|The Carver's Almanac||
SES 2006 - Monday
The totally epic snow conditions and mostly sunny skies made for quite a few must-see photos.
Today was a carving centerfold pin-up day.
For Monday, the SES hits Ajax mountain.
For those who scored a First tracks ticket in Saturday's raffle, that means loading at the gondola at 8 AM,
for a ride down the Copper Bowl, a very large half-pipe.
I 'reckon this be Fin's board.
News flash - the BTS also works with Head boots.
The carvers mill around the gondola loading area and discuss sidecut, binding angle,
boot stiffness, and all manner of technical carving trivia.
While everyone else was talking shop, I was photographing Aspen's natural beauty.
Plum TV is a local cable channel for Aspen, and they gave us some coverage of the SES event.
Our trusty First Tracks guide gives us all the safety tips.
Enough talk - Now, we rail. First Tracks consists of a single run down the Copper Bowl.
It started out overcast in the morning, and then we got some sun before noon.
Dr. Scott rails in the Copper Bowl.
Patricia locks in the edge.
We finish our First-Tracks run, and head back up to sample more of that perfect grooming.
Because the snow and grooming were so epic, a few carvers went down an über-steep pitch after First Tracks.
On the über-steep pitch, we had to dive into each turn,
which is often effective when proceeded by a wind-up, or a "leap".
This is Norm's leap, followed by ...
Tom rails the über-steep with finesse. No BAM, just a light "thwack".
The wind up ...
Chris Webster savors the groom.
OK, now we go over to Ruthie's Run for total ripping. Here's James from Tahoe on his Donek 203 (22.5cm waist)
Kurt rails a money shot. The Pureboarding guys were once again out in force. With the super-hero snow,
they pushed their style style to the max, and went non-Euclidian.
We're talking angles I can't even visualize.
Eric on the #ONE
Lothar is in total control - he can have a conversation with you while he's in a full-on carve.
"Is that a Nikon? I'm a Canon man myself, but I'm waiting for the new EOS 350D - hey, you should be using a polarizer"
The groom is so good that Ladia goes Madd.
The snow was so perfect that Jörg couldn't help giggling in the middle of a carve..
Bob Jenney decambers into a turn. Is it my imagination, or does that decamber look piecewise-linear?
Ken seems to be getting really, really low (cue ominous foreshadowing music)
Here is Andreasen (Ris). Not only is this pretty good carving, he's doing it with one prosthetic lower leg.
Dave nails the Coiler product placement photo.
Crave2Carve demonstrates postcard perfect angulation.
Mike also has a big-time windup before a diving turn:
Mike is way beyond 16:9. We're now into Cinemascope aspect ratio.
Bryan from oldsnowboards.com rides the tinkler board, with carbon fiber rods for flex control.
Bryan shows how to tip that thing up on edge.
Fin plans his trajectory like a Bezier curve in Autocad.
Jacqueline totally rails. When Jacqueline and Ueli are railing on the slope with the black-on-black color scheme,
they look like villains from a James Bond movie.
Ueli has a matching outfit, and is mirror-image regular.
Scott Ubrick triangulates the best line.
Trent can ride.
Trent can flat-out ride.
Trent clearly knows how to ride.
Plus, he's also self-deprecating.
I think I've reverse-engineered Shaggy's style. It's really a form of Tai-Chi.
The snow was wicked hero. It was unreal.
Now, we pull ourselves away from Ajax Mountain and head to Buttermilk for the demo tent and festivities.
Lothar makes a bee-line for Buttermilk.
At the top of Buttermilk, Chris Karol models his Ski boots and Catek OS2s.
Here's Dave Morgan, all distorted.
This shot is more of what I'm looking for. But it looks like I need to use a monopod as a boom to suspend the
camera about 1 foot over the rider's front knee when I snap the photo. I'll try to get some shots Thursday or Friday.
The rest of these photos are cropped quite a bit, so you don't see the exaggerated stretching that you get
at the edges of the fisheye image. A full-frame fisheye photo has a 180º field of view corner-to-corner.
Tom prepares to enter the fisheye domain.
Now *this* looks fishy.
We tried different approach paths. Basically, I need a boom.
We now return back to the rectilinear domain.
Frank Dietzel from Virus shows how to rail on those short carving skis.
Mats takes his split-tail Prior181 into the groom. The topsheet has artwork that is the embodiment of sultry elegance.
You can order one directly from Mats.
Now, we try to eek out one more run before the limbo contest.
We are setup and ready to rock. Last year's limbo contest winner was Mike from England, who measured in at 12".
The suspense builds as riders figure out their last-minute strategies.
This is basically how it's done: The limiting factor is the hips, which you have to rotate fully parallel to the snow.
It just so happens that the Pureboarding guys like David use a highly rotated technique, so they have the highest betting odds.
Kurt makes it through on a #TWO.
Time to ratchet things down a notch.
The contest resulted in two finalists going for a clearance of 12":
Mike, the returning champ from England, and Ken, from Lake Tahoe.
Here is Mike's attempt ... which bumps the bar! Now, it's up to Ken ...
Ken slides though with ease, and rounds the pole for the Win! Way to go Ken!
That was exciting. Now, everyone heads down to Bumps, and mills around before the kegger.
It looks like George hasn't had any luck yet.
The board at the far left is a Burton Stat, 1994, 154cm. James has the board in the middle:a Donek 203 (22.5 waist)
It was really sunny, the weather was great, and everyone was in a sunbathing mood before the kegger.
Now it's time to hobnob with carving celebrities, talk shop, and just hang out.
Bryan from oldsnowboards.com, and Eric, the Pureboarding webmaster.
Fin shows off the SB series DeeLuxe boots that will be available for 2007.
It now has real buckles. The lowest buckle is reversed, so that the buckle does not accidentally flip open.
However, the cant mechanism seems to be unchanged. We'll see.
I think I need to ask Fin for a buckle upgrade kit for my Raichles.
Everyone gets to touch the new Raichle buckles, which are a vast improvement.
The older models have a zip-tie style that looks really cheap, like it was made at the Fisher Price factory.
The must-have SWAG item was the Pureboarding jersey shirt. The Pureboarding guys had a bunch for $55 each.
And the must-have accessory on the must-have SWAG is Jörg's signature.
A bunch of guys from the Toggenburg Trenching Team showed up, and here they model their SWAG.
They carve at Toggenburg Mountain Ski Resort in New York.
Now that I have fisheye technology, I can take a better Where's Waldo shot.
See if you can find Shaggy.
Now, for the Bomber raffle, which offers booty from this pile of SWAG.
Michelle and Fin dole out raffle SWAG.
Meanwhile, Ladia maintains his perfect record of getting jinxed in the SWAG raffle.
Nothing to fear: the best goodies are raffled off in the final banquet on Friday,
so you want to save up your good karma for then.
Tuesday is the day off, and Wednesday we'll be at The Highlands, with a carving clinic courtesy of Sean Cassidy.
It might snow the night before, so Sean's super-stable style of carving will come in handy.
Then, a kegger at Iguana's at the base of The Highlands.