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Powder Skiing - Page 2

post #31 of 40
Ric B and Kneale,

I sure am not trying to sound contrary here and I don't think we are so far apart.

Kneale, I definitely agree that working on the skills pays off both for fresh snow (light and heavy) and groomed skiing. I definitely agrre that those who have difficulty in fresh snow often lack skills (confidence and patience too). However, there is not a 1 to 1 correlation and my point was that even without great movement skills there are a few who learn to effectively (but definitely not efficiently) make it through all sorts of fresh and deep snow conditions.

Ric B, you said in regards to skiing ON the groomed (as opposed to THROUGH the powder): "which allows all sorts of skidding and sliding crutches." I think that's actually what I was thinking about when I wrote my post. Perhaps I'm off base here, but I think the reason people need these inefficient movements to ski on the groomed is because they work and fit in with natural reflexes (such as leaning up the hill away from a "fall"). This also works against discovering more effective movements that require a pretty dramatic change in perception as well as movement skills. The good and bad about softer, deeper snow is that these types of skills don't work, in fact you get punished for using them. On the other hand, if you can respond by doing less, you can discover that just a slight tipping of the skis will bring the skis around quite nicely.

Perhaps it was silly of me to imply that powder requires less skill than skiing on the groomed. Eliminating ineffective movements can require just as much skill as learning new ones.
post #32 of 40
I'll just throw in a comment here about definitions. I think the term "powder" means many different things, and my own experience is that a lot of developing skiers can handle *some* kinds of powder very easily.

A foot of untracked light snow over a groomed base can be heaven for just about any skier with reasonably developed skills. Make that three feet of thicker snow (still untracked) and things change quite a bit. Now put a bunch of skier tracks through that stuff and it really becomes a challenge for skiers who haven't built up the body of experience to handle those conditions.

Unfortunately, too few of us get very many in-resort runs in those "perfect" conditions (due to so much competition for tracks), so I believe that what many learners call "powder" is actually a mix of tracked and untracked.

As soon as you add tracks (and wind deposits and underlying bumps and old junk, etc etc) the game changes enormously. The fore-and-aft variability makes the whole thing much more difficult.

Si, that's why I agree with you that powder skiing can actually be very easy (especially with the new fat skis) if you're lucky enough to have good, untracked snow in front of you. But as soon as that snow starts to get tracked out, the balance and movements needed become a lot more critical. And I think that's where the comments about the importance of the skier's underlying skills become much more relevant.

post #33 of 40
This is the absolute BEST powder thread that has ever been on this forum! [img]smile.gif[/img] So much good stuff, I don't know where to start.

After last years experience at Fernie, seriously considered changing my handle to "Powder Flunkie". Reading this thread gives me some insight.

First, Miles' diagram is a big part of the answer! Line 1 is attainable, when I am feeling good, I can do that, although I do have this annoying habit of starting my turns on a traverse.

Now about line 2..... sitting here drinking mmy coffee, almost dropped the cup. I can probably count on one hand the # of times I have skied a GREEN run that way.

But it makes sense. Like the instructors at fernie said, "establish your speed first!". So trying to start with a traverse will get you nowhere. I think I will experiment with skiing line 2 in the few New England ski days I can get in before the ACADEMY

thanks, Miles! [img]smile.gif[/img]

a few of you have commented on people's tendency to "muscle" their moves in powder. GUILTY! Its almost counter intuitive. You see all this "stuff', and there's the feeling that you need to fight your way through it!

thanks, everyone!
post #34 of 40
For some hints on skiing powder, start with the PSIA Web site: www.psia.org. Then click on "Alpine" (at the top), then "TPS Archives" under Education, the "Guest Services and Teaching", then the article "Secrets of the Deep", by the Alta Ski School.
post #35 of 40
Great article! Thanks Scott, Alta SS, and Crudmeister.

Secrets of the Deep
post #36 of 40
Powder skiing requires moves applied dynamically in reply to feedback from the skis.

In powder the skier must set up ALL moves in response to this feedback.

Skiers that are not sufficiently advanced to recognize this feedback and automatically react to it will struggle in powder.

I draw some correlations from the "dancers & power skiers" thread. Powder is a dance with the elements. To be proficient with this dance on must be in "tune" with the elements. (feel\read the snow and terrain)

Skiers on piste use many "muscle" moves to both turn the skis and remain in balance. In powder and crud there are no "walls" to lean on (like ski poles and carving\sliding skis) or props to muscle off.

We see many proficient skiers with advanced technical knowledge and linear though processes who struggle in powder. They are not in tune with the elements. Watch a rally driver push his car through a slippery course or pro surfer carve up a wave. It is the “feel” + technique that makes the winners. The feel connects with the elements and allows one to use the elements to create an "effortless line".

Loose, relaxed and confident works in powder, likewise in the racecourse and looking effortless on the front side.

There are no real technical powder skiing differences EXCEPT those which are in the mind. Rhythm, timing and FEEL are the big differentiators when it comes to being proficient in powder. The funny thing is these are the differences that matter on the front side as well.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #37 of 40
DB...What a Guy...
You guys that get to the early pow reallllly know how to rub it
in.... [img]tongue.gif[/img] :
Ok....from one of your sentences early on in the thread..it
sounds like you can distribute pressure more evenly (between
left & right feet) when skiing...Even On Hardpack!
I think as we all learn this by forming a more single platform with your skis by tipping both feet/skis in powder...applying this *less_jamming* approach will improve one's skiing everywhere.
Staying centered for fluidity, with fore/aft awareness.... extension/retraction, tipping more evenly, allowing the skis to load and not to rush the turn's completion.... & remembering that your feet/skis are traveling IN & THROUGH a lighter environment(as said by all).
[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] $.02...

*How about sending some of that white stuff to NewEngland! :

[ October 27, 2002, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: HaveSkisWillClimb ]
post #38 of 40
Yeah, I would agree SI, not so far apart. That's why I describe powder as being more honest of my technique, generaly speaking, and is a case of less is more. But doing less to achieve more requires a refinemnet of my technique, not nessasarily less technique as you said.

BobP, your distinctions are right on. But I don't seeing skiing 10" over groom any easier than just skiing groom. Maybe even just a little harder.

Good conversation everyone. Thanks for keeping me thinking.
post #39 of 40
I'm no great powder skier but it seems to me you might want to just think about that "falling into the future" with your body. Then the skis will take care of themselves. (Since obviously you have the skills). From the link that nolo gave, check out the "ready pole" discussion. It will help move your body into the new turn (and helps unweight the skis-but probably best not to think technically). I believe this is what Pierre eh is talking about when in past threads he was talking about supressing the deliberate weight shift in powder.

In the video posted by altagirl I think you can really see this when he(?) goes really near the second tree and turns to the right.(about 3/4 into the video) You see him reaching with the right hand/pole and his body moves inside and downhill.(harder to see because of the snow spray) It would be tremendous to have a shot from above at the same time to see the body movement but alas...

This "ready pole" idea is similar to getting people to reach downhill with their pole plant on very steep terrain. This one concept/action seems to be the most productive for skiers with skills attempting very steep terrain for the first time. On steeps there's a high fear factor but falling in powder isn't so bad eh? (just keep your mouth closed or it'll fill with snow)

here's the links again:
powder video

powder article

[ October 28, 2002, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #40 of 40
DB- Maybe your powder adviced out, but I am a very late arrival! You asked a question "is there any exercises you can do to get ready for the 1 week trip out west?'(something like that).

Yes. Hone your skills. Sounds simplistic but if you tip your ski's first, balance against them from the whole foot. Keep your legs actively managing the pressure and add leg steering as needed. You will be successful in every kind of condition on every kind of terrain. The only change becomes the timing, duration, intensity, speed and line. So as you ski the groom be precise.

Practice comma shape turns, do leaper turns. (get so you leap but don't leave the snow, land softly). Follow other skiers so you learn different shapes, speeds, skill application. Make turns focusing on your ankle opening and closing.

Others have said it already. BE PATIENT the big difference is you are now IN the snow, not ON it. I loved Nolo's running in the water analogy. It has resistance you need to allow for it.

I disagree that powder is easier or harder it is just different. If you have strong skills you can ski any condition or terrain. Which leads me to disagree with TomB saying an eastern skier would be mediocur in powder. Just as much as I disagree that a western skier would be mediocur on ice. It is all about the skills. If they are lacking it will show up on ice, powder, bumps, crud etc.. If they are strong the conditions do not matter.

Tigger can win at Augusta or St Andrews, although he may have a preference. It's still about the skills.
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