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What qualifies as "the steeps"?

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 
What qualifies as "the steeps"?

Double Black?
Anything steeper than 35 degrees?
Anything steeper than 45 degrees?
Big mountain skiporn?
Wearing a parachute?

: : :
post #2 of 95
It's all relative...

Terrain that has you wondering if you should drop in.

...alternatively, the steepest areas of a given geography: in-bounds at an area/resort, OB at an area/resort, or across a broader geography (Colorado, Rockies, West, etc.).
post #3 of 95
Above 23 degrees many advanced skiers have trouble linking short turns.
post #4 of 95
I've scared myself silly trying to ski blue runs in Pennsylvania. Conversely I've done some of the big lines in Squaw (Shirley Canyon, Mainline Pocket, Pallisades, ...). Add snow quality to the mix to help decide what steep is.
post #5 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_SSS
Above 23 degrees many advanced skiers have trouble linking short turns.
Then they are not advanced! :
post #6 of 95
it's subjective, and as you improve your sense of "steep" changes.

it's also circumstantial... a narrow rock-bounded chute sometimes will feel steeper than (the steepness will be more prominent in my mind, at least) an open slope of the same angle.
post #7 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
Then they are not advanced! :
Agreed. I think we've dumbed down the definition of advanced too much.
post #8 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal
I've scared myself silly trying to ski blue runs in Pennsylvania. Conversely I've done some of the big lines in Squaw (Shirley Canyon, Mainline Pocket, Pallisades, ...). Add snow quality to the mix to help decide what steep is.
This one nailed it one the head... something "steep" covered in a foot of fresh is an entirely different animal compared to the same slope covered in refrozen bumps.
post #9 of 95
I would say something where if you fall you are not going to stop for a while.
post #10 of 95
I agree, it's relative to slope angle, snow conditions, how you're feeling that day, etc.

"Steep" is kinda like "pornographic", it's almost impossible to define, but I know it when I see it
post #11 of 95
Steeps - anything that causes you to "mark" your tighty whities when looking down the pitch from the top.

Mark
post #12 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
Then they are not advanced! :
My use of advanced has a narrow intent. A lot of the skiers I am referring to are indeed advanced and spend much of their time off the groomed. Generally they tend to spend most of their day on advanced slopes and have been riding skis that make medium to longer radius turns most of their skiing life. They never figured out how to ski moguls and likely never tried slalom racing both of which deliver skills to make short turns in steep terrain. Up to a certain pitch they can make moderately short turns linked across the slope but at 20 to 30 degrees or so start to pick up speed and tend to use other ways to get rid of speed than short turns. My ski area has lots of steep winch cat groomed slopes and I see these folks on the slopes all the time. They get down fine but one can readily see they never developed the skill set of more broadly skilled advanced skiers.

Of course 23 degrees is not too steep for we more advanced skiers but for the sake of this thread is an approximate gradient that tends to divide the more skilled skiers from those that are not quite yet there. And moguls readily form on such pitches.

...David
post #13 of 95
Steep = cannot get a cat up it without a winch.
post #14 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_SSS
My use of advanced has a narrow intent. A lot of the skiers I am referring to are indeed advanced and spend much of their time off the groomed. Generally they tend to spend most of their day on advanced slopes and have been riding skis that make medium to longer radius turns most of their skiing life. They never figured out how to ski moguls and likely never tried slalom racing both of which deliver skills to make short turns in steep terrain. Up to a certain pitch they can make moderately short turns linked across the slope but at 20 to 30 degrees or so start to pick up speed and tend to use other ways to get rid of speed than short turns. My ski area has lots of steep winch cat groomed slopes and I see these folks on the slopes all the time. They get down fine but one can readily see they never developed the skill set of more broadly skilled advanced skiers.
Good definition of an intermediate skier. Minus all of the ski turning radius nonsense.
post #15 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_SSS
My use of advanced has a narrow intent. A lot of the skiers I am referring to are indeed advanced and spend much of their time off the groomed. Generally they tend to spend most of their day on advanced slopes and have been riding skis that make medium to longer radius turns most of their skiing life. They never figured out how to ski moguls and likely never tried slalom racing both of which deliver skills to make short turns in steep terrain. Up to a certain pitch they can make moderately short turns linked across the slope but at 20 to 30 degrees or so start to pick up speed and tend to use other ways to get rid of speed than short turns. My ski area has lots of steep winch cat groomed slopes and I see these folks on the slopes all the time. They get down fine but one can readily see they never developed the skill set of more broadly skilled advanced skiers.

Of course 23 degrees is not too steep for we more advanced skiers but for the sake of this thread is an approximate gradient that tends to divide the more skilled skiers from those that are not quite yet there. And moguls readily form on such pitches.

...David
boy you've got a broad idea of advanced. Maybe thats why there's so many assbag questions along the lines of "I just learned how to snowplow and wonder if the Volkl 6 stars are good for me because they match my spyder underwear and I was told they're an advanced ski so they'll make me advanced won't they?".

Has to be more then 45 degrees to be steep imo.
post #16 of 95

Whats steep

LeeLau said it Right! Steep: (In no special order)

KT22 North Side-Squaw
Headwall-Squaw
Ridge-Sugar Bowl
Drop Out- Mammoth
Chutes-Mt Rose
Scotts Run-Alpine Meadows
One man Chute - Kirkwood
Sadaams-Whistler
Gunbarrel-Heavenly
Roka Jack Traverse-Portillo ETC ETC GO SEE FOR YOURSELF-JUST
DO IT

NOTHING IS STEEP UNTIL YOU ARE STANDING ON TOP lOOKING DOWN
post #17 of 95
Steep+Fall=collect your gear at the bottom.
Steep=When you can touch the hill standing up.
Steep=When you see this sign at the top of the run.
post #18 of 95
Thread Starter 
Interesting comments guys. It sounds like the term refers more to comfort level than a particular type of terrain or a skill set necessary to skiing a certain pitch.

I guess next time someone wants me to go ski "the steeps" I'll be sure to ask what kind of "the steeps" they mean.
post #19 of 95
I heard "the steeps" is what you get from hanging out on St Catherines street in Montreal for extended "engagements"

I think its anything you stop at the top of, look down, and get the hairs on your neck to rise as you drop in.
post #20 of 95
I think there is a correlation between the labeling of legitimate black diamond slopes with that of a slope where an avalanche can slide. In both cases this is most likely above 25 degrees. Less of a pitch than 25 degrees and an avalanche is not likely to occur nor is the slope likely to be a true black diamond if labled as such.

Most double diamonds take more than just steepness into account. Dangers such as trees, rocks, cliffs and cornices are usually factors. Still, I would say many double diamonds I have been on are in the high 30 degree range. I've heard from many who like skiing the steeps that the pucker factor usually starts to kick in above 40 degrees.

To me, 25-34 degrees is steep and enjoyable. 35-44 degrees is really steep, challenging, and a lot of fun. Anything above 45 degrees is usually survival mode and I'm thinking, "holy s--- that's steep! Better not fall!"

Another question: What would be more challenging or seem more steep at the time, a 25 degree sheet of black diamond ice or a 40 degree double diamond field of fluff?
post #21 of 95
Just a few that stick out in my mind,
The upper Cirque at Snowbird
STH at Snowbird
Mushroom Chutes at Jackson
Anything off the "high notch" at Alta
Spiny Chutes @ Alta

Very little at Vail.....

L
post #22 of 95

Steep?

"Steeps" carry two meanings..........for me.

One down, one up

1) A slope that will carry you to an unhappy ending at the bottom if you fall.
(Steep is the "pucker factor".) ;-)

2) A slope that offers unlimited fun in bottomless powder.
You really can tell when they are not steep enough.


Yea! Relative.

Oh in absolute terms, Any slope you can't see when standing at the drop in

CalG
post #23 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLau
boy you've got a broad idea of advanced. ...
Has to be more then 45 degrees to be steep imo.
Well the thread question is so vague and without focus. A vague question worthy of trolls. Thus I answered in a very general way just because I knew it would elicit disdain from those that immediately wanted to respond in the sense of what is steep to them or steepest they know about. I'm not a fan of many thread authors that post things on web forums. Too many put little consideration into how to post a question that will generate responses that reflect what they were interested in.

Pete no idaho
The steep part of Gunbarrel is only 27 degrees with quite a bit of the run about 24 degrees.

...David
post #24 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornbread
Most double diamonds take more than just steepness into account. Dangers such as trees, rocks, cliffs and cornices are usually factors
This is very true. At Steamboat all the runs rated double black off Mt Werner are not overly steep (IMO), but take the terrain features into account such as big ole pine trees tightly spaced and cliff/rock bands

At Alta it's all considered black, but the further out the traverse you go the "steeper" it gets. Steep is all relative to the feeling you get before your bindings get past the lip and you can't turn around.

In previous posts 23 degrees was the threshold into advanced skiing. If you can't link turns at 23 degrees please take your boards off at the bottom of the hill and have a latte cause your not advanced. If you can't link turns your not even an intermediate. I believe you are advanced when you can ski the fall line on any black making clean linked turns while proceeding down the aforementioned fall line. Am I advanced? Sure am. Am I an expert? Hell no. Can I ski double blacks? Sure can. Don't most resorts warn on double blacks "Experts Only"? Yep. I'm so confused
post #25 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by migibs
This is very true. At Steamboat all the runs rated double black off Mt Werner are not overly steep (IMO), but take the terrain features into account such as big ole pine trees tightly spaced and cliff/rock bands

At Alta it's all considered black, but the further out the traverse you go the "steeper" it gets. Steep is all relative to the feeling you get before your bindings get past the lip and you can't turn around.

In previous posts 23 degrees was the threshold into advanced skiing. If you can't link turns at 23 degrees please take your boards off at the bottom of the hill and have a latte cause your not advanced. If you can't link turns your not even an intermediate. I believe you are advanced when you can ski the fall line on any black making clean linked turns while proceeding down the aforementioned fall line. Am I advanced? Sure am. Am I an expert? Hell no. Can I ski double blacks? Sure can. Don't most resorts warn on double blacks "Experts Only"? Yep. I'm so confused
I could do that when I was a beginner . It doesn't take a lot of skill to shift your weight slightly to the left and right as you rocket straight down the fall line doing bannana turns, just a pair of DH or SG skis and a death wish.
post #26 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider

Steep+Fall = collect your gear at the bottom.
Steep = When you can touch the hill standing up.
These make sense to me.

As for "Steep" being different for everyone, I disagree. Steep is steep to everyone, whether or not you can ski it is a separate matter.
Check out the Damian Cromwell photo of Dan Treadway in the "Cover Rejects" section of the new Freeskier Photo Annual. That's extremely steep.
post #27 of 95
I figure steep is when you stand at the top of the hill and think, "gee, that's steep."

It can fit for any type of skier in any condition.
post #28 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune
I figure steep is when you stand at the top of the hill and think,
That is what is steep.
When you have to to think when you are skiing it .
You can't just hop in and ski. each turn has consequence.
post #29 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woops
What qualifies as "the steeps"?
I use the sphincter gauge. The more it tightens up, the steeper the slope is considered.

As others have mentioned, this takes several things into account: recent snowfall, general snow conditions (fresh tracks versus skied out), slope width, etc.
post #30 of 95
Any terrain that constitutes use of the words "drop in"
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