Originally Posted by skiatansky
Racers consider a smooth black groomer to be "mellow".
Let's see if we can establish a base of common understanding.
In the grand scheme of things, doesn't everyone posting in this thread consider any trail you can winch a groomer up to be "mellow"? Surely you can ski it in a non-mellow fashion (google video of the Kitzbühel downhill for reference), but the trail itself isn't forcing that. That's why groomers are so great for learning how to ski. They give you a sanitized experience where you can focus on learning technique without having to constantly focus on absorbing terrain irregularities. As you improve, you can focus on skiing those "mellow" trails in a less mellow fashion. Personally, I love skiing twisty, narrow New England trails at high speeds. Carving those guys at mach schnell feels like driving a fast car on a twisty road. It's fun, and there's real risk of injury if you blow a turn and fly off into the woods. Cannon has fatalities pretty much every year from stuff like this. Trail: mellow. Skiing: not as much. I think this is a useful differentiation.
I think there's some entrenchment on both sides of this debate that isn't helping things. In one camp, we've got people who mostly video groomer practice to aid training, and put this video up for MA from people they respect. Some of it shows very good skiing. The conditions are necessarily "mellow" as defined above, because it's TRAINING video. Most of these folks are serious students of the sport, and are very interested in the technical quality of their skiing. They're focused on the movements in the skiing, not the terrain. They probably don't qualify enough that the video they're posting is training video, and not their idea of a super-gnar fun day. It would also probably help if they used more phrases like "Well, I don't personally aspire to ski like that, but it seems to work fine for him.." rather than tearing down others who haven't asked for their advice. If the purpose of the thread is to share opinions then cool, share what you think, of course.
In the other camp, we've got people who seem to disregard the quality of any skiing on groomers, since the environment is so "mellow". They back this up with references to the zillions of people who can more or less make their way down groomers but are hopeless in anything else. While this is common in the skier population at large, many of the folks in the preceding paragraph are following an approach that doesn't seem to break down this way, from what I've seen of it. Beyond that, I'm unsure of why a teaching methodology that emphasizes structured training and regular practice on terrain suited for it would be seen as such a bad thing. I'd think the instructors especially would love the idea of an approach suggesting you need to actually put effort into your skiing in order to be good at it. It seems they could get a lot more lessons and more dedicated students out of it, which would seem a welcome change from the "one and done" they seem to dislike so much. In any case, I think these folks would do well to look at the skiing in the video they watch, rather than focusing so much on the terrain. Remember--this is training video, not a TGR-style gopro trip report. Ski academies seem to do okay with training video on groomers, at least enough to get their people winning major international competitions, so clearly there's something that works okay with this approach.
Any possibility of getting some buy-in from folks on both sides here?