to work for a living in this clinic. And be a little careful as well with the crusty conditions and the ice the previous day under a foot of new snow. Well worth the effort. If you ever get the chance this is a "must do" with Martin. It was a brilliant bit of instruction and perfect demo of the skill set required to ski steep terrain. Martin didn't miss the chance to remind us that this kind of terrain wasn't "normal skiing with a full pack in the mountains". You need to be careful in the back country, out of bounds and inside a ski areas like Alpental. All good reminders, imo.
Olivia Race, photo courtesy of the LAS web site
The afternoon was taken up by my second, 3 hr. clinic. This one, Sponsored by La Sportiva, was unassumingly labeled, "Intermediate Techniques to Improve Efficiency for Backcountry Skiing".
I always aspire to be more efficient! How could I loose? It was taught by Olivia Race from the Northwest Mountain School. I have to say Olivia's class was really fun. Low stress compared to the terrain Martin and Tim had us skiing. I had no idea what to expect on this one and Olivia's obvious skill shone brightly in the three hours of instruction. I have always said climbing (and skiing) is a thinking man's (or woman's) game. Olivia reminded me of just how true that really is, again. My brain almost hurt with just 45 minutes of her one on one tutelage. But I didn't realise it until I was done and another of my fellow students came under her critical eye and gentle instruction style. While I mindlessly followed along happy for the mental break. That hasn't happened in a long while. Again, brilliant. Learning new things is hard work for me ;)
Anyone that knows me (or has read reviews here) should know that I don't offer compliments often or easily. And I am pretty picky on who I will go out to the mountains with out reservation. I was lucky enough to meet three this weekend that I would add to that list any time.
No question, the best $100 I've spent on "gear" in a long, long time.
Hire a qualified Guide or Instructor and speed up your own learning curve! That can include climbing or skiing and any part of either sport depending on what you are looking to improve.