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Steeps

 Poster: A snowHead
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Right. I watched my Warren Thingie (sorry can't remember surname) instruction DVD last night and he does this:

With body pointing directly down hill, have feet at 90 degrees to slope Shocked (Can your hips do this?)
Lean down hill and plant pole.
Jump up so that both skis come off snow and rotate them 180 degree through the air, landing with them at 90 degrees in the other direction.

No - before you ask - I can't do it Crying or Very sad
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That technique is for super-steep hills, the kind that only totally insane skiers/boarders try.
As for the whole steep definition thing: I guess everyone defines it differently, and in the end it really doesn't matter how you define it. The reason I was thinking low 30's is because that's where avalanche danger starts, but that's a pretty arbitrary way to define a steep as well Smile
As for how to ski steeps, it really depends on the condition. I've never skied anything steep enough to have to use any really crazy techniques, and am not yet good enough at boarding to take even the borderline steeps I used to take while skiing. One thought though; on a pisted steep would carves that are held until they take you partially up hill work well? It would seem to me that this would make for a smooth, controlled descent.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 26-01-05 19:18; edited 1 time in total
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GrahamN,
Quote:

so far I'm the only one who has tried answering Kit's question, with a bit of support from 4thefunofit


Rubbish. Kit Wong asked
Quote:

Now would you classify, this, as steep?

I've already registered my disagreement. I'm not being funny, but those photos don't "look" steep, and so there's no need to address how a slalom racer would deal with them. The point is that there's no point looking at a photo to gague how steep a slope is. Kit would've been better not showing a photo at all, and just relying on her description of it, and then asking "how do you deal with a steep that's cruddy". She might have gotten some useful answers then.
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maggi

what you descibe could be one of a number of turns. It all depends on position of the pole plant and exactly how you weight and unweight your skis. To explain more.........

Looking at the pole plant. In a normal turn you plant it forward of your feet, towards the ski tips. In this turn, you plant the pole with what is known as "anticipation". This is where you plant the pole further back, depending on how steep the slope is. Taking an extreme example, the pole plant is almost as far behind your feet as you can plant it without losing form. This helps you build resitance in your body that once the weight comes off the snow, creates a twisting motion and hence the turn. Try it at home! Stand with your feet together and hold your hands out as if you were holding poles. Now, with your feet in the same position turn your shoulders through 90 degrees but keep your hands where they were in relation to your shoulders. You will notice that your "downhill hand is now well behind your feet and you should feel a tightening of muscles - thighs, hips, back and even shoulders. As you jump up the tension converts into turning motion.



Weighting/unweighting can be achieved in at least 3 ways (that i can think of) and which you use depends on snow conditions and tightness of turn required. You can make this turn by unweighting both skis together, pulling your knees towards you chest. You can also initiate it by a big push off the uphill ski while finally, the extreme version of that is to raise the uphill ski off the snow by about 6 inches and then stamp down hard on it. In the right conditions this creates the tightest turn. This can be linked so that when you land you raise the new uphill ski and as you stop, you stamp. Watching somebody who can do this on a steep slope is like watching ballet.

To practice is easier than most people think. Many skiers regularly ski 45 degree slopes without realising it namely the sides of a mogul!! So find reasonable sized moguls and you can practice away!
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ise, Bingo.

ponder, No-one can ski a 50 deg slope with ease - even the extreme boys think this is steep, and it will appear to be virutally perpendicular. BTW perpendicular (ie: unskiable is 60 deg. Once or twice the exceptional, world class guys have skied 65 but not often. I reckon most people overestimate the degree of steepness as they do the speed they ski at (and no I'm not getting at anyone in particular). Mad

From the technique point of view: in deep snow the jumping 180 deg turn works well if you're well enough balanced (although it's not actually necessary to jump the whole 180 deg for most steeps). If you're on extreme then you need to push off your UPHILL ski to get far enough out from the slope to turn in the first place. For steep pistes the trick is to slow down your own movements (and finish your turns properly) so that the turn itself is slowed down.

I'm going to shut up now! Shocked
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easiski wrote:
unskiable is 60 deg. Once or twice the exceptional, world class guys have skied 65 but not often. I reckon most people overestimate the degree of steepness

One of the biggest factors in how steep a slope you can ski is that at about 62 degrees the side of your boot is touching the snow before the edge! This is one reason extreme skiers tend to use plates under their bindings, although the latest touring bindings also lift you further above the ski. And yes, most people do over estimate steepness. Ski poles can be used to give a good indication. On a 45 degree slope if you have one pole vertical with the tip in the snow and another horizantal towards the slope, the horizantal pole will just reach the snow (eqalateral triangle). By the same tocken, if the horizantal pole is only half way up the vertiacl pole, the slope is 22.5 degrees. I have met an american guide who has paint marks on his poles to show his clients how steep a slope is by this method!
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SimonN wrote:
Ski poles can be used to give a good indication. On a 45 degree slope if you have one pole vertical with the tip in the snow and another horizantal towards the slope, the horizantal pole will just reach the snow (eqalateral triangle). By the same tocken, if the horizantal pole is only half way up the vertiacl pole, the slope is 22.5 degrees.

Natty snowHead , although the half way up case is actually 26.5 degrees (arctan(0.5)) - but the accuracy of course depends on how precise your aligment is - you can get the vertical by just letting the pole hang, but the horizontal is a bit harder to get right. And one other minor point - the 45 deg case is not actually an "equilateral" triangle (that would have a 60 degree angle betwen the poles, and give a 30 degree slope)

(PS. actually a pole hung on a mountainside will not hang precisely vertical, due to the gravitational attraction of the mountain itself on one side of the pole, but I think we can ignore the millidegrees - or less, I'm guessing here - deviation from the ideal in this case Wink )
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conor,

Braquage (also known as pivot turns) is a method used to get down a steep slope without, or with very little, lateral movement across the slope.

Starting stationary with parallel skis across the slope, it's a method of flattening out the skis just like when side slipping, but then pivoting alternatively each way through 180 degrees as you slide down the slope. The speed down the slope shouldn't be much faster than when side slipping, & therefore like side slipping, you don't need much edging to control the speed.

You need a strong combination of ankle flex/thigh 'high' position to get your weight over the balls of the feet to allow the skis to be steered & your chest should be facing down the fall line with all the rotation being from the hips down. A strong core also helps here. Pole planting is useful to initiate the turns & aid timing.

The benefit is that you not only stay in a narrow corridor which is ideal for tight spots etc, but more importantly, you don't get the big acceleration/heavy stopping & the resultant out of control/balance problems associated with jump turns on narrow steeps as you're just moving at a steady & constant side slipping speed.

Apart from being an ideal 'get you home' technique, it's an great confidence boosting technique to learn prior to learning jump turns. Your general skiing also benefits as the posture & ankle flex required to perform the technique correctly are also ideal training for increasing your range of steering & for keeping your weight over the balls of the feet etc.

Hope this makes sense Smile
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GrahamN, hey, it's usually my job to be the pedantic one. Maybe it's something to do with coming from Surrey. wink
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Generally it would probably be fair to say that most people double the angle of the slope when they estimate how steep it is, the only thing that would explain this is some sort of optical effect tricking the brain, thus when you photograph a slope it appears much less steep than you thought it was Confused
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Thanks for all your comments guys- it's a good job I didn't link the other photos! I would have posted earlier but I got timed out on Sunday when I hit the <Submit> button.
Just a bit of background:we were taken onto the particular slope by our guide/instructor (the skier leaning back in the photo) to do jump turns. The slope, although steep( NehNeh ), was not exposed, so there wasn't a chance of sliding into a rock or over a cliff, if you fell. The avalanche danger was also low and we all carrying the holy trinity of avalanche gear, not to mention the inclinometer wink

The comment on slalom skiers was to get some feedback on the steepness of slope slalom skiers can successfully link turns down before they start blowing out( I was on 175 Scream 10 Xtra Hot's so there was no chance of me carving more than one turn on that slope). The request for feedback for other steep slope techniques was because there are a couple that I use that I can't quite describe and don't quite know the name of, and so, was trying to select a description that best suitedmy technique! One involves letting the body fall over than downhill ski, maybe with a gentle push from the uphill ski, and pivotting on what seems like the downhill ski only, not to mention the stuff in between. Keep it coming!
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easiski wrote:
If you're on extreme then you need to push off your UPHILL ski to get far enough out from the slope to turn in the first place.

Graham Austick taught us that technique in St Anton a few years back. I'm not sure we skied anything that demanded we use it (even the top of the Valluga) but I liked it. The few times I managed it well I felt much more in control of my body.

spyderjon wrote:
Braquage (also known as pivot turns) is a method used to get down a steep slope without, or with very little, lateral movement across the slope.

We learnt that with Warren Smith in September - I think you were on an earlier course? We had limited skiing time unfortunately so I didn't get too adept at it (to say the least!) - I'm planning on working on this some more next week Smile.

I hope that with those 2 techniques I'll have a means to handle most steep stuff. I think the fear factor would prevent me trying anything too extreme anyway.
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alan empty, Headwall of the Coire Cas in Aviemore is that steep!
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I hope this isn't a repost; my modem went dead.

Firstly, it is almost impossible for the untrained eye to judge steepness from a photo.

Secondly (pet peeve), I see many skiers on steep narrow runs sideslipping, jumping or quickly pivoting 180 degrees and sideslipping some more, then jumping 180 degrees, ..... They should take up snowboarding.

The reason for steep slopes is so you can gather speed and enjoy some fast high-g turns. Here I am looking to get to 70 mph, and these clowns are in my way cluttering up the chute going 3 mph! If you want to go 3 mph, stay on the GREEN Circle runs! Aim you tips at the bottom and shush it!

Of course if there is no runout or a solid obstacle/sharp turn at the bottom, you may be excused for making a few carved turns on the way down. I reccomend sharp edges.
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Ghost, I'm from ontario, and in ontario, it's true that even the steepest runs can still be taken at high speeds. But in other, better ski areas, this is simply not possible. I agree that basically not moving is pointless, but staying at a medium, controlled speed on steep runs is both fun and challenging.

EDIT: aren't fast, high-g turns a type of carved turn?
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Actually, in Ontario it is not possible to attain high speeds Sad ; the slopes are not steep and long enough. I was not talking about Ontario skiing. In many cases you are right, alas, deep sigh, too many runs seem to have a nice cliff at the top, but a nasty sharp turn near the bottom. Fortunately not all chutes come without runout. Staying at a high speed on steeps is even more fun and even more challenging (and admittedly more deadly).

Yes, fast high-g turns are carved.
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easiski wrote:
alan empty, Headwall of the Coire Cas in Aviemore is that steep!

Now I'm curious! I can't imagine that I'll ever get to Aviemore but I'd like to see that. I remember a Scottish instructor I knew telling me about an incredibly steep run in Scotland. I guess that was the one.
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ponder,
Liked the pic of the Couloir Extreme.

I just agree that steep is relative to the technique the skier has and if you fancy skiing it then fine. If you don't then that is probably good sense.

I generally feel there is a lot of cow-dung about all this. If you can and want to do it, then do so.
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alan empty, there are lots of steep runs in Scotland, and also lots of extreme decents. In Aviemore the West Wall of the Coire na Ciste is pretty steep, ditto the east wall and Coire an Lochan. However the Headwall isn't a run and you have to hike to get to it - it does depend on the snow and which way the wind blows how steep it is year on year - very short but seriously steep. On the other hand there are the extreme routes of Aladdin's Couloir and Jacobs Ladder, which do kill people every now and then.

I know there are also very steep runs in the back bowls of Nevis Range (Aonach Mhor), and also the Flypaper(?) at Glencoe and I think there's another steep run in Glenshee.

You should get up there!!!

JT, Well said! Madeye-Smiley
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Just picked up on this thread, personally I am to chicken to ski anything seriously steep.

Few questions though; Is the run Manda talking about 'the wall' off the end or the Tignes glacier officially off piste but widely skied and reasonably steep.

Ghost, I don't know what the runs in Ontario are like but personally the skiers who I know capable of going seriously fast can find areas where they are not bothered by lesser skiers sucha as myself who consider turns to be a necessary means of self preservation.

easiski, The flypaper is said to be one of the steepest pistes in Scotland but it isn't particularly steep and is usually closed when not in condition and hence reasonably skiable by mortals when open, the other off piste runs listed may well be steep.
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Ghost, If you could really ski at 70mph, then you should be in the Canadian World Cup team - and in Bormio right now! At around 60kph in a tuck you start to feel as if you'll be knocked over backwards if you stand up, the wind against you is that strong, fast GS turns are never that fast - watch the pros for the next 2 weeks and see their speeds - on closed and very well prepared pistes of sheet ice! Alternatively come to France for the ends of season bash and try to keep up with PG's daughter.
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Easiski,
Unfortunately my financial circumstances did not permit developement into a world cup skier, and I'm now much too old.

However I recall being timed by radar some 15 years ago, on a hill (jay peak in vermont) which I did not consider steep or all that long, and someone moved into my path and I momentarily braked on my way to the gun. The speed was somewhere between 60 and 70 mph. I did not memorize the exact speed because in my estimation it was not within 30 percent of the fastest speeds I had been skiing at, and the speed did not impress me; I had been going much faster many times. 70 mph is quite easily attainable on long steep runs, though most people don't go over 35, and very few go over 50.
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Ghost

Sorry but I read your posts with a sense of incredulation. I totally aree with your last comments that most don't reach the speeds they think but I suspect you may have skied at the speed you say. However, unless the guys getting the top speeds on your timed runs were racers on race gear, I find it unlikely that they could be 30% faster than 70 mph. Those are the types of speed reached on the sreepest sections of well prepared downhills.
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I turned in a very respectable 83 kph whilst wearing a full rucksack in Crans Montana. Managed not to fall over, took a while to stop though Madeye-Smiley but lunch and credibility both intact.
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SimonN, Exactly.

snowbunny, That's just over 50 mph and therefore believable.

Ghost, I'm sorry, but I have a hard job believing anyone actually capable of ski-ing that sort of speed is so interested in nothing else. All the world class skiers I know would rather do nice turns - pure speed is for the people who can't. I have raced in two downhills at National Junior Championships, and done some Flying K training with ex-world champion Graham Wilkie, and still don't reckon I've gone much beyond 55-60 mph.

In Wengen when they did the ski jumping (I don't know if they still do) they always added on 10-15 metres to make the jumps sound better. I jumped 25metres, but that was really only 15 .......... Pretty scary anyway though.
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70 mph not within 30% of your fastest speeds? That would mean you were going around 100 mph. The fastest skiing speed ever recorded is, I believe, around 150 mph, and this is with special 8 foot long speed skis with crazy anti-vibration stuff, highly specialized boots and bindings, highly specialized aerodnamic helmets and clothing, on runs specifically designed for as much speed as possible. This is done by professional speed skiers in a full tuck with absolutely no turning. Their ski-suits are specially designed to be non-flamable, because otherwise the friction from a fall would cause them to catch fire.
So there is no way you went anywhere close to 100 mph on a normal run while execuing super-g turns. MAYBE 60 mph. MAYBE.

p.s. it is also not really possible that you could partially brake on a run that was not particularly steep or long and still record a speed of 60-70 mph. Maybe there was a road behind you, and the guy with the gun accidentally recorded the speed of a car?
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To me, steep is when I fall and as I'm sliding face down I see my ski 30 foot in front of me and think "great, I won't have to climb back up and pick it up" and then you pass over the ski and the bindings scrape into your tummy and you stop another 20 feet past that and you end up scaling what seems like a rockface just to get your skis back and it's so steep you can't even sit down and have a think/catch your breath - you just have to continue.
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ponder wrote:
70 mph not within 30% of your fastest speeds? That would mean you were going around 100 mph.


OIn the Lauberhorn a couple of weeks ago, the fastest guys were clocking speeds around an just over the 150 Kph mark

that's just under 100 mph

if ghost has reached such speeds, then he's a *very* good skiier.
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I managed just over 80km/h on the lauberhorn run, and at that point, any sort of braking effort would have resulted in an accident Shocked
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T Bar wrote:
Few questions though; Is the run Manda talking about 'the wall' off the end or the Tignes glacier officially off piste but widely skied and reasonably steep.
No, I am sure that Manda is talking about Face which is a black run down into the centre of Val D'Isere and which was used as the Olympic downhill.

"The Wall" over in Tignes is, as you say, an off piste section which is between 32 and 35 degrees. It is the end of the Grande Motte glacier and
it has changed a huge amount over the last 10 years due to the retreat of the glacier. It used to be about 150 metres across and was quite a sight from the old chair and bubble going up the Motte. It was also dangerous because there was a degree of exposure to cliffs, both on the awll itself and on the ski out. Now it is about 30 metres across and hasn't got as much vertical as it used to have. The ski out has also become a lot easier. Skiing "The Wall" can be very hit and miss. Go there when there is no snow on it and you are trying to ski glacial ice which normally means a slide to the bottom! But on a good day, it used to be a classic run because the snow remained in good condition.
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A GPS device I borrowed caught me at 56.4 mph a month back. Got pipped at the post by daughter No. 1 doing 56.7 - on blades !!!
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Quote:

Is the run Manda talking about 'the wall' off the end or the Tignes glacier officially off piste but widely skied and reasonably steep

Sorry guys, was lazy when I first posted that - having sighted the piste map, I realise I meant Leisse off the bottom left of Grand Motte (as you face the piste map). It is black, it is a piste, and it weren't too "difficult" when I did it, even in light of my (then) 4 weeks skiing and lack of "steep" skills.
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I've also skiied red piste Triffolet in Val D, and was emptied onto the bottom of black piste Raye (competition run cut off the easier pistes). Both red Triffolet and black Raye were complete bitches of nasty ice and crud and I would certainly call those pistes at that time difficult. And they were skiied immediately after Leisse.

So there.
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Manda, Leisse used to be a red run about 20 years ago. I skied it (I think) with PG last spring and we've got blue runs harder than that! I think they just want to put a black on the glacier map so they did. Shocked
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Semi-off topic question: what is the grading system for runs in Europe?
In Canada (well, Ontario and BC at least) it goes green square, blue circle, black diamond, double black diamond. I'm guessing your greens and blues are the same, but your red = my black, and your black = my double black?
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ponder, that's pretty much correct. Some single blacks in Whistler would maybe be a black in one of the less challenging resorts in Europe, but most of them would be reds. I did think that the double black diamonds in Whistler are more challenging than most marked runs in Europe, but then it has been a few years since I was last there, and my points of reference have probably changed.

Speed runs - I wiped out at exactly 69kph coming out of the speed trap in Rendl last year. By all accounts, it was quite an impressive site.
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Just to add that I once 'sneaked' onto the OK course in VD before a Europa race as it was then. It was gated and I went from the start hut. By the time I had got maybe a third of a way down I was doing everything I could to slow down and even then it took three massive turns and a fall to stop. I certainly wasn't in anyway straight lining it and missed many gates. And that course is regarded as a GS Gliders course by downhillers.

I am not in anyway a racer but that is the fastest I have ever been....by sheer virtue of the fact of how much time it took me to stop...!!
So I take all this with a big pinch of salt.
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I hadn't realised that Leisse had been regraded "black". I certainly remember it as a red although the left hand side used to be a big bumps field that was certainly on the knarly side of red! The grading of runs in VD'I can be very strange and is often motivated by marketing rather than by reality. There used to be a lot of critisism for the lack of easy runs back into the centre of the town coming down from Solaise or Belvarde. That was solved by simply reclassifying some of the runs!!
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The last picture on this link is not bad for the subject matter Very Happy

http://www.tetongravity.com/exposed/victoriarussia.htm
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O.T. - And this one from part way down is crying out for a caption.
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