Monday, March 28, 2011

Basic Foot Series

This is an updated version of the Foot Series I have posted in the past... now 1 and 2 are combined and the pictures are visible!

This is based on work I have done with Sara Azarius from Yoga on Centre - she is a wonderful resource and is an amazing yoga instructor.

I presented an abbreviated version of this work at the final 2010-2011 Winter Diva's Wednesday. It is wonderful to treat your feet after having them in a pair of ski boots all day :)

Let me also take a second to thank my wonderful sister Kimm Viebrock who is not only the model but took the time to type up the handwritten notes I scrawled for her to follow :)

Enjoy! Let me know if you have questions or comments.

See ya on the slopes!

Kjerstin Klein
Snow Deva

Basic Foot Series
This series is designed to open up the joints and stretch the muscles of the lower leg and foot.  This is a critical component of re-adjusting after being in ski boots or other footwear that is rough on the feet.  It will also help to build the muscle of the lower leg feet while improving its resilience in order to absorb impact and support the rest of your body effectively.

Retraining and Building Awareness in the Lower Leg and Foot

Start by standing with feet together.

Re-position heels so that outside edges of feet are parallel.

Lift toes while pressing ball of the foot behind the big toe and also behind the small toes into the floor. Work at spreading all toes wide and lifting the arch from the bottom of the foot rather than from the top of the foot. This means do not use your ankle to move your arch further from the floor - it means use the muscles of your foot to actually contract your arch lifting it from the floor.

Opening the Ankle with Lateral Movement
Widen stance to beyond shoulder width, keeping outside edges of feet parallel. Ankles will be bent to accommodate stance.

Rotate onto inside edges of feet to straighten ankle.

With ankle straightened, begin working to flatten outside of foot back toward the floor.

Keeping all other elements in place, lift the big toe.

Keep stretching toes outward while lifting big toe and lifting arch from beneath the foot. This means do not use your ankle to move your arch further from the floor - it means use the muscles of your foot to actually contract your arch lifting it from the floor.

Opening the Knee with Flexion
Place a cushion on the floor and kneel on the cushion. Prior to settling all the way to a sitting kneel, adjust the knees upward and place a rolled up blanket or yoga mat as far into the bend of the knees as possible. Settle back into a sitting position as far as possible, using a yoga block for support where needed.

Repeat, moving the blanket/mat to mid-calf .

Repeat again, moving the blanket to where the calf muscle ends just above the ankle.

Opening the Ankle with Flexion
Hold onto a door for bracing and place the foot flat upon the door, bending knees and body as needed to make this possible.

Continuing to brace against the door, slide the foot slowly downward until the heel touches the floor (The white paper you see is because she kept sticking to the door - we needed to create a surface she could slide on to move her foot :).

Begin re-positioning body to a vertical position close to the door, allowing heel to move outward.

Continue re-positioning the body and the foot until foot is flat on the floor with only the toes still in vertical position against the door.

Opening the Big Toe Joint with Traction
Begin toe traction by placing the weight of the heel of one foot onto the large toe of the other foot. Shift the body weight to the balls of both feet, allowing the back foot to raise the heel while keeping the big toe in place.

Bring the heel of the rear foot down and back while keeping the large toe in place with the weight of the front foot. As the rear foot is lowered, it will be stretched slightly with that tension.

Opening the Forefoot and Aligning the Big Toe

Sit on a chair with heels approximately a yoga block-width apart while angling toes towards one another (pigeon toed). Slide a yoga block between your feet and loop a yoga strap around the big toes, bringing it snug. Slide the yoga block slightly forward into place with the front edge ending at the big toe joint. Narrow the heels so the entire length of your foot makes contact with the block introducing some tension at the toes.  Stand up from chair if possible.

Stretching Muscles, Tendons and Fascia From Ankle to Toes

Wrap or tie a yoga strap snugly around the ankles, then gently lower into a kneeling position on a cushion. Before settling, adjust knees upward then sit on heels with toes forward, flat on the floor.  To 'adjust knees upward' simply reach below your knee cap and draw the skin of the knee back towards you - this will help to relieve some of the tension on the knee making the position more comfortable.

Repeat with feet and toes pointing directly backward so that the tops of the feet are on the floor. Support body weight with hands as necessary.

Stretching the Muscles, Tendons and Fascia of the Lower Leg with Extension
Kneel on a blanket on the floor, manually re-positioning calf muscles outward and adjusting knees upward, then settle down into a sitting position between the legs, with feet pointing directly backward. Tops of the the feet will be on the floor. Have a rolled up blanket and/or yoga mat (or two) positioned lengthwise directly behind along with a yoga block positioned for a headrest.

Lie backward onto the blanket, using a yoga block for a headrest if needed, allowing the upper legs to stretch and the chest to open up.

Rest and assimilate all of the previous work in Savasana with a rolled up blanket supporting the knees and another rolled up blanket as a headrest.

It may be difficult to achieve benefit from these poses without knowledgeable help.  Please feel free to contact me at any time should you require clarification.  Please do not attempt any of these poses if they cause pain in anyway, As always, use common sense, this post, and all others on this site are not meant as medical advice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Packed, Stacked and Jacked 2010-2011

The Packed, Stacked and Jacked 2010-2011 season kicked off last night in the Goggle Bowl at Seven Springs. The Seven Springs Terrain Park Crew created an amazing set up for the event – and with the Goggle rockin’ the competitors put on quite a show.

Sponsored by Ride Snowboards and Line Skis this first event in the PSJ Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Series was set in a rail jam format with Amateur Ski, Amateur Snowboard, Amateur Women’s Ski and Amateur Women’s Snowboard as well as Open divisions for both ski and snowboard. This division format came as a direct result of the successful inaugural 2009-2010 season and will continue throughout the series.

Packed, Jacked and Stacked, brainchild of Willi’s Ski Shop owner Greg Klein, kicked off in January of 2010 with a 5 event series that gained national recognition and sponsorships to some of the areas great talent. “Our goal”, says Klein, “is to spotlight Seven Springs and the athletes that are coming out of this area. We want it to be a fun series that celebrates the fun and camaraderie of competing.” With that goal in mind Events Manager, Katy Rullo, has designed a competitive series with events that focus on the key ski and snowboard freestyle skills allowing everyone to show off their particular talent.

For the 2010-2011 season the PSJ series has been cut to 4 events and the prize structure has been altered. The competitive field has been split into an Amateur division for both men and women, ski and snowboard and an Open division in which the sponsored athletes must compete. This allows for more of the up-coming athletes to gain more than just competitive experience and throws and added level of excitement into the event.

Using the power of social media the PSJ event series, has developed a life of its own. The Packed, Stacked and Jacked Facebook page is a place where event coordinators, athletes, spectators and sponsors talk, share pictures, pass critical event information or just chat about life, the mountain and the series itself.

The 2010-2011 PSJ season-opening, Ride Snowboards and Line Skis rail jam was an incredible show. It brought some old favorites and some new faces together on an artisitically designed set up by the award winning Seven Springs Terrain Park Crew. Rail jams are fun, spectator-friendly events because there is so much going on all the time…very little waiting around. Goggle Bowl is the prefect place for such an event because people can watch from the lift, from the trail-side, from the Foggy Goggle bar and from the bottom of the venue. With the lights on and the music jamin’ the tricks look impressive and this crew gave the crowd plenty to cheer about. Results were tough to determine but in the end the Open Division winners for snowboard were 1st Tristan Sadler 2nd Cooper Thomas and 3rd Zack Yourd. For Ski 1st Tyler Pence 2nd Justin Petricko and 3rd Eric Taylor. The first place ski and snowboard winners walked away with $300 in cash from the Jib Shop thanks to vitaminwater, and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers walked away with goggles, t-shirts, hats etc. from Smith and some of the other PSJ sponsors. All of the Open division competitors are fighting for points collected through all four events that to determine the grand prize winner that includes a trip to Camp of Champions and $1,000 in spending money. These points are collected during each event based on the FIS point system and will be posted on the Packed, Stacked and Jacked Facebook page after each event.

The Amateur division was a new addition for the 2010-2011 PSJ to help bring more of a grassroots approach to the competition. Everyone likes to compete just for the sake of experience. Younger competitors understand that it is as much for the experience as it is for the fun of being a competitor rather than a spectator…but it is nice to know you have a chance at winning something – and thanks to our sponsors there are some fantastic things to win. At the end of the night the some great talent found the podium. For the men's Ameture Snowboard division it was 1st Chris Poe, 2nd Spencer Strayer and 3rd Trevor Eichelberger. In the men's Amateur Ski division, 1st Jimmy Leslie, 2nd Max Goldstein and 3rd Kyle Scheth. Places for the women’s Amateur Snowboard division were… 1st Ashley Vander Meer, 2nd Brooke Finney and 3rd Haley Milac; and for the women’s Amateur Ski division it was 1st Elle Pappas 2nd Alessa Conner 3rd Andrea Dinderman. Amateur division athletes are competing for sponsorship opportunities and other prizes…so they too can be Packed, Stacked and Jacked!

All in all it was an amazing event. While fewer snowboarders showed up to throw down more women came to this event – many of them new to the competitive scene. The youngest athlete of the night was only 8 years old but already an experienced competitor as she participated in PSJ last year and is a member of the local WPRC ski team registered with USSA as both a Freestyle and an Alpine competitor.

Packed, Jacked and Stacked brings out all levels of competitors so it is an easy way for anyone interested in freestyle skiing and snowboarding to get in the game. There are three more great events the Salomon Ski and Forum Snowboard Big Air Challenge on January 29th, the Burton and Armada Halfpipe Competition on February 20th and the vitaminwater, Camp of Champions Finals on March 4th – whether it is as a spectator or a competitor….you really should be there!

See ya on the slopes!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Warren Miller Brings His Wintervention to Pittsburgh

With snow in the forecast for Saturday there is no better way for the snow-obsesed to kick off the winter then with a little Wintervention!

Wintervention is the 61st film for industry icon Warren Miller. His films have a cult-like following because his films celebrate seasons past and set the stage for the season to come. This edition tackles the tough issues of snow-diction. Narrated by Olympic celebrity Jonny Moseley it features 26 athletes as they travel from Argentina to Antarctica chasing epic moments in terrain parks, on lift-access slopes and exotic descents in the far corners of the globe.

Catch Wintervention in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Library Music Hall November 6th, 2010 at 7:00 pm.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Get to Know Your Reps: Terri Apple

Terri Apple, a veteran rep for Nils Skiwear has been with the company for 28 years covering New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Terri took to the slopes early as an enthusiastic toddler and her growing passion lead her to race in college as well as a year well-spent ski bumming in Alta. Her life’s travels have taken her to the mountains from coast to coast and she has remained passionate about the outdoors in both her work and private life.

Her life in the ski industry started at age 16 when she began working in a ski shop. Her expertise and great work ethic took her to a buying position by age 21 which lead to her first sales rep position with Karhu-Titan shortly thereafter. Two years later, she partnered with Nils Skiwear where she is still an integral part of the sales team.

While Terri counts any day spent on the mountain in her amazing Nils togs she counts among her most memorable those blue bird days with fresh, dry powder in Sun Valley. She loves to be able to let the skis fly with big GS turns as a treat from the more confining east coast skiing.

Terri is one of those people you immediately like – and because of that she has made many friends throughout the industry. In fact her favorite thing about the ski industry is the people. From all of the buyers to the sales staff in the stores to most importantly, she says, the wonderful consumers that support their local ski shops and love the winter sports world like she does. She is full of funny stories about skiing over the years and the Willi’s crew but one of her favorite stories is a perfect example of the close friends she has made in the industry…as a young rep she claims she was “little intimidated” to travel to downtown Pittsburgh to a hockey specialty store, Willi’s owner and caretaker-to-all, Linda Klein, jumped in Terri’s van, went downtown with her and even took her dog for a walk while she called on the store!

Her home life is deeply affected by the ski industry not only because of her passion for the outdoors and her job with Nils but also because her charming husband of 31 years is also a veteran personality in the ski industry and together they are handing that passion down to their three children, one of which works in the industry as well.

While Terri can be found on both Facebook and Twitter she uses these primarily to communicate with her family. To follow what Terri is passionate about in her work life try following Nils Skiwear on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Get to Know Your Reps: Pete Seminara

Reps have near-celebrity status here in Pittsburgh and no one embodies that more than Peter Seminara, better known as Pizza Peter. His personality is as big as the brands he carries and he brings that vitality to skiers and snowboarders where ever they can be found.

This season he helped us kick off the season at the Willi’s Pre Season Ski and Snowboard Sale in the South Hills at Greentree Sportsplex by bringing his amazing, pizza-oven-on-wheels and making pizza for all of the sale customers.

Peter is the Spyder company representative for the Mid Atlantic region and has been in the business, helping Willi’s Ski Shop customers for years. He got his start in the industry by working on the sales floor at Ski Market in Buffalo in 1984 and has been passionate about the business ever since; He truly enjoys working in sales for an industry and lifestyle that he believes in.

Pizza Peter has enjoyed the industry from all angles. Whether it is Heli Skiing with the Last Frontier Guides in the Skeena Mountain Range in Northern BC or trying to talk the Willi’s Buyers into carrying snowboards at a time when only Boyce Park allowed snowboards on the hill, Peter has jumped in with enthusiasm and passion. As a rep he is one of the most committed individuals and the industry is lucky to have him.

When he’s not reliving his childhood through the eyes of his kids you can catch this fun-loving family man behind his newly-acquired Mobil Brick Pizza Oven spreading Pizza Love at Spyder promotional events or find him on Facebook (Peter Seminara) and Twitter (@TweeeterPeeeter).

Get to Know Your Reps

As amazing as the ski and snowboard industry is it wouldn't work with out the hard work of the company representatives - the Reps.

Reps are more than just the sales people that shuffle orders for merchandise - they are an integral part of the industry, the key link between the shops and their customers and the vendors who manufacture the merchandise. Reps are critical because they are directly involved with the product as it is being sold and used so they hear from the consumer what works, what doesn't work as well as what consumers are truly looking for on the slopes. They work with the manufactures to help bring the best products to the market place while communicating with the shop owners and buyers to ensure that the right products and the right amount of product is available when it is needed. They are involved with the product from inception to fruition and work hard to balance the needs of all parties involved through the entire process.

It is hard for some people to believe how small the ski and snowboard industry really is and at times it seems cold (no pun intended :) and impersonal. It is my intention to help you get to know the industry reps that cover the Pittsburgh area to give you a bit of an insiders-look into the industry. I think it makes it more fun to have a personal connection to the products you use on the slopes and to put a name and face to the larger image of the companies that service the industry. Our Reps are some of the most interesting, hardest working people I know and great friends. I hope you enjoy Getting to Know Your Reps!

See ya on the slopes!

Snow Deva

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jungle Creek Trail: Dryland Training at its Best

Winter is not the only time you will find us in the mountains. Summer months are an equally great time...we call it Dry land Training instead of skiing.

This past weekend found us in the Teanaway outside of Cle Elum in Washington. We were lucky enough to catch a break in the unseasonably cold weather and had a beautiful day on the Jungle Creek Trail.

As it was intended to be a short day we simply trekked up to the ridge line just past the Way Creek Trail junction and were rewarded with a through-the-pines view of the Stuarts, which are still snow-covered.

While the trail itself was not long it was varied in terrain. It was steep in places and made its way over the Jungle Creek several times, skirted past a bank side washout and scrabbled over scree patches so it provided plenty of opportunity for aerobic and proprioception training.

Not all training is physical - the wildflowers were in the early stages of their summer blooming cycle and provided an added dimension to the hike. Beautiful weather, wonderful views, dynamic trail and amazing wildflowers...this is dry land training at it's best!

Whether there is snow or not...See Ya on the Slopes!