A humbling day

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12gaugesage

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A humbling day

Postby 12gaugesage » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:13 pm

Havent posted in a while, despite poor conditions prior to yesterday, Ive been having a banner year. Some great backwoods/bc skiing while conditions permitted, almost daily XC skiing or uphill-pass-accessed ski mountain runs. Its been awesome, alot of time on my S112s, even on one particularly crusty night at King Pine ($10 PM lift ticket :D ) I kept it together, fluttering and side sliding like a mf'r, but I was (novice) ripping. OK I thought, Im getting the hang of this. Of course thats wide open terrain, not a 15-20 ft wide trail. Then came 14-18" of fresh snow, a little dense, but gorgeous.
I went for it, Doublehead in Jackson, NH. A local, classic, BC trail crafted by the CCC in the 30s. A staple of our local ski heritage and culture. I thought I had it. Finally I had the gear (s112/T4s), the time and conditions to make an assault. So I thought.
Got stuck in the parking area, had to dig out, before I even parked. A smarter man would have hightailed down to black mountain and bought a pass, but not me, I'm determined.

The Climb
Started out great, low angle striding, fishscales the first 3/4 mi, sweet. Attached my 65mm ez skins like I knew what I was doing.
A half mile later, as angle and altitude increased, Moisture decreased, soon I was wallowing around in almost knee deep wettish sugar. Those little EZ Skins, and maybe the camber just werent doing it. I backslid twice the length of my skis a few times. Had use every technique I know, sidestepping, zigzags, even a dash of herringbone. I was incredibly frustrated. Need full skins. Anyway, I made it.

The Descent
Starts off mellow, a beautiful stretch of woods. My elation was short lived, I wiped out, forward tumbled and cursed my way down the rest of the top third of that trail like I had never skied before. Just couldn't get my skis to do what I wanted them to. Felt like the tails were biting and dragging. Lower sections were pretty excellent, water bars were sketchy, but it was fun as hell.

Im using T4s with a Rotte ST binding, seems to be a lot of boot rocker, waiting on a Voile traverse riser and heel lift kit, hoping it helps, may throw my Voile 3pc on for a bit more power. What bothers me is I know that people have done more on lighter gear. Guys were doing it with wood skis, leather boots and wool and cotton clothes 90 years ago, so Im reluctant to blame "light" gear. I kNow my technique is lacking, perhaps tele turns are necessary in deep heavy snow? Really need to learn them, but I cant help but wonder if boot rocker/rocker launch, or whatever its called is part of the problem. Definitely a good bit of resistance to get the heels to plant...
SHould I go to shorter ski's? Im about 225LBS geared up, and on the recommended 190cm skis...

Kind of a useless rant, had to vent, Im frustrated and unsure exactly what my problem is. All I learned is that I have a lot more to learn... Forgive me if this was better suited to the trip report forum.
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fisheater

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Re: A humbling day

Postby fisheater » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:56 pm

We all have had those days, nobody starts out as an expert. From what you said about the tails digging in, you probably were in the backseat a bit. That tends to happen to people when things get difficult. Unweighting in powder is something we all nead to learn also, dry powder is much easier than wet. I personally had my backseat lesson at an eastern resort trying to ski some black diamond bump runs. I was in the back seat fighting for turns, my thighs started burning, more burning, and then they did what I described as melting. There was a feeling like warm water running down my thighs, and my legs became rubber. My legs were toast and I was done for the day, and it was only 3ish on the third and final day of our eastern ski trip. That trip was one of the trips that made me a better skier. Another time was an all night drive to the UP in April for 2 + feet of the wettest snow I had ever skied, and my first time skiing snow that deep (fortunately it was after Vermont). That was another great learning experience. Flash forward another 30 years, and I flailed in chopped fresh on leathers and light skis. I will be better next time. Remember, if you don't flail sometimes you're not learning anything new, or your wise and know better!

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Woodserson

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Re: A humbling day

Postby Woodserson » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:16 am

Humble is good! I'm tapping on my phone, so I'll be brief.

These are challenging conditions for both up and down and they require certain techniques to master. Fisheater nailed it in his post, this is how your game steps up. On the up, different snow conditions and terrain changes the climbing technique. Think about how the ski grips, think about your weight on the ski. I often see people slipping while making longer strides. Shorter steps, sometimes very short, with a firm foot plant and rapid weight transition from ski to ski are required here. If your weight is split between two skis in steep terrain you'll slide. Sometimes, herringbone and heavy use of your poles, etc. Zig zag to reduce slope angle, etc.

The down is specifically challenging in wet deep snow. Be forceful, hop, get low, ROAR LIKE LION.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Keep going, keep building your fitness up, strength and stamina are huge here too.

ROAR

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t-$

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Re: A humbling day

Postby t-$ » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:02 pm

Gma I'm not the only one! :lol:

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Re: A humbling day

Postby Harris » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:16 am

There are just some conditions that suck to tele. Telemark skiers have been plying our trade for a long time now, and if there were secrets they would've been long ago revealed. Some of the less than great conditions can be mitigated by using the right gear for the job but only to a point. And if you think guys back when mastered all on shit gear you are holding up an illusion as an impossible ideal to chase. Further could be from the truth. There were good skiers back then as there are now, but yeah, some conditions will humble every telemark skier. Period. You just aren't going to see much youtube footage of folks failing on tele. Who wants to post to the world that?

12gaugesage

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Re: A humbling day

Postby 12gaugesage » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:55 am

Thanks for the replies and advice everyone. A bad day in the woods still beats a good day on the couch.

Fisheater: Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice. I'm pretty sure I was in the backseat, thought I had cured that bad habit, but as you say when things are difficult.... I was definitely panicking a few times, and fell on my ass like I did frequently last year, for the same reason.. :lol: I'm a pretty avid MTBr, I do some DH/Enduro racing, and the adage there is "If your not crashing, your not progressing". I know all about it, god damnit.

Woodserson: I need to be more aggressive. When conditions permit, I do and its awesome, when things are tricky, I panic and seize up. I cry like kitten. I have to learn jump turns, but its scary. Watching that chute video demonstrates their usefulness well. Ive been getting by with stem christies, step turns, and half ass uncommitted teles, couldnt get any of that going the other day. I'm going out today and I'm gonna be mean and angry. Attack mode. WOLVERINES!!!!

t-$: You are not alone!!!! I live in an area where everyone has been ripping on skis since kindergarten, and I'm the guy from out of town trying to figure it out in his late 30's. Hopefully Ill be a bad mamma jamma in my 40's.

Harris: Perhaps I do idealize things too much, but I respect the hell out of our ancestors, I believe toughness and perserverance can make up for alot of shortcomings, but I probably shouldnt make a religion out of it. Better gear exists for a reason, I might as well take advantage of it.

Thanks!!!
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lowangle al

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Re: A humbling day

Postby lowangle al » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:18 am

I skied some of those old trails back in the day and they were full on alpine downhill runs. You would have an easier time with a full on alpine ski, and a fatter one for the conditions you describe. I was skiing similar conditions on my powder boards recently and when I busted through to that sugary layer I got bogged down. Sometime it's just not gonna happen.

You are lucky to live near one of those trails, who maintains them?

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fisheater

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Re: A humbling day

Postby fisheater » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:29 pm

12gauge,
I have reread the thread, and I have a couple of things to add. I believe you are correct in your assessment that the camber for the S-112 is not quite right. I have a S-112, and it just does not have the right flex for trail breaking in deep snow. The deepest I have had it in has been 16"-18", I did break trail, but where I skied there were no long sustained climbs. Now for the downhills, I find the S-112 to be a pretty decent downhill powder ski. Mind you that my experience does not go deeper than 18" or so. I also need to add, that I spent my time learning how to ski powder, I was probably around your age or a few years younger back then. You're young and strong, in your prime, not much to hurt but your ego. Back to your S-112 and T-4's, I would recommend that you put your 3-pc on those skis. I have 3-pin HW on my S-112's, I ski much better with the T-4 with the cable assist. It just helps me compress the bellows and stay on the ball of the foot.
Hope you got out and ripped.
Cheers,
Bob

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Re: A humbling day

Postby greatgt » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:13 am

20+ inches.....Fine powder on top fast down under....And it was explosive with face, body, over the head shots....Everybody on different skis boots and bindings from super wide and plastic boots to e99's and leathers...Everybody ripping up everything that could be had and there was plenty...Venison cooked in camp with all the veggies and BEER.....Couldn't stop blabbering about the snow....Couldn't get enough....Humbled ourselves with two months of ice then this and it was worth the horror days....Wicked out there...TM

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Re: A humbling day

Postby Cannatonic » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:29 pm

It's not an adventure without some post-holing and flailing around! Thanks for the report, I've wanted to do that Doublehead trail for a while, it's in Goodman's book.

You need to log some difficult, experimental days before everything is dialed in. How else will you know how well kicker skins work without trying? They're good right up until they're not good :lol: . You need full skins for deep pow or steeper grades. I am still in the experimental stage big-time. Still trying to figure out which boots & skis work for me in different conditions.

I'll never forget trying to climb up Mt. Greylock without any skins or snowshoes in 5 feet of loose powder, it took 3 hours to go 1/3rd of the way up. My friend's legs were cramping up all the way home in the car!

Looks like another huge dump is coming in! March has turned out well in New England.


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