How do you walk in those boots? …
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Saturday February 24, 2007 at 8:21 pm)

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My boot with Walk-EZ Revolutions

…Is a question that students ask me all the time. Or, “What are those things on your boots?”

When walking from ski school to the slopes, I attach my new Walk-EZ revolutions to the bottom of my boot. There’s several reason — for one, I’m less prone to go flying when I hit a patch of ice, a common occurrence early on a spring morning. Whenever I see another skier slip on the way to the lift, skis and poles flying everywhere (it’s happened to me, more than once) I’m glad I’ve got some rubber under my boots. According to the makers of Walk-EZ, the curve on the bottom of the device affects the curvature of the spine and improves balance and alignment. It sure makes walking from the bus stop or parking lot to the slopes a lot more pleasant, especially on ice. It’s maybe not quite a secure as crampons are … but a lot better than ski boot soles alone.

Another reason is to protect your boot. The sole of a ski boot is meant to be flat for the optimal fit on the ski and the best performance of the bindings. For skiers who use their boots daily, the sole becomes curved as the toe and heel wear away, which creates a less secure attachment of boot to ski. Using a sole protector like the WalkEZ helps preserve the flat boot sole and also makes it a lot easier to walk.

The WalkEZ Revolutions come with a cable lock. I lock mine to a ski rack at the bottom of the mountain and retrieve them at the end of the day.

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Before I owned my Revolutions, I used the Seirus Cat Tracks which easily fit into a (large) pocket.

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Ski training
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Tuesday February 13, 2007 at 2:58 pm)

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Running in my “back yard”

Training

In order to take the most advantage of your upcoming ski trip and fully enjoy the slopes (like ski 10 – 15 runs, or more, a day) you’ll want to get in shape using three types of exercise:

Cardiovascular, for heart, lungs, and overall endurance
Weights, to strengthen your legs
Core exercise, for your abdominal and back muscles as well as for balance

Let’s start with cardiovascular exercise. Doctors, fitness trainers, and coaches debate whether long slow distance or high intensity workouts offer more benefit, but all agree that it helps to do something. For cardio, you can jog, run, hike, race walk, nordic walk, bicycle outdoors or on an indoor trainer, cross country ski, snowshoe, jump rope, swim, ice skate, roller blade, swim, or jump on indoor cardio machines like a stair machine or nordic track.

I personally prefer to exercise outdoors when possible so I’ll run, hike, and rock climb in summer and cross country ski in winter. Nordic walking offers another great alternative. Claire Walter’s blog about Nordic Walking covers everything from benefits through shoes and trails and ends with winter. I’ll let you read her blog for suggestions on clothing, shoes and poles.

Nordic skiing will not only improve you cardio performance but also help build strength and improve your balance.

Cardio

Run
Try for at least 3 days per week, 20 – 60 minutes a session. After several weeks, add some speed work (sprints or intervals, where you pick up the pace for 1 – 2 minutes).

Cross country (nordic) skiing:

I’ve trained with the Summit Masters, a group of older (from over 25 to Freda Langell at 75) racers who train together. I’ll post a few of their workouts later.

Colorado snow and women’s skis
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Sunday February 11, 2007 at 1:55 pm)

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Women’s skis:

Foxy Mama, Sweet Mama, Royal Minx, Hot Minx, Cool Minx

Race skis pictured on right
Colorado snow and women’s skis

Those topics aren’t directly connected but I’m writing about both today. Let’s start with Atomic skis for women. I should have included the Sugar Mama in my discussion of the Nomad. This new ski for women is in the Nomad line with the same TFC sectors (six in the tip and four in the tail) as the Crimson and Blackeye, giving the ski great edge grip and control yet extremely light weight. The Sugar Mama is 79 mm underfoot with a 16.5 m radius.

The Sweet Mama, the second ski from left, is a freeride and powder ski, with a 17 m radius and a sidecut of 113 – 76 - 99 (at 159 cm length).

I didn’t ski all the women’s skis, so I’ll describe the rest later. In addition to the women-specific Sugar Mama, Atomic also has the She Devil, for terrain park or half pipe (link for this year’s model).

New for next season are the Royal Minx, Hot Minx, Cool Minx, and Minx.

Let’s get back to snow. Skiers in the United States seem to be converging on Colorado as one of the few places with good snow, but in Europe they’re flying the snow to the mountain!

From Girls Talk Sports

“Kitzbühel World Cup organisers are going to fly in a vast quantity of snow to the resort in Austria in an attempt to save this month’s prestigious winter sports race meeting, and about 4,000 cubic meters of extra snow, at a cost of several hundred thousand euros, will be required to allow the races from 26-28 January to go ahead.

The warm temperatures being experienced across Europe have so far prevented the resort of Kitzbühel, home to the famous Hahnenkamm downhill, putting on sporting contests.

“The missing snow will have to be transported in to ensure we have a piste to race on,” said Kitzbühel World Cup organisers.”

Maybe we should fly snow from the beleaguered state of New York to New England.

Trade show at Keystone
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Saturday February 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm)

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Nomad skis

Thug and Pimp
Nomad: Crimson, Blackeye, Whiteout, High Noon, Sativa

We had a very busy day at the Atomic tent the last two days with skiers trying out Atomic’s new line of skis for next year, the Nomad, which was selling (or at least being borrowed) like the proverbial hotcakes.

The Nomad ski is completely new and re-engineered with a thin layer of metal at the tips and tail (the Torsion Flex Control, or TFC elements). The different models vary in the number of TFC sectors in the ski from 10 in the Crimson and Blackeye (six in front and 4 in the tails) to six in the Whiteout and Highnoon (four plus two). These TFC sectors give the ski better edge grip and torsional rigidity while retaining a softer flex. The TFC sectors, combined with nano reinforcement between the sectors, result in a lightweight yet high performance ski. I was impressed with how well they held an edge on our now fairly bullet-proof snow while also turning easily in the bumps. I expect this will be a very popular ski next winter.

Also all the rage for expert terrain park users were the Pimp and the Thug. Since I still had stitches in my leg and my doctor had told me on Monday not to ski for another week, I gave up my opportunity to ride the rails. Were it not for those stitches, I would have been catching big air for sure! Just wait till next year!

Some friends wanted a tour of Keystone so I took them up the Montezuma lift and over to Jackface, a short black bump run which faces primarily north and still had excellent snow. It wasn’t powder, but it was the nice chalk-like high alpine snow that’s really grippy and forms in cold conditions (of which we’ve had plenty).  I skied Jackface in the Metron B5, the same ski as this year with different graphics. I own this ski and absolutely love it. I skied it before Christmas at Vail in thigh-deep powder and it floats like a powder ski. It slices through crud like a hot knife through butter, arcs on the groomed, and is the best all-around ski I’ve ever been on.

The skis are on their way to Utah for a skier magazine review and I’m curious to see their evaluation.

Ski trade show at Keystone
Posted by sibylle in skiing (Tuesday February 6, 2007 at 9:56 pm)

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Powder skiing photo by Joel Wexler

Today I felt like a kid let loose in a candy store. As Keystone’s rep, I helped out in the Atomic booth at the annual ski trade show, which this year is at Keystone, Colorado from February 6 - 8. Mostly I was a gofer in the booth, helping out the more experienced reps who knew next year’s line of skis better than I.

However, the 07 / 08 Atomic Metron B5i (integrated) remains the same ski as the 06 / 07 Metron B5 that I’ve skied on all season (except for graphics, or as one contractor said, “the paint job”, so I was able to discuss its many merits with skiers who demo’ed that ski. Said contractor already owned the B5 and had been trying, unsuccessfully, to find a ski that he liked as well. Now’s he’s thinking of buying a second pair in case one wears out or breaks. Probably not a bad idea – it’s been my experience that when you find a ski or climbing shoe that really works and fits well, they discontinue that model.

On one break, I visited the “other” Atomic booth, all the way across the corral and at the far corner, where Phil White, the nordic rep, showed me the collection of next year’s nordic and tele gear. He brought several new classic and skate racing skis, and a number of tele skis. I’d hoped to demo AT skis, but he only had Telemark skis set up with tele bindings. Not knowing how to tele ski, that wasn’t a particularly feasible option (and as I also had doctor’s orders not to ski until they removed the stitches in my leg, probably just as well).

Inside, I was impressed with the vast numbers and variety of boots at the Scarpa booth. It’s a far cry from when I began touring, in the dark ages, on leather Alpha touring boots with three pin bindings. A number of the boots will fit either the Dynafit or the UNI binding system; some work only with UNI, and a few are specific for the Dynafit binding (the F1 and F3 Alpine touring boots, at respectively, 2740 and 2936 grams). I think, from looking at them and reading about them ( but not yet trying them on or skiing in them) that these may be the boots I’ll try to get.

I’ve been inspired by Lou Dawson’s backcountry skiing blog and hope to get out this season, once I get slightly newer equipment (I’m on Kästle LW skis that I bought in 1980 …). The Kästle was certainly the top ski of its day and made the cover of Sierra magazine back then (I think that was when the late Ned Gillette circumnavigated Everest in them, but that’s from memory so I’ll need to double check). I got the ski through my former friend, ski buddy, and climbing partner, the late Walter Rosenthal who died this spring at Mammoth, so those skis will always have sentimental value for me.

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