EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Patrol Shack › Senior ski test requirmnets?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Senior ski test requirmnets? - Page 2

post #31 of 51

Well, At 'senior' mountains, a long sled run in challenging terrain (glades, moguls crud) is a reality. You can't always get in and out so easily. And the test isn't just to the standard of your local hill, but the top terrain of the region.


Even at my little hill yesterday we had an incident deep in some unmarked 'local's glades' and it took some serious sled helmsmanship to get to the patient and get them out.


Ideally the test should tell folks That you're an accomplished toboggan handler/ tail-roper (and boarder) anywhere on the mountain, at more than one mountain.  It is a regional standard, and if the course has any merit, it should signify something at anyplace, on any conceivable terrain, in your region (and hopefully beyond).  It's not just sled skills either. Our Trauma packs are pretty heavy and bulky these days, and again, sometimes you have to ski them quite a ways on your back into some tricky terrain.  I'd like to think a senior is a person you could always rely on to do that on any terrain in our region.


When you eventually get smooth at running toboggans in bumps, you'll realize that it is a pretty smooth ride down and not something so terrible to 'put a patient through.' But, it takes practice of course.    And making a run that is clean and smooth for the patient is the whole point of senior training.


Actually, I have always noticed that competent snowboarders seem to have the EASIEST time in the bumps. The snowboard works well once things are headed downhill.


As for in the handles/ out of the handles, in small bumps/ low angle you can do it either way, but if they are seriously steep moguls on a steep slope, you'll learn quickly why being outside the handles is a benefit.   Sounds like you experienced first hand why outside is better.  


'Sides, it's just more fun and dynamic being outside the handles. You have to get comfortable putting your board in the nasty portions while the toboggan gets the smooth line, but once it clicks, you'll find running sled in bumps actually a lot of fun (a trained monkey can run a toboggan down a groomer after all).


As far as wishing you luck…if it was based on 'Luck' why would anyone pursue these sort of things?  


Perform to the standards of your region and you won't need luck. 

post #32 of 51
We had a rookie one year who was a "senior evaluator back east". Got dropped from our resort because he couldn't drive a toboggan worth a shit.

If you are concerned about any skill, ask the evaluator to demonstrate what they are looking for before you go. That move typically shuts down egos real fast.
post #33 of 51

The senior test in our region REQUIRES the evaluators to demonstrate every task to the examinees at the time of testing.  I realize this changes region from region, but the guys who run the exams in my region are pretty damn good.  I'm not an examiner or anything like that. 


Maybe the guy in your region was a Senior OEC evaluator back East?

post #34 of 51

Every time I see someone run outside the handles my back starts hurting.

post #35 of 51
Originally Posted by Blackhat View Post

Every time I see someone run outside the handles my back starts hurting.


post #36 of 51

The reason for stating my back hurts when people ski outside the handles are several, but for the most part most individuals are bent at the waist and only using their upper body to control the sled.

post #37 of 51

I don't understand why you would want to be outside the handles.

post #38 of 51

The Eastern and Central Divisions have this as one of their requirements. They say it allows you to run smoother through moguls. You can see some of the pictures of this if you Google it. Not my idea of good control.

post #39 of 51

I worked on a very steep mountain that has some tough off trail conditions.  I don't think we ever trained to ski bumps outside the handles.  We used all kinds of techniques to navigate sleds through tight trees, bumps, and large sudden drop offs, but not skiing outside the handles.  

post #40 of 51

Here is some footage that I found of an event which we host.  We get some pretty good wrecks from this every year as well as dealing with a lot of drunken rednecks.  You can see the pitch and how tight the trees are next to the course.  I'll have to find some vids of running outside the handles so I understand it better.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XoMXCed0XF4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Enjoy the carnage...  You really need to be there!

post #41 of 51

I found this.  It has about 10 seconds of outside the handles footage near the end.  Watching that clip, I see no advantage being outside.  Sort of a nice "introduction" to static belay at the end.




That one is official NSP and about 12 minutes long BTW.


I like this one.  The patroller featured does a pretty good job in the course, using technique similar to how I was trained.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/f7WRFJuUfTY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


I'd like to see a good example of why or how outside the handles is better.

post #42 of 51

In steep bumps (or any truly steep off piste terrain), you can raise your arms pretty high and low with being lifted or compressed when you are outside of the handles (in real steep off piste terrain, there are points where the handles/ sled can get quite a bit higher than the driver). There is more freedom of movement, and my back never hurts outside the handles.  It's easy to steer from the side as well, easier to lift, pull, push and redirect.  We practice both, most prefer outside the handles. To be sure, east coast bumps/ glades are often a very different animal than western bumps and glades-which could also explain differences region to region. Not sure why your back hurts doing it, though. There's a lot less bracing and scrubbing outside the handles when the sled is besides you. You do need to use terrain for speed control and pacing more, but once you get a feel for that, it's easier and smoother.  I also like the versatility of working my way up and down the handles, which is easier and more intuitive outside the handles.

post #43 of 51
Count me among the people that can't see a reason to go outside the handles, and I can see a few reasons not to. Steep, big bumps? Get deep in the horns, against the crossbar, and pick a line that goes in the troughs on the sides. Tail roper if the skegs might raise up off the snow.

But where I work isn't NSP.
post #44 of 51
When you are outside the horns your arms are free to move t he nose of the sled as far as your arms can go, maybe 18 inches. You can also put your skis down a simpler route since he sled isn't following the driver move for move.

Inside the horns the driver needs to ski a less natural line. Also lose the advantage of the range of your arms. Worst case scenario in the horns if you go down, your body acts as a brake when the sled runs you over.

post #45 of 51
Originally Posted by Skipass View Post

Inside the horns the driver needs to ski a less natural line.

I don't see why. The falling leaf maneuver lets me stay in the fall line.
Worst case scenario in the horns if you go down, your body acts as a brake when the sled runs you over.

See, I'd worry about the sled getting away from me in a steep situation if I wasn't in the horns.

But hey, if it works for you...
post #46 of 51



Let's take a look at some truly gnarly sled running terrain


This is Mad River Glen, sled training on the near 2000ft vertical legendary bumpy, narrow, natural chutes and glades of the Single Chair (no groomer breaks at all!).  I hope we won't have to argue if this is legit 'expert' terrain. This Patrol does more steep, nasty bump sled runs than any in the country.  They use a nice blend of inside the Handles (chain down) on the catwalks and flatter terrain, but when they have those narrow, steep, turning chute entries, I think you'll see the versatility of switching outside the handles (and they run them chain up). 


Again, these are guys getting 'Trained' to Mad River Standards (my impression is they are training the tail roper):



post #47 of 51
I'm not saying that it can't be done I just don't see why you would do it, and I didn't see anything in that video that convinced me it would be better outside the horns. In fact, where it got really tight I thought it would have been easier to get through if the front guy was in the horns. Oh well.


Nice video though.
post #48 of 51

I agree with Bob.


 Those guys seemed to do a very competent job, but I didn't see a strong advantage to being consistently outside the handles.  I think that an experienced sled handler will do what feels best for them in any given situation.  That terrain is pretty solid, but we have stuff that is steeper and tighter which we need to be ready to respond to.  The good news is that we rarely have serious wrecks because we don't have a large number of skier days and our locals are mostly very good skiers.

post #49 of 51

JH Steeper than MRG??…Yes, Of Course.  Tighter, on average?  Not so sure.  Now, I've only spent 1 week in JH, and I never ran a sled there (I have done a clinic at MRG, however…it was eye opening to say the least)…I did chat with a JH patroller one day and asked about running sleds through runs like Tower 3 chutes.  The guy in question laughed and said, 'You know, when someone falls there they usually end up near the bottom ( a nod to the pitch for sure). " Which, makes sense.  


Bob and Teton PJ are right, however, there is more than one way to do this well and each region (and patroller) will develop what works best for them and what feels comfortable.  FWIW, however, I haven't seen anyone run a loaded toboggan through the above terrain inside the handles. I believe it can be done and done well, but I haven't seen it or anything remotely similar in other videos.


And back to the original gist of this thread, if you are going to go through the Senior you are basically signing up to learn whatever standards and styles your region embraces (inside or outside the handles), for better or worse.  There's no point in arguing the chosen standards or lamenting its efficacy or lack thereof, you do it or don't.  And since 'Senior' is a volunteer option (for the volunteer NSP types), that's fair.  

post #50 of 51

Just so you understand Liam...


I am a full time instructor at JHMR.  I am/was a volunteer NSP Patroller at Snow King.  We have stuff as steep as JHMR and our trees are generally much tighter than at JHMR.  Our snow also has much more in common with the east coast hills than the conditions at JHMR.

post #51 of 51

Yeah, I remember looking up at Snow King from town, and thinking it looked pretty steep.   Didn't ski there however.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Patrol Shack
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Patrol Shack › Senior ski test requirmnets?