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Trailside Skiing

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

New here.  Got back on skis for the first time in 10+ years to take my daughters out for their first couple days of skiiing.... and had a blast.  Have a couple questions though, which I'll get to after some background:

I'm strictly a recreational skier.  Use to patrol on a small hill.  Before that would typically get out 10-25 times/year.

Was taught to ski by my Dad who grew up skiing and patrolling in southern Vt (Bromley, Stratton, Magic).  We never talked styles, weren't into racing and didn't regularly watch/follow any sort of competitive skiing.  We just skied when we could, which other than the locally accessible "bump" hill, meant we were taking trips during holidays when the hills were packed.

The closest style I can find to how I was taught to ski, and became reasonably proficient in, is wedeln.  Looking "cool" was just a side benefit: the real point was to master speed control using tight turns and to be able to get down "any" hill safely, without having to stop and without having to do wide traversals so we could navigate through the crowded hills.  At the "big" hills, we spent the vast majority of our time skiing one of the trailsides going back and forth over the ridge where the skied-off snow accumulated.  I have great recollections of skiing the trailsides on Magic Mountain --which is about the only place there was snow to be found-- the rest of the trail being heavily iced over.

Going fast meant turning the skis downhill, widening the stance and tucking.  Fine on the larger hills, but on the small hills that meant you spent all your time in the liftline or on the lift.  So, we'd tend to come down slower.  Make jumps (till the patrol wrecked them, doing flat 180s, passing a nerf ball back and forth, trying to make perfect 8's, follow the leader (without leaving another track), jump turns, most turns in 20 feet, etc.

That's what made skiing fun... for us.

So, now I'm a bit lost.  I've got my daughters taking lessons from someone who teaches a "modern" technique.  In just a couple lessons they've got a pretty good handle on snowplowing and using the lifts.  One of them is already starting to pull her skis closer to parallel between turns.

My question is what's next?  Where and how do speed control and short tight turns mesh up with the modern carving
technique?  Or do they?  Maybe that's why all the kids have helmets now?

I've never bought into the idea that the objective of skiing was seeing how many vertical feet you could get in per day... not that there's anything wrong with that :-)  But, on a small hill, it's more about skiing different terrain.  I'm missing the big picture of how modern techniques facilitate that?

I was taught: shins pressing the front of the boots, hands in front, shoulders perpendicular to the fall line.  At this point I'm not sure which things to continue to reinforce and which things will ultimately be counterproductive.

Any suggestions for an old-timer who still enjoys skiing the trailsides?

Mark
post #2 of 19

Hi Mark,

It's still all the same with a bit less focus on skidded turns all the time. With the new equipment new skiers can learn to carve and make more of a dynamic turn.


>>I was taught: shins pressing the front of the boots, hands in front, shoulders perpendicular to the fall line.  At this point I'm not sure which things to continue to reinforce and which things will ultimately be counterproductive.<<

Shin pressure, hands in front are good things. The shoulders question can be a bit different than what was taught in the past. I suggest to the folks that I work with that to try and keep the belly button pointing in the general direction of travel. So if someone is making a large radius turn they shouldn’t try and face their body down the hill except when it passes through the fall line.

 I think the best thing is to continue to put the little folks in ski school and let the ski pro do the work and you go skiing. Of coarse a run with them at the end of their session is always a treat.

 I hope this answers a few of your questions and if you haven’t made the switch to the shape skis it’s time to do so. I recommend that you take a lesson to learn more about them and how they have change the direction that skiing has taken. Take care,     Wigs

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post


Hi Everyone,

New here.  Got back on skis for the first time in 10+ years to take my daughters out for their first couple days of skiiing.... and had a blast.  Have a couple questions though, which I'll get to after some background:

I'm strictly a recreational skier.  Use to patrol on a small hill.  Before that would typically get out 10-25 times/year.

Was taught to ski by my Dad who grew up skiing and patrolling in southern Vt (Bromley, Stratton, Magic).  We never talked styles, weren't into racing and didn't regularly watch/follow any sort of competitive skiing.  We just skied when we could, which other than the locally accessible "bump" hill, meant we were taking trips during holidays when the hills were packed.

The closest style I can find to how I was taught to ski, and became reasonably proficient in, is wedeln.  Looking "cool" was just a side benefit: the real point was to master speed control using tight turns and to be able to get down "any" hill safely, without having to stop and without having to do wide traversals so we could navigate through the crowded hills.  At the "big" hills, we spent the vast majority of our time skiing one of the trailsides going back and forth over the ridge where the skied-off snow accumulated.  I have great recollections of skiing the trailsides on Magic Mountain --which is about the only place there was snow to be found-- the rest of the trail being heavily iced over.

Going fast meant turning the skis downhill, widening the stance and tucking.  Fine on the larger hills, but on the small hills that meant you spent all your time in the liftline or on the lift.  So, we'd tend to come down slower.  Make jumps (till the patrol wrecked them, doing flat 180s, passing a nerf ball back and forth, trying to make perfect 8's, follow the leader (without leaving another track), jump turns, most turns in 20 feet, etc.

That's what made skiing fun... for us.

So, now I'm a bit lost.  I've got my daughters taking lessons from someone who teaches a "modern" technique.  In just a couple lessons they've got a pretty good handle on snowplowing and using the lifts.  One of them is already starting to pull her skis closer to parallel between turns.

My question is what's next?  Where and how do speed control and short tight turns mesh up with the modern carving
technique?  Or do they?  Maybe that's why all the kids have helmets now?

I've never bought into the idea that the objective of skiing was seeing how many vertical feet you could get in per day... not that there's anything wrong with that :-)  But, on a small hill, it's more about skiing different terrain.  I'm missing the big picture of how modern techniques facilitate that?

I was taught: shins pressing the front of the boots, hands in front, shoulders perpendicular to the fall line.  At this point I'm not sure which things to continue to reinforce and which things will ultimately be counterproductive.

Any suggestions for an old-timer who still enjoys skiing the trailsides?

Mark

I am not an old timer but if the kids are being taught correctly when they are ready tight short radius turns will come.

plus modern skiing aint all carving but you can do rounded more skidded turns a well. your description of your own skiing sounds as if you pivot to an edge set which has a purpose sometimes but more rounded (smaller) turns can be alot more fun and efficient.

modern technique is nothing really new its just makes better use of the currnrt ski design there are some things that arent company line PSIA that work better for tight tree skiing.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys,

Quote:
...your description of your own skiing sounds as if you pivot to an edge set...
 

Very much so.  No doubt I ski very inefficiently.  I was basically taught to ski on one ski and the longest learning curve was developing the balance to be able to do that.  Have very pronounced unweighting of the uphill ski...  tip forward and down.  Turn to control speed: slide the tails; set an edge to help spring you into the next turn.  Pretty much don't bother turning if you're not trying to control speed.

On shallower slopes, when you got into the groove, it  was very rhythmic, felt just like you were walking down the hill.  No question that it was still work though.  Used even small bumps in the hill as "free turns", pushed the tips down and off you go.

To be clear, while I'm still skiing my 25 year old straight Dynastars this way, I'm not teaching any of this to my daughters... they're getting a one hour lesson from a pro every week.  Point of all this background is that I'd like to try not to screw up their learning by playing games during the other hours I'm skiing with them that would introduce "bad" habits.

In my mind, turns and edging control speed.... and I'd REALLY like my daughters to be able to control their speed.  They're doing well controlling their speed using a snowplow and are beginning to pull their skies close to parallel between turns (during wide hill traversals).  In the old days, the next step would be stem christies and "challenging" them by playing follow-the-leader down a path with tight turns would be fine.  But, that's not teaching them to keep both skis on the snow... which I gather is one of the main points of carving.  So, if the next thing they're going to be taught is to control speed by making fuller turns (and subsequently wider traversals) then I probably should avoid doing anything that involves tight turns with them... right?

Man, that seems backwards....

Thanks,

Mark
post #5 of 19
 some of your assumption are right.

the reason why they are traversing right now is because their balance and/or mental skills arent enough to make full on matching turns/

I still teach balance on the outside ski in fact most coaches worth their salt do this as well.

A tight turn can be complete and S shaped and with the right balance of skills can control speed as well. 

You would help out your daughters by learning to ski a more rounded turn so when they ski with you they dont start to ski like you use to. but like I said pivot edge set turns are sometimes something that needs to be done.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post

To be clear, while I'm still skiing my 25 year old straight Dynastars
 

You've got to try the shaped skis - you won't believe the difference they make. If you local hill has a demo shop try it that way as opposed to rentals.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RossiGuy View Post
You've got to try the shaped skis - you won't believe the difference they make. If you local hill has a demo shop try it that way as opposed to rentals.

Strongly agree with this.  Get some newer equipment and take a lesson or two yourself (or with the kids)!  I think it would make a huge difference for you.

Another recommendation: talk with the kids' instructor(s) and see what they're learning and what you can look for/coach them on yourself.

To maybe expand a little on what BWPA was saying -- beginners aren't going to be able to 'carve' short-radius turns.  Or probably even bigger ones.  They're going to skid, at least through part of the turn.  If they start with wedge turns, eventually they'll be making wedge christies, where the skis are parallel after the fall line.  That's the standard PSIA progression.

What I try to get people to focus on for speed control is finishing the turns -- making nice round "C" shapes, which become nice round "S" shapes if you link them together.  They don't have to be small turns to control your speed, but they do have to be round, and it helps if you link them immediately together (not 'turn... traverse... ... turn... traverse... ... turn').  What usually kills people if they either rush the end of the turns (so they end up making 'Z' shapes or very skinny 'S' shapes), or if they traverse substantially down/across the hill picking up speed after every turn.  You can get away with those things on easy trails, but when it gets steeper, you'll pick up speed way too fast.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 


I have no doubt that I'm going to end up on some newer, more shapely skis eventually... since they're the only thing available nowadays.  But, honestly, for the type of skiing I enjoy most (or at least "used" to enjoy... remains to be seen how well the legs will hold up) I don't see how they provide any benefit?
 
"Different strokes for different folks" but, personally, I have very little interest in skiing fast on groomed trails.  When I was growing up we came up with three reasons for skiing the green trails:

1. It was the only way to get where you were trying to go;

2. You were dead tired; or

3. "She" was cute enough to make skiing anywhere fun.

 

Always respected the guys that could come down a steep, bumpy hill slow and gracefully more than the guys who tried to prove how fast they could get down groomed, shallow trails.  Not at all a shot at the "real" racers... just grew tired of the many wannabee Joes who'd spend the day bombing the hill, only occasionally in control.

 

Anyways, been watching lots videos the last few days trying to figure out what the "revolution" was that made all the manufacturers switch to shaped skis.  Here's one I ran across on the PSIA site:

 

www.thesnowpros.org/index.php/PSIA-AASI/video-gallery/skiing-tight-areas

In a couple places he talks about "step to a new edge" and shows them linked together... that's the skiing I was taught.  Heavy edging and very pronounced unweighting of the uphill ski... perhaps a little excessive in his example.  I don't yet "get" how skiing that section would be much different/better/easier on shaped skis?

In many of the videos I've seen on here of people "carving" turns I still see lots of snow being thrown by the tails of the skis.  That looks to me an awful lot like speed control via skidding the tails.

When we'd tuck and go, with a nice wide stance, we'd run flat when we could and we'd "carve" turns by going up on both edges as necessary to follow the trail.  Maybe I'm thinking there's more of a difference with shaped skis than there really is?

For some reason I was under the impression that stem christies weren't routinely being taught anymore.  Thanks for letting me know they are.  Then, playing "follow me" with increasingly tight turns should be fine.  Works both with kids practicing wedge turns and stem christies.  Wouldn't be great for kids trying to carve turns... I imagine.

Mark
 


Edited by aunidnr - 1/21/10 at 11:09pm
post #9 of 19
 Mark...  You really might want to try the new skis and get a lesson as mentioned above. I am not the kind of guy who always "needs" the latest and greatest and I am cheap.  I have been around for a while and remember that skiers could rip pretty strong in previous decades.  That being said the new stuff is better, a lot better, and you will enjoy skiing more and be able to ski longer and stronger if you take advantage of modern technology.

 I like the "Go With A Pro" videos for the most part.  The two that I have "problems with are the TGIF and the "skiing in tight areas" demos.  It's interesting to me that these are the two that have been mentioned in this forum.  The tight area video is not "wrong" IMO, it's just that I think there are better tactics do get the job done than he is demonstrating.  I ski tight and steep all the time and all day long.  I couldn't ski for very long using that style.  I think it's old school and way too physical although those tactics are good to know.  BTW did you see the Elans that guy was using?  Not exactly an old school ski.

Also the stem Christie isn't being taught anymore.  Neither is the snowplow turn.  The terminology is wedge and wedge Christie and they are actually different from their predecessors.  I was actually shocked to find out that I didn't know how to make a wedge turn when I was hired by the ski school.  The correct wedge progression eliminates the wedge early and naturally.  In many ways I am teaching the same turn at level 8 as I am at level 1.  
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post

www.thesnowpros.org/index.php/PSIA-AASI/video-gallery/skiing-tight-areas

In a couple places he talks about "step to a new edge" and shows them linked together... that's the skiing I was taught.  Heavy edging and very pronounced unweighting of the uphill ski... perhaps a little excessive in his example.  I don't yet "get" how skiing that section would be much different/better/easier on shaped skis?
 


Ironically, you found an area where old-school technique sometimes comes in handy.  :-)  You can use all the same techniques you know with the new skis; it's just not always the most efficient way to use them.

That step or "stem" entry into the turn is effective in a steep, narrow spot because it limits the amount of time your skis spend in the fall line and finishes the turn quickly.  You skip the first part of the turn by picking up the new outside ski and pivoting it before putting it down.  (Hop turns, which that video also demonstrates, provide a similar but even quicker and more dramatic effect.)

However, it's an inefficient move, and pushing your leg out away from you like that tends to put you off-balance.  Hop turns are better because you can land both skis in a more balanced position.  Of course, they're both technically more difficult and much more tiring!

Quote:
 
In many of the videos I've seen on here of people "carving" turns I still see lots of snow being thrown by the tails of the skis.  That looks to me an awful lot like speed control via skidding the tails.

Depends on how tight a turn you're trying to make.  A heavy edge set towards the bottom of the turn will pressure the tails more, but it's sometimes necessary to make a very tight arc.  Do you have an example of what you're talking about there?

Quote:
When we'd tuck and go, with a nice wide stance, we'd run flat when we could and we'd "carve" turns by going up on both edges as necessary to follow the trail.  Maybe I'm thinking there's more of a difference with shaped skis than there really is?

That's also exactly what you can do on the shaped skis.  The main difference is that it's MUCH easier to get that edge engagement, especially at lower speeds.  You have to have a lot more force to decamber most straight skis, so you have to be going much faster to really bend them into a clean arc.  In fact, it's almost impossible at lower speeds on old skis.

I guarantee you that someone on newer equipment can make MUCH tighter carved turns at low speeds than you can on your old boards, and can make some turns that you simply cannot (at any speed).  The old skis will skid out instead of being able to actually arc along the sidecut.  At high speeds, the difference isn't as pronounced -- which, among other reasons, is why DH racing skis have way less sidecut than SL or GS skis.

Quote:
For some reason I was under the impression that stem christies weren't routinely being taught anymore.  Thanks for letting me know they are.  Then, playing "follow me" with increasingly tight turns should be fine.  Works both with kids practicing wedge turns and stem christies.  Wouldn't be great for kids trying to carve turns... I imagine.

In a "stem" christie, you pick up the new outside ski, start to pivot it, and then step down on it to do a big weight shift.  You'll usually skid through the whole turn.  This is not taught anymore by PSIA, at least as a beginner move that you should rely on all the time.  As mentioned above, it can be useful situationally if you have to do a very compact turn and you don't care so much about efficiency.  I fall back on this sometimes in bumps, although it's not what I should be doing.

In a "wedge" christie, you start with a normal wedge turn, and keep both skis on the snow.  Through the first half of the turn you allow the inside foot to rotate parallel to the outside foot, once your balance is established against the outside ski.  Then you finish the turn with the skis parallel.  The outside ski should be up on its edge and "carving" using the sidecut, at least through most of the turn.  The key thing: the outside ski should be doing exactly what it would do in a parallel turn.  The old unweight-and-pivot move to start the turn is simply not necessary anymore with the newer equipment, even at low speeds.  Like Teton said above, if you're doing it right it's the same basic mechanics from a wedge turn all the way up to dynamic parallel skiing.

Once you have people doing wedge turns with good balance, they'll often just spontaneously start to do wedge christies if you make them go a little faster or on steeper terrain.  It actually becomes difficult to hold the wedge through the bottom of the turn once you pick up some speed; the skis like to run on the 'correct' edges.  So in that sense, just playing "follow me" with the kids is usually great if you put them on terrain that's slightly challenging but not scaring them to death. 

Again -- I think a great thing to do would be to rent/demo some new skis and take a lesson with your kids.  Ask for an instructor who had to do the straight->shaped transition themselves and can show you how to do the moves your kids are being taught.  I think you'll have a much better understanding of what to look for in their skiing and how they should be doing it.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the detailed response... it's a great help as I try to think through how I ski, and what's different now.

Quote:
You skip the first part of the turn by picking up the new outside ski and pivoting it before putting it down.  (Hop turns, which that video also demonstrates, provide a similar but even quicker and more dramatic effect.)

That's a good point and is an important difference I didn't catch.  In my old-style skiing I never pick up the outside ski unless I'm jumping or avoiding something in the trail.  Thinking it through: I'm skiing the outside ski, controlling how sharp the turns are by sliding the tails, and using that sliding and edging to control speed.  The inner ski was along for the ride with the tip being pushed around by the outside ski.

We certainly used to do lots of turns that involved jumping (not sure what they're really called) but it was much less dramatic than in the video.  We'd basically just jump the tails around.  One of the things we'd practice: first guy would go straight down a sement of a relatively steep trail with a wide stance leaving parallel tracks about two feet apart.  The rest of us would follow, trying to leave our tips between those tracks and our tails always outside them.... jumping the tails side to side.  Was a good time to be on shorter skis. :-)

As you suggest, that type of skiing was a lot of work.  Sure was fun though.  You quickly learned to pick a path in which you could use the bumps in the hill to help make your turns.

Quote:
Depends on how tight a turn you're trying to make.  A heavy edge set towards the bottom of the turn will pressure the tails more, but it's sometimes necessary to make a very tight arc.  Do you have an example of what you're talking about there?

I'm hesitant to post a link to specific videos on here given the methodology acronym wars that seem to flourish.  I'll see if I can find an anonymous YouTube video to link to.  But, in a nutshell, I'm still trying to figure out "speed control" and "new style."

I'm pretty confident that when I strap on some of these new shaped skis, carving turns on a green slope is not going to be that much of a challenge.  I'm also confident, at this point, that as soon as I get back into terrain like that shown in the video, I'm going to go right back to habit and be lifting the inner ski and swinging those tails around.  And, if the new skis aren't meant to be used that way (seems like I'll have much less edge to work with) then it ain't going to be pretty. (-:

I don't want to just ride the ski at whatever arc it's cut for and at whatever speed the incline of the hill would dictate.  With my "old" style I pick a path and a speed and use quick turns with pushing the tails, edge sets and jumps (if necessary) to make that happen.  What I fail to see (or at least grasp) in most discussions is how that is accomplished utilizing the new skis/style.  Besides wide traversals (which really aren't an option in many cases, IMO) how is one "supposed" to control speed, in terrain like that in the video using the new skis/style?


In a "stem" christie,...

In a "wedge" christie,... 

Again, thank you very much for the detailed distinction between the two.  That helped a lot and will help ensure I don't reinforce bad habits.  I'll tone down my unweighting when skiing with the kids.

I think a great thing to do would be to rent/demo some new skis and take a lesson with your kids.

You guys have convinced me to give it a try... even though, at this point, I'm much more sold on twin-tips being a good idea than shaped skis.  Nice not having to pay so much attention when skiing backwards....

Thanks again,

Mark
post #12 of 19
Quote:
That's a good point and is an important difference I didn't catch.  In my old-style skiing I never pick up the outside ski unless I'm jumping or avoiding something in the trail.  Thinking it through: I'm skiing the outside ski, controlling how sharp the turns are by sliding the tails, and using that sliding and edging to control speed.  The inner ski was along for the ride with the tip being pushed around by the outside ski.

That whole "slide the tail and then edge late in the turn" technique is rarely necessary anymore.  (As with anything, there are exceptions, even at high levels -- even top racers sometimes do this, at least a little, if they can't carve a tight enough turn to make the next gate.)

Quote:

I don't want to just ride the ski at whatever arc it's cut for and at whatever speed the incline of the hill would dictate.  With my "old" style I pick a path and a speed and use quick turns with pushing the tails, edge sets and jumps (if necessary) to make that happen.  What I fail to see (or at least grasp) in most discussions is how that is accomplished utilizing the new skis/style.  Besides wide traversals (which really aren't an option in many cases, IMO) how is one "supposed" to control speed, in terrain like that in the video using the new skis/style?

The simplest explanation is probably that, if you want to go slow, you should pick a path that makes you go slowly, and use the skis to follow it!  You can probably find a whole bunch of (hopefully useful) discussions on this topic if you search for "slow line" or "slow line fast".

One of the advantages of the new skis is that, if you need to, you can carve (or 'almost' carve, with a little skidding) some amazingly tight turns, even right down the fall line.  The more you tip the skis on edge, the smaller the effective radius of the ski will be.

In very steep, narrow areas, your options are more limited.  You probably can't carve a turn all the way around, either because you'd pick up a scary amount of speed, or you can't get the skis edged enough to make the turn radius that small.  Then you get into the sorts of specialized techniques they showed in that PSIA video you linked.  I don't really have access to that kind of terrain on a regular basis, so I'm not the best person to go into detail about it. 

If you're interested in the physics of why this all works, Ron Lemaster's new book "Ultimate Skiing" describes a lot of this in detail.  Painfully excruciating detail, at times. 
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, found a few videos, including one that shows a guy doing the type of "trailside skiing" we'd do all the time:

Skiing the spine

Regarding speed control and carving: Here's one by the same guy and another more focused on short turn carving.

In both, I'm struck by how much snow is being thrown from the tail of the skis.  It appears, to me, that the tails are sliding some and that is the primary thing regulating speed.

It's not that I'm always going to want to go slow.  I just want to be good enough to be able to.  To me, that's always been the epitome of skiing.  I vividly remember skiing some pretty challenging steep, icy trails in Vermont.  We'd get down them, without stopping,.. perhaps with a few run and recover moments, but we'd do ok.

Then, we'd watch these old guys, who seemed to us like they must be in their 70's come down.  It's like they were dancing with the hill.  They had this rythmic gracefulness... just masterfully in control.

-----

So, I've decided to at least demo a few of these fat, shapely skis, to see what the hype is all about.  Read a bunch of threads about skis that would be appropriate for the type of skiing I've been talking about, in typical east coast icy conditions, and it seems like reasonably narrow waisted skis (65-72mm) with a radius of 13-16 meters would fit the bill?  I'm 6'1 around 200 pounds so about 175cm?

I haven't looked at skis in 25 years so I don't have a clue what's in vogue these days but it looks like the Fischer RC4 and Head im 78 are popular options that might be appropriate?

Mark
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post


Ok, found a few videos, including one that shows a guy doing the type of "trailside skiing" we'd do all the time:

Skiing the spine

Regarding speed control and carving: Here's one by the same guy and another more focused on short turn carving.

In both, I'm struck by how much snow is being thrown from the tail of the skis.  It appears, to me, that the tails are sliding some and that is the primary thing regulating speed.

In that first video, he's showing a way to practice 'mogul' turns, and to me it looks like he is (deliberately) skidding the tails a little bit towards the end of them.

In that second video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0eSifKmyMc), there is definitely not much skidding at all.  (I wish I could snap off short turns that looked like that!)  To me, it looks like there is snow spraying up off his whole ski (or at least most of it) right at the apex of the turn -- it's throwing up a plume behind him because he's moving pretty fast, not because the skis are skidding.  He might be momentarily pressuring more the back of the ski as it comes around, but the speed control is from the ski arcing around, not any significant amount of skidding or sliding sideways.  Watch that segment from about 0:45 to 1:00 where the skier comes towards and past the camera and follow the skis.  No skidding; the tails follow the tips the whole way through those turns.

And then in that third video, he talks specifically about how he's demoing how not to wash out the tails.    Those close-up shots show him carving the skis around, but they're really quick!

Quote:
Read a bunch of threads about skis that would be appropriate for the type of skiing I've been talking about, in typical east coast icy conditions, and it seems like reasonably narrow waisted skis (65-72mm) with a radius of 13-16 meters would fit the bill?  I'm 6'1 around 200 pounds so about 175cm?

I haven't looked at skis in 25 years so I don't have a clue what's in vogue these days but it looks like the Fischer RC4 and Head im 78 are popular options that might be appropriate?

Those are the right dimensions for skis that will be good on ice.

The RC4 is a pretty aggressive racing ski; the Progressor 8+ or 9+ would probably be a little easier to handle.  The Head Monster im78 (now the "Peak 78" as of this year) is a little wider and more of an all-mountain ski; the SuperShape or SuperShape Magnum are more carving-focused and will hold better on ice.

Every mainstream ski manufacturer makes at least a couple models that will fit the bill.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
One of the things I noticed in the second video, particularly in the segment that begins at around 0:23 is that he's awfully close to jumping the tails around.  On the steeper sections there's certainly a fair amount of sideways displacement of snow:


and I can see how that would be effective at controlling speed.

One of the things that appeals to me about that video is how similar it is in "style" to what I'm accustomed to:
  • The turns are short and quick
  • There are no wide traversals of the hill
  • Shoulders remain facing down the hill
  • Good upper and lower body separation
  • Rythmic up and down movement associated with the turns.

What I'm having trouble figuring out is: if I want to ski in a fashion similar to that video with short tight turns, I still want to ski the trailsides, and the places I'm going to ski are inevitably going to be icy, what are the characteristics I should be looking for in new skis?

The only thing I'm pretty confident of is that I don't need a very fat ski... I don't expect to be seeing much powder except the piles that are pushed to the tops of the bumps.  More sidecut would seem to promote shorter, tighter turns... but, I suspect it wouldn't be as good on ice?  Mogul skis?  Going to have to see if I can find a chart somewhere showing characteristics vs. capabilities for all these new-fangled options.

Mark
post #16 of 19
Quote:

Quote:Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post

One of the things I noticed in the second video, particularly in the segment that begins at around 0:23 is that he's awfully close to jumping the tails around.  On the steeper sections there's certainly a fair amount of sideways displacement of snow:

and I can see how that would be effective at controlling speed.

Watching it again, in that segment he is making very aggressive 'crossunder' moves, and in a couple turns the skis do actually come off the snow a tiny bit through the transition.  However, it doesn't look like a pivoted turn entry to me -- the skis are edged (quickly) as he starts the turn and are definitely 'carving' through most or all of the turn.  There's still a lot of friction between the skis and the snow, which is slowing/turning the skis (and throwing up all that snow), but I'm not seeing any substantial sideways slipping of the skis.

If you want a more detailed opinion, you could try reposting that clip in the movement analysis forum.  There are probably some folks there who could break this down in more detail, and maybe explain it better than I can.

Quote:
One of the things that appeals to me about that video is how similar it is in "style" to what I'm accustomed to:

  • The turns are short and quick
  • There are no wide traversals of the hill
  • Shoulders remain facing down the hill
  • Good upper and lower body separation
  • Rythmic up and down movement associated with the turns.
 

Yep.  The laws of physics didn't change, and the same fundamental balancing skills and movements are still going to work.

Quote:
What I'm having trouble figuring out is: if I want to ski in a fashion similar to that video with short tight turns, I still want to ski the trailsides, and the places I'm going to ski are inevitably going to be icy, what are the characteristics I should be looking for in new skis?

The only thing I'm pretty confident of is that I don't need a very fat ski... I don't expect to be seeing much powder except the piles that are pushed to the tops of the bumps.  More sidecut would seem to promote shorter, tighter turns... but, I suspect it wouldn't be as good on ice?  Mogul skis?  Going to have to see if I can find a chart somewhere showing characteristics vs. capabilities for all these new-fangled options.

Mark

Very fat is definitely not what you want for that kind of skiing.  Basically, you'd want slalom skis -- narrow (65-70mm waist), fairly short radius (12-15m), and stiff (metal layers).  Narrow helps on ice, because it increases leverage on the edges and helps you get on them quicker.  (Lifter plates under the binding also increase leverage, and are common on race skis.)  More sidecut helps on ice to a point, as you have much better grip arcing on the edges than sliding.  Too much sidecut (which makes the 'natural' radius very small) makes it hard to carve longer turns.

For moguls you generally want something a little softer and less 'turny' (so wider and longer radius), since you have to absorb lots of vertical pressure and you usually are forced to skid more because of the limited space.  Very narrow, stiff skis sometimes have a tendency to 'hook up' and arc along the sidecut at inopportune times.  As you can imagine, that can cause problems in tight moguls.
post #17 of 19

aunidnr


To me some of the biggest differences in the new equipment is that (a) just put the skis over on edge and they turn you, (b) put them on edge and load the tips and that fat shovel pulls you around the turn.

I disagree with Mathias about making any sort of stem or wedge christie turn...it isn't needed, isn't wanted, and learning skiers pass through it without difficulty if it is never mentioned.  I find Chris Fellows (I know, a NAME) to be one of the absolutely least effective ski instructors.  I've never figured out what he's showing and how to apply it to either my skiing nor the skiing of one of my students.

When you try the new skis you'll have to neutralize some of your old habits.  You won't like the new skis if you ski them the old way.  If you learn how the skis are built to respond, you'll really like them.  With your size and energy level, probably 170 cm carving skis will work well.  I'm 6', 200#, advanced skier, and I pick one size  below the max offered in any ski line.  My 170 cm carving skis and 185 cm powder skis, both one size below the max in their lines, feel just right to me.  Head im78 skis are great all mountain skis, but they aren't ice carving skis.  Head SuperShapes or the older XRC1100/1200 and current Icon TT80 are great carvers.  The Fischer RC4 is a very high performance, unforgiving ski.  Not recommended for anyone who doesn't already know this ski.  The Fischer Progressor is a better choice.

You will have to give up the strong forward pressure you use.  You'll want moderate forward pressure to start the turn and center the pressure at the end of each turn.  You'll want to edge the skis smoothly and progressively.  You'll want the new skis on their new inside edges before the skis reach the fall line.  Near-total pressure on the outside ski is still good on hard snow.  None of this antique edge set business, now, unless tactically necessary, and it usually isn't.

Are you on antique boots, also?  Modern boots make a big difference.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yep, old Salomon Extreme boots.  Harder to get into than I remember but pretty comfortable once I get them on and I don't see any signs of plastic fatigue.  Very grateful to both of you for the ski suggestions.  I'll take a second look at the ones you've mentioned.

Over the past week I've probably read a couple hundred threads here on EpicSki.  There's a tremendous amount of information and I've certainly learned a great deal.  One of the things that's become clear is that my view of skiing is rather myopic, having only skied in the Northeast except for a few trips out to Whistler/Blackcomb.  Another is that the world of skiing has changed quite a bit:  in style, in equipment, in the amount of grooming of the hills, wider trails, and the addition of things like "parks" on the hill.

But, the most striking thing, to me, is how different, philosophically, my approach to skiing appears to be to many/most of the posters.  There are a preponderance of value-laden posts that seem to equate fast with "good" skiing and slow with "bad" skiing.

I was taught and subscribe to the notion that "good" skiing is the art of masterful control.  That is, being able to pick a path and fluidly ski down a trail, regardless of terrain or obstacles, fully in control, without hesitation or stopping.

Skiing fast was fine... and fun.  But, the emphasis was balance and control.  It was reasonably easy with strong legs and moderate skill to shoot down a steep trail section and recover down below.  It was much harder, and required a much different skill set to follow the path someone else picked down a steep, icy, bumpy, obstacle laden trail (avoiding the yard sales, for instance)... at the speed they dictated.

My impression is that, with the newer equipment, skiers are being taught to ski much faster, much sooner than they used to be and that the skillset required to ski more varied terrain by precisely controlling the path of the skis and being able to adjust to unexpected events/circumstances seems to have been de-emphasized.

I went and purchased helmets for all my kids this week, since pretty much all the other kids on the hill seem to have them.  Haven't figured out yet whether the helmets are primarily to protect the kids from their own mistakes or from the recklessness of others.  Either way it seems like they ought to have "Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects" emblazoned upon them.

Mark
Edited by aunidnr - 1/28/10 at 1:05am
post #19 of 19
Part of skiing fast(er) with the new skis is because they carve so easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aunidnr View Post

I was taught and subscribe to the notion that "good" skiing is the art of masterful control.  That is, being able to pick a path and fluidly ski down a trail, regardless of terrain or obstacles, fully in control, without hesitation or stopping.

I would agree with that still today.

Good idea about buying the kids helmets. My son has always worn one. Then my wife got one. Once I discovered how comfortable and warm they are I bought one too. I don't ski any differently - nor do they - but a little protection for the noggin can't be a bad thing.
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