Hah! Lots of great answers here, noodles! Many have repeated the most important advice of all:DO NOT ski the trees--ski only the spaces BETWEEN the trees!
This simple advice has serious implications. It's like driving a car--do you look for mailboxes and light poles and try to MISS them, or do you just look to keep it on the road? By looking where you want (need) to GO, you put yourself in the offensive mindset that is absolutely essential when control of LINE becomes important. When you look at the trees, and try to MISS them, you inevitably become defensive. As we have so often discussed, a defensive mindset leads to BRAKING movements with the skis--pushing the tails OUT to start a turn, rather than guiding the tips in the direction you want to GO. And with these movements, you lose contol of your line.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>when I try to go slow I am at the mercy of the snow. So it's much like a catch 22<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Absolutely--well said! The movements of braking are not only exhausting and unreliable, especially in deep snow, but they are also INCOMPATIBLE with the movements of turning. The skid that controls your speed also skids you off the road (off your line). The more you control speed, the more you sacrifice control of line. And vice-versa--the more you control LINE, the more you must be willing to give up control of speed. To take the brakes off, you must learn to ski a line that eliminates the need to control speed!
What makes this hard, of course, is that you must give up control of speed BEFORE you even have the OPTION of precise control of line. The more you do this, though, the more precise will become your control of line. And hence, the more confidence you will gain that you can thread that needle in the narrow spaces between the trees.
But that is the key! Do not even try to ski trees until you have attained a great deal of faith in your movements. You MUST believe in your ability to control direction--otherwise, you will resort again to braking and your "Catch 22" will become reality.
I agree with Pierre eh! that racing will help. True, as Phil suggests, some racing tactics are not appropriate in trees--I wouldn't recommend shinning or cross-blocking an oak! But running gates reinforces the movements that control line. It generates the offensive "skis going the direction they're pointed" habits that are ESSENTIAL if you want to enjoy skiing in the woods, and live to tell about it.
On the other hand, Phil, I HAVE "experienced" a few breakaway trees (fortunately). I remember that run a few years back outside Keystone's Outback.... I came around a dense spruce tree, looking for the next "space between the trees"--and there just wasn't one! I ducked my head, and crashed through the lowest branches of several trees. When I came out of the woods, my favorite sweater was shredded, I was covered with twigs and pieces of foliage, and there was still a 1" thick branch sticking out of one sleeve.
My "friends" laughed....
Fortunately, I could laugh about that one too.
PS--welcome to EpicSki, Noodles!
<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 19, 2002 01:07 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>