Featured Lower the edge angles in the steeps

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Dan Egan, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. Dan Egan

    Dan Egan Founder of the flow Hall Of Fame Member Instructor

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    Most skiers think that they can slow down by edging more on the steeps, but the opposite is true. A high edge angle at the end of a turn will scoot the ski forward and often cause the skier to become out of balance. Combine this with some tension or stress and a tense downhill leg situation can worsen because the skier is moving away from the fall line instead of embracing it.

    Although it is true that edging with giving you grip, it will also cause the skis to travel across the fall line rather than down it, thus creating a false sense of security because when traverse across a steep slope you are often out of position for the next turn.

    Simple fact, edging in the last third of the turn is acceleration because when you pressure on the ski edge in the in that part of the turn, you will accelerate across the slope. When this happens, the skier typically has not enough pressure on the uphill ski, and this causes even more instability, this will also result in hesitation to make the next turn especially if the terrain is intimidating.

    A typical situation is as follows; a skier enters onto a steep slope with a traverse. Because of the pitch, they are slightly aft of center, as they come into the turn with their hips behind their feet, the skis accelerate down the fall line, and the skier immediately puts the skis hard on their edges thinking it will slow them down only to accelerate across the fall line. They repeat this a few times and low and behold their thighs are burning, and the confidence is low.

    So what is the fix? It is simple, edge less on the steeps and allow the skis to drift down the fall line rather than traverse across it. Try this; add some pressure to the uphill ski at the end of the turn so that the feet are closer together. This will create a more balanced stance and will release the edge of the down hill ski, and the result will be controlled deceleration in the fall line.

    Drifting down the fall line will also lengthen the turn, which will increase stability. Plus while standing on both skis, the skier will feel more comfortable moving into the next turn. As well as balance will improve as will confidence.

    Here the few things to remember next time you head out onto the steeps. Start on a steep groomed slope. Stand tall with your shoulders over your feet and your feet under your hips. Then lower the edge angle of the skis to create more surface area on the snow and slide down the hill. Now with some momentum allow the skis to drift down the fall line rather than traversing across it and make a turn.

    Do this for three or four turns then add some edge to grip and stop. Repeat. Once comfortable head off to some steep smooth slopes and practice, the goal is a series of smooth medium length turns at a consistent speed with little to no acceleration between turns.

    I tell skiers of all abilities that deceleration happens best over a series of turns. Think of it as slow, slower, slowest, stop. When you slow down over a series of turns you are more apt to stay in balance and better manage your control in varied terrain.

    The result will be more confident © Jen Bennett-3916.jpg as you explore more steep terrain on the mountain.
     
    nebraskawhit, TPJ, Kcip and 18 others like this.
  2. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @Dan Egan am I doing what you say here? slope is 45 degree

     
  3. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    So if you don't want to ski fast in the back seat in terrain that terrifies you, let your skis drag sideways instead of carving arc-2-arc? Yes, that works. I have another fix. If you don't want to ski fast in the back seat in terrain that terrifies you, stay off the steeps.:P
     
  4. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    there is no way your arc to arcing the run I posted Ghost.
     
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  5. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Dan just described EXACTLY what happens to me on steeper stuff. Steeps are still my nemesis.
     
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  6. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    Agreed. At least not the first time through.
     
  7. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    nope there is no way ever.
     
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  8. Fuller

    Fuller T shirts & flip flops... Skier

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    At some point slope angle and snow conditions will overwhelm your skills and physical ability to carve multiple turns. I think the better skiers reach that point much later but we've all had to skid some turns or even slide sideways to get down a steep pitch. I don't see too much controversy here other than "at what point is it acceptable to stop carving and start skidding".

    It's all good.
     
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  9. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    Absolutely! We all have to obey the laws of physics. There is a maximum speed you can go around that mandatory turn at the bottom, or through that compression and nobody will be able to make that turn at a higher speed than that or go through the compression without becoming a human pretzel, so speed control turns have their place. Even full-on braking has its place.
     
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  10. Jim McDonald

    Jim McDonald Out on the slopes Skier

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    I certainly had to resort to the "power slide for life" a couple of times last week, late in the day when the upper pitch off the Laubersgrat lift had been nicely polished :(
     
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  11. Thread Starter
    TS
    Dan Egan

    Dan Egan Founder of the flow Hall Of Fame Member Instructor

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    From a practicality point of view for everyday skiers, carving on steep terrain should not be the goal, nice to achieve cool for the pros to demonstrate but not the ideal for skiers expanding their experience on new terrain. We have over taught carving when it comes to all mountain skiing.
     
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  12. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Well put! In addition we need to understand that there are basically two skiing techniques that deal with redirection. Carving and what I call Compression & blockage. If you look at @Josh Matta 's Video he seamlessly employs both techniques as he adaptly makes his way down that steep narrow chute. (nice job Josh!)

    Egan is right of course when he states: "Simple fact, edging in the last third of the turn is acceleration because when you pressure on the ski edge in the in that part of the turn, you will accelerate across the slope. When this happens, the skier typically has not enough pressure on the uphill ski, and this causes even more instability, this will also result in hesitation to make the next turn especially if the terrain is intimidating."

    However IMO he fails to address that, If the terrain permits and the intent is to carve, the key to success is to get to your new edges well before the skis redirect into the fall line as Josh attempts to do further on down in the chute.
     
    Dan Egan likes this.
  13. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    This is good advice, especially the practice drills. When I pick my line on an icy headwall I'm not thinking "I'm going to powerslide the crap out of that." I think I try a to start with a controlled slide diagonal to the fall line. If it goes well then the feet aren't too far apart and I'm in a good position for the next turn. If it doesn't go well I'm trying to hold that edge enough to stay upright, control speed, and make the next turn. Even for those afraid to approach moguls this is a simple way to ease into the fall line.
     
  14. givethepigeye

    givethepigeye Really, just Rob will do Skier

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    An instructor once told me #neverfearifyoucansmear - cant remember who that was (might have been some one on here) but has helped me mentally when skiing stuff with my “level 11” friends
     
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  15. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    last time I skied that chute in the video, the first 150 yards were un smearable, you could barely sideslip it.
     
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  16. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Is this a good case for perfecting your pivot slips?
     
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  17. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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  18. HardDaysNight

    HardDaysNight Out on the slopes Skier

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    I agree, but there’s another layer here. At its base, carving is about edge control and balance, primarily on the outside ski. The same skills allow drifting, smearing, call it what you will, on steep terrain and the basic movement patterns (fine edge control through foot, ankle and knee action; balancing movements involving angulation and counter, etc.) are the same too. You will never show me a skier who can do what you recommend in the steeps but can not carve clean arcs on appropriate terrain because the same fundamental skills underlie both. I’d agree that the skill to brush and drift the edge on steep terrain is more challenging which is why fewer have mastered it!
     
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  19. river-z

    river-z searching for seasons Skier

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    I skied the lower part of June Mountain in a snowstorm today (double black all over). Sierra cement. 4-6 inches. Coming down all day. Underneath the fresh was some pretty hard, probably pretty icy snow that made a lot of noise when my edges engaged it. I was on my powder skis (Nordica Patron 117 waist).

    I was continually working to slarve putting weight on both skis in order to stay up to surf across the heavy snow rather than put an edge down and engage the hard pack underneath. I was also always on the lookout for stashes of thicker snow since it skied so much smoother.

    By the way, I read this thread last night and it really helped me clarify my strategy going into the day. 4670D6A8-09BE-4916-AA14-2552AB9A1C00.jpeg It was a great afternoon and I’m grateful for the advice.
     
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  20. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    :nono: Sorry FP. You really need to stop spouting this nonsense.


    This is what Dan is talking about... great skier, low edge angles... no hooking up on the face of the King in the conditions Ingrid is skiing:

     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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