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High-speed skiing

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
What's "high speed"? Keep out the "when it's unsafe;" I'm more curious what YOU think "high speed" is on lift-served terrain. Miles per hour. My cousin says after the big, broad blue burner, "I think I was doin' 60." He is deflated when I tell him it's probably closer to 35. How fast do you think you are going at "Mach" speed?

Racers, what's the fastest you'd guess you've skied?
post #2 of 67
Sometimes you might luck out and get to run a speed trap, or have a friend with a radar gun. But an easy way to find out these days is to carry a GPS, you have to be clever with figuring out how to carry it and have the antenna recieve - but now that they got rid of the signal scrambling, even an inexpensive handheld GPS can give you your high, low and average speeds on any run.

It quite right that until you hear your speed reported back to you a bunch of times, everybody overestimates their speed generally. But then this is natural - the closer you are to the ground the faster things feel, motorcycles feel faster than cars, skiing feels very fast. On average most 'expert' skiers rarely actually pass around 45mph when they are really going all out on a steep groomer, but there are exceptions -- and when we would strap on 225cm skis and tuck a black groomer in CO a group of us were clocking speeds as high as 81mph, the average guy (pro) was topping out in the mid 60's however.
post #3 of 67
I know I am going Mach when my eyes are watering through my goggles. THat is going FAST. I have had this happen before ripping groomers, but not when skiing terrain.
post #4 of 67
I think anything over 40 mph is going fast. Below that and your just putting.
post #5 of 67
I'm gonna second argus
straightlining it down a blue or black in full tuck usually gets me that sensation...
dunno how fast i'm actually going tho....i'm guessing 50 tops?

post #6 of 67
I heard something years ago that I've yet to verify..was told that when you reach a point you can hear absolutely no sound except the wind, you were supposed to be in the 50mph range. I have no idea where they got this info or how to verify, but it sounded cool
post #7 of 67
Stick your hand out your car window while moving steadily at various speeds to gain a feel of how much resistence you get at what pace. Then stick your hand out at whatever you consider your "Mach 10" and compare. Bet it's less than 50 for many and below 40 for most.
post #8 of 67
We had an instructor who also was a Sheriff deputy assigned to patrolling the area our hill is located in (before it became a national park/recreation area) and he would stop with his cruiser and bring his hand-held radar gun to the hill.

Surprise, surprise! instructors making medium radius turns on our steepest hill were going 25 mph in the fall line phase, short swing without much edge set got them to 28 mph and tucking it they were moving 36 mph after a couple hundred yards of steep.

They also fell flat on their tuckus as they straightened up at the bottom, knocked over by windcheck.

I have it somewhere on a 8mm roll of film where one young hot shot couldn't belive it and clamped his skis, one on each side, on the ski rack on top of his station wagon and had a buddy drive it down the road while he tucked.

He beat on the roof of the car when he felt he was going the same speed as his downhill run, sure he was going 50. He was going 31 miles an hour.

Edit; I consider it fast when a medium radius turn takes about two seconds.

...Ott<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Ott Gangl (edited August 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 67
Last time I got "radared" was at 69. I was testing timing the course, but unknown to me (or the TD or anyone else) they had just had the finish arena tilled. Through the finish to stop, the change in snow threw me...ended up shattering my tibial plateau. Bad memory...didn't break 70.
I did break 70 on Coaches Corner at Whistler...a corner where, incidently B. Johnson hit the WC record in '84 (I think 89). During the Camel Sprints Series (Todd you probably remember those) I have been close to 80....but that is enough.
Best line ever....

Steve Mckinney once in a record attempt, warp-wobbled, lost his hand by his hip as he approached the transition. In struggling with all the strength he possessed to bring his hand up and forward, he kept saying out loud to himself "keep it together, keep it together" a which point he hit a small bump and bit the crap out of his tongue!
Later he stated, "it was at that point I knew the importance of being the strong, silent type"
post #10 of 67
Robin, I don't think recreational skiers, even high end, ever break 45, or maybe 50 if they have a speed suit and a glorious wax job.

To compare, they ought to stand up in a convertible or stick their head out the sun roof while going that fast.

post #11 of 67
Yep I remember that series . . . but that doesn't mean I'm getting old does it?

Some secrets of real speed (60+): long skis (225+), excellent tuning and waxing, a very steep run, a truly aerodynamic tuck (a "blind" tuck) . . . the big dogs that go *really* fast have 240cm skis with special venting running the length of the ski, are using layered fluero wax's, non-porous suits, special extended grips, aerodynamic coverings over bindings and special shaped winglets on backs of legs. They have little mirrors in their helmets so that they can hold a 'blind' tuck and still see forwards somewhat - - and all kinds of other fun tricks. Must be a rush!
post #12 of 67
You know you're going pretty fast when the force of the wind on you (on a calm day) really gives you a 'pressing' sensation. When you can control your speed just by standing up a bit (I'm assuming a tuck). I've run super-G's where I've gotten going pretty good on flat sections, and skied faster than that freeskiing on groomed--still, probably never broken 70.
And even on 212s that feels too fast.
post #13 of 67
To me, "high-speed" is when I start saying to myself; "Oh $#!†!"
post #14 of 67
I probably don't go that fast (40) but my skiing partner has done 118 mph back when he was a speed skier.
post #15 of 67
In the mornings sometimes we take a few speed runs down the freshly groomed slopes when we are the first few chairs up we typically don't turn and make it down in under a min, the lift itself is around 5000+feet long so i am guessing we hit around 60, it's the speed where you hit the small rolls and just float over em, landing a fair way down the hill, sometimes too far, you know the feeling where you think your going to land and extend the legs a bit early....
post #16 of 67
Ott, you are quite right. Most advanced skiers rarely hit 30-35.
They (speed skiers) say that around 95 mph, depending on convex or concave track, that you hit major turbulence followed by calm as you ride onto a cushion of air. Chilling eh?
In the early nineties, I took a few laps with the canadians in Portillo DH/SG. The start is up on the speed course. Standing on the slope to get to the flat of the start ramp, your uphill leg would cramp, the hill was soooo steeeeep! I was real glad to turn...plenty fast enough!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited August 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 67
Now that I've measured my bike speed with one of those handle-bar mounted computers, and my ski speed with a GPS, I've been very surprised by how slow biking is and how fast skiing is. For example:

20 mph, mtn bike, fire road = feels extremely fast (i.e., would have guessed speed is much higher)

36 mph, mtn bike, city street (downhill) = feels like the end of the world (i.e., would have guessed almost highway speed)

45 mph, gs skis (but no speed suit, just bulky coaching outfit), lower intermediate pitch = feels like nothing is going on (i.e., would have guessed much lower speed)

I suppose the moral of the story is that while skiers almost always overstate the degree of the slope they're skiing, they probably underestimate their speed.
post #18 of 67
>>>45 mph, gs skis (but no speed suit, just bulky coaching outfit), lower intermediate pitch = feels like nothing is going on <<<

If your GPS registers 45 mph on lower intermediate pitch in bulky clothing you need yo send it back to Garmin to have it checked

And I'm sure all the racers you coach are winners as you must give them your secret.

Forgive my facetious tone but your statement just seems so incredulous.

post #19 of 67
I've compared the GPS's displayed speed to a car speedometer (with my *wife* driving, not me!), and it's accurate to within about +/- 4 mph.

I should have clarified that I was making standard race-type gs turns (i.e., definitely fast enough to get your ticket pulled by the patrol on a crowded weekend), but still rather ho-hum from a racer's viewpoint.

Now would a pitch of about 15 degrees throw off the GPS's speed reading? I have no idea. But I do know that I got the GPS to read 45mph while going speeds that are fairly standard in any GS training course. (And by contrast, 36mph on my mtn bike on a city street felt almost terrifying.)
post #20 of 67
I once did 44mph (had an odometer) on my mtn bike down a dirt road. It was one of the scariest things I've done, but thats not the point. The point is that it wasn't that steep and the gear ratio is such that I top out at about 38 pedaling, yet I got to 44 and had to brake to slow down. Now the areodynamics of me on my bike are no better than if skiing normally. I certainly beleive that if you went straight down a lower intermediate run (similar slope to the road)you could hit 45, if the snow was good and you had a decent tune.

What price freedom
dirt is my rug
well I sleep like a baby
with the snakes and the bugs
post #21 of 67
I will agree with Jonathan on this one. A few years ago, one of the local police was at our ski area showing off his department's new laser speed gun. We went out to the slopes to "zap" some skiers. I was pretty amazed to find most of the intermediate skiers were easly hitting 3O-35mph. In the NASTAR course, many of the good racers were hitting 40-45mph. The fastest was some guy carving down a black diamond groomer at 62mph. Most skiers are traveling faster than they think they are, but only the truely advanced skiers are traveling faster than 40mph.
post #22 of 67
...I was pretty amazed to find most of the intermediate skiers were easly hitting 3O-35mph.<<<

Has any intermediate skier here tried a pole plant at 35mph? Is your arm still attached?

post #23 of 67
So who's packing the radar gun to Fernie?
post #24 of 67
What about a downhill racer's true speed? I remember a Lake Louise Downhill two seasons ago where the announcers reported speeds around 140km/hour. That's over 80mph!!! Could this be true? I'm uncomfortable even driving a car at that speed.
post #25 of 67
according to the sports websites, World Class downhillers reach about 128 KPH or 80 MPH.
The current world record for speed skiing I think is 248.105km/h or 154mph by Harry Egger

I suspect the rest of us mortals rarely see anything close to 30

edit:consistancy and correction/now math.
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited August 28, 2001).]</FONT>
post #26 of 67

good link, if you really want to go fast.

First gondola & 207's down spar gulch I would have guessed 40+ for me & my friend on some longer dh skis waxed me.

tuck from the top of the dh course @ snowbasin scared me, even with the flat @ the bottom of the first pitch.
post #27 of 67

wide track? "wider is better"
post #28 of 67
You tell me how fast the lift moves, and I'll tell you my top speed for the day.
post #29 of 67
Pierre eh! Since you mentioned me do you think I am exaggerating? My friend's time is documented (he was a speed skier) and I was timed at just over 40. I do believe most people overestimate their speed.
post #30 of 67
If you are at Alta it's pretty slow.
They have lots of slow fixed grip chairs but I think it's worth the ride for the terrain!
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