Get On Your Edge – Control Will Come.
By Andrew Goldsworthy
“Collin, I know you can do this, I need you to point your skis towards that tree and kick your right leg out to get your sled back up on its side to get out of there.” Those were my exact words last March during a trip into the Hodge’s Hills, spoken to Collin Marsden. I’ve known Collin since 2014 and I have witnessed his technical riding skills evolved over the years. Collin can easily throw down a nice sidehill, tackle a downhill u-turn and a controlled descent. These are all the skills necessary before you enter into the Hodge’s Hills. It was time to put him to the test, it was time we introduced Collin to the Hodge’s. I knew his skills were up for it but more importantly, was he up for it?
We had assembled a bunch of 40 plus veterans, a young Maverick and Collin who fit into the middle, he fit in well with our constant joking and carrying on. Collin actually wrote a piece about this trip. My advice to Collin wasn’t really advice, but an observation because he knew exactly what he did wrong. But I want to share with all of you…especially if you’re venturing into the trees with some technical slopes.
If you don’t remember anything else from this short article, I want you to remember this…”Get your sled on its edge early”. That’s it. Plain and simple. This is not rocket science, but we definitely have some physics happening here. Getting your sled on it’s edge well before you reach the more technical terrain will save you tons of frustrations. Plus, you won’t tire yourself out as quickly. In my mid 40s, I’m not looking to tire myself out and riding smart allows this older kid to still ride with the younger bucks.
During our adventure into the Hodge’s Tree Zone, the camera did come out and from Collin’s article, you might have noticed he put much weight on the shoulders of my camera…just kidding. The sequence of pictures I’m about to show you here is the exact series of pictures I showed Collin after the ride, back at our comfortable surrounding of The Rivershack (Badger, NL). I had asked Collin what he didn’t do in the series of maybe a dozen pictures I had took of him. He knew it right away…”I didn’t commit early enough”. He was absolutely right. The pictures didn’t lie and you could see why he was so much tired than the rest of us, he was working twice as hard, fighting the sled to get it over to its edge and not working with gravity.
I learned this lesson from the Professor, Bret Rasmussen back in 2012 when he was showing me how to come off a cornice and go directly into a sidehill. Sounded intimidating at the time, but once I understood the importance of being on your edge, I was okay. In a nutshell…being on your edge in the backcountry in technical, sloped tree zones is how you maintain control and not tire yourself out too quickly.
At the end of the day, I was super stoked for Collin. He put himself in a situation where he was willing to challenge himself and that’s what it takes to progress. The running joke amongst the 40 plus members of the group is that many riders have been afflicted with Hodge’s Disease after that Tree Zone. The interesting thing though, after one trip into this zone, they typically can’t wait to get back.