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# How to ski a narrow couloir in deep powder - Page 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

SO a few years later:

It's summer, so I can't test my idea, so I'm asking for opinions.

For the last couple of years, I've been working on flex to release turns, and am very happy how it changed my skiing.

I am also working on brushed carve turns, which to me means no rotation, but less edge angle throughout the turn.

So, with wide skis (112), skiing powder in a narrow couloir (3-4 meters wide), how do you think a brushed carve turn would work?

I am thinking that less edge angle would make it easier to slide the ski at the end of the turn, and make it easier to start the next turn. It seems that a lot of edge in deep snow would cause the skis to want to keep turning, at a larger turn radius than I would want in a narrow couloir.

I would normally just go out and try this, but it's dry here and now.

Lurker heaven.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

I am thinking that less edge angle would make it easier to slide the ski at the end of the turn, and make it easier to start the next turn. It seems that a lot of edge in deep snow would cause the skis to want to keep turning, at a larger turn radius than I would want in a narrow couloir.

I would normally just go out and try this, but it's dry here and now.

With a reminder that semantics particular to a certain "Permutated Mathematical" (sic) teaching system shall not be mentioned here, I'll caution that "deep snow", wide skis and narrow couloir can mean a lot of things or nothing because you have not also considered ski rocker, snow consistency, precise pitch angles, turn radius or speed. There are way too many possible variables to speculate even if there was agreement on the semantics of the technique to be used. Almost any technique can work if you ski a straight enough line and don't worry about relatively high speeds. As I understand the technique you are referring to, it depends on the concept of tipping the ski to generate turning forces. Tipping the ski less than required for carving allows the skis to "drift" out of a carving line for a larger radius turn. A drifted turn allows more friction based slowing than just relying on turn shape for speed control alone (but a larger radius turn can not be completed in an uphill direction in a narrow couloir). Skiing inside the snow pack versus on top of it, also allows for slower speeds. These two factors may be enough to offset the increased speed from narrower turns and control your speed to a desired level. Or not. At some point of steepness, narrowness and firmness/float, you will see most elite skiers resort to a pedal hop technique. There are some who would argue that these turns do not rely upon the "R" word. There are others who would argue that this is the epitome of the "R" word. Your semantics may vary. It doesn't really matter. One can always resort to a sideslip as long as the couloir is wider than the ski length. The bottom line is that skiing in powder is all about making adjustments. In powder, the slower you go the deeper you sink and the more speed control you get from snow resistance. The more skidded your turns are the slower you'll go. The more you finish your turns uphill/wider your turns are, the slower you'll go. How you accomplish these various feats matters little and what mix of tactics you choose to employ is your choice. I only have two pieces of advice for you. First, the more speed control options you have in your technique tool kit, the safer you'll be. Second, never jump into couloir until you are absolutely sure that you can safely ski that width, pitch and snow conditions (preferably by staying within a narrow corridor on a wider slope of similar pitch and similar or worse snow). Finding yourself in a couloir accelerating past your speed limit is not a habit that is conducive to a long career on snow. At the least, you'll be looking at limited apres ski dating opportunities and higher laundry bills.

Different things mean different things to different people.   As I understand the terms, if you are not going to use hop turns or bicycle turns (my favorite for controlling speed on steeps), make sure you have a good run-out.

Rod consider a trip to Chamonix and hiring a mountaineering guide. Chamonix is always part of the conversation about extreme couloir skiing for a reason. Climbing is a large part of that culture though, so go prepared to work hard going up into that terrain.

When I ski something steep and narrow, I use pedal hop turns. In powder, they are pretty exhausting, which is why I'm thinking of using a turn with less edge angle, hoping that I might be able to turn the ski quickly, so it doesn't spend a lot of time in the fall line, and yet stay in the snow (as opposed to jump turns, where I am mostly out of the snow when I change direction.

My skis (Volkl Katana Vwerks) are full rocker, though slight.

Speed control is important to me, because I tend to ski long steep couloirs, where high speed is not an option, and certainly straighlining is a nono.

I skied with guides in Chamonix, last time about 10 years ago. Most guides, while they can get down in most places, ski narrow skis. And narrow skis in powder cannot be skied with less edge angle (or skidded), because they sink too low, and are prone to catch an edge.

Which is why skiing powder has changed dramatically with fat skis.

It all depends on what you call powder. Here in the central Rockies our snow is much too dry for us to consider skiing steep chutes much before late spring. Even then a foot of fresh would make most balk at the idea of climbing into our steep chutes, let alone skiing them. Sadly, every year we lead the nation in avalanche related deaths and I believe it is because so many ignore the probability of the snow sliding under the weight of just a single skier.

Crud might be a better name for the snow we would have after it settles and if that is what you call powder in your region, it is indeed difficult to ski using bicycle or swing turns because of the energy needed to make those turns in such heavy snow. From what I understand the whole bicycle turn maneuver came about as a way to get the skis out of the snow long enough to swing them around with as little resistance possible. Hoppy swing turns with lots of vertical also help get the skis out of the snow to reduce resistance to swinging the skis around quickly.

I wonder if the next generation of low swing weight skis will help you Rod. On one hand the lower swing weight would help but the cost of less stability in crud might outweigh the advantages of less swing weight.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 9/16/16 at 10:35am
I ski on thé sierras so it's medium density snow.

I'm not asking about avalanche danger, even though it's real, that's another subject.
Edited by rod9301 - 9/16/16 at 12:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

SO a few years later:

It's summer, so I can't test my idea, so I'm asking for opinions.

For the last couple of years, I've been working on flex to release turns, and am very happy how it changed my skiing.

I am also working on brushed carve turns, which to me means no rotation, but less edge angle throughout the turn.

So, with wide skis (112), skiing powder in a narrow couloir (3-4 meters wide), how do you think a brushed carve turn would work?

I am thinking that less edge angle would make it easier to slide the ski at the end of the turn, and make it easier to start the next turn. It seems that a lot of edge in deep snow would cause the skis to want to keep turning, at a larger turn radius than I would want in a narrow couloir.

I would normally just go out and try this, but it's dry here and now.

While I have read/herd a number of plausible permutations of a brushed carve, like carving itself, it does not happen in powder (at all). My understanding of a brushed carve is the allowance of a small amount of controlled lateral displacement (hence the term "brush") of the ski within a turn that is primarily carved as usual.  So, if a surface cannot be carved, then it cannot be brushed. Powder cannot be carved (at least by the edge). You are correct that the higher the edge angle the more difficult it is to control this lateral displacement as margin tolerances are reduced along with a rise in edge angle, but it still can be done at higher edge angles with requisite refinement. Since a brushed carve is an" intended" skid, it needs to build and dissipate throughout the entire turn and not crammed into turn phase 3. I do agree that too much rotary could throw a monkey wrench into the delicate balance between the brush and the carve which may highlight a critical distinction between a brushed carve and a carve that goes to skid in turn phase 3.

Also, in powder, a skis edge ceases to be the primary tool of turning and the skis as the skis base takes over this responsibility. The same goes for the responsibility of the sidecut which is now turned over to the flex balance of the ski. Therefore the base (including surface area shape) and the flex (including its balance) determine the primary turning characteristics of a ski in powder just as the edge and sidecut determine the primary turn characteristics of a ski on hard pack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666

While I have read/herd a number of plausible permutations of a brushed carve, like carving itself, it does not happen in powder (at all). My understanding of a brushed carve is the allowance of a small amount of controlled lateral displacement (hence the term "brush") of the ski within a turn that is primarily carved as usual.  So, if a surface cannot be carved, then it cannot be brushed. Powder cannot be carved (at least by the edge). You are correct that the higher the edge angle the more difficult it is to control this lateral displacement as margin tolerances are reduced along with a rise in edge angle, but it still can be done at higher edge angles with requisite refinement. Since a brushed carve is an" intended" skid, it needs to build and dissipate throughout the entire turn and not crammed into turn phase 3. I do agree that too much rotary could throw a monkey wrench into the delicate balance between the brush and the carve which may highlight a critical distinction between a brushed carve and a carve that goes to skid in turn phase 3.

Also, in powder, a skis edge ceases to be the primary tool of turning and the skis as the skis base takes over this responsibility. The same goes for the responsibility of the sidecut which is now turned over to the flex balance of the ski. Therefore the base (including surface area shape) and the flex (including its balance) determine the primary turning characteristics of a ski in powder just as the edge and sidecut determine the primary turn characteristics of a ski on hard pack.
agree, with the bases doing the carving, I was just loose with the words when I said edges.

But my thinking is year with a flatter ski, ìt will drift more, providing more speed control throughout the upper and middle section of the turn.
Then, with the flatter ski, you can finish the turn more quickly, to stay within the confines of the couloir, and for speed control.

While it will be much much easier to brush-carve (with the bases) in deep snow on wider skis, I think that whatever you do with the wider skis will have you skiing faster in deep snow than doing the same thing on skinny skis.  BTW even carving on groomers, you are carving on the base, just a small portion of the edge of the base.  In deeper snow you are carving on the bases if the snow is dense enough and the surface area is large enough, if not your are drifting turns and the side cut affects the area of the ski being loaded at each distance from the centre, and in conjunction with ski-flex sets the parameters for the turn that you have to work with.

If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it.  That's a good rule that applies to a lot of situations.

BK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it.  That's a good rule that applies to a lot of situations.

BK

Why doesn't this apply to all the questions here?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

agree, with the bases doing the carving, I was just loose with the words when I said edges.

But my thinking is year with a flatter ski, ìt will drift more, providing more speed control throughout the upper and middle section of the turn.
Then, with the flatter ski, you can finish the turn more quickly, to stay within the confines of the couloir, and for speed control.

Just keep in mind that all your technical considerations will be highly dependent on the Earthly whims of a highly variable snow surface/pack.

Oh, you will remain within the confines of the couloir no matter what happens and be spit out by gravity at the bottom. What really matters is if you remain intact or are the recipient of a outcrop butchery.

What BK may be implicating is that skiing dangerous terrain such as couloirs, a gradual building of skill and experience will far outweigh the benefits of words/verbal instruction.

That said, being mentored through elevating stages of backcountry ability has its place.

Edited by Rich666 - 9/23/16 at 8:45am
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it.  That's a good rule that applies to a lot of situations.

BK

Why doesn't this apply to all the questions here?

Actually it does.ou can't learn a ski technique by reading about it. But worse than that, narrow chutes are not really about technique.  YOu shouldn't consider it (or encourage anyone to consider it) unless you/they have already developed solid technique.  At least some of the posters here clearly are in the 'working on it" stage of skill development, and some of the posts very little technical knowledge.

BK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666

What BK may be implicating is that skiing dangerous terrain such as couloirs, a gradual building of skill and experience will far outweigh the benefits of words/verbal instruction.

You give me too much credit.  I'm really just a cranky old man.

BK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

You give me too much credit.  I'm really just a cranky old man.

BK

Well, actually I give you a lot of credit for being a cranky old man and am just attempting to soften his blow. :)

The best technical advice I have ever gotten for skiing this kind of terrain is as follows:

Now whip it - Into shape - Shape it up - Get straight - Go forward - Move ahead - Try to detect it - It's not too late - To whip it -Whip it good

Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301

Why doesn't this apply to all the questions here?

Misinterpreting most of those other answers or deciding to follow bad advice in them will generally create less opportunity for significant personal injury to others, including ski patrol, or to yourself than in the case of your question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges

Misinterpreting most of those other answers or deciding to follow bad advice in them will generally create less opportunity for significant personal injury to others, including ski patrol, or to yourself than in the case of your question.

For the first time, I agree with sharpedges. We need to create "more" opportunity for significant injury to others. Not ourselves, but others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

Actually it does. You can't learn a ski technique by reading about it.

There have been a lot of ski books sold that suggest that anyone can learn ski technique by reading about it. From the traffic we get here in the instruction forum, there's obviously a fair amount of interest in learning by reading here. And we've actually had a few success stories as well. But we should understand a distinct difference between learning "about" a technique versus actually being able to perform the technique on snow. The former can be a stage toward accomplishing the latter. So while it is prudent to be extremely cautious in presenting this kind of how to information, it is not necessary to be critical of the desire for this information. As Trump has proven, sarcasm can be easily misunderstood.

Like all skiing that is not on groomed slopes, it's all about maintaining balance in variable conditions. Just Google Sylvan Sudan skiing on stones as training for his extreme skiing to see the kind of moves you need to feel confident in a steep chute with deep snow. Aggressiveness, arising from confidence, and balance are the keys, not any particular technique tips. You do whatever it takes to not lose your balance. You cannot possibly get that from a book.

I agree wholeheartedly that you can't learn skiing from books alone. You have to take a holistic approach and include watching ski video demos, playing ski video games and a lot of internet ski discussion. While I have never actually skied before, per say, I am fully confident and satisfied with my new ski skills, technique, abilities and accomplishments while never having to pay for a lift ticket. You can't beat that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty

There have been a lot of ski books sold that suggest that anyone can learn ski technique by reading about it.

You can't learn to ski by reading.  You can learn what others do, and that can help you determine what you need to learn, but that's all.

The problem of the internets (not just here, but everywhere), is that articulate people pass along their imperfect understanding of things they have read about but not actually experienced, and their opinions are accepted uncritically by those who have no actual experience of the subject and haven't even read the original source material written by actual experts.

I haven't read this whole thread, but a quick search shows 32 references of some form of the term "carve."  Someone else suggested skiing chutes on a flat ski.  If you think skiing chutes is about carving, or if you think you can ski a flat ski all the time, you haven't actually ever skied a steep narrow chute.

BK

Edited by Bode Klammer - 9/24/16 at 7:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666

I agree wholeheartedly that you can't learn skiing from books alone. You have to take a holistic approach and include watching ski video demos, playing ski video games and a lot of internet ski discussion. While I have never actually skied before, per say, I am fully confident and satisfied with my new ski skills, technique, abilities and accomplishments while never having to pay for a lift ticket. You can't beat that.

Exactly!  That's why I don't do telemark.  I've seen all the videos and read all the books and lurked at telemarktips.com for years.  I know all the terms like "NTN' "TTS" and "training heels." Now I know I can rip on teleboards, and I am secure enough in my own skin that I don't need to prove it to anyone.

BK

All the humor aside, Steep chutes are a challenge for even the most experience skiers. So BK has a point that a skier lacking experience is taking a huge risk to ski there. Not that they will heed warnings about getting in over their heads. Nor will most accept the advice to take a few years of snow study, SAR training, and mountaineering training to prepare for what they will encounter getting to that terrain prior to ever skiing it.

One reason I stopped patrolling was the body recovery aspect of out of area SAR work. Another was the really uncomfortable next of kin phone call. An all too often occurance here in Colorado. Even expertise is no guarantee of survival
Thanks guys for the various ideas.

Just as background, I am a fairly experienced mountaineer, and expert skier. I probably ski 20 or 30 steep couloirs a season, or maybe I should say 20 or times, as I may ski site multiple times. All of them are in the backcountry, and pretty long, 1000 ft or longer. And most 40-50 degrees.

So there is no need to worry about me getting a tip and killing myself, although nobody has gotten out of life alive.

And while it's true that you have to do it many times to learn there is no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel.

The statement that bothers me the most is" if you have to ask you shouldn't be doing it"

Anyway, I don't see why there if this reaction to my question, when may other topics get many answers (like how fyi carve a turn, or what length ski should I get)

For clarification, I ski a beer is katana, 112 wide, 184, full rocker, though slight.

Heh. So, you likely have ore experience with this than most here. Including me. Still, it is worth noting that in deep snow of any flavor, odds are nothing will outperform a full reverse/reverse (and maybe convex base) ski like this. Maybe not the skis to use if you are going to hit a bed of ice or rock underneath. But if you really mean deep snow - powder, slush, mank, breakable crust, etc - that'd be my goto choice. Nothing else is going to "carve" or pivot at will more easily. Just a totally different feeling than a more conventional cambered ski.

If you need more edge for a bed underneath - something close to that design point but with just a shade of camber in the middle and a tiny bit of side cut is probably the place to be.

Rod I was not implying you lack experience but even with experience many, many experts had things go wrong and those things cost them their lives. Coombs being one of many folks who lived an all too brief life skiing extreme terrain. the Sierras get a lot more water in their snow than we do here so maybe Ralves and his Alaskan heli ski service would be a better resource to ask about chute turns.

Rod have you read Andy Lewicky's thoughts on the pedal turn?

# .

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift

Heh. So, you likely have ore experience with this than most here. Including me. Still, it is worth noting that in deep snow of any flavor, odds are nothing will outperform a full reverse/reverse (and maybe convex base) ski like this. Maybe not the skis to use if you are going to hit a bed of ice or rock underneath. But if you really mean deep snow - powder, slush, mank, breakable crust, etc - that'd be my goto choice. Nothing else is going to "carve" or pivot at will more easily. Just a totally different feeling than a more conventional cambered ski.

If you need more edge for a bed underneath - something close to that design point but with just a shade of camber in the middle and a tiny bit of side cut is probably the place to be.

That's a butter knife that won't cut your steak nor tip the odds of a gunfight in your favor. Perhaps a good ski for vegetarian pickers and gatherers who don't need a real blade to take down the big prey.

I saw a pair last year at vegitarian band camp and ... well, it's a long story but suffice it to say that I scored a little virgin powder but unfortunately diarrhea as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666

# .

That's a butter knife that won't cut your steak nor tip the odds of a gunfight in your favor. Perhaps a good ski for vegetarian pickers and gatherers who don't need a real blade to take down the big prey.

I saw a pair last year at vegitarian band camp and ... well, it's a long story but suffice it to say that I scored a little virgin powder but unfortunately diarrhea as well.

You saw one. Did you ride them in a VR game too?

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