or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › How to enjoy skiing on crowded slopes?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How to enjoy skiing on crowded slopes?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

Generally I love skiing. I've recently relocated from Vancouver to Toronto. I love ripping when the runs are fairly empty. However, as soon as there are crowds, e.g. a handful of people on a slope, I find it's a chore. Sure, you could say that a bad day skiing beats the best day at the office, but that doesn't really do it for me. Does anyone have suggestions for enjoying skiing when it's crowded on a 500' hill? 

post #2 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Hi guys, 

 

Generally I love skiing. I've recently relocated from Vancouver to Toronto. I love ripping when the runs are fairly empty. However, as soon as there are crowds, e.g. a handful of people on a slope, I find it's a chore. Sure, you could say that a bad day skiing beats the best day at the office, but that doesn't really do it for me. Does anyone have suggestions for enjoying skiing when it's crowded on a 500' hill? 

 

Yes, ski during the week when there are less people around...

post #3 of 35

Get on some SL skis and makes lots of little turns. It is good practice and also tiring/good exercise if you work the turns like a SL racer. You could also ski the ungroomed/natural conditions, which around here, is generally a bit less crowded than the groomers. When I was bored with alpine skiing I took up telemark.

 

I can't argue with RS's thinking, though, but I realize it isn't always an option.

post #4 of 35

I'll play. And I won't cheat by recommending things like substituting a different sport when it's crowded.

 

So, one thing that happens when it's crowded is that you have to respond quickly, multiple times a run, to unpredictable incoming actors, sort of like in PacMan or whatever. (Not a video gamer. Can you tell?) Instead of getting frustrated because these events prevent you from pursuing your own agenda, make responding to them part of your agenda. So, for example, if you are making big regular turns and your line is suddenly compromised on skier right, how effectively can you respond in a way that both ensures everyone's safety and happiness on the one hand, and also maintains your flow cleanly - i.e., your "go there," your "ski the slow line fast" goals. You may have simultaneously to move your line to the left, reduce your speed, and transition to shorter radius more brushed turns. How good are you at doing that without resorting to some kind degree of disappointing flow-breaking emergency maneuver? Most of us aren't that good at it. I know I'm not. But I'd like to be.

post #5 of 35

post #6 of 35

You look all around you or stay in your liane.

post #7 of 35

masterracers slalom skis/slalom turns is a great idea, although you don't need slalom skis, nor do you need to make carved turns.

 

I'll go down the edge pretending it's moguls and ski a short, steered, even a back-pedaling style.

 

Same thing as the slalom turns, just not very carvy.

post #8 of 35

I generally don't ski when it is busy, but if I do, I ski on the very edges of the run. Most people stay in the middle, I take advantage of their fear of hitting things like tree and snow guns and ski close to them. I know the tree or snow gun isn't going to pull a "crazy Ivan" and zig when then I thought they were going to zag. 

post #9 of 35

Will occasionally ski a GS line slowly, by making linked short radius turns through the bigger turns.  Keeps the speed down for survival, lets you play with the terrain and turn initiation.  Like to play with different turn types with edges and leverage.  

 

Used to wonder if ski school clinics were invented for times like those.  

 

Have also gotten into doing a tip drag stop (maybe to the point of being a bad habit) lets you see all around before committing to stop.  If you want to stop on a crowded hill try lifting the uphill ski. Open the ankle and hip at the femur so ski is pointed up hill. Lower tip into snow and let the resistance pull you around. Now you are skiing backwards and can wight the tips a bit more and stop, or (if you have too much company behind you) keep the spin going into a 360.  Just kind of a fun way to do something simple with the added beni of seeing behind you when stopping.  A good little balance and edging drill too.

post #10 of 35
When I used to have this issue, fortunately way in the past, it was a matter of learning the flow of the mountain, that is, what time which lift or area of the mountain would be getting crowded, and knowing where to move to. After many years at Camelback, I knew when the hordes would arrive, when they'd eat, when they'd move from the Sullivan to the Stevenson, etc. I knew to avoid Honeymoon at all costs around two PM. One of the benefits of always skiing the same area.

Now that I'm at Whitefish I've become so absolutely spoiled I tend to leave when there's one tenth of that old congestion even if it's just one slope. I'm used to EMPTY.
post #11 of 35
Knowing the rush hours is my tip.
Get there early. And ski during lunch. If this is your home mountain you should be able to develop the traffic patterns.

On the other hand, excessive traffic means not enough terrain or bad lift operations. The lift uphill capacity should be set so things aren't so packed. Going to conpletely full chairs will plateau at a maximum, and more customers after that will just incur waits in the liftline. If this is too crowded for you, then you have a difference of opinion with the head of operations guy.
post #12 of 35
Local mole hills are best at evenings, if you have to go during weekend daytime, stick with the hardest runs they have.
post #13 of 35
At my local hill I ask permission to set a slalom course on the side of the widest trail. That gives me, my kids and anybody else who wants to run it our own little playground.
post #14 of 35

Do you have any bump runs?   Most skiers avoid bumps like the plague, and folks have to go slower in the bumps so it's safer.

 

To prevent/mitigate collisions I'd also seriously consider body armor, bright clothing, and of course a good helmet.  Guess I'm just missing the body armor...

post #15 of 35

A lot of people get so scared of getting hit or hitting someone that they lose the enjoyment of the actually skiing. If your only choice is to ski on days/hours when the slopes are crowded then you have to figure out a way to shut out all of the outside stuff. But I would have to suggest that you try to figure out times, days, and areas of the mountain where you will be able to get away from it all.

post #16 of 35

We avoid skiing Saturdays during the day at all costs due to how busy our local hill can get.  On the days we do go and its busy we get there early and ski for 2 hours then have an early lunch and ski when everyone else is eating, then leave around 1:30 when it's at its worst.

 

Other than that I lie to ski on the side of the run often as well, the side with a possible drop off or other dangerous item...

post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the thoughts guys! I forgot to mention that I'll be teaching, so I can't just stop when there are crowds. (The club I'm teaching with doesn't get lift cutting privileges.) Appreciate the reminder about anticipating traffic patterns. Exercises are of course always on the agenda for annoyingly busy times :) just need to select exercises appropriate to the volume of traffic. (Sometimes there's no safe exercise.)

 

The other saving grace is that everyone packs up around 2PM. And it's not too bad skiing during lunch. So there are at least a few hours of good skiing at the day hills. 

post #18 of 35

Don't they run the lift at a speed that disperses the crowd?

 

Here's a vid: the chairs are full from top to bottom. iirc its 103  4-seater chairs. That's a lot of people on a short run. Apart from one small area with traversing traffic, it's 'empty' when descending. The secret is timing the lift. 

 

https://www.facebook.com/ajax/sharer/?s=11&appid=2392950137&p%5B0%5D=393705764011830&sharer_type=all_modes

post #19 of 35

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/80711349" width="500" height=


Edited by veteran - 12/1/13 at 4:38am
post #20 of 35

Since the OP has moved from Vancouver to Toronto he will or might already have discovered that skiing man made snow on 300'-500' vertical slopes in Ontario is a different sport than skiing in western Canada.

 

My suggestion: Go skiing in Quebec or northern Vermont (Jay Peak) on weekends. That is what I used to do, along with day trips to Holiday Valley in western NY which has similar vert. to Ontario ski resorts but with less people and more snow.

post #21 of 35

Every mountain has runs and areas that are not very crowded on busy days. Find em.

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiman88 View Post
 

Every mountain has runs and areas that are not very crowded on busy days. Find em.

 

I'm from Toronto as well..and I know what the OP is talking about..  :-)  Greater Toronto has approx. 6 million people.  There are, approximately, 3 public hills worth skiing within a 2 hour drive..really only 2.  500' vertical..maybe 20 or 30 runs per hill.  It is, quite frankly, ridiculous on weekends and I haven't gone on a weekend to a public hill in years.  You can have 10 minute lift lines for 1 minute runs.  If I happen to have some time to kill I'll go on a weekday.  Otherwise, it's drive 6 hours and do a week or long weekend.  Expensive but infinitely less frustrating.

post #23 of 35

As mentioned above getting a ski with a short side cut radius and getting very precise at making those turns at speed helps.  Up to a point (but not past that point), the faster you go, the easier it is to get around slower skiers  giving them enough space so they won't intercept your path no matter what they do.

 

Another thing that helps is keep your edges sharp and go to the steepest iciest gnarliest run open (unless you are teaching students who don'[t belong there of course); a lot of people will avoid these runs. 

 

Also sometimes there will be a run that is empty while others are completely crowded.  At Blue Mountain Collingwood for instance begginners tend to flock to the runs on skiers right, and expert to skier's left.  There often is an intermediate hill in between that is nearly empty when both ends are crowded.

post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks Ghost - I'll be teaching two series at blue this year, so your tips help. Some of the clinics I'm running will be "steeps" (it's all relative), so I'll use elevator shaft a fair bit, which I seem to remember is less crowded and more icy. Are those intermediate runs you refer to  between death valley happy valley and elevator shaft? 

 

Do you suspect the new orchard zone will be busy or empty? Hopefully it takes a chunk of traffic away from the other runs...

post #25 of 35

Holiday Valley is empty on weekdays, especially in the morning.  Crowds start to pick up around 2:30 when school gets out. I refuse to ski weekend there as it gets real busy.

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Thanks Ghost - I'll be teaching two series at blue this year, so your tips help. Some of the clinics I'm running will be "steeps" (it's all relative), so I'll use elevator shaft a fair bit, which I seem to remember is less crowded and more icy. Are those intermediate runs you refer to  between death valley happy valley and elevator shaft? 

 

Do you suspect the new orchard zone will be busy or empty? Hopefully it takes a chunk of traffic away from the other runs...

 

LOL at "death valley".  For those of you who don't know "Happy Valley is the run, complete with "SLOW" signs that everyone must go through when crossing over from the south side to the north end and vise-versa; it is frequented by many skiers who apparently cannot read signs who must cross each other in an x pattern like at the centre of the figure 8 in the old demolition derby races.

 

Yes, I don't ski blue as much as I used to and now when I do often with less-skilled skiers, but from memory, with a little help from the trail map, the runs that are usually less crowded (especially after freezing rain -if they are open that is) are elevator shaft through Little Devil.   The runs that sometimes inexplicably can be found empty halfway through the afternoon are L. Hill and Rinus Run (except that if a lot of folk read this I've just ruined it for you).

post #27 of 35

Head to the trees.

post #28 of 35
I've patched together the parts I think zero in on what you are dealing with.
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

.... I'll be teaching two series at blue this year

.... Some of the clinics I'm running will be "steeps" (it's all relative)

.... I'll be teaching, so I can't just stop when there are crowds

.... just need to select exercises appropriate to the volume of traffic. (Sometimes there's no safe exercise.)

.... it's crowded on a 500' hill 

Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post

.... I'm from Toronto as well..and I know what the OP is talking about..  :-)  

.... Greater Toronto has approx. 6 million people.  

.... There are, approximately, 3 public hills worth skiing within a 2 hour drive..really only 2. 

.... 500' vertical..maybe 20 or 30 runs per hill.  

.... It is, quite frankly, ridiculous on weekends

.... You can have 10 minute lift lines for 1 minute runs. 

 

Advice to go where there aren't crowds is fine, but it looks like this will not completely solve your dilemma.

I'm reading that you will be stuck on crowded slopes a significant amount of time.

I think you are looking for advice on what to do when you are teaching a group on those crowded trails.

So to help figure out what to suggest, readers might want to know some more.

 

--How big a group are we talking about?

--Will you will be teaching all-day lessons or short 2-hour sessions, or what?  

--How many teaching sessions will you get with them?  All these factors can impact your group's goals.  

 

--How well do they ski now? What is their breadth of experience? (I remember they are retirees who ski a lot, maybe even on multiple trips out west).

--Where do they want to be skill-wise by the end of the season?  

--Have they done this before with a different instructor?  How did that work out for them?

--Have you had that discussion with them yet, i.e., what they want to get out of this teaching/learning arrangement?

 

I think this info will help people offer suggestions for a focus or for drills/exercises that can be safely done on crowded slopes.

post #29 of 35
Even crowded slopes have an ebb and flow. Watch a minute for the pattern, and ski it when it is at it's "less" crowded. Sometimes you might have to time it so while it's crowded at the top and bottom, you are skiing the slack spot in the middle.
post #30 of 35

Since you mention the Big Smoke, I've skied both my GS and SL skis at various local hills, Blue, Glen Eden, Hockley, Snow Valley.

 

Morning, the earlier the better (on the right conditions you even get a chance to open things up with out risk).

 

Hockley & Glen Eden, crowds up at about noon with very inexperienced skiers.  Be on guard you at risk of being run into.

 

Snow Valley, seems better for some reason, don't know why.

 

Blue, Generally anything leaning toward black is skied less and if skied with better skiers that are respectful of the code.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › How to enjoy skiing on crowded slopes?