EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › technical solutions to some odd skiing situations
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

technical solutions to some odd skiing situations

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A recent tread brought out an idea I would like to explore. It goes something like this...
For every skiing situation many technical options are available but the most effective, efficient, and appropriate solution is a the one that produces exactly the intended outcome. While that might seem like a very narrow interpretation, it is exactly this level of decision making and execution that seperates the winner from the rest of the field. A good example of that was the Olympic GS that saw a Frenchman smoke the field. (Sorry his name escapes me). A media type interviewed Bode Miller after the race and many, many people saw his response as flippant when in fact he was very accurate in saying that on that day the race was for second place.
I am not suggesting another tired discussion of global theories here, I am more interested in exploring some examples of how the best skiers approach and decide on a tactic, or a maneuver that will work best for specific situations. Hopefully this will include situations from a lot of disciplines, not just racing.

Here's one of my favorites...
The Scott Schmitt smudge turn.
Often a jump results in landing with too much speed for the terrain below the landing zone. Trying to get the skis sideways to scrub speed takes up a lot of room, and in this example, simply going straight isn't a realistic option either. So instead of trying to land on his skis, Scott would do a maneuver that resembled a hip check, followed by using the rebound from the snow to help him spring back onto the skis and continue skiing at a much slower speed.
What I find so great about this solution is that it is so far outside the normal thinking that all skiing maneuvers need to stay within the narrow constraints of not falling, or staying well balanced on the skis.
post #2 of 19
This move by Tyrone is not a typical turn yet is effective ,useful and can be a health saving technique
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
It goes something like this...
For every skiing situation many technical options are available but the most effective, efficient, and appropriate solution is a the one that produces exactly the intended outcome.
Here is one of my favorite moves:
location: never ending very steep black groomer in bad condition
intention: save muscle strength, ski down quickly, be safe
technical option: skidd sideways down insted of turning
outcome: 3rd place in val torans amateur chinese downhill 199? (started 5min later than everybody else)
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
A recent tread brought out an idea I would like to explore. It goes something like this...
For every skiing situation many technical options are available but the most effective, efficient, and appropriate solution is a the one that produces exactly the intended outcome. While that might seem like a very narrow interpretation, it is exactly this level of decision making and execution that seperates the winner from the rest of the field. A good example of that was the Olympic GS that saw a Frenchman smoke the field. (Sorry his name escapes me). A media type interviewed Bode Miller after the race and many, many people saw his response as flippant when in fact he was very accurate in saying that on that day the race was for second place.
I am not suggesting another tired discussion of global theories here, I am more interested in exploring some examples of how the best skiers approach and decide on a tactic, or a maneuver that will work best for specific situations. Hopefully this will include situations from a lot of disciplines, not just racing.

Here's one of my favorites...
The Scott Schmitt smudge turn.
Often a jump results in landing with too much speed for the terrain below the landing zone. Trying to get the skis sideways to scrub speed takes up a lot of room, and in this example, simply going straight isn't a realistic option either. So instead of trying to land on his skis, Scott would do a maneuver that resembled a hip check, followed by using the rebound from the snow to help him spring back onto the skis and continue skiing at a much slower speed.
What I find so great about this solution is that it is so far outside the normal thinking that all skiing maneuvers need to stay within the narrow constraints of not falling, or staying well balanced on the skis.
The wonderful things about new technologies is the techniques they open up and the techniques the render obsolete. I think most people have been in a situation using that "schmidt technique" where landing would result in uncomfortable speed below. I know i have, and I usually do some sort of hip check. That is until i found myself on rockered skis, now I just stomp it with the confidence that I can get my skis across the fall line in aprox .1 seconds
post #5 of 19
For a little history about the smear turn. Scott Schmidt started skiing at Bridger Bowl, and even though he did climb the ridge before he moved to squaw, he only did so a few times. Here is one paragraph from the forward Scott wrote for The Ridge guide book called "Stepping Up". Here he details how he got started with the famous "smear turn" you're speaking of.

Quote:
"It wasn't until returning a few years later with some experience from Squaw Valley that I found myself exploring the The Ridge more thoroughly. Bridger Bowl had remained relatively unchanged but it was quite a contrast from the high speed open run-outs at squaw. A major adjustment in my overall approach was needed in a hurry. Many of the lines seemed unreasonably tight and scrappy with little or no run-out. It was then that a friend of mine shared the concept and technique of the smear turn. It was a move that would shape my style forever. The idea was to straightline the narrow sections, dump all your speed with a powerfull and precise smear turn at the first pad of snow that you can find, then shoot into the next section, and so on. It was very effective and I was able to control my speed and ski things that didn't seem possible before. A lot has change since then and I'm sure The Ridge at Bridger will continue to test styles and techniques for generations to come."
Now he isn't speaking about jumping here, but it could very well have been an evolution of the original smear concept turn that created the hip check. Scott sure did make the smear turn famous, but few really know where it came from.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Another odd but effective maneuver is the bicylce turn made famous in Chamonix. The interesting thing is that on the very steepest terrain there they developed a technique that most would say is completely old school and not very efficient. Bottom line was not much else worked on those slopes.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phil we're talking about going from 70+ to almost stopped in less than a ski length. I wanna see you do that by turning your skis sideways. The snow would shear away, or the binding screws would tear out of the skis. Done both repeatedly, BTW the competetive freeriders all use a variation of Scott's hip check when landing big jumps.
post #8 of 19
Another good one JASP. I've been known to use both the pedal turn and the smear turn in tight and steep situations. As well as teach both when appropriate. I don't get big air, so the flying hip check you won't see me doing.

Year before last one of our instructors was up skiing the ridge, straighlined a tight section, and needing to scrub speed, dropped a hip check and hit a hidden rock. Broke his femur in several places. Several surgeries later he's yet to get back on skis, though I hear he hopes to be soon. So be carefull out there when you lay your hip down to control speed.
post #9 of 19
There is a good technical/strategic solution for advanced skiers who'd like to enter steep chutes from the side and wish to avoid the over-skied, deeply rutted traverse trails that normally exist.

You've all seen them - a sudden steep drop-off into the beginning of a steep gully or chute with a single narrow rut that comes in from the side and traverses briefly at the top of the chute. This "trail" lures everyone into skiing the same exact path into the chute which leaves us with a steep bobsled run down into the rock hard bumps and many protruding rocks left exposed by overuse.

A better solution than taking that rut is to ski the icy, almost vertical wall above the trail. This might not seem easy, but it really is with the right technique.


Just aim high - right at that 75-degree wall above the trail and lift your uphill ski well up and out of the way so you end up skiing primarily on the Inside-Edge of the downhill ski set firmly against the wall (it's almost One-Ski skiing, but not quite). Your uphill hip will be almost against that nearly vertical wall while your upper body will hover over that downhill ski.

If you continue to balance over the Inside-Edge of the outside ski (and it's reasonably sharp) it will hold nicely. It will slice deeply into the ice of the wall and support your traverse well above the bumps and rocks down in the rut. Once past the gnarly section you can simply release the edge-angle a bit and sideslip down the wall onto the top section of the chute. If you choose you can also permit a gradual sideslip staying a few feet above the rut of a trail the whole way.

This also works well for me any time I need to get somewhere past an icy "wall" - which usually isn't vertical so much as just very steep. It's amazing just how well a ski will hold even on steep ice if you don't make large or rapid movements and keep it angled into the wall. Just let it slice forward until past the obstruction and release it gradually to sideslip down as needed.

Ironically, stiff skis with a lot of sidecut aren't as effective at this since the stiff tip & tail tend to push the midsection away from the wall at that angle - and I'm primarily standing on the metal edge of that midsection rather than the entire length of the edge.

.ma
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry to hear you lost a coach to a stealth rock.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
There is a good technical/strategic solution for advanced skiers who'd like to enter steep chutes from the side and wish to avoid the over-skied, deeply rutted traverse trails that normally exist.

You've all seen them - a sudden steep drop-off into the beginning of a steep gully or chute with a single narrow rut that comes in from the side and traverses briefly at the top of the chute. This "trail" lures everyone into skiing the same exact path into the chute which leaves us with a steep bobsled run down into the rock hard bumps and many protruding rocks left exposed by overuse.

A better solution than taking that rut is to ski the icy, almost vertical wall above the trail. This might not seem easy, but it really is with the right technique.
When I was reading your post I couldn't help but picture the main entrance to international.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
When I was reading your post I couldn't help but picture the main entrance to international.
That's funny So was I . People stall at the entrance and you have to go around them by clinging to the steep side of a scraped off bump .
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

Just aim high - right at that 75-degree wall above the trail and lift your uphill ski well up and out of the way so you end up skiing primarily on the Inside-Edge of the downhill ski set firmly against the wall (it's almost One-Ski skiing, but not quite). Your uphill hip will be almost against that nearly vertical wall while your upper body will hover over that downhill ski.

If you continue to balance over the Inside-Edge of the outside ski (and it's reasonably sharp) it will hold nicely. It will slice deeply into the ice of the wall and support your traverse well above the bumps and rocks down in the rut. Once past the gnarly section you can simply release the edge-angle a bit and sideslip down the wall onto the top section of the chute. If you choose you can also permit a gradual sideslip staying a few feet above the rut of a trail the whole way.

This also works well for me any time I need to get somewhere past an icy "wall" - which usually isn't vertical so much as just very steep. It's amazing just how well a ski will hold even on steep ice if you don't make large or rapid movements and keep it angled into the wall. Just let it slice forward until past the obstruction and release it gradually to sideslip down as needed.

.ma
Kind of like snowboarders.
post #14 of 19

Technical Options

I carefully and humbly enter here. I don't ski 75 degree anything.

Anyway, here in No. Idaho, Lookout Mt. is closed Tue and Wed so Thursday is powder day. To access a particular slope of good powder we have to diagonally/traverse/turn down the hill through Lodgeple Pine forest (they are skinny and very close together) we have developed the "Swerve Turn). You ski diagonally traversiing through the trees while swerving your body sideways so as to not hit the trees. All the while looking for a little opening so you can turn and Swerve the other way.

Sound sort of silly, but is ok here and the powder is really good below this little forest of Lodgepoles.

The Swerve Turn - survival in the Lodgepoles
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
I carefully and humbly enter here. I don't ski 75 degree anything.

Anyway, here in No. Idaho, Lookout Mt. is closed Tue and Wed so Thursday is powder day. To access a particular slope of good powder we have to diagonally/traverse/turn down the hill through Lodgeple Pine forest (they are skinny and very close together) we have developed the "Swerve Turn). You ski diagonally traversiing through the trees while swerving your body sideways so as to not hit the trees. All the while looking for a little opening so you can turn and Swerve the other way.

Sound sort of silly, but is ok here and the powder is really good below this little forest of Lodgepoles.

The Swerve Turn - survival in the Lodgepoles
I'll be counting on you to share this with me . Hopefully. I'll buy you a for the trouble.
post #16 of 19

Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post
I'll be counting on you to share this with me . Hopefully. I'll buy you a for the trouble.
Thursdays after a dump are awesome, no I am sorry Epic!!
Come and join us Garry sometimes we have 3 or 4 aand sometimes 8-10 of us. Lots of fun.
post #17 of 19
GarryZ and PhilT - that's exactly the location I had in mind when describing the technique! (Must have captured the essence of that particular entry rut, eh? )

I looked through a lot of my own photos and around the 'Net trying to find a good picture of that spot for my post but didn't find anything that does it justice. The abundant snow this last season made it much less intimidating than usual.

.ma
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

Ironically, stiff skis with a lot of sidecut aren't as effective at this since the stiff tip & tail tend to push the midsection away from the wall at that angle - and I'm primarily standing on the metal edge of that midsection rather than the entire length of the edge.
Totally agree with your comment above regarding stiff skis with lots of sidecut when clinging to steep walls or pitches. Prior to helping PMGear develop the Bro Model ski, I spent the majority of a season on 192 AK NoKaOi skis....these are pretty stiff skis with dimensions of 120-84-110. I love to billygoat and get myself into (and out of hopefully) technical skiing situations and when I was on the NoKaOi, I'd often find myself in the situation that you describe above. i.e. Clinging to a steep pitch and having the tips and tails in contact with the snow....but the midsection of the ski, due to the excessive sidecut, would bow and lose contact with the pitch unless it was super flexed. Not a very good ski for those types of situations.

So when asked my input on the Bro Model....I wanted it straight. Not only for stability in pow at speed, but also for these tight steep skiing situations where a straighter ski is more maneuverable and confidence inspiring and you get the entire edge of the ski on the slope without the tip and tail 'hanging up'.


Oh and to the OP....the smear turn...I use that or some variation of it all the time. Especially on airs with technical runouts. Sometimes an air just isn't worth trying to 'stomp' it.
post #19 of 19
common skiing situation maybe considered odd by some of our readership: Navigating a traverse. Add difficulty points for exposed rock, exposure below the traverse, angry Alta types behind you, trees, steep sections, woodland creatures, refreeze.

technical solutions: Tactics are probably more important in these situations. Don't end up below the traverse on a deep morning at Alta like I did last year...total JONG move, I was tired and out of it. That said, this is mostly tactics with a wee bit of technique:
-whatever you do, do not be stiff and upright.
-you can either absorb or jump. doubling jumps is good if you need to keep your speed up.
-don't try to absorb rollers and brake at the same time.
-brake on the downhill side of stuff, watch out for exposed rocks and roots.
-if you are carrying speed on a traverse and need to stop quickly, turn downhill if exposure allows for it. Traverses are usually set as high as practical and trying to stuff off a lot of speed by turning uphill usually won't work. Turning downhill might make a bit more work for you, but it looks less dumb than bashing your hip on a rock and rolling downhill anyways.
-ski technique geeks be damned, you should be mostly square to your skis for this work. Dirt bike riders don't take jumps with their shoulders facing the crowd...neither should you.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › technical solutions to some odd skiing situations