Originally Posted by Ghost
By choosing your spots, you can push harder on piste, because there is an empty spill zone (if you have chosen wisely). If you fall you are not going to hit an immovable object at 40 mph, so you can accept a higher risk of falling and try and get a few extra degrees of inclination/ski tipping.
Agree that MOST folk do ski true off-piste much more slowly than they ski on-piste. For some folks though the speed is still high enough that the proximity to hard objects negates that effect.
I don't really agree with that. While many folks ski fast enough to do some real damage off-piste, those same folks are skiing MUCH FASTER on piste, so the risk is still much greater on-piste.
Here's a little speed data from my usual last run at Copper as I'm boogying to catch the last lift at Alpine before it closes. The first part is cruising down Andy's/Oh No, and the last part is skiing bumps down Far East then cutting over to bumps at the bottom of Too Much:
And, here's my speed skiing Fremont 1, a very open untracked glade on Tucker Mountain at Copper:
Based on that and other data I've looked at, I'd say I'm topping out around 40 mph cruising, but only around 20 mph in powder and 15 mph in the bumps. I'd say falling at double the speed on-piste is going to really increase the odds of getting hurt.
In terms of my perceived speed relative to others, I'd say I probably ski faster than 90% of folks I see off-piste, but I'm probably not even in the top third on-piste. I don't push it cruising, and can't remember the last time I fell on-piste. I do push it a bit off-piste. I'm still sore from my last real fall (other than a hip check) about a month ago.
That's data is from my cool new garmin watch. I'm highly confident in the speed data because a) it has 1 sec recording and 3d speed correction from a barometric altimeter, b) I've ridden my bike with it and it matches my cyclocomputer, c) there are online tests of similar garmin devices showing them to be highly accurate. I don't want to get into a gps accuracy debate here, but I'm happy to in the other thread.
Finally, if you are really bored you can see my speed on all the runs I did that day at Copper Mountain, and another day at Mary Jane by clicking on those links.
Edited by tball - 4/6/14 at 3:11pm