So what’s new in the world of McNab?
Well my season is off to a great start so far, despite the lack of fresh snow my first week , a Tech clinic in Tignes has so far been great fun and we’ve enjoyed some fantastic early season shred.
I came over a day early to the Dragon Lodge, home to the one and only William Hughes and spent a day of shredding around the Glacier with him. We had a great day riding and I was pleasantly surprised to find the conditions way better than expected.
Down in the village the slopes are bare and they’re busy making as much artificial snow as they can in order to get more slopes open and create access to the better snow high up. The run down to Val Claret is in good condition, a bit icy and busy at times but we’ve had some great runs down there in the mornings before it gets scraped and busy.
Up on the Glacier it’s been possible to find some pockets of blown in powder and snatch a slash or too on windlips and banks. In fact that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to this week, just slashing banks and lips with cutbacks, laybacks, board slides, tail slides and any other surfy style slash that springs to mind and gets the creative juices flowing in-between high speed charging and of course a little Technical teaching.
This weeks crew are all new comers, but one, to the McNab experience and its been a really fun week with some great characters on the course and after confusing them with what I consider to be easy to understand Snowboard technical jargon and offending with my sarcastic witt, there’s been some amazing progress.
I started the week with a run through the basics, how the board works, how we apply pressure to bend, steer and turn the board, a run through simple bio mechanics of the stance and a look at how to control speed through the line you ride.
We played around with exercises to build up steering and use of the four control points of the board used to start and finish the turns riding the board by design rather than by force.
We worked on the McNab Pressure control system as described in my book ‘Go Snowboard‘ and played around with powering up the start and finish of the turn and the pressure and foot movements needed in order to do this.
In between exercises we’ve had a good charge around and I’ve mostly managed to get us away from the crowds. It’s, not surprisingly, pretty busy here seeing as its pretty much the only ski station open in the area, its a student week and they’re bussing in from the 3 valleys and anywhere with out snow.
In the mornings we ride the home run as it’s in the shade and most people seem to go up high to get in the sun or to train gates. Once the racers have finished at 11, we head up to 3500 and ride there in the sun (its been pretty windy and cold up there and this keeps a lot of people away). The racers head down and everyone else heads in for lunch. After they have finished lunch and start heading back out we shoot down to the lower runs again, shred there and eat late before getting in some top to bottom laps when things quieten down towards the end of the day.
It seems to work, you just have to get out of sync with the crowds.
Next week I have a couple of guys out for a bit of Freeriding and some Splitting. There’s actually some pretty nice looking terrain filled in for Splitting and Freeriding so I’m quite excited about getting out there. Ruth called to say my new karakoram bindings have arrived to so I’m heading back to Cham this weekend to pick them up.
The Jones Snowboards meeting has been on in Leysin this week. I normally get over to check out the new kit for next year but obviously this year I’ve been working and so have missed it. I might try to head over for a ride with Jeremy and the team on Saturday, but conditions over there are pretty limited at the moment so we’ll see.
The weather has been a bit mixed the last couple of days, very cold (-20C) with some strong winds that today kept the Cable car closed on the glacier. It’s been snowing on and off but not enough to make a big difference, but enough to make it fun and it does look nicer now its getting white everywhere.
Anyway, we have one more day of play on the Tech clinic, we’ll work on adapting and shaping our riding line to terrain a little more tomorrow, working with the mountain rather than fighting against it and adding some more creativity to how we work with the terrain.
Thats the plan, but of course its all adaptable to McNab conditions and we will probably just charge and shreds some more and then some more!
Before I left Chamonix I received some new Jones Boards, I took the new carbon solution 168W and the new Carbon Flag 168W as I’ve not tried these yet and also of course I chose the new Flag 172, which I can’t wait to try!
I’m waiting for the snowpack to come in a bit before I ride the new kit and of course I need to get them all drilled for my massive stance.
Its also been good to see that my pre season training paid off nicely and that I can ride from the top at 3600 to VC at 1800 charging hard non stop top top bottom with out feeling the burn. In the end I decided to cut the running back a bit as I was loosing to much weight and it wasn’t helping the knee tendonitis, plus the dogs wouldn’t come out with me anymore. Instead I boosted up on the Leg press and Squats and got the track bike out on the rollers.
I’ve continued my work on micro movements to rebalance my body and it seems to be working and the knee pain seems to be actually fading and doesn’t affect my riding which is great!
Work in progress as always…
All is good and actually it not at all that bad!