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Deep, scary RUTS!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
See:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=53447


Now I am really scared of deep ruts, deteriorating courses. I feel out of control and frustrated that I have to try a higher line to avoid the ruts, instead of riding them out like I should.

I know, stand on the ski strong, and ride the rut around, but I guess after that crash its now a mental issue. any tips?
post #2 of 10
Better to finish than DNF/DQ. I've blown out of a few courses. It's not worth life long injuries. Just do the best you can and be satisfied with it. IMO.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaA View Post
but I guess after that crash its now a mental issue. any tips?
Hey Linda! Take a page out of Dr. Liz's book (my wife, aka, Elizabeth "the Eagle")


(yeah the dog broke his foot the same day Liz had surgery, I had a GREAT day - sheesh!)

After crashing off the jump at the Soldier Mountain Downhill series and breaking her arm (badly), Liz got right back on the horse and conquered her fear. She had me lead her off the jump at speed and landed it (about 70 feet). Still with a unset broken wrist she completed the day's training session successfully running her first full downhill (and this is a REAL downhill). Her season was over but her last memory of this season won't be the crash, injury and failure but the success of controlling her fear and not her fear controlling her - as it did when she fell. She is raring to come back and determined to get comfortable in the air (this is one of those "I show her, I tell her and still she didn't do it!! - now she believes )

Here's the big lesson Linda. In ski racing forward is always better then backing away. The worse the conditions the more forward you've got to be. You may still crash but you'll come out of it better and more likely with your bones and knees intact.

Second lesson. If you make the feature and issue it will be come the insurmountable issue. In Liz's case it was air. So the Jump become the big feature on the course when in reality the jump was inconsequential once you figured it out, there were much more critical sections of the course and gliding was way more important than flying.

So you've made "Big ruts" bigger and now they've become an obstacle rather than just terrain to be skied.

You are right, enter the rut high and ski it unless you can take a tighter line and get inside (which is rare). Aggression will always give you pay off if you mind your basic P & Q's (meaning reasonable tactics and line).

Make up your mind to control your fear and you soon find the ruts can be your friend and keep in the course. If you are in control of your fear (rather than your fear controlling you) you will relax exiting the ruts and absorb the terrain and your transitions will be assisted by the end of the ruts (pole planting will help keep you on the front of your boots).

De-emphasize the ruts and concentrate the task at hand, they are only as big as you make them (no matter how big, late or low they really are).

JMHO

More about Liz's adventures at Soldier Mountain
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
goodness, that poor woman! I hope she recovers quickly and gets back at it.

(Hope the dog also recovers quickly...poor thing)

Whaaah, I was supposed to run MY first downhill last weekend at Jay, but for that pulled pectoral I couldn't do it. I was really, really, REALLY looking forward to it, too. but I figured you would need upper body strong, and it definitley wsnt at that point, (still isn't now.)

I guess I gotta go run a Nastar course at like, three in the afternoon. that aught to get me more comfortable with ruts.....
post #5 of 10
All depends on the ruts, Linda. Big and smooth and well placed ruts, are best to get in right at the top of them and ride the outside bank like a bobsled. If you come in with too high a line you'll drop into the rut from the outside bank, and if you come to low you'll drop into it from the inside bank,,, both rather rough options. Your only other option is to circle around the outside of the entire rut,,, and that's pretty slow.

If ruts are badly placed (late) or consist of irregular chatter and sharp holes, it can be a worthy strategy to come in high and cut under the gate to avoid them, as the worst of it is often low in the line.

My best advice is to just keep working on expanding your skill base outside of the gates. It will make difficult race course conditions easier to handle. And understand that taking a digger every once in a while when racing is just something that goes with the territory.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaA View Post
I guess I gotta go run a Nastar course at like, three in the afternoon. that aught to get me more comfortable with ruts.....
post #7 of 10
As said above it is mental. ski through it not to it!

Look ahead and ski to a past the obstacle.

Kinda like martial arts when they break 4 or 5 boards with a karate chop.

they are not thinking stop at the board. they are thinking put my hand through the floor.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Big and smooth and well placed ruts, are best to get in right at the top of them and ride the outside bank like a bobsled.
I agree. At this time of the year with spring conditions, the ruts are often fairly wide and gently banked as the soft snow gets sprayed all over the place by skier traffic.

If you can just let the gates disappear for a moment in your eyes and simply look down, you will see a snaking path that can be skied faster in my opinion than if you tap every gate in the slalom course and then have to constantly brake to keep your speed in check. If the gates were never there, you might have skied that same path naturally without question.

On video, it may not look as elegant, but you might be surprised at the time improvement.
post #9 of 10
And amazingly enough: when it's deep rut season, even a slalom race can be a wax race!

All kidding aside, it's a good idea to have good base prep and wax if you know you'll be running in deep ruts, as you'll be riding them a bit and you'll want to have a few hindrances as possible.

And montreal is correct: if you use the ruts, rather than fight them, you'll likely have a better time down the course (provided that the ruts are fairly consistent and smooth).
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by songfta View Post
if you use the ruts, rather than fight them, you'll likely have a better time down the course (provided that the ruts are fairly consistent and smooth).
Since springtime conditions usually translate into more slush and less ice, dealing with any speed that comes from smoothly following in soft ruts is not as difficult as when the ruts are set in fast soft cold snow and/or on a steep pitch.

Sometimes it can be wise to occassionly dump some built-up speed by tracking around the outside of the occasional rut and then getting back into the course (rut) line.
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