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Shaped ski and contributions to increased collisions.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm sitting here thinking. I believe that shape skis and boards while a fantastic progression have contributed to an increase in the type of collisions that I am experiencing.
Shape skis and boards have brought carving to the masses. On straight skis, advanced skiers in almost all cases up-unweight and skid the top part of their turn while edging heavily in the bottom part of their turn. For this reason, straight skis tend to limited speed and produce a faily flat ski thus allowing for quick adjustments.
With todays shape skis these same skiers can lock onto a carve and ride it but lack the skills needed to steer the inside ski and therefore complete the bottom half of their turns. The result is a carve turn, edge to edge, that is more down the fall line and faster. These same skiers lack the skills to quickly get themselves out of the carve or change direction, due again, too the lack of skills in controlling the inside ski.
These two things, combined with the fact that it is fun to carve and skiers feel much more control in a carve, contributes to the increase in collisions. Its kind of like being on cruise control and being run up behind the driver ahead of you in the right lane by someone slowly passing in the left lane. Many drivers get dangerously close to either or both drivers to avoid going off cruise control.
In comparison, these advanced skiers can manuever around a very slow beginner but someone executing short radius round turns, skiing the slow line fast may easily take up more effective space. For the fast carver, whom lacks the skills to complete their turns, This comes as an effective block to fall line skiing. Lacking skill, I think these skiers wait to long to break off.
post #2 of 26
I really don't see the need for worrying Pierre, myself I have seen plenty of beginner/Intermediate skiers, on shaped skis, but still skiing them like they are normal good ole fashioned straight skis. With the rental shops offering them as beginner packages, I think it takes time and experience to figure out the carve, its not something someone can do after one or two lessons. I myself learned to carve on my old boards, but was happier than a pig in mud, when I moved onto to a pair of shaped skis, carving turns much more effortlessly, and not so much abuse on my already shot legs.

Don't worry 'bout the newbies, hey at least they're not on snowboards!!!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 04, 2002 08:57 AM: Message edited 1 time, by skialta ]</font>
post #3 of 26
Hmmm. I'm finding myself looking behind frequently because on shaped skis, I'm rocketing back and forth across the hill. I used to be a fall line skier, not any more. The more people learn turn ride the turn and get out of the fall line, the more they will get hit by newbies bombing straight down the hill.
I'm liable to crank a hard turn at any moment and be twenty feet away from my present position in a nanosecond. These straightliners behind me need to be looking ahead and anticipate what's going on. Of course I know they aren't.
post #4 of 26
I find when I let people demo my 163 HCXs they usually skid just like always. Even one of my assistants who can arc a pair of GS boards had trouble over turning them. One of the PMTS instructors didn't seem to get much out of them either.(too bad for them )
Usually if they have some skills they get speed. If they don't ski fast on straights they won't on shapes.
post #5 of 26
I tend to agree with Arby. When I'm seriously carving, I tend to use up considerably more real-estate and can be at a different location in a flash. But, I'm also much more acutely aware of who's around me and try to anticipate the actions of skiers in front of me. When the slopes are crowded, it's best to stay with short swings and not utilize the full potential of your skies.

As was stated earlier, beginners or early intermediates won't be carving to any great degree. Their skiing in a semi controlled manner, therefore anyone that crosses there path is liable to get taken out since the don't have the skills to change direction quickly and accurately
post #6 of 26
I think there are just more ppl in the world than there used to be. Add to that the closing of many smaller ski areas and you get more ppl in one place.

Further, there just seems to be less concern for others now days and little common courtesy.
post #7 of 26
I have trouble completing the last 3rd of my turns w/o taking up the entire width of the run as Arby says so i end up either blazing downhill or throwing them sideways. Thus my obsession with Super slaloms, the skis of the future IMHO.
post #8 of 26
My thoughts exactly Pierre, in fact, I said this very thing last year. More people are all over the slope rather than skiing straight down the fall line. it does make for more collisions
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lars. I don't get why the responses about newbies. I was clearly talking about advanced skiers. Level 6-8.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 04, 2002 11:33 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #10 of 26
Lars, I find skiing the fall line,run after run, very boring...

post #11 of 26
Ott, Not if your in knee deep powder.

If not in deep powder, then yes, it would get boring.
When there are 1000 people on a 75 yard wide slope that has 500 ft. vertical, what the hell else are ya gonna do? Carve high speed archs? Not!

My normal day starts at 8:30 and I ski my ### off until around noon or when it gets too crowded to crank. Then I cruise the whole resort doing my job and getting in what turns I can. Done at 4:30

Most of my afternoons are spent doing fall line turns. Stein would be proud of me.
post #12 of 26
I agree with Arby and HarryO. On the new skis, I like to do a few shortswings down one side and then all-of-a-sudden crank a big carving arc across the hill. But I can't do that safely without looking up the hill before I make my move. I try to ski on weekdays as much as possible.
post #13 of 26
I agree with Sugar.

Surely you are not blaming the tools Pierre!!!!

On my straight skis I made the same turns as on my carvers. I.e. sometimes carve, sometimes skid, long and short, mixing it up. It just depends on the terrain, mood, snow and the crowd.

I think this topic is just clutching at straws. If you ski on a crowded hill then you must modify your behaviour to suit ... pretty simple really.

post #14 of 26
Skiing in the midwest on a weekend means a higher density of skiers and boarders per acre than out East and the West, though that might not be necessarily true.

We have to watch out for each other. Snowboarders also because of their different sliding style often have huge blind spots, we have to be aware of these and inform them if we are approaching them.

I am not sure that there will be enough people willing to take the necessary lessons teaching them how to get out of carved turn, that will solve this problem.

At least we don't see as many Elan SCX's that had such an extreme sidecut, it was impossible to bail out during the middle third of a pure carved turn.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 05, 2002 06:38 AM: Message edited 1 time, by wink ]</font>
post #15 of 26
With more skiers over the next few seasons opting to buy the softer boots, this could further aggrevate the problem that Pierre talks about in his initial post.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sugar said:
>>I think there are just more ppl in the world than there used to be. Add to that the closing of many smaller ski areas and you get more ppl in one place.
Further, there just seems to be less concern for others now days and little common courtesy.<<

Sugar, we have the unique perspective at our resort, with the fact that we can only take 22,000 skiers per hour up on our 79 skiable acres. The chairs max out every week night and continuous on weekends. This puts the same number of skiers on the hill at any one time regardless of how many are at the resort. The results are, we can see changes in collision numbers and types over the seasons, with a relatively constant number of skiers/boarders. On our most crowded week nights, there are private ambulence services who sit in the parking lot waiting for the inevitable calls. By sitting there, they can be first to respond and pick up the business.
I think the only way forum participants are going to get some perspective is to take some pictures and post them. I would hazard a bet that our resort is the most crowded in north America. Its also, one of the most profitable even though private lessons can be had for as little as $25.00 per hour and group lessons $10.00.
Our never ever packages are $36.00 which includes lift ticket, rental and 1 1/2hour intro lesson. If they return its half price the second time. For our 79 acres and 220 ft verticle, our ski school staff is 400 instructors with a very high certification level. We teach between 2000 and 4000 lessons per day.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 05, 2002 07:57 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #17 of 26

It's not the equipment. It's just that there's so many with lousy skills -- 97% to be sure.

Maybe it's time for a move to CO?
post #18 of 26
Good topic, Pierre eh! I'm still amazed at the conditions under which you ski and teach. I agree with SCSA--how about moving your family and your talents to Colorado?

I also agree with you that the new equipment, while it has the POTENTIAL to give skiers far more control than ever before, has helped create the problem. Sure, there are lots more people on the slopes. But the big problem is that so few of them have the technical skills or the experience to ski safely. And so MANY of them lock into high-speed carved turns with all the directional and speed control of a runaway freight train!

It isn't the skis themselves--I think you'd agree that they are wonderful things. It's the combination of how they're marketed as tools that "make it easy," how ski schools, under pressure from the industry, market "instant expert" lessons, AND the ability of the skis to lock onto some sort of carved turn with very little input or skill.

I still contend that, while the best "direct parallel" programs teach skiing the way the best instructors have ALWAYS taught skiing, the marketing emphasis of these programs is partly to blame. Programs like Aspen's Beginners Magic are wonderful--they finally have instructors focusing on movements of good skiing as they always should have. It isn't that they don't teach a wedge, or DO teach parallel--they just don't emphasize either one. Contrary to popular belief, they don't teach "parallel turns" any more than they teach "wedge turns"--there's little "parallel" about things like 1000 Steps. They teach MOVEMENTS. I don't know how much they really hype the "direct parallel" aspects of their program, but it isn't part of the name, and I know that the instructors involved usually have a very good understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of over-emphasis of EITHER wedge OR parallel.

But some of the more militant "direct parallel" programs DO contribute to the problem. Their trainers, too, may have a balanced, broad-based understanding of skiing. The turns they SAY they teach may be nice, shaped, brushed arcs. But programs marketed as a shortcut to expertise perpetuate the myth that classic skills are unnecessary. And if they fail to TEACH those classic skills, they share responsibility for this problem!

They create the reality of dangerous skiers when they fail to develop appropriate rotary skills--the very skills that are missing in those who can do nothing but an edge-locked carve. Their inability to effectively teach a wedge, or with a wedge, or even to ALLOW a wedge, symbolizes--and creates--the problem. The wedge, in its very simplest form, is simply the result of steering the skis to a gently brushed relationship with the snow, vs. an edge lock. Parallel skis simply tipped on edge, on the other hand, with no applied steering, lead directly to the railed-out problem that Pierre eh! has brought up.

It came up in another thread recently--wish I could recall who said it--that we now have a "new kind of intermediate skier"--no longer the one skidding all over the place, unable to set an edge, but the one CARVING all over the place, unable to shape a turn. And this new intermediate skier usually travels MUCH faster than the old!

Watch out!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #19 of 26

A new kind of skier? Yes. I see a lot of skiers now, trying to emulate racers with their super short, super shaped skis. Problem is, like I said, they have no skills. See! I really am better than 97% of the skiers.

But let's go back to the equipment. These same skiers get their shortie shapers, but they ski them the "old way". So yes, they're an accident waiting to happen.

So in this case, alternative teaching systems can help the cause, not hurt it. You know, HH has been telling folks for years that the technique for shapers is different. And, talking about PMTS, it's not just about carving -- that's the smallest part of the system. It's all about all mountain skiing. So, if more people took lessons or bought books and videos, we'd all be better off. So I completely disagree with your belief that "Direct parallel" teaching systems like PMTS are some of the problem.

I ride up the lift all the time with folks who have shapers but have no idea that the technique for them is different. In fact, it's very rare that I talk to someone who does know that the technique is different! So, you have all these skiers with high powered shapers, but no idea as to ski them properly.

What's really to blame?
1) Lousy instruction.
2) Business. Ski areas want riders and they'll do anything to get thousands of 'em on the hill. Ski manufacturers will sell to anyone who can pay. They're not going to tell people the "real story". That shapers require different technique. You know what? They shouldn't have to.
3) Economics. Few people can afford proper training.

I truly believe that in years to come, some parts of ski areas will be unskiable - for me anyway. I'd never set foot on Pierre's hill. I won't ski the Super Bee, Flyer, or Eagle. Too many hacks. Then, when I'm out there with junior, I stay behind him to block the hacks. They can hit me, but they won't hit him. That's why I'm working so hard with him. I need to get him on black runs so both of us can ski safely.

Other areas like where Pierre is will be completely unskiable.

What's the answer?
1) Tougher rules. If you're seen skiing out of control or too fast, you get booted. Second time, your pass is revoked. Third time. You're done for life.

2) If you're seen on runs that are way above your ability, same thing.

3) Be aggressive. Start bitching at out of control riders. Bitch at riders who are in terrain that they have no business in. I do it all the time.

4) Raise the prices. The more it costs, the fewer they'll be.

5) Skier safety test. This one is tough. But in order to ski somewhere, anywhere, you should have to pass a test like hunters do. If ski areas would do this I bet their insurance rates would drop.
post #20 of 26
Here's more. Hopefully, SAM sees this.

I think ski areas have extreme liability issues -- right now. They know about all the accidents and they're reading message boards like this one. But they're not doing anything to combat them. Why? Because they're too worried about the bottom line and because no one has challenged them.

If I got hit by a skier and it ruined or impacted my career, I'd go after them guns a blazin!

Unfortunately, nothing will happen until someone gets seriously hurt or even killed. Then and only then will ski areas react. Sure, you sign something that says areas aren't liable. But that'd never hold up in court. Neither would that BS forest service rule you and I would like to see changed.

Damn. Too bad I'm not in a philanthropic state right now. There's some great causes to fight for. I gotta work harder so I can get to a few of them.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh no SCSA is now in the 1000 club.
post #22 of 26
>>>In fact, it's very rare that I talk to someone who does know that the technique is different! So, you have all these skiers with high powered shapers, but no idea as to ski them properly.

What's really to blame?
1) Lousy instruction.<<<

SCSA, I think it is NO instruction. Anyone who has taken a lesson on shaped skis was told that it requires a different style of skiing. One of several.

post #23 of 26
What's so different? You're still edging and steering and leveraging shaped skis aren't you?
post #24 of 26


Who would have guessed. Well, I'd gladly take back a few, but oh well.

Here's to all the friends I've met. I just hope one day we'll be able to look back and see that we made a difference; somewhere, somehow, somebody.
post #25 of 26
I agree, SCSA, Pierre Eh, and all the rest of the 1000 up club. The information you have provided has been useful. And people will talk about it and use it in the future

Somehow I think most of my posts will be recounted to psychiatrists the world over.

post #26 of 26
Kneale, I think the biggest difference is that the skier no longer needs to up-unweight very much, though it's still there at times. Another thing that I noticed most is that to carve as I had for thirty years, namely to drive my shins hard into the front of the boot in order to bend the shovel of the edged ski is no longer needed. Also that it didn't take a full weight shift or even 80/20.

And I can think of some other differences, like I didn't have to rebound hard for cross-under skiing, I could actualy carve them underneath.

Well, I'm sure you know all this, yet when I'm tired I revert to skiing them the good old way

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