The Art of Falling

geepers

Skiing the powder
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Australia
So you never fell...even when you tried bumps for the first time? Are pro skiers always in 100% control? Seems they fall a lot too.

Well, let's just take the last week...

It was 5 hours per day out on snow for 5 days. So that 5*5*60*60 = 90000 seconds.

At that resort let's say around 25% of the time is sitting on a chair. (Moving in the lift line and riding T-bars - lot of 'em at that resort - still requires being in control.)

So that's 90000*(1-0.25) = 67500 seconds upright on skis. The skiing includes a range of green/blue groomers, blue/black bumps, blue/black off piste of huge inconsistency and conditions ranged from firm n fast AF to rain sodden sloppy mank, swinging wildly from day to day. This is Australia - it often sux. (Sorry, no pow in the mix - closest was crusty wind blown that broke up into huge plates.)

Had two falls that occurred very quickly. Let's say 1 second per fall which is being very generous to the length of each fall.

So that's 67498 seconds in control and 2 seconds otherwise.

Which is 99.997% of the time. Slightly below 6 sigma (99.99966%).
 

KingGrump

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Must be pretty cool being the only skier in history to be in total control 100% of the time? Now if we can get the pro racers on board they won't need those pesky helmets and all that fencing along the course!

That's what I strive for. But sh*t happens. I believe I fell once last season. Not too bad for a short fat old dude with a 120+ day season. I know deep down I won't break if I fall. I'll splinter. Especially in the type of terrain I frequented.

I strived to ski in the middle of my performance envelope 95% of the time I am on skis. Around the 40 to 60% range. The terrain provides plenty of excitement. Enough for me. With a large buffer/reserve, getting out of trouble when the unexpected happens is not too difficult.
The skiers in the videos linked above thread is skiing out of control literally 100% of the time. The phrase "All but for the grace of God" comes to mind when I watch them ski. My definition of skiing in control is to be able to come to a dead stop at the end of a turn. Hockey stops not required. All one needs to do is to shape the turn. The skiers in those videos do not execute what I considered as turns. A lot of high level slithering though.

The key is expand that performance envelope so operating in the 40 to 60% range is not excessively boring. I've skied with many here and I can be sure they don't find me skiing at the 40 to 60% range boring.

I have said it many time in the past. Go ski with someone from the forum and all the BS and misunderstandings will disappear. :beercheer:
 
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LiquidFeet

lurking
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That's what I strive for. But sh*t happens. I believe I fell once last season. Not too bad for a short fat old dude with a 120+ day season. I know deep down I won't break if I fall. I'll splinter. Especially in the type of terrain I frequented.

I strived to ski in the middle of my performance envelope 95% of the time I am on skis. Around the 40 to 60% range. The terrain provides plenty of excitement. Enough for me. With a large buffer/reserve, getting out of trouble when the unexpected happens is not too difficult.
The skiers in the videos linked above thread is skiing out of control literally 100% of the time. The phrase "All but for the grace of God" comes to mind when I watch them ski. My definition of skiing in control is to be able to come to a dead stop at the end of a turn. Hockey stops not required. All one needs to do is to shape the turn. The skiers in those videos do not execute what I considered as turns. A lot of high level slithering though.

The key is expand that performance envelope so operating in the 40 to 60% range is not excessively boring. I've skied with many here and I can be sure they don't find me skiing at the 40 to 60% range boring.

I have said it many time in the past. Go ski with someone from the forum and all the BS and misunderstandings will disappear. :beercheer:
Most racers are skiing at the edge of control. There could be some that are in it just so they can ski fast and in control on a nice semi-safe ropped off course, like taking your motorcycle or fun car to a track day, but most are trying to win or place better than they would if they were 100% in control.

Skiing at the edge of control (or even past it - how do you know where the edge is without stepping over it?) is fine in my book, so long as there is nobody in your spill zone when you do.

A lot of skiers would rather not come close to that edge, and that's fine too. You make your choice and pay the price as needed.
@Rich_Ease_3051, you can trust these guys. They know what they're talking about. Sometimes trust is a good thing.
 

Rich_Ease_3051

Getting on the lift
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@Rich_Ease_3051, you can trust these guys. They know what they're talking about. Sometimes trust is a good thing.
I do listen to them. I listen to everybody, then see what works for me.

For example, racers are a privileged class whose experience is of little use to me. And I would argue the average recreational skier too won't benefit copying racers for the most part.

Racers ski a predictable course that's injected, so they know the surface they will tackle and the path they will ski. They are given time to study a course. Recreational skiers ski changing surfaces that could be hard and fast one day and slow the next or even on the same day on the same run. And totally unknown terrain and path if it's a new resort, especially if it's a short and quick ski holiday to a new resort.

Racers have a team of tech looking after their equipment. Sponsorship means they get the best equipment suited to their narrow requirement (to ski fast). Recreational skiers have limited budgets and ski a variety of terrain and conditions, so they are limited equipment wise and must compromise. They don't have the privilege of carrying a full suit of tuning equipment.

Racers don't have to look back over their shoulders because they have the race course by themselves. There may be disciplines where they ski side by side other skiers, but they are expert skiers for the most part and can be relied upon to respect their space. Rec skiers have to share the same run with a variety of skiers, slow and fast, experienced and noobs, that can come from anywhere and everywhere and injure them. Skiing in a resort is an ever present danger.

Racers age top out at around 40 years old. The median age may be 25. They are young enough that they can recover from a devastating injury. They are preselected for fitness. They have a team of doctors on standby and would get airlifted if they get in a bad accident. Rec skiers can be anywhere from 3 to 100 years old of varying fitness and athletic levels. Some with artificial knees and hips. The resort hospital and after care and specialist care is a coin toss and a matter of luck. A bad injury can be unrecoverable and put a permanent stop to sports activities.

Racers have barriers that will catch them if they veer of course and patrol on standby that will attend to them in mere seconds in a bad accident. Rec skiers have trees and chutes to "catch" them and a patrol may not be there for a long time, if they find them at all.

Racers have a narrow set of rules when it comes to what kind of equipment they can use. They can keep using the same equipment set by FIS on a predictable course and surface and can attain mastery because of the familiarity. Rec skiers are bombarded by the ski industry with inappropriate equipment and must decide for themselves what equipment will suit them depending on their local conditions, fitness, age, terrain, experience, and goals.

Racers start skiing from a young age. Most are from privileged backgrounds and can afford a full season to hone their skills, sometimes a northern and southern hemisphere one. Many rec skiers start late in life and are limited by money and time commitments for ski time on the mountain.

I respect racers for their skill. But they are about as useful as an F1 car and driver are to a sports car enthusiast. The latter, and recreational skiers, have to push the performance envelope differently because of our inherent disadvantages.
 
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Sanity

Getting on the lift
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Let me do an analogy. Another passion of mine besides mogul skiing was rock climbing. There are some similarities with falling. I haven't climbed for a while, but I was a sport climber not a trad climber. One reason was that I didn't feel entirely comfortable with trad protection, and I felt falling was the way to get better. If you check out "Free Solo", he climbs El Capitan without a rope. If he falls, he dies. So, not falling is pretty important, and he lives. Unfortunately, he's a dumbass, and all free climbers are dumbasses, because they are ignorant to the facts of life and the corresponding effect on probabilities of death. If it's worth it to them to free climb even though they will very likely die doing it, then that's their choice, but if they think that they can avoid death through some sort of careful approach, then they are idiots. What time will eventually tell them as they get older is that they could have a dizzy spell, they could have a muscle cramp, or even a chip can break off from the rock, and they will learn this lesson as they fall to their death. I had a big chunk of rock break off and nearly castrate me while bouldering. I was 1 foot off the ground, but if I was any higher, I'd be dead.

In Free Solo, first he climbs it with a rope, and he falls a bunch. You can only improve marginally at rock climbing without taking falls. Even lead climbing, people will take falls on purpose to fall long distances just to get their head right so that they are comfortable falling. If you're afraid of falling, it's nearly impossible to push yourself through a precarious crux. There are so many different types of rock climbing moves. There's no way you can prepare yourself for every possible experience until you're up there giving it a shot, and the chances of getting it right the first time are pretty low, which is why Free Solo is first done with a rope. Sending a climb for the first time is completely different than sending it after projecting. You will not get substantially better without projecting, and that means falling. Once you've done lots of projects, then a new climb can be a series of similar moves, and you can flash (first try) increasingly more difficult climbs.

A veteran that has developed the conditioning and experience can go around free climbing new routes, but rest assured, they are not climbing close to their abilities. That means, 1. They are never trying new things. 2. They aren't pushing their conditioning. They are stuck in the status quo. There is still improvement, but it's marginal compared to attempting entirely new stuff. Their status quo may be amazing, and maybe they feel there's no reason to improve substantially, but rest assured if they do try to keep up with the best, they will put on that harness at times.
 
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Crank

Making fresh tracks
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It has long been my supposition that really competitive ski racers don't become really competitive racers without pushing the limits and finding those limits and that seems to involve falling and breaking things. Bones, skis, whatever.
 

François Pugh

Skiing the powder
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Great White North (Eastern side currently)
I do listen to them. I listen to everybody, then see what works for me.

For example, racers are a privileged class whose experience is of little use to me. And I would argue the average recreational skier too won't benefit copying racers for the most part.

Racers ski a predictable course that's injected, so they know the surface they will tackle and the path they will ski. They are given time to study a course. Recreational skiers ski changing surfaces that could be hard and fast one day and slow the next or even on the same day on the same run. And totally unknown terrain and path if it's a new resort, especially if it's a short and quick ski holiday to a new resort.

Racers have a team of tech looking after their equipment. Sponsorship means they get the best equipment suited to their narrow requirement (to ski fast). Recreational skiers have limited budgets and ski a variety of terrain and conditions, so they are limited equipment wise and must compromise. They don't have the privilege of carrying a full suit of tuning equipment.

Racers don't have to look back over their shoulders because they have the race course by themselves. There may be disciplines where they ski side by side other skiers, but they are expert skiers for the most part and can be relied upon to respect their space. Rec skiers have to share the same run with a variety of skiers, slow and fast, experienced and noobs, that can come from anywhere and everywhere and injure them. Skiing in a resort is an ever present danger.

Racers age top out at around 40 years old. The median age may be 25. They are young enough that they can recover from a devastating injury. They are preselected for fitness. They have a team of doctors on standby and would get airlifted if they get in a bad accident. Rec skiers can be anywhere from 3 to 100 years old of varying fitness and athletic levels. Some with artificial knees and hips. The resort hospital and after care and specialist care is a coin toss and a matter of luck. A bad injury can be unrecoverable and put a permanent stop to sports activities.

Racers have barriers that will catch them if they veer of course and patrol on standby that will attend to them in mere seconds in a bad accident. Rec skiers have trees and chutes to "catch" them and a patrol may not be there for a long time, if they find them at all.

Racers have a narrow set of rules when it comes to what kind of equipment they can use. They can keep using the same equipment set by FIS on a predictable course and surface and can attain mastery because of the familiarity. Rec skiers are bombarded by the ski industry with inappropriate equipment and must decide for themselves what equipment will suit them depending on their local conditions, fitness, age, terrain, experience, and goals.

Racers start skiing from a young age. Most are from privileged backgrounds and can afford a full season to hone their skills, sometimes a northern and southern hemisphere one. Many rec skiers start late in life and are limited by money and time commitments for ski time on the mountain.

I respect racers for their skill. But they are about as useful as an F1 car and driver are to a sports car enthusiast. The latter, and recreational skiers, have to push the performance envelope differently because of our inherent disadvantages.
As my old Fluid Mechanics Professor would say, "Trust, but check."

Actually, IMHO, the techniques and skills that racers use are not all that different to those good recreational skiers use. A recreational skier can learn a lot from racers.
 

Rich_Ease_3051

Getting on the lift
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Sydney
As my old Fluid Mechanics Professor would say, "Trust, but check."

Actually, IMHO, the techniques and skills that racers use are not all that different to those good recreational skiers use. A recreational skier can learn a lot from racers.
Skill is skill. But the environments are different.

A racer's laser like focus to look downhill will dissipate in a resort. Or else he won't see a little kid coming in from the side out of nowhere and slamming into his knee.

It's like taking Lewis Hamilton to drive in LA traffic. He would still be fast, but not as fast as his potential because of idiot drivers all around. A ski race course is like an F1 track. But a ski resort is more like LA traffic. The environment limits you.
 

Rich_Ease_3051

Getting on the lift
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Street vs track.
Recreational skiers vs organized racing.
DH course vs back country chute.
Street fighting vs boxing.
Yeah, it's just not fair! Those pros have it so easy...:P
It's still skiing, same laws of physics apply.
Lindsey Vonn lands on one little soft patch of snow and she was out good for a long time, with possibly long term consequences (osteoarthritis?).

How many soft snow patches/icy patch combinations do rec skiers ski on everyday, in the same run?

Granted, she was doing ridiculous speed that mere mortals will never be capable of.

And if she hit the resort today she would still slay all of the people in the mountain. And I mean literally all people.

But she would dial it down. If not the terrain, the alpine code of responsibility will compel her to.

1659662274027.png
 

slidingmike

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Nov 3, 2021
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7
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Lake Tahoe
Let me do an analogy. Another passion of mine besides mogul skiing was rock climbing. There are some similarities with falling. I haven't climbed for a while, but I was a sport climber not a trad climber. One reason was that I didn't feel entirely comfortable with trad protection, and I felt falling was the way to get better. If you check out "Free Solo", he climbs El Capitan without a rope. If he falls, he dies. So, not falling is pretty important, and he lives. Unfortunately, he's a dumbass, and all free climbers are dumbasses, because they are ignorant to the facts of life and the corresponding effect on probabilities of death. If it's worth it to them to free climb even though they will very likely die doing it, then that's their choice, but if they think that they can avoid death through some sort of careful approach, then they are idiots. What time will eventually tell them as they get older is that they could have a dizzy spell, they could have a muscle cramp, or even a chip can break off from the rock, and they will learn this lesson as they fall to their death. I had a big chunk of rock break off and nearly castrate me while bouldering. I was 1 foot off the ground, but if I was any higher, I'd be dead.

In Free Solo, first he climbs it with a rope, and he falls a bunch. You can only improve marginally at rock climbing without taking falls. Even lead climbing, people will take falls on purpose to fall long distances just to get their head right so that they are comfortable falling. If you're afraid of falling, it's nearly impossible to push yourself through a precarious crux. There are so many different types of rock climbing moves. There's no way you can prepare yourself for every possible experience until you're up there giving it a shot, and the chances of getting it right the first time are pretty low, which is why Free Solo is first done with a rope. Sending a climb for the first time is completely different than sending it after projecting. You will not get substantially better without projecting, and that means falling. Once you've done lots of projects, then a new climb can be a series of similar moves, and you can flash (first try) increasingly more difficult climbs.

A veteran that has developed the conditioning and experience can go around free climbing new routes, but rest assured, they are not climbing close to their abilities. That means, 1. They are never trying new things. 2. They aren't pushing their conditioning. They are stuck in the status quo. There is still improvement, but it's marginal compared to attempting entirely new stuff. Their status quo may be amazing, and maybe they feel there's no reason to improve substantially, but rest assured if they do try to keep up with the best, they will put on that harness at times.
Whoa, it sounds like it's been a long time since you were a climber. But I like the analogy as far as experience teaching you how to react to new terrain, not (intentionally) pushing into new terrain at your very limit in a no-fall zone, and working difficult terrain (with safer fall potential) repeatedly to advance your skill.
 

fatbob

Not responding
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I aspire to high level slithering. At the moment I'm an intermediate level at best.
 

KingGrump

Most Interesting Man In The World
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I aspire to high level slithering. At the moment I'm an intermediate level at best.

C'mon Bob, give yourself some credit. You are a bit better than a common intermediate level slitherer.

I've skied with you. In my book, you are a good skier. :beercheer:
 

David

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"
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Oct 14, 2017
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Holland, MI
That's what I strive for. But sh*t happens. I believe I fell once last season. Not too bad for a short fat old dude with a 120+ day season. I know deep down I won't break if I fall. I'll splinter. Especially in the type of terrain I frequented.

I strived to ski in the middle of my performance envelope 95% of the time I am on skis. Around the 40 to 60% range. The terrain provides plenty of excitement. Enough for me. With a large buffer/reserve, getting out of trouble when the unexpected happens is not too difficult.
The skiers in the videos linked above thread is skiing out of control literally 100% of the time. The phrase "All but for the grace of God" comes to mind when I watch them ski. My definition of skiing in control is to be able to come to a dead stop at the end of a turn. Hockey stops not required. All one needs to do is to shape the turn. The skiers in those videos do not execute what I considered as turns. A lot of high level slithering though.

The key is expand that performance envelope so operating in the 40 to 60% range is not excessively boring. I've skied with many here and I can be sure they don't find me skiing at the 40 to 60% range boring.

I have said it many time in the past. Go ski with someone from the forum and all the BS and misunderstandings will disappear. :beercheer:
EXACTLY! We all fall and are never in control 100% of the time.
 

KingGrump

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EXACTLY! We all fall and are never in control 100% of the time.

Don't have to be 100%. 99.9999% is good enough for me.

Lots of skiers out fall several times a day. It's like Russian roulette with a semi-automatic.
 
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