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how to ski?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
After ~20 inches of snow Wed/Thu of last week in Colorado, I ended up at Copper on Saturday. There were acres of untouched all over the mountain. Unfortunately, due to warm temps on Friday, I found it virtually unskiable... virtually.
The problem is this, in the non-treed areas the snow had softened up Friday, then set to a funky crusty top-layer on cold Saturday. Once in the crusty top-layer, I had loads of trouble turning, a couple of times catching my entire ski (not just my edge), landing myself in the crusty snow. Everyone I saw skiing this stuff seemed to be having lots of trouble. How to ski in 2 day old 10+ inches of crust? More specifically, how to turn in 2 day old 10+ inches of crust?

Any thoughts?

"It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none: none more black."
-- Nigel Tufnel
post #2 of 12
ummmmm....... I wouldn't be going to fast there!! Try laying back a bit, and kind off kick yourself up when you turn.... I don't know if I'm dead wrong here, cause it's a long time since I had to do this...
post #3 of 12
Breakable crust can be the real pits. For each skier's body weight and style there is a particular crust that will be almost impossible to ski because the skier will break through enough to catch an edge regardless of how gently he initiates and turns.

Your story reminds me of skiing in a group several (30) years ago that include a woman who weighed in at about 90 pounds. At the top of the run there was a breakable crust as you describe that had all of us skittering around in giant wedges trying to survive. Except Becky who was laughing at us as she simply skied on top of the crust. A hundred meters lower down the heavy weights were all skiing the 18" of snow under the crust while Becky screamed in frustration because now she was the one breaking the crust just enough to catch edges every time she moved.

So how to do it? Over the years I tried various techniques and came up with a some I could chose from. If it is possible to break through the crust consistantly then I like to use the "two footed blasting technique". Just about exactly what it sounds like. Extremely tiring if you need to carry on very long. Evenly weight the feet to provide a strong single platform beneath you and make very strong turns with very exagerated up/down to break through the crust. In this turn I'm often coming down on the new inside ski so it will catch and break the surface allowing the outside ski to comedown more gently.

The opposite extreme of turns in this group is to ski as if you are turning on eggs trying to stay on top of the crust. Very little variation in the preassure on the skis. If anything a very gentle up unweight to help initiate the turn and strongly angle the ski (in place of an "edge set") to help raise the outside edge and avoid catching it.

And as snow axe says, slowly and gently (don't tear the rice paper grasshopper!).
post #4 of 12
post #5 of 12
Standard approach to breakable crust is to use the snow as a platform for leaping off and turn the skis in the air. Very tiring.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
that's pretty much what I ended doing... but I wouldn't call it "leaping". that sounds too effortless and graceful.

"It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none: none more black."
-- Nigel Tufnel
post #7 of 12
I'd think leaping sounds strenuous and klunky.

Springing, now, sounds like something done with grace and aplomb.
post #8 of 12
Another way is described in an old (1981) book "Backcountry Skiing" by Lito Tejada-Flores. It is extreme downunweighting (or retraction, or avalement) to start the turn, with a strong push of the skis into the turn. Hard work, but so are frog turns. If you do what you would do to absorb and extend in megamoguls, you have the idea.
post #9 of 12
I encountered some of that crap this past season and had fun skiing it for the first time ever. Why? Three things; equipment, the new technique for turning & attitude.

First, you need a ski that has some float to it, but is stiff enough to bust through the crust. Skis like the Supermountain, Bandit XX, G31, G41, Powertrac, Mod X Pro.... work great in that crap.

Second, by using the new technique of rolling your skis on edge to turn you no longer have to unweight or bust out of the snow. This took some getting used to because my first instinct was to revert to hopping and all the other old techniques (some of which have been mentioned).

Lastly, if you are tense or apprehensive your going to have problems. Someone alluded to speed earlier and speed really does help. But you also have to be loose & limber and ready to react to the inconsistancies of the conditions. If you are hesitant & tense you are going to be thrown all over.
post #10 of 12
Yeah, Sippy.... What I meant when I told you to go slow, is that you should go slow the first times, to get a feel of it... Don't start the first few times with full speed, then you'll probably be eating snow pretty soon...
post #11 of 12
Wow! I'm glad to hear that really advanced skiers have a problem with that stuff. I encountered it for the first time at The Loaf, this weekend. First mistake, I accidentaly did my warmup run on a trail that started out black {DUH!} but worse, it seemed to be covered with golf balls. Being prone to muscle my skis anyway, thats exactly what I tried to do. It didn't help one bit. Only after I let myself relax, stay aligned, foward and centered was I able to somewhat get through it.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

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[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited April 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #12 of 12
I believe what you encountered are called death cookies! You are right. Not very easy.
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