Do you ever watch the freeskiing competitions and wonder how they do that?  Those kids are so strong and graceful, their knees locked together, taking the contours and drops into their body so seemingly effortlessly, shoulders downhill, arms quiet and out in front, setting their commitment to the next bump. Big toothy smiles on tan mountain cheeks at the bottom.  Looks like fun!

I thought today I would try. Ha! Thank god I was in my Straight Talk uniform and no one could recognize me as I took my first run under Burgess Creek liftline. The bumps were really nice, good fall line, north facing and soft. My technique? Not so nice and soft. Anyone wanna volunteer to teach this medium-old dog some new tricks?

I love me some uber soft powdery bumps, and slushy bumps are a favorite in the spring. (They’re gonna be awesome this afternoon if we do in fact get to the 52 degree highs they are predicting. My favs are Vortex and Surprise.) But true bumps are a mystery to me. I get stuck in the trenches. I have a hard time with speed control and end up stopping after every turn or alternately porposing across the hill in an effort to slow down. I can’t seem to keep my downhill knee very bent, and my skis are miles apart from each other. It’s straight up ugly, but I try.

That is what I am getting at: trying things we don’t always do.

If you’re here from out of town, or you’re on your once-a-year spring break ski vacation, congratulations, you’re already doing something you don’t usually do.

If you ski a few times a week or even every day, you can still take it outside the box. It is so good for us. There are actually all these scientific studies about how learning new things and trying new things keeps not just our bodies learning, but our brains, as well. Today I even skied Christmas Tree Bowl, and I have to admit, I have never skied Christmas Tree Bowl. I have lived in Steamboat for 12 years, and I have never skied Christmas Tree Bowl. Ever. It was so fun! The snow is great, I had no idea what the next turn would bring. Total adventure on a Wednesday morning in March.

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Here’s my proof!

So as you venture into your Wednesday, be it the last day or first day of vacation, a midday lunch break or a late-afternoon sunny ski, try a new run. Ski off the top of Morningside, ski down Broadway benches and hang at the corner to take in the views or ski bumps all day. Then reward yourself with your standard lines and see how far you’ve come, even if, like me, you skied all those bumps bad bad bad. My last run of the day was super sweet groom Storm Peak Face to Cyclone (so great, my recommendation for the day, besides bumps) to Drop Out. I felt like the best skier in the world.

Happy Wednesday. Happy spring skiing.

See ya next week!

Ali Givnish, Alpine skier

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