I made a mad dash to Solitude to meet up with Rachael Friday. She and Nick had already skied for more than an hour together by the time I showed up. They got warm-ups. I didn't. Up Powderhorn, out the Honeycomb Gate and down Black Forest in flat light and punchy snow, through twigs and trees.
I don't really have much of an excuse for the first tumble. I was tailing Rachael as she danced in and out of the bushes when all of sudden I was starfishing. My gear stayed with me despite stuffing a ski tip in a pile of fresh snow. I brushed myself off, chuckled, shook it out and skied up to Rachael. She didn't see my crash. Nick did. Next, we traversed through the lower gate for more trees before skiing up to Honeycomb Express. Again, I chased Rachael and again I went down. The only injury was to my ego. WTH? It was like my feet had no idea what the rest of me wanted. Early season. That's my excuse.
We have conditions that we normally don't get for another month. And in another month, I'm dialed in and ready to handle it. But I'm not ready to go this hard yet. My legs are just beginning to remember how to guide and bend a ski. My toes are still curling inside my boots when I get near moguls. I can't remember the name of the quad to the north of the Moonbeam parking lot.
It doesn't help that no one else is turfing. Rachael said she ate it on her first run. That made me feel a little better. But she was looking pretty fine now while I was still out of control after five or six turns. Catching edges, crossing tips, thrown back. You name it and I was feeling it. Nick mentioned jokingly that ski school might help. He's right. It's that and a different pair of skis. My Head Jimis are pretty but they are not the ski of choice when there's an inch of fresh on top of packed powder. The rocker tip helps to move the ski around but it's heavy, floppy, and too fat when it's sitting on top of these conditions. They need to be enveloped by white fluff for me to be completely happy with them. Problem is I dropped my all-mountain skis (ie 96mm under foot) at Jans in Park City to be prepped for the season and I still haven't gone back to get them. The edges needed buffing and sharpening, the bases needed wax and the bindings tested.
Any ski that sits in a garage all summer needs this maintenance; especially if you didn't give them a "storage wax" and loosen the bindings at the end of last season. If you keep bindings tense, there's a chance they will wear out sooner. And if they're really old, the plastic pieces and (rusty) metal could simply disintegrate mid-turn. A shop technician can head that fiasco off at the pass.
Unfortunately, he can't prevent your own personal lameness. That's all my doing. It's time to pull back the reins and go easy for a few more days- pretend as if we haven't had 100+ inches this season already. I rode a lift at Alta with an AirMed pilot last week. I asked if work had been mellow? He said just the opposite. Wrecks everywhere. One guy broke both of his legs in Brighton's backcountry. We forget that not only do early season hazards like rocks and logs exist but our bodies aren't calibrated for deterrence yet.
I don't think I actually need a ski lesson; but just in case, I've signed up for a PSIA clinic next week.