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tips for skiing on icy conditions please

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

just looking for some tips on skiing packed out conditions that get icy ....has been an abundance of cold lately but lack of snow...and temps out here might be +2-3C (32F) in day only to drop to -2-3C in the afternoon or evening so creating icy conditions. when i was up at my hill a few days ago, by mid afternoon (temps dropping and heavily skied out part) i found myself losing edge grip and sliding down sometimes..

 

also once at a lower part of whistler's  peak to creak it wasn't groomed as we'd encountered a cold spell but had lack of snow, and it was flat but  ungroomed... was like a vertical skating rink ...not fun, but i did try it to develop some skill sets.

 

so how is the best way to handle bulletproof conditions or very hardpacked snow, if one still wants to continue skiing and having 'fun'?...should one use less edging going across steeper icier terrain...or gently edge (but tough to edge for next traverse only to 'lose it')? ...

 

i'd like to feel more confident when next encountering 'the iceman cometh' 

 

thanks smile.gif


Edited by canali - 12/6/11 at 6:06am
post #2 of 23

Do "1000 Step" drill as you run over bolierplate patches. 

Ski Volkl Racetiger RCs with 1 degree base and 3 degree side bevels. 

Prep you edges after sharpening with a progressive ceramic stone polishing.

post #3 of 23

there is no 'best" way to ski ice, there is a best way to ski though.

 

Everything I am going to mention is stuff that we should be doing on on almost all snow types its just that the more forgiving conditions make us forget about them.

 

The biggest rules for skiing that become unbreakable on ice are these.

 

Balance on your outside ski early in the turn.

Turn shape is round whether its skidded or carved

you are countered to the turn which helps keeps pressure on your outside ski IE hips face down the hill

You are always 'moving" with the turn.

 

there are tons of things you could be doing that is preventing you from skiing ice and there is also a chance that your skis are just not good on ice but it it technique related I am a betting man and I bet its one of those 4 things I mentioned. Ill explain each a little further.

 

Balance on your outside skis is key, and its also something that alot of PSIAer seem to be confused on because of the talk of a strong inside half. balancing on our side ski is a by product of the other 3 things mentioned. If your always moving with your turn, if your countered, and your turn is round AND your shortening up your inside leg the appropriate amount for the turn it would be hard not to be balanced on your inside ski. 

 

drills - Javelin turns, dynamic wedge turns, skate to shape, and skate to shape while doing dynamic wedge turns.

 

Turn shape is round skidded, scarved, carved, arc I do not care which you call it but your ski has to be cutting the snow. Think of is like butter knife in a butter. If the knife is vertical placed into the butter it is not going to be easy to move but if it layed on it flat side it easier to smear. You want to knife to vertical and not easy to move for purpose of out skiing. Patience and not rushing anything is key for this to happen, the natural sidecut of the ski should be used to assist with the turn shape. The moment you start to rush things is when sideways uncontrollable to mere advanced skis happen.

 

drills -patience turns, funnel turns, follow the leader with a skilled coach

 

Counteered to the turn, by this I mean that your hips are level and that they are mostly facing down the hill if on really icey terrain excessively so. The easiest way to accomplish this is to pull your inside hip up and forward in the turn. It can be hard physically to do this turn after turn if your not use to it. 

 

drills - target practice, hiesmen drill, the fall LINE drill,

 

moving though the turn. Simply put skiing is a dynamic balance sport and to balance dynamic we always have to keep moving. In the context of skiing are movement are forward and for anglanol with some delays happening in high end skiing ie foot squirt. Let forget about the foot squirt and talk about the basics. From our first straight run to to the first turn, to skiing tree aggressively we are always moving trying to keep our Center Of Mass with our skis. To do this we need properly fitted boots and binding that do have a proper delta angle for the skier. Once that it taking place simply driving our knees and hips forward though ankle flex is how we accomplish this.

 

drills - low end - thousand step straight run, thousand steps witih toes on the ground straight run, straight line shuffle

            mid end - skate down the fall line, thousand step turns,linking turns while lift up your inside skis heel, shuffle turns easy terrain

            high end - the fall LINE drill,  skate to shape turns

 

 

these will all help ski ice better, but at the same time we as skier should always being doing these movements all the time anyways.

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 23

Number 1 requirement for skiing ice - sharp edges. Doesn't matter how well you ski, if you don't have sharp edges you'll find it incredibly difficult to ski well on ice. 

 

Generally wider stance - Allows for a more stable platform and generally easier to achieve greater edge angles. 

 

A round and finished turn - If you've always done z shape turns, you will always skid in ice. 

 

Smooth, gradual movements - There should be no sudden jerky movements in skiing but the need is even more pronounced on ice. It can be strong smooth skiing but it cannot be abrupt skiing. 

 

Early progressive edging - Allows for gradual increase of edge angles (only possible if you do a round turn and gradual movements). You need a good grip from the start of the turn and then increase that grip as you go through the turn when skiing on ice. If you slam on too much edge all of a sudden at the end only, you are more likely to skid (z shape turns). How to get early progressive edging is a big can of worms...

 

Skiing on ice is one of the most difficult terrains to master. Your ski mechanics and movements have to be even more precise than normal. In particular the skills of edging and pressure control have more emphasis on ice. It is the ultimate feedback terrain. When you do something wrong, you'll know instantly. Hope this helps.

post #5 of 23

To add to BWPA's point on countering, important to keep both hands well in front and at least waist high where you can see them. I find that touching the hands  together can help with getting the shoulders into a countered position. Also, imagine a GS gate at the turn and think of brushing it as you pass with the scapula (i.e., the shoulder blade bone at the back of your shoulder) to get your upper body into the countered position. You can see this shoulder position below:

blardone_1b_lg.jpg

 

It is important to note that you don't need the extreme positions of a world cup racer (assuming you are going at a more normal speed) to ski ice but the same fundamental techniques work without the extreme angulation. Another point that I think is important in all skiing but critical on ice is the separation of upper and lower body and the upper body staying fairly upright (stacked)  throughout the turn. If you get your torso from the hips up aligning with your legs too much you become much more likely to skid out of the turn on ice.

 

And don't forget sharp edges. In the east or in racing where you encounter ice most often, daily edge sharpening is pretty routine.


Edited by vsirin - 12/6/11 at 10:09am
post #6 of 23

BP is all over it!  Simplifying it down to two key elements, I would say its about using the top half of the turn most effectively to control speed, rather than the bottom half; and bending the outside ski early and smoothly.  If you can manage a brushed carve in the top half of the turn, then in the bottom half you can allow your skis to accelerate a little bit rather then feeling like you need to throw on the brakes.  This will avoid chatter.

 

If you enter the turn with a pivot, its going to be very hard to get edge hold again due to the large steering angle, it will probably chatter as you aggressively try to do so.  The key is to roll onto the BTE of the outside ski smoothly and patiently, developing the edge angle not too fast and not too slow.  Maintain as little steering angle as possible.  

 

Stay forward so that the ski bends and carves as early as possible.  Brush the edges a small amount to control your speed, especially during the top half of the turn. 

post #7 of 23

There is some of really good stuff in your previous responses. Let me break down the simplest and most achievable.

 

- Powder ski out, racing ski in. Any so called All Mountain ski with a waist wider than 76mm will make it more difficult but not impossible.

- Tuning can be a true factor. Be sure the ski is sharp under foot. A super sharp edge from tip to tail takes an extreme amount of talent to control comfortably. I like to feather my edge tune at 1 degree tip and tail, then 1.5 degrees working towards the waist and then 2 degrees just before under the foot. This allows a more progressive edge set in and out of the turn, providing I remain centered throughout the arc.

- Wider stance with a 60-40 split. Even 70-30. The 50-50 even pressure on both skis is for the World Cup-pers. But you can try it. Depends on where in the turn the skis are breaking away.

- Add angulation, steering angles and build pressure progressively. Release it at the same value.

 

That is as simply as I can relate. There is more lots more.

 

Cheers

Tek Head

post #8 of 23

Not a concern for us East Coast "Ice Coast" skiers.  I suggest waiting for it to snow so those fat skis work better... smile.gif

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek Head View Post

There is some of really good stuff in your previous responses. Let me break down the simplest and most achievable.

 

- Powder ski out, racing ski in. Any so called All Mountain ski with a waist wider than 76mm will make it more difficult but not impossible.

- Tuning can be a true factor. Be sure the ski is sharp under foot. A super sharp edge from tip to tail takes an extreme amount of talent to control comfortably. I like to feather my edge tune at 1 degree tip and tail, then 1.5 degrees working towards the waist and then 2 degrees just before under the foot. This allows a more progressive edge set in and out of the turn, providing I remain centered throughout the arc.

- Wider stance with a 60-40 split. Even 70-30. The 50-50 even pressure on both skis is for the World Cup-pers. But you can try it. Depends on where in the turn the skis are breaking away.

- Add angulation, steering angles and build pressure progressively. Release it at the same value.

 

That is as simply as I can relate. There is more lots more.

 

Cheers

Tek Head




WC do not ski with 50/50 pressure.

post #10 of 23

My only tip here is if you know there is some real ice around, ski like it is everywhere.  Don't let it catch you off guard and over committed.  I'm not talking about the scraped off white hardpack icy stuff. With good edges and good form you can ski that very much like average hardpack.  But, shiny black or blue boiler plate patches requrie a bit more nonono2.gifcaution to negotiate.  Nothing like hitting one of those totally unexpectedeek.gif  Best to keep in mind that those are around and be a tad less committed/more careful when tipping them.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek Head View Post

- Wider stance with a 60-40 split. Even 70-30. The 50-50 even pressure on both skis is for the World Cup-pers. But you can try it. Depends on where in the turn the skis are breaking away.


Once again agreeing with BWPA that WC skiers do not use even, 50-50 pressure on both skis. It is somewhat complicated but during the early phase of the turn, i.e. when the new downhill edge is engaged, as I understand it, WC skiers have 70-80% of their weight on the downhill ski (I have heard as much as 90% recommended for very steep trails), the pressure is gradually transferred during the course of the turn to something like 60% on the downhill ski near the end of the turn. However, this should be a fairly natural (versus conscious) outcome as your body moves and you begin to set up for the transition. For the person trying to learn to ski ice, I would shoot for the thought of starting the turn with three quarters of your weight on the downhill ski and let your normal dynamics take care of the transfer of weight as you patiently and kind of gently go through the turn.

 

Another thought that I find useful for skiing ice is to think of the rules for ice driving: sharp turns - you slide; hit the brakes - you slide; hit the brakes while sharply turning - slide real bad. Control your speed with your turn shape and choices: the more of the turn that occurs in the fall line the more speed you will gain. So if you want to go slowly turn across the fall line not down it. Also, don't be proud, nothing wrong with some side slipping if you hit real blue ice on a steep pitch before you've mastered the technique.

 

And don't go overboard with the wider stance. You sure don't want a narrow stance but you don't want to get into an a-frame that keeps you from effectively transferring weight.

 

post #12 of 23

Speaking as an Ice Coaster with 30 years of skiing in the mid-Atlantic region, I know all about ice, but not much about how to describe how to ski it.  I can tell you there is a WORLD of difference between hardpack and the ice I'm used to.  The true key is sharp edges, not freaking out, but being delicate in your movements until you get off it.  Look from non-icy to non-icy patch if possible and just take it easy on the icy sections.  If it's only hardpack, it's a "just do it" to me.  I think doing my own tuning gives me confidence and makes all the difference.  Now, if it's all high frozen ridges because it was cut up slush earlier, I don't think there is a way to enjoy it other by leaving sooner.  I'm more partial to skied-slick-ice-rink than frozen ridges.  Skill sets?  Survival.

post #13 of 23

I most certainly stand corrected WC skiers, do not ski in a 50-50 split with intent. The idea is a tactical approach in order to activate the edge on the inside ski when the pressure is built to much for the downhill ski to handle. Extended your legs and engage outside ski edge high in the arc. Apply inside ski edge and pressure as needed to progress through the bottom of the arc to avoid skidding out the downhill ski. It is all relative to conditions, pitch, speed, turn shape and the skill level of the skier. Guess we are all in agreement sharp skis help.  Cheers again..

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

thanks everyone who contributed...i appreciate it...i wish that there was an 'ice clinic' offered for skiing in such conditions at my resort, but there isn't.

...i think ice is what one person noted: it'll show you your weak spots quickly, which is why i appreciate that  'glassy mirror of truth'....sort of have a love/hate relationship with it.

 

...and that time i was at whistler doing the bottom, ungroomed part of 'peak to creek' well it was like a vertical uneven, glassy boilerplate...exhausting to do with confidence given my intermediate skill level....but still insightful in the end.

 

***lastly, while you're at it, feel free to suggest any great reads/dvds for the intermediate skier***...always love to read and watch instructional dvds, too.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post

.i wish that there was an 'ice clinic' offered for skiing in such conditions

You just need to make a trip to Pennsylvania, NJ, NC, MD, VA, NY, etc. especially for some night skiing. We have far too many opportunities to work on our ice technique.
 

 

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

You just need to make a trip to Pennsylvania, NJ, NC, MD, VA, NY, etc. especially for some night skiing. We have far too many opportunities to work on our ice technique.
 

 


You forgot WV as well.  We in the mid atlantic have been spoiled the past two seasons with soft, forgiving, natural snow that one would expect to see in BC.  It'll be interesting when our areas finally open  and we get some "fast conditions" to see if my muscle memory works.  One thing for sure... SHARP EDGES!  Back here skiers have several weapons in their quiver for the variable conditions.  On fast snow days in the east I prefer slalom skis with a 2% or greater edge bevel and well tuned!  
 

 

post #17 of 23

Yeah, nothing like Camelback on a Saturday night to "up your game" in terms of ice and idiot-avoidance.  eek.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post

.i wish that there was an 'ice clinic' offered for skiing in such conditions

You just need to make a trip to Pennsylvania, NJ, NC, MD, VA, NY, etc. especially for some night skiing. We have far too many opportunities to work on our ice technique.
 

 



 

post #18 of 23

I safely escaped from PA and don't miss Camelback even one tiny bit!  roflmao.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Yeah, nothing like Camelback on a Saturday night to "up your game" in terms of ice and idiot-avoidance.  eek.gif
 



 



 

post #19 of 23

Ah, but think of the skills you learned!  Dodging a sea of newbies on "Honeymoon Lane" at 2 PM definitely prepared you for skiing trees that don't move, after all.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I safely escaped from PA and don't miss Camelback even one tiny bit!  roflmao.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Yeah, nothing like Camelback on a Saturday night to "up your game" in terms of ice and idiot-avoidance.  eek.gif
 



 



 



 

post #20 of 23

I actually only skied Camelback a few times.  I mostly skied in VT and stayed at our ski clubs (Buckridge Ski Club) rustic dormitory type lodge.  Most of my PA skiing was at night with the HS ski club and we would do a lot of Spring Mountain, Doe Mountain, and others that were a bit closer to the Philly burbs.

 

I truly didn't learn to "ski" until I moved to WY.  I thought I was pretty good though.redface.gif  I wish I had been able to get involved with a racing program.  

post #21 of 23

Balance with the stance ski, and do not push against the skis at any point in the turn.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I actually only skied Camelback a few times.  I mostly skied in VT and stayed at our ski clubs (Buckridge Ski Club) rustic dormitory type lodge.  Most of my PA skiing was at night with the HS ski club and we would do a lot of Spring Mountain, Doe Mountain, and others that were a bit closer to the Philly burbs.

 

I truly didn't learn to "ski" until I moved to WY.  I thought I was pretty good though.redface.gif  I wish I had been able to get involved with a racing program.  



I grew up sking Doe (Bear Creek today)  and Spring at night a well.  Nothing like the reflection of bad lighting on shiny moguls with Led Zeppelin's Black Dog blaring on the lousy speakers.  You can always ski Blue mtn if you want to practice in day light. 

 

post #23 of 23

Like others have said, sharp edges make a big difference.  I'll also agree, that staying on your edges, and not trying to turn too sharp on the ice patches when it's just patches of ice is a good way to get by.  Other than that, it's just a matter of keeping your feet\skis under you and staying on top of them, but by under and on top I mean in line with the forces at play (include gravity, centripetal/centrifugal).  Another thing is to be sensitive to and ready for changes; it's easy to ski with almost no grip, it's easy to ski with lots of grip its hard when you think you have the grip and it suddenly goes away, or vice versa.  Being ready means using a little more angulation, playing it a little safer and not banking to the limit. 

 

I can have fun on ice with any skis that have sharp edges. The only skis I can recall really enjoying in frozen slush are my old SGs with the multiple steel layers.

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