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Europeans - Page 2

post #31 of 43

I went cat skiing once in BC with a group of Europeans, and they just skied the cat road all week, never went for the untracked. True story. They all had GS skis. 

 

post #32 of 43

Groomers... I actually agree, we ski much more groomers then off-piste. I have no idea why, but I would assume in alpine skiing, culture over here is different, and has basis more in racing then somewhere else. I can't say for someone else, but for myself, and I wouldn't be too surprised if it would be very similar for others too, I started off piste about year or two ago. I never had powder skis, and I was skiing all my life on real race skis (preferred with GS, but if there was too much people or to crappy conditions with SL). With those skis it's just not too much of fun to go off piste, especially when you have perfect conditions on piste (read: ice, not much people, 100s of km good groomed courses). So about year or two ago, one of my friends still in race business literally forced me to take powder skis, and even when he brought them to me like "here, present from me, now go out and ski them", I was like "but I really don't need this, it's useless, it's no fun". Once I finally went with them it was like revelation, and second later, I started to look for snow storm, bad weather and soft tracks instead of bluebird and icy courses :) Ok I admit, I still ski 70% on race skis, but those powder skis do get lot of use :) But if I would need to pay 600, 700eur for those skis, I wouldn't buy them... at least not on first place, because of course now I would for sure! And most of people don't have friend who can arrange free skis, so they never come to this "let's spend this money for something what I'm sure I won't like", and they stay on groomers for rest of their skiing lives... like I would if this wouldn't happen :)

Sure it's personal thing, but as I wrote, I could be pretty sure, it's very similar for quite lot of others on this side of ocean.

post #33 of 43

Quote:

Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 

Groomers... I actually agree, we ski much more groomers then off-piste. I have no idea why, but I would assume in alpine skiing, culture over here is different, and has basis more in racing then somewhere else. I can't say for someone else, but for myself, and I wouldn't be too surprised if it would be very similar for others too, I started off piste about year or two ago. I never had powder skis, and I was skiing all my life on real race skis (preferred with GS, but if there was too much people or to crappy conditions with SL). With those skis it's just not too much of fun to go off piste, especially when you have perfect conditions on piste (read: ice, not much people, 100s of km good groomed courses). So about year or two ago, one of my friends still in race business literally forced me to take powder skis, and even when he brought them to me like "here, present from me, now go out and ski them", I was like "but I really don't need this, it's useless, it's no fun". Once I finally went with them it was like revelation, and second later, I started to look for snow storm, bad weather and soft tracks instead of bluebird and icy courses :) Ok I admit, I still ski 70% on race skis, but those powder skis do get lot of use :) But if I would need to pay 600, 700eur for those skis, I wouldn't buy them... at least not on first place, because of course now I would for sure! And most of people don't have friend who can arrange free skis, so they never come to this "let's spend this money for something what I'm sure I won't like", and they stay on groomers for rest of their skiing lives... like I would if this wouldn't happen :)

Sure it's personal thing, but as I wrote, I could be pretty sure, it's very similar for quite lot of others on this side of ocean.

 

No! Don't fall into the off-piste trap! It's like smoking: your friends say it looks cool and you like the way it makes you feel, but it's a bad habit that you don't want to develop. Quit now while you still can.

 

Some of us are too addicted to give it up, so we're beyond help. Just leave us to our fate and save yourself.

post #34 of 43

No worries, there's very little chance I will be shreding your pow, so no need to feel you need to protect pristine pow from me :P

post #35 of 43
Primoz, do you hire a guide always?
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheizz View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Rescue insurance is cheap. When I was in France 2 years ago it was 5 euros/day. 

 

And BTW--when on a glacier keep your skis on if at all possible--reduces the risk of falling through the snow into a crevasse. Which is why snowboarding on a glacier can be tricky. If you must take off your skis know how to probe the snow for crevasses, and keep the party spread out. Hard to do a crevasse rescue if the whole party is in the crevasse.

Only in France, getting you out of a mountain is part of public service (police). In all other Alpine countries, you do have to pay if the get you down on a strecher, with a snow mobile or helicopter. And regular insurance doesn't cover that.

 

I wrote some stuff about all this a few months back: http://www.epicski.com/t/127615/france-first-time-trip-to-europe-so#post_1726906 post #3

In France you can buy rescue insurance with your pass (Carre Neige 5 euro/d 2 years ago), in Switzerland you can buy Snowcare with your pass (CHF 5/d), In Austria the Arlberg Safety Card coves rescue for 15 euros for 8 days, in Italy you can buy Snowcare with your pass 2.50 Euro/day. While in general rescue in France is free of charge, rescue for leisure activities like skiing is not. 

 

Note that rescue insurance covers getting you to a doctor. Medical care may be covered under your health insurance or not, depending on your policy, likewise medical transport back to the US (I don't know about coverage for Canadians). Check your insurance, if necessary you can purchase from a travel insurer for the length of you trip. 

 

An excellent article about the PGHM--the French mountain police. http://www.climbing.com/climber/angels-of-mont-blanc/ When I was in Chamonix 2 years ago one of them was killed in a crevasse on the Vallee Blanche--there was a memorial service for him on the main square. 


Edited by oldgoat - 2/6/15 at 9:25am
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Rescue insurance is cheap. When I was in France 2 years ago it was 5 euros/day. 

 

And BTW--when on a glacier keep your skis on if at all possible--reduces the risk of falling through the snow into a crevasse. Which is why snowboarding on a glacier can be tricky. If you must take off your skis know how to probe the snow for crevasses, and keep the party spread out. Hard to do a crevasse rescue if the whole party is in the crevasse.

 

Rescue is one thing, but I was talking about post-rescue medical assistance. It is not expensive either, but I am yet to find an insurer which offers off-piste supplement on top of "regular" wintersports travel policy.

 

WorldNomads is the only insurer I know which sells policies covering freeskiers (including heli and BC).

post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

 

 

That's only the English.

And the French are better than you, because, well, they're French.

post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Primoz, do you hire a guide always?


Hmm... err... never ;)

post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by VladSki View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Rescue insurance is cheap. When I was in France 2 years ago it was 5 euros/day. 

 

And BTW--when on a glacier keep your skis on if at all possible--reduces the risk of falling through the snow into a crevasse. Which is why snowboarding on a glacier can be tricky. If you must take off your skis know how to probe the snow for crevasses, and keep the party spread out. Hard to do a crevasse rescue if the whole party is in the crevasse.

 

Rescue is one thing, but I was talking about post-rescue medical assistance. It is not expensive either, but I am yet to find an insurer which offers off-piste supplement on top of "regular" wintersports travel policy.

 

WorldNomads is the only insurer I know which sells policies covering freeskiers (including heli and BC).

In the United States it very much depends on the individual's insurance policy. 

post #41 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post
 


Hmm... err... never ;)

I thought guides were basically a requirement for going off piste in Europe?

post #42 of 43

Not really. We don't have any laws or regulations about this. Big part of EU countries have actually written in constitution, you are allowed to move freely (and most of time even pick berries or mushrooms... not relevant for winter anyway :) ) even over private owned land, as long as you don't do damage. So there's basically noone in power who would be able to forbid you going around without guide or stuff. Guiding other people (except for your family) is different thing, and is restricted with regulations, but we are not talking about this now.

Now is this smart or not smart is another question. I have spend all my life out in nature, even though I never did such off-piste skiing as we are talking about this now, until very recent. Back in my racing years, I did lot of touring skiing, I still spend most of summer on mtb etc., so moving around in nature is pretty familiar to me. Not to mention, I have spend years on these places where I normally ski. On the other side, if I would go out somewhere where I have never been, and I don't know place and conditions, I would hire guide... not because I would need to, but because of my safety.

post #43 of 43

There is a fundamental difference in ski area philosophy.

 

In USA resorts (that I have been to) you have a ski area which is all inbounds, some is groomed some isn't, all is patrolled and avy controlled. Outside of the ski area you are out of bounds and on your own.

 

In European resorts (I have skied extensively only in France) you have marked pistes, they are patrolled and avy control is undertaken to protect the marked pistes. Off the piste even by a yard you are on your own. Rescue on and off piste is not included in your ticket price and you will get a bill if you are rescued hence the need for separate insurance.

 

The ski areas like Portes du Soleil, 3 Vallees, Val-Tignes, Chamonix are huge with 100s of lifts and massive areas of marked piste. Even the biggest western US resort like JH or Big Sky are small in comparison. So with so many miles of marked pistes of varying difficulty for most skiers they never want to venture of the piste.

 

Grooming in France is not perfect corduroy think more lightly ploughed field so if they come to the USA they will want to make the most of it! :eek

 

Queueing for lifts in France is a contact sport that makes your American Football look soft :)

 

Off piste skiing in Europe is more risky and akin to back country skiing in the US, as with both unless you really know what you are doing then you need a guide who does 

 

As a Brit I do not consider myself European and therefore do not prefer groomers and have been skiing off piste for the last 30+ years and mostly in the USA and Canada for the last 20 :D

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