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Vertical feet vs total distance

Poll Results: Which metric to track?

 
  • 88% (15)
    Vertical feet
  • 11% (2)
    Total distance
17 Total Votes  
post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Qurstion regarding tracking my skiing this year. Is it preferable to track vertical feet or total distance (miles)? I am thinking veryical feet is traditional, but total miles would be better if available.
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post

Qurstion regarding tracking my skiing this year. Is it preferable to track vertical feet or total distance (miles)? I am thinking veryical feet is traditional, but total miles would be better if available.

 

Well vertical feet was done, because it was easy (just need to know the vertical for a given chair, and how many laps you did), the only way to get distance is with a GPS, which until recently wasnt really all that availble in a cheap pocket size.  Although even with modern GPS I would think you would still only get the general "crow flys" distance...would the GPS pic up your individual turns?  Especially short turns?  I think that would affect your distance covered dramatically.  I agree would be neater to know total miles skied....

post #3 of 21

Why does it matter?

 

I don't mean to sound rude; I'm genuinely curious. I've never had any desire to know the exact distance I've travelled, so I don't understand where you're coming from. What does it add to your experience?


Edited by CerebralVortex - 10/5/12 at 2:26am
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

Why does it matter?

 

I don't mean to sound rude; I'm genuinely curious. I've never had any desire to know the exact distance I've travelled, so I don't understand where you're coming from. What does it add to your experience?

 

It doesnt matter, but some people just like "data", "statistics" etc.  It can be used to track all kinds of things...as their is likley a correlation between miles travelled/vertical ft and skill or fitness.  As your skiing improves, you will likley ski faster, thus get more miles...so it could track progress or fitness levels.  Possible to compare mileage or vert to different times of year as an indication as to when the hills are less crowded....and it might be interesting to see: do you actually get more miles in on less crowded days?  Or is the limiting factor actually somthing else...also people like comparing records, or miles with one group of friends vs another....do you get more miles on a particular pair of skis?  After eating a certain lunch? Certain breakfast?  etc etc etc....lots of stuff. 

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Well vertical feet was done, because it was easy (just need to know the vertical for a given chair, and how many laps you did), the only way to get distance is with a GPS, which until recently wasnt really all that availble in a cheap pocket size.  Although even with modern GPS I would think you would still only get the general "crow flys" distance...would the GPS pic up your individual turns?  Especially short turns?  I think that would affect your distance covered dramatically.  I agree would be neater to know total miles skied....

 

Thinking more about this...I think the ideal would be to record both, as then it also provides an indication as to the type of terrain you are skiing.  Ie if you notice that over the course of the season your daily mileage stays relativley constant, but the daily vertical is increasing then that would mean you are skiing steeper runs...conversley if the vert stayed constant but your mileage was increasing then you would be skiing faster, but no change in pitch. etc etc.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

It doesnt matter, but some people just like "data", "statistics" etc.  It can be used to track all kinds of things...as their is likley a correlation between miles travelled/vertical ft and skill or fitness.  As your skiing improves, you will likley ski faster, thus get more miles...so it could track progress or fitness levels.  Possible to compare mileage or vert to different times of year as an indication as to when the hills are less crowded....and it might be interesting to see: do you actually get more miles in on less crowded days?  Or is the limiting factor actually somthing else...also people like comparing records, or miles with one group of friends vs another....do you get more miles on a particular pair of skis?  After eating a certain lunch? Certain breakfast?  etc etc etc....lots of stuff. 

 

Thanks.

 

It looks like it's a completely different mindset from mine, which is why I was struggling to understand.

post #7 of 21

The only ski metrics I track for "fun" are "10 by 10"  (ten runs by 10:00 AM) or "buck a run" (Ticket cost/ # runs).  Buck a run is tough now unless on a steeply discounted ticket.  A couple of us at the ski house play 10 x 10 sometimes.

 

I don't carry a GPS to track vertical feet or total distance.

post #8 of 21
If you ski at a Vail resort, your vertical is tracked by the sensors at the chair lifts reading your pass. biggrin.gif or mad.gif depending upon your point of view. There are folks actually blocking this tracking.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

[quote]I don't mean to sound rude; I'm genuinely curious. I've never had any desire to know the exact distance I've travelled, so I don't understand where you're coming from. What does it add to your experience?[/quote]

 

Same reason I have a bike odometer on my bike. I don't really care, other than I like to have something to quantify the amount that I did a particular activity any given day.

 

Think I'll keep track of both....it would be interesting to see how many miles I put on my skies over the years. Perhaps if I ski 5,000 miles, I can justify replacing them.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Skier View Post

 

Think I'll keep track of both....it would be interesting to see how many miles I put on my skies over the years. Perhaps if I ski 5,000 miles, I can justify replacing them.

 

If nothing else, you could at least rotate them.  wink.gif

 

Actually, you pose kind of an interesting question.  I've always looked at it by vertical feet because it's really easy to add up lift rides.  When you talk about miles, however, it becomes pretty intriguing.  I ski at Jackson Hole and mostly ride the tram (4,137 vertical feet) or the gondola (2,784).  

 

The absolute shortest legal way down from the tram - Corbet's Couloir to the Downhill Chute to Amphitheater to Lower Gros Ventre - covers pretty close to 3.5 miles. Call it a mile per thousand vertical feet for a rough calculation, although it's probably slightly less than a mile on average.  That means it would take 1,250 rides on the tram to equal 5,000 miles of skiing. More or less 5 million vertical feet. That's actually a lot of skiing. 

 

I think you're entitled to replace those skis after that much vertical.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisman View Post

The only ski metrics I track for "fun" are "10 by 10"  (ten runs by 10:00 AM) or "buck a run" (Ticket cost/ # runs).  Buck a run is tough now unless on a steeply discounted ticket.  A couple of us at the ski house play 10 x 10 sometimes.

 

I don't carry a GPS to track vertical feet or total distance.

My home mountain, Sun Peaks, has a chair that covers 2894' vertical and is over 10k feet long, so with turning, the shortest way down is around 2 miles. Problem is the ride up is 22 minutes, and it opens at 9 am, so the best you can do is a 2x10. 10 runs otoh takes an entire day. LOL

post #12 of 21

Isn't there an iPhone app that covers both as well as number of runs?  I think there is as I have some friends that use it.  It would seem that you could probably figure it out without an app through topo map reviews or off Google Earth.  

Reply
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

If you ski at a Vail resort, your vertical is tracked by the sensors at the chair lifts reading your pass. biggrin.gif or mad.gif depending upon your point of view. There are folks actually blocking this tracking.

It's not really that hard to block it. it's just an RFID pass, the same as a cardkey for many office buildings.  If you are worried about personal privacy, this is the least of your worries.  You should be buying a day pass with cash and stay off the grid to avoid the Terminators sent back in time to kill you.

You can google to find RFID blocking sleeves, or just make your own with the  aluminum foil but only as long as it matches your foil hat.  

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post

Isn't there an iPhone app that covers both as well as number of runs?  I think there is as I have some friends that use it.  It would seem that you could probably figure it out without an app through topo map reviews or off Google Earth.  


Correct, one of the best I've come across is called "Ski Tracks".  I highly recommend.  Tracks vertical, distance, avg speed, top speed, inclination (slope), time, ascent/descent, and maps your complete routes.  Doesn't use much battery either.

 

Personally I shoot for vertical; it's a metric in my opinion of how "big" you've gone.  Distance is related, but not quite as exciting perhaps.  I do know that I did more vert in one day out West than I did in an entire season at my local hill though, if that's any measurement to go by.  I don't judge my experience by the numbers, though I do find it interesting to see where I went, how fast I went, etc.  It's fun to compare against other trips or measure your performance perhaps.

post #15 of 21

It seems to me that not all vertical/milage is equal.  When I'm skiing at most places (like Whistler, or Stevens Pass) I ski more vertical, and often more runs/hours than I do at Mt. Baker on a given day.  I've always wondered why that is, and I imagine that it's the quality of the terrain.  Baker's runs tend to go steep from top to bottom with few run-outs while other places tend to have a challenging run and then funnel you to a collector where you slide along for awhile, adding vertical and miles, but not really doing much in the way of work.

 

So do people factor that stuff in when they pay attention to vertical and/or distance?

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

Why does it matter?

 

I don't mean to sound rude; I'm genuinely curious. I've never had any desire to know the exact distance I've travelled, so I don't understand where you're coming from. What does it add to your experience?


Yep, the poll needs a "neither" option.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

It doesnt matter, but some people just like "data", "statistics" etc.  It can be used to track all kinds of things...as their is likley a correlation between miles travelled/vertical ft and skill or fitness.  As your skiing improves, you will likley ski faster, thus get more miles...so it could track progress or fitness levels.  Possible to compare mileage or vert to different times of year as an indication as to when the hills are less crowded....and it might be interesting to see: do you actually get more miles in on less crowded days?  Or is the limiting factor actually somthing else...also people like comparing records, or miles with one group of friends vs another....do you get more miles on a particular pair of skis?  After eating a certain lunch? Certain breakfast?  etc etc etc....lots of stuff. 


No surprise I've done this since I started skiing in my 20's.  The initial motivation was to measure improvement in my skiing/fitness.   Though obviously easier to measure, vertical is the better measure than miles IMHO as it tends to give more "credit" to steeper terrain.  Nonetheless the really huge vertical totals are run up by skiing uncrowded groomers served by high speed lifts.  With 1110 days (and counting) in a spreadsheet it is easy for me to compare verticals by area, season, time of year, etc.  or answer question such as those posed above.

 

There are a lot of things vertical doesn't measure, but for a single stat it's probably the most useful.  The main thing it misses is powder so I make a mental estimate by chair ride how much of each run was powder and thus have a powder vertical estimate for each day.   I think vertical + powder vertical is quite a good indicator of the quality of a ski day.

post #18 of 21

I said vertical, as it represents how much potential energy you have accessed and converted.  However if you are talking about cross country skiing or touring, then distance would be more relevant.

post #19 of 21

Vertical.  Because if you want higher numbers, then you ski tougher terrain.  With distance, the larger the number, the less tough the terrain, except...oops you could have skied a longer day.  In other words, the number trend runs OPPOSITE of what you want.  You want higher numbers to always mean you are doing MORE.  Whereas with distance, it'll depend on how long a day it was vs. how flat it was.  

 

Sure skiing trees and powder lowers your numbers compared to groomers, but at least STEEPER trees will mean you did more than flatter trees.  I've been tracking for 23 years and I'm always adding notes to the day at this point.  But one clear item is, last year did I have more or less vertical at this point compared to this year.  It tells me if I'm slacking off or doing better.  

 

By the way, I ignore the ski area's vertical in terms of assessment.  I don't want to be holding up the line for people bellowing to the lifties to scan me.  They all know me by now and they'll trot over anyway if they see me coming.  If they can't get there, though, it's no big deal.  All that counts to me is my own stats.  

post #20 of 21

Your poll is flawed.  You need a choice for "Don't care because I'm having too much fun."

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

"Don't care because I'm having too much fun."

 

Yep.  I'm on that bus.

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