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Skiing fast

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

So, I was recently at Kicking Horse for a ski trip, and on Wednesday, we were lucky enough to have a powder day. We took one show off run under the gondola, then headed back up to CPR ridge to get first tracks. I was skiing with a guy who raced for about 8 years, now he coaches at the local hill. Anyway, after a decent traverse, we arrived at a run that hadn't been skied yet. It was steep, with a narrow chute at the top, opening up into untracked powder below. I dropped in first, made a few quick turns, then straightlined the chute and made huge, high speed smeared pow turns the rest of the way down. I stopped at the base of the run, then turned to watch my friend. To my surprise, he was struggling. It took him about 5 minutes to get down. When he got to the bottom, he asked me how I ski so fast. I was at a loss for words, because skiing fast for me has always been as simple as 'ski faster.' First I made a smartass comment "Point your skis down the hill...don't turn." Then, I started to really think about it. Why would a racer, who has tons of experience skiing really fast, have such a hard time at speed on a steep, ungroomed run? Was it his ski choice? I was on my 192 cm Atomic Bentchetlers, and he was on an older set of 170 cm Head cheater race skis. We traded skis for a run. His skis were definitely more difficult for me to ski on, but then again, I can't remember the last time I skied something that was stiff with a flat tail. He was still being bounced around on my skis. Or is it related to physical capabilities (I am 6'2", 240 lbs, muscular, and he is 5'10', maybe 160 lbs)? There were a couple other ex-racers on this trip, and we skied at similar speeds. It was surprising to me that me, a park skier, skis faster and more confidently than a guy who spent 8 years racing, and was on skis at 4 years old. Anybody have any insight?

post #2 of 52

Was this the first time he ever skied powder?  (Just saw another thread, guy saying he was a level 8-9 skier, but he'd never skied powder...What makes him think he's an 8/9?...)  Your first time on a type of surface you're unfamiliar with is always a learning experience.  If 100% of his time has been on hard fast conditions, he needs to adjust his technique.  Some of the best extreme skiers out there started as racers, so there's no basis to the idea that a racer can't ski powder.  Also, faster doesn't necessarily mean better.  I've seen a TON of idiots in the last week here straightlining stuff that were mostly just out of control.  And it could certainly be due to physical condition...or even mental condition.  

post #3 of 52

While his skis would a littler harder to manage and a 170 cm cheater race ski would not give you much float so you could have a lower terminal velocity, the real culprit here is his inexperience in these conditions.  It takes a few days to get used to deep snow if you've never skied deep snow before, and for me, at least, a few hours if I haven't skied it in a decade.  I have skied very deep at very high speed on lots of skinny skis, but they were all long skis.

post #4 of 52

His skis were definitely more difficult for me to ski on, but then again, I can't remember the last time I skied something that was stiff with a flat tail.

 

Goes both ways. 170 race skiers are meant to turn alot at a slower speed than 190. The TR is prolly 15R compared to 25R and then of course the skiers all around skill level.

post #5 of 52
post #6 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post Also, faster doesn't necessarily mean better.  I've seen a TON of idiots in the last week here straightlining stuff that were mostly just out of control.


This is 100% true, and I'm not trying to equate straightlining with skill by any means, especially when I see the same straightlining guys absolutely get wrecked in the bumps. However, he even had a hard time making long, high speed 'charging' turns in even powder, which is fairly simple to get a handle on. For me, this was my first time in powder on my powder skis, and it took some adjustment to my technique. As for his experience, I'm pretty sure he's skied more pow than I have. My feeling is that the lack of float on his skinny skis (around 60mm waist) along with fairly tight sidecut (~15 m) led to hooking in the powder, maybe placing him in the backseat. This could be causing a reluctance to use the one technique that would help him float, which is skiing faster.

post #7 of 52

Race skis need to be skied on the base more than float. Speed is not a good thing w/ narrow boards till the rider is dialed in.

 

post #8 of 52

It wasn't the skis.

post #9 of 52

Racer as a category includes people of a wide range of ability. If you tell me he is a racer with top FIS points, then I can conclude something definite about his abilities. also ran racers are an unknown skill level and it means nothing at all, IMO, and coach means even less.

 

plus your post wreaks of self-egrandizing at you pals expense.

post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

 

Plus, your post wreaks of self-aggrandizing at you pals expense.



Haha, I realized that after I posted. However, as an instructor, I'm genuinely wondering the reason why he had so much trouble in the steep & deep. I'll fully admit that, as soon as we hit groomers, he was capable of leaving me behind like I was standing still, with what to me looked like great technique. Just an honest question, is it something to do with a race background, is it gear related, or is it skier related?

 

P.S. I fixed your post.

post #11 of 52

I think a few things need to be explained:

 

First "Racer Background":  There is nothing inherent about skiing around poles that would make you a great skier.  The reason thou, that alot of with a "Racer Background" are great skiers is because of the intense high quality coaching that usually accompanies such programs.  It would not be uncommon for a race program to have 2-3 days of coaching per week...do that for 8 years and you are going to be good.  However, not all programs had this, or good coaching, so anamalies do exist.

 

Second Skis:  Of couse someone on a 170 race ski will struggle to keep pace with a guy on 192cm ski, all other things being equal.

 

Third Speed:  Many "fast" skiers today, particularily on big skis off-piste go fast, simply because they cant slow down even if they wanted to.

 

Fourth Coaching/Instructors: There are many levels here also...some self designate themselves "coach" with no qualifications what so ever (lots of those here), some have a L1, which is pretty easy to achieve...others have upto L4 which takes many many years of expierence, study and time being coahed by others to achieve.

 

 

 

 

To answer you question, I suspect...(ie guess) that it is a case of your friend came from a low quality race program with limited coaching, so infact cannot ski that well, I suspect on top, you have more of "no fear" approach and are comfortable going straight...which your big skis enable you to do fairly easily, and option not really there on a 170 race ski with side cut, and you are also likley pound for pound alot stronger...somthing that also helps in the pow if your technqiue is not up to it.

post #12 of 52

glad to read your posts again. get down. 

 

thanks for the correction, fldr, I guess just saying f' you to the  spellcheck isn't going to get it done.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

I think a few things need to be explained:

 

First "Racer Background":  There is nothing inherent about skiing around poles that would make you a great skier.  The reason thou, that alot of with a "Racer Background" are great skiers is because of the intense high quality coaching that usually accompanies such programs.  It would not be uncommon for a race program to have 2-3 days of coaching per week...do that for 8 years and you are going to be good.  However, not all programs had this, or good coaching, so anamalies do exist.

 

Second Skis:  Of couse someone on a 170 race ski will struggle to keep pace with a guy on 192cm ski, all other things being equal.

 

Third Speed:  Many "fast" skiers today, particularily on big skis off-piste go fast, simply because they cant slow down even if they wanted to.

 

Fourth Coaching/Instructors: There are many levels here also...some self designate themselves "coach" with no qualifications what so ever (lots of those here), some have a L1, which is pretty easy to achieve...others have upto L4 which takes many many years of expierence, study and time being coahed by others to achieve.

 

 

 

 

To answer you question, I suspect...(ie guess) that it is a case of your friend came from a low quality race program with limited coaching, so infact cannot ski that well, I suspect on top, you have more of "no fear" approach and are comfortable going straight...which your big skis enable you to do fairly easily, and option not really there on a 170 race ski with side cut, and you are also likley pound for pound alot stronger...somthing that also helps in the pow if your technqiue is not up to it.



 

post #13 of 52

Several years ago there was a Warren Miller film that had a segment with Bode heli-skiing powder on fat skis. Don't think anyone would consider Bode anything but fast/expert, but he had trouble with the filmed run, and actually ended up dumping. ( Typical great attitude about the whole thing, though. ;-)

 

In that case Bode admitted he hadn't skied on fatties - not sure what his powder experience was (or is). 

 

Comforting to know even experienced, expert skiers can struggle with new conditions! There's a learning curve for everyone, I guess.  ;-)

post #14 of 52

My guess is that he has not spent much time in powder.  I heard a similar story about a fairly new racer who had huge trouble getting down a mogul run.  If one spends most of their time in the gates and maching groomers they don't develop the skills for the rest of the hill.  The racers I have skied with recently don't seem to have that problem.  At all.

post #15 of 52

That's surprising to me (Bode can't ski powder assertion). At Squaw, the racing coaches say that they have always benefited, for decades, from the fact that the racers are excellent all mountain skiers, rough terrain being great training for courses that are not always perfect. Marco, Julia, Travis, and Tamara are awesome powder skiers, btw.

post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Third Speed:  Many "fast" skiers today, particularly on big skis off-piste go fast, simply because they cant slow down even if they wanted to.

 

 

To answer you question, I suspect...(ie guess) that it is a case of your friend came from a low quality race program with limited coaching, so in fact cannot ski that well, I suspect on top, you have more of "no fear" approach and are comfortable going straight...which your big skis enable you to do fairly easily, and option not really there on a 170 race ski with side cut, and you are also likely pound for pound a lot stronger...something that also helps in the pow if your technique is not up to it.



As for your third point, I saw that a few times. Guys who could dominate the upper half of the mountain hit some icy (for the west) groomers at the bottom of the hill and it was instant crash or survival skiing. As for myself, I spent a lot of time in powder and such tooling around on noodly park skis. Now, with the fatties, yes, I can charge, but I can still ski slow. As for the quality of our race program, I can't personally vouch for it, as I have never been involved in it. However, they seem well taught, and our racers do fairly well. Maybe it comes from skiing where we only have 135 feet of vertical, no varied terrain. As for the "no fear" part, that only seems to come on in the steeps. When I'm in the park, I have a hard time building up the balls to do something.

post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by flatlandr View Post



Maybe it comes from skiing where we only have 135 feet of vertical, no varied terrain.



 

Yeah...maybe thats it.biggrin.gif

 

 

I remember a funny story a friend of mine told me about a similiar hill where he learned to ski..also on the prairies.  He said he saw this guy and thought he must be the greatest skier ever.  I asked, "What did he do that impressed you so much?"....response:  "He could stop at the bottom without crashing into the hay bails!"

post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 

It's weird though, I've skied with many current racers and ex-racers from this program, this is the only person I've seen having issues. Then again, one of them is one of the top female racers in the province, the other 2 were also on the freestyle team. Seen a few guys who can ski better than I can in the park, can't make a turn to save their lives. I guess a balanced ski education really is the best.

post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by flatlandr View Post

It's weird though, I've skied with many current racers and ex-racers from this program, this is the only person I've seen having issues.



Well then its is clearly not the program or somthing inherently flawed in "racers" as your OP asked....seems you know that....I suspect people will accuse you of trolling.

post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

That's surprising to me (Bode can't ski powder assertion).


Oops, I remembered it wrong. Bode did say the fat skis felt weird, (or words to that effect), but this page shows some pretty nice turns...

 

http://www.bodelicious.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=461&sid=f973ab5f83d6e34c1e86e3ac84545f9f

 

He dumped after a jump. And the film was Journey.

 

post #21 of 52

My guess is the "racing" background didn't set him up well to ski on a flatter ski using a schmeared technique.  Getting to edgy and trying to carve won't work well in that type of terrain, but works great on the groomers where you say he kicks your butt.

post #22 of 52

can not carve in(or on if you go fast enough) powder?  I think my friend and I would disagree. 

 

404435_10150634070738357_505253356_9093014_536997240_n.jpg

post #23 of 52

....and the powder in your testimonial picture is where? tongue.gif jus' kiddin', 'cause you have it all now. 

post #24 of 52

could I have lox with that technique, pls?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

My guess is the "racing" background didn't set him up well to ski on a flatter ski using a schmeared technique.  Getting to edgy and trying to carve won't work well in that type of terrain, but works great on the groomers where you say he kicks your butt.



 

post #25 of 52

Darren Ralves, Jeremy Nobis, Wendy Fisher, etc.... the list is long. Many of the strongest big mountain free skiers, men and women, have racing somewhere in their background.  That you met one racer that just hadn't skied much powder (maybe he's from Ontario or Quebec and new to the west?) says nothing about 'ski racers' vs. 'free riders/jibbers'. Give him some days, and if he's a solid technical skier, he'll figure it out. And then yes, there are strong racers with low FIS points, and 'people who raced'. A friend's son moved to Breck this year to do the jibber thing. I have to say, he's amazing on rails, in the pipe, and doing jib tricks. He knows that given his background and small home hill in the midwest that he's got to get time in just skiing in big terrain. He's a great athlete, and I'm sure will become a fine free skier as well as continuing on with his airs, pipe, and rails. And just by admitting he'll have work to do, he's already way ahead of many following that particular path into high end skiing. 

post #26 of 52

Your friend in 2" of powder sporting the A-frame and down-stem?  I like the angulation and am not saying that your friend is a bad skier, just that your picture shows nothing.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

can not carve in(or on if you go fast enough) powder?  I think my friend and I would disagree. 

 

404435_10150634070738357_505253356_9093014_536997240_n.jpg



 

post #27 of 52

^ truth.

post #28 of 52

The picture itself is an example of the limits of photo or video testimony to support a specific point. There are not always pictures or videos available to a person that precisely exemplify the point that is being made or discussed.

 

I would enjoy posting racing pictures of my youth to prove everything I say, but.....so hey, want to see them anyway?? just kiddin' guys.

post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

Your friend in 2" of powder sporting the A-frame and down-stem?  I like the angulation and am not saying that your friend is a bad skier, just that your picture shows nothing.
 



 

first she is floating on top and just post to say you cna carve on top of powder. 

 

and you can not tell if there is a down stem from a photo, and what so wrong with A Framing at extreme angles. 

 

1cba052cc37a540be829a398ccae_grande.jpg

 

BTW she would own you. she would own most of this board. I hope some of the other people on here who have met her will back me up on that. 

 

I only talk trash about people who think they are the shit and are actually shit and would do everything in my power to meet up with them if they truly take a problem with that. Maybe the entire board should stop trash talking skier who are better than them

post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Darren Ralves, Jeremy Nobis, Wendy Fisher, etc.... the list is long. Many of the strongest big mountain free skiers, men and women, have racing somewhere in their background



You could add a lot of other people to that list too, Shane MCConkey, Chris Davenport, and more. But maybe the common thread is that they started skiing in their youths, and that during their youths 40 years ago, the only path for a committed skier was racing.

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