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Tree skiing OR Powder skiing ... how about tips for Tree skiing AND Powder skiing

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
OK, there's TREE skiing ... wherein I focus on the opening, watch my speed, maintain an athletic stance, yadayadayada.

AND, there's POWDER skiing ... no trees, lots of speed, weighting and unweighting your feet, longer-faster turns, yadayadayada.

But how about when doing both ... skiing in powder in the trees.  The combination of the two raises the level of difficulty.

To me, this is a very difficult area of skiing.  I feel that I'm working too hard, and simply it's an area wherein I could use some tips.  I can't carry the speed thru the trees, due to the trees; and do have to make quick turns, which is a bad combination ... slower speed and quick turns in powder result sometimes in a fall, which is the worst thing for me to do in deep powder.

So any advice on how to ski this combination is much appreciated.
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

But how about when doing both ... skiing in powder in the trees.  The combination of the two raises the level of difficulty.

IMHO powder makes tree skiing easier. Why? Because the powder slows you down. If I had to guess, I'd say that you probably need to work on your tactics, how you approach line in the trees. In terms of technique, I often see that things go wrong when people are using rotation to initiate their turns. It should come from the feet. How is your bump skiing? A good trainer for this could be learning to ski a slower rounder line in bumps.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Epic, thanks ... I believe you are spot on, as upper body rotation (steering) is a problem I fight with.  Bumps are challenging for me and I try to stay still, upper body wise, and centered and balanced over the skis ... still consistency is a problem. Friends have told me to stay way back when skiing powder, and I find this to be simply wrong-bad advice.  You cannot control speed from the tails.

The take away I get from your comments is to use a similar stance - "tactic" - as to bump skiing when skiing powder-trees. I am constantly saying to myself, "toes up" when skiing bumps and/or powder to try and help stay more centered.  Any additional points or tips for this are much appreciated.

Thanks ..again ...
post #4 of 29
Quote:
OK, there's TREE skiing ... wherein I focus on the opening
Wrong.  You don't focus your vision, you scan.  You want to look through the gap between the trees and plan for your next move...right turn or left turn past the trees, or get ready for a hole or rise, or...????

As always, you need your skis together as a pair, weight even on both, just about evenly centered fore & aft.  You need to put them on edge to turn.  Visualize an airplane in the sky banking in a turn.  Your skis need to bank in a turn inside the snow.  You need your body balanced over your feet.  Upper body rotation causes the skis to flatten, they try to skid on the snow, they can't skid when down in the snow, and the snow trips you.  Maintain your fore & aft center by pulling both feet back when the skis are light in the turn transition and constantly pull the inside foot back.  Speed is never needed in powder except for those who don't know how to turn in the snow.  You need to learn the tempo of movements as allowed by the snow.  No quick movements, make round turns, no Z-turns, and get the skis more on edge to turn sharper.  And, you gott'a be on skis that are good in deep snow.  It doesn't matter so much about the width, altho that makes them more mistake tolerant.  It matters about the flex and flex pattern.


("Steering" is different than upper body rotation; it is twisting the skis one way and twisting the upper body the other--although those who snoozed  through class the day Newton's Third Law of Motion was discussed will argue.  Counter is twisting the upper body toward the outside of the turn without twisting the skis.)
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

Epic, thanks ... I believe you are spot on, as upper body rotation (steering) is a problem I fight with.  Bumps are challenging for me and I try to stay still, upper body wise, and centered and balanced over the skis ... still consistency is a problem. Friends have told me to stay way back when skiing powder, and I find this to be simply wrong-bad advice.  You cannot control speed from the tails.

The take away I get from your comments is to use a similar stance - "tactic" - as to bump skiing when skiing powder-trees. I am constantly saying to myself, "toes up" when skiing bumps and/or powder to try and help stay more centered.  Any additional points or tips for this are much appreciated.

Thanks ..again ...

take some video of you skiing, your issues with powder/tree skiing will be apparent on even green groomers. Read my quote below its very true with any type of skiing anyone can not do. The issues are there even on groomers.

Simply put you yourself has to start to steer from the legs I am actually pretty sure there are other issues as well. If I had to guess....

1. you only know how to do extention  turns
2.You steer then edge instead of edging than steering.
3.your COM(center of mass) doesnt project into the new turn


take some video though I might be very wrong but video off even a groomer would be the best course of action short of looking someone up and taking a real life lesson....
post #6 of 29
After you do what has already been mentioned, go to Steamboat. Go to the Sunshine lift and ski the trees in between the runs. The trees there are widely spaced so you can work on different lines to gradually increase your speed through the trees. From there go to skiers left in the Shadows area. You can work your way from left to right for increasing difficulty. For final exam, try the trees off to skiers left of the top the Spike lift. That's technically going out of bounds but you'll be slicing in and out of bounds as you cut across Broadway, The trees there are tight, but because the pitch is not very steep you can safely work your way from "one turn, DEAD END!, stop" to real skiing. In all of my travels, I've found Steamboat to have the best terrain and weather for learning to ski powder and trees together.
post #7 of 29
Look at the holes and not the trees. Stand on both feet.-----Wigs
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
BPA ... great stuff here. Please see my comments below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

take some video of you skiing, your issues with powder/tree skiing will be apparent on even green groomers. Read my quote below its very true with any type of skiing anyone can not do. The issues are there even on groomers.

Simply put you yourself has to start to steer from the legs I am actually pretty sure there are other issues as well. If I had to guess....

1. you only know how to do extention  turns ... AGREE

2.You steer then edge instead of edging than steering ... on the groomers, I believe I ... edge then steer

3.your COM(center of mass) doesnt project into the new turn ... I do not believe so, but need to look at some video


take some video though I might be very wrong but video off even a groomer would be the best course of action short of looking someone up and taking a real life lesson....


 

On item 3 above, my practice is to already be reaching the downhill arm around to do a pole tap, and thus initiating the next turn before the last turn has finished.  In reaching like this, does not this project my COM into the new turn ... I'm not sure - I'm just asking? 

On item 1 above, you are 100% correct on the extension turns, in that it's pretty much all I know to do ... the flex-turn-tall drill.  At this point, I'm not technically knowledgeable enough to know what I don't know when it comes to the different turning techniques. 


Quote:
From SoftSnowGuy: ... Upper body rotation causes the skis to flatten, they try to skid on the snow, they can't skid when down in the snow, and the snow trips you.  Maintain your fore & aft center by pulling both feet back when the skis are light in the turn transition and constantly pull the inside foot back.  Speed is never needed in powder except for those who don't know how to turn in the snow.  

This, without video, seems to be at the core of my problem ... too much upper body movement, along with the skidded turn in deep snow.  I do not understand what's meant by," pulling both feet back when the skis are light in the turn transition, and constantly pull the inside foot back".  If when looking down at my tips, I see that the inside ski tip is further back or behind the outside ski tip by say 4"-5" ... does this mean the inside foot is back?

Overall, this is great stuff for me to consider prior to a trip next week.  I'm headed West for a trip next week and most definately will take a lesson. 

If there are some specific drills to work on with the different turning aspects above, I'd appreciate some suggestions to put to the instructor and help to improve skiing in this area.
post #9 of 29
Leraning to ski trees and pow is a process... Something that you can do right now is get a hold of a pair of user friendly fat skis if you don't have them already. Also I find that slightly softer flexing boots help in the trees and powder. If you can adjsut you boots a bit then that would be worth trying.
post #10 of 29
Flex your ankles, time your pole touch to be before the tree you intend to turn around, keep your hands where you can see them, make a few turns and stop. Powder in the trees should be easier to ski than hardpack imo. Do you have a friend who's a good tree skier? Follow her. Pretty good tree skiing at Timberline right now if you can sneak up there for a day or two before you leave, grab a lesson. Have a good trip. Where you going?
post #11 of 29
Same as powder in open areas, speed is your friend.

Speed = Flotation = Ease of turning = Tree Avoidance = Happy Tree Skiing

Just like other types of powder skiing, the right tool helps.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy View Post

Pretty good tree skiing at Timberline right now if you can sneak up there for a day or two before you leave, grab a lesson. Have a good trip. Where you going?

Jimmy ... I might just try to check T-Line this weekend. 

We're headed to Whitefish Mountain Resort next Thursday, which is in the upper NW corner of Montana: www.skiwhitefish.com/
post #13 of 29
Dorm57.  A little tip.  Ski the same tree area a lot, so you get to know where to go, at what speed, where the fun spots are, where the better check my speed areas are etc.  The more familiar you get with one or two TREE areas the more confident you will  become.  Confidence does wonders in the trees.

This is one reason you hear the term Stash areas, when you learn a good tree or powder stash area you can ski it anytime because you know the terrrain.  take advantage of this when you go West and find a few special areas that you can become familiar and confident skiing. 

Have a great time.
post #14 of 29
Dorm,

If you take a private lesson at WMR, a good person to ask for is Rob Swanson.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

 

On item 3 above, my practice is to already be reaching the downhill arm around to do a pole tap, and thus initiating the next turn before the last turn has finished.  In reaching like this, does not this project my COM into the new turn ... I'm not sure - I'm just asking? 

I think if you are really moving into the turn, your hand will just be there. You could reach into the turn and be bending at the waist and sticking your butt back. As much as people talk about hands in front or whatever, that's an outcome, not a skiing movement.
post #16 of 29
 softsnowguy wouldnt pulling the inside foot back cause hip steering if taken to the extreme? 

Not that it is bad or good I use it every once in awhile in trees while my shoulders are still square(ish) to the fallline. I understands the downsides and plus of it and its something I wouldnt really be teaching anyone....

epic I wonder if my super short poles are causing breaking at the waist? I love them skiing woods/bumps/steeps thats for sure....,.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I think if you are really moving into the turn, your hand will just be there. You could reach into the turn and be bending at the waist and sticking your butt back. As much as people talk about hands in front or whatever, that's an outcome, not a skiing movement.

Epic, you could be correct ... I need to make a video to actually see.  I do know that when looking back at my tracks on the groomer,they are mostly rounded turns ... not skidded turns.  And I know/love the feel of the pull from the edges when these are hooked up and carving.   

But for now, let's assume my reaching action is not a "skiing movement" ... help me understand what action or movement to make to "move into the turn". 

Sorry to belabor this, but I am really trying to understand here ...
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Dorm57.  A little tip.  Ski the same tree area a lot, so you get to know where to go, at what speed, where the fun spots are, where the better check my speed areas are etc.  The more familiar you get with one or two TREE areas the more confident you will  become.  Confidence does wonders in the trees.

Have a great time.

Nice tip Pete ... thanks and I will definately work on this.  

My family is a fairly large group that's headed out your way and this is our 3rd - 4th trip to Big Mtn.  We do plan to meet up with SibHusky one day and make some turns ... share a beer, etc.  She appears to have an extensive local perspective of the mountain and we hope to have her show us some really fun, cool areas.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post

Epic, you could be correct ... I need to make a video to actually see.  I do know that when looking back at my tracks on the groomer,they are mostly rounded turns ... not skidded turns.  And I know/love the feel of the pull from the edges when these are hooked up and carving.   

But for now, let's assume my reaching action is not a "skiing movement" ... help me understand what action or movement to make to "move into the turn". 

Sorry to belabor this, but I am really trying to understand here ...
 

I'm not saying that you do do that, just that putting the hand someplace doesn't necessarily do what you might think it does. As for what movements make that happen, well, it starts with tipping the feet, flexion/extension of the legs, keeping the ankles flexed and opening the knee.
post #20 of 29
Sibby is hoping to get some tree skiing in before you get here, but the Siblet is telling her that the conditions in Evans wouldn't make me happy yet.....   BUT, it's snowing.....  Don't get too many tips or you'll be waiting for me and Siblet will be waiting for all of us anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post




Nice tip Pete ... thanks and I will definately work on this.  

My family is a fairly large group that's headed out your way and this is our 3rd - 4th trip to Big Mtn.  We do plan to meet up with SibHusky one day and make some turns ... share a beer, etc.  She appears to have an extensive local perspective of the mountain and we hope to have her show us some really fun, cool areas.
post #21 of 29
Good Choice, Whitefish has a lot of open powder and open tree powder area.   Sibhusky is a great gal and will treat you great
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Don't get too many tips or you'll be waiting for me and Siblet will be waiting for all of us anyway.

 

PPPfffttttt ... I doubt we will be waiting on you at all.  If so, then there is no better place to be waiting than slopeside on that mountain. 

We're really pumped about getting there, and have been checking the snow reports.  Looks like the mountain has really been getting the snow.  I hope the hype is not just hype but translates into real snow dumpage.
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'm not saying that you do do that, just that putting the hand someplace doesn't necessarily do what you might think it does. As for what movements make that happen, well, it starts with tipping the feet, flexion/extension of the legs, keeping the ankles flexed and opening the knee.

EPIC - understood ... just because I reach, the action does not automatically result in a skiing motion because the body has a way of 'compensating' or shifting-moving elsewhere; making one "think" they are reaching, but in effect not.  One has to have all the components move correctly to produce the correct results.

I like what I see in your comments here, as I feel I do all of these things, "tipping the feet, ankle flex, etc" ... just with too much upper body motion. 

What I'm getting from your posts is to use similar ski technique in the trees-powder as with on the groomers ... similar stance, weight distribution, movement to initiate turns, etc.  Edge pressure would be different in that I would not edge as hard due to the softer snow, but rather use more-less pressure on either ski to help turn.  But overall a lot of the groomer technique carries over to the powder-tree skiing.

Again, your comments are much appreciated ...
post #24 of 29
Dorm57 glad to see you took my advice about finding a friend who's a good tree skier and following Her  .



If you do make it to Tline and want an economical lesson, sign up for a Level 7 group lesson, want to learn to "move" down the hill and ski powder/trees better, tell them Jimmy sent you, you will be pleased. Sounds like a great trip you have planned, hope you get some Pow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post




Jimmy ... I might just try to check T-Line this weekend. 

We're headed to Whitefish Mountain Resort next Thursday, which is in the upper NW corner of Montana: www.skiwhitefish.com/
 
post #25 of 29
I know there was a post on this last winter- not to repeat a lot of great stuff here but here's my .02

1- know the terrain you are getting into. too thick or technical, find a gentler line
2- never ski trees alone- never separate farther than you can see or find each other in seconds, Stop occasionally for a buddy check
3- don't ski near evergreen tree bases- tree wells kill every season
4- Aspens grow in clusters, scan the line looking ahead 2-4 turns out, spot the openings in the clusters, traverse laterally if needed to setup for a clean line.
5- trees are like bumps that can really hurt, similar technique is used.  So you can take the same skills you use for bumps and broken terrain where precise controlled turns are used and use them in the trees.
6- pole plant and keep them coming.....
7- breathe...... Very important, a lot of people tense up in the trees and forget to breath.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post


Wrong.  You don't focus your vision, you scan.  You want to look through the gap between the trees and plan for your next move...right turn or left turn past the trees, or get ready for a hole or rise, or...????

As always, you need your skis together as a pair, weight even on both, just about evenly centered fore & aft.  You need to put them on edge to turn.  Visualize an airplane in the sky banking in a turn.  Your skis need to bank in a turn inside the snow.  You need your body balanced over your feet.  Upper body rotation causes the skis to flatten, they try to skid on the snow, they can't skid when down in the snow, and the snow trips you.  Maintain your fore & aft center by pulling both feet back when the skis are light in the turn transition and constantly pull the inside foot back.  Speed is never needed in powder except for those who don't know how to turn in the snow.  You need to learn the tempo of movements as allowed by the snow.  No quick movements, make round turns, no Z-turns, and get the skis more on edge to turn sharper.  And, you gott'a be on skis that are good in deep snow.  It doesn't matter so much about the width, altho that makes them more mistake tolerant.  It matters about the flex and flex pattern.


("Steering" is different than upper body rotation; it is twisting the skis one way and twisting the upper body the other--although those who snoozed  through class the day Newton's Third Law of Motion was discussed will argue.  Counter is twisting the upper body toward the outside of the turn without twisting the skis.)

 


I humbly disagree- depending on the type of snow and depth, you may ski 70/30 60/40 55/45.  The easiest way to turn a ski is when its flat, you can slightly tip them but with all the surface area, you don't need to make big angles the skis will turn very easily and effortlessly if you drift/skid or brush the turns when you have the time; That's the nice thing about powder. one caveat in tree skiing is be prepared to turn when needed, yo don't always have the luxury of picking your own turns..   Speed is your friend!  AND its fun.  As your ability increases, you can increase your speed. I do agree about countering and not steering/rotation as well as the flex and stability of skis. Keeping the feet/legs/hips stacked is also important some call it pulling the free foot back (we know who's term that is) and others call it keeping the hips parallell in any event, it's a good thing as long as you dont use it to make the turn as BWPA pointed out.
post #27 of 29
We got some serious snow last night.  Siblet is out there, I will go tomorrow.  (I know, I know, but I have a new PC which has been causing issues and a lot of web work has gotten backed up behind the transition...)  I have yet to hit any real deep stuff because it's been heavy so far and my legs are still gaining strength.  She'll report back for me.  I did hit a lot of chopped up powder on New Year's and thoroughly enjoyed that (the Outlaws love that stuff and the tourists didn't so the combination was excellent.  The Outlaws just power on through it). 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post



PPPfffttttt ... I doubt we will be waiting on you at all.  If so, then there is no better place to be waiting than slopeside on that mountain. 

We're really pumped about getting there, and have been checking the snow reports.  Looks like the mountain has really been getting the snow.  I hope the hype is not just hype but translates into real snow dumpage.
 
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post


What I'm getting from your posts is to use similar ski technique in the trees-powder as with on the groomers ... similar stance, weight distribution, movement to initiate turns, etc.  Edge pressure would be different in that I would not edge as hard due to the softer snow, but rather use more-less pressure on either ski to help turn.  But overall a lot of the groomer technique carries over to the powder-tree skiing.

Well, your whole base is your edge, so while you may not be "edging hard", you still need to create angles to get the ski to bend and make you turn. I think one of the biggest things you an get in skiing is a shift in perspective from "making the skis turn" to "creating a situation where the skis make you turn".
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I think one of the biggest things you an get in skiing is a shift in perspective from "making the skis turn" to "creating a situation where the skis make you turn".

Epic ... When on the groomers I feel I'm "creating the situation where the skiis make me turn".  When I'm in the trees - I'm trying to MAKE THE SKIS TURN  

To get to the "creating the situation ..." aspect when in the trees-powder, I think mainly will just take some time on the hill to get the confidence and skill to develop awareness of the conditions (all of them) and adjust-react in a safe, skiing manner. 

Thanks again for your comments ...
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