Friday, December 24, 2010

Atilla's Progress

Atilla and Vedat were invited to ski off piste by Haluk and didn't waste the opportunity.

The weather was doing it's best to mess up our day, but in the end we managed to beat it. At around 2500m altitude it was windy and snowing lightly and at this altitude the cloud cover was it's most dense. It was almost impossible to ski off piste due to poor visibility.

After a brief test which showed us that we couldn't go anywhere too adventurous we dropped down below the cloud and snowfall to the Mattis trees. There was limited snow there with a mixture of rain crust and wind pack. Very challenging stuff to ski. The top part of the descent was good but lower down the exceptionally mild temperatures turned the snow to mush - almost "rotten" snow that is normally only found in late Spring. When we found ourselves in mush it became too dangerous to turn in the trees so the end of the descent was made by carfully traversing in straight lines.

Vedat (Atilla's older brother) said that he had felt dizzy and not too good due to a chest infection - so he bailed out and returned home. It's not the first time he has given up just a bit too easily. Atilla stayed on. We decided to go for smooth terrain and good snow - so that meant going up to high altitude - 3300m and the flatter more even area around the Pisallias glacier.

Atilla in Pays Desert just down from the glacier. Good dynamic skiing!
video

On the way up to the glacier we took a run through Sunny Bowl because although visibility was almost zero it is also smooth terrain - well almost. I only found myself airborn once and with me in front the others had a reference point to make life easier.

(One day earlier) Atilla introduces himself as a "alcoholic" but 
unfortunately the sound isn't all that clear right at the start of the video.

The couple of days together were aimed at adventure and skiing all types of challenging snow conditions. Haluk started to understand for the first time his tendency (like everyone else) to tense up and block his hip and knee joints when the conditions were difficult. Just becoming aware of this is a major step forward. Development as a skier is all about awareness and overcoming basic instincts - technique is just a tool used in the process. Both Haluk and I did a lot of experimentation with "fall line" skiing technique - that is starting the turn from the top edge of the top ski and avoiding getting on to the inside edge for as long as possible. It was surprising to find that the ski could slide sideways in all types of conditions - but underlying this there is still a good base of "dynamics" skills required.

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