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When to close the run

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
This question isn't about instruction but I figure you people who work at ski areas would be the best to ask. This hasn't happened often but the few times it did bothered me. There have been times that my wife and I have gone down runs that were in such bad shape that I felt they should not have been open. The last one in March was the worst. It was marked as a black run (it really should be blue) and is pretty long. If you know Hunter mountain its called wayout. Due to the freeze thaw cycle, management was delaying the opening of the west side runs until they softened up. They opened the run and we hit it. It was solid glare ice, the way it froze it was like razors on edge. It took us 20 minutes to get down it, it normaly takes about 3. I felt that a fall on this would have shredded us, it was unskiable and we have skied some truly nasty stuff in the past. We ran into a bunch of patrolers and told them about it. I said if a kid went down this and fell he'd be in pieces. His response was "thats why its a black run". A very uncomfortable silence followed, I asked if any of them had skied it yet, nope. This is not the only time something like this has happened. What is the right response to something like this.This was a narrow run with no way out. Belleayre closed a run once when we asked them to, this was after a snowboarder cut his knee in half on all the rocks that were exposed, we took care of this kid for 15 minutes until help arrived, blood everywhere. The patroler asked us what level skiers we were, expert we said, I'll see what I can do was his reply, run was closed. What do you think of all this?
P.S. These are family resorts, all levels of skiers are on all the runs no matter how they are marked.

[ May 24, 2003, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: NYNY ]
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by NYNY:
They opened the run and we hit it. It was solid glare ice, the way it froze it was like razors on edge. It took us 20 minutes to get down it, it normaly takes about 3... Belleayre closed a run once when we asked them to, this was after a snowboarder cut his knee in half on all the rocks that were exposed.
Two comments:
Firstly, frequently I've skied this kind of stuff in Europe (particularly in Saalbach, Austria). It's par for the course over here at times. I remember going down a run once where the options were: ski down a very narrow patch of ice, or go over the grass/rocks.

Secondly, I mentioned a few months back on here about changing a run's grading depending on the snow conditions, this is a good example of that. If someone then ignores this change in grading, it's up to them to sort themselves out.

S
post #3 of 24
If the run was marked as a Black, then all is good. Black designates a run where the conditions and terrain might be challenging. It is up to the skier to determine if they are capable of venturing down. A sighting run on a nearby easier run, and a quick look at the grooming chart would have allowed you to figure out that you made a wrong choice. Try to accept a bit of responsibility.
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat:
... I remember going down a run once where the options were: ski down a very narrow patch of ice, or go over the grass/rocks.

A CHOICE of ice or grass?
I've skied runs where the choice was grass skiing or WALK .... I seriously doubt there was enough space to stop when you spotted the thin ribbon of brown icy stuff was giving out(closed after our sally through though - we still fitted in a last trip to save the download)...
also where it was grass or BACK UPHILL for another route.... ice counts as skiable in my instructors book - I get called a wimp for not wanting to turn between 2 rocks 18" apart on the stuff(not that steep a pitch)
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BetaRacer:
If the run was marked as a Black, then all is good. Black designates a run where the conditions and terrain might be challenging. It is up to the skier to determine if they are capable of venturing down. A sighting run on a nearby easier run, and a quick look at the grooming chart would have allowed you to figure out that you made a wrong choice. Try to accept a bit of responsibility.
First, there is no way to see the run until you are on it.
second, I have skied this run hundreds of times, its an easy one, doesn't rate black.
third, its always groomed, I use it to get to the double blacks.
Finaly, this wasn't the sheet ice you normaly get, this was solid mangled ice that had formed on ungroomed snow that melted. I can ski damn near anything, this was a nightmare. If you fell on this you would have been cut to hell. I would bet that no one preran it or they would not have opened it. They don't open the west side until it softens up for fear of killing their guests. I accept more than a bit of responsibility, the resort has a little to accept too. I ski all over the world and accept the risk. Would it have been too much trouble for the patrol to check it out. I was worried more about some kids going down it and getting shredded, who needs that?
P.S. sorry if this sounds bitchy and winey, I'll ski anything, this was some weird crap. Its also been 54 degrees and raining for a week here, getting stir crazy.

[ May 24, 2003, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: NYNY ]
post #6 of 24
That sounds like Coral, snow that has melted and frozen (maybe a few times) in horrible formations. Very common in australia. It tends to dislodge kneecaps and teeth fillings!

I don't think anything should be closed, as long as the skis will run on it (ie tan bark, grass, & rock faces don't slide and aren't in my opinion skiiable; everything else is).

This is that rod that resorts have made for themselves; they rate runs as blacks taht really aren't, and then when the skiing is poor, and challenging, and difficult, people get angry because they can't ski it.

I do think that patrol should mark the tops of these runs with a sign or even a whyteboard easel, warning people that it's horrible. For one thing, it's irritating to go down such runs on new skis and feel each rip and tear in those hitherto pristine bases.
post #7 of 24
Oooohh coral snow, one of my favorite conditions. I wish that I could ski coral more often. I love the clickety clack and bumpy chatter. At most resorts coral head runs are usually closed until conditions soften up.

I for one would love the option of skiing on these closed runs. I do think a sweep of ski patrol is in order first and if coral head conditions exist, the run should be roped with a gate and caution sign still allowing access. I have seen skiers caught on this stuff that were totally unprepared and they were not having the fun that they paid for.

At the 2003 Epicski gathering with the caution of very poor condtions from milesb, I found some delightful coral/crust conditions on some of the steeper runs in the shade below the mountain mid level at Alta. I spent some extra time there. Thanks milesb.

[ May 25, 2003, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
Oooohh coral snow, one of my favorite conditions. I wish that I could ski coral more often. I love the clickety clack and bumpy chatter. At most resorts coral head runs are usually closed until conditions soften up.

I for one would love the option of skiing on these closed runs. I do think a sweep of ski patrol is in order first and if coral head conditions exist, the run should be roped with a gate and caution sign still allowing access. I have seen skiers caught on this stuff that were totally unprepared and they were not having the fun that they paid for.

At the 2003 Epicski gathering with the caution of very poor condtions from milesb, I found some delightful coral/crust conditions on some of the steeper runs in the shade below the mountain mid level at Alta. I spent some extra time there. Thanks milesb.
I hope one day we run into each other (not literaly) you seem to have found ways to ski in the worst conditions. I would like to learn how. The places I ski regularly get some of the worst conditions.
post #9 of 24
NYNY, I don't use any special techniques that the best on this forum do not use and teach regularly. Good efficient technique is good efficient technique no matter where its used. Ice demands good efficient technique where goomed does not but the best on this forum don't change from groomed to ice.

What does change is what is in your mind. You're intent makes all the difference. Skiing ice demands different intents from skiing the groomed.

Keep in mind that you're intent can largely determine you're ability to learn good technique. Attend EpicSki Academy 2004 for a real eye opener.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
A lot of times I find skiing ice to be survival skiing. My intent is to get down in one piece. My favorite area at my regular hill is a frozen wasteland of 35 degree bumps, about 1400 vert. I've had great times and nightmares there, you'd like it Pierre. If ever in NY, hit Hunter Mountain, the west side, a true no BS area. For now I'll stare at the rain.
post #11 of 24
NYNY - I suppose you've been told often that equipment makes a major difference when it comes to ice. You say that "A lot of times I find skiing ice to be survival skiing.” It seems that you must be having equipment problems. Just about any modern high end ski that is properly sharpened should give you the required confidence to ski ice.

If you do believe you have high end skis that you know are properly sharpened but are still having problems with ice, then may I suggest something many people on this forum would not agree with. Get a pair of real mogul skis. Make sure they are properly sharpened, not just "store" sharp.

From the conditions you describe you are attempting to ski, mogul skis seem ideal. They’re obviously made to ski bumps. They are made to stay dampened and controllable in very hard rough snow (e.g., your 'frozen granular'). If you get airborne they will land smoothly since they’re made to take jumps in mogul fields. They’re made to allow skidding which is easily controlled from under your feet where they grip instantaneously as required. Their weakness is of course that they don’t have that powerful carving feeling you get from race type skis. You can of course carve two railroad tracks with them but you have the feeling that you have to most of the work instead of the skis.

Anyhow, just a suggestion since I believe your problems are more equipment related then you believe.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
If you do believe you have high end skis that you know are properly sharpened but are still having problems with ice, then may I suggest something many people on this forum would not agree with. Get a pair of real mogul skis. Make sure they are properly sharpened, not just "store" sharp.
You're right peak203f, I don't agree with it. Mogul skis are made for one thing in bumps. Optimizing speed in the zipperline without catching an edge. That is exactly the oposite of what NYNY wants. Mogul skis are more difficult to control speed with in bumps.
Short shapes with the tails narrower than the tips make the best recreational mogul skis. The Rossi T Powers are a good example of a great mogul ski for the masses.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
Short shapes with the tails narrower than the tips make the best recreational mogul skis. The Rossi T Powers are a good example of a great mogul ski for the masses.[/QB]
I'm with Pierre here. The T-Power Viper is one of my favorite mogul skis for the East. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should say I get a pro deal on Rossignols.)

John
post #14 of 24
NYNY said:
> ...the way it froze it was like razors on edge. It took us 20
> minutes to get down it, it normaly takes about 3. I felt that
> a fall on this would have shredded us, it was unskiable and we
> have skied some truly nasty stuff in the past...

Sounds kinda like what I described in this recent thread,

http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=001725#000000

Its hard to accurately describe conditions like this because in addition to simply stating that the surface is extremely hard & cut up, one needs to convey something quantitative about the texture of the surface, for example, (1) the average depth of the ruts or cuts (micro-ruts), and, (2) how many of these occur per foot (on average). It sounds like the texture you encountered had edges that were maybe on average an inch deep occurring every inch or so (ie, so they were very sharp, but too frequent and not deep enough for them to get between your skis), whereas the conditions that I encountered had foot deep, half-foot wide, frozen-in-place larger ruts every foot or so. This left foot-high vertical sided blocks of rock hard ice that were big enough (with deep enough and long enough low ground between them) to deflect your skis in different directions even at a 1 mph sideslip.

FWIW, I think your use of the phrase, "It was solid glare ice...", may be throwing some people off. To me that term can only mean very smooth ice (ie, that "glares" like a mirror), not coral reef of any sort.

As they say, anybody out on the snow for a while needs 100 different terms to describe the variety of conditions that can occur.

Tom / PM

[ May 29, 2003, 09:06 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #15 of 24
Close a run? Because there it is a Coral face? You have to be kidding. These runs self close in the PNWet. Only a few of the die hards will even ski on Coral days. But runs should only be closed if they must because they are not skiable due to a lack of snow or avy danger or the like. Just because a run is demanding or the snow conditions are difficult is never a reason to close a run.

Whew dogs, just keep the ski edges sharp and keep your ski on edge - you should be fine, oh and ski fast!!!

Mark
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
I thought this topic died, ok the balls still rolling. My skis are crossmax pilot 10's, best skis I ever owned. I keep them tuned up and sharp. Coral is the best description I've heard yet. I never skied on it before, never seen it anywhere, here or in europe. It was a fluke thing. What pissed me off was the attitude I got from the patroler, I got over it real fast, no big deal. I just felt sorry for anyone who got stuck on it, the runs a piece of cake normaly. As far as losing control on ice, this only happens when it gets into the 30-35 degree pitch range for me. I was riding my tails, now I can ride the tips and control it way better, thanks to a great instructor at Jackson. After several great years of powder skiing out west I'm getting spoiled. Nothing beats powder in my book anymore, ice I'll just have to deal with, not fond of it though.
P.S. Just read P man's thread, that about sums it up, unskiable.

[ May 29, 2003, 04:53 PM: Message edited by: NYNY ]
post #17 of 24
I skied something like this one night this Spring at the local area. What had been soft corn had evidently set up rapidly as the temps cooled down. Not a lot of fun, kind of a vibromassage, but a great test for the motion system on my Volkl's which did a credible job of damping out the vibration. I guess I am glad that run was open. Even though the skiing was not easy or particularly pleasant, and a fall would have been painful, conditions added variety and challenge. Occasional adversity is part of the pleasure of skiing. I've seen similar conditions occur at Tuckerman's where the soft snow can set up with astonishing rapidity as the shadow line reaches the snow. This could have been great skiing 5 minutes earlier. I also happen to enjoy skiing very hard snow that some might describe as ice. There is a limit, though, when conditions are no longer reasonably safe. A couple years ago several people died at Loon when they ventured on a (closed) trail and slid into trees. That trail definitely deserved to be closed since the snow was so hard that if your skis released stopping was impossible. I can also recall a day when upper National at Stowe was closed because it was frozen rock hard. A light dusting of new snow made it appear deceptively skiable. One skier, who may have been eyeing the closed run all day, apparently skiied under the ropes at the end of the day after the lifts had stopped. The wind blowing the light powder around on the hard ice made it difficult to find his tracks. The patrol was out most of the night searching for this guy who hadn't showed up at day's end. After seaarching all the trails they were sideslipping the woods by flashlight and eventually a patroller found skid marks in the snow in the woods where the wind hadn't obliterated them and followed them down. The ski patrol theorized that the victim had fallen near the top of the slope and, unable to self arrest, had slid down the slope and through the woods, hitting a tree some 80 feet from the trail, headfirst. Very few people could have skiied National that day and none of them with any reasonable margin of safety. These are criteria that dictate whether a trail should be closed, surely.
post #18 of 24
I'm guessing that Pierre prefers boiling meat to tenderloin, too. Grim satisfaction is still a form of pleasure.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
I'm guessing that Pierre prefers boiling meat to tenderloin, too
Wrong O nolo. Montana free range only. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
I'm guessing that Pierre prefers boiling meat to tenderloin, too. Grim satisfaction is still a form of pleasure.
Strange post nolo. I like my beef rare. But I also like a good corn beef brisket with boiled cabbage. Just not every day. I would get bored with either if it was my daily meal. So back to skiing, I like coral but only once in a while. I never have to wait in lift lines on coral days. I dont have to worry about line poachers or wild skiers. I (and my wife) are it on the whole pitch. But one day is enough for a few weeks.

Mark

[ June 02, 2003, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: Maddog1959 ]
post #21 of 24
Strange post?--it appears that you got my meaning, Maddog. The word grim and coral sure go together for me! I recall a day at lovely Chamonix in just such excruciating conditions. By lunchtime my shins were spasming from constant balance on eggshells.

Sure I can, but being of an age that has the AARP eyeing me hungrily, I like a little cushion when I go boom.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
hungrily, I like a little cushion when I go boom.
So does Sir Mix-a-Lot!
post #23 of 24
Hey, nolo! I just remember a post of a year or so ago where we discussed our mutual pleasure skiing difficult snow. Other than thick breaking crust, I consider coral one of the more challenging types of difficult snow. I agree that coral is one of the most physically demanding ski surfaces. And the constant chatter of the skis on the rough surface makes the ride as hard as the Baja 500. But it is a great balance clinic.

Mark
post #24 of 24
Maddog, how deep are you talking about? If the coral is only an inch (maybe two, max) deep, it may be teeth-chattering, but I can usually ski it. But when it gets to be 6" or more deep, NFW! I can't even traverse stuff like that at 1 mph unless I'm hopping back and forth between whichever ski happens to be caught in a rut pointed closest to the direction I want to go. What techniques do you use to ski it?

Tom / PM

[ June 04, 2003, 09:33 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
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