New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

No Hill Too Fast

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just got back from a season ending ski trip, and wanted to follow up on some reading material I took along. Comments on "Climb To Conquer" available here in case that might be of interest. I also read the 1985 Phil and Steve Mahre autobiography "No Hill Too Fast". As someone who has really just gotten into skiing this past season I was interested from the perspective of learning more about skiing history, but also wanted to glean what I could from the advice offered by these champion racers.

 

The book more or less alternates chapters of personal history with attempts to pass along skiing techniques and tactics used in racing but usable by the recreational skier. This is not a book about (traditional) powder skiing! It's mostly oriented around carving clean turns by working the skis independently and getting on and pressuring that downhill ski! The mantra is speed: it's your friend and you need it to progress! These guys are racers, speed is their hammer, every problem a nail, e.g. "And if I'm skiing bumps, they might just as well be five feet high. Then I'll go from top to top of the bumps, using a lot of knee absorption."

 

(Steve qualifies the above by warning the reader "do as I say than do as I do", and does offer a few comments and pictures oriented skiing bumps for mere mortals.)

 

Seriously though, I did find the book inspiring and actually incredibly helpful. The conditions at A-Basin where I skied last weekend were made for carving (unlike the powder dump going on right now): Firm/icy in a lot of places in the morning, softer but never too deep as the day wore on. Previously when I would make turns I would think about rolling the edges or perhaps trying to move my center of mass downhill, but one approach the Mahres suggested was to "...shift all the weight onto the uphill ski by straightening the knee and hip with an extending upward motion. The result is to lift the downhill ski off the snow". I'd never thought of it exactly that way, and by hanging onto that thought and trying to employ it I seemed to ski/carve more cleanly, aggressively and comfortably than I had before!

 

The book also offered a good tip for those who are having trouble feeling centered on their skis: exaggerate the out of balance state by leaning way forward/back while skiing and then coming back in to a more reasonable stance until the proper state is felt. I used that a lot and it helped me find that balance point, kept me forward and away from getting in the back seat.

 

With a lot of discussion and focus these days on rockered skis and the potential demise of traditional carving technique it was interesting to absorb this state of the art ~1985 knowledge. One interesting bit is that I've seen comments by proponents of the newer ski designs stating that the fatter rockered skis allow traditional ski (independent leg pressuring) technique to be applied to powder skiing. I've still yet to really get into skiing powder, and was wondering what some of you more experienced folks think of that idea? Perhaps in an ironic twist as the newer skis do take recreational skiers away from clean carving on the groomed they will lead them to ski in a more traditional manner in powder?

post #2 of 25

I'm not so sure a one footed approach is going to work in powder because the unweighted ski would have a mind of it's own. Regardless of the tool, a large difference in resistance and float can cause you to do the splits.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/13/10 at 4:47pm
post #3 of 25

I use extreme forward and aft balance a lot when trying to find out a comfortable center. I think that exploring the extremes in many othere areas as well makes it easier to see what is functional and what is not.

 

I think that the new very wide skis makes it possible to use independent ski pressure in powder because the skis float on the surface. The Mahre brothers did not know this back in the mid 80s. A wide ski builds more pressure and support you better than a skinny ski deep down in the snow.

 

There is a big difference between how the Mahre brothers skied back in the 80s and how newbies to skiing are told to roll the ancles to turn on carving skis. Those two have little to do with each other. There are two trends in skiing these days. Generally speaking we have short shaped carving skis that on a groomer turn by tipping and then we have big long strait phat skis that need to be steered in powder. The Mahre borthers seem to extend at edge change and weight their outside ski. They seem to suggest that you start the turn with an extended outside ski. This is by no means outdated technique. It maybe old school but a valid way of turning in GS and speed events even today.

post #4 of 25

I haven't seen a lot of beginners on rockers in powder, but the concept is similar to the fat powder skis. The flotation allows "regular" technique to work in powder. Differences in weighting don't cause problems because the more weighted ski does not sink. If you view the difference between powder and groomed trail skiing as simply a matter of making adjustments as opposed to different techniques then this all becomes a non-issue. Rockered and fat skis make skiing powder a lot easier to do. This may be bad for those of us who are hunting fresh tracks, but it is good for skiing.

post #5 of 25

I don't agree Rusty. Float is a function of pressure per square inch across the ski / snow contact area. Wider skis do float more but a one footed turn still includes one ski off the snow. Without that contact area there are no ski / snow interaction forces. So turning that ski is a function of using muscle power to keep it parallel to the outside ski.  It really doesn't matter if it's groomed or powder, that fact doesn't change. Which is why one footed skiing isn't a good idea in unconsolidated snow. If, or when the inside ski makes contact with the snowpack controlling it and making the skis work together is difficult and in many cases results in the doing the splits.

I prescribe a more two footed approach because both skis stay in contact with the snow and thus are able to work together.

post #6 of 25

Well, I was talking about beginners. I don't see a lot of beginners skiing one footed. I have seen wedge christie skiers on a heli ski trip doing just fine while their powder skiing husbands were bouncing their fat skis deep into the snow and flailing all over the place. Those wives would have been in big trouble trying to make wedge christie turns with regular skis in that snow. Those husbands would have been have been fine with regular skis, but figured out what to do quick enough.

post #7 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

I don't agree Rusty. Float is a function of pressure per square inch across the ski / snow contact area. Wider skis do float more but a one footed turn still includes one ski off the snow. Without that contact area there are no ski / snow interaction forces. So turning that ski is a function of using muscle power to keep it parallel to the outside ski.  It really doesn't matter if it's groomed or powder, that fact doesn't change. Which is why one footed skiing isn't a good idea in unconsolidated snow. If, or when the inside ski makes contact with the snowpack controlling it and making the skis work together is difficult and in many cases results in the doing the splits.

I prescribe a more two footed approach because both skis stay in contact with the snow and thus are able to work together.


I think by one footed skiing the OP meant up to but not exceeding 99-1 which is a huge difference from 100-0.

 

Curious JASP are you like most instructors and never really have tried anything fatter? It takes for my 190lb at least 110 mm and length to be able to ski powder fast like groomers.

post #8 of 25

 Perhaps in an ironic twist as the newer skis do take recreational skiers away from clean carving on the groomed they will lead them to ski in a more traditional manner in powder?

 

Not unless you are talking about sinking into the snow pack further than just a few inches. The new skis remind me of water wings because they keep you on the top of the snow instead of letting you dive in and swim around the bottom of the pool. I ski powder like a porpoise, or seal swims, at a variety of depths. A ski with too much float inhibits that more traditional submarine like option.

 

As far as Deisel wanting to ski powder like he's on a groomer, I say have fun however you want. Although skimming over deep snow is a bit like water skiing. Traditional powder skiing is different in that it involves keeping the skis under the surface more.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/15/10 at 3:16pm
post #9 of 25



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

This may be bad for those of us who are hunting fresh tracks, but it is good for skiing.



LOL, [Edit: farming] seems to be a curse word today but at least it supplied us with a whole day of great powder skiing. And it looked pritty. Unlike today when you have tracks crossing back and forth. Snowboards started it 20y ago.


Edited by tdk6 - 5/17/10 at 12:05am
post #10 of 25

Huh? TDK, grooming? Care to explain that again? Are you referring to the annoying habit of an overterrained snowboarder sideslipping down the fall line instead of making turns. Or are you talking about how we used to ski a parallel track very close to the previous ones so the untracked powder lasted longer?


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/16/10 at 9:17pm
post #11 of 25

Sorry, that shoud have spelled "farming". My bad. Yes, the snow lasted all week. Parallel tracks down the fall line. The snow boards brought a new crowd off pist. Unexperiansed most of the time total beginners. Pow skiing used to be for advanced skiers only and there was a code not to cross tracks and waste any snow. Snowboarding BTW did not require taking any lessons. It was a free spirited form of winter scate boarding. It was not even learning by dooing. It was simply dooing. It was also much more enjoyable to ride in pow than sidelip down an icy groomer.

post #12 of 25

js-ski,  first welcome to Epic.  Back to your original premise, skied with Steve and Phil one day at Alpine Meadows and yes they are really fast, very fast.  Since you are a new skier when you get into powder next year you may want to remember some the above posts.  Independent leg action, i.e., Mahre and Steinmark era of racing won't help you in the powder.  The two ski method works a lot better take it from me it took me awhile to rid myself of the "independent" leg and ski (which just wandered off into the powder on it's own-not good) method when in the powder.

 

Glad to have you on Epic !

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Back to your original premise, skied with Steve and Phil one day at Alpine Meadows and yes they are really fast, very fast.


Well, that sounds like a pretty cool experience. On the order of hitting a few balls with Sampras, or shooting some hoops with Jordan.  ;-)

 

Curious, did you ski any powder with the Mahres? Or if not, do you know how they ski powder?

 

Thanks for the welcome. I love the forums here, and have learned a lot browsing through them over the last few months. Great community/resource!

post #14 of 25

Welcome to Epic!

 

The wider your skis are the more options you have to ski two legged or with independant leg action. Powder skiing on narrower skis typically requires keeping your feet close together, working in unison, to keep you from sinking to the point of stopping or going over the tips. It also makes it easier to keep both skis going in the same direction; equally weighted skis tend to do the same things, for better or worse. That is probably where the idea of monoskiing came from. Two skis acting as one for maximum control.

 

I read the Mahre's book a number of months ago after reading Killy, LeMaster and Harb. I found the Mahre's book the least useful from the point of view of technique that can be applied to current skiing. Back when it was written, it was cutting edge and sound. The ideas about racer development still apply. Many of their methods are interesting, but more as drills like the White Pass lean/turn. For example it is generally not good to be fully extened, espceially to the point where one ski can't reach the snow.

 

For me the book was mostly a trip down memory lane, as I raced in the early and mid 70's, than useful information for now.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

 

Thx for the welcome, and your comments on skiing powder. Hope to get more personal experience with that next season!

 

I found the Mahre's book the least useful from the point of view of technique that can be applied to current skiing. Back when it was written, it was cutting edge and sound.

 

I spent a good part of this past season sorting out equipment issues, but think I have that squared away now. Only got in one short lesson, but more are high on my list going forward, and if I can work it out would love to attend the early season ESA at A-Basin (if there is one) and possibly also another ESA later in the season somewhere.

 

In the interim I would like to find a visual model I can study and try to "soak up" as much as I can, given that I won't be skiing for a few months. I'd be interested in getting some opinions on the video below as an example of clean carving technique, initiating turns, angulating, etc. Looks pretty good to me, but I acknowledge there may be things I'm just not seeing at this point.

 

post #16 of 25

jc-ski,  Helping run a celebrity dual slalom and Mahres were there, no powder.   skied way behind them-very fast dudes.

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

 Perhaps in an ironic twist as the newer skis do take recreational skiers away from clean carving on the groomed they will lead them to ski in a more traditional manner in powder?

 

Not unless you are talking about sinking into the snow pack further than just a few inches. The new skis remind me of water wings because they keep you on the top of the snow instead of letting you dive in and swim around the bottom of the pool. I ski powder like a porpoise, or seal swims, at a variety of depths. A ski with too much float inhibits that more traditional submarine like option.

 

As far as Deisel wanting to ski powder like he's on a groomer, I say have fun however you want. Although skimming over deep snow is a bit like water skiing. Traditional powder skiing is different in that it involves keeping the skis under the surface more.


whats traditional powder skiing? this is as about as traditional as I could find

 

 

as far as I can tell they are balanced pretty aft and are USING alot more work than those the skier in this video. Also this videos show how ignorant of powder skis you are or what they can(and well cant do). New skis let you skis a rounder line if you want, they also let you ski bigger turns if you want, and lastly you can ski rounder more dynamic shorter turns than say a 165cm Professional Stick In your Ass ski. Also new skis can NEVER float you on top of powder. 

 

 

 

so you still have not answered the question, you have never your never tried a modern all mountain or powder ski have you?

post #18 of 25

I love the Snowbird video.

 

I love the Alta video.

 

Educate, don't berate.

post #19 of 25

Sadly deisel you assume too much, and you know the old saying about that. Like I said before I've tried a lot of wide skis over the years. Starting with the Atomic Powder Plus' and most recently all of Volkl's fat skis from this last season. The video was an interesting trip down memory lane though. Hi Mom turns are not what I would consider classic powder technique but I would also point out that "Classic" powder technique is a bit hard to nail down.  Durrance and the Malrolt boys did ski films long before the film you posted and their technique doesn't look anything like those hi mom aft rotor turns. So which technique represents "classic" powder skiing? What example represents it best? I'd say hi moms aren't classic as much as a fad but that's my opinion. Maybe it's because I skied with Bud Malrolt for years and so my reference point includes his "classic" technique. Which BTW his technique resembles the second video you posted much more than the faddish hi mom stuff in the first video.

How will equipment affect technique? Watch Warren Millers "50" for a glimps into this subject. We figure out how to use the new tools but if the tool is different the technique will be different as well. In a way it might be similar to past techniques but it will be what works best for that tool. Not a return to the past.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/21/10 at 9:26am
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

The Ski Channel is available with some sports packages on cable/dish tv. It's not a broadcast channel, but a collection of video on demand programs. Currently they have a program available entitled "Skier's World Stoneham", about Stoneham resort outside Quebec City in Canada.

The program is roughly 27 minutes long. 23 minutes in there's a 3 minute "Best of Butler" segment featuring Rob Butler and Mike Douglas skiing the same powder runs, one after the other, Butler in an "older school" style (more up and down, higher turn frequency, more turns) on skinnier skis (look to be in the 70's), and Douglas on fatter skis (look to be 100 or more) skiing a "newer school" style (longer/wider turns, definitely faster). Segment apparently filmed about 2-3 years ago. Both on Salomons. I don't recognize the skis but I'm sure many of you would.

Apparently not available on theskichannel.com, and I've searched the net but can't find a (youtube/etc) clip I can post a link to here. Perhaps someone else knows of one? Good contrasting visuals and comments. I think it would be a nice addition to this powder skiing discussion.

 

"The way we ski, it's kind of a product of imagination."   ...Rob Butler

post #21 of 25

Skier's world is shown on one of my cable system's sport channels. Butler instructional clips are a regular feature.

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 

For some reason unlike youtube and vimeo I can't successfully embed a veoh clip here in a post, but here's a link...

 

Old and New School Powder Skiing

post #23 of 25

The reason is the web site software does not support embedded videos from "other" sites like veoh.

post #24 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

For some reason unlike youtube and vimeo I can't successfully embed a veoh clip here in a post, but here's a link...

 

Old and New School Powder Skiing


The video is a nice demonstration of two styles of skiing powder. I think that either skier could easily ski the 'other' style with their respective gear. The equipment is less significant than the desires and intentions of the skier. I usually ski 'old schoo'l, as described by the video, on 110mm and 120mm waist skis. I can also let 'em roll 'new school'.

 

To be honest, I haven't been out on narrow skis in powder for a while; not since I picked up some Chubbs early in the '00s. Next year I'll take out some long skinny skis for a test drive in powder just for giggles. I'm sure there will be lots of grins, too.
 

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

For some reason unlike youtube and vimeo I can't successfully embed a veoh clip here in a post, but here's a link...

 

Old and New School Powder Skiing


funny Douglas is on 90mm old solly skis......hardly fat by today's standards.

 

the deal is you simply cant ski as fast or as slow on the old stuff as you can on the new stuff. Nor as easy. You can ski on the old stuff but you cant not ski with me on the right day on the old stuff.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching