Bad day at Liberty - was it me, or was it the conditions?
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snowgood
11 months ago
Member since 03/2/2022 🔗
3 posts
Hi everyone,

I went to Liberty on Monday and had a rough day. It was my 5th time skiing, but the first time I've gone skiing in 10 years, so I'm still not that experienced. In the morning I got a 2 hour private lesson, and by the end of that, the instructor said I was a level 3 or 4 (I know it goes up to level 9).

Then I probably did around 5 green runs, 5 blue runs, and 5 more green runs. I probably fell around 20-30 times, including several times on the greens! There's that one really steep drop in the middle of Dipsy Doodle that you can also take a wide left turn around, so I always took the wide turn, but then I'd still gain so much speed that I ended up wiping out every time anyway. But I also fell a few times on some of the easier green sections too. Some of the blues (like Sidewinder and Whitney's Way) weren't too bad. I think I struggled with Upper Heavenly just like I did with that one section on Dipsy Doodle I mentioned, and Lower Strata was the most difficult for me. I don't think I did Lower Eastwind or Lower Ultra, and I don't remember if I did Lower Heavenly. I tried everything at least twice, but one time was enough for Lower Strata. It seemed like I had the most difficulty with areas with a lot of loose snow, and I handled the areas with packed/icy snow better. Then again, maybe it was mostly loose snow on the steeper sections, and the areas with packed/icy snow were not as steep.

Anyway, it was pretty discouraging that I fell so much on the greens. I figured with it being my 5th time skiing, I should have been able to handle the greens easily by now. At the end of the day, I actually got some photos of myself on the mountain - it felt like maybe that was the last time I'd go. Well maybe not, but next time I go, there's a good chance I'll give snowboarding a try instead of skiing.

Then I looked at the Facebook group, and saw some comments saying the conditions at Liberty are pretty bad this week. I guess that shows how inexperienced I am - I don't know what good conditions are and what bad conditions are. So I was just wondering - am I just a bad skier, or can I blame the conditions for falling so much, even on the greens?
Scott - DCSki Editor
11 months ago
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,205 posts

I doubt you are just a bad skier!  The current springlike conditions are highly variable and can be challenging to ski on, particularly for a relatively new skier.  I skied at Whitetail on Monday and while conditions were pretty good early in the morning, they quickly got a little slushy as it warmed up, which made it much more challenging (and less pleasant) to ski.  It's also more physically exhausting to ski in mixed conditions, so if you hadn't skied in a decade and spent the first couple hours in a lesson, I would imagine your body was getting a little tired and that can make the skiing tougher too.

I appreciate spring skiing because it's nice to get out on a sunny, warm day and be on the slopes, but objectively the snow is much less fun to ski through.

So, don't give up.  You'll definitely have a better experience mid-winter when conditions are a more consistent packed powder.  Also, one of the ways I really bumped my skiing up to a higher level when I was still relatively new at the sport was to spend a week skiing in Colorado.  The snow conditions and variety are of course a notch (or two) up from the Mid-Atlantic, but having several days to really focus on the skiing (with some breaks in between) really helped.

mdr227
11 months ago
Member since 01/11/2016 🔗
169 posts
Conditions like we have now can certainly change your skiing experience and make even more experienced skiers change their technique and struggle.   It is also much more tiring on your legs when the surface is softer like it is now.   Definitely do not get discouraged, there may not be great conditions locally again this season close into DC, but look ahead to next year with many days of nicely groomed conditions and often some fresh powder groomed in (either man made or natural).
MarkRebuck
11 months ago
Member since 12/16/2020 🔗
22 posts

+1 on "mixed conditions are tough".   I was at Whitetail a few weeks ago, struggling a bit.  It took me a while to realize that I hadn't skied at temps above freezing in a while.  I was used to spending my days carving on icy blues, so when the conditions got soft and sticky (it felt like I was skiing in paste), I was definitely skiing a level or 5 below my potential :-).

I grew up in Central PA and haven't skied outside the Mid-Atlantic, but my memory of powder days from my youth was that they are also a bit tricky if you aren't used to them.  Every snow condition requires adaptation.

The more conditions you get to experience, the better you will be overall.

DCSki Sponsor: Massanutten Resort
Crush
11 months ago (edited 11 months ago)
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,126 posts

Bro - No! I suck so many time if I don't slam I think I am not trying hard enough ... that is part of the game: you have to deal with all conditions all the time - Please please don't get discouraged - guess what; you are engaging in - one of the hardest sports out there and the levels you *WILL* pass through gives you a fantastic perspective on life that will change you more than you can believe. Not to be mushy but my experiences have gotten me past my father's death, directed me correctly to my professional path and given me a hard look at who I am and where I am going. Like The Crucible, it will reduce you to what is important. It will give you some negative feedback but that is how you grow. I love my ski friends and coaches and treasure them so much! Poetry and Powder and Love.

Grow my friend  - this opportunity will certainly cement - I think you are up to the challenge. Do it and you will never be sorry. Skip the technical stuff we aren't on the C US Ski Team, right?! Just feel it and enjoy.

snowgood
11 months ago
Member since 03/2/2022 🔗
3 posts

Thanks for the replies, guys! I'll have to go in the middle of winter next time, instead of the end.

I was actually thinking of going to Lake Placid next season - I want to try out their bobsled/skeleton track. I figure I'll probably do some skiing while I'm there too. I understand it's not going to be like Colorado, but from what I've heard, Colorado might be a bit too intimidating for me at this point. They say the greens out west are like blues in the east, right?

Cycleski
11 months ago
Member since 01/10/2021 🔗
23 posts

Snowgood, as a relatively new skier myself, I have had similar ups and downs with the greens and blues.  My take is that each ski area is different.  Some very different in terms of what is green or blue rated.  I ski greens an blues given where I am and the conditions.  Yes, in some cases, I take on a blue that kicks my @$$ but I learn from it.  I set some stretch goals to see where I am but try not to get ahead of my skills. This is important so that others don't get hurt and I don't hurt myself.  I love skiing but I also love to walk, climb stairs and ride my bike.  Take your time and hang in there.

One last thing I will share: make the most out of what you are comfortable skiing.  In the case of Dipsey Doodle, use the more challenging terrain like that left turn to gain confidence and skill.  Hard to do sometimes if it is crowded but that is how I look at it.  Best of luck! John

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
11 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

snowgood wrote:

Thanks for the replies, guys! I'll have to go in the middle of winter next time, instead of the end.

I was actually thinking of going to Lake Placid next season - I want to try out their bobsled/skeleton track. I figure I'll probably do some skiing while I'm there too. I understand it's not going to be like Colorado, but from what I've heard, Colorado might be a bit too intimidating for me at this point. They say the greens out west are like blues in the east, right?

 Actually, the greens in the northeast can be a lot more intimidating than greens in the west because of snow conditions.  I'm a solid advanced skier who happily skis blacks/double-blacks out west.  Last week I did a ski safari in western MA and southeast NY.  I mostly skied greens and blues because they were fun.  Skiing a groomed black with an icy surface is much more scary than steeps with soft snow, with or without trees.

Keep in mind that every mountain has teaching and beginner terrain.  But you won't read many posts from beginners in online forums or in articles in ski news outlets.  Look at the percentages for the type of terrain for any destination resorts.  When a resort with over 500 acres has 20-30% green, that's a lot of options for beginners and cautious intermediates.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
11 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

snowgood wrote:

Hi everyone,

I went to Liberty on Monday and had a rough day. It was my 5th time skiing, but the first time I've gone skiing in 10 years, so I'm still not that experienced. In the morning I got a 2 hour private lesson, and by the end of that, the instructor said I was a level 3 or 4 (I know it goes up to level 9).

Then I probably did around 5 green runs, 5 blue runs, and 5 more green runs. I probably fell around 20-30 times, including several times on the greens! . . .

 What did the instructor tell you in terms of a good way to keep your speed under control?  Were you doing wedge turns (pizza) or parallel turns?

You rented gear, right?  How did the boots feel?  Comfortable or tight?

Denis - DCSki Supporter 
11 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,298 posts
In my experience deep loose granular is one of the most difficult conditions.  It responds best to high edge angles, in other words more carve - less skid.  But don’t take my word for it, experiment with variations on your usual technique; learn and adapt as you go.  Applies to any skiing actually.
snowgood
11 months ago
Member since 03/2/2022 🔗
3 posts

marzNC wrote:

snowgood wrote:

Hi everyone,

I went to Liberty on Monday and had a rough day. It was my 5th time skiing, but the first time I've gone skiing in 10 years, so I'm still not that experienced. In the morning I got a 2 hour private lesson, and by the end of that, the instructor said I was a level 3 or 4 (I know it goes up to level 9).

Then I probably did around 5 green runs, 5 blue runs, and 5 more green runs. I probably fell around 20-30 times, including several times on the greens! . . .

 What did the instructor tell you in terms of a good way to keep your speed under control?  Were you doing wedge turns (pizza) or parallel turns?

You rented gear, right?  How did the boots feel?  Comfortable or tight?

The instructor didn't talk about speed. He just had me work on my posture (standing up and always leaning downhill), having my arms point in the direction I want to turn, using my toes to turn the skis, linking parallel turns, and correcting a bad habit of forcing the tails to skid out at the end of turns resulting in me facing uphill and sliding down backwards. That was one problem I had - he wanted me to let turns finish naturally without skidding. That was fine on the really wide beginner slopes, but it was tough for me to not skid out and fall on some of the narrower slopes, where I would have gone into the trees if I tried to let a turn finish naturally.

I did rent everything. The boots seemed okay, maybe a little bit tight. I'm 6'2" and 195 pounds, and don't know anything about ski sizes. The ski rental person thought size 165 skis would be okay for me. When I mentioned to her that I hadn't skied in a long time, she gave me size 158. She said 158 would be a little slower and give me more control.

Bonzski
11 months ago
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
599 posts

snowgood wrote:

marzNC wrote:

snowgood wrote:

Hi everyone,

I went to Liberty on Monday and had a rough day. It was my 5th time skiing, but the first time I've gone skiing in 10 years, so I'm still not that experienced. In the morning I got a 2 hour private lesson, and by the end of that, the instructor said I was a level 3 or 4 (I know it goes up to level 9).

Then I probably did around 5 green runs, 5 blue runs, and 5 more green runs. I probably fell around 20-30 times, including several times on the greens! . . .

 What did the instructor tell you in terms of a good way to keep your speed under control?  Were you doing wedge turns (pizza) or parallel turns?

You rented gear, right?  How did the boots feel?  Comfortable or tight?

The instructor didn't talk about speed. He just had me work on my posture (standing up and always leaning downhill), having my arms point in the direction I want to turn, using my toes to turn the skis, linking parallel turns, and correcting a bad habit of forcing the tails to skid out at the end of turns resulting in me facing uphill and sliding down backwards. That was one problem I had - he wanted me to let turns finish naturally without skidding. That was fine on the really wide beginner slopes, but it was tough for me to not skid out and fall on some of the narrower slopes, where I would have gone into the trees if I tried to let a turn finish naturally.

I did rent everything. The boots seemed okay, maybe a little bit tight. I'm 6'2" and 195 pounds, and don't know anything about ski sizes. The ski rental person thought size 165 skis would be okay for me. When I mentioned to her that I hadn't skied in a long time, she gave me size 158. She said 158 would be a little slower and give me more control.

 Stick to the wide trails until you're comfortable linking turns together with control.  Better to graduate to a steeper pitch but still wide trail to help build confidence with edge control and finishing your turns to control speed. Narrow trails are detrimental to advancing beginners.

If shorter skis give more control, everybody would be on ski blades. At 6'2" you'd been better off with the 165.

HarkinBanks
11 months ago
Member since 01/28/2022 🔗
3 posts
I was at Liberty Monday as well. It didn't get below freezing very long Monday morning, so the backside became a slushy mess by 10 AM. Had much better conditions on whitelightning and blue streak which were more out of the sun. Was lucky to make it back this morning for some great conditions once it thawed a little.
dclivejazz
11 months ago
Member since 03/5/2017 🔗
44 posts

Regarding a good place for an advanced beginner to ski in Colorado, my partner and I just spent three days at Granby Ranch. It’s about an hour and a half or two hours from Denver and in a beautiful setting 8,800 feet high. By Colorado standards it’s low-key but the Green/ Blue half of the resort is still four times larger than our entire local places. It’s green runs are three to four times as long as Sidewinder at Whitetail and of varying degrees of difficulty but totally manageable. The blues looked doable but I didn’t feel quite up to them this trip and was working on my stance and stuff on the greens.  The snow conditions were great packed powder and Sunday thru Tuesday it wasn’t very crowded. All in all it’s like a massive Hidden Valley, which is also conducive to people more on the beginner end of the spectrum. It’s also not far from a host of bigger name resorts if you want to try them while you’re out there.

In the past I got to go to Steamboat and while they did have regular greens there was one narrow chute they called a green which was scary for me at the time. I managed to get down it with hop turns but that trail would never be a green here. Some greens also were just long, narrow trails, really meant more for transferring around the mountain than for allowing wide turns. That’s something to check out when evaluating which places to go as an advanced beginner/ intermediate.

itdoesntmatter
11 months ago
Member since 01/17/2007 🔗
147 posts
Greens out west our doable for beginners.  And usually they will be in a lot better condition (not icey) than what you would find in the mid-atlantic.  
Evans Dad - DCSki Supporter 
11 months ago
Member since 01/27/2021 🔗
50 posts
Go easy on yourself, you are basically a beginner! Look at it from this perspective:  Before Monday you only had 4 days on skis and the last day being 10 years ago.  Skiing is hard and the only way to be reasonably good at it, or at least be good enough for you to enjoy it, is to keep at it!  

Leo
11 months ago
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
323 posts

Conditions definitely matter.  There are realistically only two ways to control your speed (for purposes of this discussion):  wedging and turn shape.

The normal progression (in a nutshell) would be:

wedging in a straight line, wedging throughout your entire turn, wedge christy (making turns where you are wedging when pointed down the slope but transitioning to parallel when across the slope then back to wedge as you initiate your next turn and point down, etc), and then ultimately parallel skiing....

Depending upon your age and athletic ability that progression takes time.  If this was your first time out in ten years and fifth ever I wouldn't get down on yourself, especially if conditions were iffy.

I'll also throw in that:  the learning curve on a snowboard is steeper (you will learn faster but it will be much harder at first).  Don't give up on skiing.

Crush
11 months ago
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,126 posts
yep - skis ... easy to learn but hard to master. Snowboard ... hard to learn but easy to master.

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