or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How do you perceive speed while skiing- one or two dimensionally?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

# How do you perceive speed while skiing- one or two dimensionally?

While reading another thread, a comment was made that carving does not slow a skier down. I would like to offer a dissenting opinion to this statement. I will stipulate to the fact that carving minimizes speed loss, but I began to wonder about how different skiers perceive speed.

Most skiers seem to have only a one dimensional perception of speed, that of how fast are they getting to the bottom of the hill. This was the context of the statement I am referring to.

I view speed in two different dimensions= the A to B descent rate (the top to bottom speed) and the actual velocity at which a skier moves across the snow. (the definition of velocity is that it has both a speed AND a vector/ direction)

For example, if a skier is traversing at 15 mph, the A - B speed might be near 0, as there is minimal descent rate. Yet the velocity of the skier is 15mph. Only when a skier is pointed directly down a slope are the two dimensions the same.

So whereas a skier CARVING turns down a hill may be carrying a greater velocity, the A - B speed may not be as fast as a skier with a slower velocity but just skidding turns down the falline.

I find that by offering this differentiation to my students, they begin to understand what real speed control is about, and how to better deal with speed in difficult situations, such as bumps.

Now I'm curious as to how some of you think about speed....

I think of speed in regard to how fast I am moving which in my mind is irrelevant to how fast I'm covering vertical. If I am skiing x speed it doesn't matter if I'm going downhill at 15 fps or 30 fps, my traveling speed is going to have the same effect on the amount of time it will take me to stop/give me the same reaction time to an obstacle.

VSP, good job introducing a new top.  Not easy to do anymore, as it seems everything has been done a gazillion times.

My feeling is; speed is speed.  Whether you're going down the hill at 45 mph, or across it, a fall is probably going to hurt. In fact, a fall while going across it at that speed may be the more painful option, because trails often have sides defined by trees.  From a safety perspective, I'd rather lose it at the apex of a high speed turn, than at the initiation, exit, or transition.  Bill Johnson lost it at transition.

For any particular turn shape, carving produces the highest speed of travel possible.  Steering allows a skier to manage speed, independent of turn shape.  Carving does not.   With carving, if you want to ski a particular line, you have no way of controlling your speed, beyond abandoning carving altogether.  The slope itself will dictate your speed. The only way of managing speed of travel when carving is turn shape.

All that said, carving can deceive one's perception of speed.  The smoothness fools the mind.  Riding a clean edge at 25 mph can feel very relaxing and non intimidating, whereas going the same speed while skidding, bouncing and chattering can feel intense and scary.  I've often had new carver students comment to me that they didn't realize how fast they were skiing until they happened to look to the side of the trail and see how fast the trees were passing by.

I view speed as equivalent to my velocity without the direction, how fast I'm going regardless of what direction I"m headed.  If I'm doing 50 mph pointed straight down the hill or pointed straight at the trees on the side of the run or pointed up the run I'm merging to, I'm still doing the same speed, and it feels the same to me regardless of direction (although those trees coming at me is a little more disconcerting than the far-away bottom of the hill).

Edited by Ghost - 3/12/11 at 3:51pm

Oh I differentiate between vertical (maximum go line) speed and cross hill (maximum slow line) speed.  Many times I'll be behind a student going from side to side at a good clip while knowing that my progression down the fall line is slow.  I love the feeling of the carve, the speed of the snow underfoot, the pressures building in the turns, all those great feelings that make skiing FUN!!!

In fact I wonder what all the big deal about going straight down the hill fast is.  By getting my speed up and making sweeping turns I get the same speed with a longer run for the same pitch.  We pay to use the whole hill, I take advantage of it.

Since the question was about perceived speed I'll add another significant perception of speed. I think my sense of 'speed' is also relative to the degree of control I feel.

When carving on smooth wide-open terrain I comfortably travel at high enough speeds that I end up going airborne even over mild rolls in the terrain - and yet I don't feel like I'm going all that fast.

On the other hand when zipping down the same run - but with a rutted-up, lumpy, hard surface I often feel like I'm going "way too fast" despite traveling half the former speed mentioned. My skis are skipping along the surface, my eyeballs and jiggling out of their sockets and I'm not confident a ski wont be stripped off any moment. Throw in some close-by trees and a few randomly turning intermediate skiers and I might feel "recklessly fast" at even a quarter of the prior speed mentioned.

A further example how perceptions relate might be that of Racers vs. recreational skiers. Racers enjoy a fenced off course on well-groomed runs without large body divots, seated snowboarders, lost skis and poles, etc. They also get to inspect the run ahead of time and gain a reasonable assurance that the course will be almost identical when they come down at speed (aside from wear and tear). I think this (largely) releases Racers from the Mental Reservations recreational skiers posses.

Personally, I don't perceive speed in a purely linear sense but rather with respect to the likelihood I'll remain undamaged. The more probable potential catastrophe, the higher my speed perception in that moment. Oddly, when disaster does strike - everything seems to slow down -- a lot.

.ma
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA

Personally, I don't perceive speed in a purely linear sense but rather with respect to the likelihood I'll remain undamaged. The more probable potential catastrophe, the higher my speed perception in that moment. Oddly, when disaster does strike - everything seems to slow down -- a lot.

.ma

Ding!  Ding! Ding!  Ding!  Ding!

I would just add that others would remain undamaged too.

I view it as the amount of time to react.  Am I going inappropriately fast for the terrain and conditions.  Under the right conditions, 15 mph could feel faster than 25mph.

I like going fast but I get no thrill from lost of control.

Interesting perspective on speed perception Michael.

I noticed skiing same conditions, same-day, back to back, mostly hardpack with very small (say 3 to 6 inches) pushed around piles of snow, that the same speeds (terminal velocity for the run, 50 to 65 mph for Blue Mountain Collingwood) seemed slow on my old nearly straight SG skis, but very fast on my SL shaped skis.

Yesterday I noticed another speed-perception factor, familiarity with the technique being used.  I decided upon waking up that I was going to practice my speed control turns (in my on-going effort to improve my sucky mogul skiing).  I expected to see nothing but hardpack, but upon reaching the hill I discovered that they had had a good dumping of snow, so I compromised; I did every other run normally (which since I live in Ontario and like to ski as fast as I can involves every effort to increase speed and no effort to reduce it until I approach the lift corral), and the next run with nothing but speed controlling turns.   Zipping down the hill at full speed (usually maxing out around 45 to 50 mph near the bottom for this hill), I had no trouble keeping an eye on other skiers and turning behind them absorbing or blasting through the little piles of snow on the run, it did not seem too fast.  Doing the sideways skiing, going from turn to turn, it did seem like the piles of snow were coming at me much too fast if I didn't ski very slowly.  Not only do I suck at bump skiing; I suck at sideways skiing too, at least if it's not hardpack and ice.

There are two kinds of speed, Speed under control and speed on the verge of being out of control.

I suppose there could be a third kind of speed. Speed of the unseen miscue.

Speed should be your friend. You should always be the master of your domain when it comes to speed. You know your limitations and at what speed you can control given the conditions of the snow and the terrain you are skiing.

If you maintain this in your game, speed is one dimensional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro

While reading another thread, a comment was made that carving does not slow a skier down. I would like to offer a dissenting opinion to this statement. I will stipulate to the fact that carving minimizes speed loss, but I began to wonder about how different skiers perceive speed.

Most skiers seem to have only a one dimensional perception of speed, that of how fast are they getting to the bottom of the hill. This was the context of the statement I am referring to.

I view speed in two different dimensions= the A to B descent rate (the top to bottom speed) and the actual velocity at which a skier moves across the snow. (the definition of velocity is that it has both a speed AND a vector/ direction)

For example, if a skier is traversing at 15 mph, the A - B speed might be near 0, as there is minimal descent rate. Yet the velocity of the skier is 15mph. Only when a skier is pointed directly down a slope are the two dimensions the same.

So whereas a skier CARVING turns down a hill may be carrying a greater velocity, the A - B speed may not be as fast as a skier with a slower velocity but just skidding turns down the falline.

There is another speed dimension to consider here, I believe.  The A - B speed as you describe it is actually the fall line speed, which is in turn directly proportional to the rate of vertical descent.  So A - B speed will be slow on a flat green run, and faster (maybe hair-raising fast!) on a steeper black.

Anyone in this thread perceive speed by variety of line available?     The slower you go, the closer to the fall line you need to go...

Sort of as a variant on this point and Comprex's, it also depends what you're doing.  Briefly hitting decently high speeds on a rollover with a long runout doesn't necessarily feel fast.  5mph lining up for something can feel fast, and 10 mph looking to get air off a whoop can feel fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA

Since the question was about perceived speed I'll add another significant perception of speed. I think my sense of 'speed' is also relative to the degree of control I feel....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Return Home
Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How do you perceive speed while skiing- one or two dimensionally?