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Enjoying skiing spring ruts and mounds?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My first season of skiing is quickly approaching the end - my technique seems to be progressing satisfactory (level 6/7 ), lessons taken, good skiing books studied and followed(Bob, thanks for the book and autograph!), I'm having lots of fun - and finally I got a question for the esteemed bears

Here what's I'm puzzled about - in my hurry to explore with my new-found skills all groomed blue runs I can get to while temperature doesn't get much higher than 45 degrees here in Northwest - I've noticed that I'm enjoying "smooth" blues and just painfully endure others that are not that "smooth".

These "not so smooth" runs do not really qualify as moguls - just relatively shallow ruts and mounds made in soft wet snow, sometimes with the wind crust... These mounds sometimes feel as sticky molasses when you slice across them, can deflect a shovel of the stance ski at the bottom of the turn, causing tails to skid downhill or abruptly change the radius of the turn with a knee-jarring "support" - continuously challenging balance and overworking every muscle in my not-so-in-shape yet legs

Is there any way to enjoy these runs more? Should I be more careful with laying out the path I'm taking? If so, what is an optimal path? (Although in overcast conditions these are not always easily visible beyond 10-15 yards ahead...) Is all this indicative of some technique flaw? Or I just need "legs of steel"? All of the above? Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
post #2 of 24
Sometimes I think the snow you are describing is some of the hardest to master. "legs of steel" HMMmm you may have something there. Make a video and sell a million of them and then you can afford to take all the lessons you want oh. it's been done.
Tips.. work on your carving and keep the skis going through tip to tail and not sideways. don't force them to turn, and work a lot on balance (fore-aft) Try making your balance adjustments with your ankles not your whole body.
Sorry if these tips are confusing. I'm not sure how to explain them. I'll have to think about it more. I'm sure others will have some more thoughts.

Thanks for joining us this year. Hope you keep coming back and enjoying the sport with us as well as posting some great thought provoking questions here.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 12, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 24
Chubbs & Notwax.
post #4 of 24

The conditions you describe are usually refered to, as "crud". Yes it can be a bit challenging to learn, but dchan is taking you down the right path (I wonder where the left one goes?). You need to make the skis move in the direction they are pointed. You can't slide sideways through that stuff (aka, skid) the way you can on groomed terrain. And getting the skis up on enough edge, and getting your body to move the same direction that the skis are pointed is the way to do it. Think of your skis as 2 little airplanes. When an airplane turns, first it banks (get's up on edge), then pressure builds up under the wings (pressure under the skis against the snow), then it starts to turn, and it moves in the direction it's pointed. If a plane wants to turn 90 degrees, it doesn't just spin sideways then wait for the thrust to start moving it in that direction. Likewise, you shouldn't just turn your skis sideways, slide, and wait until your momentum gradually gets deflected. This just doesn't work on snow that you are skiing in, rather than on.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody for the tips!

This just confirms my suspicions that it must have something to do with carving ability that I have trouble with in a soft snow...

It just seems that when I increase pressure on a stance ski through downhill leg extension the soft wet stuff just gives way under building forces that my sorry 240lbs produce in the turn and what feels like a carve at the beginning of the turn ends up being a skid at the bottom of it... If I try to be gentle on it to stay on edge the radius of turns increases resulting in more speed build up than I want to and creating the similar problem on the next turn due to higher speed and more force build-up and so on... I wonder if it can be cured by earlier turn initiation (earlier/faster pressure buildup to bend ski earlier)...

What do you think?

Thanks again for your advise!

post #6 of 24
Big Man! You don't need legs of steel, you need a MIND of steel, because to enjoy the crud, the bottom line is you simply have to go faster. Not necessarily a lot faster, but at least a tiny bit faster, nonetheless.

When skiing in cruddy snow conditions, it is not desirable to skid the skis, as a wise dude mentioned earlier. The skis must carve with a delicate combination of precision, grace and finesse stirred together with power, punch and sting! To do so asks you to tap into your most powerful source of balance, your friend speed. To carve is to balance upon a razor thin ribbon of steel, trusting that edge to carry you to a favorable place from which to begin your next arc. Without speed, you cannot balance against such a minute brace.

"The faster you go, the smoother the ride gets"

"Movement in Motion" The guiding principle of ski teaching in Canada. Motion: the gravity assisted downhill travel of the skier. Movement: physical actions undertaken by a skier in motion.

The skiing artist who swoops down the gnarliest of runs in big luxuriant carves is the one who recognizes that while the speed of the skier may increase, the movements he makes during his downward travels can become slower, more patiently considered. But darn it, for most of us, when our motion speeds up, our movements become frantic, jerky, illogical, ill-timed and not requisite to the task at hand. There must be meaningful movement within the motion.

Deal with facts: to ski in cruddy snow requires a set of carving edges. More edge angle requires the rider to travel faster in order to avoid falling upon his ass.

Learning to travel faster challenges the skier to remove his gaze from the hallowed textbooks of skiing and look into the power stored in the mind. You see, your BODY already knows how to ski. It is the mind we must train, for it is this supercomputer which sends the messages down to the manual laborers.

How to train the mind? Crud-haters, you need to call upon your powers of discipline, patience and committment to overcome this challenge. The bottom line goal is to become more comfortable in the presence of higher speeds.

This does not mean you ski recklessly and way outside of your ability level. Still, you must venture into some places you've perhaps never gone on purpose! This is a physical fact. Name any sport that involves motion and you will find that that as the game is played at higher levels, the speed of the game goes up. College basketball is not as fast as the NBA. NHL hockey is faster than junior. High school football is a much slower game than the one played by the monsters of the NFL. It is obviously the goal of anyone reading this to constantly improve their skiing. Speed is a critical element in this particular snow condition, and yes, this fact excludes some skiers from the fray by virtue of the athletic prowess required to negotiate the stuff. Hang on though, there's still hope for most of you! After all, we don't have to travel at world cup speeds or anything like that.

Be PATIENT and allow the turns to develop without rushing things. Edge angles sufficient for carving the skis must develop progressively, so the skis will be in or near the fall line throughout more of the turn. Zis makit you go more faster, yah? Not a lot faster, but enough that you have to be PATIENT and DISCIPLINED in your approach. How to practice? Divide that challenging run into sections and challenge your movements to become more patient and disciplined throughout the entire section. If you make a l'il boo-boo along the way, try your hardest to hang in there and recover, rather than giving in to the evil voice that tells you to throw the skis sideways and scrub off that valuable speed. It might be 3 turns, maybe 15 or 25, or maybe 7. Whatever you decide, it must be enough to challenge your skills of patience and discipline. It is your job not to add speed randomly and recklessly, but to add speed in measured doses then learn how to maintain that speed through your turns. The speed you choose to go is obviously relative to your own personal limits. The fact remains: a constant and steady speed generally works better than a "vrooom-errcch" type of skiing. Easier to maintain a rythym.

COMMITTMENT: Earlier, the mind was described as a supercomputer. Because it is. It controls thousands of individual functions simultaneously. In fact, the entire body can be likened to a computer. Muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments... this is the hardware. Be brave and maybe dream a little and boldly assume that this hardware functions perfectly. It already knows how to ski. So, it becomes a matter of running the right software. Naturally, everyone's hardware works a little differently from their neighbors'. This is why skiing at it's highest levels is very much a sensory game, with plenty of room for individual styles. Physics is the baseline. Perfect physics equals perfect skiing. Of course, the current version of homo-sapiens cannot approach the mathematical perfection of physics. All we can do is the best we can with the hardware we came with. (Certainly, we can upgrade our hardware with physical exercise) The smart skier seeks every possible avenue to improve the function of the hardware. Maybe peripherals like custom footbeds or top secret ski tuning techniques. These same skiers realize that we are essentially stuck with the hardware we've got and she's the girl we gotta take to the prom. Or boy. Whatever. So you've got to run the right software. Install DISCIPLINE 2001, PATIENCE 2001 and COMMITTMENT 2001. Always upgrade to the newest version.

Skiin' crud? Easy, if you have a mind of steel. And you do. Just try a little harder and go a little faster.

Thanks. 72 out.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks! This is a GREAT insight for me - I do ski at slower speeds on these slopes, trying to avoid being bounced around on the ruts and mounds into loss of balance - as a result I cannot get enough edge to carve all the way through the turn and enough momentum to make smaller snow irregularities less noticeable - and as result I do get bounced around!
Wow - looks like THE underlying reason for the whole chain of my problems with cut-up crud... I do remember now that when I did let myself to run faster (on my scale ) it did feel somewhat less rough ride - but I just thought I've chanced on a "better" patch of snow and "wisely" throttled down next time around... I'll work on speed, balance and carving this weekend...

Thanks again - and welcome to the Bears forums! I'm glad this forum continues to attract talented and enthusiastic skiers from all over the world and that's what makes it such a great place to be around!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by AlexS (edited March 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #8 of 24

your post is pure poetry! sweet.
post #9 of 24

Great Post!!!
post #10 of 24

Very good post.

This is something I have been working on this year. Carry more speed, don't fear the fall line and let the ski do the work. Let 'em rip!!
post #11 of 24
Thank you, friends! I'll be around as much as I can because I love this she-it.

Remember: Everything we try, works.

Thanks. 72 out.
post #12 of 24
well posted ihavethesecret
In simpler terms, think of the mound of snow and instead of you thinking "oh no, there's a mound of soft snow" make the snow think "Oh NO here comes 'put your name here'"
post #13 of 24
AlexS- Think a little more two footed by using both ski's as the edge instead on the thin metal edge that we do on the groom. Soften the end of the turn. Spend more time releasing and less time holding. Think of a turn shape "(C)" from the apex out try to be tipping off the edge as you still guide the ski along the intended path this will lessen the build up of crud and allow you to float through it and into your next turn with ease and not trying to jump your skis over the mounds. Remember not matter how good your suspension is a dirt road never feels like a highway! Good Luck!
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

I was reading and learning from BobB (and yours and others "supremes" here) posts long before I registered and I'd be the first in recognizing the outstanding contribution and value of BobB involvement in this forum that I believe shaped it into what it is today - an intelligent, friendly forum for enthusiastic skiers with a very knowledgeable core of membership.
This created a wonderful snowballing effect of attracting new talented and knowledgeable skiers to the forum and this interplay of viewpoints, experiences of *many* talents creates an amazing, unique, dynamic and very responsive environment (very much like skiing itself ) for those who seeks enlightment that pretty much guarantees that individual "aha!" discovery brainpath will be found. I believe Bears will always be a great place for skier as long as it will remain a "forum" as opposed to "temple"...
I'm sure we're all in agreement here!
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
I knew there must be a reason why they call it a "new economy"...
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I've seen recommendations for more "explosive" un-weighting and quick change of edges in the crud to minimize time not on the edges where skier is most vulnerable to snow irregularities. Can this be done in combination with slower edge release?
post #17 of 24

I agree with everyone above - hope you get to put it into practice! Sorry for interrupting (I know you were asking someone else a question) but one more suggestion:

You talk about "downhill leg extension" - I'd like to suggest that you try flexing (bending) that downhill leg at the end of the turn (if you aren't already doing so) or during the last half of the turn and see if that makes a difference; the idea is to absorb the carve rather than extending around the bump. Hope this makes sense!

~Michelle H.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

This makes perfect sense, thank you!

I think this would also allow both a gentler edge release and through greater body compression preset for more energetic un-weighting too... I can see now that I am probably pressuring the downhill ski too much too long...

Now, if only we have any snow left by weekend... - I have already the whole day of practice planned, based on what I've learned in this thread - Thank you all!
post #19 of 24
Alexs- I think Skiandsb answered your question to me better than I might have myself. After the apex of the turn your legs should be changing from long leg/short leg to short leg/long leg. Allow the ski's to ski through the bottom of the turn don't brace against a high edge straight leg. Start tipping the outside ski off it's edge as you flex into it. The inside leg should start takeing some weight as you start to lengthing it and engage the new inside edge. Quick explosive movements are needed skill for expert skiing but I think smoother progressive movements are more effective most of the time. Have fun with it!
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for explanation! Learning never ends... I'll try everything you guys suggested - I think I got an idea now what to work on...

Once again - thanks to everybody who responded for helping me out - you, guys, are great!
post #21 of 24
I got to work on this more Wed.
Commit to your turns and don't back out. If you get tentative, you will get thrown. Either clean carves (slice through the stuff) or on steeps hop turns were usually the turns required.

Wed, We skied Sugarbowl. (AC, DD and myself with some other friends) Spring is here. Ice hard bumps, Ice hard Cord grooms. intermixed with corn, crud, chopped up mush. everything. It was great practice and great fun. Strawberry fields, East face, Sugarbowl were about the best of the runs. Also bacons gully, the east side of disney's ridge were great. Follow the sun for the best skiing these days. Silverbelt started to soften up by 2:30-3:00 but then we ran out of time.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

Lucky you - I won't be able to get out till Sat... Sigh... But I'm all pumped up about ripping the crud

I wonder what I'll find there, though - we've got an official drought declared in Washington state yesterday by governor - can you believe that? Drought in Western Washington in winter? - can't imagine anything as unlikely and ridiculous as this...
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
IHTS, Todo, skiandsb, dchan et al. - I interrupt my respectful silence on this forum to say this - THANKS A LOT!

Just finished my second day of practice on the crud - everything works just as you said: SPEED+CARVE+COMMITMENT=CRUDE_BUSTER!

Much smoother ride too - you can't really see but you can hear - a sound of rain of busted crude follows you around and is usually all that is left of formerly scary mound behind - cool!

The only negative is that you get to the lift lines twice as fast!

RonZ - you mentioned elsewhere that crud throws you away - listen to wisepersons on this thread - and I'm sure you'll see big improvement fast.
I've started on easy smooth groomers with careful examination of my carving in the soft heavy snow making sure that these edges do not skid anywhere in turn at higher speeds than my usual desent speeds and got comfortable at them. I also worked on quicker edge changes... After that I moved to a more chopped up slopes - and some leap of faith or "mind of steel" was indeed required - to trust my skis to bust through (at least my "skis of steel" do ) - my job was just keeping the form, the speed flowing while running on edges. I don't ski blacks (until blues get boring ) so I don't know how added steepness/roughness will effect the ability to maintain speed speed control while carving but blues finally started look like fun with chopped-up crud... We still need to be on a lookout for real bumps though

Kudos and my gratitude to everyone involved in my enlightment!

post #24 of 24
Congrats on the break through and you are welcome.
I skied with JohnH and some of his friends on Friday March 23. We found a lot of this snow at Squaw too. More practice and lots of fun..
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