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Slow/Fast, Mashed Potatoes CR*P!!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Need a little help here. Just got back from four fabulous days at Jackson Hole! There was alot of powder, but mostly tracked. Skiing in that stuff (or TRYING to ski) I found that if one ski was on tracked snow, it was going fast while the other ski would hit a mound of powder and the weight of it would almost twist that ski around. I tried to make sure both skis were in the tracked stuff and hit the powder heaps together, but that made for a "Start/Stop" effect that nearly sent me over the tips of my skis! I felt like a complete beginner and my legs were killing me. We got 8 inches of new snow one night, and the next day I managed to find some areas that were "untracked." I didn't have any problem with the untracked powder - I tried to keep equal weight on both skis and used slow motions in the snow - I almost felt like I was floating. After two or three runs, that powder was also tracked and I was back to the same "Start-Stop" frustration. Is there a technique for that mashed-potatoes crap, or do the rest of you just go in search of more untracked powder, i.e., in the trees, sides of the trails, etc? It seemed like I saw some people going through that stuff like it wasn't even there? What gives?
post #2 of 21
I like to keep my feet fairly close together in these conditions, skis at the same edge angles, and both feet held firmly under my hips. In addition I have my legs flexed just a bit so they are ready to shock absorb when the snow grabs me and slows me down. If I see a mound coming at me I might push my feet towards the mound (purposely getting in the backseat) so that when the mound of snow grabs my skis I'm pulled back into a nice fore/aft position. There is a definite absorption/extension movement I use, like in bumps, when I ski these conditions and getting that timing right helps a bunch in smoothing out the ride. Also, speed helps here. It may seem counter intuitive at first, but increased speed yields increased momentum which is the secret ingredient experts use when blasting through heavy grabby snow. Basically an expert is using speed/momentum and the ski as tool to mold the snow into a something much smoother than it looks.
post #3 of 21

Fox,

AYUP, that crud can sure get nasty.

The right ski can sometimes turn "unskiable" crud into smooth butter. The right technique can sometimes turn "unskiable" crud into smooth butter. But some snow is just going to be "stop/start" no matter what gear you've got and what technique you're using.

With that out of the way, you are on the right track with powder skiing adjustments like more equal weighting of the feet and slow motion movements. When I'm in stop/start crud I think of 3 more adjustments:
1) getting the skis more on edge (especially hitting piles on edge vs flat)
2) going faster using narrower turns (go more down the hill than across the hill)
3) staying centered and using functional tension to resist unwanted fore/aft or lateral ski movement (don't "let" the snow move your skis or your upper body)

Having the right wax can sometimes also make a big difference. This is most noticeable in the spring when wet slush can almost bring you to a dead stop. At this time of year people will bring warm skis directly to the slopes and they will get snow sticking to the base that causes "grippy" skis. Those are extreme examples. Having cold wax on a warm day or vice versa can make crud problems worse.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

Thanks, Max 501 and The Rusty! I will certainly keep those pointers in mind when I'm in Salt Lake in about 3 weeks. I'm sure to run into some of those same conditions.
post #5 of 21
The skis make a difference. 190 cm Volant Machet Gs don't really care what you ski over and neither do 208 Super gs. Slalom skis are a little more sensitive.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Think I'll rent some powder skis!

Thanks, Ghost! I think I'll rent some powder skis if the conditions are right. No sense making it harder than it is!
post #7 of 21
hmm, i posted a thread about 'taters awhile back.

but i'm a bit confused by your terminology.

i don't normally associate 'taters with powder. 'taters, as far as i know, tend to be more of a warm, spring time affair, though i could be wrong.

of course that would all depend on the thickness of the snow.

now i've only been to JH in April when the 'taters were in thick abundance.

i would think it's cold enough (it's been pretty wicked cold here in Colo and in Utah the past week) in JH this time of year as to not have true 'taters.

that said, check out this thread for some extra tips on wading through the mank (though again i'm not sure if we're on the same page linguistically in terms of our definitions of 'taters...sounds more like you were just getting tossed around in leftover pow)

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=780210

post #8 of 21
skifox,

As stated above, skis that are on edge and turning will cut through and follow the terrain. It is when you stop skiing (turning) that the chop will kill you.

RW
post #9 of 21
In addition to the ideas already mentioned, a tactic I try to use is to transition (flat ski) in tracked spots and turn (tipped ski) in the crud.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody! As dookey67 stated, I may be using the wrong terminology for the conditions. It looked like mashed potatoes to me, but it WAS actually tracked powder. It wasn't really light and dry, though. If I tried to stop and one ski was on the tracked stuff and the other ski just happened to catch some of the piled up stuff, it just about took that ski and twisted it back. I could see how someone could suffer a knee injury in those conditions. Good thing I went to the gym as much as I did! I have some good ideas from all of you and I will certainly check some of the other threads on the same subject.
post #11 of 21
I think you are referring to chowder (chopped powder).
post #12 of 21
What may be messing you up in tracked powder is a bit of bending at the waist and squatting in reponse to the varying pull of the snow on your feet. Bending at the waist or squatting will move the shins off the boot tongues and make it almost impossible to ski without jerky movements.

If this is the problem, stand tall and get the hips up over the feet. Others have mentioned having the skis on edge at all times instead of pivot movements on a flat ski.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Chowder huh? That sounds like it fits - it's definitely chopped up powder. And, I'm sure that once I hit that stop and go stuff I'm probably bending at the waist - just like you said, Pierre. My confidence just goes out the window and I feel like it's my first time on skis! I will definitely try to stay on my edges rather than the bottoms of the skis. Now I can't wait to try skiing in that stuff again!
post #14 of 21
FWIW,

You seem to have some answers already that you like...only problem is they wont work. Sorry guys.

Crud or Chowder (Good one!) is one of the most challenging conditions to ski. As for why...you pretty much nailed it...it is due to the constant changes in the fore/aft resistance on your skis.

Hit a clump, the skis slow down.....leave the clump into a scrapped off bit, the skis acclerate.

Fact: The skiers that look the smoothest in these conditions are the ones who are actually DOING THE MOST to maintain fore aft balance - hence this idea of just get on edge and lock up is actually the opposite of what you need to do...although to the untrained eye, it may appear that that is what the experts are doing....it isn't.

Here is what you need to do:

The goal is to improve your fore/aft balance.

Start by lowering your stance. Have more ankle, knee and hip flex...in your "neutral" position then you normally would. Depending on your boots, you may feel like you are in back seat a bit, as your ankles may not be able to flex forward enough, but that is ok.

Now as Max pointed out, as you approach clumps, allow your feet to move forward by straightening your ankles to antcipate them slowing as they hit the clump...then as you hit, your feet slow, and your mass moves back over your feet brining you back to NEUTRAL...not over the handle bars!

The other key point...also as pointed out by Max...is to really flex and extend....however as pointed out before, your range is lower, hence get tall, but also really low.....constantly moving from one to the other. It will feel perhaps like you are skiing agressivley...but think of it as skiing DELIBRATLEY. Active flexion and extension aids greatley in maintaining good fore/aft balance.

Recap:

1: Get low
2: Antcipate
3: Activley flex/extend

Remeber in "Chowder" it is all about ACTIVELY working to maintain good fore/aft balance...somtimes abit forward, somtimes abit back, and somtimes neutral...dont be afraid to get a little bit back, to avoid getting WAY forward.

Good luck.

PS: If you find yourself getting WAY back, just tighten you core muscles (ie your abs)...but keep the above ideas going, those are the keys.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
FWIW,

You seem to have some answers already that you like...only problem is they wont work. Sorry guys.
Sorry back at you. The 190 Volant McGs do work, a lot better than 165 Fischer WC SCs; I've tried them. Skiing is believing.

Of course you do have to know how to ski just a little bit.
post #16 of 21
Well ok....I wasnt really referring to your post.....but to take a point from VSP's recent thread....gear is not a substitute for good technique....but having said that the right skis for the job help.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Fox,


2) going faster using narrower turns (go more down the hill than across the hill)
As in powder with the new skis this approach really isn't necessary anymore.
post #18 of 21
Concentrate on keeping your feet under you and do not let your hands drop back. As soon as you drop your hands you are no longer balanced.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
As in powder with the new skis this approach really isn't necessary anymore.
VS,

When you say "new skis" are you talking about shaped skis, powder skis, mid fats or what?

No matter what skis you are talking about are you saying that when the skis are performing well in powder, that changing turn shape will not help improve performance when having trouble with the same skis in crud?

I'll certainly agree that the degree to which narrowing the turns improves performance has been reduced with skis that float better, but I believe the tactic of narrowing turn shape is still a valid tactic for dealing with lateral control issues. At least it worked for me in my sig pic.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who suggested that my problem might be the skis! Boy, were you right! I decided to demo some powder skis at Snowbird in SLC last Thursday since they just got some new snow the night before and I would be skiing on "Chowder" again. I can't tell you what a difference the skis made! In fact, my boyfriend saw how much fun I was having in the chopped up powder and he decided to demo some powder skis the next day at Alta. We both progressed so much in the last 4 days, I can't TELL you! We were LOOKING for powder and skiing bump runs from top to bottom! Having the right skis keeps you from fighting the conditions all the way down the hill and it actually makes it FUN! I don't hate powder anymore! In fact, we even skied Alf's High Rustler on Saturday! The best skis out of the ones I demoed were the Dynastar Legend Exclusive Powder (Woman's Ski). I'm going to buy some the first chance I get! In fact, I'm going to demo more powder skis at Durango this Thursday through Sunday since I won't be able to buy them before we leave.
post #21 of 21

Chowder

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiFox View Post
Thanks to everyone who suggested that my problem might be the skis! Boy, were you right! I decided to demo some powder skis at Snowbird in SLC last Thursday since they just got some new snow the night before and I would be skiing on "Chowder" again. I can't tell you what a difference the skis made! In fact, my boyfriend saw how much fun I was having in the chopped up powder and he decided to demo some powder skis the next day at Alta. We both progressed so much in the last 4 days, I can't TELL you! We were LOOKING for powder and skiing bump runs from top to bottom! Having the right skis keeps you from fighting the conditions all the way down the hill and it actually makes it FUN! I don't hate powder anymore! In fact, we even skied Alf's High Rustler on Saturday! The best skis out of the ones I demoed were the Dynastar Legend Exclusive Powder (Woman's Ski). I'm going to buy some the first chance I get! In fact, I'm going to demo more powder skis at Durango this Thursday through Sunday since I won't be able to buy them before we leave.

Glad to hear you are doing well. Agree on the ski part. I have always had a lot of trouble in off pister chowder and sort of decided my K2 Outlaws were great for skiing the stuff but not good for initiating the turn in hammered powder. Posted the ski question here on Epic and got about 15 replies and 12 were try the Nordica Hot Rod Afterburner. I did and love this ski off piste. Like you they did wonders for my confidence, initiation in all typpes of snow. Glad to hear you're having fun. Epic is cool.
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