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# What is steep? - Page 2

Percent incline refers to the sine of the angle of inclincation. Arcsine of .7 is 45 degrees, i.e., the angle whose sine is .7 is 45 degrees. Having been at the top of downhill a few times I am pretty confident that on average over the first 10 yards or so it is not 45 degrees.

On the other hand, if you take Arcmeister's route that he tried in the fog I'm sure the beginning is greater than 45 degrees. [img]redface.gif[/img]
Quote:
 Originally posted by Bob.Peters:Okay, since the topic is steep skiing, I can't resist pasting in this little blurb. Andrew McLean (who can be seen on Nova tonight at 9 eastern/7 mtn time on PBS) wrote this in response to a long discussion of steep skiing last summer on TelemarkTips.com. I thought it was hilarious at the time and I still love it. Of course, I have to agree completely with the Wyoming comment (Full apologies to Alaska heli-skiers - Andrew was havin' a little fun): > > > > > > > > > > > > > Steep-speak International Translations: Alaska Heliskiing - Subtract 20 degrees and cut the vertical in half. FIVE THOUSAND FUGGIN' FEET OF 60 DEGREES (Dude!) = 2,500' of 40 degrees. . . . Hope that helps. Andrew Oh yeah - I forgot Wyoming. ADD 5 degrees and 200' to any stated value.
I think that's about right but I'll be darned if I'm going to give up telling people I skied 5000 vertical of 55 degrees (Dude!). [img]tongue.gif[/img]
Quote:
 Originally posted by EPSkis:
quote:
Originally posted by stmbtres:
quote:
Originally posted by EPSkis: Wow, Bob - Perhaps you need either a refresher course in Geometry or a new protractor. ... ......Which leads me to ask: You sure you were at Snowbasin? Your #'s aren't even CLOSE.
I don't think I need to defend Bob Peters, but my reading of this forum suggests that I should take most of his serious posts as near gospel. By the way, if you convert the percent grade in your information to the degrees pitch in Bob's post, you'll find that the numbers match up pretty well. There's a bit of difference, but nothing to quibble over.

cheers</font>[/quote]Ahh - Not quibbling, but what's that conversion then?
</font>[/quote]Take the arc tangent of the percent grade (expressed as a fraction, not a percent) to get the degrees pitch. So

for the 70% grade at the beginning, tan-1(.7) = 35 degrees
for the 74% grade at the end, tan-1(.74) = 36.5 degrees

using this conversion, a 100% pitch is "only" 45 degrees.
Quote:
 Originally posted by stmbtres:Take the arc tangent of the percent grade (expressed as a fraction, not a percent) to get the degrees pitch. So for the 70% grade at the beginning, tan-1(.7) = 35 degrees for the 74% grade at the end, tan-1(.74) = 36.5 degrees using this conversion, a 100% pitch is "only" 45 degrees.
Stmbtres,

You are correct in defining %grade this way. I assumed that %pitch was referring to %inclincation. Given the close match between your interpretation and Bob's measurement (which knowing Bob is not exaggerated) I probably assumed incorrectly.
Look also at this:
how steep is 'steep'?

This is funny. A while back we had the same discussion and the Grizzly course was brought as an example. Why would anyone use percent grade to describe a slope is beyond me. Isn't angle far more intuitive for most people? Not to take anything away from my good friend stmbtres who provided the relationship between % grade and angle, here is a simple explanation of % grade:

% grade = (rise/run)*100 where rise is vertical distance and run is horizontal distance.

When rise and run are equal you get 100% grade or a 45 degree slope. So a 70% grade is far from scary to many skiers. Strait-lining a 70% grade slope is very scary however.
I guess steep is in the eye of the beholder.

Here in Aspen sh*t get's pretty steep....

Ajax - S-1, Hyrups, Walsh's

Aspen Highlands - Any of the east runs off of Loge Peak, Steeple Chase, Temerity, Highland Bowl

Snowmass - Hanging Valley Wall, HV Glades, KT Gully, AMF, Gowdy's

Buttermilk - there's nothing steep at Buttermilk

If you're a solid skier and you're scared then it's steep..
Here in Ohow we give our slopes in the brochures in percents. That sounds much better than degrees. We also add more vertical than the guberment topo maps or the GPS reads as well. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
If after looking down over the pitch your butthole wants to take a bite out of the snow and give a merry toot, then it's steep.
Awe come on Bob. The top of the mens downhill in the fog seemed to be less than 38 degrees and the bumps seems to be fairly small. I guess when you can only see 10 feet and have to go by feel it always seems like less. Don't know what I would have thought had I been able to see it. I got Lisamarie down a black groomer cause she couldn't see it.

I do remember skiing over some of those jumps on the mens downhill and thinking I would die from fright were I to ski over them fast. The toes and fingers got tingly just thinking about it.
Steep was last sunday on my Berthoud Powder Guides snowcat trip when I made about 5 jump turns on this...steep...chute-like pitch then looked up and it seemed I was looking nearly straight up and had covered a hell of a lot of distance in those turns.

Add in some fear of falling cuz you know you'll be rolling/flailing/cartwheeling...that is steep to me.

An excellent day of technicaly challenging pitches and excellent snow by the way.
[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
E.P. yeah you're preaching to the choir there about the downhill at snowbasin. I'm not sure there's much about that course that Bob doesn't know. Yeah I'd say that didn't really "feel" like 38 deg., but I suppose the "lisamarie phenomenon" accounts for it as well as the moguls. The phenomenon: what you can't see can't scare you. Pierre did get her down a black run painlessly...

I'd love to see moguls piled up at the bottom of a trail! Never thought of moguls as being portable!

About those specifications... In the East, usually divide number of trails by 3 to get real trails.
Steep is any slope where you know you risk serious injury or death if you fall. The Swiss wall, the steepest piste in the Alps comes to mind, any of the couloirs above Courcheval. Most of St Anton and especially the north face of the Valluga. The Strief in Kitzbuhel, particularly the Mousefalle. Don't even think about Chamonix, the Poubelle, Pas de Chevre etc. etc. In Europe skiing is still treated as an at your risk activity. So provided the conditions are right its anywhere you can duck a rope. Long live the steeps.
Steep is when you can't see where you are going to land as you turn.
Another good sign is that your elbows collect some snow without falling.

But REALLY STEEP!!!!is when you swear a hundred times while skiing down that you are not going to ski that ever again.

Las Paredes in Penitentes and the start of Mercurio and specially Nausicaa in Las Lenas are good examples down here.
Quote:
 Originally posted by Tog:...I'd love to see moguls piled up at the bottom of a trail! Never thought of moguls as being portable!...
How do you think they store them for the summer?

Tom / PM
Steep is a hill so steep that you look over the edge and say "Holy *&(^#\$(&(*%&*( that's a &(*P&(%@)^)\$#@&) steep hill!
"

Actually, I'd say that any time you dislodge snow and it keeps rolling down the hill is steep.
Steep is a slope where you can spit over the side, race past it and arrive at the bottom only to have it hit you on the head.
Quote:
 Originally posted by truckman:Steep is a relative term. I was just wondering what everyone's idea of what steep is, and what resorts/areas have the best steep terrain.
If it's too steep, you're too old

Alta. Big Sky.

YA
Quote:
 Originally posted by TomB:Why would anyone use percent grade to describe a slope is beyond me.
Simple: It sounds better. When advertising, saying a run is 75% sounds steeper than saying it is 38 degrees. Its all about marketing (and the fact that some people don't understand angles)

As for steep:
It is when the black run under your feet meets the brown run down your leg.

S
By all these definitions it would seem to be impossible to teach anyone except a flat out expert how to ski steep terrain. ?
I'll just bet that 97% of this forum has never skied a steep. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
I love some of the definitions. :

[ February 13, 2003, 04:47 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
Quote:
 Originally posted by Jericho:Steep is a slope where you can spit over the side, race past it and arrive at the bottom only to have it hit you on the head.
I've been there , but it usually freezes on the way down and skips off your hat.
diski
"Perspective (personal) huh? "

Quite so diski.

ryan
"Steep seems to kick in for me at about 35-40 degrees. My feelings about such pitches - whether I'm comfortable or not - depends on conditions. Powder and springy decrease the sense of caution; ice will heighten my senses considerably."

We share a common awareness. At that pitch of 70%- 80% grade (about the pitch of the steep part of West Face at Squaw Valley) one is aware when the slope is relatively smooth that if one falls, one will slide a long ways.

TomB "
"Why would anyone use percent grade to describe a slope is beyond me. Isn't angle far more intuitive for most people?"

Because percent grade has been traditionally used to measure inclination travel up or down slopes as highways grades etc. Unfortunately for skiers this has led to a great deal of confusion and misinformation for discussions of slope steepness since most people understand as you relate degrees while the percent grade technical term is usually not. Don't trust what you read in magazines, the media, or from other well known skiers of steeps.

A couple years ago I posted some replies here to others that claimed various slopes were xx degrees steep. The usual comment of many is "that had to be 45 degrees". Very few ski resort slopes have any formally named expert trails with 100% grade sections for more than short distances. The easiest way for anyone to measure this is to stand sideways on a steep slope with ones uphill ski pole resting vertically beside you in the snow. From the position of your hand rotate the bottom of the pole 90 degrees up (perpendicular to gravity vertical). If it is touching the slope it would be about 45 degrees or 100% grade. I gaurantee most will be surprised how far from 45 degrees their 45 degree slope actually was. To amuse myself, I sometimes carry around a small cheap carpenter's angle measuring level one can buy at any hardware store. In the west most such slopes are short sections at ridgelines cornices. An even better way for the sake of nailing your argument is to measure the disputed slope with a topographic map (ie www.topozone.com). Using a steel rule with 1/100 inch gradiations and tangent tables this can be readily done. A loupe will help.

I'll add one comment to Ryan's. The greater the vertical of the steep pitch the more intimidating. If one were to fall to slides just 50 feet to a runout there is a lot less apprehension versus 500. At many resorts one may find short sections of really steep slope with easy runouts in odd places that skiers tend to avoid. Instead of avoiding them traverse onto them, stop, get familiar with the edgeability, and try cranking a few short dynamic turns without the fear of consequence. -dave
Steep is around 45. I can't judge angles, but I feel like I am on steep terrain when my turn debris creates mini avalanches.

One resort with a ton of steep lift accessable terrian is Squaw. Most resorts have a few steep places, but Squaw is loaded with it. Jackson Hole and Crested Butte are others that come to mind in this regard.
One reason to measure slope in degrees instead of percent (like highway grade is done) is that all of the avalanche data and information are notated as degrees, and inclinometers are calibrated that way. If you travel in the back country and need to assess avy risk, those are the numbers that you will reference.
Quote:
 Originally posted by EPSkis:The start of the 2002 Men's Olympic downhill on Grizzly was a 72 degree grade. That's steep. Daytona's banking is only 31 degrees.
I find that angle pretty tough to swallow. perhaps there was a very short stretch resembling a cliff that was at that angle, but 72 degrees does not hold snow too well much less the edges of skis. Perhaps it had a pitch of 72.
My 2cents is that anything over 40 degrees is steep and over 50 degrees the conditions and the hazards become much more of an influence on the risk.
THIS is steep.

So is this...

What is steep?

\$71 for a lift ticket at Vail!
Quote:
 Originally posted by Pierre:By all these definitions it would seem to be impossible to teach anyone except a flat out expert how to ski steep terrain. ? I'll just bet that 97% of this forum has never skied a steep. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] I love some of the definitions. :
Right on Pierre! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Why don't we all agree that in the testosterone filled world of skiing the real definition of steep is a 90 degree slope. And for those that love percent grade 90 degrees is ... drum roll ... infinity! [img]tongue.gif[/img]
Maineac,
"I find that angle pretty tough to swallow.>>>
Originally posted by EPSkis: The start of the 2002 Men's Olympic downhill on Grizzly was a 72 degree grade."

Yup just what I was saying about many people confusing the terms. Check the topo or read:

Owens,

Yeah now that is truely steep and over 45 degrees. Great pic. Snow has to be just right to hold an edge.
Like the helicopter shadow on that face.

-Dave
Quote:
 Originally posted by EPSkis:The start of the 2002 Men's Olympic downhill on Grizzly was a 72 degree grade. That's steep. Daytona's banking is only 31 degrees.
wrong dude. it's 72%. That means 72% of 90°, or 64.8°. that's about 1.5° steeper than the steepest run I've been on (south bowl backcountry on Cannon Mountain NH). It's definately not 72°, it could be 72% but I'm still skeptical of that. I've seen pics of the grizzly and it doesnt look more than maybe 40° at the top. I don't know where you heard that but snowbasin reports their steepest pitch as the Grizzly Downhill at 37°!!!!

37° NOT 72° or 72%!

Sorry to dissapoint you bub.

I will admit that 37° is a decent pitch though. It's definately expert terrain, but nothing shocking.
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