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Speed Controlon narrow trails?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi epicskiiers! First post here, after some months of sans-account lurking. Quick background: Started skiing when I was 5-6, I'm now 16. Live and ski in the NE, except for a week in Utah/Colorado most years.

I have a question regarding speed control on very narrow trails. What I mean is, the trails that wend their way through trees and aren't wide enough to properly turn in without smacking trees with your skis. Actually, I think I'm lacking the ski vocabulary to accurately describe what I mean, but I want to say....a chute? Anyway, the point is, it's narrow, usually scraped of powder, and made concave by other skiers skidding through them.

When these have any steepness to them, I find myself unsure of how to handle them while controlling my speed and end up either awkwardly skidding my way through somehow, or resorting to old "pizza" and, well, awkwardly skidding my way through.

What I wanted to know was, is there any way to handle these properly without looking like an idiot, maybe with a little more grace?

Hope this question makes sense. Thanks.
post #2 of 9
 hop turn and skid turns should work unless its just to narrow...

how narrow we talking here 2 ski lengths? 1.5 ski length? little over 1 ski length? less than one ski lengtht?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ummm, i guess i would say in the 1.5-2, maybe down to 1 on a tight one, ski length area.

post #4 of 9
Was about to ask the same question. 
post #5 of 9
I'm pretty sure you are asking about is 'glades' or trails through the woods in the east that develop into luge-like runs.

Ski moguls. When you can control your speed in bumps, take it into the woods. Same skill set, in the woods you'll have to add ducking and weaving to the bag of tricks.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah that's what I mean. Thanks a lot.
post #7 of 9
One way to go slowly down a steep narrow trail is to quickly alternate between left and right brake checks.  Skis remain parallel, as you alternate between braking with the left and right edges of your skis. One step above side-slipping.

You can also pressure the tips and stuff them a bit to "simi-carve" to get the skis pointing left and right so they can perform the brake check on their right and left  edges. A couple of extra steps above sideslipping.  Check out Nailbender's svmm qct thread if you don't think you can figure out how to do it on your own. 
post #8 of 9
Welcome to EpicSki, Edgtastic!

There are--always--only two ways to slow down: "direction" (going uphill) and "friction" (increasing sliding resistance--braking and skidding, generally, although falling down and running into things also falls into this broad category).

(And yes, I apologize in advance to the physics purists out there who will rightly insist that "friction" isn't always the correct term for what I've described. But it rhymes, so I use it. Deal with it!)

If you've got room to make the turn needed to go uphill, that is generally the first choice of good skiers. If you don't, you either brake, or you go fast! As the trail narrows closer to just one ski length in width, you obviously lose the ability to make a rounded turn and glide uphill.

"Hop turns" may be the only way to control speed in very narrow chutes. These are turns in which you hop, pivot your skis up to 180 degrees in the air, and land on your new edges, with no forward movement. When it's extremely narrow (1 ski length), you must be able to control the pivot point of your skis, even in hop turns, so your skis pivot about their centers. If you just hop your tails around, pivoting around the tips, you will need more width.

In truth, few inbound runs will require this level of precision and defensive braking. But steep, narrow chutes can. If the chute becomes even narrower than your ski length, you are pretty much out of luck. All you may be able to do then is point 'em down the hill and let 'em go, until the chute widens out enough to either turn or brake.

Practice hop turns (also known as "spiess") on easy groomed runs at first. Try to make clean tracks and to land balanced cleanly on your new edges, without any forward motion of your skis. Practice to make both skis lift off the snow at the same moment, and that the skis remain somewhat level (not just the tips or tails come off the snow). The pivot points should be under your feet. A well-timed, solid pole plant can help with timing, and can help stabilize your upper body as you pivot your legs and skis.

Recognize, though, that as a skiing technique, spiess is not something you probably want to do most of the time. It's an extreme tactic for extreme situations.

Best regards,
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Cool, thanks to all for the answers. Guess I've got a bit work to do if I want to learn to stuff like this properly.
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