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skiing on ice - Page 2

post #31 of 57

You could widen your stance and make sure you have weight over outside ski. Not too sure why you would be on a 2000 ft 45 degree icey slope for skiing though.

 


Edited by Kiwiski Andrew - 10/19/11 at 10:06pm
post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

There you go iWill!

 

Here's Rusty's guide to the different types of ice:

...

Race Conditions

This is where experts just "go faster" and intermediates add a yellow tint to the glacial blue tint


Yellow tint might actually work to make ice softer biggrin.gif

 

post #33 of 57

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Rod,

 

The safest way to ski that steep, firm high consequence slope is as slow as possible. With regards to your choice list, it's going to depend on a lot of different factors specific to you, your equipment, the terrain and your definition of firm. A "falling leaf" traverse may be safer for some individuals than a side slip. Turns are less safe than no turns. Carving is generally safer than skidding as long as the terrain allows for the longer time to reduce speed. Aids such as rope, ice axe or using your ski poles as an impromptu ice axe (if you fall) are steps that you take to manage risk with the tools that you have available.


That.

 

I would really, really, really try to avoid 2000' of 45-degree "ice".  Hell, I would really try to avoid 200' of 45-degree "ice".  I had a pretty nasty headfirst slide at Mt. Rose a few years ago on something less steep than that (a blue trail I'd been on earlier that had melted and set up hard in the shade) -- I had no chance of stopping myself once I got going until it started to flatten and soften a little.

 

If by "ice" you just mean what an Easterner would call "very firm snow" (ie, it's 'hard' but your skis still bite into it), take it slowly.  Assuming your skis have edges (and ideally some camber), and the snow is consistent, you should be able to carve short- to medium-radius turns.  If you can't carve turns, sideslip.  DO NOT pick up speed, as hitting a really slick patch at speed could be disastrous, and you can't always see them very well from above.

post #34 of 57

this, on self-arrest techniques:

http://www.epicski.com/a/self-arrest-techniques

 

and this, on self-arrest head-first:

http://www.epicski.com/t/57090/how-to-self-arrest-head-first

post #35 of 57

Well well,

I feel like the cat that ate the canary, and it's not that yellow tint.

 

An old sage suggested less edge angulation from the feet makes for more grip and control.  Mystified, I, a carver at heart ALWAYS envisioned edging as driving the point of the blade into the surface, more pressure, more control.

 

Experimenting on a newly opened escape down the frontside, fresh machine blown groomers awaited.  After using this the day before, and pressing harder the way I learned, I was exhausted after the 3000' drop on mostly hardpack piste.  Well I tried less angle, not at all intuitive, but skiing rarely is.  With less angle, optimal pressure is not going to happen, but wait.  I'm skidding around in a big arc and it is less work.  I'm relaxing, and allowing the seriously drifted arc to feel rather carvelike.

 

About halfway down, I began further experiments by weighting the opposite edge of my ski almost running the skis flat on the bulletproof boilerplate, AKA the ice EVERYONE is complaining about, and found it ridiculously easy to just ease the skis around in a fresh new turn easy steezy.

 

The kids hill at the bottom where only the few the proud, the foolish dare to take over the "ice" I found myself giggling at how sweet this beautiful chalky hardpack really is.

 

The big idea is lever the edge, don't force them down directly.   Maybe toast is the way to visualize the "ice", you just waited for the bread slice to get toasted, don't scrape it off the slice, you want to spread your favored condiment(mine's butter) on it.

 

This simple adjustment to the attitude transforms a frightful ordeal into a casual shift.  Slopes with nice loose fluff interspersed with patches of skidded hardpack are just as fun as any other part of the hill for me now.

 

 

post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
...An old sage suggested less edge angulation from the feet makes for more grip and control.  Mystified, I, a carver at heart ALWAYS envisioned edging as driving the point of the blade into the surface, more pressure, more control.

 

Experimenting on a newly opened escape down the frontside, fresh machine blown groomers awaited.  After using this the day before, and pressing harder the way I learned, I was exhausted after the 3000' drop on mostly hardpack piste.  Well I tried less angle, not at all intuitive, but skiing rarely is.  With less angle, optimal pressure is not going to happen, but wait.  I'm skidding around in a big arc and it is less work.  I'm relaxing, and allowing the seriously drifted arc to feel rather carvelike.

 

About halfway down, I began further experiments by weighting the opposite edge of my ski almost running the skis flat on the bulletproof boilerplate, AKA the ice EVERYONE is complaining about, and found it ridiculously easy to just ease the skis around in a fresh new turn easy steezy.

 

The kids hill at the bottom where only the few the proud, the foolish dare to take over the "ice" I found myself giggling at how sweet this beautiful chalky hardpack really is.

 

The big idea is lever the edge, don't force them down directly.   Maybe toast is the way to visualize the "ice", you just waited for the bread slice to get toasted, don't scrape it off the slice, you want to spread your favored condiment(mine's butter) on it.

 

This simple adjustment to the attitude transforms a frightful ordeal into a casual shift.  Slopes with nice loose fluff interspersed with patches of skidded hardpack are just as fun as any other part of the hill for me now.

 

 


You need enough pressure for the skis to cut into the surface, or else you'll just skid sideways.  Extra pressure/edging beyond that isn't always helpful, and can cause you to blow out of the turn.  Applying edging and building up pressure gradually is also important.  Jerky moves will make things very difficult.

 

There's also a big difference (at least to me) between 'hardpack' and 'ice'.  On really, really hard ice, when you don't have enough edge angle to carve you pretty much skid uncontrollably.  On very firm snow you can still make controlled turns without making pure arced carves.

post #37 of 57

Thinking about this subject in the context of having recently skied something TheRusty would probably classify as "firm", but which definitely felt "icy" to me, particularly since the pitch put me just a little over my current ability to confidently execute smooth, round turns, I'm reminded of an old Steve Martin joke...

 

How to be a millionaire, and not pay taxes!

 

The Punch Line (Click to show)

First you get a million dollars, then...

 

I guess as with a lot of things in life there's some stuff that's handy to know - what to try and do, what not to - but ultimately it's a matter of just doing it until you develop the feel. Kinda like telling someone how to juggle - the difference here being the prospect of sliding down a steep, hard surface. Head first if you're trying to do it right - and things go wrong!  ;-)

 

post #38 of 57

Well, I skied "head first" (jc-ski's term above) down somewhat steep skied-off stuff yesterday.  For the first time I "got it."  Nice.  Now there's something to build on.

 

My home mountain has been .... firmmmm .... a lot lately.  Nobody is in the woods since they are 50% brown, so those that would normally be out of sight shredding the real gnar are skiing on the groomers, brushing off what loose granular we've got.  The heavy traffic on these slopes is exposing the solidly frozen base by, let's say, 10:30 in the morning, on anything with any real pitch to it.  Ugly icy groomers result.

 

I should know how to ski this ugly stuff.  But up until yesterday I've been having trouble on it.  Some spots are glare ice (gray see-through skating-rink quality ice) and the rest has stuff the consistency of salt loosely rolling around on fuzzy formica.   

 

I skied it with a coach.  Nice, wonderful coach who shouted "Forward!" at me as I skied in front of him.  Thank you coach!  I got low (as in racer low), lunged forward (as in DIVE !!), just tipped the skis (as in carve, without any ski-twisting), keeping my knees under my hips (solidly loading the skis), held my feet back so they never got ahead of my hips (as in shin-tongue, no back seat at all), and faced the lake below the whole way down.  I  skied inside an imaginary slalom-width lane, without "shopping" for piles of salt to turn on (it wouldn't have mattered anyway.)  

 

Chah-ching!  Carved short radius turns on ice.  Very very nice.  Will I be able to do it again?  Well, most of my breakthroughs are followed by a broken expectations; I'll try again next weekend but who knows?  The force may no longer be with me.

 

Have other people had experiences similar to this, or dramatically different? 

 

 

post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Well, I skied "head first" (jc-ski's term above) down somewhat steep skied-off stuff yesterday.  For the first time I "got it."  Nice.  Now there's something to build on.

 

My home mountain has been .... firmmmm .... a lot lately.  Nobody is in the woods since they are 50% brown, so those that would normally be out of sight shredding the real gnar are skiing on the groomers, brushing off what loose granular we've got.  The heavy traffic on these slopes is exposing the solidly frozen base by, let's say, 10:30 in the morning, on anything with any real pitch to it.  Ugly icy groomers result.

 

I should know how to ski this ugly stuff.  But up until yesterday I've been having trouble on it.  Some spots are glare ice (gray see-through skating-rink quality ice) and the rest has stuff the consistency of salt loosely rolling around on fuzzy formica.   

 

I skied it with a coach.  Nice, wonderful coach who shouted "Forward!" at me as I skied in front of him.  Thank you coach!  I got low (as in racer low), lunged forward (as in DIVE !!), just tipped the skis (as in carve, without any ski-twisting), keeping my knees under my hips (solidly loading the skis), held my feet back so they never got ahead of my hips (as in shin-tongue, no back seat at all), and faced the lake below the whole way down.  I  skied inside an imaginary slalom-width lane, without "shopping" for piles of salt to turn on (it wouldn't have mattered anyway.)  

 

Chah-ching!  Carved short radius turns on ice.  Very very nice.  Will I be able to do it again?  Well, most of my breakthroughs are followed by a broken expectations; I'll try again next weekend but who knows?  The force may no longer be with me.

 

Have other people had experiences similar to this, or dramatically different? 

 

 


I'd love to see what your skiing looks like now. I saw you skiing a few years back, it sounds like it must look quite a bit different by now.

post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post


I'd love to see what your skiing looks like now. I saw you skiing a few years back, it sounds like it must look quite a bit different by now.



Yes, I think so.  Some of the old gremlins are still there.  New stuff sits on top.  Unfortunately I don't get to Stowe very often.

post #41 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Well, I skied "head first" (jc-ski's term above) down somewhat steep skied-off stuff yesterday.  For the first time I "got it."  Nice.  Now there's something to build on.


Hey LF, congrats. Nice to hear of someone crossing the threshold. Hopefully worst case will be "two steps forward, one step back", and it will stick with you in a cumulative fashion. Then again, even Tiger Woods forgets how to putt and drive sometimes!  Life is a mystery!  ;-)

 

Myself, I have read and tried to employ a lot of the tips offered,  and I feel like I'm getting closer, but I haven't had that "got it" moment on the icy yet. When the opportunity presents itself I am very consciously trying to slow things down and ski smooth, full, controlled turns, and otherwise I'm focusing on trying to clean up my skiing on less challenging terrain and ingrain good habits. Hopefully this season I'll be able to get out with a good instructor on the hill to get immediate feedback and correction. Also a real plus to follow someone good and see/feel close up how they do it.

post #42 of 57

The way I figure it, the key to this is to keep the skiing moving (mostly) in the direction it is pointed. Let's assume you have a really sharp set of skis. Let's say they are as sharp as this knife -

IMG_1845.JPG

Your ski is flat on the snow as you start your turn. If you start your turn by pushing the ski uphill or sliding the ski while pivoting, you aren't going to cut into the snow. Picture that knife lying on it's side on a nice steak. If you move it sideways across the steak it won't matter how hard you push, it won't cut. But push it forward, and even when it is lying nearly flat, it'll start to take a little slice off of the steak. Move it forward and give it a little twist and you'll be able to slice an arc through the steak without pushing hard. The point is, don't let the skid start because you are going to have a heck of a time stopping it, and that's not really what you knife, I mean ski, is built to do.

post #43 of 57

I've skied all but the lip of Left Gully at Tucks after 24 hours of freezing rain with temps never rising above 26F. That's right, all-night rain into the snowpack at 20-26F. Welcome to the East! eek.gif

 

We booted up without crampons or axes, like fools. It took 3X longer than normal because it took 4-6 fierce kicks of an alpine boot toe to make a dent deep enough to take EACH STEP. Pretty exhausting and not a little scary as we neared the top.

 

We literally couldn't scale the top of the bowl above the crux, it was just too hard and steep (it's about 50 degrees). My two buds stopped to put their skis on, which was no easy task. I warned them to remove their pole straps in case they needed to self-arrest. They ignored me.

 

The first guy tried to start with a big, hard jump turn. Blew out of his binding and starfished 5-600 feet. Stopped himself just above the rocks.

 

The second guy fell just trying to get into his skis. Starfished 900 feet and sailed into the shrubs/rocks. Managed to sprain an ankle despite wearing alpine boots. Very lucky it wasn't worse.

 

I fell trying to collect their scattered gear. Like a fool I'd gone out onto the slope on my boots only (with poles of course, standing without them was impossible). Fortunately, I DO know how to self arrest and stopped my slide within 15 feet. So there's the first rule for skiing 40+ degree ice... know how to self arrest and be prepared to do it every second.

 

Went carefully back to my skis (fell once more, self arrested once more, ho-hum) and once I put them on it was like I was home. Steel edges = security. I skied from glove to gaitor to goggle, stuffing them into my pack. Their skis and poles I just flung down the hill, no chance of losing them as they sailed right down the center of the gully, hundreds of feet.

 

Then I skied. With a light touch but not timidly. Feathering my edges, skiing by feel every second. Very round turns, never rushed, never skidded, certainly never jumped, edges sliding forward at all times, turns always completed so that I never picked up excessive speed but not too far uphill or you'll slow down too much and start to skid. Probably 45 degrees where I started, easing off to 35 or so most of the way. Never really had a problem once I got going and got a feel for the ice.

 

***

I've twice gone over dropoffs onto 30+ degree pitches expecting powder or packed powder and found myself on windblown ice.

 

The first time was on Cascade at Killington, just below the old double chair midstation where the trail turns left and dives. Landed on my back and was completely helpless. Slid 150 feet and was saved from a ten foot drop onto rocks only by the netting. Broke a binding, three boot buckles and a pole grip but I was unhurt. Very, very lucky.

 

The second time was at the top of the Birds of Prey course at Beaver Creek. It was powdery bumps the day before but they'd groomed it and the wind took every loose flake off the trail so I was unexpectedly skiing the race-ready base ... on fat, floppy powder boards. EEEK!  I skied it though, carefully, dynamically balanced but skidding every turn like a gaper because there was no holding an edge on those boards. Several people glissaded, dragging ski or pole tips to scrub speed. I could have done much better on suitable skis.

 

Don't know if there's much to learn from that, except that if you have the right equipment and  skills, steep ice of some kinds is skiable, sometimes very skiable if there's no better choice.

 

 

 

post #44 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglySkiRight View Post

I've skied all but the lip of Left Gully at Tucks after 24 hours of freezing rain with temps never rising above 26F. That's right, all-night rain into the snowpack at 20-26F. Welcome to the East! eek.gif

 

We booted up without crampons or axes, like fools. It took 3X longer than normal because it took 4-6 fierce kicks of an alpine boot toe to make a dent deep enough to take EACH STEP. Pretty exhausting and not a little scary as we neared the top.

 

Why in God's name were you trying to ski Tuckerman's in icy conditions?

post #45 of 57

Just curious, but where is there 2k of 45 degree pitch vertical at a ski area in North America? Haven't been to Tucks, but it's not 2k of 45, correct? And on rock hard ice? Really? If one where to encounter this, you'd be in 'no fall' territory and no one I know, pro or not, would chose to ski it by choice. Chances of successful self-arrest without well prepped ice tools would be pretty small on skis. Maybe the hyperbole meter is on 11, or maybe I'm just getting old and skeptical.  smile.gif  

post #46 of 57

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

 

Why in God's name were you trying to ski Tuckerman's in icy conditions?


Because, as noted in the second paragraph, we were fools.  FWIW, this was my first trip there. Our leader had been there multiple times. He's 15 years younger than me, built like a linebacker and normally a strong skier. I'm light, skinny as a rail and a slow climber in the best circumstances, yet I carried his gear off the hill. Go figure.

 

There's no question summit fever played a role. I stopped at the crux, pretty spent, and sat on a rock. Asked myself whether going higher made sense. It didn't for me. I was willing to admit defeat. My younger, stronger companions pushed on, determined to reach the lip.

 

I was still sitting on that rock when they stopped climbing, maybe 100' above me, beaten. Then I watched them crash and blow by me, not ten feet away. The crux is only ~20 feet wide. Thank goodness I didn't follow them up, they'd have taken me out for sure.

 

They pushed the limits too far. I stopped at just the right place, whether by dumb luck or good sense I'll leave for others to say. The skiing from my spot on down was challenging but doable, obviously, since I did it. If they'd stopped where I did there wouldn't have been much of a story, or any injuries.

 

***

I've visited that rock since, in much better conditions. Gave it a fond pat as I continued on up over the lip, admired the view, then skied the whole thing. Summit fever satisfied, after a suitable delay to await better conditions.

 

post #47 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Just curious, but where is there 2k of 45 degree pitch vertical at a ski area in North America? Haven't been to Tucks, but it's not 2k of 45, correct? And on rock hard ice? Really? If one where to encounter this, you'd be in 'no fall' territory and no one I know, pro or not, would chose to ski it by choice. Chances of successful self-arrest without well prepped ice tools would be pretty small on skis. Maybe the hyperbole meter is on 11, or maybe I'm just getting old and skeptical.  smile.gif  



Tucks is nowhere close to 2k of 45 degrees.  Maybe 800, 900 vertical feet of 40+

 

I don't know what the longest 40+ degree in-bounds pitches are.  Something at Snowbird maybe?  Highlands Bowl has some pretty long steep lines in it.

post #48 of 57

So, lots of good advice on ice technique.  The OP was about high consequence, backcountry, and expectations of 2000 ft of vertical at 45 degrees.  I am thinking rope, harness, very experienced buddy, self arrest handles on your poles at the very least, if not an ice axe.  But, I am in the Pacific Norhtwest, ice is not common unless you are mountaineering as opposed to wandering out of bounds.  Does not sound the least bit fun, to me.

post #49 of 57

... double post.


Edited by markojp - 2/8/12 at 5:32pm
post #50 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

 

These are not just idle questions. Skiing in the backcountry, even though not searched for, will bring you in contact with very firm conditions, and if you have 2000 ft of vertical at 45 degrees...


So where is it that you're encountering this? As said before, and I'll add the backcountry caveat, no one skis 2k vertical of 45 degree rock hard ice. If you were ski mountaineering and doing say, the Mowich face of Mt. Rainier like the late Carl Skoog, Armond Debuque (on teley gear!), Andrew McLean, and I can't recall the fourth did, then you're looking for the right day in the right year in the right conditions. No one takes this kind of skiing lightly as it truly is life and death if you fall. If the conditions don't pan out, then there's always a crampon descent. Here's an account of one group's trip:

 

http://skisickness.com/Rainier/Mowich/

 

And here's an account of Carl's death from a fall. This read is a sobering reminder of the realities of gravity and coefficients of friction.

 

http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/in-memoriam-carl-skoog

 

So with due respect, this talk of 'carving' in this kind of terrain sounds very exaggerated to say the least. Sorry to sound grumpy, and again, there's no disrespect intended on this end. You're looking at very high end technical 'mountaineering' descents on skis. 

 

 

 


Edited by markojp - 2/8/12 at 5:32pm
post #51 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Just curious, but where is there 2k of 45 degree pitch vertical at a ski area in North America? Haven't been to Tucks, but it's not 2k of 45, correct? And on rock hard ice? Really? If one where to encounter this, you'd be in 'no fall' territory and no one I know, pro or not, would chose to ski it by choice. Chances of successful self-arrest without well prepped ice tools would be pretty small on skis. Maybe the hyperbole meter is on 11, or maybe I'm just getting old and skeptical.  smile.gif  


Nope, Tucks is not 2K'. As KevinF said, it maxes out at ~900' of actual steepness depending on the line. 

 

We didn't encounter "rock hard ice" either, else we couldn't have climbed it without ice tools, much less skied or self-arrested with a ski pole. 

 

Even though the slope and firmness we encountered didn't approach the OP's full conditions, one of our skiers still suffered a long, uncontrolled slide that could easily have landed him on a rock, which are plentiful across the bottom of that gully. If that can happen on an 800' slope with hard frozen snow, imagine what could happen on a 2000' slope with rock hard ice.

 

Totally agree that no one would voluntarily choose to ski on that.

 

post #52 of 57
Thread Starter 

Markojp the 2000 ft of 45 degrees is common in the Eastern Sierra backcountry, like Emerson, red Slate, etc.

 

They are not always icy of course, but sometimes they are.

 

I experimented this year on less steep groomers at Squaw, which got very icy after 10:30 am (pretty much every day with man made snow).

 

I believe that skidding the turns is much more effective if you want to be safe and not pick up a lot of speed. Carving might work, but you are looking at a lot of speed.

post #53 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

Markojp the 2000 ft of 45 degrees is common in the Eastern Sierra backcountry, like Emerson, red Slate, etc.

 

They are not always icy of course, but sometimes they are.

 

I experimented this year on less steep groomers at Squaw, which got very icy after 10:30 am (pretty much every day with man made snow).

 

I believe that skidding the turns is much more effective if you want to be safe and not pick up a lot of speed. Carving might work, but you are looking at a lot of speed.



OK! The Eastern Sierra Makes sense then, but the same thing applies. I'd assume you're booting up what you're going to ski down? Just for fun, watch Andrew McLean and John Morrison (Tahoe based) skiing in the first 10 or so minutes of Warren Miller 'Wintervention'. C shaped turns, carved in that the tail is following the tip, but not railed. Pretty bomber steep technique on variable snow. IMH experience, BC snow is just different than things you'll be trying inbounds it just doesn't get the skier traffic. Also, looking down 45 of say 600'-800 vert is a very different head game than 2000' even if it's the same slope angle. On the assumption you haven't skied this stuff yet, you won't really know until you get there. I've done around 1500' vert of that kind of skiing on fabulous corn that we waited for the sun to bake just right, but the top and bottom conditions will be different. Adjust appropriately. 

post #54 of 57


Did any one notice he didn't have a helmet on?  and he was skiing on skinny skis and no rocker? We now have so much to debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

TESTING:

2:22 for how to ski ice...

 

Wildwood Films - Aspen Extreme Ski Chase Clip

 

Works here!

 

seriously this video was funky, any idea where I'll get the whole version? Are the skiers famous?
 

 

 

post #55 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post

Are the skiers famous?

 

 

 


I'd say, it's Coombs, RIP.

 

post #56 of 57

It's Doug Coombs and Scot Schmidt creating the 'ultimate TJ Burke skier',  the Race Director of Aspen Ski Corp. Scott Nichols is one of the patrollers chasing.

post #57 of 57

i get now its not a ski film as such, its a real film with a real story line, still some funky skiing going on, brilliant

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