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Ski Retrieval in DEEP snow

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm going skiing in Japan in a few weeks, the snow's meant to be deep. If I come out I'm worried I'll never be able to find my skiis...any recommenations??
post #2 of 23
Composite poles. Once you pop out of the ski try to get an idea of where it came off at. Go to that area and drag your pole as far down in the snow as posble perpendicular to the fall line of the hill. Kind of a grid search. Anyway do this about 18 inches apart working down the hill until you find the ski.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Cheers, How about those streamers you can get that you tuck into your pants..do they work?
post #4 of 23
Or you could just get Pocket Rockets, they float right to the surface.
post #5 of 23
Originally posted by janus:
Cheers, How about those streamers you can get that you tuck into your pants..do they work?
Probably one of my biggest pet peeves when skiing is all the tourists out here who have those, whether there is powder or not, who don't bother tucking those things into thier pants! I've never used them, never felt the need to, but if you do, tuck them up in your pants.
post #6 of 23
Get the fluorescent ribbons that tie on your bindings. Just make sure you tuck them up inside your inner pant gators, or they'll come out when you don't want. Kinda like toilet paper stuck to your shoe at a party. They do work very well!!
I'll be in Alta later in Feb., and don't plan on losing my skis. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #7 of 23
Assuming you can find one ski, use it to search for the other. I use the tail of the ski, cut back and forth across the fall line, as deep as you can.

In my experience, the ski often goes WAY farther down the hill than you think it would have - if the ski released in a fall, IE, it did not just STOP, it'll often be pretty far down the hill from where you wound up - and the snow won't always have a depression to indicate that the ski tunneled under.

For deciding where to start looking, think about when it came off - if you were tumbling, it could be anywhere. If you bottomed out in the snow (into a stump, for example, as I did last weekend, it is probably above you. If it was a backwards-twisting fall, it is below you.

Skis get lost sometimes. Not forever, naturally, but until spring. If you have friends, and it is not turning up quickly, and it is reasonable to ask, tell them to make another lap & help you find it by traversing back and forth where the ski might be - crude, but effective.

Powder cords/straps can work, but PLEASE tuck them in. I tried them once in 86 or so, found them to be more of a hassle than they're worth, especially if you're riding a tram/gondola/hiking/need to take your skis off frequently.

Binding screws are very, very effective, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Approach with caution.

I've never lost a ski (and I've had lots of powder days - more than most, I'd wager). I have spent up to about 10 minutes looking.

The biggest thing I've learned is to look farther downhill than you think - I found a guy's ski at Snowbird that was probably
100' below him (not vertical feet), he'd been there for two trams, figured I'd stop and help him out, started where he fell and traversed back and forth, about 20' each direction,
going slightly downhill, until I found it - it was WAY below him. There was a fair bit of dry, light (even by Utah standards) snow on a fairly firm surface - the ski just dove and kept on going.

If it is not "right there" figure out which way the ski was likely to go, and start going down. It HAS to be there.

post #8 of 23
Crank your din to 14
that ought to do the trick

post #9 of 23
Streamers (aka powdercords)do work....but in most cases you don't need them. On the other hand, I lost a ski at Kirkwood a few years ago, walking out was a bitch, plus the expense of a new pair.

It takes all of 30 seconds to shove the cords up your pants.

Altaskier doesn't need them...he is a rock star and never falls.
post #10 of 23
Originally posted by irul&ublo:
Altaskier doesn't need them...he is a rock star and never falls.
I wanna be a rock star too!

I don't use them either; but, keep them tucked-in if you do. I don't generally associate deep powder with Japan - am I missing something?

Have a great trip.

post #11 of 23
I'll confess right here right now that I use a Powder cord in powder over a foot or more. Ok I am no ski god and I want to have a set of knees when I am old a nd gray. Oh wait I am Old and Gray! Well I still want my knees so I keep my din set at 8 They can be a pain to use. However spending 2 to 3 hours looking for a ski that has tunneled isn't the best use of my time on those rare powder days. If there is that much Powder you may want to ask ski patrol if they have a metal detector.
post #12 of 23
If you must lose a ski, lose it at Park City. I know for a fact that they'll mail it back to you in the spring.
post #13 of 23
Originally posted by irul&ublo:
Altaskier doesn't need them...he is a rock star and never falls.
Ski with me sometime, I'll prove that wrong!
post #14 of 23
Disclaimer: This post sounds like a major troll. But if it's not...

I'm no rock star either, I ski a 7-8 DIN due to a knee issue.

I use powder cords, and yes, I tuck them in. Not a TOTAL gaper.

I spent 45 mins. of a powder day looking for a lost Chubb, never again.

Cords are a bit annoying when you're riding the tram or gondola, I'll give you that.

And as far as using your ski as a probe as someone suggested, why?

Use the poles, Luke.
post #15 of 23
In my experience it is best have a very quick look for the ski in the hope of finding it straightaway. failing that have a rest, calm down and start in a methodical fashion as others have already described.

I also use the ski (rather than the pole) because my skis are longer than my poles and because they are also wider which means there is a bigger chance of making contact with the lost ski. Only works if you loose only one ski though!
post #16 of 23

I do most of my skiing at the same kinds of places as Iain Mannix, with similar experiences. For that matter, I'm pretty good at proving not to be a Rock Star too.... Anyway, I have to say, this is one of those occassions when I have to agree with every word of someone's post - straight forward, non-opinionated common sense, with absolutely no nonsense.

I can only think of two opinionated things to add myself. To reiterate: if you want to use those powder streamers, follow everyone's obvious advice, keep them tucked in - it's just not that much hassle. Not to mention the hassle you'll save by preventing everyone else stepping on them in the lift line, tangling in poles or boundary ropes, etc. Also, at the risk of overstating the obvious, for God's sake and your own, do not ever, ever, as in never use those 1970's vintage leashes instead of brakes! If you do, although you won't lose a ski, you stand a good chance of losing something more difficult to find or replace - say... a body part, maybe...? So many people have taken nasty hits from their skis being snapped back into themselves - saw someone with cuts in the head from the edges and tip.

As for Duke's idea of cranking your DIN up to 14... [img]tongue.gif[/img] Well, clearly we're talking about powder here. In these softer conditions, depending on your weight, how hard and how cleanly you ski, unless you're one of those Dude types of cliff jumpers, you shouldn't need a DIN setting that high. Your priorities are up to you. Again, yeah, a high DIN setting will retain your ski, but isn't it more important to retain your orthopedic health? After all, that's a big part of what the state of the art bindings are about.

See you on the hill...


[ December 21, 2003, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Pilot 3D ]
post #17 of 23

lost a Nordi W105 with only 3 days on it because I didn't think I ever fall... couldn't find it with an hour of searching. couldn't find it the next day with a metal detector. couldn't find it later that week while it was raining...

again, leashes.
post #18 of 23
Or, just ski in the U.S.A.!! As you'll probably end up skiing at an indoor dome!
post #19 of 23
I have a better solution than the cheap streamer flags one often sees skiers use today that I'll share here. I ski lots of powder year after year in the Sierra at a resort that averages over 500 inches where losing a ski after falling is all to common. If one skis where 12 inch storms are unusual or the snow is more dense, there is less reason to use powder flags. Also there is much more reason to put them on newer $800 skis versus some old rock skis. There really hasn't been a well engineered product out for at least 15 years probably because materials are so cheap and profits would not be worthwhile. So what are the basic needs of a powder flag or cord?

1. Needs to be able to attach to ones ski or binding and after falling not to ones clothing.
2. If one falls in deep snow coming out of one's binding the flag needs to extend to its length and be visible above the surface of the snow.
3. Needs to be easily visible against the background snow so even a small section will be noticeable in the snow.
4. The flag while skiing should not hinder or get in the way of skiing.

I've skied with flags, both those cheap commercial ones and ordinary construction tape. They work fine much of the time. One ought to have them tucked in one's cuff and not left trailing the skis. If one skis enough with them, there will be times when they get in the way of one's ski edges and pole planting especially in windy conditions. They also can rime up when exposed. Thus they must be tucked. The material needs to be synthetic or they will tend to cake with wet or riming snow. Riming can be a major problem when skiing fast in windy clouds. Worst caking situations are when temps are within a few degrees below freezing temps.

Why is a flag better than a cord? Cords tucked under a cuff are much more likely to tangle in a knot coming out.

Flag color ought to be bright neon super visible.

Another issue is tucking the flag under ones cuff. Any reasonably designed pair of ski pants ought to have elastic cuffs especially for powder skiing. Otherwise snow will find its way up the leg. The elastic cuff also allows a way to keep a powder flag tucked away. Especially in wet or riming conditions, even a flag may get stiffly frozen and not straighten out enough to be able to rise above the level of the snow. Even without being stiff, a flag stuck in one's cuff can become tangled coming out. Thus it would be an advantage for the flag to be foldable in an orderly way. My own simple custom flag uses one of those two inch diameter elastic hairbands gals use for their hair. I fold the flag into 3 to 4 inch sections then slip the band around the wad of folded flag.

Thus a better flag is one that somehow floats atop the snow. Old powder cords have a little light ball at the end just for that purpose. The same thing can be done with flags by attaching say a piece of cork maybe an inch in diameter to the end. Since it may be the only part of a flag ending up above the snow, one ought to spray it with some fluorescent neon paint. The other advantage of the cork is that because it is more resistance due to size to pulling out from under an elastic cuff, it will be the last part of the flag to escape which will allow the flag to stretch out to its full length.

How ought one attach a flag to ones skis or bindings? The attachment ought to be robust enough that the pull of suddenly detaching skis yanking out the flag, does not rip the flag off the attachment point. I use a heavy duty snap swivel available from fishing supplies. The attachment to a binding may require drilling a custom hole then adding a ring or such for easy clip in.

Whenever I go out on a big powder day like the last two days when there was over three feet of deep cold light fresh, I always have my Chubbs rigged up. The other special powder day tool always in my pocket is a whistle in case I get stuck in a tree well since I am a notorious dense tree skier. -dave
post #20 of 23
Hey , powder cords are way beater- but I used them for years, just suck it up and tuck them in tight to limit dirision from the rock stars- after awhile when you get so experienced in pow you don't fall much, lose them and set your bindings high- I set mine on ten or so, about 2 clicks higher than normal. Then you can master the rollie; where if you fall you simply roll downhill 1 full revolution, land on your feet and keep turning ( I did this today in about 4' of fresh in scotts bowl-PC). Then there's the endo, extra points for this one, where you do a complete forward summersault , land on your skies and keep going in rythm.
I did have a release today bombing a traverse from "deadly boot buildup" when snow gets packed in between binding and boot to cause a pre release. Can be very ugly. Check boot- binding interface occasionally to eliminate dangerous and humiliating unintentional launches. Hope you boys'n' girls had fun on the frontside today. Park City was screamin"

By the way Alta- You should try Pocket Rockets- I was skeptical about them being so soft but in deep pow they're like sex- and pretty fair on groomers and bumps too- they do get tossed by heavy crud, I'll take up my old Supermountains if that 's what's up. But I had the Rockets out today and they really preformed well on bottomless, windpack, chopped pow, groomers and moderate bumps. I even found some avalanche debris that they liked. They turn at the speed of thought. Then again, some people will forever swear by Volkls and Atomics in the soft stuff....

[ December 27, 2003, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Rubob ]
post #21 of 23
We used to use a cord (german: Fangriemen), which was attached to the binding and around the lower leg. In particular in backcountry randonee touring. This came out of fashion when the new randonee bindings (like Fritschie) came with a ski brake.
But the cord is the best solution if you don't want to loose your ski. Unfortunately there are some disadvantages:
It happend that the ski, still attached to your leg via the cord,
hit skiers at the head during the fall. This risk should now be
limited due to the usage of helmets.
When you get caught in an avalanche it is harder (if not almost impossible) to get out of your skies
The new bindings lack a hole to attach the cord. You have to
attach it to the ski brake.
post #22 of 23
Duct tape avalanche beacons to your skis. Then if you have to search for them you won't look the moron who lost his skis. Instead you'll look the like techno-geek moron playing with a transceiver.
post #23 of 23
Re: using ski or pole as a probe - I did not mean to convey the idea of "poking" or "probing" with the ski, but rather, using the tail of the ski (or the tip, tails are typically easier, but the closest thing I have to a twintip is an Atomic Big Daddy) to slice big arcs through the snow.

Standing in one spot, I can make sweeping arcs across the hill at 2' deep (from end of tail to binding heelpiece), covering a LOT more ground a LOT faster than poking at the snow, hoping to hit the ski.

The ski often winds up pointing straight down the fall line - so you've got ~4" of width and ~180cm of length - sweeping back and forth through the snow with the tail of the ski is a bunch faster & more effective than hoping that you "make contact" with the pole.

Basically, cut through the snow, back and forth, probably 5-6' sweeps per arc, you're far more likely to find it than prodding at the snow with a ski pole.

IMHO, IME, whatever works for you - I've just found it fastest to
slice across the hill with a ski, the "thunk" comes pretty quickly that way....

Iain (I must admit, digging for a ski is one of the better problems I can think of
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