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Skiing Steep & Deep Question - HELP!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
First - let me define some terms i am about to use.

Steep - Black runs at say Squaw(ex: Nose of Headwall), Snowbird (ex: regulator johnson)

Deep - 8-12 in of Skied-in ungroomed powder.

Master - Link 10 short-medium radius turns.

Now my question:
I have been able to Master skiing Groomed steep runs and skiing ungroomed powder on Blue runs. What one or two techniques can I work on to be able to Master skiing on Steep and Deep runs.

Currently, I am able to link 5-6 turns on steep and Deep runs - but I am making too many sharp Z shaped turns - meaning I am moving across the hill more than I would like to in each of my turns. At the end of 6 turns - my legs are burning.

However on steep groomed slopes (or ungroomed blue slopes) - I do much better primarily because of the following technique I mastered last year - plant pole downhill, stand up (which releases your edges), Lean in the direction of the pole (which moves your hips and center of gravity across your skis), steer your skis into the next turn.

I think I am doing much better in these conditions because there is more predictability in these slopes. My stance, the angle of my pole plant, the path my skis steer into - follow a very familiar pattern from turn to turn.

Analysing my technique on a steep, deep run - the problem starts with the pole plant. the next point of plant can be much deeper than where I am currently standing, So i have to bend my body (lean over downhill) considerable to make pole plant. Then I release my edges (no problem there). Next I when i try to steer my skis into the next turn - then once again - the next level of snow may be quite lower than the current level I am standing on. This would result in a small jump down. This results in a very awkward looking zig-zag path down the slope. And I am very tired after about 5-6 turns.

What can I improve upon to even out my path down the slope - make fewer turns than I am currently.

Is it just matter of more practice? Or is there something else.

I hope I making sense.
please help!
post #2 of 21
Mind over matter. Let the skis do the work for you. Also helps to take a little bit more speed, at least for me. The speed will allow the skis to float a bit more, all while making longer turns. Instead of 10 turns, do maybe 5. A few runs like this and you will be more comfortable. Good luck.
post #3 of 21
Whitney- Read the post "screw the arms in front" and the post "pole touch vs plant" I think both of them will help from what I read in your description.

On groomed terrain we can get away with alot of mistakes and not even know it. On terrain and in conditions like bumps, powder and crud the Mountain let's you know right away!

Think of a strong pole swing but DO NOT think plant. Think of reaching the basket down the hill and touching only the edge of the basket DO NOT touch the point of the pole.

Think more tipping of both skies and less steering from the legs. Go down the fall line and allow speed and momentum to help. DO NOT complete the turns as much as you would on the groom. Think COMMA shape NOT C shape.

Be very active with your ankles and legs. Stay tall DO NOT get defensive and bend at the waist and over flex all your joints so you lose the ability to manage pressure. Stay strong at your core and tall and allow your legs resist pressure.

Close your eyes and think about dolphins going in and out of the water, make your skis be dolphins.

Take a private lesson. Have fun pushing yourself to 7 turns then 8 then 50! Good luck. I wish we had your problem more often, I am more used to trying to figure out how to turn on snow that you can see last years trail map underneath!
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by whitney:
[QB]

Currently, I am able to link 5-6 turns on steep and Deep runs - but I am making too many sharp Z shaped turns - meaning I am moving across the hill more than I would like to in each of my turns. At the end of 6 turns - my legs are burning.

I think I am doing much better in these conditions because there is more predictability in these slopes. My stance, the angle of my pole plant, the path my skis steer into - follow a very familiar pattern from turn to turn.

Analysing my technique on a steep, deep run - the problem starts with the pole plant. the next point of plant can be much deeper than where I am currently standing, So i have to bend my body (lean over downhill) considerable to make pole plant. Then I release my edges (no problem there). Next I when i try to steer my skis into the next turn - then once again - the next level of snow may be quite lower than the current level I am standing on. This would result in a small jump down. This results in a very awkward looking zig-zag path down the slope. And I am very tired after about 5-6 turns.

What can I improve upon to even out my path down the slope - make fewer turns than I am currently.
[QB]
HI... I actually spent the weekend working on this technique... we got almost 50 inches of snow... hahaha

You need to float in this condition of snow: gravity and speed are your friends. Staying IN the fall the line the whole time will help.

The tendancy is to SINK... to avoid this you have to keep you 2 feet/skis evenly weighted (50/50) and you need to keep a stable platform... bringing your skis in closer together w
ill help with this.

This "small jump down" that you speak of is the moment when you need to "absorb". When you watch professionals ski bumps their knees move up and down... when the knees come up the skis pivot (SIMULTANEOUSLY) underneath and then make contact with the snow again - this is you actively steering with your feet!

The idea is to make very short/quick turns. (The answer to you wanting to make less turns... I don't have one - the idea is to make LOTS of small turns in a very RHYTHMICAL pattern and a narrow corridor.)

(Practice doing "box jumps"... squat down, jump onto a box/platform and land softly - absorbing the impact by squatting onto the new surface, jump down the same way.)

If you legs burn, it could be because you're sitting back on your skis and using your quads to hold you up/balance. No way to know without watching you ski.

Good luck with this!!
kiersten
post #5 of 21
Todo,

First of all I want to say you are one of the reasons I participate here. I have great faith in your technical knowledge.

I'm intrigued by your advice to tip more and steer less. I also would like to hear a more detailed rational for less turning and the comma vs. "c" shape turns.

My initial reaction would have been to prescribe more inside leg steering and additional leg steering particularly at turn completion merely due to the description of "z" shaped turns.
post #6 of 21
Rusty, my mind's eye vision of Whitney's description was that he's attempting to pivot at turn entry. I took Todo's suggestion to mean Whitney might benefit by tipping the skis on edge at that point so they could "plane" through the snow and he could ride them into the fall line rather than try to point them into the fall line. This approach would work regardless of variations in snow depth. The comma turn shape would leave Whitney maintaining speed more and make the next turn easier to start. If the turns all have a "C" shape, and if momentum drops too much, it takes more energy to start each new turn.
post #7 of 21
Kneale,

That makes sense. By the way....you too are one of the cogent writers here as evidenced by your interpretation!
post #8 of 21
'allo whitney.

It's great you are out there doing it even though it's hard. That's what it takes.

I think you will find what helps you succeed in familiar terrain & situations is what will help you succeed in the more challenging ones.

It sounds to me like the rate of acceleration/speed thing has you a little freaked out and you 'rush' through the fall-line to get your speed under control as a result.

Your desciption of "reaching to plant your pole" also gives me the impression you are committing some balance to your pole/hand/arm (taking it away from your feet/skis).

Advice?
1. trust your feet(boots) and skis. If you reach far enough that you HAVE to commit weight to your pole it is too far. Keep that stuff on you skis, that way they can work for you.

2. Trust your feet(boots) and skis. 'Let' your skis get into the fall line(as opposed to making them), then relax into the cuffs of your boots. At first you'll feel some acceleration, but IF YOU RELAX into your cuffs your skis will come around and it will subside quickly.

Basically all the rushing and reaching (and turning) you are doing is (probably) throwing your balance off, preventing you from doing the things that provide you with success in more familiar situations. Your skis will actually do all that tunring for you if you "let them."

IMO, it's more important to address this stuff than any "technique" stuff at this point.

Thanks, and good luck!
post #9 of 21
Rusty Guy- First thank you for the complement. The reason I participate here is like you I think that quality of the people, knowledge and passion for skiing is outstanding and I learn more every day.

I think Kneale summarized me better than me!

In deep powder I find the need for strong leg steering to be less. When you tip both skis up on edge and extend against them the tip and tail float more than the waist, this helps bend the ski and create an arc. It sounded in the description that he was trying to twist the ski and there is too much resistance in deep snow. The Z shape maybe caused by the heavy add the end of the turn to reach the pole plant causing both to sink and almost travers for a second before getting going the other way. If the conditions were groomed I would agree that inside leg steering would be a stong focus to round out the turns. The comma shape is just to allow more speed and not bring the ski's to far around making it difficult to release and go the other way.

The common problem for people in deep snow is timeing and duration of movements. It is very different to being skiing IN the snow vs. ON the snow. We need to be more patient release the movement you do will take a minute to happen. I think people make an input then nothing happens immediatly like on the groomed so they make more of the movement and then it all catches up at the end of the turn and it WAS TO MUCH! Be patient skiing in the snow.
post #10 of 21
Gee it's nice to see a lot of love over in this thread after my friend Ric Reiter lambasted me elsewhere for being boorish, satirical, and vicious.

oh well
post #11 of 21
That's what friends are for.
post #12 of 21
This question may be "off topic" but....
interesting thread... and great advice...

I'm a long time skier (40 years)... I moved to shaped skis 3 years ago... wonderful and moved to shorter version last year
quick wonderful...

here's my problem... I can roll my knees/ankles and get that wonderful "snakey" feel that these skis produce on groomers and blues... but when I get into crud and steeper terrain I find myself reverting to old school plant and pop techniques.. any advice???
Thanks
post #13 of 21
Gregbo, my advice is go faster, turn less, and be patient with your skis.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Gregbo:
...here's my problem... I can roll my knees/ankles and get that wonderful "snakey" feel that these skis produce on groomers and blues... but when I get into crud and steeper terrain I find myself reverting to old school plant and pop techniques.. any advice???
It sounds like you are reverting to speed scrubbing defensive techniques when it gets steep. However, the deep sidecut of modern skis will only work (ie, help you make your turn) if you actually are going forward. Forward does not necessarily mean "down the hill". It can and should mean "across the hill" as well. As you come out of each turn, strive to transform as much of your downhill speed into cross-hill speed in a shallow, very fast traverse. Before you lose any of this speed, make another carved turn. You will be amazed how much easier it is if you are carrying forward speed into the turn instead of starting each turn from practically a dead stop (as you do with old school techniques).

As you get more comfortable doing this, reduce the duration of the traverses until they don't exist any more and are just a "transition". Adjust the angle of the traverses (or the transition - if that's all that's left of the traverses) to give you whatever degree of speed control you need. Go to 90 deg (a pure traverse) or even slightly back up the hill for a split second for maximum speed control.

HTH,

Tom / PM
post #15 of 21
Slice through the snow - don't try to push it around. Also, on the steeper slopes, you need to bleed off the excessive pressure by continued flexion. SLICE & DICE!!

[ December 12, 2003, 06:32 AM: Message edited by: Blizzard ]
post #16 of 21
Thanks all... I am doing a lot of what you suggest.. but when it gets narrow I think I do get "defensive" wanting to keep speed down.. will work on "letting it flow"
Thanks again!
post #17 of 21
I would emphasize the feelings that make powder skiing unique.

8-10" isn't quite bottomless enough for the extremely incredible feel of full floating turns, but here's the point...

your skis have rebound, and you should want to take advantage of that fact in powder as well as on groomers and hardpack.

I suggest a few things to help orient the "feel"

1) let 'em run a bit more than you would in shallower powder. in order for the rebound to kick in and work for you, you'll need to start "planing" up on the snow. this takes speed.

2) now focus on how the underfoot feels as you start to plane up and try to distinguish between you pushing down against the powder, and the powder pushing your skis into a "planing" attitude

3) as you initiate the first turn, think of both skis as a platform that is planing on/through the pow... not feet glued together, but rather just a platform. move the skis in relative tandem fashion.

4) when you release edges and tip into the first turn, wait for the underfoot pressure to build. when it does, you can start your turn. PATIENCE is important.

5) generally feel a slowed-down rhythm, letting the pressures build and release beneath your skis

6) lather. rinse. repeat.

[ December 12, 2003, 09:30 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #18 of 21
Quote:
here's my problem... I can roll my knees/ankles and get that wonderful "snakey" feel that these skis produce on groomers and blues... but when I get into crud and steeper terrain I find myself reverting to old school plant and pop techniques.. any advice??? Thanks
of course!

we had a great crud skiing discussion about 1.5 or 2 yrs ago. here's a link to the original discussion -- please forgive the noise about the choice of ski, I was being cantankerous for no good reason:

original noisy discussion

here's a revisited discussion, more succinct, more recent:

more recently

[ December 12, 2003, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #19 of 21
both Whitney and Gregbo mentioned standing up/extending between turns or in the transition. Could this be an area to focus on? My interpretation from these treads and other reading is that by unweighing the skiis be drawing up the knees (and letting the hips fall over the skiis to the new edge), then there is room to extend/feel the snow/moderate edge pressure from the top of the turn.

Random thought,
Shannon
post #20 of 21
Thanks Gonzo.... those past threads helped...
post #21 of 21
Hello whitney,

The two steep runs you mentioned at Squaw are about 70% grade slopes which is very steep. Unless you have excellent technique already on say 35% gradient slopes, flaws in technique at the higher pitch will only be magnified. The fact that you say you make a few turns then your legs are burning (too much)tells me none of the turns from the start are really there. In other words do you leave those pretty sinuous short S turn patterns of expert skiers on lower pitched powder slopes? Can you do that for a long long ways feeling relaxed without using much energy? When you can do that on the easier slopes then take it to the steeps. You talked about releasing edges, steering your skis. With powder one ought not be setting or releasing edges or doing steering with individual legs.

Skiing powder is about using the bottom of both skis simultaneously with one's weight center balanced over the length of those skis to bounce off the soft snow while moving forward. Like a big soft 6 foot diameter rubber ball easily bouncing down a slope up and down. The only time a skier is doing much other than relaxing and remaining centered is at the moment the ball is compressed down (analgous to one's flexing skis). At that moment the skier must concentrate bouncing at the center of the skis just like a little kid does when standing on a 2 by 4 board supported between two cinder blocks. If the kid bounces anywhere along the length except right in the center, the kid won't be bounced upward but rather forward or backward awkwardly.

There is more but best search for other threads that address such at length or get some of these pros here to add more. -David

[ December 16, 2003, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: dave_SSS ]
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