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Hardpack (ice)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
It seems that lately I'm encountering a lot of hardpack (ice?) that's covered with a lite, whispy snow that offers no grip when carving. I keep my skis sharp, and they'll bite pretty good for half a day, then I'll loose my downhill edge, and my nerve, for the rest of the day. Other than trying to avoid the hard stuff, is there a technical or equipment solution?
post #2 of 14
You could relax, stay balanced, reduce the pressure on the edges a little and just ride it out, or allow the skis to slide but maintain good stance and lighter edging, unless you want to tighten up the turn then apply more pressure but be prepared to slide a bit if it's sheer blue ice.
post #3 of 14
Hardpack and ice arent the same. You dont edge on ice, you need to slide. If its truly hardpack either put more weight on your carving (outside) edge and ride out the carve, or go straight over it (no edges). You cant wipe if you just slide over it without turning.
post #4 of 14

Snow covering Ice

I got caught this weekend losing the turning ski on aa ice patch. I was under Smuggs Sterling Chair making a left hand turn thinking I was secure on what was grippy snow on about an inch of new cover. There was a patch of hard ice under the snow, when I hit it I was way to commited to the edge and it spun me around. Tweaked my knee abit, there's a lesson in there somewhere. Knee feels good today but there was some concern there for atime especially when their talking about a big Noreaster coming in for Wed and Thurs.

KLM
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Landers View Post
Hardpack and ice arent the same. You dont edge on ice, you need to slide. If its truly hardpack either put more weight on your carving (outside) edge and ride out the carve, or go straight over it (no edges). You cant wipe if you just slide over it without turning.
I'm not certain what the surface truely is, other than very hard and very slippery. I've skied for many years and can't remember encountering this type of surface more than a couple times. This year is different, I've found it at least a dozen times and it's always when I'm pulling some major carving G's.

Thanks,
J Taylor
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by klm View Post
I got caught this weekend losing the turning ski on aa ice patch. I was under Smuggs Sterling Chair making a left hand turn thinking I was secure on what was grippy snow on about an inch of new cover. There was a patch of hard ice under the snow, when I hit it I was way to commited to the edge and it spun me around. Tweaked my knee abit, there's a lesson in there somewhere. Knee feels good today but there was some concern there for atime especially when their talking about a big Noreaster coming in for Wed and Thurs.

KLM
In that case just keep a balanced stance, don't allow your skis to spin out from under you, do anything you have to do to point the tips downhill, in a few feet you should be over that ice patch area and be able to get a turn in to slow down any speed you picked up from releasing the edges.

Get over those skis, be right on them, push forward, don't sit back and let yourself spin around, don't drop the hands, it might help to move the hands more forward (drive forward) at slightly above hip level.
post #7 of 14
Ya needs to be angumalatin'.

It is possible you are banking into the turn without properly counter-balancing with your upper body to keep pressure on the outside ski. Get some video and see if you are keeping the zipper on your jacket near vertical through your turns or if you are tilting inside. As a drill, try to keep your outside poll dragging on the ground through the turn.

As the snow gets harder, and also as it turns to mush, it become more revealing of balance refinements that aren't as punished by more friendly snow.
post #8 of 14

All True

Hey thanks for the feed back. Correct on every point. I was out of sorts just riding that edge when I got bit. I was tilted like the eifel tower, no counter to be found. Hands were okay but kind of usless in this situation. Like I said in the post the snow was just really grippy and held a good edge allowing you to ski errrrr a little sloppy. Sometimes it's fun to build your edge by just leaning if conditions allow. Certianly not correct but I like to think I know the difference and guess what it doesn't work so good on ice. Knew that, now I really know it. The knee feels pretty good with a little ibu so I think I'll be good to go when that big dump happens mid week. Jay on Thursday.

KLM
post #9 of 14
Three additional questions for ice.

What kind of skis?

What side bevel (and how often do you tune) .. ?

Do you change skis ... left becomes right/right becomes left at say ... mid day?
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Three additional questions for ice.

What kind of skis?

What side bevel (and how often do you tune) .. ?

Do you change skis ... left becomes right/right becomes left at say ... mid day?
Fischer RX8's; 1 degree; full tune after every 20hrs-25hrs on skis, plus hand sharpened after each day; and yes, I have swapped skis.

thanks,
J Taylor
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironindian View Post
It seems that lately I'm encountering a lot of hardpack (ice?) that's covered with a lite, whispy snow that offers no grip when carving. I keep my skis sharp, and they'll bite pretty good for half a day, then I'll loose my downhill edge, and my nerve, for the rest of the day. Other than trying to avoid the hard stuff, is there a technical or equipment solution?
Once in a while you can buy yourself a turn with equipment problems but, you have posted enough in your post for me to guess that technique and tactics is where you should look.

If your turns are largely skidded all the time on hardpack and ice, your edges will wear very quickly. If you carve and slice more, the skis will remain sharp. My guess is that you are twisting the tails out to the side in the top of your turns resulting in more of a Z or Comma shaped skidded turn. A rounder turn shape is very important for ice and variable conditions.

I am not one for throwing out too many ideas at one time. Without seeing you actually ski, or a video, my suggestion would be to round out the top of your turns by having patience turning into the fall line (turning down hill). The top of your turns should take much longer than the bottom of your turns. Many good things start to just happen when you ski this way.
post #12 of 14
Factory Side bevel is 3 degrees base is 1 degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ironindian View Post
Fischer RX8's; 1 degree; full tune after every 20hrs-25hrs on skis, plus hand sharpened after each day; and yes, I have swapped skis.

thanks,
J Taylor
post #13 of 14
Some great tidbits here. I especially agree that you should relax, ease up on the edges, and slip until you clear the ice. Being balanced and centered is important to be able to do this -- if you're in the backseat, chances are that your legs will slide out from under you before you get a chance to relax and ride it out.

The comment from onyxjl about upper body counterbalance is right on the money -- you want your upper body out over the inside edge of the downhill ski to keep it pressured (especially from the tip to the mid-point, where edging is very critical). If your weight is back or inside that edge, the skis can lose grip.

I remember many years ago realizing I was starting to ski well when icy patches no longer knocked me on my butt -- they merely presented a momentary delay in turns. That leads me to the balance/weight issues. So many of our weaknesses come from being out of balance and in the backseat. I am reminded of this every time I ski very steep trails, because the balance doesn't always come naturally to me in those situations -- I still have the mental notes scrolling until I get in form.

I keep my RX-8 tuned at 3 deg side and 1 deg base, and they are fairly grippy even on ice. I pulled them out yesterday when the slopes started getting slick and they really helped mitigate the icy spots. These are among the best skis I have owned for carving very hard snow and borderline ice. There are still icy spots where I have to relax and slip until I clear the ice and can reliably set an edge. These are situations where the perfect carve gets adapted and adjusted in real time.
post #14 of 14
You don't need "more weight" on the ski, because frankly, you don't have it. You only weigh what you weigh. You don't need to try to penetrate the surface of the ice by pushing either. This usually results in lower edge angles due to a straight, tight leg.

What you DO need is edge angle, and you can achieve that my moving. Tipping the ski with the ankle and letting the knee/hip/spine follow its lead. Maintain balance and stay soft. The rule of thumb here is "The harder the snow, the softer your legs have to be." Tighten them up by pushing on the skis and you'll only stop moving and lose the edges.

Find an area of boiler plate and try going across it slowly. Make small movements in the ankles to feel the skis tip on edge and grip the hard stuff... both skis simultaneously. Get used to that feeling and gradually pick up the pace so that you don't try to move the torso inside too quickly. A little patience here will go a long way.

(A great tune on the skis won't hurt either.)

Best of luck!

Spag
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