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
to ski areas written by Emilio Trampuz (our newsletter editor) based
on several personal experiences that pointed to the following problems:
THE PROBLEM WITH
promote jumping (in terrain parks and half-pipes).
neglect turning skills. (There are no terrain parks for turning.
Also no training gates.)
facilitate speeding, by providing wide, straight-cut, groomed
slopes with no obstacles.
THE PROBLEM WITH
BOTH SKIERS & SNOWBOARDERS:
beginners/intermediates simply do not have the skills to turn,
and no incentive to try.
intermediates are locked into making only one kind of turn, unable
to vary the radius.
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.
skiers/boarders have made it dangerous to make wider turns, away from the
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
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.
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:
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.
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
Just another example of a
"terrain park devoted to turning"
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.
The above is an example of good synchronizing.
The 3 people in the back are not quite in sync with the
trio in front.
Learn & practice
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
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.
own opinion and express your ideas in our
See other people's reactions to these ideas