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  1. #1
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    Old Man Park Skiing

    Are you an older skier? Old enough to remember when ski patrol tore down any jumps you built, and terrain parks didn’t exist?

    Despite your age, have you ever found yourself lusting after the forbidden fruit of the terrain park in recent seasons?

    That’s the situation I found myself in this last year. And with an overall shitty snow season in Utah, it turned out to be a perfect opportunity for this old guy to try to learn to park ski.

    In case there are any other aging maggots out there with similar inclinations, here’s a basic how-to list for older skiers looking to release their inner park rat. The following is like, just my opinion, man. After a single season, I am by no means a good park skier, so YMMV, etc, etc.

    Old Man Park Skiing 101

    1) Acknowledge the risk: your joints and bones are not as resilient as they once were. And if you are going to hit tables and slide rails, you will get hurt. Make sure the risk/reward quotient of learning to ski park is worth it for you.

    2) Swallow your pride: so you are a badass ex-racer or an accomplished backcountry ski mountaineer? So what. In the park, you are a Jerry. You will suck, you will be awkward, you will fall. The six yo park rats will be better than you. Accept your jong status, be humble, and be willing to embarrass yourself in front of others and laugh about it.

    3) Get some park gear: if you are seriously going to give this a go, you’ll want some park specific gear. If you don’t have park skis, get some used twin tips and mount them within -1 to -4cm of true center with an alpine binding that has good elasticity. Detune the edges if you are going to slide rails. Pads also help take the sting out of learning boxes and rails. I wear my G-form mountain bike hip and elbow pads pretty much every time I ski park now. Yes, it is dorky. And yes, it helps. Lastly, park poles with BMX style grips are easier to hold with your thumb on the outside of the grip. You will appreciate this after you land your 10th table top in a row off axis/backseat and crash onto the same hand for the 10th time. Your thumbs will thank you. Buy your poles 4-6” shorter than normal for extra park steeze if you like.

    4) Tramp time: the trampoline is one of the best ways to increase your air awareness and practice tricks you aren’t comfortable doing on skis yet. You can get hundreds of reps on a tramp in an hour, versus the weeks it would take to get hundreds of reps in the park. The quality of the trampoline matters. Olympic tramps are nice, but if you have any opportunity to use a MaxAir Superquad, take it. You will not be disappointed.

    5) Do your YouTube homework: do you speak park? Even after a year of online study, I still don’t speak it well. And even when you understand the terms, understanding the actual mechanics of a Misty 5, Cork 7, Ninja Front Flip, Switch 180, Flat 3, Rodeo 5, etc requires watching videos of other people doing these tricks over and over. I especially like Stomp It Tutorials, the amount of content and the detail of the instruction there is awesome. Jake Mueller’s Empire Tutorials and the CUFST videos also have good stuff.

    6) Never ski a groomer forward: if you have your twin tips on, start skiing anything you can manage switch. Like everything in life, learning to park ski is mostly just a matter of getting reps. I had a volunteer patrol gig this year at Deer Valley. With little available off-piste skiing for most of the season and no DV park, I skied a lot of switch groomers there (more than 150,000 vertical feet... yeah, I was bored). The ability to ski backwards fluidly, with speed, while comfortably looking over either shoulder is a great asset in the park. It will make tricks where you take off or land backwards so much easier, especially as you increase the speed of the landings and the size of the jumps.

    7) Ramp time or camp time: water ramps into pools or indoor ramps into foam pits, ridden with your skis and boots on, are a much closer approximation to the park than the trampoline. And a snow-covered in run and ramp to an airbag is closer still. Obviously, these facilities are harder to find. I’m lucky enough to live close to the Utah Olympic Park, where mere mortals like me can use the water ramps for a price. I know other training facilities and camps exist, and a few have adults specific summer camps on snow like Windells on Mt. Hood and Camp of Champions at Whistler. All you need is time, money, and the will to try.

    8) Find a friend: this one is probably the most important. You need an old dog ski partner in crime to make this work. Another aging skier who is dumb enough to join you in this fool’s errand. Someone to cheer you on, someone to push you to try it one more time, someone to shoot a video of your ugly old style so you can analyze your mistakes. Can’t emphasize this one enough...

    Ok, enough rambling. I hope some old man skier somewhere out there thought this was helpful and gets out to slay the park next season.
    Last edited by DGamms; 05-22-2018 at 04:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    I was blown away by your new found switch and park skilz Dgamms. I might need to play a bit more next year......

    Did you dry suitcat UOP or just wet suit it?


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    I would be up for some old(ish) guy water ramp time at UOP this summer!

    But I am only old enough to remember getting chased out of the malformed snowboards-only halfpipe, not old enough to remember patrol knocking down everything.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by detrusor View Post
    I was blown away by your new found switch and park skilz Dgamms. I might need to play a bit more next year......

    Did you dry suitcat UOP or just wet suit it?


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Hey, thanks Detrusor. Hopefully we can get out next season together more, and there is better snow to ski outside the park.

    For the UOP, I was just wearing a wetsuit, which they will lend you. The Olympic aerialists in training are definitely in dry suits though.

  6. #6
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    Old enough to remember getting chased by patrols then joining the resort freestyle team. Back then only team members could use the jumps and only under a coach's supervision... But very few of us wore helmets hahahaha..

    Up through my 30s I'd still hit the big jumps. Through my 40s I still hit the medium ones.. Until landing one smack middle of the LZ tore rib cartridge.. I didn't even fall, just a little hard landing that felt like someone shot me in the chest... I was gasping for breath as I skied the runout to the lift corral wondering how I could have possibly hurt myself. Skied another hour but sore for 6 weeks after that. Couldn't sleep on that side of my body at all for 3 weeks.

    Now in my 50s I'll hit the smaller ones and some medium jumps but not sending it like I used to.

    I don't see myself giving up jumping entirely, but I'm not throwing helis anymore either.

    Rock on old dudes. If I skied more regularly I know I'd be much more comfortable in those situations than I am now. Use it or lose it!
    Last edited by SumJongGuy; 05-02-2018 at 02:12 PM.
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  7. #7
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    I'm so old I just recently learned to say switch instead of skiing backwards
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  8. #8
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    Respect, DGamms. Thanks so much for writing this. Validates my ongoing park curiousity that lingers after a broken thumb and a couple of ribs.

    I wish I had such ready trampoline and ramp access as you do.

    Hike the kiddy park until you can do rails and never leave the body armor at home.
    wait!!!! waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait...Wait!
    Zoolander wasn't a documentary?

  9. #9
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    Next year! V inspired DGamms. At 31 I don't know if I am old by TGR standards but I am by park standards. Going to jong it up next year. My park-partner is my dad (67). He hit some mid size jumps and threw down some mule kicks and spread eagles. Definitely wasn't the worst dude in the park and old enough to get 'old man' steeze from the youngsters.

    Twin tipped sickles mounted at -6? Too far back for switch skiing groomers? I feel weird on them switch on groomers but might be operator error.

    Any old man pro tips on skiing switch?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupreChicken View Post
    Respect, DGamms. Thanks so much for writing this. Validates my ongoing park curiousity that lingers after a broken thumb and a couple of ribs.

    I wish I had such ready trampoline and ramp access as you do.

    Hike the kiddy park until you can do rails and never leave the body armor at home.
    Thanks SupreChicken. Yeah man, honestly the thumbs were the body part that got injured in the park the most often this season. Sounds weird but it’s true...

    If you don’t have kids, then you don’t have as much trampoline access as we Dads do (I turn 40yo in a couple months and have two kids). But if you are willing to weather the strange glances from the parents, you can go to your local trampoline park with all the 6-12 yo kids for an evening. I’m sure Seattle has multiple indoor tramp parks. And if that won’t work, the local high dive isn’t a terrible substitute.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by margotron View Post
    Next year! V inspired DGamms. At 31 I don't know if I am old by TGR standards but I am by park standards. Going to jong it up next year. My park-partner is my dad (67). He hit some mid size jumps and threw down some mule kicks and spread eagles. Definitely wasn't the worst dude in the park and old enough to get 'old man' steeze from the youngsters.

    Twin tipped sickles mounted at -6? Too far back for switch skiing groomers? I feel weird on them switch on groomers but might be operator error.

    Any old man pro tips on skiing switch?
    I like Empire’s videos on switch skiing
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YK11Ln8zGf4
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RpsH71MQNZ4

    Stomp It has a good video on how to ski switch too, but I think it’s paid content only.

    I own 186 Sickles at -6cm from TC too. Decent switch, but less confidence inspiring than my 185 Scimitars mounted at -2cm from TC.

    I am certainly no pro at skiing switch. Those videos above offer a lot more insight than I can. I will add that, as noted above, you just need to do it a lot to get comfortable with speed. A lotta lot.

    And you’ve already seen it on the Raven thread Margotron, but here’s a link to some of my old man park skiing from last year. Hopefully it gives people some idea what trampoline park and water ramp training might look like if you’ve never seen that stuff. As before, I warn you to watch this at your own risk. The old man ugly park steeze may scar your retinas...

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GvW...8Jc8tlBnF/view

  12. #12
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    I'm 6' and about 190lbs, what size hoodie will I need to be steezy? XXXL or XXXXL?

    Old enough to remember patrol tearing down jumps, still blown away that more people don't die on some of the big ones they build now. I'll run through small and medium parks with the kids or while heading down a groomer on my way to the car but have zero desire to actually spend time in a park or go out of my way to find one. I prefer getting air time off of natural features and not destroying my equipment on rails. That and hard icy landings scare me, if I fucked up an entire season because I was doing something stupid in a park I'd kick my own ass, at this point in my life recovery takes too long.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGamms View Post
    Thanks SupreChicken. Yeah man, honestly the thumbs were the body part that got injured in the park the most often this season. Sounds weird but it’s true...

    If you don’t have kids, then you don’t have as much trampoline access as we Dads do (I turn 40yo in a couple months and have two kids). But if you are willing to weather the strange glances from the parents, you can go to your local trampoline park with all the 6-12 yo kids for an evening. I’m sure Seattle has multiple indoor tramp parks. And if that won’t work, the local high dive isn’t a terrible substitute.
    I've been considering taking the grinder to the edges of some old skis and mounting them up for trampoline time, could be fun without the repercussions of landing on ice. Then again I could see myself coming down on the tails, loading them up and getting flung off the tramp and half way across the yard.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPP33 View Post
    I've been considering taking the grinder to the edges of some old skis and mounting them up for trampoline time, could be fun without the repercussions of landing on ice. Then again I could see myself coming down on the tails, loading them up and getting flung off the tramp and half way across the yard.
    Ya, at a legit freestyle camp they'll have you in a harness with a spotter while on the tramp. Skis can get caught in the cables though
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  15. #15
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    Would mini skis or blades help?
    Quote Originally Posted by SumJongGuy View Post
    Ya, at a legit freestyle camp they'll have you in a harness with a spotter while on the tramp. Skis can get caught in the cables though

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by margotron View Post
    Would mini skis or blades help?
    Meh, ankle weights might help some. The main problem with tramp, ramp, etc is that it doesn't simulate landing on a steep slope. Those things simulate landing flat so you're going to come up short or back seat transferring that to a real jump.
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SumJongGuy View Post
    Meh, ankle weights might help some. The main problem with tramp, ramp, etc is that it doesn't simulate landing on a steep slope. Those things simulate landing flat so you're going to come up short or back seat transferring that to a real jump.
    ^^^^
    This.

    I stomp 3s and 5s in the kitchen.
    Canít get out of the backseat in the park. Iím something like 5 for 300 on 360 attempts.
    wait!!!! waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait...Wait!
    Zoolander wasn't a documentary?

  18. #18
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    Patrol just stuck poles on anything worth launching.

    Not everything but most stuff.
    Own your fail. ~Jer~

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupreChicken View Post
    ^^^^
    This.

    I stomp 3s and 5s in the kitchen.
    Canít get out of the backseat in the park. Iím something like 5 for 300 on 360 attempts.
    Try bigger jumps. I stomp 3s on 25'+ jumps and land backseat anything smaller/flatter. I tend to do cork 3s apparently and just can't figure out how to land squared up on small jumps.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupreChicken View Post
    ^^^^
    This.

    I stomp 3s and 5s in the kitchen.
    Can’t get out of the backseat in the park. I’m something like 5 for 300 on 360 attempts.
    Cool to hear other people’s technique tips. Again, I’m no expert. But when I’m in the backseat or off-axis on a 360, it’s usually because I:
    1) Didn’t pop well at the end of the lip
    2) Started the rotation of the trick too early
    or 3) Looked down at the lip/my skis at takeoff instead of keeping my eyes up at the horizon line

    The Common Mistakes for 360s Stomp It video explains this in better detail:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9rx769ZQVhw

    And Zartagen, I agree. Sometimes a bigger jump is easier to spin off of, in part because you don’t feel like you have to set the rotation hard to make it all the way around (like you might have to on a smaller jump). For me, if I’m thinking “oh shit, I have to spin hard to make this” on the in-run, it usually translates to setting the spin too early, a crappy pop, and an off axis/backseat landing.

    A strong pop, patience when setting the spin, and keeping my eyes up will usually fix this for me. Pulling your knees up hard at about 180 will often also correct what would have been a backseat landing 360.

    Lastly, having someone film you a couple times is invaluable for fixing these mistakes too, because in real time it happens so fast you usually can’t tell what you are doing wrong. But when you analyze the footage frame by frame, the mistakes are easy to spot.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGamms View Post
    Cool to hear other people’s technique tips. Again, I’m no expert. But when I’m in the backseat or off-axis on a 360, it’s usually because I:
    1) Didn’t pop well at the end of the lip
    Can you talk a little more about 'pop' and loading the tails? I can't ever seem to get good pop off any feature. Straight airs off cliffs it hasn't mattered, I jump as I'm going off the edge and pull knees up and in. But popping is a mystery thriller to me

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by margotron View Post
    Can you talk a little more about 'pop' and loading the tails? I can't ever seem to get good pop off any feature. Straight airs off cliffs it hasn't mattered, I jump as I'm going off the edge and pull knees up and in. But popping is a mystery thriller to me
    If you are loading the tails and springing off them, that’s an ollie. It’s a useful technique for getting onto a rail or box from the side, where there is no ramp and you have to generate the jump height yourself to access the feature. Some skis are a lot more ollie/nollie friendly than others.

    But popping at the lip of a table top jump is not an ollie. It is not done from the tails of the ski. To pop, you bend your knees slightly, with gentle shin pressure on the front of your boots, and then pop off the balls of your feet at the lip of the jump. If you don’t pop, your trajectory in the air will pretty much match the angle of the jump takeoff. You will be leaning back 20-40 degrees in the air every time.

    And as you land, your backseat takeoff problem will be compounded by the downhill angle of the landing zones in the park (just what SumJongGuy was talking about earlier). So if you are already back seated relative to the flat surface of the table top, you will be even more back seated when it comes time to touch down relative to the steep downhill of the landing zone.

    All that to say: pop. It helps tremendously with staying balanced and forward in the air.
    Last edited by DGamms; 05-03-2018 at 07:42 PM.

  23. #23
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    It doesn't have to be all about focusing on POP. Lack of pop is usually more a factor of being timid or defensive as you hit the feature. All you really have to do is be confident and own it, hands forward with zero hesitation and strong legs. Actual hard pop pushing off isn't all that important as long as you don't try to suck it up defensively at the last minute..
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SumJongGuy View Post
    It doesn't have to be all about focusing on POP. Lack of pop is usually more a factor of being timid or defensive as you hit the feature. All you really have to do is be confident and own it, hands forward with zero hesitation and strong legs. Actual hard pop pushing off isn't all that important as long as you don't try to suck it up defensively at the last minute..
    I guess I have always 'popped' but thought it was something different. So guys that have a lot of 'pop' off jumps have stronger legs / are jumping harder?

    So take-off pop has nothing to do with the skis themselves? other than weight that is. i get a lot more pop on a lighter setup.

  25. #25
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    Just ski down there and jump off something, for crying out loud!


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