Riding Steeps (Blacks)

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Riding Steeps (Blacks)

Postby welshscarry » Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:43 am

I am working my way up past the blues and heading for the blacks.

I need more advice and how to stay upright and keep going without killing myself.
By doing some internet research and other reading, the 2 things that are suggested are:

1. keep 90% of weight on front foot, and leg
2. bend knees even more than normal., as much as 30% more deep knee bend.

I am looking for opinions on the above, and also any suggestions you all have. Thanks!
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Location: Western Colorado

Postby John » Sat Feb 24, 2007 9:22 am

First of all, if you're ready for some black terrain, congratulations, especially since you're riding in real mountains, not the bumps we have in the flatlands.

Speaking of bumps, when you talk about taking on the black slopes, you're referring primarily to terrain that is steeper, correct? Slopes can also be black if they have bumps, go through glades, have cornices, jumps, chutes, and so forth. Each of those conditions require a different set of adjustments than simply having steeper terrain.

Now as to the advice you've found. I expect that the 90 percent advice is purposefully exaggerated. You certainly do want to not be leaning back in your stance, though.

Getting low should help too. Why? It gives you a more stable base.

In addition, I'd say that you should make sure you've got solid techniques on blues before you move to blacks. You can get away with sloppier technique on easier slopes. For example, are you carving on the blues?

I don't mean extreme carving, as in practically touching the ground, for that's a different (though valid) technique entirely. I simply mean not skidding in your turns. You may end up having some skids in your turns on blacks, but they will be more than what you've got on blues. Since you'll have better control if you carve, the more you can do that, the better off you will be.

Try also, on some blues, to make tight turns down the fall line. That will get your technique working.

Once you are on the diamonds, start out making wider, less frequent turns across the trail. When there are multiple fall lines, you could also seek out the less steep line on the trail.

Use more edge pressure--that is, you want to have a higher edge angle, in general, than on milder slopes.

Alternately, use a powder day to take on a black trail. You'll need more speed to keep moving in powder, and the higher speed will come from being on steeper terrain.

One thing that I work on while riding steeper terrain is being sure to finish the turn by shifting some weight to the front leg. (Consistent with the 90 percent rule you came across).

I have ridden some diamonds in your state, though not as many as I would have liked. Again, congratulations on progressing to this point
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Postby welshscarry » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:03 pm

thanks for the good advice. Especially working on a tighter turning down the fall line on all the blues. That seems like a really good place to start--- and get more practice. And riding at more of an extreme angle on the snow. I am already riding with a pretty aggressive knee bend, so that helps.
My current ability is riding all the blues, pretty easily, probably carving turns 75% of the time. Skidding a turn seems to work better on a icy day!

The blacks I'm looking at are mostly just steeper. (Also there are some high "back bowls" that are considered "black" , but are just not groomed and a little steeper than a blue.)
I am doing No Cliff jumping, no moguls. Moguls in Colo. are a "whole 'nother world' in my snowboarding mind.
<A lot of the super steep, with moguls, maybe chute-like, and also maybe under the lift, oh yeah throw in some rocks, are "double blacks". That will be for my next lifetime. >

What I don't do is ride switch. I am beginning to see this is a negative.
Especially for moguls. I like to watch the "good snowboarders" come bombing down a long mogul run under the chair. Make no mistake, if you can do THAT, you're good!
They do a lot of switch riding, turning, reversing, etc. If they get stuck in a hard area, they can do a 180 and go switch.

I'll be going to Breck and Vail for 4 days soon, I'll let you know how itgoes.
Have fun at Crested Butte.
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:51 am
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