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How to ski trees in crusty and icy conditions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I seem to be running into trouble when skiing trees in less than ideal conditions. I can ski steep icy terrain, or trees in the powder but when condions get less perfect I find I get rocked around a lot. I think I am losing confidence the more I do this and each time am actually getting worse instead of better. Problems that i think I have narrowed it down to are not being able to maintain good fore aft positioning. Not absorbing bumps like normally would when powder. Running too fast. porr speed control and so I am stopping all the time rather than doing a continuous run. Are there drills I should be working on? I am guessing that doing mogul runs in the same conditions would be good for practicing and probably safer but I have same problem to lesser degree on moguls when icy or crusty. Why am I freezing up in these conditions? I am skiing with Rossignol Phantom 80 skis 185 length and I am 6 foot.

 

I am 44 and ski 60 plus days per year and have skied for just 5 years at Jay Peak. I want to take lessons but am unclear on what Jay offers vs other resorts. Are all instructors and lessons available about the same?

post #2 of 9


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcosmo65 View Post

 

I want to take lessons but am unclear on what Jay offers vs other resorts. Are all instructors and lessons available about the same?


 

I have had only one lesson at Jay but have had a few at Smuggs. The one at Jay (a semi private) was pretty disappointing while all of the ones at Smuggs were good experiences. Granted that's not a good (or fair) comparison but nonetheless it's a reference point.

 

BTW, I have similar issues in the trees as well.

post #3 of 9

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcosmo65 View Post

 

I seem to be running into trouble when skiing trees in less than ideal conditions. I can ski steep icy terrain, or trees in the powder but when condions get less perfect I find I get rocked around a lot. I think I am losing confidence the more I do this and each time am actually getting worse instead of better. Problems that i think I have narrowed it down to are not being able to maintain good fore aft positioning. Not absorbing bumps like normally would when powder. Running too fast. porr speed control and so I am stopping all the time rather than doing a continuous run. Are there drills I should be working on? I am guessing that doing mogul runs in the same conditions would be good for practicing and probably safer but I have same problem to lesser degree on moguls when icy or crusty. Why am I freezing up in these conditions? I am skiing with Rossignol Phantom 80 skis 185 length and I am 6 foot.

 

I am 44 and ski 60 plus days per year and have skied for just 5 years at Jay Peak. I want to take lessons but am unclear on what Jay offers vs other resorts. Are all instructors and lessons available about the same?

 

tree skiing is tough its even tougher in what you consider less than ideal conditions.

 

without seeing a video of you skiing its really hard to say what excactly it is.

 

all I am going to say is that to ski trees easily you need to be able to do short raduis with various shapes and various edge angles, especially soft edge angles.

 

also skiing with a a strong funcitionally tight core and narrow strong stance go along way as well.

 

lastly aggressively moving your COM down hill, will cause you to go slower. Its really a psychilogical thing that being more aggressive will actually make you go slower. sitting back into the hill, will cause you to go faster and work harder.

 

 

lastly equipment matters alot, boots that are to stiff will tend to be a pain in bumps and trees, boots that are to soft wont transmitt enough to the snow. Heel lifts should be avoided at all cost. They tend to put people further back seat contrary to what boot fitter and the people paying for heel lifts think. your skis seems on the long side as well maybe demo some short twins and try those out.

 

I know this is very general advice but with out seeing video that all anybody can really give.

post #4 of 9

In order to maintain the best possible control in funky conditions you need to stay forward, unfortunately the natural inclination is to move back to put as much space as possilbe between your head and the trees, which is counter productive for good turns.  I don't think there is an easy solution other than the old "focus on the spaces and not the trees."  It sounds like you have good technique, but just cannot transfer it to a particular situation, which means the issue is psychological.

 

Back in the ancient era when skis were long and I was doing trees on 210s everyone had an emergency bailout technique of thowing yourself backwards and getting your skis beween you and the tree.  Being able to pull that move on short notice (or a stunted version resutling in a tail stop) gives me a little more confidence when the going gets rough in tight spaces, which allows a slightly more agressive forward position.

 

Confidence is really what you seem to be looking for, and that will probaly have to be earned by time in the trees rather than some new technique.  Hope this helps a little.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys all information so far will be very helpful and used the next time I am out on the hill. I would like to know more about the theory on heel lifts being bad as I am struggling with getting my boots dialed in just right and have a lot of heel lift right now. My boots were stiff but I have since had them softened, possibly even too much. Not sure how to determine if they are too soft but that could be a possibility now. Again thanks, some general advice maybe but all stuff I can try and use. Maybe I will get a video to put up so I can get more specific help. Certainly having an instuctor for a day would be another good idea.

post #6 of 9

Heel lifts shift your balance point back, which is not good for skiing. Conversly, if you put something under your toes it will make you lean forward.  Some racers shave the heel of their boot shells to get negative ramp angle, thus making them stay farther forward as a neutral postion, which is good for carving turns.  Many women specific skis and boots do the same thing to compensate for their lower (farther back) center of gravity.

 

Bottom line: Heel lifts may improve your fit, but they will put you farther in the back seat. I am no boot fitter, but I would recommend getting rid of the lifts and getting your boots properly fitted.  Skiing is hard enough without your equipment working against you.  You need to be properly balance for your boots and skis to work properly, and by putting in heel lifts you have probably moved in the wrong direction.

post #7 of 9

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcosmo65 View Post

 

Thanks guys all information so far will be very helpful and used the next time I am out on the hill. I would like to know more about the theory on heel lifts being bad as I am struggling with getting my boots dialed in just right and have a lot of heel lift right now. My boots were stiff but I have since had them softened, possibly even too much. Not sure how to determine if they are too soft but that could be a possibility now. Again thanks, some general advice maybe but all stuff I can try and use. Maybe I will get a video to put up so I can get more specific help. Certainly having an instuctor for a day would be another good idea.

 

you have a great instructor in your area in username epic on this board. PM and see if you can book a private with him at stowe.

 

I just read you other post that you do have heel lifts. think of it this way. The higher your heels are the more youll have to lean back to stay center and moving forward will take pressure of the tails. Honestly if your balance is aft I would take the heellift out. I would even think about getting you boots gas pedaled ie toe lifted. If your toes are higher when you move with your skis you can stay fore and keep moving there with out taking pressure of the tail.

 

I have never seen a great skier with a heel lift, and everyone I have seen that has had it done, skis backseat still. I am willing to bet not one decent skier on here has a heel lift..if so Id like to see video of them.

post #8 of 9

I have heel lift. A little bit in one foot. It all depends on how your ankle and hip works. I have it in one boot and not the other. Boot-fitting is a funny science/art.

 

As for trees...

 

First of all a question, why do you want to ski them in the conditions you describe? Usually, we ski them to find the powder. With that out of the way, what the heck, why not ski them anyway? It's good for you, right? Already some good things here about staying aggressive and moving down the hill. One thing I haven't seen  much of is talk about line and I think that can be one of the hardest things to learn. Sometimes you need to ski the "anti-line" and go where everyone else hasn't. Sometimes that will let you find the least bad snow and also lets you use terrain more to your advantage for speed control. The "flow like water thing" can be nice, but water can get flowing pretty fast! Learning where to go can be just as important as how you go there.

 

Come on down to Stowe some day.

 

Oh yeah, BIG skis can help too. I skied some Volkl Kuros in the trees on Saturday. It felt like cheating (they sucked most everywhere else though).

post #9 of 9

I have been teaching at Jay for the past 5 years (although VERY part time for the past couple...) and would be happy to recommend  someone for you if you're thinking of taking a lesson there.  Shoot me a PM.  

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