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Skiers skiing faster, often too fast

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Super Steezy, nope
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I blame Brexit, people charging to cover as much ground as they can while its cheap.
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Super Steezy wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
My judgement on that is somewhat skewed by me being a better skier and having a better eye for good & bad skiers (which might account for uann's perception?), wink

and maybe when you were younger (and less able) you were the person that seems to inflame the ire on this thread ...I'm pretty sure i could have a fairly good guess at the average age of most of the participants.
Not entirely sure of the point you are making, but I ski way quicker now than I did 25 years ago. As for whether it’s just “the kids” who charge about out of control, that isn’t my experience. I’ve just spent a couple of weeks teaching in Switzerland and the people I saw who were skiing not very well at fairly high speeds seemed to be of all ages. The chap who skied in to me last winter at a high enough speed that I needed airlifting to hospital was in his 50s.
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All these kids skiing too fast with no sense of responsibility, all the middle aged bimblers stopping in the middle of the piste, and all the old timers moaning how no-one has any manners and it was all better before snowboarders and decent skis...
And they say skiing is elitist. 😉
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Super Steezy wrote:
I'm pretty sure this thread was rattling on about people skiing at speed with no discernible control, you have just listed the more obvious fails of the elder skier and by your own rational not likely to be hooning about at high speed.
This thread needs to be renamed " no one can ski but me"
Still not sure about the point you’re making, but I see skiers of all ages travelling at speeds which seem higher than they have the skills to manage if conditions suddenly get tricky. Skiing without respect for your fellow slope users is not the preserve of a particular age group, if that is what you are commenting on.
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@rob@rar, I had an exceptionally good session with a very good instructor Very Happy a few weeks ago which has probably slowed me down slightly but increased my control significantly. I'm sure the speed will recover without any loss of control. As a 50+ year old, my lazy skiing was probably a hazard on busy slopes as I wasn't in full control.
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Kids mainly no? Mine certainly does and all his mates. They love it and no amount of parental warning can temper their need for speed!
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@Alastair, an excellent post.

Skiing with good control doesn’t mean skiing slowly.
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@Alastair, I used to ski faster than my ability allowed. Some nurturing saw me bring the speed right down, and my control got better. And the funny thing is that I probably only had to lose 10-15% of the speed, to gain 100% more control. And now I really sell that principle to other people!

Realistically, I think my actual speed has probably got back up to the same speed now... but it feels entirely different because I am fully in control.

I think skiing (semi-competing) with friends, mobile phone apps, etc... it is too easy, when you're new to the sport, to think that speed = ability. Going faster means you're improving. It's a good day when you realise that more control = ability, and that speed just develops itself.
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dp wrote:
I think skiing (semi-competing) with friends, mobile phone apps, etc... it is too easy, when you're new to the sport, to think that speed = ability.


Nail. Head. Hit. I suspect many people here will recognise what you're saying; it's much more fun in practice to ski at whatever speed you're comfortable at rather than worry that you're slow. If your friends race down a piste and hang around for you at the bottom, who is spending more of their time skiing?
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You can never ski too fast.
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Whitegold wrote:
You can never ski too fast.


Many thanks for confirming my suspicion that you haven't a clue about skiing and have probably never skied in your life.
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Whitegold wrote:
You can never ski too fast.

It's just the ground going backwards too quickly.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Layne wrote:
The debate on whether we are innately selfish has been going on since the dawn of time.

It's very doubtful - assuming the problem even exists - the reason is that we are becoming more selfish.


Not much of a debate really, clearly humans can be both innately selfish and altruistic. Innately, altruism applies largely to those to whom we are genetically related but we are socialised to apply it to school, nation, workplace and other larger groups. And there's the change. Over the large few decades our society has become more individualistic and the bonds we have with others less deep and more short-term.
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Groups of men of whatever age but particularly younger ones seem prone to this. Usually one of low ability at the back vainly trying to keep up while barely in any control at all.

I always keep an eye out for them and let them go past.

Did so yesterday and over the next ridge one of them had had a huge yard sale.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Whitegold wrote:
You can never ski too fast.


Maybe not but you can certainly slow down too slowly...
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Observation from the Pyrénées where over 50% over the skiers don’t have helmets. The average speeds are much lower than in recent trips to Austria and Val DIsere and the only people skiing faster than their ability are wearing helmets.
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H-bomb.

Deckchairs out. Cool
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rob@rar wrote:
DB wrote:
The equipment has changed, less skill is required to go much faster than 30-40 years ago.
The kit has changed but the force of gravity is the same. I see very few people skiing fast because they are using their kit well, but many, many more people skiing badly and going too fast. A quick pivoted skid, then a bit of a straight-line before another skidded pivot to sort of change direction, but not really control their speed. Nothing in that is related to the kit they are using as they aren't really using the kit. They would be going just as fast on an older pair of skis. The only thing which would make a difference is going back to wooden skis without metal edges, which would slow down the out of control speeders (perhaps suddenly).



I thought the OP was talking more about people who were travelling at very fast speeds "a fair lick" (e.g. 80 kmh+) "letting the ski do all the work" (i.e. using the ski).
The biggest change in the last 30-40 years is probably from straight to carving skis. Frans Klammer once commented that with the new carving skis skiers with much less skill could reach speeds of ski racers from his racing era.

Thankfully a report from 2016 found that although the biggest cause of accidents was people skiing too fast for their skill and fitness Level, 94% of accidents were self inflicted (i.e. only the out of control skier injured himself/herself).
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Has it got worse? May be, I'm not sure.

What has changed in the last 20 years:
1. Undeniably we are all 20 years older. Some of us now have children and didn't before. Both are likely to make us more conscious of hazards even if those hazards haven't got worse
2. GPS trackers
3. better grooming?
4. bigger sidecuts allow better skiers to carve a higher proportion of turns - may imply higher average speeds. But honestly I agree with Rob - the problem skiers aren't taking advantage of this technology anyway so its not very relevant
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So is the conclusion to this thread = when intermidiots start overtaking you on the piste you're getting old? Toofy Grin
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DB wrote:
I thought the OP was talking more about people who were travelling at very fast speeds "a fair lick" (e.g. 80 kmh+) "letting the ski do all the work" (i.e. using the ski).
I see very few people travelling at 50+ mph using the shape of the ski to determine their speed and line. Generally, if I see skiers at that speed using their skis well they are not out of control or skiing dangerously, far from it.
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In my experience France seems to be particularly consistent for attracting this kind of attitude where 'laissez faire' seems to be an unwritten rule for skiing like a 'd*ck' . . .

I skied Vail 25 years ago and they were pulling passes back then . . .idiots straightlining in slow zones/areas where they suddenly feel confident because its easy were strictly policed - one of the benefits perhaps of the 'sue you' culture . . .

I'm not sure whether attitudes have necessarilly changed massively (the world has always been populated by the 'd*ck' contingent) - I think that because skiing is arguably easier/more accessible with new tech (which is a good thing) then skiers with poor technique and less experience can gain confidence much more quickly - add helmets, body armour, go faster apps, headphones (why?) and a particular lack of empathy (poor parenting / millenial attitudes perhaps!) and you have a potential recipe for disaster.

I have a mate I ski with who's technique is that of a 3 week skier but because he's uber fit and strong he can make it down ANY pisted run. He's using 157cms carvers that turn themselves . . .(I'd like to see him attempt a red run on 207cms old skool skinnies) However, he's a middle aged father of 3, knows his limitations and respects others . . .no problem.

My own rather middle aged solution - pick smaller, more intimate resorts with less people (Obergurgl being a good example) . . you may have to suffer a few repeat runs, but far more enjoyable than getting a cricked neck by constantly having to look over your shoulder.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 12-03-18 12:03; edited 1 time in total
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rob@rar wrote:
DB wrote:
I thought the OP was talking more about people who were travelling at very fast speeds "a fair lick" (e.g. 80 kmh+) "letting the ski do all the work" (i.e. using the ski).
I see very few people travelling at 50+ mph using the shape of the ski to determine their speed and line. Generally, if I see skiers at that speed using their skis well they are not out of control or skiing dangerously, far from it.


Sure but is that the type of skiers the OP was talking about? Is that what this thread about? Is it is asking which type of skiers are the largest group of "out of control skiers" or about people skiing fast (I read that as 50mph+) who don't appear to be in complete control? Is it even possible to ski at 50 mph+ with skidded Z turns?

For the few days I ski the local ski resorts (local to Vienna) there are a mix of local Austrian and foreigners shipped in by the bus loads (Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary etc). The Austrians are generally much better skiers and some of the Austrians are or were racers. The foreigners try to emulate the racers who ski at speed (but in full control). The skidded turn intermediates don't get close. The more advanced know how to stand on a carving ski and let it run reaching high speeds but they don't yet have the skill to modify the turn at short notice unlike the racers. These 'advanced' skiers are generally being taken for a ride, on old straight skis they wouldn't have achieved anywhere close to a carve and would have been much slower making turns. They have the potential to overtake fast skiers but are a train wreck waiting to happen. These skiers I see as very dangerous as when they collide with someone they collide at a speed which could be deadly.
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i haven't read all the comments above but my 2p for what it's worth is that nobody, regardless of skill, should be travelling "too fast" in a busy piste. The erratic nature novice, or timid, skiers turn mean that you can never count on their next turn being the same as the few beforehand. Point is: you should only ever point in an empty or nearly empty piste.

Is this a new thing? i seriously doubt it.
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DB wrote:
Sure but is that the type of skiers the OP was talking about? Is that what this thread about?
I don't know, that's probably a question best answered by the OP. My observation is that the people who are skiing dangerously fast are, in the main, not good skiers who are pushing it too much on a public piste, but poor skiers whose speed exceeds their skill level. What skis they are on is not especially relevant, their attitude and lack of respect to the people they share the slopes with is the key issue. I don't have a problem with people skiing quickly, I have a problem with people who are skiing fast with too little control. That doesn't have to be at very high speeds: two skiers each travelling at 30mph could have a closing speed close to 60mph, which could be a fatal collision.
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@rob@rar,
I agree the majority of skiers skiing beyond their skill / fitness level are not using their skis esp the straightliners with intermittent skids. The old straight skis might have even been faster for them as the chance of catching an edge could even be less. Intermediate Z turn skidders probably max out at around 30 mph if they overtook the OP he really has got old. I think he is talking about more skilled skiers who are able to ride an edge (early stages of carving) and ski much faster making turns but who still ski above their skill level.

@under a new name,
How fast were the skiers your mentioned in your opening post travelling?
How were they skiing and what sort of skill level were they, skidded Z turns, backseat 'carving' or ......... ?
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so how fast is too fast?

last time i skied on cold snow (i.e. not in april), i got 62 mph ....

that was pre-season in december '15.
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I think on a car forum I see much the same discussion about drivers on public roads. Young drivers, old drivers, newer faster cars than previously... much the same.

Motorcycles - one of the most dangerous groups are men in their 40s. They biked a bit as teenagers, grew up, got money and bought a 600cc bike with the money - not realising that this year's 600cc are as powerful as 1200cc or more in their youth.

And certainly this discussion was aimed at snowboarders in the 90s.

Move along...
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Kj82 wrote:
so how fast is too fast?

last time i skied on cold snow (i.e. not in april), i got 62 mph ....

that was pre-season in december '15.


That's the same speed Regine Cavagnoud colided with a German ski coach, unfortunately she didn't survive.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/skiing/3015931/Cavagnouds-death-shocks-skiing-world.html
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From a personal point of view I don't think I have seen any noticeable change in the numbers of people skiing very quickly / out of control. I can remember when I first learned to ski in the 1990s as I sawed through slush in the Trois Vallees one evening that there were some right idiots out there who were skiing far too fast and far too close to me.

Generally I have learned over time how to avoid places and times where the pistes get overly busy and very mixed abilities are all sharing the same space (and therefore relative speeds vary greatly) at the same time. Most of the near misses I have seen have come in those circumstances.
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@Spin Doctor,
Quote:

where the pistes get overly busy and very mixed abilities are all sharing the same space (and therefore relative speeds vary greatly) at the same time. Most of the near misses I have seen have come in those circumstances.

+1 Following a serious hit and run injury incurred by a family member, I have taken to wearing a back protector when I expect to be skiing on busy pistes. I am a pretty controlled skier and can normally avoid trouble in front of me, but legislating for what's behind you is more difficult.
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Hurtle wrote:
@Spin Doctor,
Quote:

where the pistes get overly busy and very mixed abilities are all sharing the same space (and therefore relative speeds vary greatly) at the same time. Most of the near misses I have seen have come in those circumstances.

+1 Following a serious hit and run injury incurred by a family member, I have taken to wearing a back protector when I expect to be skiing on busy pistes. I am a pretty controlled skier and can normally avoid trouble in front of me, but legislating for what's behind you is more difficult.


+1
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@DB, There were a few common observations:

- age wasn't the issue

- skill was lacking, sometimes grossly

- often they were just straightlining, on backs of skis, skis flapping

- I have perception that two things are genuinely different, 1. the pistes are groomed within an inch of their lives, 2. modern skis and a modern wider stance greatly reduces the possibility of a "caught" edge...which on skinny skis and a narrow stance was a major disincentive to speeding

The thing that made it apparent was that the 3 of us all ski pretty quickly (I have no data/numbers) and as I alluded in the OP, would have been in the top something-tile of the general population before, say, 5 years ago? I was being overtaken when I was at the fastest speed I deemed safe for the conditions by people who had no control to talk of...
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under a new name wrote:


- I have perception that two things are genuinely different, 1. the pistes are groomed within an inch of their lives, 2. modern skis and a modern wider stance greatly reduces the possibility of a "caught" edge...which on skinny skis and a narrow stance was a major disincentive to speeding


I am quite convinced there is truth in this.

When on straight skis, usually on the first day or two of my annual holiday, I caught an edge (due to not committing enough into a turn)....which often resulted in what I called a " Body Slam" ie. Falling sideways downhill. My right thumb has an enlarged joint, due to being stove-in that often.

I found that Boy Racers mostly confined themselves to resorts with a lot of Motorway skiing, like La Plagne.....and it was also much more difficult to head Off Piste until your technique was up to it....which with a holiday skier, was often 10 years...by which time you often had a respect for the mountains.

The ease with which a short, 14m radius Piste Ski turns, bears no resemblance to the difficulty of a 2m plank with a turn radius of 45m...which imo leads to a false sense of confidence on more difficult terrain.

I liken it a bit to golf, in the sense that Drivers have got bigger, irons have got easier to use, people hit the ball much further...but handicaps have remained static, as nothing replaces tuition, skill and hard earned experience through practice.

It's also possible, that the ease with which modern skis turn, has led to people taking less lessons (but that is just a thought).
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technically speaking is it wrong to say that a straight edge ski catches an edge easier than a fat, small waisted, ST ski?
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Quote:

I liken it a bit to golf


Makes sense.
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Kj82 wrote:
technically speaking is it wrong to say that a straight edge ski catches an edge easier than a fat, small waisted, ST ski?

I can only speak from personal experience...but since moving onto carving skis...even the ones from the early 2000s...I have never had the type of falls, from catching an edge, that I used to have.

When moving onto wider skis (ie. 92mm in a 180, from a 63mm in a 157 SL ski), I had a couple of near moments, when adjusting to the extra width...but still nothing like what it used to be.
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must be to do with the way each type of ski is skied in that relatively very little input is required for modern skis
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AFAIK injury rates are well down on 20 years ago, despite more crowded pistes. I think this is largely due to better skis and better boots, but the quality of piste preparation (can't bring myself to say 'grooming') is also undoubtedly a factor. Some people may be skiing faster as a result but I'm not entirely sure what the moral of the story is. Should we ban seatbelts, improved suspension, ABS and airbags because they somehow encourage people to drive faster? Clearly not. There have always been idiots skiing way beyond their ability, and there always will. Dare I say it, but for a great many people skiing as fast as you safely can is a large part of the thrill. Inevitably there are moments when people misjudge their margin of error.
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