It’s Easy, Just Feel It In Your Big Toe (He Says)

Post by blogger | June 20, 2013      
Book cover from 1949, and they're still trying the same lines.

‘It’s easy, just drive the bus.’ Book cover from 1949 — they’re still trying the same lines.

Growing up in a small California beach town was idyllic, especially since I loved life on the shore. But there’ve been consequences. I’m not talking skin cancer. I’m talking about my marriage to one of the ski (not surfing) greats and trying to keep up. And now that our son out-skis us both, the challenge is even greater. Admittedly, my skiing has improved immensely over the decades, but the progress has been slow.

One reason might be that my husband has a theory that it is troublesome to ski coach your love interest. Better to hire someone, and since I’d rather buy snazzy new ski outfit than pay an instructor, the lessons have been few. Nonetheless, I can usually wring a few tips out of Lou by asking for them on special occasions, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day. But then another problem arises: the tips themselves.

It could well be Lou is from Mars and I am from Venus, because his tips are so obtuse they might as well be spoken in Wookie.

His favorite tip when I ask for help: “You need to stand on your skis.” Stand on my skis? As opposed to riding with them on my head? Another: “Be more aggressive.” What does that mean exactly? Go faster? Don’t turn? Hit you with a ski pole? And of course: “Ski the inside edge.” Is that a yoga move? “Put your weight into the turn.” Are you saying I look fat?

Then we have: “Drive the bus.” That’s clear. And the ever specific: “Don’t think, just ski.” Another favorite: “Feel the turn in your big toe.” Zen?

And there’s the whole other game of skiing powder. “Move like you are doing it.” Doesn’t he ever think of anything else?

And finally, the weird, the beyond, the paranormal: “Do stone monkey.” Do you know what he is talking about? I don’t. Maybe he said the “stoned monkey”. Perhaps he was the stoned monkey? Was it back in his days as a dish washer in Aspen? Does this have anything to do with the powder skiing trick he promulgates…?

Perplexity aside, I must say I love a day out on the planks. And the best of Lou’s tips, “Just have fun,” rings true. Hiking up in the early morning and carving a big arc in fresh groom or sailing down a backcountry slope is heavenly. When everything clicks it really is glisse, a wondrous feeling. And on those other days when it’s more of a struggle, I’ll let the boys go ahead as I try to crack what the heck the tipster is talking about.


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3 Responses to “It’s Easy, Just Feel It In Your Big Toe (He Says)”

  1. John June 22nd, 2014 7:48 pm

    Ha!! I’m a big proponent of “Think less, ski more”

  2. Laura Maruhashi June 22nd, 2014 8:24 pm

    Lisa, you crack me up! And I love your positive attitude 🙂

  3. Wookie June 23rd, 2014 2:49 am

    Lou’s tips are right on….remember – even the greatest teachers can only guide you to find the answers yourself!
    I’m not surprized he gives you tips like this – there is something about all balance sports which, once you really get into them, is spiritual in a zen way.

    I saw a NYT video about an old rollerblading guy in Venice who actually has a medical explaination for this. Google “Slow Mo” and you’ll probably find it.

    Another great work which will resonate is: “Not neccesarily so” or something like that – from the father of American Zen – Shunru Suzuki (or something similar)

    I think about this kind of stuff all the time while skiing – while not trying not to think…..


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