Things that make you say WOW
Every once in a while you see something that makes your draw drop. The recent nor’easter storm comes to my memory. The feeling of charging down Devil’s Fiddle and blasting thru the chopped up powder was a definite bright moment.
The feeling of silently flying thru the trees after a big dump is another bright moment in many skiers or riders mind.
One move I saw many tree skiers doing to add some speed control to the controlled flight thru the trees, I will call the “Bubba scrub.” To people familiar with the motocross scene you will know this term. The Bubba scrub is named after the inventor of a move in motocross that helps the rider be faster when negotiating jumps. The use of it is now common for the top racers of motocross, but the first to use it was James “Bubba” Stewart. He figured out that soaring high off the jumps of motocross was entertaining to the fans but slower for the riders than staying low and being able to use the power of the motorcycle sooner. So what he does is just before the lip of the jump he whips the bike sideways so the tires come off the ground before the lip and as a result shoots on a flatter trajectory off the jump. This enables him to land sooner and get the motorcycle powering ahead of his competitors. When I saw him do this at the Unadilla motocross track it was a definite WOW moment. They have a part of the track I like to sit at called Gravity Cavity which has riders drop into this ravine and then shoot into the air (30-40 feet) as they exit the gully. Well, when James Stewart came off that jump he dragged his foot peg in the lip of the jump doing the “Bubba scrub” and landed before the rider who was ahead of him at the exit of Gravity Cavity, passing him before the next turn. I did not believe what I saw, then he came around on the next lap and did it again.
To pull the Bubba scrub while skiing you need some mounds of powder. The beauty of this move is you can scrub off speed while changing direction. Something that is quite useful while ripping in the trees or any mogul field. Find some bumps with clumps of powder near them. Then try jumping off a bump and landing in the middle of the powder clump. While in the air extend the legs fully and land on your heels so the scrubbing of speed into the clump of powder does not throw you head over heels. On the next attempt turn the skis or board the new direction while in the air and land in the clump with the ability to go the next direction with a controllable amount of speed. Once you own this move on the bump runs, take it to the trees and feel how loosing speed while doing the Bubba scrub is a beautiful thing.
By: Chip Dwyer
Having a Strong Inside Half
It never failed; last season when I went to a clinic about improving your skiing, I would hear the phrase, “ski with a strong inside half”. I have my interpretation of that phrase, but I wondered how others interpreted it. When I asked others, I would get bits and pieces of what I was thinking. Well, I will combine what others said with my feelings on the subject to try to explain the term.
First, what is the inside half? It is the half of your body that is above the inside ski of a turn. Said another way, it is the left side of the body in a left turn and the right side in a right turn. With shaped skis, the inside ski has a more active role than it had in the past. With the old “straight” skis, the inside ski was often just in the way of the all important outside ski. Old school skiing would have us lift the inside ski and basically keep it out of the way, while modern skiing has us using it as an aid and keeping on the snow ready to be in balance on it, when needed. We were to use to use our legs like we were riding a bicycle in the old days, whereas now we should edge and steer the inside leg as if at any time the outside leg might go away. Having an inside ski that compliments the outside ski is what the term comes down to.
When skiers lay down two-ski carved turns (these tracks look like curved railroad tracks), they need a fairly wide stance, and because the legs are laid over so much to create high edge angles needed to have a pure carved turn, they must have a long outside leg and a short inside leg. Doing these dynamic “arc” turns is where the average skier has trouble with the inside half. When locking shaped skis on edge to carve a turn, most skiers let the inside ski get way ahead of them. As the inside leg gets short, most people let it move forward and without knowing it they have pressure on the back of the boot. If the outside ski were to go away, they would be out of balance, standing on a ski that was way ahead of them. Another problem with the inside foot shuffling too far forward, comes when it is time to make the next turn. As the skier switches edges, they have to make excessive motions with the upper body to try to get in balance on the new outside ski.
It comes down to keeping the ankle in the right place and the body stacked over the feet properly, and then you will be in a strong position. This is what one person meant when they said, “I keep the bend in the boot to create a strong inside half.” Another person said they tried to edge the inside ski more than the outside ski. While they were saying that, I was thinking of steering the inside ski more than the outside to keep it complimenting the other ski. Blend it all together and you now have a strong inside half.