Monday, March 30, 2009

Beginner Monoskiing 101

Steamboat TV18's and NRC Broadcasting's Eli Campbell injured his knee early this season and has been unable to ski since the start of the year. We ran into Eli and his lady Erin at Creekside one day, and discussed the idea of monoskiing... it gave him something to look forward to... when the doc would clear him for some strapped-in safe snow sliding! That day was finally yesterday, March 29, coincidentally one day after the anniversary of Craig's ski accident.

Eli's a great snow athlete- one look at his Facebook pictures and you can see he has a thirst for adventure in the woods. So with even more powder coming at us this week, we think we've timed this perfectly! Hopefully Eli will take this lesson to the next step and make some turns.

101 Fitting
Fitting the monoski bucket, foot cage, and outriggers to a beginner stance is primary; you should have an expert help line this out for you. Once you've mastered the basics, you can adapt to a more intermediate stance.

101 Control
Even more so than able-bodied skiing, when monoskiing you must start out slow to control the rig. It's a heavy piece of equipment that can hurt someone; so control of the device is of the utmost importance.

Push forward and backwards, lift up, pivot, and get an overall feel for your balance in the bucket and on the outriggers. Then on a flat surface practice getting up some momentum and stopping yourself. Monoski stops are made by pressing down with your arms and shoulders and pivoting one way or the other, as if the outrigger is doing the job, but it's your body is setting the turn in motion. Once you've mastered stopping the rig on a flat surface, move up the bunny slope to begin working on turning.

Eli did great at the base; he took to the rig right away, and was able to find his balance quickly. As a ski racer and athlete, Eli wasn't learning to ski, he was learning to adapt his existing (excellent) skiing skills to this particular equipment. The concepts are mostly the same, so he had a head start; but even his success far succeeded anyone's expectations!

101 Turning
Turning the rig is similar to turning when standing skiing; your head/eyes and thumbs should direct your turns. If you're overturning, you're looking into the next turn too late. [Overturning on a monoski will cause "wash out," where the ski turns back uphill and the bucket slides
out beneath you.] Prevent this by staying ahead of the turn by always looking to the next side once your turn has begun.

Now you're monoskiing!

Eli made some great turns, first twice down Headwall and then Craig took him to Swinger, and as he picked up momentum he seemed to pick it up, by the wide part of the trail, he was bombing away, turning less, and really getting the hang of it!

Thanks for being such a good sport, and thanks to TV18 for putting together the video of yesterday, we can't wait to see it!

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