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Glades terrify me

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey coaches, 

 

Today WB opened up the Seventh Heaven area for the first time this season--which meant some good powder skiing. Unfortunately on my first run down I directed myself into the glades. And I suddenly remembered that I'm terrified of glades.

 

I genuinely love moguls and ungroomed stuff. Chop's a ton of fun. And I enjoy powder when the run is rather open (eg when you can bork up a turn without worry of falling off a cliff). I would ski all of these types of terrain over a groomer any day. But glades absolutely terrify me. 

 

Some of the issues I see:

 

Unpredictability. Glade runs wouldn't be so bad if there were a tree here or there... but it seems like glade runs are either all or nothing. And a lot of runs that start out comfortably sparse suddenly become totally gnarly once you get a bit further down. So you're often stuck slogging through evergreen hell. And sometimes the ground just falls away--like there'll be a drop that you just weren't anticipating and aren't ready to handle. And sometimes there are horrible roots sticking out that could end your ski season due to a single wrong turn.

 

Turning control. Glades are usually bumped up... which would be fine in a nice open bump field where you can just turn wherever. But for some reason, the distance between troughs and peaks seems to be waaaaay larger in glade areas, and the bumps are basically malformed ovals instead of more circular. So it's tough to ski them nicely... I find if I stop, my skis are often bowing between two moguls ... plus you lose a lot of your line options because of trees blocking your turning path. (your centre of mass can't be where a tree is...)

 

I don't know what I'm hoping for. (violins or a symphony, maybe?) But I probably need to get good at and comfortable with glades if I ever hope to pass my CSIA level 3. I just don't know. On my last exam, most of my skills were consolidation-level; my only refinement-level skill was keeping skis parallel. Maybe you need refinement-level skills to ski glades well.. I dunno...anyway, what would you suggest?

post #2 of 29

Metaphor,

 

Why not just got to WB sessions and get tips in real life?


Edited by Skidude72 - 12/12/10 at 10:06pm
post #3 of 29

If you were closer so I could just say come ski with me.

 

Glade skiing is the toughest terrain we ever encounter as you are saying there is alot going on. If much tougher when there is no new snow.

 

Mentality you have to be willing sometimes to make turns, hops and straight runs and be willing to deal with the outcome of the maneuver by reaction as sightline sometime simply not enough. Basically it require commitment. whether you think you can or think you cannt, your right. 

 

skills

 

a solid short turn of infinite different size and shapes being able to use retraction and extension movement thoughtout each turn and being able to do varying hop transitions as well.

 

the start to solid short turn is movement down the hill. COM should always be moving and never be static. Even going slowly though glades we are still moving our COM as quickly as our skis alllow down the hill. this lets us stay with out skis(aka in balance) and also let us shape are turn up high and make nice round turns where terrain allows than try to pivot and set down low.

 

As for practicing short turns. Most ski instructors get in this habit of making the same size and shape turn over and over again.  As you know this wont work in glades. Making dynamic short turns, make skidded but round short turns, do pivot slips, do them with the separation happening at the femurs, and with the separation happening on top of the hip, start combining all of these different turns on the same run. Make sure your shoulders stay square and that your hips mostly stay square.  Learn how to do a solid retraction short turn as its the most efficient way to ski trees. Once you got that all dialed learn how to do leaper entry learn how to falline hop turns. Both of which will come in handy.

 

ski choice you can do all this stuff on whatever you want but fatter skis ski tree better as they are less precise, even in situation where the snow is totally packed down I would still want 90-100 mm waisted ski with some rocker and conventional sidecut. The 98mm ski with some rocker almost seemed designed to ski trees no matter the condtions. The Blizzard "the one", Rossi S3, and Dynstar Slicer simply put are some of the best tree skis around.

 

good luck and great glade skiing is just solid fundamentals, combined with confidence in your solid fundamentals, and alittle(well sometimes alot) of athleticism.

 

post #4 of 29

I was just at Whistler the other day and saw a great place to pactice off of the Emerald chair.  Hang to skiers right (I don't know the run names) but stay on the main run.  One area has little tree tops still sticking out.  They are not big enough to bother your skiing or hurt you, but they are spaced just like glades.  I had fun on my way off of the mountain skiing these.  They will soon disappear, though yesterday's Pineapple Express may have exposed them more.  

 

The big problem may be the psychological one of worrying about those tree trunks.  They are worth being concerned, but you can focus on them too much and it will mess you up.  I guess you could use aversion therapy techniques; ski a few turns at the edge of a glade and then pop on to the main run, then a few more, etc.  You know the hill better than I, but I remember some glades on Blackcomb somewhere below the Crystal chair that could fit this bill.

 

I'm with you about skiing the big divots that are left in the glades.  They're fun for a while, but I get tired of having my turns dictated constantly.

post #5 of 29

while I am no expert tree skier: Ski-ra (a true tree rat) tought me a great trick about finding lines. if you find your self on a line that becomes too difficult; ski out of the line and traverse the trees, catch your breath, and drop in again when you find better line. Keep scanning ahead several turns (not just 2) ski ahead of yourself in a sense. It will allow your brain more time to process.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

I was just at Whistler the other day and saw a great place to pactice off of the Emerald chair.  Hang to skiers right (I don't know the run names) but stay on the main run.  One area has little tree tops still sticking out.  They are not big enough to bother your skiing or hurt you, but they are spaced just like glades.  I had fun on my way off of the mountain skiing these.  They will soon disappear, though yesterday's Pineapple Express may have exposed them more.  

 

The big problem may be the psychological one of worrying about those tree trunks.  They are worth being concerned, but you can focus on them too much and it will mess you up.  I guess you could use aversion therapy techniques; ski a few turns at the edge of a glade and then pop on to the main run, then a few more, etc.  You know the hill better than I, but I remember some glades on Blackcomb somewhere below the Crystal chair that could fit this bill.

 

I'm with you about skiing the big divots that are left in the glades.  They're fun for a while, but I get tired of having my turns dictated constantly.

post #6 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

while I am no expert tree skier: Ski-ra (a true tree rat) tought me a great trick about finding lines. if you find your self on a line that becomes too difficult; ski out of the line and traverse the trees, catch your breath, and drop in again when you find better line. Keep scanning ahead several turns (not just 2) ski ahead of yourself in a sense. It will allow your brain more time to process.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

I was just at Whistler the other day and saw a great place to pactice off of the Emerald chair.  Hang to skiers right (I don't know the run names) but stay on the main run.  One area has little tree tops still sticking out.  They are not big enough to bother your skiing or hurt you, but they are spaced just like glades.  I had fun on my way off of the mountain skiing these.  They will soon disappear, though yesterday's Pineapple Express may have exposed them more.  

 

The big problem may be the psychological one of worrying about those tree trunks.  They are worth being concerned, but you can focus on them too much and it will mess you up.  I guess you could use aversion therapy techniques; ski a few turns at the edge of a glade and then pop on to the main run, then a few more, etc.  You know the hill better than I, but I remember some glades on Blackcomb somewhere below the Crystal chair that could fit this bill.

 

I'm with you about skiing the big divots that are left in the glades.  They're fun for a while, but I get tired of having my turns dictated constantly.


 


although ski-ra's method work when there is easier lines what happen when there is no 'easier" line?

 

just saying with enough fundamentals and athleticism eventually the fall line is almost always skiable.

 

 

 

 

post #7 of 29

I am assuming he's not jumping into the most challenging, most difficult trees?  Expert trees, expert skiers......

post #8 of 29

Play tetris with the trees. Plan your next 2 or 3 turns, take a break, repeat.

 

Eventually you won't need to take the breaks to plan your route.

post #9 of 29

You got some good advice from finndog and bush. The main thing you need to do is find a way to become comfortable moving past trees. In that regard finndogs tip should be used as a starting point, traverse the trees, even turning uphill more than down. I like to think of skiing it like Xmas ribbon candy, back and forth with 1 small turn down then traverse/ diagonalize the line , repeat, over again. This lets you get the feeling of moving past trees with out all the gravity pulling you fast down the fall line.If you have to, pop out onto a trail( please look 1st), then go back in. As you start to get some rhythm and comfort with skiing next to immovable objects you can start to turn down the fall line for longer durations. Now you start needing the skills that bush is talking about, work on those, make sure you have a bomb proof hop turn to a stop because you will need it.If you don't have that don't go in to steep trees.

There are some who will say to look at the spaces between the trees and while I will agree with that I am of the mind that I want to see the things that will hurt me, patches of white powder don't hurt, but the big maple or rock out cropping up ahead will. I will look at those to get my bearings to set up for the next turn and so on.Developing the eyes for the line takes time and practice, looking ahead past 4 or 5 trees helps with this but still be aware of what is next to you . Once you start really getting into tree skiing you will be laughing at bump runs. Practice

post #10 of 29

I agree to look way ahead... if you get too busy with what is in your face it is ok to stop.

 

Progress from easier to harder as I would expect you did with everything else.

 

 

Skiing scared is unacceptable, skiing while knowing the risk involved is more like it.  The line is having the confidence and commitment of your abilities, over time you can harness this to your advantage when you get the ole' queezy stomach.

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

Thanks for the ideas.

post #12 of 29

Rather than a feww tips on what to do, maybe you should know what not to do.

 

Like skiing trees alone. Shit happens sometimes in trees. Always ski with someone  there.

 

Don't ski unfamiliar trees without someone who knows them well. There is usually hidden risks such as rocks, dropoffs and downed logs amongst tree runs.

 

Don't stop or ski next to the base of evergreen trees. Especially in really deep snow or late season. Tree wells have gobbled up many a good skier let alone a bad one.

 

If you're not an accomplished skier on the groomed, you're not going to be any good in trees. It's one thing to miss a turn on the groomed, miss a turn in trees and you could get hurt.

 

I really think that running gates such as nastar or beer leagues helps prepare you for trees skiing. As well as mogul skiing. Trees usually are filled with moguls.

 

The best tip I ever got was to look at the spaces between the trees, not the trees. One has a tendency to go where you are looking whether you're driving a car or skiing.

post #13 of 29

Along with what Lars said. If you are skiing in well-skied trees and see a big expanse of untracked snow, don't ski it. There is probably a really good reason why nobody has skied it!

post #14 of 29

I like that advice Epic.

 

If you are experiencing fear then maybe there is a valid reason for that.  What's the root of that fear?

 

You said you can ski bumps, can you ski them slowly - really slowly with precision.  I hit a tree a few years back and the thoughts of that crash enters my mind when ever I go into the trees.  Respect is different than fear, and I now find myself skiing much slower in tight situations.  Being in control takes on new light.  Trees are not slalom gates!

 

I like what Bushwacker said in #3 - short turns.  You have to own your turns and be competent at all variations.  For me that means slowing it down and making it perfect.  It's easy to add speed.

 

post #15 of 29

If you don't look at the trees they can't hit you, only half kidding.

post #16 of 29

If you continue to have problems consider a trip to Steamboat. In my experience they have the best terrain for learning to ski trees. The are to the far right and back of the resort has lines through the trees between runs that are not bumped up, with trees spaced at least 20 feet apart, and lined up so that you can take angles that minimize your speed no matter how deep the snow is. In the shadows area they have more difficult glades that get progressively more difficult from skier' left to right

 

For the moguls in the trees, you're going to have to work much more at mastering regular moguls (the difference between doing fine and telling the moguls who is boss). If you can find a friend or instructor who can lead you through the trees at a comfortable pace and show you lines, this can make your task much more doable, If you're going to do this on your own, a place like Steamboat can make it a lot easier to make progress.

post #17 of 29

If you are ever in Utah, D.V., has a real nice variety of deciduous glades (varying density and steepness) that they maintain pretty well. And since it's DV they are usually pretty empty. There are also some glades that are interrupted by cat tracks so you can bail at various points. It is also a good idea to get into the glades on fresh legs, when the sun is high. Not toward the end of the day when fatigue and lower contrast comes in.

post #18 of 29

YEP, for sure. the sunshine area is where you want to go, relatively flat so you can control speed easily.  Theres actually a kids tree area that is perfect for beginners from there you can ski all the way down to the lift through widely spaced aspens  Thats where I learned, And they are still fun as there a bunch of hidden shots over there that hold for days.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

If you continue to have problems consider a trip to Steamboat. In my experience they have the best terrain for learning to ski trees. The are to the far right and back of the resort has lines through the trees between runs that are not bumped up, with trees spaced at least 20 feet apart, and lined up so that you can take angles that minimize your speed no matter how deep the snow is. In the shadows area they have more difficult glades that get progressively more difficult from skier' left to right

 

For the moguls in the trees, you're going to have to work much more at mastering regular moguls (the difference between doing fine and telling the moguls who is boss). If you can find a friend or instructor who can lead you through the trees at a comfortable pace and show you lines, this can make your task much more doable, If you're going to do this on your own, a place like Steamboat can make it a lot easier to make progress.

post #19 of 29

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

If you continue to have problems consider a trip to Steamboat. In my experience they have the best terrain for learning to ski trees. The are to the far right and back of the resort has lines through the trees between runs that are not bumped up, with trees spaced at least 20 feet apart, and lined up so that you can take angles that minimize your speed no matter how deep the snow is. In the shadows area they have more difficult glades that get progressively more difficult from skier' left to right

 

For the moguls in the trees, you're going to have to work much more at mastering regular moguls (the difference between doing fine and telling the moguls who is boss). If you can find a friend or instructor who can lead you through the trees at a comfortable pace and show you lines, this can make your task much more doable, If you're going to do this on your own, a place like Steamboat can make it a lot easier to make progress.


Never skis the boat, but my perception is that just about every ski resort I have ever been to has some nice blue square level glades suitable for gettign some easy no fear milage in trees. Big Sky, Targhee, Alta, Snowbasin, Beaver Mt, The canyons, Deer valley, Solitude, even Snowbird etc...

 

And these rusn take a long time to bump up since most of the time they are not seeing a ton of traffic.

 

post #20 of 29
I think he needs a lot of low-grade fear mileage instead of no fear mileage. No fear mileage = slow legs.


Heck, ~2 weeks at Sutton or Jay would sort all that right out.

EDIT FOR CLARITY: Something like Dreamcatcher lift at the Canyons would be too no-fear. Something like the Abyss @ Canyons or John Paul would be too much fear too soon.



Out of curiosity, Metaphor_, are you generally uncomfortable when things close in around you? For example, are you a bit queasy about driving on a road with tall concrete barriers next to the travel lanes?
Edited by comprex - 12/15/10 at 9:25am
post #21 of 29

Usually, fear creeps in when someone is out of their own element. In other words, i'm guessing the OP isn't confident enough is his skiing ability to dive into the trees knowing full well there will be instances where he will have to make turns in places where if he doesn't the result will end up in an injury or worse.

 

An adrenaline rush is one thing, fear is another. Most cases, the fear isn't fear but doubt. Doubt in one's abilities and lack of experience. If you're not ready, you're not ready. It's that simple. Better to be safe than sorry.

 

And running gates is great practice for skiing trees. It forces you to turn where the course and gate makes you turn. Not where you can turn. Start with easy Nastar courses then progress to tighter courses maybe with some local race teams. Almost every Resort has them. When you get good at them and have the confidence in knowing you can turn where you have to, try some easy spaced trees. Progress to tighter, longer tree runs from there but only what your inner safety factor allows.

 

It's all in your head. And usually, there's a good reason for that.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

Rather than a feww tips on what to do, maybe you should know what not to do.

 

Like skiing trees alone. Shit happens sometimes in trees. Always ski with someone  there.

 

Don't ski unfamiliar trees without someone who knows them well. There is usually hidden risks such as rocks, dropoffs and downed logs amongst tree runs.

 

Don't stop or ski next to the base of evergreen trees. Especially in really deep snow or late season. Tree wells have gobbled up many a good skier let alone a bad one.

 

If you're not an accomplished skier on the groomed, you're not going to be any good in trees. It's one thing to miss a turn on the groomed, miss a turn in trees and you could get hurt.

 

I really think that running gates such as nastar or beer leagues helps prepare you for trees skiing. As well as mogul skiing. Trees usually are filled with moguls.

 

The best tip I ever got was to look at the spaces between the trees, not the trees. One has a tendency to go where you are looking whether you're driving a car or skiing.



Don't follow snowboarders into trees.   Not going to elaborate so as not to get into a whole thing here but trust me.

post #23 of 29

Do you know what "open" and "closed" race gates are?  Open gates are set more or less perpendicular to the fall line.  Closed gates are set on the fall line.  You want to look for the open spaces between trees that form a closed gate.  Going through trees that form an open gate will increase your pace dramatically.  Using the closed gate trees lets you turn around one tree at a time.

 

A tip from my tree-skiing friend "Franz".

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, 

 

Thanks for the ideas. Here's a quick update. We've been blessed in Whistler with about 10" of snow overnight. My level 3 (CSIA, not PSIA) prep group spent the whole day in glades today--so I had no choice but to go. Before we started, our instructor told us to think of trees, or clusters of trees, like a gate, and simply ski around the gate. It made the glades so easy. (Kneale, I think this is what you were describing.) I have no more generalized fear of glades. 

 

Of course, doing a good bump warm-up really helped. So did some work on staying flexed at turn initiation. (In Canada I see a ton of extension to initiate a turn... it works on groomed hardpack, but not so good in any off-piste conditions.) Lastly, it really helped to pick my own line rather than skiing in other people's tracks. 

 

The things that's been ruining me is this idea of "look between the trees". That invariably gives me a feeling of panic/claustrophobia. It really helped to focus on "turn around the trees" instead. 

post #25 of 29

There was a mention in an earlier post about staying away from evergreens because of tree wells.  At Whistler, as you well know, there are only evergreens.  Most of these give no worries for tree wells.  The only ones you need to worry about are the ones where the branches reach the surface of the snow.  These are the ones with tree wells.  The ones that have the foliage high up in the air (most of the trees at Whistler) do not have dangerous tree wells because the snow falls in around the trunk like it would a chair tower or a deciduous tree.  It's very important to know which trees hide those wells, but the big buggers with only the trunk visible as you ski them do not.

post #26 of 29

The most important thing I learned about trees while skiing with John Egan is......Never follow anyone shorter then you

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

The most important thing I learned about trees while skiing with John Egan is......Never follow anyone shorter then you



Applies doubly to short snowboarders.

post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by epic View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

The most important thing I learned about trees while skiing with John Egan is......Never follow anyone shorter then you



Applies doubly to short snowboarders.



with shorter skiers, Is this just to avoid getting clocked on the head? with boarders, is it a combination of that plus turn shape? (I don't tend to take the same line as my boarder friend.)

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 with boarders, is it a combination of that plus turn shape?


boarders can duck much, much lower than skiers.

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