or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:


post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Just looking for advice .....

When carving on the groomed and then hitting ice patches sometimes I go down quicker than the Titanic. I was concentrating on getting smooth fast carves down and it's not always posible to see every ice patch (some are so big or long that's it's not possible to miss them). Sometimes I just lose my intended line of travel because I ease off the pressure.

Should I be ......

1) Putting more weight on the outside ski so it digs into the ice more? If so should I drop into the turn more and increase the edge angle?

2) Ease off the pressure and travel at a tangent to my intended line of travel until I have gone over the ice? if so what happens if the ice never ends?

3) Side slipping / Skarving the ice and reducing my speed until I can carve at a slower safer speed?

4) Something else?


post #2 of 35
4) Something else.

The key is to avoid the ice patches. You can pretty much always see them... they have a slight gray coloration. On eastern bullet-proof, I tend to ski glued to the edge of the trail and rarely ski in the middle.

Oh, and most strong skiers can present the illusion that they're carving a perfect turn on rock hard ice patches when they're actually skidding them. If you have racing background with the proper skis in perfect tune, you can probably carve on even the firmest stuff. The other 99.9% of the population turns where there's snow. Of course, it's all relative. What I think is perfectly carvable hardpack, others might call unskiable bullet-proof... and vice versa.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 04:52 AM: Message edited 1 time, by GeoffD ]</font>
post #3 of 35

We have ice in Oz ... lots and a nice blue colour.

I would choose #1.

Increase edge angle through the lower leg and increase angluation through the upper body to keep the pressure centred on the edge. Sometimes called a hip check.

Smoothly and with control ride the edge through the turn. If it is slipping too much then move the hip in and the shoulder out so the pressure is over the edge more.

If it is a big patch do not try and hold the edge toooo long but rather make the new turn. If there is no platform suck the legs up to initiate the new turn.

If it is a piste to cat track transition with speed involved then hold the edge as long as possible then go with the release (skid)until softer snow is found on the edge of the track.

If that fails .... well ....

If in the US grab the closest tree branch as you go off ... and if in Europe leave a pole on the track so the patrol knows where you went off ......

Stay calm, centred and on the instep is my best advice.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 35
When skiers are not use to skiing much ice they tend to bank their turns more thus weighting the inside ski too much.
My answer would be to angulate more with the upper body allowing more edge and making no sudden moves like putting on the breaks or shortening the turn. Easy does it on ice and have fun carving it.
post #5 of 35
As Pierre, eh! hints, the real secret to ice is maintaining your balance.

You do not want to edge "harder". This tends to make you tense up and then you're less likely to be able to respond to balance challenges.

You can attempt to avoid ice patches if that's the circumstance that you face, but if it's ice fields, you just can't pick your way on the "good" snow.

Generally speaking, you want to dial back on the gung-ho performance and make rounded, skidded turns that allow you to control speed while staying balanced with your skis rather than making turns that are based on "stand against a biting edge" techniques.
post #6 of 35
I agree with GeoffD avoid the ice as much as possible. Don’t use goggles or sunglasses with a polarized lens. Polarized lenses cut out glare. I recognize ice as glare among the snow. I used a pair of polarized sunglasses one day last season and had a horrible time spotting the ice patches. The polarized lenses work great on a boat, but leave them in the car when you go skiing.

No, you always can’t avoid the ice, but if you can’t see the difference between snow and ice you can’t help but ski over the ice. Proper technique and the proper choice in equipment helps, this includes goggles and sunglasses.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 07:54 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Jim O'D ]</font>
post #7 of 35

Have you ever seen anyone fall forward when hitting an ice patch? Probably not. That is because most people do #1 when hitting ice. My advice:

If you are not advanced/expert it is best to somewhat decrease edge angle by moving your CM over your skis and skid/skarve it out. This goes against human nature, but by moving the CM aggressively forward (using angulation and your arms) you are ensuring that you don't fall to the inside of the turn.
post #8 of 35
DB first off even Maier couldn't carve eastern Ice on dull skis. Make sure that your skis are sharp. Not ski shop sharp. Nail shaving, thumb slicing sharp.

Try really committing to your outside edge. lift the inside ski if you need to. Just make sure that you have lots of pressure over that outside ski. All that 60/40 , 50/50 pressure might work well in soft snow and regular groomed but on true hard pack you need to be committed.

Note: I'm not suggesting you ski like this all the time but use it as sort of a drill to get a feel for it.
post #9 of 35
My two cents is in response to #4.

You could get some of the shorts with the padded hips, some elbow pads and a helmet. Then you could just go with the flow
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice,

Yes if I have the choice I ski on snow rather than ice. But there are times when I have to deal with ice, in these instances I would like to do the right things.

If I pressure the outside ski won't that result in a tighter arc or is it just pulse pressure so I can cut into the ice?

Pierre & Kneale have said 'balance don't bank'. I can understand that banking is the last thing I want to do but do you mean balance on one or two ski's?

TomB's suggestion makes a lot of sense as I always fell into the backseat. Should I be moving the pressure forward as soon as I see, feel and hear the ice?

Mattw the ski's were recently shop serviced but I am reading up on how to sharpen my own.

What do learners 'typically' do wrong on ice?
post #11 of 35
Ice- can be your friend! Some good advice already given but you ask what do most people do? They get tense! and this causes the problem. When you get tense you stop moving if you stop moving you get back and static. To much pressure is pushing against the ski instead of moving with it. (think of cutting hot bread or ripe tomato. Do you have more luck pushing the knife straight down or do you slice it back and forth?) there lies the answer. Stay loose as you ski with functional tension and stay loose as you cross ice. Keep the skiing moving forward. Also the idea of increasing edge angle really depends on what you already have. I find most of the time people have better luck decreasing edge angle not increasing this disapates some pressure so that the edge is less likely to break loose. Keep your skis tuned and as they say in the East "You either slice and dice or your just making ICE!!!) Good luck
post #12 of 35
Technique does come into play when skiing on ice but, a HUGE factor it the skies your wearing! Some skies are absolutely fabulous on ice. It feels like your wearing ice skates instead of skies.
Some ski's that I've owned that fit into this category are my long gone Fisher SL worldcups. They were awesome on ice! Most SL skies rip on ice. My current Atomic 9.20's, are fair on ice.

On the other side of the picture, my Head Cyberspace super carving ski, absolutely sucks on ice. The ski is soft so it likes to carve on soft snow. But put it on hard white/blue ice and it's just to soft, the edges want to roll over and flatten out. The ski doesn't have enough torsional stiffness.

Point being, no matter how good your skills are, sometimes your skies just can't cut it!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 11:18 AM: Message edited 1 time, by HarryO ]</font>
post #13 of 35
Pull your free foot up towards your chest and you'll keep your grip.
post #14 of 35
First of all, lets assume that the "ice" we are talking about here is not the type where you would be hard pressed to chip it with an ice ax, or where (say) a half-inch thickness would look clear, not white. Rather, I assume we are really talking about is well metamorphized hardpack (ie, typical EasternFirm (TM)). Examples of this would be found on an Eastern trail after its been scraped down to the base by heavy traffic, or when the day has been above freezing but the night has been below freezing.

I feel that by far, the best (and safest) way to ski this stuff is to carve it. Just like in other carving situations, if you want to descend the mountain a few feet at a time, a good short radius carve will let you do exactly this.

If you are a good carver in other conditions, you can actually learn to carve on this stuff as well. One of the most important factors that I have found is to try to remove all traces of skidding from your turn initiations. Be patient and carve smoothly into every turn. Then, hold the carve all they way around the turn. The reason is that once you are skidding sideways, even a tiny bit, it can be very difficult to stop the skidding and switch your motion into a carve.

Even if you have adequate total and critical edge angles, if you have any significant sideways velocity component, you downhill ski will keep jumping out of the little ledge in the snow that its edge is trying to make, and you will never stop your skid until you shave off enough ice to come to nearly a complete stop.

OTOH, if you start with a carve, you tend to stay in it. Sometimes, if I am having trouble breaking out of a skid on ice, I will let 'em run straight down the hill for a bit to stop any skidding and get a bite, then start gradually building up larger and larger carves to control my descent.

Contrary to what I even used to think, if you want to carve on "ice", you no longer need the world's stiffest skis. Up to a point, having some longitudinal flex helps reduce the radius of the carve, and that means you get turned around before you pick up too much speed in the fall line, get scared and bail out. OTOH, in my book, you can never have too much torsional stiffness. A small sidecut radius helps in exactly the same way.

Proper canting is also surprisingly important in hardpack (aka, ice) carving technique. Even an extra degree or so goes directly into the critical edge angle that is exactly what you want to maximize. The same goes for other seemingly minor things like a flat base bevel (vs 1 degree), a 2 degree side bevel (vs 1 degree), etc.

After a while, you actually get to like this stuff, if for no other reason than you tend to have the mountain almost toally to yourself when its icy.

Tom / PM

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 12:48 PM: Message edited 2 times, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #15 of 35
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Pull your free foot up towards your chest and you'll keep your grip. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


We've been in general agreement lately, but for my official 1000th post, I must return to the grand old tradition of disagreeing with you! Well, not entirely....

The move you have suggested here, to me represents perhaps the biggest difference between today's current and up-and-coming top racers (Hermann Maier, for example), and those of the very recent past, some of whom are still competitive (I might put von Gruenigen in this category, although a few years earlier to Girardelli or the Mahres would be more obvious).

We have had many discussions over stance width, and one-footed vs. two-footed skiing, over the past year. Some have suggested that today's racers "try" to ski with equal weight on both skis, whereas the "previous generation" (Mahres, et al) skied exclusively from outside ski to outside ski. I don't agree with either part of that statement, but I do see a change, and it surfaces most obviously when racers hit a patch of ice....

In the Mahre's day, they would do exactly as you describe. They would balance (usually) on the outside ski. If it slipped away, they would pull up on the inside leg and increase the angulation of their upper body out over the outside ski, to regain balance exclusively on the outside ski.

I see Hermann Maier still balanced primarily over the outside ski, usually, but not nearly so conscientiously! Like a car, as long as everything is holding well, the weight goes naturally to the outside, and Maier lets it go there. But when HE hits a patch of ice and the outside ski slips a bit, he doesn't do ANYTHING! His inside ski, which was mimicing the outside ski in angle and direction while riding gently on the snow, immediately starts to grip and bear as much, or as little, weight as it needs. Because Maier's stance and accuracy with both legs are so consistent and precise, and because today's skis don't require as much pressure to bend for carving, Maier simply doesn't need to CARE which ski(s) he carves with!

If you buy this thought, it can greatly simplify your skiing! Focus on accurate movements of both feet and legs, so that both skis are available for work at any moment. Develop steering and edging skills that keep both skis parallel and tipped equally, and keep them both on the snow. The same movements will work in almost any snow condition now, from ice to bottomless fluff! On firm, grippy, groomed snow, the weight will go to the outside ski, as I said. On ice, both skis may come into play, as needed. In powder, where both skis are IN the snow, not on it, you need make no adjustment to keep the pressure even on both of them.

This last point, especially, is key. Previously, the conventional advice held that powder was an exception to the rule, where you had to "switch" to two-footed balance instead of one-footed balance. And you always had to decide, based on how deep and soft the powder was, which strategy to use.

Now, you don't have to change anything! The exact same movements that created one-footed balance on the groomed snow will create even, two-footed balance in powder!

As I mentioned, a lot of this change is related to equipment. "Older" skis were so stiff that they really required all your weight, and then some, focused on one ski to get it to bend sufficiently. Now even full-bore race skis are much softer and, combined with their radical sidecuts, they bend easily enough that we can bend both of them at the same time.

So I don't really disagree with your statement, SCSA, but I suggest that we have other options as well!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 

Yes I've seen a few racers lose the outside ski yet still keep it together on the inside ski alone. Don't they also throw their arms forward at the same time? At the time they lose the outside ski I would imagine they experience a slight lateral movement which the inside ski has to 'catch'. Won't the inside ski bend with the increased pressure at the same time the skier is trying cut a new grove? In this instance do the racers cut the new grove with only the front of the ski and then let the rest of the ski follow or would they need to cut into the ice (with the inside ski) with both tip and tail?

I'm thinking the 1000 steps exercise on ice might help .....

post #17 of 35
Just took a break to read this thread. If I might be so bold I'd like to add something to Bob and Tom's suggestions. Smooth and seamless edge transition is obviously quite critical to holding a carve on ice. My own understanding and ability noticeable improved while skiing this past spring on some early morning glacier runs (definitely "ice" by anyones definition). Here, I learned that in addition to the things mentioned I needed to get my little toe edge of the new inside ski engaged as early as possible. While I also recognized I could try and angulate (definitely not lean) to get a greater edge angle on the new outside ski like Bob suggested some racers do, that proved more difficult as I reached my (current) limits of angulation but (at least with my wider midfat skis) still couldn't get enough bite to hold a carve.

I think this is essentially what Bob described Maier as doing on a dynamic, as needed basis. For a mere mortal like myself I found that VERY early engagement of the new inside little toe edge made a very noticeable difference in my by ability to hold my skis on the ice. From a theoretical sense I would say that with all else equal the less time you spend in transition with the new inside ski flat the less pressure you put on the new outside ski and the less likely you are to skid out.
post #18 of 35

I would say that you should move your CM forward ASAP. Remember that unless you are in a solid carve, the skis normally accelerate from under you when ice takes you by surprise. Moving your CM forward over your edges and decreasing edge angle offsets this acceleration and promotes balance. I also disagree with lifting the inside ski when hitting ice. If anything keep both edges engaged and keep feet apart.

This advice is for intermediate skiers (I am assuming that DB is in this category and I apologize if that is incorrect) who cannot be expected to carve expertly on ice (yet). Otherwise, I am in general agreement with PhysicsMan.
post #19 of 35
Everyone has some good feedback for dealing with ice.

When I show students how to angulate vs. banking I have had them standing on a steeper section of the slope. I have one stand below me and I hold on to the pole baskets, they the grips. I counter my hips and angulate while the student pulls. The harder they pull the more I can angulate, I explain. After that we do some traverses to learn how to create angles and what angulation feels like. Students can't bank from a traverse, they CAN angulate. We try to make 'clean' parallel tracks.

Another thought... hitting a patch of ice causes all the forces (other than gravity) acting between you and your skis to diminish. This leaves a banked skiier on their side, but an angulated skiier canmaintain balance. One can angulate (statically) without losing balance. I can't bank too far without falling over.
post #20 of 35
Along with the info you have already received, skis can be tuned to provide more edge grip. By using a side bevel different than the 90 degrees a lot of skis come with can improve the grip on hard snow or ice. However, you will have to tune more often.
post #21 of 35
Well, as a coach at an eastern mountain, blessed with true eastern packed powder, know in the civilized world as ICE, I seem to spend a lot of time teaching higher level students how to handle these conditions. By the way, we regard the surface as ICE only if a newspaper can be read through it.
Basically, my philosophy on ice is:
Stay soft
Keep turning

To teach students I play the slide game:

Ride the slide
Guide the slide
Hide the slide

Ice can be a blast to ski if you can remain soft, balanced and relaxed. Tension, or hard strong movements are very destabilizing.
It is OK to slide!
post #22 of 35
DB, I used to tell student when skiing ice to imagine they were skiing on raw eggs and to not make any movement harsh enough to break an egg. It's quite easy to ski ice if you are in balance, as everyone told you, and even if you break loose, you should slide with it until you can get a grip again.

Someone above told you quite correctly that as you feel a slide coming on, an outstretched arm and increased angulation (NOT to increase the edge angle but to bow the CM over the skis so they don't slide out from under you) will allow you to stay over your ski as it slides. But like driving a car on ice, you may do fine until you make a harsh move, and once the tires lose traction, all you can do is ride with it.

So try not to make scrambled eggs


post #23 of 35
I have had some interesting experiences with ice over the years, as a result of where i ski. My most recent was when i was skiing with a coach last season, and we were at the top of a fairly steep groomed hill, and it was literally a sheet of ice (wher it was only about 6" you could see the grass through it). The first time i tried to carve down this like he was instructing me to, i fell, and slid to the bottom, he said it was because i let my uphill ski be weighted too much, so i lost the edge on my downhill ski.

Now on the contrary to this obviously disheartening experience with ice, some fo the best days i have had skiing have been on ice. If it is smooth ice you can make some of the most perfect carved turns that you have ever layed down in your life. It requires that youre centered over your skis and you ski very smooth, but if you follow everyone's advice that they have given you so far, you should be able to ski ice quite well. Once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy some good old hardpack, or as we refer to it in the east as packed powder
post #24 of 35
Like HarryO........ I've got to second the motion on SL's. A Volkl or Atomic with that 3 degree bevel helps too!
post #25 of 35
Well this is what I figured out after 6 seasons at Sugarloaf "the coldest place on earth" and often on what we call "LOUD POWDER".

Keep the downhill hand low. Like a bull rider trying to balance with a wild arm flail is certain death.

Less is more stay light in your feet and listen to the snow with your feet in a sence

Stay over your feet. less into the turn with hip and more in with ankles and knees.

above all else carving skis will continue carving. Skidding skis will buck you off and you will never get a bell ride.
post #26 of 35
Having grown up in VT I remember true. Living in Tahoe it's not an issue too often. What people call ice here, I remember in VT that we'd think the same was ripper.

I think there have been a lot of really good comments here for sure. Here are my pennies to pot:

I agree with physics guy a lot. Short turns are consistantly easier. The sharp "hit" at the end of turn works well for edge grip. You need a patient trasition, it does not have be long, just patient. Over steering the skis to just throw them through the falline will likely result in a big skid. Be patient and focus on pressure on the outside ski after the falline.

On longer turns, a good solid carve works well. Again patient transition is key so you carve the arc early; lead the edge with the inside foot light. No over steering, let the draw naturally into the turn. Stay balanced and keep the inside foot at an equal edge angle and tracking parallel with the outside foot but lightly on the snow for balance. If you lose it mid-turn in a long turn, I really like the idea of getting the CM out laterally over the outside foot to max pressure.

Lastly, well tuned skis do significantly better then burred up old rock sparkers, so give your skis lots of love. They like hot wax and mill bastards.

BTW in case anyone doesn't know it: a "mill bastard" is a brand of flat file.

post #27 of 35
Several people (myself included) have all suggested "smooth movements", "act like your are skiing on eggs", etc..

To flesh out this recommendation a bit, I would say that two movements one should definitely NOT make suddenly on ice are:

1) any strong sideways push of the skis;

2) any strong rotary (unless it is to get the skis pointed in the same direction you are sliding in preparation to trying to carve);

OTOH, I think that a quick change in knee and ankle angulation (but not banking) is perfectly fine, and often is necessary.

Tom / PM
post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for more good advice,

When I fell on ice I used to fall to the inside of the turn mainly because I probably got really tense, banked and then psst'd out (panic, scrap, scrap thud).

I now seem to slide out the back of the turn remaining on two feet and retaining both ski's. It's as if my ski's accelerate away from me and put me in the back seat. On normal snow I would try to catch up but on ice at higher speeds I either

1) resign and make a defensive controlled decent breaking with my butt just uphill of the ski tails. (A quick swing of the legs with a push off and I'm on the move again).


2) skid to a scrapping halt using both inside edges as the brakes.

One of the things I noticed as my carving on 'normal snow' got better was how much quieter my ski's were. How silent/quiet should my ski's be on ice?

I thought a 90 degree edge was best for ice not a bevelled edge, please explain. I'm on 2002 Atomic 9.18's anybody know the standard bevel angles of these ski's - if any?

I suppose I just need to get out on the hill again and try the above suggestions. It would make it a lot easier if you could all come along skiing with me next time

Thanks again


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 30, 2001 04:46 AM: Message edited 1 time, by DangerousBrian ]</font>
post #29 of 35
DB, having the skis scoot ahead of you and putting you in the bak seat should never happen, ice or snow.

There is YOU, the person, the skis and the snow. All that skiing is about is taking YOU, the person, down the hill on the snow.

YOU use the skis to deflect YOUR body into different directions in which it is moving presently via the ski's various resistance to your direction of travel by manipulating edge angles.

And you should ALWAYS feel that it is YOU who is moving down the slope and that you are dragging the skis with you because they are attached to you. So if YOU, your body, is being pulled by gravity you must imagine that the skis, were they not attached to your feet, wouldn't move and they only move because you are pulling them with you.

That way you will never sit back, because if you do, you are not skiing, you are being skied, a mere guest who's being given a ride on the skis.

post #30 of 35
I admit I only skimmed through some of this long thread, but did anyone mention getting your weight forward anticipating the ice? I mean more than you'd normally do to initiate a turn. This does 2 things, first you'll keep up with your skis when they accelerate on the ice, and second it'll counteract the intimidation (especially if you're dreading skiing ice). Just where you want to keep your weight while turning depends on your equipment, but if you don't move forward you'll be in the backseat instantly. And load up your downhill ski; Another tip; if you want to get good at skiing ice, work on it. spend some time not avoiding ice and learn how the transition feels. Depending on where you ski, it might be a necessary ability; and its a shame to forgo some awesome line just because of some ice!

Editted: Do you have footbeds? if not your feet might not be pointing the right direction! much more important on firm stuff than powder.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 02, 2001 07:54 AM: Message edited 1 time, by NewHampie ]</font>
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching