Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Tree Skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does anyone have any tips for safe tree skiing outside the normal stuff. Ski with buddy, don't ski into tree wells, bring a whistle etc.

I was wondering about carrying a rape alarm in case of a tree well fall. Is this a thing?
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Aim for the gaps. Don't look at the trees.
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Smile I always aim for the gaps. Found myself in a small well last year due to a branch just under the snow and a subsequent ejection into a tree. No worries in a big group but planning for next time (which is hopefully never).

Shoulder just about better a year later, trees are hard!
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Look at where you want to go! If you look at a tree, you'll head in that direction...
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Complete your turn below the tree not in front / above it.

The tree can't follow you down the mountain.
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@motdoc, I presume you are referring to BC style trees? Tree wells not usually such an issue in EU...
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@motdoc, Choose a powder day...
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Interior BC. I'll also be learning to ski better.

Any comments on the alarm specifically?
latest report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Never heard of a rape alarm. Is it louder than a whistle?
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I wouldn’t have thought so. But if you are head down in the snow I imagine something outside the hole would be a better option.

I was thinking get stuck, pop out alarm, toss it out of the hole.
ski holidays     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
If you go into a tree we'll head first, how do you plan on triggering an alarm where a whistle wouldn't work? Short answer is don't go alone and when you ride in the trees keep maintaining sight of each other so if you do go in, the other isn't half a mile downhill when they realise
latest report     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
abc wrote:
Never heard of a rape alarm. Is it louder than a whistle?


Louder than a whistle? Yes, until you run out of gas in the little cylinder.
snow conditions     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
In my previous experience my hands were free. Head was down.

You need one hand to trigger one of those alarms. I have a fair amount of experience tree skiing and while ideal to stay in sight I'm not sure it's going to be happening all the time.

We had one of the local legends die on the hill a while back, got stuck upside down in a well and froze. He was an expert skiier but when the alarm was riased they couldn't find him.
latest report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There was massive tree well danger this year in Austria in Feb. Over 2 metres deep and very loose powder all around them, there was the odd death just skiing into a snow drift and not being able to get out.

A rape alarm on a rucksack belt may be handy actually as with multiple tracks it can be difficult to see which one the person entered. The main issue is the amount of time it would take for a companion to get back up to you in waist deep snow. Beeps should be worn of course, but skiing in pairs side by side in avi safe terrain and constantly keeping an eye out on a partner can be useful.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

skiing in pairs side by side in avi safe terrain and constantly keeping an eye out on a partner can be useful.

How about skiing one at a time, like in avi terrain? But instead of converging on a "safe point", just ski past the stopped partner and continue on a bit more then stop. The uphill skier can then ski past the stopped skier and stop a bit below. Kind of in a leap frog fashion... Would that work?

On the rape alarm running out of gas, you can still fall back on a regular whistle. It would be an improvement over just having a whistle.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

The uphill skier can then ski past the stopped skier and stop a bit below. Kind of in a leap frog fashion... Would that work?


Yes, but it takes a lot of the fun away imo. It's nice to have long runs where you can get into rhythm rather than having to stop constantly. Just be sensible and follow the normal advice and you should be ok. Take into account weather conditions too as they affect risk - new light unconsolidated snow with little wind = more risk. If it's been windy and not snowed for a while risk can be very low. Of course always air on side of caution but you can see for yourself by probing.
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Remember, speed is your friend in the trees, sound strange but you get more rhythm and can turn faster so things actually become easier.
A whistle will be fine!
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
motdoc wrote:
.. I was wondering about carrying a rape alarm in case of a tree well fall. Is this a thing?

No. Well I suppose it could be, and I'd never know.
It's usual to carry a whistle fastened to a pack strap. The Whistle needs to be the type without a pea (because they freeze up, allegedly).

Otherwise...

How dense the trees are depends on the type of growth and how it's been gladed. Ask around and find some easy trees to start with.
Ungladed trees can be almost unridable if they're planted close together - not enough snow gets down there, and they are a real work-out to turn around.

I'd take a good close look at a tree well, so you know what they're like before you fall in one. There are online videos showing them, and also showing the techniques for extracting people from them. The good news is that tree wells are nothing like avalanches. The snow doesn't set-up like concrete and crush your bones. The only snow which is going to asphyxiate you is that you pull down onto yourself, or that your mates kick down into the hole. Which is why you should try not to panic if you're in the hole - you have lots of time. Wait for your buddy. And why if you're rescuing someone, come in from down-slope and make sure you don't kick more snow into the well.

Riding alone obviously increases the risk. I would not assume you can get out single-handed.

Transceivers and shovels are good to have: you can always find people and always dig them out.

I never used to believe much in the "buddy system", but it gets much better with practice. The standard approach is to have one in front of the other, a turn or two apart. It works fine for mixed snowboarders/ skiers, if they're experienced. You don't need to stop, you just let the other person ride-through every now and then, swapping the lead. Shouting to each other is essential or the front-runner can't track the one at the back. The standard form is for the leader to shout and for the tail-gunner to respond. No response => stop. Riding with people who are slower than you is no fun. If you have to do that, then one approach is to hang back and then "sweep" - follow their track and make sure it doesn't stop. You don't need to sacrifice fresh tracks to ride with a buddy, you can easily ride to one side or the other of their track (just remember which side you're on, in case you need to cut back).

In BC you're not legally responsible for your buddy.

Obviously you need to find gaps in the trees, but as a snowboarder I like to use all the space available between the trees, not the half of it on one side of some imaginary centre-line. So I don't ride through the middle of the gaps, I ride much closer to one of the pair of trees. That means I can turn hard even through tight trees, and also slide in sideways should I fall. This is a variation on what Mike P suggests and may be why I've never been stuck in a well.

With a snowboard, it helps if you have a powder board. These have tails which are designed to help you control your speed. "Braking" requires nothing more than a bit of pressure on the board tail and doesn't require you to turn. That's why I'm hugely fussy about getting the right-sized board. Getting the correctly sized board is much more important than board design, in my experience. I've not skied through trees on anything newer than P9 SL skis, so I'm not sure how it works for modern skiers.

You want to line up for the turn you're about to make, and before you make it you need to be looking for what should happen next. You can go left or right, you just have to be fairly quick about making the choice.


If you're lucky the snow will be consistent and predictable. Snow bombs (refrozen snow falling from trees) can be a surprise if you don't know they're coming. In coastal regions you may encounter "wind lips", features in the snow where it's slabbed up through temperature and wind changes. Those are harder to see and you require caution. The snow is almost always better in the trees.
latest report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Quote:

may be why I've never been stuck in a well.

Famous last words Toofy Grin
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We do a lot of tree skiing as in Serre Che we're blessed with some superb terrain that is normally accessible when top lifts are shut in storm conditions, and when the likes of La Grave are closed, groups from there come over to ski here.

And trees help give with the necessary terrain definition when skiing in poor light.

My OH whilst not a serious steep skier will happily ski steep in trees, and she's pretty able, better than some guys, but as ever it's time put in.

As @philwig, says it obviously depends on the type of tree skiing, and quality of snow as well as the depth of said snow!

Skiing Birch and Aspen* glades like in North America and Japan in good quality snow is a doddle as they are never too densely packed together, and you can choose your line far easily, and the lightness of the snow helps in that you're not having to go too steep to be able to ski!

And tree wells are not something you really have to consider too much.

This is Japan

http://youtube.com/v/HLXxGiqzudg

Best tree skiing has to be Siberia, but maybe we were just fortunate to have scored some superb conditions, and with the depth of the snow tree wells are a danger as the final clip of the vid shows Laughing


http://youtube.com/v/oz8Nbz7jw8s

Back in Europe you have to be really sure that there is adequate depth before venturing into the forest, as there is always the constant danger of tree stumps as trees are felled on an ongoing basis.

However, you also have to be aware that whilst on the whole they are safe to ski as opposed to open bowls on a big storm day, the only time I have been in a serious slide (lost ski & hanging upside down pinned to a tree), was skiing trees, but my avy risk brain was switched off and the attractiveness of a glade lured me into a classic trap.

You just have to simply ask yourself why are there no trees in certain places in an otherwise dense forrest?

We ski pretty well trying to keep each other in view as has been mentioned a sort of leapfrogging which is also good for filming!

We keep saying that we should take our walkie talkies but seem to never do.

And as ever speed is your friend and a straight line as possible.

This is Monetier tree skiing, and it's steep.


http://youtube.com/v/YGx3YS7SZ8M


*evidently Aspen forests are the worlds largest organism!
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
My two cents: have the Patrol phone number handy on your cell; I know a guy who saved himself by somehow getting to his phone and calling for help from a tree well. Having the number could also help you save somebody else. The "ski with a buddy" thing is correct, but when I went into a tree well my bud was long gone. I started to panic but calmed down and got myself out. The buddy and you need to have a plan for when/if you get separated since time could be an issue. Like any kind of skiing, doing it with confidence produces better results....if you're afraid of going into a tree well, you probably will. And yes, I've read a particular aspen grove is the world's largest organism, but the notion that they are not close together is erroneous. They range from skiable to impenetrable.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Example of aspen trees in the US “never too densely packed together” Wink



I actually prefer pine groves over aspen. The thick branches shield the snow from the sun, preserving better snow quality


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Tue 30-04-19 8:00; edited 2 times in total
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I'll toss one other tidbit out there: somewhere on the web there is a video by a guy I've skied with, and in it he describes the avalanche at Crystal Mtn (WA) a few years ago that turned a little-known-only-to-locals run (Employee Housing) into a very long and wide run that is now on the trail map. As he says, the forest we used to ski in, thinking it was safer, is now at the bottom of the valley! For us Crystal guys it was a dramatic reminder that being in the trees is fun, but it does not mean one is safe even though it sort of feels that way....

As for the spacing of aspen, there are of course exceptions to general rules. I like coniferous forests the best, with groups of trees and variable spacing that challenges us to adapt our rhythm. Those branches that shade the snow up high also create tree wells down low, something those aspen don't do as much. They also become snow ghosts when covered in rime, one of the beautiful sights of our sport.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Contrary to what most people believe, trees don't reduce danger for avi in general. If you want trees to keep snow not sliding, trees need to be so dense, we simply won't ski them. Once there is enough space to ski them, they don't do anything to prevent sliding. Only time that terrain between trees is safe, while terrain out of trees is not, is when main avi problem is wind drifted snow. In this case trees prevent snow being shifted and make safe(er) environment between trees then rest of terrain is. For everything else, terrain between trees is just as dangerous (if not more, as when it slides you have more options for trauma then on clear terrain) as open terrain.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Yup, I have seen debris from a 30 metre long slide in the generally very safe forest at Zauchensee. This was in tightly packed steep terrain where the trees were actually too close and tangled to ski through.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
primoz wrote:
Contrary to what most people believe, trees don't reduce danger for avi in general. ..

Most people are probably entirely correct to believe that avalanche paths are dangerous. They are in fact... the paths of avalanches. Which is why there are no trees there. Duh.

Of course the fact that avalanche paths exist doesn't make walking down the street safe. It doesn't affect the safety of anything else either way.

But those trees know a thing or two, possibly more than willy-wavers on the internet even.
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

and she's pretty able, better than some guys

@Weathercam, Wow, I can't believe you skated on that one. Bet you won't now I've quoted it Twisted Evil

Surely now @Scarlet or similar will be along to point out the error of your misogyny! Laughing Laughing Laughing
snow report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@midgetbiker, I'd mostly been ignoring this thread, but, you somehow seem to have brought it to my attention Puzzled

Firstly, on tree skiing: because of the tight turns required, it's really hard if you have recently broken your leg. I don't recommend it. Secondly, if you have a much larger buddy, trolling them into smaller and smaller gaps between trees can be quite entertaining Twisted Evil

midgetbiker wrote:
Quote:

and she's pretty able, better than some guys

@Weathercam, Wow, I can't believe you skated on that one. Bet you won't now I've quoted it Twisted Evil

Surely now @Scarlet or similar will be along to point out the error of your misogyny! Laughing Laughing Laughing

I don't need to point it out now though! Also, it's better if it comes from you, pretty much a member of @Weathercam's peer group, as it avoids comments about "whinging women not knowing their place" etc. So thanks Very Happy

Now about that bit italics...
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
midgetbiker wrote:


Surely now @Scarlet or similar..


Indeed terrifying thought that there might be more than one....
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

I don't need to point it out now though! Also, it's better if it comes from you, pretty much a member of @Weathercam's peer group, as it avoids comments about "whinging women not knowing their place" etc. So thanks


I was skiing with a mate and both his and my kids this season, the girls (his 15 and mine 14) are skiing very nicely these days. He remarked that he was looking forward to when they bring boyfriends with them who fancy themselves as skiers and he and I can teach the boys a thing or too. I told him I just wanted to be there when the boyfriends' skiing gets put in its place by the girls!
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A friend once turned up for tree skiing with cheap radios he had bought on the internet. To be honest I thought they would be a gimmick, loads of hassle and not much use but they were great. The mic went just hung around your neck and was operated by a button we put in our gloves. He said the range was a few km's too. You could let the people behind you know if the powder was good, tracked, hit by the sun & icy etc. plus if somebody fell the mic and button stayed in place so they could still communicate.

It was on this day …..

http://youtube.com/v/mFYRFSi2wJA
latest report     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy