Originally Posted by TomB
Ghost: Different strokes for different folks. Impressive lines, and gutsy, but I am more impressed by the skill shown in these turns.
Yes, WC skiers are damn impressive, but the difference is that many of us can ski that run with no problems. It will be far slower of course, but most of us can handle that run. Few of us would however take the risks that extreme skier take where a fall, even at slow speeds, could result in a huge disaster.
I actually wonder if most of us
could ski that run in the condition that you see it in the video
. Gate keepers and course crew require crampons to maneuver on that track. Experienced course crew on skis are challenged. Go to an injected slope and try to ski it. If you come with your sharpest SL skis, you will have a chance to ski it if you can get them to edge
. Anything else and it will be a slide for life.
I have as much respect for big mountain skiers as I do for WC skier. Big mountain skiers are skiing gracefully because skiing is, when done well, a graceful sport. What they are thinking, I believe, is more about how to make it to the cliff, over the cliff and continue; making it and getting in as much terrain as possible. If they make it it will absolutely be cool. If they don't, well, it goes in Warren's blooper reels. They end up making 10 turns instead of 100 or 200 down a 500m face because once they get up to speed, they have to maintain it and it is exciting to watch. Making a lot of turns is how I'd ski the same location and I'd avoid the mandatory air.
Both of these category of skiers is beyond the PSIA 1-9 scale, of course. I agree with davluri that we can't readily compare the two disciplines to each other directly.
When there is a cross over it generally is from racer to free skier, not the other way. This is probably dictated more by a 'change of interests' than a 'talent required' basis. Both racers and free skiers have to develop an impressive arsenal of skills to survive and make it look easy. Both racers and free skiers have to overcome instinctive fears and go for it in the face of danger and possible annihilation.
But I'd put my money on Rahlves in a free skiing competition over Morrison in a DH.