Skiing ABCs C — the CODE
Before you go skiing or snowboarding get to know the CODE. The code is essentially the rules of the road for the skier and chief among these rules is being able to be and staying in control of yourself. If you are not in control you are obviously going to be unable to yield to skiers when trails merge and you run the risk of colliding with downhill skiers. You are simply a bowling ball rolling down the hill looking to knock pins down.
The code reads:
- Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
The rules can be broken down into the following cardinal points. Know what you are doing, keep you and your gear under control, and yield to others less able to stop or detect you. Quite simple really. Of course anyone who has skied for a while know all too many fail at the chief rule and that is being under control, and we all have been there.
I generally try to keep tabs on skiers and snowboarders above me but at best I can only figure out if they are going to overtake me or not and depending on the terrain I may react to them, generally that may result in me slowing down to let them by. However, it is their responsibility to avoid me. None of us have eyes on the back of our heads. The National Snow Areas Association has more on the Code.
Skiing ABCs C — Corn
No it is not our favorite Après Ski dinner treat (quite the opposite the only corn worth eating is fresh local picked July through September) side-dish but a type of snow formed by mid to late spring weather conditions. The thaw-freeze cycles of temperatures is what brings it on. During the day the top of the snow-pack melts and saturates the lower layers with water and then at night this saturated snow-pack refreezes. As daytime returns the cycle repeats itself and when the frozen water begins to melt again all of that icy snow releases and the snow crystals are free and skiing becomes FUN!
Timing is critical here as skiing on ice is rough and not fun. Skiing on soggy snow is not fun either, you will find that you have to work harder to change your edges, you will experience rapidly changing periods of acceleration and deceleration on a run, and overall you will be skiing slower usually making it harder to get to the lifts.
In between those two phases the snow is sweet. and that is the spring corn harvest!
Skiing ABCs C — Chopped
Chopped snow is when a ski hill has a fresh coating of snow and skiers and boarders commence to ski in it. The snow goes form the pristine even layer of snow to snow that is chopped up. Chopped snow is uneven snow but is usually fun to ski in as long as you slice through it on your edges. It is soft and will easily give it will not push back on you very hard. Chopped snow is a good way to introduce yourself to bump-skiing.
As the day progresses chopped runs transform into mogul fields and typically they will be soft moguls and not hard, meaning that they will not push back hard and if you will be able to slice through them with a minimum of fuss. As the moguls age though they will harden up and form hard moguls that will push back on you.
If you hear me say fluffencrud this is what I mean.
Skiing ABCs C — Crud
Crud is another term for the snow conditions. Crud snow is formed by a variety of conditions, usually a chain of events leads to the formation of crud. Typically, the hill is blanketed over by a snowfall and then it is skied on.
Essentially the difference (at least in my mind) between chopped or fluffencrud snow and crud snow is the presence of hard ice/snow hunks in crud. The hard stuff is smaller in size, less visible, and more irregular than moguls.
Crud is not so fun to ski on, but again, be on edge and mind your fundamentals!
Skiing ABCs C — Carve
Carving a ski is the turn all skiers aspire to (or should) and is using the tips, the shape, and the edges of your ski to turn. While you are using the skis your control points in a carved turn are the angle at which the skis are tipped sideways into the snow, the pressure you are driving your shins into your boots (the more pressure the more bend of the ski the tighter the turn), weight distribution between the two skis, and the relative fore-aft positions of your skis.
When you are carving you are in 100% control of the motion, your edges are locked into the snow surface and responding to your wishes. If you get it all right carving also adds speed to your motion: when you change edges you unspring one ski and that unspringing of a ski gives you a push! Carved turns are smooth and quiet and there is little else like executing a perfect pure carved turn.
Carving takes practice to learn and I do suggest lessons.
Once you can carve a turn those scary runs you either never went down or went down with trepidation become of-course-I-can-do-this runs!
Skiing ABCs C — Chamonix
Chamonix (pronounce it: Shamo-Knee) is a famous French ski village and served as the host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.