In my last Splitboard post I talked a lot about rushing and the whole host of dangerous mistakes that stem from it. However, it’s also very possible to be on the other side of the spectrum and be moving too slow. To clarify I am not talking about physically moving too slow while skinning up or riding down. While this is a surefire way to annoy a faster partner its generally not a major problem as long as you stick to strict turnaround times and stay as a group. Today my focus in on the issues that stem from moving too slow while the group is stopped or getting ready to start. This could be at transitions from skinning to riding, at the trailhead, or even that one friend who stops to text every ten minutes. While none of these issues are nearly as dangerous as the ones associated with rushing, they all have the potential to shorten the day and frankly suck for the group. Its simple the more time wasted in transitions directly leads to less time riding. So am I saying to rush?
No. But I am saying that I think there is a lot value in being very cognizant around not wasting time. This means working really hard to dial in your transitions to avoid your group standing there just getting cold waiting for you. Or having everyone wait for you while they are in their uphill layers at the trailhead while you run back to the car to get the PB&J (PBR)you left on the dash. Here are a couple examples of times that I have 100% been the culprit of some egregious time wasting:
- On my first tour with the Avy group I waited to put my skins on until I got to the trailhead. The group had all their gear ready and was left standing an extra ten chilly minutes waiting for me.
- I got to the trailhead and realized that I forgot my buff and goggles in the back of my car and had to go back.
- I had my bag super unorganized and added 5 minutes of me emptying it and repacking to get my helmet out at a sub-zero glade run transition. (seriously who wastes time on glade run pow days)
- I waited until the last possible second to switch my boots to ride mode, then forgot. Then had to stop the group to wait for me to pull off my gloves and make the switch.
Did any of these cause real harm? No. But they did contribute to some cold hands, shivering partners, and less time riding. Its also important to acknowledge that many of these are beginner issues and dissipate with time and experience. But if you are just starting out here are some ways that Ihelped myself get faster:
- Organization-I find it really helpful to pack your pack the night before and really thinkabout how you organize it. Ask the question “what will I need when, what will Ineed first, do I really need this”. This helps to not be the guy emptying hispack on the side of a steep run out transition slope to get the puffy that waspacked at the bottom of the pack.
- Take thetime to learn- this means going out on tours with more experienced people. Setthe bar early that your new at this and might be moving slow. This is helpful as it may prompt them to bring an extra layer. Ask lots of questions and beclinical in your observations. I wanted to get faster at transitions so I had amuch more experienced rider (@Sir_st33zy) show me some tricks for folding skins.This saved me a lot of time as I was actually bringing up skin savers and tryingto apply them while the wind was blowing and I was cold instead of just folding the skins.
- Develop aplan- I found it helpful to develop a plan that I follow when packing or transitioning. The transition one goes like this: kick nice area to stand, remove pack, put onlarge puffy over shell, remove skins, remove bindings, snap board together, attach Bindings, switch boot to ride mode, open pack and grab a drink, put on helmet and goggles, strap in, asses if partners are ready, take off puffy, and then Go! This varies in different terrain and weather but follows this general process.These helps me to not forget steps and to keep focused.
All in all, moving slower has much less dangerous consequences then rushing but I feel are equally important to the enjoyment and comfort of the group. Remember there is always something to learn or to get better at. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this be cool and give this post a like or a follow. Happy riding & Skiing!