or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Racing and Big Mountain Competitions › Racing during/immediately after snowfall
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Racing during/immediately after snowfall

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

To the NASTAR and MASTERS in the group... Do you approach the course any differently when its snowing or immediately following a snowstorm?  I'm not asking about wax/structure/etc. but more on course strategy/line/technique.

 

Two years in a row, both on the first days of competition, I've encountered this situation.  Last year, it snowed around 13" immediately before and during (could barely see the next gate (forget the second gate), and this year, we received about 8" during the early morning hours (after the course was groomed the night before). 

 

Without getting a practice run before qualifying, how would you approach those conditions?

post #2 of 7

Well, my racing skills are nothing to write home about, but the above scenario (fresh snow on the course) is something I got some practice at this year.  I race in a night-league in the Boston area; as you might have heard, Boston got some serious snowfall this year.

 

Our storms were usually coming in on Sunday / Monday, and my league races on Tuesday, so for a four week period, our course just kept getting softer and softer (Boston got a storm every week for a while).  We get as many "warm up" runs as we want on the trails that aren't the course.

 

My league tends to set a pretty straight "panel slalom" course.  I found that I had to be very, very careful regarding my edging skills as the edges would engage and start turning instantly when they got in snow.  My first turn of my first warmup run after the first snowstorm (34" if I remember correctly) was a serious wakeup call in terms of how fast my skis would hookup.  In a basically straight course, that's a problem (at least for me!).  I'd be way outside the course in an eyeblink.  Lots of people were skiing out of the course as their edges were engaging "too quickly".

 

It became a very "touchy feely" course...  how long could you keep your skis running flat and still make a clean turn.

post #3 of 7

Very cautiously. I've slipped many a course to get fresh snow off it and get the berms out of the line. It will usually break up pretty quickly, so unless you get to run fairly early in the start order, holes become a real problem. The course should be set straighter which can help, but still can turn into a real roller coaster ride. Last year at the Masters Nationals at Okemo we got about 6" of wet snow the day of the Super G. We tried to clean it off, but the event was eventually cancelled as there was no way to make it safe.

 

Hard to explain to a non-racer or especially a non-skier that a ski race is cancelled because of "too much snow"!

post #4 of 7
These comments are about GS. I am light and tend to get tossed around by ruts more than the big guys, and ruts develop quickly in these conditions. Do not like! For me it's good to run early-ish if I can. (Your league may not accommodate.) A high -> inside line that puts my skis between the developing rut and the gate seems to work. (Bit of gate contact required!) Riding the luge track generally does not work well for me. Of course running early means slower snow, too, so you don't want to be among the first five in the lineup either. Easy on the edges, as Kevin said. Avoid sudden jammy moves at all costs.

Just want to add that I had my first serious ski injury in decades this winter in these conditions ... after a training run. There was no corral at the bottom of the practice course. After crossing the finish line I neglected to pay attention to how fast I was still going and to how different the falling snow was outside the course. Threw in a little skiddy move at too high a speed with too little edge angle, caught the outside edge, high-sided, and BAM.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Just want to add that I had my first serious ski injury in decades this winter in these conditions ... after a training run. There was no corral at the bottom of the practice course. After crossing the finish line I neglected to pay attention to how fast I was still going and to how different the falling snow was outside the course. Threw in a little skiddy move at too high a speed with too little edge angle, caught the outside edge, high-sided, and BAM.

 

Yep, forgot about this-the finish corral needs to be slipped/packed or some nasty falls will be the result!

post #6 of 7

#1  Always make sure to bring the vehicle to a complete stop in a controlled manner.  NEVER look at the clock until you STOP.

 

#2.  Fresh snow usually means a lighter touch on your edges - a little more subltle and progressive initiation.

 

#3  Sometime the best snow / line is the way way inside line.  This is especially true after a few racers run ahead of you..  In beer league, most rec racers run late and straight - and the rut forms downhill of the panel.  To get good edgeable snow, sometime you have to take the late inside line.  This means major gate bashing so pad up.  But if you can take it and can get good cleanly carved turns (and not stick your arm though the panel) on the firm snow, you can pick up time.  Many of Kevin and my night leaguers (no set start order) will deliberately take their runs late as the course will often be significantly faster once it has been "run in" a bit.  

 

#4.  Wax on fresh cold snow is hard.  Very abrasive and staticy.  Cold hard smooth wax - min structure and an anti-static.  Wax on warm wet fresh snow is a bit easier - various hydrophobic overlays and good structure. But new snow is always tricky.   My least fave.  

post #7 of 7

Great advice from Pat, especially #1 as the corral will likely be a bit trickier than usual.  If I had heeded this, I would not have deep sixed what was left of my ACL while looking for one of my best times ever.

 

Fastest guys/girls on my team typically run very late and take a line that hammers the gates when facing fresh snow conditions- also just as Pat mentions.  They seem to be cranking turns just about as hard as they normally would.

 

I've tried both early and late.  Late feels faster, but I"m still skiing cleaner (and faster) on the early course.  Guess I'll call it rut-timidation even though I think I'm comfortable with 'bobsled' course conditions.  My general line or approach was to get on my edges very early but gently, so that I (theoretically) would get a feel for how hard I could turn without jamming too deeply into the turn.  As you would imagine, hammering a late turn will really dig in and push some snow which will kill your time.

 

We had some extremely frigid nights with fresh snow that acted like talc.  Hard, graphite anti-stat wax helps, but at temperatures ~minus 20C or lower IMHO it's more about avoiding the wrong wax than being able to find a wax that works great.  Whatever wax you run with, ensure that there is no excess left on your base and if you are unsure of selection- err on the cold side.

 

Spring is here- now we can have fun with our favorite waxes while we take it easy on the edges for a different type of soft course condition.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Racing and Big Mountain Competitions › Racing during/immediately after snowfall