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Thread: How to handle steeper blues? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-02-2012 11:32 PM
JeffreyCH It was kinda funny I read this thread this morning, while waiting for th bus up to A-basin. I got pretty excited that it was snowing this morning. I knew it would be icy in the morning, but damn!! All that nice spring corn I was riding yesterday turned to fucking boilerplate!! It did snow all day up there, but never thawed, you could see spots all over where the cat went over it and just made scratches in the ice. As the fresh snow started to stick, there would be patchs of soft fresh, exposed ice, fresh, ice,..... every where!!

I kept hoping that it would warm up a bit and get softer as the day went on, nope, it got downright nasty. Wind blowing, and just enough snow to hide the hard icy parts. No time to really pick a line, I had to watch what was happening right in front of me. Since I ride a speed bump in Ia. most of the time I'm fairly used to these conditions, last year I learned to pull a rescue sled in this type of crap. Still, big mountain is completly different, there were parts on the steeper blues that I would be sideslipping full on my heels and hardly slowing down at all.

This is where learning to ride efficiently is the key, when I would hit a spot that was soft I would use that to skid my turn to bleed speed, then hold a hard edge on the ice and carve over it. I tend to ride a little more upright, not a lot, still flexed in my knees, but just enough so I have a little more travel in my knees. To me this feels like it takes less effort to un-weight when changing edges, and if I hit a bump or soft spot while changing edges it gives more range to flex rather then bottoming out.

I have to agree with Snowolf, riding in these conditions makes you a much better rider. Yesterday in the slush, I was bombing, with a nice beer buzz, no cares, just letting my muscle memory and instincs take control. Today, I had to focus 110% on what I was doing (no beer buzz at all) I did make it down the front side 11 times today with only 1 wash out on my heelside.
04-02-2012 10:30 AM
grafta Saw a kid, probably 15 or 16, throw a 360 gapping between two pretty big moguls on a double black at Apex this weekend. Landing that he rode straight down smacking a tree line at warp 9. *sigh*
04-02-2012 08:48 AM
aiidoneus @Leo I totally agree, I ride both east and west. West's average day is east's best.

For me it really depends on what type of bumpy terrain we are talking about. If it is fully formed moguls, I ride between them, using the mogul as a speed check at the end of my turn of I need to, or sometimes I brace off the mogul and ride over the top. I prefer the first approach, but it requires more timing and quick transitions.

If it is a busy pow day, and the runs are now filled with fluffy bumpy snow. Since the snow isn't hard you can still mostly carve through it, but you need to steer earlier in the turn to minimize how much you move down the hill. The problem is if you drop too much you get the choppy bouncy feeling as you go from puffy pow to harder base. The more elongated (open) your turn is, the more you will get the choppy feeling. Except if you point the board mostly down the hill you just ride through all the crude, it is more work, but way faster and more fun.
04-02-2012 07:07 AM
Leo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
And an important thing to remember when riding conditions like this is it really makes you a better rider. You may not think so at the time but where you notice it is when you go back out and ride on a good day. That's when you get the " wow" moment.
This is always my argument to people who bash the ice coast. I always tell big mountain people that their worst day is our best.

While we don't have the vert and level of steeps, those are our only obstacles when riding on a big mountain.

For example, when I went to Tahoe last year, I had 0 issues riding the terrain other than experiencing my first real epic pow day. Even then, I picked up pow riding in a snap. The only daunting thing out west was the vert (lung killer) and steep runs (scary). Didn't catch an edge or wash out any of the 3 days I rode there. Felt great.

Learning to ride bad snow makes you a much better rider on good snow.
04-02-2012 02:19 AM
jdang307 I just conquered this at squaw last week (and alpine). Snowolf hit the nail on the head, again. Instead of trying to cut through it (I couldn't) I figured out, you gotta ride on top of it. It was soft, not iced over (it did get iced over towards the end of the day and I then proceeded to eat snow).

I don't point it straight down, but at a slight angle, usually toe side because I feel more comfortable. Then really really really loose legs. Bent at the knees, back straight. Other than the occasional launch, My torso almost stays the same while my legs act as suspension absorbing all of the bumps and mounds. It was the fastest I ever went on such terrain and was a real confidence booster.

I bled off speed with the occasional toe side skid (probably not protocol but that's what I did). It's pretty exhilarating when you figure it out. After my 3rd year, I finally did.

Out of necessity. My legs were too fucking tired trying to navigate steep terrain with choppy snow. I was being a pussy and braking every few seconds. My legs literally burned and my knee was getting shot and I was a long way from base. So I sucked it up and pointed it down.
03-26-2012 01:19 PM
Intheshit yeah, i guess say there is a chunk in front of you, what you want to do is turn on the very top of that chunk, to do that you are going to suck your knees up and rotate , then push back down to regain control. it just feels more slippery.

- think about rotating on the very center of your board as well.
03-26-2012 01:13 PM
Intheshit sliding turns with lots of unweighting. unweighting is like making your feet lighter as you perform the slide, gives you a sort of "tricky" feel to regular riding. Cant give a detailed verbal instruction on it at this time. just think about sucking up the chunky parts and finding a nice spot to dig in afterwords. Gives you a sort of floaty up down up down up down feeling when you ride , rhythm.

and yeah, im a tree line guy myself, nice tight turns down the fresh stuff because most people are afraid of losing it to a trunk. *shrug* dont blame any concussions on me.
03-26-2012 09:10 AM
snowklinger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
And an important thing to remember when riding conditions like this is it really makes you a better rider. You may not think so at the time but where you notice it is when you go back out and ride on a good day. That's when you get the " wow" moment.
My whole season has been practice for the good days (not this year).
03-26-2012 09:00 AM
D1CKER1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
And an important thing to remember when riding conditions like this is it really makes you a better rider. You may not think so at the time but where you notice it is when you go back out and ride on a good day. That's when you get the " wow" moment.
Agree.
I've been used to riding groomed surfaces. With the occasional
Powder. And like you said I don't turn away from the mountain
If conditions are shitty
03-26-2012 08:24 AM
poutanen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
And an important thing to remember when riding conditions like this is it really makes you a better rider. You may not think so at the time but where you notice it is when you go back out and ride on a good day. That's when you get the " wow" moment.
Yeah this is another reason I'll ride through anything (and I encourage my GF to as well). I'd rather ride through choppy snow than hard pack groomed ice anyway! At least chop is predictable.

Plus most of the glades I've been in get choppy about half a day after a snowfall, so if you want to play in the trees, you gotta be able to handle the bumps.
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