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The "Oh Snap" scenario...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,


I must admit - I've never really perused this section of the forum much, but have found it quite interesting this morning.  Thanks to all the instructors around here who offer real, serious advice and help.  All for free no less!  


So here's my question/scenario of the day...


I've followed a friend down the right side of steep double black (which is not unusual), Never Never Land for anyone familiar with Panorama, my wife and another friend are over towards the left side doing their thing.  As I'm following, admittedly, I'm getting bucked around & struggling.  I come to a section where it's steep - No Fall Zone steep.  I freeze, stand there for awhile, think about & draw the 3 turns to the bottom in my mind, freeze again, then pick my way through a whoopie trail over to the center/not so steep section.


What do the pros here do?  Next time I'm there, I don't want to freeze - how do I get myself back in that, "1 - 2 - 3 - Charge!" mindset?

post #2 of 8

Tough to say without video... the simplest answer is 'mileage'. The more experience you have skiing steeps in different conditions, the more comfortable you'll become and the mental focus needed to commit to the fall line will be second nature. Speaking only for myself, I don't think 'charge!' as much as I think 'flow', especially for the first couple of turns. 

post #3 of 8

If you were getting bumped around, that could have rattled your confidence - given that you were struggling at that time in those conditions and on those skis, you made the right choice to take a mellower route to bring back your confidence.


If you were to do the run, you did the right thing by visualizing success beforehand.  (Make sure your visualizations are as close to reality as you can. Only 3 turns down a double black? Yowza!)


What steeps tactics do you have? Often I'll do a few hopturns until I'm comfortable reverting to short radius. 

post #4 of 8

When I first encountered steep skiing, I just looked at it in my mind's eye as regular fast skiing, only on an angle.  After a while I didn't need to think about it.  So long as you want to go down, going down isn't a problem.

Edited by Ghost - 3/20/13 at 3:58pm
post #5 of 8
one thing that helped me, especially when rolling over onto something real steep, was to not leave something VERY important behind me....my body! when initiating and entering the fall line, i make sure my fore/aft alignment is up to snuff and that my spine is perpendicular to the slope angle. this helps ensure that im over my skis so that ill be able to steer effectively, something thats hard to do from the tail of the skis (if im leaning back/pulling away from what lies below) in these scenarios.

post #6 of 8

Freezing is the unconscious mind telling the conscious mind "HELLO???!! - You do not have the skills to safely do what you are thinking about doing". 90% of the time, the subconscious is right and this is healthy behavior. If you still intend on being stupid (and it is fun to be stupid occasionally), you need to identify safety measures in order to unfreeze. Most of us just fall back to "plan B". If you have the skills (i.e. the subconscious is wrong), then Mermer (conversation with fear) is the best source of help.


Whenever your skis are getting knocked around or skidding, the brain imposes a lower speed/pitch limit than when the skis are locked in a carve or otherwise nice and stable. Pro athletes have merely desensitized themselves to accept higher levels of instability than us mere mortals. You can do the same thing by working your way up to steeper and gnarlier terrain. Find short sections of steep runs with open flat run outs. Practice speed control drills on these runs and work your way up to longer, steeper and more dangerous choices. For speed control drills I recommend both straight running to get max speed onto the flats and various mixes of short, medium and long radius turns on these runs where you either slow down, speed up or maintain a steady speed down the run. In the meantime also work on technique to maximize control over "knock around" and carving.

post #7 of 8
If that extra steep section (I'm assuming your three turns to the bottom indicates a really short steep section) has an easier entry but you can get back to the steeper side, try going where you went and then returning to the steeper section where you'd be one turn from the bottom. Next time try going where you'd be two turns from the bottom. Finally, enter the steeper part without stopping right at the top of it.

And, as Z says, never leave something behind.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the advise & time everyone.


I'm quite sure that it was really a combination of everyone's thoguhts above.


More Mileage - I'll have more confidence in my abilities

Getting knocked around above - Yup, definitely shook up the confidence I had.

Do I have the skills for this - On a good day, yea - on a rough day.... less so.


Flow vs. Charge - I like it, going to steal that one - thanks Marko.


My skillset is definitely lacking when it comes to steep & off-piste terrain - I thought to myself on this pitch, "I've completed 6 successful real good hop turns.  is this really the place to put them to the test?"


Just to clarify; yes - this was one little steep pitch, on an overall steep run.  Towards the right side, it just kinda.... rolled away from us.  No real "entrance" to contend with, the slope just falls away.  I'll try to get a screenshot from my contour camera when i get home tonight and post it up for reference.  


Lessons - here I come.

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