“Pretend that there’s a peanut butter sandwich inside the front of your boot.” He says, with a really big smile and intense blue eye’s. Then proceeds to ask the young lady next to me what kind of jelly is in her pb sandwich, in the front of her ski boot. She suddenly becomes all animated and excited about jelly, (these two obviously know each other.) He cocks his head back at me, and I reply “I don’t really like jelly”. “You don’t like jelly” “oh no!” then he puts his hands up to his mouth and chitters at them a bit. He’s seriously talking and laughing at his hands. Next thing I know were all rocking back and forth in our ski boots making squishing, squashing noises.
At this moment in my life, I’m questioning my life choices. Here I am on my skis, in a circle of about 10 people squishing an imaginary sandwich in my boot. More than half of us have grey hair, and yes people are skiing by us staring and gawking. There’s a lot of thoughts going on in my head…I’m not really sure that anyone in the group is sane. In fact all the newbies are kind if looking around, lost, confused, disoriented. What have I gotten myself into? Why did I think I could be a ski instructor. What is even happening right now?
As it turns out this was not the first or the last pbj sandwich boot squishing exercise. In fact we squish imaginary sandwiches routinely, and talk about jelly. We also have long conversations about pizza toppings and the different pies we like, and french fries. Being a tad bit insane, very goofy, and somewhat a little off, are all great ski instructor qualities. Maybe this is why I fit in well? Relating thing’s in any way infinitely possible to achieve a desired outcome in skiing performance. “The sky’s the limit, and after that there’s space, black holes and stuff…” M Schanfarber.
After the initial culture shock intro to ski instructing, you begin to see and understand many different aspects of skiing. The squishy sandwich exercise gets us forward in our boots. It’s still more than that though. It’s having our shins pressed up to the tongue of the boot. It’s both a physical and mental exercise. Envision the sandwhich squish, really feel it squish…think about it squishing. Now go ski with your sandwhich.
Why do you want a sandwich? The boots are tight anyway, there’s not really room. By maintaining that shin tongue contact within your ski boots, you hold the power. Many people just kind of roll along, somewhere between their heels and toes. There making it work, sailing here and there, there ya go…your skiing. People ski their whole lives like this. They rip bye and jump and play, ski ski ski!
However if you’re squishing that sandwich, you’re in control. I mean like “boss that ski” it’ll go where you tell it. Being in the front of your boots makes you work less too. If your always squishing, your balanced. If your off-balance, your working constantly to maintain stability. I revisit the sandwhich in my own skiing a couple of times a day. It’s like a light bulb moment.
As with all skiing drills and concepts the pb sandwich is a continuous process. So when your out there and you get a wiggle or a waggle, try the squishy sandwhich. You never know you might be able to take that sandwhich beyond your norm. Squish it on the bunny, then try it with some powder, take it to the tree’s. Nobody else need know what’s happening in your boots! Besides the clean up is easy because it’s imaginary! Big thanks to my favorite instructors, for sharing their pbj sandwiches! Now Thats the good stuff!