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Big Mountain comp skiing vs. regular freeriding

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I think these videos highlight why many of today's best big mountain comp skiers jump at the chance to film rather than compete when given the opportunity.  Look at how sugary the snow is and how much exposure there is then listen to Kaj talk about his run after his video.  Look & sound fun?  Then watch Candide's Thovex's video.....

 

 

Billygoat in you fall you die type terrain.  Technical.  Crap sugar snow.  Beautifully terrifying.

 

Kaj Zackrisson's comp run at the 2009 Verbier Extreme:

 

 

 

fast, flowing...beautifully artful. 

 

Candide Thovex:

post #2 of 24

The clip from Verbier was scary to say the least, but in a way it's not really skiing. It's almost too technical to be interesting. It's not like any human could link turns at least in the top portion of the course.

 

I watched the Freeskiing World Tour in Alyeska-- versus the FreeRIDE World Tour of the first clip in Verbier-- this past weekend. It's my understanding that the Freeride World Tour is more restrictive in that it only lets a very few of the very best compete-- seeing the course now I understand why. The Freeskiing World Tour course in Alyeska was "easier" but it was more like watching skiing to me. (i.e. while I wouldn't take the same lines the competitors did, I'd at least consider skiing the face where it was held. I would not possibly in a 1,000 years ski that Verbier course.)

post #3 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wags View Post

The clip from Verbier was scary to say the least, but in a way it's not really skiing. It's almost too technical to be interesting. It's not like any human could link turns at least in the top portion of the course.

 

 

 

You have it all wrong, that is skiing at it's best.

 

 


Edited by karpiel - 4/16/2009 at 10:26 pm GMT
post #4 of 24

Comp lines require you to assess the face, choose a line, and ski it as best you can... on that day.

 

Filming allows for scoping terrain and waiting for the absolute perfect conditions for filming. That Candide vid is a perfect example of that, not only has he scoped many of those lines, but he's skied them before filming them, too. He has those lines absurdly dialed.

 

So, while I agreee with you Tyrone about why many skiers prefer filming to competing, I think now is an appropriate time to say why these guys keep competing and don't just film full-time. Kaj has been competing for longer than I know... defintely more than ten years. He's still competing for reasons that have nothing to do with wanting to film full time.

 

Some athletes get into competing so they can 'get noticed' and score film deals. Example- Ian 'Big Red' Macintosh. Yet, I actually consider that a mistake. If you want to be in ski movies, make your own. It worked for Ian because he also had a passion for competing, and without scoring Rossi/TNF dollars to afford his spot for filming, I'm willing to bet he'd still be competing and slinging pizzas.

 

Some athletes actually believe that if they ski rad enough, photogs will be offer to pay them to be in their movies. Sorry, but it ain't like that. It's the other way around- skiers pay cameramen. There is, of course, a turning point in one's career where he/she has to turn cameramen away, but once you're there, you're no longer worried who will be paying for what.

 

Bottom line: If you compete to get recognized for films, you're doing it wrong.

post #5 of 24

I'm with you Tyrone.  I prefer downhill skiing with the ski tips pointing in the direction of travel to the sideways skiing shown at the beginning of the first video.  I suppose if there are obstacles/turns/compressions/whatnots in the way that really have to be taken slowly (sometimes it's not really necessary to slow down quite as much as some folks seem to think), and that's the only way to get to the good stuff,  then the sideways skiing is a necessary evil. 

 

That's just the way I see it.  You are free to disagree.

 

Snow/sugar/ice/powder/blower/whatever it's all good to me (except avi debris).

post #6 of 24

wow.  if i ever get a chance to take a ski trip to france i'll be making an attempt to schedule it around seeing those verbier extremes.... that's pretty mind-boggling. 

 

the flying squirrel sounded pretty exhilerated at the bottom of his run.... that would be intense to watch.  i go crazy watching the comps at squaw... sure wish they had hit the tram face this year.

 

post #7 of 24

I want to say that those guys are nuts, but I've done some stuff that many think is crazy, so it must just be a matter of degrees.

 

I think that the moment you need to use rope to repel down to reach the "skiable" terrain, it crosses into a gray zone where it's really more mountaineering than skiing.

 

But what do I know? I'm afraid of heights!

post #8 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by notsosmart View Post

I want to say that those guys are nuts, but I've done some stuff that many think is crazy, so it must just be a matter of degrees.

 

I think that the moment you need to use rope to repel down to reach the "skiable" terrain, it crosses into a gray zone where it's really more mountaineering than skiing.

 

But what do I know? I'm afraid of heights!

 

Hence "ski mountaineering". He's not on belay or even roped in though.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Samarai, ghost, karpiel...great points.

 

I more or less just started this thread to get a discussion going.  If I could choose, I would take the Bec de Rosse face from the Verbier Extreme, but give it to me in the conditions that Candide was skiing in his flick....and then take away all the pressure of the comp, or the pressure of having to perform for a camera, and just a friends..and that's more my style :)

 

Here's Aurelien Ducroz's winning run from the Verbier Extreme.

 

post #10 of 24

Wow, that was some impressive skiing by Ducroz, to say the least.  Much more impressive than what I have seen in most ski videos. Reminded me of some of the footage in that documentary "Steep" which is really what adventure skiing is all about: skiing the toughest lines imaginable, and really pushing the boundaries of what is possible.  Plus, it takes a very technically gifted skier to ski that line: alot of the people you see in ski videos have balls but not the precision of technically precise skier, whereas the top comp competitors are some of the best skiers around. 

 

Thanks for sharing! 

post #11 of 24

Wow.  I've heard of "mandatory air" but that Verbier shot is "mandatory landing" !  Crazy

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Wow, that was some impressive skiing by Ducroz, to say the least.  



 

His jump turn over the rock band at about 1:24 stopped me in my tracks...I had to rewind it a few times to better comprehend what he was standing on top of.  And the more I watch it, the more I understand the steepness and the exposure that he had just below him, and what a precise move that was and had to be.

 

Also, I've competed in big mountain comps a little bit so have some appreciation for this, but I still don't know how these guys aren't getting lost in their lines on a face this big.  That face is such a maze.  They don't get to pre-ride it.  They have to stare at it for a few days with binoculars. 

 

every year these Verbier Extreme comp vids come out and every year they never cease to blow my mind. I love it.

post #13 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post

I think these videos highlight why many of today's best big mountain comp skiers jump at the chance to film rather than compete when given the opportunity.  Look at how sugary the snow is and how much exposure there is then listen to Kaj talk about his run after his video.  Look & sound fun?  Then watch Candide's Thovex's video.....

 

 

Billygoat in you fall you die type terrain.  Technical.  Crap sugar snow.  Beautifully terrifying.

 

Kaj Zackrisson's comp run at the 2009 Verbier Extreme:

 

 

 

fast, flowing...beautifully artful. 

 

Candide Thovex:

No.  The second vid is what every freeride skier would love to do every day.. the first one is NOT!

post #14 of 24

Tyrone, thanks for the reality check.

Crazy stuff, eh? 

post #15 of 24

In that comp, luck is removed from the equation. And as TS says, watching the skier deal with his emotions and get into the zone to make that line is a beautiful thing to watch, like in part, you are watching the inner skier.

 

having to produce in less than ideal conditions has been the measure of mountaineer type skiers for a long time, and the comp extends that test.

 

 

 

post #16 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post

 

 

You have it all wrong, that is skiing at it's best.

 

 


Edited by karpiel - 4/16/2009 at 10:26 pm GMT

Once they get going, the skiing is Good. 

Sure, there are tactics involved in setting up the run, and no doubt more interesting the more you know, but not exciting in a visceral way.  Slowly side-slipping in a no-fall zone is still, just slowly side-slipping in my book, and a complete waste of my time to watch.  They could cut the first part of the video out and it would be better as far as I'm concerned.

post #17 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

Once they get going, the skiing is Good. 

Sure, there are tactics involved in setting up the run, and no doubt more interesting the more you know, but not exciting in a visceral way.  Slowly side-slipping in a no-fall zone is still, just slowly side-slipping in my book, and a complete waste of my time to watch.  They could cut the first part of the video out and it would be better as far as I'm concerned.



 

i once used to feel this way. in fact, in my high school days i wanted to watch nothing that didn't involve setting up for, going off of, or landing some sort of air. but the more my skills progress as a freerider (i used to just ski 50% park, 50% all mountain... but i would say that i only started CHARGING last season), the more i can appreciate these videos. the beginning is the best part. it's what gives you the big picture perspective of how epic those faces and lines are.

post #18 of 24

What would be really fun would be those faces, but after a couple of exploratory runs so you wouldn't have to be conservative near the top.  More charging = more fun.

 

I've never been to Europe.  How's it work over there?  Do you have to be a registered competitor, or can any random maniac show up on a wednesday morning and ski those lines (if he has the skills)?

post #19 of 24

I feel old...
 

post #20 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

I feel old...
 


I'm not old. I'm just a pansy.

post #21 of 24

post #22 of 24

For me these videos and watching any adventure skiing is where athletics and art merge. Meaning, for the skier, just like for a painter or dancer or musician, it is a personal journey of skill, vision, new dimension. Always the new, the cutting edge, right? I can see that filming allows the big mountain skier, well, to keep with my metaphor, a different canvas than a comp. Each is a different dance.

 

Personally, sign me in with the pansies 

 

Jen

post #23 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

What would be really fun would be those faces, but after a couple of exploratory runs so you wouldn't have to be conservative near the top.  More charging = more fun.

 

I've never been to Europe.  How's it work over there?  Do you have to be a registered competitor, or can any random maniac show up on a wednesday morning and ski those lines (if he has the skills)?

More or less the second option...

And with the vulgarization (as in more people entering the freeriding/skiing arena) of the activity, even random maniacs without the necessary skills, wit the obvious consequences...you read the thread about freeskiing in Italy and what I wrote into it, right? That's only the tip of the iceberg...

post #24 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

What would be really fun would be those faces, but after a couple of exploratory runs so you wouldn't have to be conservative near the top.  More charging = more fun.

 

I've never been to Europe.  How's it work over there?  Do you have to be a registered competitor, or can any random maniac show up on a wednesday morning and ski those lines (if he has the skills)?


Epicski fundraiser: Send Ghost and his 208 SG skis to the Verbier Extremes 2010, I'm in for $100.

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