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Grabby crud - pointers & video

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'd appreciate some feedback on this video of me skiing some heavy, sun-baked, grabby crud. I know it ain't pretty; this is where I'd most like to improve.  

 

This was taken about 2-3 days after a storm, about 35 F, south facing slope. Up top, the pitch is pretty steep, and it flattens toward the bottom. Skis are Nordica El Capo (demoing; first day on them, but I was fairly comfortable. The conditions probably called for something a little more nimble). 

 

I'm concentrating on taking it rather easy, making longer rounded turns (too long?) and really finishing them off, and letting the skis do most of the work on edge. The goal is simply to be as graceful and dynamic on this kind of terrain as I can. 

 

I am terrible at MA and have very little video of myself, but here are my thoughts: 

 

My skis get pulled around too much and I get thrown off balance a several times. Defensive up top where it's steeper - turns not very rounded there. Need to get better control of my hands and generally stay more compact despite the snow throwing me around....maybe loosen up the hips more to absorb the terrain and angulate more effectively to get up on edge. I think I tighten up when I get jarred around...something I'm working on. As far as turn initiation, fore/aft balance, etc., it's hard for me to pick that stuff up on video.

 

Apologies in advance for the video being too zoomed out most of the time. Also I realize I should have kept skiing past the camera...oops.

 

 


Edited by LiveJazz - 3/6/14 at 5:34pm
post #2 of 17

Well to me. Your smearing your turns and that will throw you around. Get up on your ski edges and knife through the Crud. Faster,smooth,easier.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that's a good one. I do smear more than I ought to. My normal off-piste style is more relaxed, steered turns, but I do need to remember to be more aggressive with the edges when the conditions call for it. Also relates to my tightening up overall in chop, which would prevent me from getting those angles. Less edging = rougher ride = more tightening...bad cycle.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
 

Well to me. Your smearing your turns and that will throw you around. Get up on your ski edges and knife through the Crud. Faster,smooth,easier.

 

 

^^^^ this is what I am thinking as well. You think your skiing tip to tail but your not really. 

post #5 of 17

The extra rotary from the shoulders, along with the up move allows you to steer the skis easily but the cost is you're landing and struggling to establish a stable edge platform while simultaneously trying to shape the turn. It's doable but as you can see the timing gets pretty sketchy. Some of the turns show a need to establish the edge platform and balance (watch for the wide stances) and others show shaping efforts prior to establishing that edge platform (look for the pivot skid and the bouncing outside ski). Overall the shoulder drop and roll drive a lot of this and simply keeping the inside shoulder up would allow you to hang onto the good balance you establish just prior to the upward release. Next would be simply to release the turn without the big up move. Doing that would allow all the changes that would allow you to keep the skis driving through the snow rather than leap and lands with all the issues I just mentioned.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

The extra rotary from the shoulders, along with the up move allows you to steer the skis easily but the cost is you're landing and struggling to establish a stable edge platform while simultaneously trying to shape the turn. It's doable but as you can see the timing gets pretty sketchy. Some of the turns show a need to establish the edge platform and balance (watch for the wide stances) and others show shaping efforts prior to establishing that edge platform (look for the pivot skid and the bouncing outside ski). Overall the shoulder drop and roll drive a lot of this and simply keeping the inside shoulder up would allow you to hang onto the good balance you establish just prior to the upward release. Next would be simply to release the turn without the big up move. Doing that would allow all the changes that would allow you to keep the skis driving through the snow rather than leap and lands with all the issues I just mentioned.

That is fantastic feedback...thank you! Aligns exactly with the effects I could feel and the causes I couldn't: I'm bringing the turn around in what feels like a controlled manner (because the edge isn't engaged yet), and running into trouble as soon as the edges bite in more, before the platform is solid...no wonder it takes me longer than it should to tee up for the next turn. This kind of snow really brings out the issue and puts me in a situation where I can obviously sense that there are problems with the turn. I'll definitely work on the shoulders (now that I'm looking for it: wow, that's awful) and reducing my reliance on the up move to initiate...along with generally getting up on edge better. 


Edited by LiveJazz - 3/6/14 at 9:19pm
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post

That is fantastic feedback...thank you! Aligns exactly with the effects I could feel and the causes I couldn't: I'm bringing the turn around in what feels like a controlled manner (because the edge isn't engaged yet), and running into trouble as soon as the edges bite in more, before the platform is solid...no wonder it takes me longer than it should to tee up for the next turn. This kind of snow really brings it the issue and puts me in a situation where I can obviously sense that there are problems with the turn. I'll definitely work on the shoulders (now that I'm looking for it: wow, that's awful) and reducing my reliance on the up move to initiate...along with generally getting up on edge better. 
I agree--great feedback, JASP! I was in those conditions a few days ago and while I skied better through it than I ever have (using the kinda silly mantra "you can't finish a turn you never started"), I usually felt I was skiing exactly as you did; I could feel my skis smearing around as I watched you. The tip about keeping the inside shoulder up was grand; I'll try it next time I'm out.
post #8 of 17

Nice skiing. Nice flow and good rhythm. Also, adapting line to terrain. Great tactics. Here are my quick and dirty comments. IMO you could gain better control by platforming a bit more over both of your skis. You can do this by initiating your turns with a stronger up-move and using the terrain a bit more for to your advantage in this perspective scouting for launch piles and bumps. Also, try for a better outside ski pressure at the end of the turn by angulating and being a bit more forward.

post #9 of 17

Crud and particularly cut up crud challenge our balance and adding the additional challenge of hopping and landing to that already difficult balancing act takes a lot of practice. Especially when the hops end up being a rotary push off type of turn transition. I learned to ski back when that checking move was still popular and it is still a maneuver we might see in a tight situation but it is defensive in nature. In a wide open bowl like we see in the video there is more than enough room to make rounder turns with more equal pressure throughout the turn. It's never going to be totally equal though. The best tip I know came from a WC level star I trained under many years ago. At the time shaped skis were relatively new and his advice was to ski heavy throughout the entire turn. In particular heavy crud tends to arrest most of our speed, so the hyper dynamic trampoline effect is more muted. We might feel the skis rise and fall in the snow but that is more a function of the snow deforming until it supports our weight and then the skis plane up towards the surface. As they rise the less dense (less compressed) snow will not offer the same amount of support and the skis dive back down until the snow density again rises to the point that the compressed snow will support us and make the skis rise again. It's like we're flying and it is one of the most exciting and exhilarating feelings we humans can have while on the Earth.

post #10 of 17

Look at :45 seconds.  You are inclining instead of angulating.  By leaning toward the hill you are bracing against the snow instead of balancing over your skis.  If the snow gives way under your skis you slide down; if the snow is especially firm you feel bounced around. 

 

You are rotating toward the hill instead of countering (counter rotating) your hip & shoulder around toward the outside of the turn. In that right turn your right hip & shoulder (and hand in a natural position) should be leading the left hip & shoulder.

 

Learn counter and angulation.  Both will greatly help both balance and getting the skis up on edge to glide around turns.  Do a limited version of this:

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to follow up here. This weekend I worked on keeping my upper body sound through turns (inside shoulder up), and I found that without even having the think about it separately, my turns where initiating earlier and I was angulating better regardless of terrain...so that was huge. I think the shoulder was a big missing link that I was not feeling and was not aware of.

 

Second came the turn initiations without the large up move. I think I tend to do that more in rough conditions, but it's a good thing to concentrate on regardless. Stopping that movement in rough snow is proving to be a harder habit to break...but I can feel the difference and will keep at it. Thanks again for those tips, JASP. 

 

SoftSnowGuy, I agree on both points. I think I revert to that un-angulated position and stop any attempt at counter rotation in crud because I generally tighten up and get defensive (leaning into the hill, dropping the shoulder, using the exaggerated up move to initiate). But I know: bad conditions don't cause flaws...they accentuate preexisting flaws. So clearly I need to solidify angulation and counter on easier terrain and really think about them in crud.  I think the shoulder fix is really going to help on both items; I could immediately feel the separation and counter coming back when I concentrated on raising the inside shoulder. But I will strive to accentuate these items further, as I'm sure the actual changes so far have been minor despite the difference I felt (need to get some more video asap). 


Edited by LiveJazz - 3/10/14 at 8:45am
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
 

Well to me. Your smearing your turns and that will throw you around. Get up on your ski edges and knife through the Crud. Faster,smooth,easier.

 

IMHO this says it all.  If you tip the ski and ride it "straight" (i.e. everything follows the ski tip with no smear) you are carving with the flex of the ski through the crap.  This is an essential technique to skiing any kind of less than perfect snow.  Your skis will go through almost anything if you are riding the curve of the ski's flex, but as soon as you slip out of that arc with a little smear the problems start.

 

Advisory:  I am not an instructor and speak only from years of experience skiing more god awful snow than anyone would ever want.

post #13 of 17
The ability to follow the tips and carve when the show shears is worth a look see. Can we carve in soft snow?
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
So this is getting into a different topic which I know has been controversial here in the past, but I wasn't necessarily going for a pure carve there...more of a steer with the tails releasing enough to control speed and tighten the radius, but still keeping enough travel in the direction the skis are pointing to minimize the snow's grabby effect.
 
Now, I know this is by definition not pure tip to tail skiing, and certainly I could and should have smeared less, particularly in the the initiation phase of those turns, but there's a matter of degrees here. Releasing the tails to steer more tightly and control speed while still basically arcing a turn is a lot different that pivot slipping down the hill.
 
With that specific snow, a pure carve was probably possible, but, even taking the "slow line fast" approach, the speed I would have picked up in a pure carve on that upper pitch (based on the natural radius of those skis) would have been unsuited to the snow, which was not soft enough that you could just blast through it at speed safely, perfect tip-to-tail or not. 
 
Some posts that more eloquently get at what I'm saying are in this old thread. 
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post
 
So this is getting into a different topic which I know has been controversial here in the past, but I wasn't necessarily going for a pure carve there...more of a steer with the tails releasing enough to control speed and tighten the radius, but still keeping enough travel in the direction the skis are pointing to minimize the snow's grabby effect.
 
Now, I know this is by definition not pure tip to tail skiing, and certainly I could and should have smeared less, particularly in the the initiation phase of those turns, but there's a matter of degrees here. Releasing the tails to steer more tightly and control speed while still basically arcing a turn is a lot different that pivot slipping down the hill.
 
With that specific snow, a pure carve was probably possible, but, even taking the "slow line fast" approach, the speed I would have picked up in a pure carve on that upper pitch (based on the natural radius of those skis) would have been unsuited to the snow, which was not soft enough that you could just blast through it at speed safely, perfect tip-to-tail or not. 
 
Some posts that more eloquently get at what I'm saying are in this old thread. 

LiveJazz, do you ever think about rolling your new inside knee downhill to start a turn?

Roll that knee, and do it with the old counter from the previous turn still in effect (counter = raised old inside shoulder and inside half lead).

This will produce a short radius carved turn that controls your speed.

Roll that new inside knee FAST and you'll get shorter radius turns than if you roll it slowly.

 

This you can do in dense gloppy snow.  Your tips will follow your tails if you establish a raised and leading inside shoulder with each turn. 

That inside shoulder puts your weight mostly on the outside ski, so it cuts through the snow instead of sliding downward diagonally across it.

 

Work on rolling that knee faster and faster.  You'll notice the change in radius.  Shorter radius = more speed control.

You can initiate turns with the old counter and without.  

With counter works best for shorter radius turns; the new inside ski makes the turn shorter if it's already ahead of the old outside ski once it comes around.

You can spend almost no time with both skis heading directly down the fall line if you can roll that knee fast.  This requires NO PIVOTING.

 

If at the finish of each turn you head 90 degrees across the fall line and even a wee bit uphill, you'll have all the speed control you want.

With no smeer at all.  Your need for suspension as you go through the lumps of heavy glop will be reduced to almost zero.

 


Edited by LiquidFeet - 3/11/14 at 1:59pm
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

Crud and particularly cut up crud challenge our balance and adding the additional challenge of hopping and landing to that already difficult balancing act takes a lot of practice. Especially when the hops end up being a rotary push off type of turn transition. I learned to ski back when that checking move was still popular and it is still a maneuver we might see in a tight situation but it is defensive in nature. In a wide open bowl like we see in the video there is more than enough room to make rounder turns with more equal pressure throughout the turn. It's never going to be totally equal though. The best tip I know came from a WC level star I trained under many years ago. At the time shaped skis were relatively new and his advice was to ski heavy throughout the entire turn. In particular heavy crud tends to arrest most of our speed, so the hyper dynamic trampoline effect is more muted. We might feel the skis rise and fall in the snow but that is more a function of the snow deforming until it supports our weight and then the skis plane up towards the surface. As they rise the less dense (less compressed) snow will not offer the same amount of support and the skis dive back down until the snow density again rises to the point that the compressed snow will support us and make the skis rise again. It's like we're flying and it is one of the most exciting and exhilarating feelings we humans can have while on the Earth.

 

100% on all fronts. This feeling is maybe the best reason to ski at all!

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

LiveJazz, do you ever think about rolling your new inside knee downhill to start a turn?

Roll that knee, and do it with the old counter from the previous turn still in effect (counter = raised old inside shoulder and inside half lead).

This will produce a short radius carved turn that controls your speed.

Roll that new inside knee FAST and you'll get shorter radius turns than if you roll it slowly.

 

This you can do in dense gloppy snow.  Your tips will follow your tails if you establish a raised and leading inside shoulder with each turn. 

That inside shoulder puts your weight mostly on the outside ski, so it cuts through the snow instead of sliding downward diagonally across it.

 

Work on rolling that knee faster and faster.  You'll notice the change in radius.  Shorter radius = more speed control.

You can initiate turns with the old counter and without.  

With counter works best for shorter radius turns; the new inside ski makes the turn shorter if it's already ahead of the old outside ski once it comes around.

You can spend almost no time with both skis heading directly down the fall line if you can roll that knee fast.  This requires NO PIVOTING.

 

If at the finish of each turn you head 90 degrees across the fall line and even a wee bit uphill, you'll have all the speed control you want.

With no smeer at all.  Your need for suspension as you go through the lumps of heavy glop will be reduced to almost zero.

 

I like that...good imagery. I'll work on it. I think about doing this primarily when I'm on a double fall line and want to effectively to turn back down the fall line from the upper side in a carve. I can see where it would also be useful in other situations. 

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