How to ski crud?
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January 11, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Eastern crud, that is. I'm not asking about thin cover or dodging punji sticks but a day where there's plenty of snow it's just cut up and variable, maybe some icy spots. What adjustments do you make, physical, mental or spiritual when the groomers turn to crud?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 11, 2007
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,990 posts

Ski Magazine always says to stay forward on your skis and be aggressive with it. Smash through it with those big shovels. What do ski instructors on the list think? Is that the correct approach?
January 11, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
There are instructors here? Seriously, I would love to see a listing posted (maybe sticky Scott) of instructors who participate on DCSki somewhere obvious like on Epic. I admit it may be already and I totally missed it. I would gladly direct my business to those instuctors who participate in this forum (and Lord knows I could keep them busy for quite a while )

Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
January 11, 2007
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
2,040 posts
Well, I'm PSIA certified Level 1 and I did teach beginners at Laurel for a few seasons. I'm not an instructor, Taylormatt is a certified Level 2 full time at Seven Springs. He is an instructor and a damn good skier too. Until he or a more experienced instructor chimes in, I'll tell you how I ski it.

If by eastern crud you mean less than eight inches of cut up heavy fresh on top of typical hard pack. I ski it aggressively with little skidding. I make sure my tips don't deflect by keeping my foot straight and stable. Turns should be initiated by tipping the new inside ski to the little toe side while still maintaining a solid pressure on the outside ski. I don't think that 'staying forward' i.e. excessive pressure on the tongue of your boots is necessary but you must work the front of your skis and use only as much forward pressure to work the front.

Groomed terrain is very forgiving and masked all the little flaws in our technique. When you get into variable conditions, ice or deep powder all those flaws are now revealed. If you can get a sense of what's happening to you when things get hinky then that feeling is your best teacher. Most cases you need an experienced eye and a new set of drills to correct those flaws.
January 11, 2007
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
Here is my definition of "Eastern Crud" - Eastern Crud is either really heavy and wet manmade snow and/or natural snow (whatever that is) that may also have thawed and refrozen to provide a refreshing glaze on top. A variant of "Eastern Crud" is also snow/ice that has, for a variety of reasons, ended up in piles that resemble rock salt or gravel, or in finer granules, giant piles of sugar.

Here are my crud tips.

Rule #1 - nothing good will happen quickly. We get into this stuff and our first fear is that we can't turn in it. Consequently, we try harder to steer. The crud fights back, we try harder, the crud wins. You must be patient in crud. Use less steering and more edging than your instincts tell you to. You can't make quick turns , so don't try. Gently guide the skis, put them up on edge and let them do the work. Plan your path accordingly so larger and rounder turns will work.

Rule #2. Crud must also be skied more "two footed." This means keeping fairly equal pressure on both skis a lot of the time. Again, we are "tipping" more than steering here. Tipping both skis lets them engage the crud and, consequently, steer themselves.

Fore and Aft balance is a challenge in crud because it often has wildly varying consistency. You may feel tempted to lean back to avoid being pitched forward. Try not to do this. Its better to try to stay over your skis and just power through the heavy stuff. While its also easier said than done, a little speed is your friend in crud and not your enemy. A little velocity helps you blow through it rather than being timid and having it control you.
January 11, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,271 posts
J-man ... har har har I know you and you know me. Like do you think there's a "technique" for it?!?!?!

Yeah you get a wide ski that is quiet and damp.. a big stable platform. You try to stay compact so when the snow density changes come you won't do an endo and use your stomach muscles/core to keep you balanced. You get thrown on your tips and tails all the time so you gotta pull your feet back under you or shove-em forward and ride your tails (hee hee I love Bushwacker comment when we skied together .. "gee that PSIA stuff sure doen't work for real!") stay loose like you are drunk (my old reace coach's advice) so you can absorb all the crap you have to ski over. I am a "hands-man" so I try to hold my poles as loose as I can (like almost dropping them... it works for ice too. Don't over-angulate the chop will just high-side you, bbut try to carve it if you can .. a carving ski will always do better as it tracks true unlike a skid and will give you stability to balance agains ... think about the difference between running in a mud field with sneakers vs. cleats ... like ski a flat ski like you are bump skiing. Don't look in front of your ski tips but look way down about 30 - 50 yards ahead.. your body will deal with the terrain. Go really fast , like fast as you can handle (remember when we powder skied and you went supersonic? Like that) i.e. maintain a lot of kinetic energy. Use and air-time you get off of ruts to make the next turn. Try to feel like you are light on your skis. Don't let your hands drop ... keep 'em in fornt of you, arms almost straight, chest level, no pole plants, and wide like you feel like a bird. Keep your back slightly curved but don't bend at the waist (onlikc when you carve). And *relax* ...... but with strength.

see, isn't that easy?!??!?!
January 12, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Har har har Crush, i know you and you know my technique, tried and tru, start at the top, go down .

Great definitions of Eastern Crud. Seems this season has been a good one, so far, to work on crud..... finding a more efficient way to ski it, that's what makes skiing fun.

Problem was *making* a turn not skidding one. First adjustment was to narrow my stance just a bit, making it more "two footed". I think that helped me feel much more in control, able to control my speed without skidding.

"nothing good will happen quickly"....... so i'm comfortable with the stance, i can feel the whole ski, not riding the tails but i can feel them working but i'm still beating myself up, when ever i get out of the fall line sometimes i just can not get back on it.

"Don't look in front of your ski tips but look way down about 30 - 50 yards ahead.. "......... Now we're getting somewhere faster... Skiing groomers i think lulls us into turning when it feels good, where ever when ever nothing wrong with that but it doesn't work in crud.....anyways that's the two things i worked on yesterday, skiing more two footed and picking out my line.
January 12, 2007
Member since 12/3/2004 🔗
339 posts
Lots of good info posted here. Centered stance is key. Do not lean back, but also don't get too forward and overdrive the skis. Focus on the ankles and flexing them to adjust your fore/aft balance from a centered stance. From a centered stance you have more options to adjust your balance both fore and aft with smaller movements.

Don't be in a hurry to rush those turns! Most people get in trouble because they rush to get the skis across the fall line in spurratic Z turns that really disturb any feeling of fluid motion. Let the skis hang in the fall line for a second and roll them onto their edges into a nice, rounded turn that will slice through the crud rather than push it. Resist the urge to imply rotary and twist the skis through the turn. FINISH this turn before starting the next! By finish, I mean let the tips go back up the hill briefly before transitioning into the next turn.

Narrow stance so that both skis work as one rather than wide and independent of each other.

Have fun with it, relax and feel the flow in crud.
January 12, 2007
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
I think your nothing will come too quickly is right on! I was at Snowshoe the 26th - 1st and had plenty of opportunity to ski the "mashed potatoes", or "sugar snow". I found myself just relaxing some, putting the skis on edge and laying out larger arcs. Actually it was fun and I just felt like I was floating down the hill
Like you said, let the skis do the work.

January 12, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,067 posts
The best way to ski it is to AVOID it. Outside of that, follow your instincts, slow down look ahead and turn on the soft stuff, stopping every now and then to enjoy the sometimes spectacular wipe-outs and yard sales as scuds try to figure 11 down the hill.
January 12, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,271 posts
yo J/Z took my own advice today and wailed a few runs on 6" of fresh on a firm-hard/frozen base... with ski-hacks trashing up my lines ... and it worked! I went down on my left hip at 30+ mph but got it back up . Lift-riders/peanut gallery approved.... so there it is.

So when can we takes some turns out here? Give me a shout ....

E & M
January 12, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,271 posts
no no no! Don;t avoid, smack it! You should always seek out stuff that gives you a hard time. Learn from it and master it. Like put the smack-down on it! I *love* it when conditions make me crash-and-burn. I am the first to go back and do it better. If you slam, come back and rule over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 13, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts

Otto's got the best advice so far. In addition to his comments, I recommend using edging as a tactical response to clumps of crud (i.e. make sure you're on edge to blow through the nastiest stuff) and using something called functional tension to help resist getting knocked around. Functional tension relies on muscle tenseness to resist external forces. This is most useful from tensing your core muscles (e.g. abs) to help keep your feet centered under your butt (i.e. it helps you maintain fore/aft balance). The plain english application of this is to not let the snow knock you around. Finally, a good use for all those crunches we do in the gym!

For the record Clay - I teach at Whitetail. There are lots of instructors on DCSki!
January 13, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I like some of the advice here. Like going faster and kicking the mtn's ass. I was working on that stuff last week in UT. Bushwacker totally schooled me BTW. Now I am so psyched to get my but out to UT full time to learn their big mtns.

I would just add that when you are skiing in varibale conditions you will be encountering different conditions at different 2-D locations and also at different depths at a single location in the snow pack. Think of frozen crust over soft snow or 6 inches of pow over an ice rink after it gets all cut up.

Where your skis are submerged or partially submerged you are basically skiing by feel so it is important to have a good fitting boot and a ski that gives good feel so you know your status. Once you know it is very important to be able to adjust your technique in a split second depending on what you are on at that particular moment, a good boot fit helps here too to improve the split second responses. The faster you are going the less you need to worry about small stuff and the more you need to keep heads up.

IMO the only way to get the speed of ractions to adjust is to ski variable conditiosn alot and to get used to switching form 1 footed to two footed and back.

Also just the simple fact that when making turns make sure your right skis goes right in a right turn and your left ski goes left in a left turn.
February 13, 2007
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts

Where your skis are submerged or partially submerged you are basically skiing by feel so it is important to have a good fitting boot and a ski that gives good feel so you know your status. Once you know it is very important to be able to adjust your technique in a split second depending on what you are on at that particular moment, a good boot fit helps here too to improve the split second responses. The faster you are going the less you need to worry about small stuff and the more you need to keep heads up.

I am skiing be feel just about all the time anyway, since I can't usually see my own skis while I am skiing anyway, as I am always looking down the hill (plus the googles don't help in seeing the periphery anyway). Yeah, when I used to ski on longer skis, it was possible to sometimes just see my tips in my lower periphery, but not anymore with the shorter skis these days.

In the heavy stuff, I do find myself getting more centered on the ski. Do need to work the tips and get the ski rolled over on the edge to allow it to cut through, instead of trying to force it through that stuff. For the steeper, more narrow stuff where ther is not alot of room to make larger turns, I have to resort to using extension/compression as well as basically making "hop-turns" to get the skis to turn where I need them to go. Friggan tiring as hell, but it gets you through the more difficult stuff.

Great info here in this thread!

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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