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More Powder Skiing (Video)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Since DangerousBrian doesn't think we talk enough about powder skiing, and since there are only three threads that have been active all day, I took the liberty of concocting and uploading a quickie video of some powder skiing from last year. Since it didn't add any to the file size, I also added a soundtrack called "Pulverschnee und Gipfelwind". I know what pulverschnee is, but I have no idea what gipfelwind is...

Anyway, the video is here: http://home.mindspring.com/~swass/movies/ click on Pulverschnee.mov. It is 5.8MB streaming, and it took me 1/2 hour to upload on dial-up, so if you're on dial-up you might not want to bother.

The skiers:
Skier 1 is in powder snow for the first time ever this week. This is probably his 3rd day. He has never (to my knowledge) had a lesson and grew up skiing at Mountain Creek (before it was Mountain Creek) but he is super athletic. If it matters any he is on Atomic BetaCarv 9.18s.

Skier 2 has also had very limited powder skiing experience. She also skiied all day the day before while the other two took the day off. She skiied better the day before when she was less tired. She is on K2 T:Nines.

Skier 3 has been living in Colorado ski towns for the last decade and so has vastly more powder skiing experience. He also broke his patella last fall and developed tendonitis while recovering from surgery. He was hurting pretty bad by this point in the trip. He is on Volkl G31s.

The idea here is that by watching some non-ski-gods, we'll see more of the common problems in powder skiing, and we can discuss ways to correct them. I'd also like to know if anyone sees an alignment problem in any of the skiers.

[ October 25, 2002, 09:25 PM: Message edited by: epic ]
post #2 of 13
The "Gipfel" is the peak/summit/or high point of a mountain.
post #3 of 13
Great idea Epic,

I couldn't get the link to work at first until I deleted "Pulverschee.mov" from the end of the link, maybe this works better ... http://home.mindspring.com/~swass/mo...lverschnee.mov

post #4 of 13

I looked at the videos. First question: what differences do you see between the skiing examples in your video and the one AltaGirl posted?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
A heck of a lot more snow!

As for the skiing, I was thinking it would be more fun to see what the experts say. Even so, I will say this skier1 seems to be in the backseat a lot of the time. I'm not sure if you can see it in the tiny video, but in the real thing you can see his inside ski tip pop out of the snow when he turns.

Skier2 needs to go faster. As far as I am concerned she is a classic example of turninbg to slow down instead of "skiing the slow line fast".

Skier3 looks pretty good to me.
post #6 of 13
post #7 of 13
Yessir, that would be the big difference. The one guy is actually skiing powder. The others are skiing cut powder, and a lot less of it. There's a difference. He has the advantage, in that he is moving through a significant, consistent substance and is able to point 'em down the fall-line with confidence that the substance will hold him back. He is obviously "writing checks his body CAN cash."

In contrast, the three in the video are picking and choosing, skiing cautiously. Excuse me, #3 is skiing carefully. Note that flow is compromised by the limited options for finding trackless for turning. Still, I guess the three ski pretty close to that on piste as well: the first two somewhat halting in their progress down the hill and the third letting it flow.

You're the third skier?

[ October 26, 2002, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
No, I'm holding the camera.
post #9 of 13
Wow, nice examples of beginner, intermediate and advanced skiing in powder. But the powder is only shin deep (I will take that any day however [img]smile.gif[/img] ) so the skiing should be just like on packed/groomed.

I did not see much caution/hesitation by the third skier. Clearly this person has no issues with this terrain.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Those two skiers do not struggle like that on the groomed though, so there must be some difference.

I'm just guessing, but this is probably more like the snow that DB was talking about. After all, how many of us get the chance to ski bottomless pow? On second thought, don't answer that! I don't wanna know. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ October 27, 2002, 06:23 AM: Message edited by: epic ]
post #11 of 13
Now that the experts have commented I'ill say a few (probably too many) words, some of which might even make some sense.

Agree with Nolo and TomB, the powder isn't deep enough to warrant full powder technique. The snow I skied in last week was up to my knees at times, probably more like the deeper stuff at the end of the run.

First Skier - Hands look too close to the body, very little swing in the pole plant (compare it to the determined pole plants of the skier Alta girl posted). Doesn't look to be a lot of flexion/extension, think he would need to spring those boards a bit more in deep pow. When he hits the untracked snow at the end of his run he first loses balance and then falls. I think he tensed up after the first off balance. He wanted to go (his) left but his ski's went right and won (as usual). A more experienced skier would of probably got over the skis in a relaxed manor or sprung a turn in at this point to recover. Looks to be having fun, doubt it will be too long before he's skiing more like No3.

Second Skier - Very tense, pole plant is with little effort sometimes out of sync or not even there at all. Standing on skis, very little if any hip angulation. She is being spun from the feet up instead of flowing into the turn, this seems to be forcing her to the outside of the turn. In powder a lot of learner skiers leave too much weight on the ski and try to muscle the ski round at this point. She would also probably struggle in deep powder turning that sharp across the fall line. Her skis probably wouldn't stay together in powder as they are often not paralell - in a wedge at times. But my skiing goes off when I'm tired too.

Third Skier - Carves the first few turns much the same as he would on the hard groomed and then starts a bit of Powder technique. Looks pretty smooth, much better with the pole plant but lets his hands get behind him sometimes. Much better hip angulation and flexing.

Would like to see a clip of them all in deeper snow.

Skier in Altagirls clip - Flows into each turn - aided by the far forward reaching pole plant (dictated by the steeper terrain). Doesn't permanently stand on his skis and can't even see them most of the time. Has the right feeling and flex, pressuring and bending the skis in a controlled manor. He never surprises the ski with a sharp reaction, never tries to skid them. He relaxes his legs and allows them to flex at the right times too, allowing them to cross under him when required. Every turn is like landing on an unforeseen slippery mattress, each mattress could have a different stiffness/flex, he feels each one and acts accordingly. He feels the tempo of the snow and goes with the flow.


[ October 27, 2002, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: DangerousBrian ]
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by DangerousBrian:

Would like to see a clip of them all in deeper snow.

So would I. [img]smile.gif[/img] Maybe this is the year.
post #13 of 13

Not that I have a NEED to be right, but I amended "cautious" to "careful," to explain that #3's path was a tactical choice in search of fresh, not a technical deficiency.


Nice description of powder skiing.


You are saying that gross movements can work in powder. Ye-e-s. But. Powder REWARDS refined movements and PUNISHES gross movements. That's why it's important to get across to powder wanna-bes that there is no substitute for experience, experiment, and awareness. The mountain and its medium are the most effective teachers, if the student is attentive. The problem is the interference, as I tried to get across in my dissertation: the noise that blocks the feedback loop from snow/ski/body/mind/body/ski/snow. The noise may come from various sources: negative self-talk; brain-freeze; lack of bodily-kinesthetic awareness; what my mother called "beans in your ears"--all the bad advice you've been given or picked up through faulty observation; etc. etc. That's where expert instruction can add definite value to the learning experience, by separating the information from the noise, focusing your attention, and helping you interpret and then respond to the feedback (creating movement chains or stimulus-response links that promote automaticity).

[ October 27, 2002, 08:39 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
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