On May 15, 2024
Columns

Absorbed and absorbing the moguls of Superstar

I couldn’t find my center of balance for the life of me. A few days off from skiing and I felt like a fish flopping about on dry land. I would get stuck in the rut and get launched upwards and then I could feel my weight slamming into the back of my boots. The cuff opening up so far, that I thought perhaps I was in walk mode. Then I would be ejected from the line across two or three, fearing that someone would be coming down the zipper and just slam into me before I could get my feet pulled back and underneath me, recovering into the new line.

It was a nightmare. Or a daymare. I couldn’t tell which it was for the moment. Had I forgotten how to ski the spring bumps of Superstar? Or had I forgotten how to ski altogether? Holy crap, I could feel my heart beat racing faster and faster, not from exertion but from the very idea of losing the movements. I mean, I know that menopause makes you forgetful, but I thought that was for like what you needed from the fridge or the grocery store, not the movements that are essentially the essence of your life.

So I stopped mid run. Which I rarely do, except for one of my athletes from Team PomPom. Anyways, I stopped. And I thought for a minute, working my way through all the pointers I had ever been given. I know I have to keep my feet underneath me, but why wasn’t it working? How could I make it work? I went through all my bad habits: I stand too tall and don’t rotate, I don’t flex my ankles enough and I straighten my downhill leg forcing my knee and hip to get slammed instead of absorbing the mogul.

These things I know how to fix, since they are all mental triggers more than anything else. I remind myself that Superstar isn’t steep, so there is no reason to lean up the hill and straighten the downhill leg. My shins and ankles control the direction of my skis, so I knew I was working that, even if it was sloppy. Ding! I was standing up. I was lazy. I wasn’t giving myself up to the mountain. I wasn’t surrendering. I wasn’t sinking.

By Merisa Sherman—Views of the moguls on Superstar in spring at Killington Resort

And so I sank, deep into my hips and ankles, letting my knees come up to my chest to absorb the impact of the mogul below me. Pulling the ball of my foot up to engage my shin and take control of the front of my skis. To actually stack myself instead of just letting the feet move away from me. This isn’t easy cruising, this is body activated movement that all begins with getting low, letting the femur move upward from the hip socket. 

There it was. All of a sudden, everything was playful again and I poured my soul down the mountain. Finally, I was able to stop thinking and just let my body do the movements that I have trained it to do over the course of the almost 5,000 days of my ski career. 

It is magic, when everything finally pulls itself together and you just start flowing down the trail like water in a stream. You hear the hoots from the chairlift in your subconscious, but they really don’t penetrate as your entire being, your entire existence is wrapped up in this one movement, this one moment. Like you have slipped into another world, another plane of existence that you only shake yourself out of when you see the two big orange signs at the bottom of Preston’s Pitch.

It’s almost a rude awakening, those signs. From the moment you slide onto the headwall, nothing exists but the mountain and you, with feelers out for those around you, of course. But you don’t really see them or hear them, they are not in your little bubble. Not in your ski world. Only you. And your skis. Nothing else matters. Not the construction at the end of the road or the drama throughout the world. Nothing. You have escaped everything except the movements on your body.

Because if you don’t, you’ll be upside down with your skis above your head faster than you can think. You have to surrender. You have to be all in. There is no other way to go about it. No other way to perfectly match yourself to the mountain. No other way to let your soul fly free for the few minutes. So I get low, letting my body flow through and over the moguls. I am fluid. I am grace. I am a skier.  I might need shorter poles, though.

Merisa Sherman is a full time Killington resident, local realtor, member of the Development Review Board, town lister and Coach PomPom. She can be reached at Merisa.Sherman@SothebysRealty.com.

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