Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

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Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

Postby h.harb » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:30 am

Just because skiers can ski more difficult terrain with wider, rocker, or any combination, of these skis, doesn't make them good skiers. I am missing something, because skiing badly on difficult terrain isn't fun, it's reveling of ones technical inadequacy.

If you are a bad race car driver, with basic technical flaws, the faster you try to drive the more crashes you have.
And the faster and better your car, the worst it gets.

Skis have not made the sport better, they have only driven bad skiers to the beginner and intermediate slopes where they ski out of control and are dangerous to everyone. In a recent Ski Industry survey, many people stated the reasons for not continuing or taking up skiing, first was it's too expensive. High on the list, which I had not seen before was, too many people on the slopes, too crowded. If you ski A-Basin, you see almost no one skiing the steps if the snow is used up, firm or bumped. Sure on a fresh new snow day; everyone can ski this terrain with wide skis, wide skis have build in braking. Once the snow is used up; the skis don't work very well and your skiing gets worst, so those people go back to the intermediate slopes, where they are a hazard.

That's just my take on the worsening of the ski experience.
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Re: Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

Postby DougD » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:38 am

h.harb wrote:Sure on a fresh new snow day; everyone can ski this terrain with wide skis, wide skis have build in braking. Once the snow is used up; the skis don't work very well and your skiing gets worst, so those people go back to the intermediate slopes, where they are a hazard.

Sometimes even the intermediate slopes overwhelm them.

Stowe. Last Spring. The base had thawed over several warm days but then re-froze hard - New England hard. Then it snowed 8-10" overnight and into the morning, with 30-40mph swirling winds blasting drifts all over the place. In the trees and sheltered spots it piled up boot top or even knee deep. But exposed patches were blown bare. On any given trail you'd encounter powder, windpack and ice repeatedly, often in mid-turn.

Early morning brought lots of people out on fatties. Guess they thought they were in for a powder day.

I've never seen a mountain empty so quickly. Before noon, about the only skiers left were:
1. A bunch of young racers there for the annual Sugar Slalom. No fat boards in that crowd. After racing they ripped up the groomers, handling the wildly variable conditions easily.
2. Stowe regulars, who dance down Goat or Starr or through the trees in any conditions. Not many fat skis on those feet either.
3. Me, beneath the gondola, linking Super Phantoms on 66mm skis with lots of active inside foot management to adjust for the constantly changing snow. What a hoot! One of my best skiing days ever. My balance was challenged on every turn and that really helped refine my movements.

I shared one gondola ride with 2 racers, a local on tele gear and a couple on very fat skis. Those were not working and they were not happy. About halfway up the man grumbled, "This is the last time we're skiing in the East."

The two racers just stared at the floor. The local and I caught each other's eye and winked. The racers noticed and, being teens, couldn't stop themselves from giggling. Their mirth spread smiles, but not to the faces of the unhappy pair - who glared at us as if we were all nuts.

I'm sure we all wanted to say, "Learn how to ski!"... but nobody did. People learn when they're ready to admit what they don't know, not when they're venting blame.
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Re: Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

Postby MarcS » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:25 pm

Hi DougD, sounds like we have the same snow conditions in Australia. You grow to love the ice; great for reminding you to work on technique. Some of the responsibility for skiing enjoyment must be put back on providing quality ski school instruction.
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Re: Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

Postby DougD » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:51 pm

I expect Aussie snow conditions are like ours. Your mountains and ours are too low in altitude and latitude to get a lot of dry powder. Agree that skiing on ice, um, focuses the mind. :wink:

Ski schools, especially ski schools at mountains prone to challenging conditions, should indeed prepare their guests to ski well enough to enjoy those conditions. Everyone enjoys a powder day. But if people stay away on the other days because they can't ski well enough to enjoy being challenged - or worse, ski without control - it hurts the students, the instructors and the resort. If the sport wants to thrive, feel-good "teaching" and inappropriate equipment are not helpful.
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Re: Doing it badly on more difficult terrain!

Postby semnoz » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:18 am

h.harb wrote:Just because skiers can ski more difficult terrain with wider, rocker, or any combination, of these skis, doesn't make them good skiers. I am missing something, because skiing badly on difficult terrain isn't fun, it's reveling of ones technical inadequacy.


You've dedicated your life's work to ski technique, so I'm not surprised that you've "missed it".

In my experience in both the US and the European Alps, both alpine-resort and backcountry skiing, most skiers confuse the ability to get down difficult terrain with having good technique. Taking that a step further, I would even claim that the average PSIA instructor and recreational skier consider themselves to be good skiers if they can comfortably descend expert terrain.
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