In Praise of Skiing the Blues (and Greens)

Kneale Brownson

Making fresh tracks
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Nov 12, 2015
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1,714
When I was a kid in the 1940s, no one my current age still skied because the equipment demanded too much effort. Maybe there will be something developed in another 20 years to allow me to slide. A wheelchair on skis?
:crutches::crutches:
 

James

Out There
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Dec 2, 2015
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11,632
Honestly, wouldn't miles on that be boring? Views nice, but skiing ... meh? Tell me I'm wrong.
Lol. You're right and wrong. It's not like you do that more than once. Though you could. Kids love the lower one going the other way that goes through the trees.

Don't forget the thread is in praise of blues, and greens. What's better than to be unstressed, gliding on snow, looking at a phenominal view?

There's more to skiing than turning. Besides, there was an amazing restaurant at the end of that run. (Which wasn't an end, a stop). Only accessible by snow route. You could skin or snow shoe. For miles.

One works on the glissment while taking in the rather incredible view. The towns and city (Sion) below in the dry valley, greens to brown, the snow line, avalanche paths. You're moving on snow in the mountains! I assure you I was not thinking "I'm so bored" while on that. However, if I was obsessed with vert, I'd be annoyed there was so little for so much time. It's why if one is obsessed with that, probably staying in the US is the most efficient.

If you're that bored ski it switch. Honestly, I don't think I could maintain that for so long, not freak out and make the turns. At least not on slalom skis with my current competence switch.

Here's more boring blues, and greens. The Vallée Blanche in Chamonix. There is some pretty advanced skiing, but there doesn't have to be. You should be a solid blue though.

Entry is not for those afraid of heights. As the north face of the Aiguille du Midi is steep, you look down at the town 9k ft below. I tried to look at the ground. And breathe. I've done it three times and each time I ended up as the front person of the group roped together.

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The town always appears below. It's like you're in an airplane. When hiking, I tried not to look at it.

DSC_5908.JPG

Looking out to the end of the hike. If you or the guide decide your skiing is not up to it in the 2-4 turns of the first pitch, you hike back.
There's a rope you can hold on to for most of it. Sometimes it's linear, sometimes descending zig zag. Sometimes the condition is such the guide wants you with crampons on. Then you're careful to walk a little duck footed to not trip on your pants if not experienced.

DSC_5946.JPG

(Ok, not blue)
Wait, we're walking on rocks?? I tuned my skis last night. This was decidly uncomfortable as there was some exposure, but safer than with alpine boots. Walking while trying not to ruin my edges. His hold on the left pole is why many touring poles have very long rubber/foam grips below the normal one.
IMG_4830.JPG

Not blue either, but looking down on the green part. The glacier. Miles of it. One can get down by a much easier blue route. Pretty meh, eh?

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The green "meh" part. This was where a 192cm ski with wax was handy. I could let people get 100m away and still overtake. Moving along at say 15 mph on a glacier between mountain ranges is pretty cool.

DSC_5957.JPG

We'll call this a blue hike out. There's steeper parts. It's strenuous but likely cake for some. Ie, green.

DSC_5958.JPG

The little snack shack at the end. Their home made pie tart was delicious. @KingGrump posted almost this same photo taken 30 yrs before.

In the end, you've only done about 8,500ft vertical. (A guess) One could do that in 3-5 laps in much less time. With more "skiing". Ie, turns with energy. Nowhere I've ever been though do you feel as much like you're skiing on the planet. A wild, untamed place far from the concept of a resort.
 
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KingGrump

Most Interesting Man In The World
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How many miles do I have to hold it for? :D Remember, I'm old................
I was think 5 miles. Since you pull the senior card, I'll take 4-1/2 miles. The Great Green Dot to Hell at Killington fits the bill perfectly.

BTW, Andrew and I Used to ski that in a tuck three times after 3:30 pm.
 

KingGrump

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The little snack shack at the end. Their home made pie tart was delicious. @KingGrump posted almost this same photo taken 30 yrs before.
Now, you are making me feel old.
Not quite ready to retire to the blues and greens yet. Figured I still have about 10 more good years in the bumps.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
 

LiquidFeet

lurking
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Lol. You're right and wrong. It's not like you do that more than once. Though you could. Kids love the lower one going the other way that goes through the trees.

Don't forget the thread is in praise of blues, and greens. What's better than to be unstressed, gliding on snow, looking at a phenominal view?

There's more to skiing than turning. Besides, there was an amazing restaurant at the end of that run. (Which wasn't an end, a stop). Only accessible by snow route. You could skin or snow shoe. For miles.

One works on the glissment while taking in the rather incredible view. The towns and city (Sion) below in the dry valley, greens to brown, the snow line, avalanche paths. You're moving on snow in the mountains! I assure you I was not thinking "I'm so bored" while on that. However, if I was obsessed with vert, I'd be annoyed there was so little for so much time. It's why if one is obsessed with that, probably staying in the US is the most efficient.

If you're that bored ski it switch. Honestly, I don't think I could maintain that for so long, not freak out and make the turns. At least not on slalom skis with my current competence switch.

Here's more boring blues, and greens. The Vallée Blanche in Chamonix. There is some pretty advanced skiing, but there doesn't have to be. You should be a solid blue though.

Entry is not for those afraid of heights. As the north face of the Aiguille du Midi is steep, you look down at the town 9k ft below. I tried to look at the ground. And breathe. I've done it three times and each time I ended up as the front person of the group roped together.

View attachment 68117
View attachment 68118
View attachment 68119
The town always appears below. It's like you're in an airplane. When hiking, I tried not to look at it.

View attachment 68116
Looking out to the end of the hike. If you or the guide decide your skiing is not up to it in the 2-4 turns of the first pitch, you hike back.
There's a rope you can hold on to for most of it. Sometimes it's linear, sometimes descending zig zag. Sometimes the condition is such the guide wants you with crampons on. Then you're careful to walk a little duck footed to not trip on your pants if not experienced.

View attachment 68120
(Ok, not blue)
Wait, we're walking on rocks?? I tuned my skis last night. This was decidly uncomfortable as there was some exposure, but safer than with alpine boots. Walking while trying not to ruin my edges. His hold on the left pole is why many touring poles have very long rubber/foam grips below the normal one.
View attachment 68138
Not blue either, but looking down on the green part. The glacier. Miles of it. One can get down by a much easier blue route. Pretty meh, eh?

View attachment 68140
The green "meh" part. This was where a 192cm ski with wax was handy. I could let people get 100m away and still overtake. Moving along at say 15 mph on a glacier between mountain ranges is pretty cool.

View attachment 68144
We'll call this a blue hike out. There's steeper parts. It's strenuous but likely cake for some. Ie, green.

View attachment 68145
The little snack shack at the end. Their home made pie tart was delicious. @KingGrump posted almost this same photo taken 30 yrs before.

In the end, you've only done about 8,500ft vertical. (A guess) One could do that in 3-5 laps in much less time. With more "skiing". Ie, turns with energy. Nowhere I've ever been though do you feel as much like you're skiing on the planet. A wild, untamed place far from the concept of a resort.
James, I've never been interested in vertical. I was hoping you'd say that flat run in the Alps was not boring. Thanks for explaining that the reason is not only because of the views but also because of all the other stuff you access while you're there.

I experienced some beautiful slow greens recently that looked like this below, and I did return to them frequently to get somewhere else. The view was thrilling every time. Looking back on the trip, this was my favorite run because of those trees.
Whitefish groomer #4.JPG

Whitefish.
 
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James

Out There
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Dec 2, 2015
Posts
11,632
I agree. Too narrow to do anything but short radius turns.............
You'll blow all your glide and have to pole. Unless you're going to like pump each turn. Long radius turn arcs. If there's a little traffic on trails like these a fun game is to weave in and out of people without giving up the railroad tracks. It tequires planning and estimation.

Actually, much further away on a similar trail a guy passed me in a tuck. I took up the challenge, drafted him and then passed him. He then passed me. This went on for a bit even as we took the rough shortcuts through a couple turns. It was funny. At the end we laughed and went about our business.

One doesn't have to do a bullet tuck to greatly reduce wind resistance. Somewher here I posted a drag study of tucks. Even a standing hunched tuck like you see in cross country works pretty well. Or, arms behind bent over. Put the head down and look at the ground for a few seconds.

That trail wouldn't be bad for basic training of tucking/gliding. I doubt you could get much over 30mph unless with long skis, a speed suit and good wax. So, your speed limited and it's safe. You also can't get it back if you dump it, and you feel it go right away.

I experienced some beautiful slow greens recently that looked like this below, and I did return to them frequently to get somewhere else. The view was thrilling every time. Looking back on the trip, this was my favorite run because of those trees.
View attachment 68177
Whitefish.
Those are some amazing trees! Beautiful. They're very odd in that they're so skinny.

Years ago when I first started teaching, at the end of the day I would only have time to make a run or two on the lower lift. There was a pretty flat green trail that increased pitch going into a fairly narrow greater than 90 degree fall away turn. I used to go there and try and make that turn purely carved. It was glide...glide...setup for the turn... make the moves...whoosh...keep up...make the turn...and then glide away on the flat assessing what just happened.

I'd essentially make the whole run for that one little turn. Totally worth it. Just the difference in speed entering and exiting was fun. You actually learn a lot as it's only one turn so you can remember and break down what happened.

In the beginning it was basically impossible. The 205cm straight ski couldn't carve it completely but you could do an arc section. I think, it's been awhile. The attempt was important. There was a lot to think about in the process. You'd actually get adrenaline going before the turn. As the skis got shorter with more sidecut it became possible, but it's still a whole body involvement if you want to pull it off. You can't just stand there and tip the skis. Never make it.

In general, people waste these types of flat trails. It could be endless performing of railroad tracks where it's actually fun. Gliding, turning/arcing. Feels good. Instead, most do railroad tracks as some separate activity they have to go somewhere and "practice".
 

Andy Mink

I am a half fast skier.
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I like my greens and blues. Getting to this one is a pain but worth it.
20190312_095520.jpg
 
Thread Starter
TS
Kent

Kent

Getting on the lift
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Spokane, Washington
As my infirmities tighten their grasp, I am more and more grateful for green runs. A calm comfort seeps through me as I morph into graceful skiing. There are those, I understand, who find boredom, or impatience, on green runs. I find peaceful pleasure. There is something to be valued in sailing a gentle breeze, in floating a slow current, or in skiing an easy run.

This sentiment in no way devalues the thrills to be found when skiing more challenging runs – whatever those runs might be like for any given skier. Affirming the pleasures of one in no way diminishes the pleasures of the other.
 
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