Planet Ski’s Clare Meaney has some commentary on skiing for speed. Apparently, investigators in France conclude a young British ski guide got himself killed himself when attempting to reach 100 KpH on skis (62.5 mph), a speed I have come close to.
There are a number of items I have problems with. First, the MyTracks application very closely matches speedometers and other GPS devices on the speed reading, I take that as confirmation of the device’s accuracy. I know there are a number of people who also ski with various motion tracking applications and I suspect them to be every bit as accurate as MyTracks.
However, there are a few things I want to address in detail:
Professional ski races take place in controlled conditions with competitors wearing protective equipment. Courses are designed with safety in mind and netting is erected along the sides of the course.
Choosing to point your skis in a straight line and allowing gravity to do it’s thing is an entirely different sport which doesn’t involve any particulary skill – just a bit of macho chat in the bar can encourage otherwise sensible people to ski too fast for their own good.
Deliberately trying to ski as fast as possible on a crowded piste without the ability to stop safely, can only be described as reckless.
I am at a loss to the first paragraph, it seems to me anyone trying to reach a maximum speed on their skis knows it is only safe on runs they are familiar with. Do not go on a run you do not know well and even if you know the trail inspect them before taking your speed run.
The second paragraph is rubbish. Yes, there is not much skill to tucking and schussing but it takes skill to be able to re-establish full control. Yeah, egging people on to ski faster than their ability allows is a bad thing, but I know if needed, I can pop out of my tuck and work my edges when speeding down Shanty Boy, it is something I have done.
The last paragraph is silliness. Yes, anyone skiing the speeds we are talking about requires an open slope. The runs I am skiing on are usually empty and if I see people on them in front of myself I will resume an erect stance and start working my edges.
The Ski Tracks iPhone app, when used correctly can provide an interesting insight into the day’s skiing, as long as users remember that it is their responsibility to ensure they do not endanger other skiers, and that they only ski within the limits of their ability.
I agree with this, and if the idea Clare Meany is trying to push is to always ski to the code I agree, but it seems to me the point of the article is not to ski to the code but a much more restrictive mindset.
I do not want to minimize the danger here, our bodies are not designed to defend against impacts at those speeds (I am dealing with the effects of a high-speed crash now myself), but always remember to pick your times and places wisely.