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Stupid Question

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
This may be a silly question but what is crud?
post #2 of 40
Pretty much anything that isn't powder or packed.
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Would powder that has melted and then gone crusty on top be classed as crud?
Is crud just a name for poor snow conditions then?
post #4 of 40
Quote:
posted by Tim99:

Would powder that has melted and then gone crusty on top be classed as crud?
No, that's just what the NE calls "powder". Crud doesn't exist here, at least, you'll never hear it said out loud!
post #5 of 40
Crud is powder that's been tracked out, but not groomed or turned to moguls. Usually it's heavier than powder because the water content increases as it melts. It's actually a pretty good condition, at least for advanced skiers. If anyone complains about crud, it just means they slept too late. Frozen crud is frozen hard, and that's not good for anyone.
Powder that crusts over because of rain or sunshine melting the surface is crust. A crust which is not strong enough to support a skier's weight is breakable crust, which is just about the hardest condition to ski.

Regards, John
post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
I am always amazed at how much difference the snow condtions seem to make to my ability to ski well.
I am thinking of buying new skis which I hoped would enable me to imroove off piste.
However some days I seem to ski quite well off piste when the conditions are good. When it is heavy or breakable crust I feel I ski badly.
So will skis help me much - I guess the conditions are dictating my ability to ski and some better skis will only have a minor effect.

Sometimes when it has been warm I have struggled to ski well on piste on red runs. The best word to describe the snow has been sticky and collects in clumps. Is there a term for this?
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim99
The best word to describe the snow has been sticky and collects in clumps. Is there a term for this?
That is basically how I would describe crud. However, purchasing new skis is not always the answer. Yes a ski designed for maximum float will help you off-piste in powder but may hinder you in heavier conditions. Basically the only way to handle changing snow conditions is to be able to adapt your skiing to match the snow. In crud (as you put it, sticky and clumpy snow) do you want to float over it, or plow through it? Oten times, your best bet is to ski crud very similar to how you would ski powder. These are far different from how you would ideally ski on ice, and may be different from how you generally ski on wide open groomers.

I would say your money may (key word may) be best invested in a lesson from a good (key word good - not all instructors are created equal) instructor when the snow conditions are what you are having trouble with. Its very difficult to properly teach crud snow skiing skills on a wider open groomer, and vice versa.

While a new ski might help out a little in specific conditions, that is a major investment when compared to a lesson that can better you skill set for variable terrain.
post #8 of 40
It's usually mostly the carpenter, not the tools.

That said, there ARE skis better suited to ski crud .
post #9 of 40
tim99, like Manus said, take a lesson or two or three, or well you get the idea. Learn the tecnique, then look at skis. Remember the better you get the more fun this becomes.
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni
No, that's just what the NE calls "powder". Crud doesn't exist here, at least, you'll never hear it said out loud!

Only the destination resorts don't have Crud. Crud in NE is specifically defined as everything that isn't powder or groomed snow. Usually you find it on the sides of trails where the snow has been pushed off. Crud usually sucks your ski's in and it's very hard to turn, you have to center your self over your ski's and maintain good hand positioning.

Next year we will make sure that you find some and experience the joy of the next level.
post #11 of 40
[quote=tim99]I.....
I am thinking of buying new skis which I hoped would enable me to imroove off piste.......

I have an instructor friend that constantly reminds me that "it's not the arrow it's the Indian." Practice, practice, practice.
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 
So what I am hearing is I need practice/lessons to help me ski in difficult conditions. Skiis will make little difference.

Does this apply to off piste as well?
Assuming I have good powder conditions I still find skiing off piste difficult and tiring and I spend all energy leaning right back - often to the point where if I hit some sort of bump I pop out my bindings. I use normal 170 carving skis - ex rental about 3-4 years old probably.
This leaning back to keep my tips from sinking makes it very hard work and I feel I am in the wrong position.
I was under the impression a mid fat ski WOULD help me ski off piste better in this case.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim99
So what I am hearing is I need practice/lessons to help me ski in difficult conditions. Skiis will make little difference.
Yes if you can ski in the junk you can ski in the good. Remember, if skiing was easy they would call it snowboarding. : :
post #14 of 40
tim99 said, "I have struggled to ski well on piste on red runs." Don't think I've seen a Red run before. Would you explain? In the West,Crud is only the beginning. We have Sierra Cement and Cascade Concrete.: But of all conditions like jdowling said, a breakable frozen crust on top is extremely hard to ski. It's all in the balance. Lessons would be your best investment and a fresh tune job on those skis won't hurt either. See you in the trees.
post #15 of 40
tim99-

if you find yourself sitting so far back that you are popping out, I highly, highly recommend pulling your weight forward- to ski well in crud, sierra cement, utah light and dry and all other conditions other than fresh corduroy, it is essential that your weight be centered over your boots- yes, there are nuances to this and we all spend considerable time shifting our weight for and aft to find the sweet spot for our skis in a given snow condition. BUT these variations are very minor perturbations from being centered over the ski/boot. When in doubt, move forward and power throught the sh**, do not sit back and let it throw you around-

when skiing, nothing, nothing good can happen once you are in the back seat (as opposed to when you are at the drive-in )

f/w/i/w
post #16 of 40
As opposed to thinking "pull your weight forward" . Think pull your feet back. This is a smaller movement with less movement of mass. I struggled for a long time with pulling my upper body forward. Then in one lesson, with a PSIA III that all changed. Tom Powers told me pull your feet back. Wow what a difference. I found it easier to make turns.

I can now say I own a short turn.

In fact when I find that "crud" on the edge of the trail during early season. I spend most of my time there practicing keeping centered, It is a great training tool. I ski it as slow as possible and adapt to the changing conditions. "crud can be your friend". Hey I may add that to my sig.
post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 
I have to lean back to allow myself to turn and prevent the tips sinking right in!

A red run is an intermediate run
Green blue red black represents increasing difficulty
post #18 of 40
Slider, a red is roughly a Blue/black.
Tim, I assume you are a European or Australasian skier by calling it a red, the Yanks don't have red runs. (I wonder is it something to do with the Commies? )
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim99
So what I am hearing is I need practice/lessons to help me ski in difficult conditions. Skiis will make little difference.

Does this apply to off piste as well?
Assuming I have good powder conditions I still find skiing off piste difficult and tiring and I spend all energy leaning right back - often to the point where if I hit some sort of bump I pop out my bindings. I use normal 170 carving skis - ex rental about 3-4 years old probably.
This leaning back to keep my tips from sinking makes it very hard work and I feel I am in the wrong position.
I was under the impression a mid fat ski WOULD help me ski off piste better in this case.
Tim:

You're talking about my favorite subject. Here in Jackson Hole, we ski a *lot* of crud. The term is very all-encompassing - almost to the point of referring to any snow conditions that are not groomed or mogulled.

You'll also often run into crud on-piste in situations where the run was not groomed after the snow started falling. As the fresh powder starts to get tracked, it gets more and more "cruddy". Same thing happens off-piste, except there may not be a relatively firm or smooth base underneath like there would often be on-piste.

Typically, the biggest crud problem for learning skiers is balance. Cut up snow is highly variable in the resistance it provides as you move through or over it. You might cruise through an untracked portion that slows you down, then pop out into a packed-out section that speeds you up suddenly. This constant fore-and-aft changing is what tends to throw skiers who are trying to get the hang of crud.

I know it's *much* easier said than done, but the best way to ski crud is to avoid the natural tendency of trying to sit back to keep your tips on top of the snow. Unless you're very, very lightweight, crud is often best skied by powering through it and staying forward. If the clumps and junk are less than about knee-deep, crud can usually best be skied by the same technique you might use for gs-type turns on piste. It takes aggressiveness and quite a bit of faith, but the technique to work toward is one where you consciously stay really centered on your skis.

In the "good powder conditions" you mention, it's very much the same story. Unless the snow is seriously deep (like 24" or more) or quite heavy, it can and should be skied with almost the same technique you would use on groomers. I would argue that a bit narrower stance than normal makes sense in powder, but that's kind of a personal preference thing.

As to the very valid points about "it's the Indian, not the arrows", that's certainly true. It's also true, however, that modern mid-fat and fat skis can make crud skiing a lot easier than if you're using a 170 carving ski. Some of those skis can make moving up the learning curve quite a but quicker.

Powder skiing in good conditions seems to be one of those "Eureka!" things for many people. You can't figure it out, you can't figure it out, you can't figure it out, and suddenly you make the right moves a couple of times and then you wonder why it took so long to get it.

Good crud skiing, on the other hand, is very much a learned skill that you develop over many, many miles. Because crud is so inconsistent and the conditions so varied, you eventually learn that certain types of snow respond best to certain kinds of turns. You have to just go out and ski junk every opportunity you get until you feel more comfortable and balanced in more and more situations.

The nice thing about learning to enjoy crud is that you eventually find yourself enjoying large parts of the mountain that very few skiers are willing to ski. :

Have fun and keep at it.

Bob
post #20 of 40
Tim, leaning back is only going to wear you out faster (it takes a toll on your quads) and it will only promote bad habits on piste. Like it was said before, even in deep powder, you want to be centered, let your tips sink and ride under the snow surface, you also have to be able to trust your skills and movements when you cannot see your skis.

Turning in powder and crud can be a problem for people if they are not familiar with different techniques and ideas and ways to approach making a turn. Something I like to do is bounce through some turns until I find a rythym (try skiing on piste, bouncing in your boots/flexing your boots/opening and closing your ankle joint while maintaining a balanced stance, then start to turn on every bounce - on piste you will have a much faster cadence than in powder, but you'll get the idea).

Once I find a rhythm, in powder and crud, I like to focus on getting my feet away from my body through the belly of the turn, and pulling them up, closer to my core, through my transition. Causing the ski to kinda of pop-up out of the snow for the transition, and then sink back down through the belly of the turn. You don't need to be leaning back to get your skis out of the snow.

Another thing to keep in mind is that skiing in powder and crud, you have to try to have your weight as evenly balanced as possible, in powder and crud, you need both skis to turn, unlike on piste where you can turn with one and have the other one just come along for the ride. With your weight evenly dispursed between your feet, you can make a banked turn, allowing the resistance of the snow to flex the ski, thus turning. Take a run or two (if you can) through a half-pipe, making turns on the walls, however, do not hit the vert of the pipe, focus on having your weight evenly distributed on both feet, and how you can let your body bank (so your legs are basically the same length - the difference in flex should be less than your normally carved turns) but yet still be in proper balance, often times, you can take these turns into powder and have a ball. By banking in powder, you can maintain even weight distribution, even flex in your joints, and still make turns (maintaining a proper fore-aft balance) because the snow will flex your ski for you, instead of the edges flexing the ski (like carving a turn on piste).

Now, you said something about your equiptment being a few years old, and possibly looking into a pair of mid-fats. There will be a difference in how the ski turns (the mid fat is going to be wider underfoot thus slowing down your edge transfer), but it will provide more float (chances are - the skis dimensions will give you an idea of its float potential). However, the equiptment is not going to fix flawed technique (leaning back=BADDDDD), thus why I previously mentioned taking a lesson with a good intructor in snow conditions similar to what you are having problems with and on similar terrain as is proving problematic.

Hopefully, by writing, reading, adding more, and more and more, I didn't make this confusing.
post #21 of 40
I wish I got to read Bob's post before posting mine, he has some very valid points, and I could have typed a lot less
post #22 of 40
The real definition of "crud" is: any snow condition that the speaker asserts is responsible for his inability to gracefully descend the mountain.

Actually, my understanding has always been unpacked snow that is too heavy to be called "powder," whether it's been chopped up or not, and whether it was heavy when it fell, or got heavy while lying on the ground. But maybe that's just me. Also: it exclude corn and slush, which are different.

Breakable crust is kind of an additional "feature:" icing on the crud cake, so to speak. The snow underneath breakable crust more-or-less has to be crud, I think ... unless some unlikely meteorological phenomena could flash-melt the top of powder without the snow underneath getting heavy.

So far as I can tell, just about everybody has trouble with breakable crust, depending on how crusty and how breakable it is. Some skis might make it easier to handle, but if you're hoping to float gracefully and effortlessly through it ... good luck.

Oh yeah: Don't sit back! The general crud-technique stuff others posted above looks like good advice ... I think both of them know more about it than I do, anyway. "Power through it" is a pithy encapsulation of an approach that seems to work.
post #23 of 40
Bob, very well put. That is exactly right. As I read your post, I play back in my mind the exact things your talking about. Things I have felt while skiing.

That's is what is so great about this site. Guy's like you make this site great.

Thanks for your input.
post #24 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. Sitting back is clearly where I am going wrong. I often feel I am skiing only on the very back of my skis (I liken the feeling to pulling a continuous wheelie on a bike) I do this so I can turn (at least I think I have to do this to turn) It sometimes feels if I didn't do this I would just fall straight head over heels as the front of the skis sink down until the force of the snow moving over them starts to act downwards and stops the skis and sends me headfirst. This has happened a number of times.

I think I am going to go ahead and but a pair of Atomic R11's. Some people had suggested to wait for the new Metron ski but what I am hearing here is the small difference between the latest model is not going to make much difference to someone of my skill.
I need to change my technique and practice. Shame its only July.
post #25 of 40
There is good advice being given.

As I glanced through it a couple thoughts came to mind.

First is the adage there is good snow and snow that's good for you.

Keep in mind the average "mid fat" ski is about 5-10 mm wider underfoot. I'm not a huge fan of these all purpose/multi purpose skis. I've never thought they did anything particularly well.

A thought on the term "sitting back". Take the first word which is....sitting. How does one stop sitting? By standing up. If the average skier can extend a little more actively in lousy conditions, the "back" portion of "sitting back" will take care of itself. An ancillary benefit in crummy conditions...... via extension, the process of opening hips, knees, and ankles, is that as that is done, I believe the skis will become much more responsive.

Lastly, the best advice I have ever been given in busted snow is twofold. Tighten your abs. Create usefull tension in your core by doing so. While you do this make your legs as loose and relaxed as possible. Second keep the ski on edge as much as possible.

Seeing a level III PSIA pro is also not a bad idea!
post #26 of 40
Tim-

one other off season thought- if you have any ski videos, look at the off piste shots-- in many cases it looks like the action is in powder but if you pay attention you'll see that there are not huge plumes of light and dry flying -- in fact a huge amount (like most) of the radical skiing is shot in what we are calling crud. Old snow that was gotten heavy- watch how they power down even the steepest shoots- hands out front, bodies squarely over their skis-- when you realize that most of what they are skiing in is very, very difficult snow your admiration will grow- copy that tecnique and all will be well and it will give you a reason to watch ski videos on the hottest days of the summer-
post #27 of 40
Good reading and thanks, OK what is "broken" snow. I always thought this was unpacked powder that has been skied through somewhat, In other words, pockets of fresh pow with some ski tracks?
post #28 of 40
antoher idea that I find helps a lot is to try to lift your toes to your shins. In a ski boot this often pulls your body forward a little bit, and moves the driving point from your toes (or heels) to more central foot, which should help your general balance and help you stay more centralized over your skis and it also can sub-consciously help you from burying the tips because of the idea of puling the toes up, which in turn pulls the tips up too.
post #29 of 40
Thread Starter 
I still don't understand how if I stop leaning back I can prevent my ski tips from sinking deeper and deeper until I go head first down the slope or just stop if its not so steep.

Should I even bother buying new skis at all? Spend all the money on instruction instead?
post #30 of 40
Tim, now you're talking!
I've seen good skiers on very short skis making great turns in powder, and I've seen skiers who thought they were good, and had the best pow skis, but couldn't do it.
Grab a few lessons, and maybe demo skis, or talk to your instructor. Once they've seen you ski, they may be able to advise you on whether it's a gear issue, or technique.

And I couldn't reccomend a better way of learning than the EpicSki Academy!
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