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Clumps of snow push my skis around

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm a beginning XC skiier working on getting to intermediate (I've gone out 8 times so far).

 

Yesterday I went to Cabin Creek (a sno-park in Washington) to try night-skiing for the first time. We had just gotten a good amount of fresh snow, so we were looking forward to the skiing. Cabin Creek is normally groomed, but it had only been groomed on Wednesday, before the new snowfall.

 

I found the semi-groomed trail to be really difficult on my skinny skis. I followed in my friends' tracks through the new snow, which created ruts that I couldn't easily push my skis out of to snowplow to slow myself on hills. Worse, there were previous people's ruts that had gotten hard and icy, which my skis wanted to jump into and trip me up. Finally, there were clumps and islands of snow (a few inches higher than the ground-level snow) scattered throughout the trail, which would push me around when my skis bumped into them -- I was unable to just "slice through" them like I had thought I would be able to.

 

I ended up having to start the hills already in snowplow position, even though that was excessively slow in the powder (which seems significantly slower than on hard groomed snow). I was afraid that if I let my skis go straight for a while to build up the speed I wanted, I wouldn't be able to push my skis back out into snowplow again to slow down.

 

Is this just a lack of strength in my legs, or lack of force, and I really just need to power through those chunks and ruts? Or is there a limitation on what skinny skis can do outside of nicely groomed trails? How do I avoid the old ruts "derailing" me?

 

 

Thanks in advanced for any tips!

post #2 of 10

Snow plowing is good sometimes to keep a speed or just kinda scoot around and check things out.

Perhaps its time to learn to control your speed by turning, instead of relying on snow plowing.  It's hard for me to relate, I cannot snow plow very well.

Telling others what Kind of skis' you have might help them out a bit as well.

post #3 of 10

Skiing icy hills is really tricky on thos skinny X-country skis, not so much because they are skinny, but more because they have no metal edges.  Not much to say there, just get used to skidding.

 

The last time I was on x-country skis, I pretty much skied them in what I guess would be a cross between regular alpine skiing and telemark skiing.  Tip 'em, bend 'em ride 'em.  Let the outside ski get ahead and the inside ski drop back a bit.  You have to be forceful and tip them into position with enough speed and momentum to keep your feet pushing into the ski and not falling off (or the heel slips down) and then just keep insisting that they do what you want them to (keep a steady hand on the tiller and be patient), while allowing for a little slippage (actually it was a lot as I recall, but it was really icy - so icy the x-country-type skier person who talked me into going x-country skiing with them with left in disgust). 

 

Probably all wrong, I'm not really a x-country skier, but it worked for me.

post #4 of 10

You could always consider touring skis with metal edges, or telemark skis...No. Get an AT setup.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talyn View Post

 

Perhaps its time to learn to control your speed by turning, instead of relying on snow plowing.  It's hard for me to relate, I cannot snow plow very well.

Telling others what Kind of skis' you have might help them out a bit as well.

 

I've learned how to do linked wedge turns and christies (I think), but in those lumpy, rutty conditions I couldn't managed them.

 

I linked to a photo of my skis in the original post. I picked them up at a thrift store, so all I know about them is what's written on the skis themselves: "Trak grenoble-st", waxless, 180cm, no metal edge. A quick Google says that the Trak company got bought by Karhu in the '90s, but I can't find any info on the "grenoble-st" ski.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

The last time I was on x-country skis, I pretty much skied them in what I guess would be a cross between regular alpine skiing and telemark skiing.  Tip 'em, bend 'em ride 'em.  Let the outside ski get ahead and the inside ski drop back a bit.

 

How does letting one ski get ahead of the other help? Seems like a recipe in falling over. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

You have to be forceful and tip them into position with enough speed and momentum to keep your feet pushing into the ski and not falling off (or the heel slips down) and then just keep insisting that they do what you want them to (keep a steady hand on the tiller and be patient), while allowing for a little slippage (actually it was a lot as I recall, but it was really icy - so icy the x-country-type skier person who talked me into going x-country skiing with them with left in disgust). 

 

"Speed and momentum" is definitely something I was missing that night! I was going very slowly, worried about falling. I can see how if I were going faster, I would have been able to slice through the clumps I had trouble with. Although that wouldn't have helped the rut problem.

 

Maybe it's time to get some metal edge skis... Thanks for your advice!

post #6 of 10

Looks like your skis are a bit skinny for snopark conditions, but the conditions you were dealing with are just plain tough.

 

On ungroomed tracks it can be really hard to push the heels out into a snowplow.  I turn by making a series of steps and skiing out of the tracks and off to the side before there is too much speed.  On a long steep hill with crusted snow I'll go down it like I'm pulling into a series of runaway truck ramps.

 

Last count I had about 15 different pairs of XC skis, several with metal edges, many without.  I find the metal edges to be irrelevant.  People often get the impression that metal edges are better but actually it is the fact that the metal edged skis tend to be wider, have some sidecut, and are often used with stiffer boots.  You might want to look at some of the skis currently out which are 55-60 mm wide, but still light and some of the light boots which pair with the NNN-BC binding for snopark bashing and keep your other setup for groomed areas.

post #7 of 10

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

  

On ungroomed tracks it can be really hard to push the heels out into a snowplow.  I turn by making a series of steps and skiing out of the tracks and off to the side before there is too much speed.  On a long steep hill with crusted snow I'll go down it like I'm pulling into a series of runaway truck ramps.

 

 

This is a very good thing to practice.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthaey View Post

 

How does letting one ski get ahead of the other help? Seems like a recipe in falling over. :)

 

 

I call it 'scissoring' and what it does is create a longer balance sweet spot front-to-back.  

 

Think about it this way:  you can balance sideways at any point between your two feet.    Feet wide apart mean it's very hard for you to fall over sideways.     Yet it's very easy for you to lose balance forwards or backwards because the support in that direction is only as wide as your foot is long.

post #8 of 10

Remember:

Speed is your friend. Let it rip and blast through everything.

.....and maybe end up in a heap.

 

"Scissoring", aka lead changes. Baby steps to turn as Newf suggests helps to turn. Getting into deeper snow, if available can help slow you down. A wider BC ski offers a little bit more lateral stability, but getting used to dealing with variable conditions on skinny skis is half the fun and challenge.

 

 


Edited by Alpinord - 3/5/2009 at 08:41 pm
post #9 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthaey View Post

 

 

How does letting one ski get ahead of the other help? Seems like a recipe in falling over. :)

 

 


 

Would you rather fall over sideways or do a faceplant?  Without that move my nose would be crooked.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

 

Looks like your skis are a bit skinny for snopark conditions, but the conditions you were dealing with are just plain tough. On ungroomed tracks it can be really hard to push the heels out into a snowplow.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

 

"Scissoring", aka lead changes. Baby steps to turn as Newf suggests helps to turn. Getting into deeper snow, if available can help slow you down. A wider BC ski offers a little bit more lateral stability, but getting used to dealing with variable conditions on skinny skis is half the fun and challenge.

 

Calling it "lead changes" made it suddenly make sense in my mind's eye. Thanks!

 

Both of you acknowledge that my skis are going to be more difficult than with other gear; thanks for telling it like it is. (It also makes me feel better knowing it wasn't difficult soley because I suck. ;) ) So long as I know that it's an extra challenge, I'm willing to persevere and work at it harder. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

 

I find the metal edges to be irrelevant.  People often get the impression that metal edges are better but actually it is the fact that the metal edged skis tend to be wider, have some sidecut, and are often used with stiffer boots.  You might want to look at some of the skis currently out which are 55-60 mm wide, but still light and some of the light boots which pair with the NNN-BC binding for snopark bashing and keep your other setup for groomed areas.

 

Interesting point about metal edges: they're not the only variable when people recommend them over skinny skis. I'll keep that in mind.

 

My bindings are currently NNN-BC, and I just bought some new boots that should be better than the floppy rental boots I'd had up until now. So maybe I'll see some improvement just in having better boots.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

 

Remember: Speed is your friend. Let it rip and blast through everything. .....and maybe end up in a heap.

 

Ugh, speed may make this maneuver easier, but I hate how the adrenaline of it feels. I'll keep trying to push my comfort level with speed...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

 

Would you rather fall over sideways or do a faceplant?  Without that move my nose would be crooked.

 

Hehe, good point. Good point indeed. :)

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