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Did the East Coast ruin my ability to ski good snow?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

This is my first attempt to get some help on here with my skiing. I grew up in the Southwest and skiied 4-7 days a year on trips for about 6 years. I was OK. Basically, a 5-6 level.

 

I moved to the NY area and skiied a lot in Vt back in 96-99. I got pretty good (a solid 7, I'd say). A few years off and then 3 years ago I took it back up seriously.  I have been skiing a few days this year in typical conditions (hardpack). After my last day, I thought that I was back to my old solid 7.

Then, the glorious snow dump happened on THur /Fri. I got the wife to let me get away for the day to Belleayre (they had received more than a foot).

The conditions were soft. Soft that I had forgotten about sans a few days back when Mt Snow would get hit back in the 90's.

Suddenly, yesterday I could not ski for crap. Is there a mental aspect that I need to approach "good snow"? I was ripping the blacks two weeks ago. Yesterday, I looked like an idiot that would ski two nice turns then look like a moron when they hit something other than boiler plate.

 

Help pls TIA!

post #2 of 17

A couple of things one tends to do naturally in deep soft snow that is the exact opposite of what you naturally do on hard icy runs.

 

1)  control balance between skis very carefully as though you were balancing on a single sheet of plywood with both feet together so as not to make the board tip too far; on hard icy runs you put a lot more force on the outside ski, but put too much weight on one ski in powder and it sinks; you recover by putting all your weight on the other ski and promptly trip yourself up.

 

2) in soft deep snow you can't tip the skis to much unless you are already in a pretty hard turn, otherwise a ski on edge will sink and you will "slide off" the platform of compressed snow that the ski is riding on; on boiler plat you tip the ski to put it into a turn weighting the edge using the sidecut.

 

3) in deep snow weighting and unweighting changes the bend in the ski; on boiler plate the edges are always against the hardpack and that is the major thing that determines the shape of the ski.

 

4) on hardpack you can easily swivel skis around or sideslip like nobody's business; in deep snow skis don't want to go sideways unless they are fat, and if the are fat and you ski them sideways in steep chopped up rough terrain, you will soon be posting video about how your binding "pre-released" and you need to crank the DIN up to 11.

 

5) on boiler plate you can be brutal with tip pressure to bend the ski; on soft deep snow that will bury your tip and trip you up.

 

Don't worry it should all come back with a little practice.  Just remember two skis as one, don't tip too much, and be smooth. 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Ghost!!!

post #4 of 17

LOL!

 

Me too!

 

It took 4 runs to realize that God gave me snow, and I need to dial the brain back and get a handle on it.

 

I was at hunter on friday and it was spectacular, but I had to get a handle on it.  I haven't seen these conditions in two years.

 

What fun after I got my head screwed on right.  Drop the carve and turn in 3D is what I had to program myself to do.

 

Sadly, my ski's are nearly useless in that type of snow.  It would be good to have longer and fatter boards for this type of skiing.

 

Im on 170's that are 74 mm wide.

 

I should have jumped on some wider longer stix that I was looking at a couple of weeks ago.

 

East coast skiing is tricky and 2 years ago my home base was belleayre and every week we had inches of fresh stuff.  Really nice conditions.  Last year?  Slush, Ice, and man made cream cheese at Hunter.

 

Next year?  LOL

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

We'll have to meet up in the Cats, sometime Bob!

 

I got my ass kicked two years ago on Cathedral Brook, but I feel like I skied it better back then than on lower Dot yesterday!

post #6 of 17

LOL the last time we had a big dump I was on 190 Machetes.  It still took me all morning to get dialed back into skiing snow instead of ice.  I had to start out by straigt-lining and gradually increasing the turn (decreasing the turn radius).    Reminded me of the first time I skied deep snow; that took me three days to learn how not to trip myself up.

post #7 of 17

Easy on the controls big fella.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

1)  control balance between skis very carefully as though you were balancing on a single sheet of plywood with both feet together so as not to make the board tip too far; on hard icy runs you put a lot more force on the outside ski, but put too much weight on one ski in powder and it sinks; you recover by putting all your weight on the other ski and promptly trip yourself up.

 

I've skied more days in powder this year (3) than the past 4 years combined.  Luckily I had my "Ah-Ha" moment early on, but keeping this point in mind was key for me.  Eastern skiers tend to turn by putting most of their weight on the inside ski and "fight" the snow rather than using it to turn.  Obviously, that doesn't work in deep snow, being evenly balanced is key.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post

I've skied more days in powder this year (3) than the past 4 years combined.  Luckily I had my "Ah-Ha" moment early on, but keeping this point in mind was key for me.  Eastern skiers tend to turn by putting most of their weight on the inside ski and "fight" the snow rather than using it to turn.  Obviously, that doesn't work in deep snow, being evenly balanced is key.

What?  This isn't an east coast thing.  This is a skier that doesn't know any better thing,

 

Good skiing is good sking and no matter the conditions, most of the same rules apply.  Change the conditions and you change your tactics.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 Is there a mental aspect that I need to approach "good snow"? 

 

Help pls TIA!

 

   Hard snow=good snowbiggrin.gif  And there IS a relevant reason I say this...

 

  zenny


Edited by zentune - 3/10/13 at 8:58pm
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Trust me, I love skiing the hard stuff. I totally feel more comfortable doing it. However, there's a reason the thruway was jacked with vehicles toting skis and boards Saturday AM...

post #12 of 17

It's impossible to come to any definitive conclusions without video, but typical East Coast conditions (i.e., hardpack) allow the skis to be pivoted / skidded very easily.  That is, the snow simply doesn't provide much resistance to a twisting motion to the ski.  About the only way to stop that skid is to set the edges hard or to just say "screw it" and attempt to skid the other way.

 

Deep snow -- especially the higher water content / dense stuff that we tend to get in New England -- is the antithesis of doing the above.  Overly pivoted turn entries simply don't work because you're trying to "push" a mountains worth of snow out of the way on every turn.  Hard edge sets don't work because there's nothing to set an edge into.

 

As said above, good technique is good technique, meaning that there are ways to turn that work in deep snow and on hardpack.  Sure, there are differences, but it's not polar opposite techniques either.

post #13 of 17

    On groomed snow/hardpack, we are able work on things such as centered stance and ILS, which we can then take with us elsewhere on the mountain...Tough to so side slips or pivots in 10" of snoweek.gif

 

    zenny

post #14 of 17

Did the East Coast ruin my ability to ski good snow?

No.

 

Skiing in powder/crud is all about making adjustments ( a slightly different take than L&AirC's "tactics"). Depth, moisture content and the gear you are on make the biggest differences in the adjustments you may need to make, but there are a lot more (e.g. slope pitch, surface crust, bottom surface). Adjustments you may need to make include stance width, turn shape, speed of movements, overall speed and skiing in the third dimension. 

 

Depth and moisture content combine to create increased resistance to body movements. In extremely dry snow or shallow depth, you may not need to make any adjustments because you'll be skiing on the subsurface and the powder offers no effective resistance. Longer, fatter and rockered skis help to float you higher in the snowpack and reduce the resistance. On some days some powder skis can you float you to the top so effectively that skiing in the powder is no different than skiing on courderoy. In powder we typically narrow our stance width, make shallower turns, eliminate abrupt turning movements, increase our overall speed and sometimes vary the height our skis are in the depth of the snowpack at different points in the turn (e.g. bouncing). Sometimes more subtle adjustments like lifting the toes/using the ankle joint to adjust the "plane angle" of the skis in the snow pack so that the tips of the skis are higher off the underlying snow surface than the tails are.

 

Powder consistency can vary with altitude, wind, age and a lot of other factors. The exact amount of the adjustments you need to make will vary and may even need to vary from one turn to the next. You have to "feel" the snow to know what adjustments to make. But it is hard to make adjustments to powder snow one does not have experience with (especially with snow denser than what you are experienced with or powder with a crust surface). 

 

"Good snow" is often a matter of perspective. Many Western skiers have trouble adjusting to (cough) "firm" snow that racers would call good snow. So instead of "ruined" ability, maybe you should be looking at your ability as either "half full" or "half empty"?

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hmmm, I probably should not have worded it "ruined". I hear what you are saying @TheRusty. I think I altered my stance to wider when I felt unsure of my weight distro. I'm pretty sure that's a common thing to do. I felt like I was constantly over compensating "front to back-wise". One minute I was backseat, the next, I was about to have a forward twisting fall. I did once, (thanks Salomon for saving my left knee!) when I went too far forward and felt like the snow practically stopped me. Equipment-wise, I have been wavering between the Kastle MX88s and the Blizzard 8 or 8.5tis. I think a wider underfooting would have made me more comfortable in those conditions. I need new boards anyway, as my K2 Apaches are now 7 yrs old and 68mm in the middle.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

What?  This isn't an east coast thing.  This is a skier that doesn't know any better thing,

 

Good skiing is good sking and no matter the conditions, most of the same rules apply.  Change the conditions and you change your tactics.

I agree, but look at the average person skiing on the East Coast.  It's "hockey stop left...hockey stop right".  It's easier to pick up then full carves, and the conditions allow it

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by St Bear View Post

I agree, but look at the average person skiing on the East Coast.  It's "hockey stop left...hockey stop right".  It's easier to pick up then full carves, and the conditions allow it

So their tactics work for what they are skiing on, their ability and other factors. If they had fluffy white dry powder all the time, you would see something else from people that are in the same skill category.

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