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Technique for stopping in a SOFT runout area?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Yes, I've read the obligatory ski into orange fence, into tree, etc. responses.:rotflmao:

 

Serious race question, as I've experienced this a few times:  Given a short and steep runout area- what are some suggestions for safely stopping in soft, heavy conditions?  The usual skidding 'hockey stop' is a bit risky in variable depth, dense & soft snow.  I know I'm not the only one that occasionally has a bit of trouble- if I hit a pile and go down, I'll certainly see many others go down under the same circumstance.  

 

I've never given it any thought when free skiing in these conditions- I'm either on fatter skis to float on the concrete and/or I keep my speed in check, and there's plenty of room.  Racing another story.  Any suggestions appreciated- I'd rather be less entertaining after clearing the timer.

post #2 of 7

I've seen too many racers go down and even get hurt in these conditions.  If it's really bad a talk with the TD might be a good idea.  Short of getting it fixed, do the following.  Stand up tall, immediately after crossing the light, and open your arms, to catch as much wind as you can.  DO NOT try to throw the skis sideways at any point.  DO NOT  try to wedge.  Make a few sweeping turns, bleeding off what speed you can, without putting a big skid angle into the turns.  If you hit a pile with your skis skidding you'll likely go down, and/or perhaps wreck a knee.  Use every bit of the run out to bleed the speed and come to a stop.  Basically just do the best you can, trying not to get them sideways, using all the space you have to work with.

 

I've personally only had a problem in a finish area once.  At a downhill at Whiteface, heavy conditions like you're talking about.  Hit a mound and kicked a shoe.  Found myself  on one ski, going about 50mph straight down the hill with the bottom fence coming up fast.  Just laid it down and went into those nice big willy backs that separated the finish area from the spectators.  Unscathed, but generated a lot of terror stricken screams from the ladies in the audience on the immediate other side of the fence.  

post #3 of 7

I agree with Ricks advice.  Best to wait until you are comfy throwing them sideways before you do.  Standing tall does kill a lot of speed, and you can shed a lot more in a few smeary turns.

 

That being said, I'm not so sure I would follow my own advice.  When I first learned how to ski, I simply went from french fries to hockey stop until speed matched the turn,  to turn, and back to french fries, repeat.  I never really cared about looking good, and never bothered to learn how to make speed controlling turns.   I just did hockey stops when I needed to dump speed.  I got very very good at hockey stops.  I recall bombing the hill at Mt. Washington Vancouver Island (http://www.mountwashington.ca/downloads/resort/Alpine-Trail-Map-Front-13.pdf ), on weekday morning with very few skiers on the hill.  I started at Top of the World Chutes, catching a bit of Westerly, curving back to hit White Cap.  White caps had big soft moguls.    At the top of white caps I detected what might be another skier at the bottom of White Cap skiing slowly, and rather than waiting for full visual comprehension, I threw my skis sideways and proceded down whitecap in a hockey stop.  I went three quarters of the way down with the 208s completely sideways to the fall line and my direction of travel.  Good thing too, because what I had detected was indeed another skier, whom I passed safely at slow speed.

 

I suggest in addition to doing what Rick suggests you get good at doing hockey stops.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for the good advice, all. Believe me, I am a pro at skidding and bleeding off speed- just watch me through the gates. tongue.gif

In the future I'll pay more attention to conditions in the runout area and try sweeping skiddiing turns when I know the conditions are dicey. Maybe let the tails wash out a bit without getting sideways. I'm usually standing up right after I cross the beam anyway- there's very little room to stop. I consider myself fortunate to have only taken a couple minor spills but have seen some folks really get intimate with the 1st and 2nd fences.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventura View Post

Thanks very much for the good advice, all. Believe me, I am a pro at skidding and bleeding off speed- just watch me through the gates. tongue.gif

In the future I'll pay more attention to conditions in the runout area and try sweeping skiddiing turns when I know the conditions are dicey. Maybe let the tails wash out a bit without getting sideways. I'm usually standing up right after I cross the beam anyway- there's very little room to stop. I consider myself fortunate to have only taken a couple minor spills but have seen some folks really get intimate with the 1st and 2nd fences.

The best thing to do is talk to whoever is acting as the 'chief of course', and have them get everyone (racers, coaches, etc... ) together to quickly side slip the finish area.
post #6 of 7
The runout area for a ski race is safety critical. As course chief I have held a start in the past and asked all the racers/parents to stamp down the fresh snow in the runout zone after course inspection. Until I was satisfied that there was a viable braking surface, racing didn't start.
post #7 of 7

One more little tip.  Never ever ever look up to peek at the clock until the vehicle has come to a complete stop.

 

 

Just try to feather it carefully and use the entire stopping area.  Tough condition to stop after a leg burner.  

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