Return to our Home Page Latest Ski News - Resorts, Events, Equipment, World Cup and more Latest Snow Conditions from Around the World Ski Resort Feature Articles Ski and Snowboard Equipment Feature Articles Our Liftlines user forums A Ski Resort Map Covering All of North America User Downloads Search Our Site Free Ski News Subscriptions via RSS Our huge database of other ski and snowboard websites around the world Contact Us


Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Seek and dispense advice regarding snowsports technique at The Ski School.

Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:48 pm

do you attack ice or do you avoid it? Do you hate it because it makes you feel like a poser or do you look for it because you think mastering it will make you a better skier?

Obviously, nobody including me is going to look for ice on a POW day, but do you pack it in at noon on those days with 12" of fluffy POW over boilerplate or do you stick it out until the lifts stop and make your last run down the baddest bump run on the mountain?
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Cannonball » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:03 pm

Sometimes at ~3:30 at Cannon, I like to stop about half way down Avalanche and shave in the mirror blue ice.

I am definitely from the school of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", and therefore do not shy away from ice. Having the confidence to straightline bulletproof sections, knowing that you'll eventually find that soft(ish) patch, makes you better in all conditions. Mastering the occosional skating rink is the only way to survive as a New England skier/rider. And every hard-glazed turn you make at the resorts, is experience that could save your life in the backcountry.

With all that said, nobody in their right mind wants the ice. On a board, your feet and ankles start turning into pulpy stumps as you crank your bindings tighter and tighter trying to maintain control. And you pray to the gods that the edge you are so desperatley trying to hold, doesn't bite too much, so that you knock out your teeth like some dopey hockey player. On skis, your pole plants come back at you like you're fencing with the mountain. Your thumbs and wrists start throbbing to the point that you almost forget how your hip flexors are burning from trying to bury your outside edge as much as your inside. Then of course, there is the mach10 turn along the treeline (Upper Ravine): You're pretty sure there will be a slot of decent snow before you meet eat birches...but what if there isn't?
User avatar
Cannonball
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:57 am
Location: Avatar: Chugach, AK

Re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Patrick » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:05 pm

JimG. wrote:do you attack ice or do you avoid it?

(..)
, but do you pack it in at noon on those days with 12" of fluffy POW over boilerplate or do you stick it out until the lifts stop and make your last run down the baddest bump run on the mountain?


I don't believe I ever pack it in because of ice. However I have quit because of boredom or not feeling well. :?

I don't avoid ice, if it is skiable and carveable, I ski it....
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4618
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Tue Dec 14, 2004 9:16 am

Figured I'd hear back from you guys...we stay out there from 8-4 no matter what. And I really agree with Cannonball's statement that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

When I started this thread I chose words like "attack" and "avoid" for a reason, but I'd like to wait to hear from others on this topic before I say any more.
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Jay Suds » Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:07 am

It all really depends :)

This past Sunday, when it was very slick and when I was demoing skis I did go and "attack" the ice to see how well the ski held up under those conditions.

However, I also don't have a particular need or reason to "prove" to myself or others that I can ski the ice. Somedays I enjoy the challenge of making nice short linked turns down an icey face, other days I don't. There's no real rhyme or reason to this, except for the simple fact that I do what I will enjoy most at that moment when I'm skiing.
Jay Suds
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:15 pm
Location: Niantic, CT

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Geoff » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:27 pm

My ice technique is mostly "ski where it ain't". Ice looks gray. Snow looks white. I pick a line where I'm on the white part. This often means I'm skiing on the extreme edge of the trail or skiing along the spines of moguls avoiding the icy troughs.
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:07 pm

You guys are good...nobody fell into the trap! I was expecting at least one ego charged reply about attacking ice at top speed. Unless it's a racer, those are the guys you see on an icy day spending more time sideways than pointing downhill.

Truth is a combo of all comments made above. Making good tactical decisions regarding line choice and conditions is very important. Geoff mentions avoiding ice, but I'm guessing he means avoiding it as much as possible on any trail out on the hill and not just avoiding any one run altogether.

Attacking ice does not work well in most cases, and fearing it is even worse. I find that I have to be light on my feet and feather my edging skills to be successful at carving on it. Most important, turn initiation must be smooth and fluid, and most of all rhythmic. Holding onto turns too long never seems to work and you bust out into a skid pronto.

Teaching these skills is tough because it is more mental than physical. I had to overcome my fear of letting go of the old turn and starting the new one before I could ski well on ice. The fearful student needs time on icy surfaces that are on a gentle pitch to work their way up to steeper things. The bulldogs who want to muscle things need to lighten up and use less force. Sort of like teaching a football player ballet.

It's like walking a tightrope.
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Patrick » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:37 pm

If we always avoided ice then skiing wouldn't be as challenging. :o Might as well ski groom blues at Deer Valley (sorry, only heard about it). :?

In my books, there isn't any bad snow conditions (unless there is a lack of coverage), just good to great snow conditions. 8)

BTW, Ice isn't gray - it's shinnnny :!: :!: :!: :wink:
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4618
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Geoff » Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:05 pm

JimG. wrote:Making good tactical decisions regarding line choice and conditions is very important. Geoff mentions avoiding ice, but I'm guessing he means avoiding it as much as possible on any trail out on the hill and not just avoiding any one run altogether.



Yep. I wasn't talking about avoiding icy runs. I was talking about the tactics of avoiding ice patches. I remember skiing with some friends at Killington who'd dragged an instructor from Vail up on the hill. He was amazed at how well we could read the terrain and avoid the ice. He didn't have that lifetime of solving the ice puzzle in his repetoire and he was struggling because of it.

When I'm on ice, I maintain the illusion that I'm carving but I'm actually skidding like crazy. I'll often ride up the lift with somebody who's complaining that I'm holding fine and they're skidding all over the place. I laugh and confess I'm skidding just as much as they are. I actually don't like to ski on carving skis. I demo them from time to time on bullet-proof days and having that much edge grip hurts my knees.
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Geoff » Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:12 pm

Patrick wrote:If we always avoided ice then skiing wouldn't be as challenging. :o Might as well ski groom blues at Deer Valley (sorry, only heard about it). :?

In my books, there isn't any bad snow conditions (unless there is a lack of coverage), just good to great snow conditions. 8)

BTW, Ice isn't gray - it's shinnnny :!: :!: :!: :wink:


For reference, Deer Valley has some of the better tree skiing I've ever experienced. A run or two down that perfect corduroy first thing in the morning when it's not a powder day is pretty enjoyable, too.

I get a distinct color change between snow and ice. The snow looks white and the ice looks less white. Am I some kind of space alien or do other people see it the same way?
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:47 pm

I fully agree with Geoff on the color: I try to make turns on the white as much as possible, go straight or skid (hopefully controlled) on the gray, and stay the hell away from the black, blue, yellow or shiny.

In recent years I have planned my trips such that I can go 20-30 ski days without ever seeing the gray (frozen granular) or worse. So there is a considerable adjustment process when I occasionally encounter it, as on my day at Jay when the temps dropped 25 degrees after 2 T-shirt days at Stowe and MRG. However, as I noted at the time on FTO it was my Jay host and not me who took the body slam fall and got the cut lip skiing a FRGR groomer on the Jet chair.

One of the effects of skiing good snow most of the time is not having to have skis tuned that often. So if I get the hard snow conditions unexpectedly, I'll be pretty out of control until I get them sharpened.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,318K in 2010-11
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 8360
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:17 am

Geoff wrote:When I'm on ice, I maintain the illusion that I'm carving but I'm actually skidding like crazy...I'm skidding just as much as they are. I actually don't like to ski on carving skis. I demo them from time to time on bullet-proof days and having that much edge grip hurts my knees.


Good stuff! There is always a little skid in a turn and it's actually essential to good skiing unless you're a racer loking for as much speed as possible.

And I agree about the carving skis; I like a little bit of skid in my turn. On top of that, I get bored making the same GS turns all day long.
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:24 am

Geoff wrote:I get a distinct color change between snow and ice. The snow looks white and the ice looks less white. Am I some kind of space alien or do other people see it the same way?


I see the same thing when I look down a run, in addition to the other colors like blue and yellow that Tony mentions. In fact, I can distinguish between types of ice by the color:

Gray-very edgeable ice, usually very abrasive.
Clear-smoother and harder than gray, edges need to be feathered and
you cannot hold onto turns too long.
Blue-bulletproof! Totally smooth and very hard. Tactics are of most
importance, you gotta look for the nearest patch of softer snow.
Yellow-as Frank Zappa said, don't eat that!
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby Ryan » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:42 am

JimG. wrote:
Good stuff! There is always a little skid in a turn and it's actually essential to good skiing unless you're a racer loking for as much speed as possible.

And I agree about the carving skis; I like a little bit of skid in my turn. On top of that, I get bored making the same GS turns all day long.


On some levels I agree with this but for myself I find the easies way to get through ice is with no skid at all. If you introduce a rotary movement into the mix when on ice, it can get out of hand very quickly. I personally like to lay my skis on clean edge, railroad track style, and carve straight through. Good clean turn initiation is essential for this to work though.
Ryan
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:39 am
Location: Western Pennsylvania

Re: re: Skiing/Boarding on ice...

Postby JimG. » Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:33 am

Ryan wrote:On some levels I agree with this but for myself I find the easies way to get through ice is with no skid at all. If you introduce a rotary movement into the mix when on ice, it can get out of hand very quickly.


You need to meet me at Hunter and show me how you do this on boilerplate :shock: . I'm not saying it's not true, but I've never seen anyone at Hunter turn on ice with no skid at all. You've got real skills if you can.

Also, I never mention using any rotary movements...not necessary to get some skid on ice, and I agree it's one of the ways skiers get out of control fast on ice.
Gravity-it's not just a good idea, it's the law!
User avatar
JimG.
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:05 am
Location: Hopewell Jct, NY; Avatar-MRG 20th hole

Next

Return to Snowsports Technique

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron