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Old 01-24-2014, 03:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trouble with cat tracks

This is my second season boarding. I had felt good about my progress, especially since I can ride green runs without falling now. I live not far from Whistler and have an Edge pass so I can ride a couple of times a week there.

I "had" been feeling good about my riding until today. My wife, who is a skier, suggested we take the new Harmony chair to do the Harmony run to the Roundhouse. She had mentioned it was a bit of a cat track but I thought, "Well, I'm pretty good now so that shouldn't be a problem." How wrong I was! I struggled down the run because I'm used to having more room to turn (I'm not great at tight turns yet). Every time I tried to turn some skier would fly by me and cut me off. And the drop off on the north side of the run spooked me a little. My confidence was shot by the time I reached the Roundhouse.

Anybody have advice about how to deal with a long cat track like Harmony?
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Practice, practice.

Those cat tracks teach you good edge control. I've been riding forty days a year for about five years now, just got back from whistler this past weekend and I still find several of the cat tracks there a pain in the ass.

Remember to keep a good stance, knees bent. Keep you weight evenly distributed front to back, don't wind up with heavy pressure on your back foot. Don't be afraid to rest, but pick your moments, rest at the crests, stopping in the low spots means skating uphill. The blackcomb side has less cat tracks than the whistler side, especially with the new crystal express.

And even who it's at it's most annoying remember you're very lucky to live nearby, here in ontario there's no cat tracks and no good hills.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Got back from a week of riding at Red Mountain resort.
Do they ever have cat tracks there!

I'm an advanced rider, and I don't find them particularly enjoyable either, especially when there are other people in your path.
You just need practice, and improvement in your riding.

The only good thing for me is that I tend to be the one flying past people on cat tracks. Just yell ahead that you're passing on their left or right and maintain your speed. Having to un strap and hike because someone slowed you down sucks.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would suggest that riding a cat track that is narrow and forces you to basically ride one edge for a prolonged period of time is one of the hardest skills to learn on a board.

It unfortunately is one of those practise makes perfect situations. The bummer part is that you may get better on one edge before the other, but the fall line of the track dictates which edge you ride on. On the other hand if you can ride switch, you can choose. Just keep working it as you glide back to the lift.

Grey D, you mention calling out "left" / "right". I do this as well and wish more people would. I learned about it at Smuggs about 5 years ago when I was on a trail all by myself, working my turns using the full width of the trail cause I could and all of a sudden I heard "On your Right!!!!!". I stayed left and a ski patroller swooshed by on my right. I thought "How great is that", he let me know, no big deal for me, and he carried on without having me hold him up. I didn't slow down, we both carry on safely at our respective speeds. Just a few quick words is all it takes.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The thing about calling out that you're passing that surprises me is that alot of the time I get a "thank you" called back at me from the person I'm passing. It appears that most people find it helpful. As I mentioned above, I tend to pass most people on cat tracks (not sure why, I'm not that fast a rider usually...) and many will hear me coming, but of course they don't know if I will pass them, which side, or slow down and stay behind them. A quick call out removes alot of uncertainty.

Per the original post, I'm curious if most people ride flat on cat tracks or on edge. I've always assumed on edge, but...?
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Its a progression...1 edge, 2 edges, rock back and forth between edges and then flat. I'm now pretty darn good at riding flat on the tracks...thus cat tracks are no longer a problem.

I've been told that Whistler's runs are wonky because they did not plan nor follow the fall line....verses when they planned Blackcomb they followed the natural fall lines.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrathfuldeity View Post
Its a progression...1 edge, 2 edges, rock back and forth between edges and then flat. I'm now pretty darn good at riding flat on the tracks...thus cat tracks are no longer a problem.

Good to hear because that's been my experience. Heel edge, toe edge, flat for a bit. Rinse and repeat.
And I have gotten better at getting my heavily rockered Banana Magic to flatten out on cat tracks.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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learning to ride cat tracks is like a precursor to trees.

relevant to some of those threads "when should I use ruddered or skidded turns", well the answer is here.

you can essentially do "ruddered and skidded turns 4 different ways depending on front/back or toe/heel pressure. this allows you to turn and bleed speed in almost any circumstance without taking up very much space along the fall line.

obviously this is a technique perhaps above your ability, but something you need to strive for.

some basic tips to get you there:

-lower your center of gravity (work your quads harder)
-focus on front foot pressure (very very hard for beginners, yet probably the most critical step in progression away from beginnerhood)
-practice transitioning from edge to edge as you ride in a straight line on a low angled slope, imagine the bottom of your board curved and you rolling it from one edge to the other as you go straight. this will help to avoid edge catching and can help that single edge burn from trying to run out a long cat track.

sounds like everytime you go to turn is a big deal. rolling around on your edges should desensitize that.

tldr: none of this internet shit will do jack compared to actual riding, basics will come quickly
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrathfuldeity View Post
Its a progression...1 edge, 2 edges, rock back and forth between edges and then flat. I'm now pretty darn good at riding flat on the tracks...thus cat tracks are no longer a problem.

I've been told that Whistler's runs are wonky because they did not plan nor follow the fall line....verses when they planned Blackcomb they followed the natural fall lines.
I've also been told this, and my experience is that whistler has far more runs that are off the fall line compared to blackcomb. I think that we also notice this more on snowboards.

However the higher cat track on the way over to Seventh is a bitch, worst cat track on blackcomb, especially now that crystal chair is in place.

Worst cat track in the whole resort is the return trip from Symphony to Harmony, especially for goofy riders like me, I prefer long cat tracks where I can mostly go heelside, gotta work on my switch.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyDragon View Post
Just yell ahead that you're passing on their left or right and maintain your speed.
I quit yellin' "left or right" as I'm passing. Seems to cause more confusion then just ridin' by. I yell left and they move left.
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