HH. Advice on making turns in the goo

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HH. Advice on making turns in the goo

Postby -- SCSA » Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:35 am

Hi Harald,

Now that it's Spring time, what kind of advice would you give us for making turns in the goo? Spring time conditions can be very challenging and dangerous -- I saw a lot of skiers (too many) get taken off the mountain this weekend.

Like yesterday at Vail my good ski buddy hurt his knee. It was really gooey. It'd snowed 8 wet inches the day before. Then it froze up over night. Everything in the back was thick, tracked up and choppy.

Myself, I was trying to focus on more of a two footed release. Trying to flex both legs up, to bring them out of the goo so I could get some tipping going for the next turn. Because sometimes, the snow was so thick I felt like tipping movements had zero affect. At times, the only way I could make a turn was to hop. Like my last lap on Genghis I found myself fighting to stay balanced, using athletics to make turns, not skills. I even fell over once.

So if you were in these same conditions, how would you coach us down? What would you tell us to focus on?

Thanks in advance,

Postby Harald » Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:30 am

Short version fo skiing in unsettled conditions:

The tendency and the difference that most skiers experience in unfamiliar conditions is apprehension, which leads to leg stiffness. In the conditions like you portray, tipping will be effective if you load (balance on the outside ski) the ski and then flex to release. Increase the tipping near the bottom of the turn with some added flexion before you release. If you try to push the tails of the ski, at the top of the arc, to the side in these conditions, you are in for a world of hurt.

The increased gradual leg flexion at the bottom of the arc closes the radius of the arc for speed control. Flexion to release is different, it is more aggressive and it un-weights the skis. Change edges while flexed, stay flexed until the skis engage for the new turn. The frozen surface will feel like the skis are bouncing all over. After the snow gets softer, try to stay on top (float) in transition by using the flexing action of the legs to release.

If you come up to A-Basin on May 1 we can try it out.

Postby HH » Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:49 pm

Use your iM75s

Turns in Goo

Postby John Mason » Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:17 pm

Turns in Goo -

Here are the newbies thoughts as this is an area I'm still working on that has been a recent "breakthru" for me.

This used to be the bane of my skiing. If you are skidding your turns then Goo, bumpy runs, and crud are a frustrating mess. But, if you are skiing by tipping and carving, other than a little lowered stance to help with the high level of variablity in the surface, it's just normal skiing. If you are cutting through the stuff making your lines, you just have some up and down undulations to account for. But if your slipping sideways in your turn because of not enough edging, then you'll have side to side balance problems as the variablity of the terrain plays with your skis. Our knees work well for up down undulations. Side to side undulations are motions our bodies cannot easily accomodate while skiing.

Try to edge more to prevent any skidding. Don't leg steer. Ride the tipping skis. Using a ski that is more flexible and a tad wider makes the whole process easier. Wider floats up more so you don't sink as much which makes for a smoother ride. If your stance is wide it'll all be harder as the skis may want to go their own way more. A narrow stance is easier in this stuff (and easier period). When its really gooy you may have to go down the fall line a bit more since it's not as slippery. Watch out for shade as the goo can change to ice in an instance on shady areas. Be ready to pull your skis back when you hit the shade so they don't accelerate and leave you in the back seat.

Though I was surprised at Nubs Nob this weekend. I had only recently started eliminating vestiges of steering in my sking and this weekend was the first time I had been skiing in goo since this improvement. On Friday it was all goo in the afternoon and I was on my stiff and pretty Narrow 6 stars. Normally I would have been a mess of a skier on these skis in these conditions. But, by relaxing and just focusing on edging to turn I really didn't have a problem, which was a far far cry from the last time I was in these conditions when I was still skidding my turns. The I75m's would have been the better ski for these conditions because they are more flexible.
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Postby milesb » Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:06 am

John I can almost guarantee that the snow that SCSA was in was something that you wouldn't have been able to easily handle. While your advice was sound, it doesn't really help him, because he is already doing all that.
What may be missing is the need for more speed and dynamics in these conditions. More speed= more pressure at the top of the turn to get the skis bending (the problem is that the snow resists the skis bending, so even though they are on edge, they aren't turning right away). And I say go ahead and use plenty of muscle power: flex and extend aggressively to get the pressure really going at the top of the turn. Sure, you're going to be worn out, but at least you looked good!
I don't know if this fits in with PMTS, but when I get difficult snow, I try to keep my feet relaxed enough so that the skis can slightly wander, both in direction and edge angle. I find it easier to control the "average" edge and direction than to try to keep them exact. The drawback is I cannot do very short turns like this, but that is seldom a problem as very short turns are alot of work in tough snow.
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MilesB you would have to be the goo master

Postby John Mason » Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:22 am

MilesB - you would have to be the goo master!

You ski Mammoth a lot, and that can get to be a goo pond too. At least you have 3 sides to play with to get the snow type you want as the day progresses.

I didn't know if it would be applicable to where SCSA is skiing. SCSA has much more experience than I. (I'm up to about 70 days now since last March). But even a little goo used to really mess me up. Now it doesn't at all. The goo at the end of the day on Friday at Nubs was about 4 inches of slush with random piles of 1 to 2 feet strewn about from people's skiing. It was all soft and carvable though.
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Postby -- SCSA » Tue Apr 13, 2004 1:06 pm

Hi John,

Way to go! You're making turns in the goo, progressing @ about the same pace I did.

You've got the right idea, that's for sure. Matter of fact, you're right on. But like milesZ says, the snow was fugly that day. It was one of those days when riding up Teacup lift at Vail, nobody -- I mean NOBODY -- was skiing Genghis (on the left, as you're riding up the lift).

When the snow gets real thick and ugly @ the Big Show in the back, the only ones you see off-piste are those like me. He/she/its who simply must ski the lines, just because we're too snobby to ski groomers! :wink:

Myself, I go looking for the weirdest, hardest snow to make turns in, just to see if I can. Just to see how well I can ski it. I mean, you look at Genghis and there's no one on it -- I just gotta go ski it! :)

Postby *SCSA » Sat Apr 17, 2004 6:54 am

Test if * works.

Postby *SCSA » Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:01 am

Morning folks!

I like that better...

Yesterday was gooey too. But I ended up finding some good lines -- some great lines.

But I did it again, skiing like the Wacko I am! I'm making turnz on the left side of Milt's, heading down to 5. I see some ugly snow and I just have, to go make a turn or 2. So I do. But I end up missing the last turn before the track out of there and end up in the drink -- nearly. Had it not been for the bushes, Idda gone right in the drink. I'm picking myself out of the bushes as these folks come buy looking at me goin, Jeez! :shock: :lol:

It's the last 2 days @ the Big Show. Oh well. It'll be ski season before I know it. !


Guess what? The gang always has meetings @ the Big Show this time of year. You can't miss 'em. They're always standing around in big circles (they way more standing around than skiing -- those gang he/she/its), going blah bla blah. Anyway, they they were yesterday -- lots of 'em. All standing around, just like always.

You know I really was about over them, at the point where I really can ignore them -- not even heckling from the chair or anything like that! :wink: :P But yesterday, I just couldn't resist. :lol:

You shoulda seen 'em all. Guess what they were working on? That's right! Freakin wedge turns! Instead of working on their skiing, there they were, working on wedge turns! Then, I see them later in the day. They weren't working on wedge turns anymore, but they were making these long, GS turns. They were, "...working on our carving."

I just have 2 questions:

1) When, are ski instructors going to stop teaching the wedge? My Gawd. What is it going to take? :evil:
2) What good are gs turns? Why even teach them? A bullet proof short turn and edge control are where it's at, what a skier really needs.

Carving schmarving! :roll: It's about edge control. Skiers, lead by the gang, have gotten away from what's really important -- what HH teaches from day 1 -- the bullet proof short turn and edge control!

I don't care what anyone says. In bumps, glades, trees, powder, crud, goo, mush, a bullet short turn is a must have. When there's no snow, or very little room to turn, same story.

So here's my conclusion:
If a skier only wants to ski groomers, and only when the conditions are ideal, then sure. You can learn to ski from the gang. You can be one of those that end up learning to make what appears to be a decent gs turn, but only when the conditions are ideal. Not in the Spring or when it's dumping. You can be one of the skiers I talk to on chair who've been coming to the Big Show for years, but can't/don't ski the best lines. Any bumps but tourist bumps are out of the question. You can ski steeps, but only by using a series of jump turns. You probably fall a lot on powder days. Pay for a lift ticket, but only ski 20% of the mountain.


So if that's your gig, then sure -- the other guys are for you. It looks to me like you'll learn to make a neato little gs turn. Others who really have no idea will probably call you good.

But if you want to ski the whole mountain great, then this is where you need to be and what you need to be following. Nothing else. 8) :!:

And on that note, I'm off to the Big Show!
Be cool,

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