Ski All Day with New Technology in Women’s Skis

I want to ski the entire day.  I’d love to be the girl who is racing to get on that last chair before the lift closes.  I haven’t been able to do it yet, though.  The excuse I give myself for coming in early is I live here now and have a season pass so I can always come back tomorrow.  I simply tell myself, “Oh it’s nice to just ski for a few hours and then relax in the lodge.”

But the cold hard truth of it is, I get tired. My legs start burning, and I can’t ignore them.  I get worried that they won’t respond when I need them to. I might take a break but I end up going in instead of staying out as long as I’d like.

My girlfriends who visit find themselves in the same boat.  They don’t have the luxury of skiing next weekend though because they have to fly back to California.  This is their vacation – they want more skiing and less sitting. There is plenty of time for relaxing after 4 o’clock when the lifts close.

I recently found out that it might not just be me.  I don’t have iron legs by any means but I am in pretty good shape. I should be able to ski longer (with breaks of course.)  The answer could lie in my equipment. New ski technology is helping skiers gain more control, reduce fatigue and frankly have more fun. In the past, I’ve been confused and overwhelmed by ski technology, but this year I am bound and determined to learn.  My plan is to “geek out” because I have a goal – ski longer and get better.  Last year was the quest to become an intermediate skier. I did it!  Blue runs for me, my friends.  This year, we are going for the double blues, baby!

My friends at Rossignol helped me out and gave me a primer on the latest ski technology for intermediate women skiers this year.

Here are some things I learned:

photo 2Rocker.   As a classic rock fan, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “rocker” is AC/DC’s “Back in Black” but that’s not exactly what we are talking about here.  Rocker refers to the tips of the skis, like a rocking chair.  In powder, a rocker tip helps you to stay on top of the snow – floating on top of the powder like a water skier on water, not with skis planted in it.  On the back of the ski, the rocker helps you lean back to maintain control and slow your speed as you need to.  A tip and tail rocker helps you pivot without getting hung up.  Sounds good to me!

ROCKER EXPLAINED with titleCamber.  Not being a motor head, I had no idea what this term meant.  Camber refers to the spring on the ski – how it pops up or down. When you lay the ski on a flat surface, you’ll see it’s actually not flat. It has an arch in the middle.  As a result, only two points on the ski touch the flat surface and the middle of the ski has a spring to it. On a groomed run or hard packed snow, this helps with stability, turning, and gripping edges especially when it’s icy.

photo 1Combination.  Which is better for you?  Well, both actually! I found the combination of how the ski designer puts together the rocker and the camber is the key to control.  Rockers for powder skis means you don’t have to lean back to keep your tips up, reducing fatigue and that could mean one or two more runs at the end of the day. Camber on groomer skis means more stability, automatic turning, with edge grip and power which means more control, easier turns and more confidence.  This translates into less “having to pick yourself up” after a spill and possibly being able to tackle more challenging runs.

We’ll see if powder is in my future this year. If it is, I am going to try the Rossignal S7 with the Powder Turn Rocker.  Maybe an “all mountain” ski is better for me so I follow my girlfriends through a few trees and venture onto some intermediate mogul runs (no blacks for me yet, thank you!)  I’ll try the Women’s Rossignol Temptation 88 and the other in the Temptation Series.

We can all try them out at the Rossignol Test Center Yurt at Empire Lodge at no cost for two hours.  I haven’t taken advantage of this service yet but this year, I will.

Be sure to leave a comment for me about your experience with your demos.  Double blues girls, here we come!!

photo 5

 

The Peace of the Morning

There is no greater peace, no quieter moment than riding the first chair on Carpenter Express at Deer Valley with my husband.  Cool and crisp is the morning air and each inhale may result in a exhale of seeing your own breathe.  Floating free as we ascend up the mountain, it won’t be long until the thrill of my ski makes contact with the perfectly creative execution of the corduroy and I surrender to the fall line, knowing Marcel is skiing in symmetry not far behind.  Each turn is a focused, moving mediation with ease aligning my body, slowly angling and countering as I release my weight below my one edge and trust that the ski will bite, engage and come around in the most satisfying clean carve.  To share these unspoken, thrilling while relaxing and peaceful moments with my husband for the last 15 years has healed me.  It has made me whole again.

chairliftOn November 1, 2013 Marcel and I were in Los Angeles after our return from an amazing training camp with the U.S. Team in Hintertux, Austria for a few days of sun, relaxing and training with my strength and conditioning coach, Adam Friedman of Advanced Athletics at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. We both remarked about the contrast of being in a tiny Austrian village in the Alps versus being in Los Angeles and how we couldn’t wait to get home to Park City and for Deer Valley to open so we could have the “schlaraffenland” (spoiled paradise) at our disposal for the entire winter again.

At 10:20 a.m., completely unaware of the horrific shootings that just took place an hour before at LAX airport; I innocently drove down Sepulveda Boulevard to Yogaworks to get in one more yoga class before our flight.  Traffic was crazy, cars were at a complete stop which I didn’t find too unusual, it is L.A. after all. But when I saw people running into and out of the airport with their suitcases and five helicopters circling overhead I knew something big was happening.  Somehow, I cruised easily in my car through the chaos and it wasn’t until I stopped in the Yogaworks parking lot that I could look up on my phone “news at LAX.”  What I read stunned me.  I don’t think of myself as having Post Traumatic Stress until moments like this when I feel triggered.  Being in L.A. just a few miles from where my accident took place 18 years ago, the blur of the sirens, ambulances, fireman and police cars made me spiral into memories of that night December 19, 1995, where I too, was a victim and rushed to Harbor UCLA Level 1 Trauma Center and my life hung in the balance just like these innocent TSA personnel who were simply going to work.  I was simply going out to dinner and my life changed forever.  So would theirs.

Somehow I got myself upstairs to class, unrolled my mat, hugged all my fellow yogi friends who wanted to hear about my skiing in Austria and even got a special hug and kiss from our beautiful teacher Aimee, who did not know about the shootings. I did not tell her; I let class unfold as she planned I thought, what can she do with this information in this moment?  She took us through a beautiful class one that focused on breathing and feminine energy.  There were moments in my plank position that tears rolled off my cheek, onto my mat as I thought about the victims, all of them, including myself. I was overflowing with compassion and empathy.

Simply breathing, with a focused intention on the breath returned me to a place of peace in those 90 minutes.  I was centered, grounded and calm just like I feel when I am moving in my meditation of skiing.  I did to want to let that feeling go as I got in my car and tried to process reentering “the world.”  I have to drive up Sepulveda Boulevard again, pass the airport and see if we are even going to fly today.  The entire drive I prayed, I took in the chaos and handed it over to God in prayer.  Life does go on, even after a tragedy, it’s how we move forward that matters.

As I tried to fall asleep that night I told myself to go to a happy place, imagine something and someone I love, anything to take my mind off of the horrible, senseless images of the day.  What came to my mind was Marcel with me, on the first chair at Deer Valley, just breathing, floating and peacefully anticipating our first tracks.  I felt myself filling with gratitude, with joy, with love and appreciation for the many beautiful things I have been blessed to witness and experience. Most of those moments involve my life as a ski racer and every single one of them includes Marcel.

marcel and stefanie.jpgI intended to write this month’s blog about our amazing trip to Austria and if they will let me write two blogs this month I will.  I just had to share with you my thoughts, my feelings and my gratitude for the amazing life I am living and invite you all to come enjoy what we both know is peace…skiing.

Opening day is December 7, 2013 see you on the slopes.

stephani

Howl-a-ween on Main Street: Costumes, Kids, Candy and Canines

Park City is filled with dog lovers so its no surprise there is a Howl-a-Ween parade on Main Street for canines and their pint size (as well as full size) companions.  Since I love new experiences, dogs, kids, candy, costumes and Main St., I decided to attend.

Here are a few images of the event:

photo2

“Wonder Pug”

photo5

“Chia Dog”

photo7

“Shark Dog”

photo13

“Cowdog”

 photo1 photo3 photo4 photo6 photo8 photo9 photo10 photo11 photo12

 

With all these costumed canines coming out of the woodwork, it’s no wonder Park City is affectionately known as “Bark City.”