Skiing Hard packed and Icy runs
Sometimes the temperatures have been so cooooold at night and the snow grading machines having been hammering away, that by the time you reach the start of a run at 8:30, it is hard packed and icy. Often the machines makes ridges in the snow with their caterpillar feet. These be an edge catcher on a cold morning.
Also at higher altitude when the snow catches hot afternoon sun, like at Wixi or Eiger Nord Wand, it will thaw and freeze overnight when the temperature drops. Another factor to consider is that after a windy storm the loose snow is blown off exposing very hard or icy surfaces.
We all know that shearing sound, like fingernails on a chalk borad. Then ensing muscles and the pain of a fall as if on concrete. If your ski edges are dull, rusty or dinged, they are basically ‘blunt’ and it will not helpy out to turn or stop on ice or hard packed snow. So stay tuned!
If you’ve been skiing a lot of icy runs, look your edges over daily and file the burrs off.
We love our Ski workbench that is also in the ski storage room,, so easy to check edges everyday.
Now you have sharp edges, you still need to adjust your body position to help hold your edges and keep your skis from slipping out from under you. On ice, you want more of your body in the centre and over the centre of your skis so as to keep your edges gripping.
Do this by lowering your hips and, bending from the waist, lean your upper body down the fall-line. This movement helps keep your body weight more on the inside edge of your downhill ski all the while leaning your feet and ankles into the hill for edge grip.
The best body position for controlling your skis on ice depends on the type of skis you are on - twin-tip, fat, the amount of sidecut, ski length and your body-weight distribution. With all these variables it's necessary to practice on a less steep icy slope until you find that comfort zone.
• If you ski with skis close together separate your skis a little more on ice for better stability - but not so far apart that it is difficult to position your weight over the downhill ski.
• If the icy area is just a small patch and you see soft snow downhill from the ice ski across the ice maintaining balance and then turn in the soft snow.
• When coming to a stop on ice don't try to stop suddenly by digging your edges into the ice. Instead, begin the stop by side slipping to a gradual stop applying gentle pressure to the ski edges. You will hear that prolonged scrapping and know you have side slipped well.
• Be confident to plant your poles firmly, otherwise timing, weighting, balance will be lost.
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