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Vision of Safer Skiing in the 21st Century

Safety and Fun through Turning

 

Turning is the basis of our sport, but it is being neglected. Ski areas need to provide an environment more conducive to turning and less conducive to speeding. This vision started with an open letter to ski areas written by Emilio Trampuz (our newsletter editor) based on several personal experiences that pointed to the following problems:

 

THE PROBLEM WITH SKI RESORTS:

1. Resorts promote jumping (in terrain parks and half-pipes).

2. Resorts neglect turning skills. (There are no terrain parks for turning. Also no training gates.)

3. Resorts facilitate speeding, by providing wide, straight-cut, groomed slopes with no obstacles.

 

THE PROBLEM WITH BOTH SKIERS & SNOWBOARDERS:

1. Many beginners/intermediates simply do not have the skills to turn, and no incentive to try.

2. Many intermediates are locked into making only one kind of turn, unable to vary the radius.

3. Even advanced snow-riders may not have sufficient control over their turn speed and radius to be able to synchronize their turns to another person in front of them. Try it and see.

4. Speeding skiers/boarders have made it dangerous to make wider turns, away from the fall-line.

 

The Solution

Resorts could make the slopes safer by providing more opportunities for us to practice controlled turning, by simply setting up a variety of fun obstacles on the slopes. This would not only make the slopes more fun, but would also slow traffic down, make the slopes safer, and lift lines shorter.

 

Scroll down to see just a few possible visions of how this could be done.

 

(Click here to see people's reactions to these ideas.)

 

Terrain Park for Turning

Instead of jumps, give us something to turn around.  Traffic cones, scattered all over the slope is just one inexpensive way to do that.

Just 30 cones were enough to create this fun little maze! Different people choose different paths, thus delaying the formation of ruts.
 

Human Slalom through cone field at Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. High ski club

 

Whisker gates for turning and racing practice.

Whisker gates for safe turning and race training.

Use whisker gates

Whisker gates can be used in place of traffic cones, in an obstacle maze.

 

They can also be used in place of gates for a simple race-training course.

 

These whisker gates can be skied over with no damage to the skis or the gates. See: http://store.worldcupsupply.com/spm-whisker-gates.html

 

Plant some trees

 

Many slopes look like clear-cuts.  This is boring and dangerous, because it invites speeding.

 

A few well-spaced trees can be so much fun to turn around. Vail has done something like this on the Cloud 9 trail in the Blue Sky Basin.

 

This photo is from Kimberley ski resort in British Columbia.

Emilio Trampuz with field of new trees for turning practice. Kimberley ski area, B.C., Canada.

 

Race gates fro practicing turning.

Set up training gates

 

Why are all training gates always reserved for a group? Why not open some to the general public? Give us an opportunity to practice controlled turning.

 

 Just another example of a "terrain park devoted to turning" 


 

 

Teach

synchronized

skiing

 

This is a great skill-building drill. It  teaches us coordination, speed control, and control over the shape and size of each turn.

 

Surprisingly, even some advanced skiers can find this quite difficult.

 

When executed well, it's a thing of beauty, an inspiration to other snowriders . 

 

Ski schools should incorporate this in their methodology.

 

Synchronized skiing practice, Mt. High club members, Big Mountain, MT.

The above is an example of good synchronizing.

Synchronized skiing practice, Mt. High ski club, Big Mt. MT.
The 3 people in the back are not quite in sync with the trio in front.

 

Elaine and Mike, skiing and snoboarding edge control (side-slipping).

Learn & practice

side-slipping

 

Side-slipping is a skill that has been totally neglected in the pursuit of pure carving. Nobody teaches it any more. But carving is mainly useful in maintaining a high speed, not in slowing down. Most turns are a subtle mix of carving and slipping, resulting in speed & turn control.

 

Side-slipping comes naturally to snowboarders, but many skiers have poor edge control and have great difficulty side-slipping smoothly, even straight down the fall-line, let alone side-slipping diagonally.

 

A terrain park devoted to turning should include at least one steep and narrow spot that requires some side-slipping.

 

 

 

Use small cones

 

These are easy to carry, small, unobtrusive, and not intimidating to beginners. We tried them at Warner Canyon.

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

Voice your own opinion and express your ideas in our Forum.

See other people's reactions to these ideas here.

Contact Emilio via email.

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