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Songs2
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:08 am 
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Things that have helped me as a *very* irregular XC skier:
1. Taking a private lesson immediately before jumping off on my own.
2. During the lesson, practice skiing flat or on a slight downhill without poles.
3. Starting a snowplow earlier than I think I need to.

Have fun! I am hoping to see some snow this weekend, make it worthwhile to get the XC skis out of storage.
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kiliki
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:10 am 
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rossb wrote:
Likewise, basic skate skiing comes very quickly for an experienced downhill skier. That doesn't mean you skate fast or smooth, but the basics aren't too hard.

Unfortunately for me this was not the case. I've taken 2 skate skiing lessons and the skating motion for me is just tough. I am not a great skater on downhill skis either--only one side of my body wants to do the motion. My husband on the other hand who is a better downhill skier than me and skate skied circles around me from the start.
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Foist
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:35 am 
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kiliki wrote:
Ohhh...okay that is good info and not what I expected. As I mentioned earlier in my lesson at Sun Valley the instructor had me practice downhills in the tracks, but again, those downhills were small so it worked. When I was snowplowing down the hill at Sun Mt I felt like I shouldn't be doing that--I was afraid I was messing up the skate lane

Wow sounds like you had a really lousy lesson at Sun Valley.  Going downhill in the tracks is the number one way to fall, especially as a beginner.  "Skating lane" is a bit of a misnomer, it's really for classic skiers too, especially on hills.  It is tricky to get out of the tracks once you have momentum, and I still mess it up occasionally even after XC skiing my whole life. The one time I've taken a spill this season was trying to get out of the tracks when going too fast.
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:47 am 
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I've had one good crash this season, I was going fast and trying to step out of the tracks.  I set the ski down at an angle, it pulled me, I hit the ground.  Obviously if I hadn't been in the tracks I wouldn't have fallen.  A couple winters ago I came down a hill with a sharp turn in the tracks, normally I was able to pull it off, not that day, I slid 10 feet on my shoulder and put a hole in my goretex jacket.  If I hadn't been in the tracks I wouldn't have crashed.  I like to think I'm pretty good on the whole, a lot of my favorite trails are black diamonds, and I still get out of the tracks for a lot of down hills.

If you crash really hard and put a crater in the trail it's polite to try to fill it in so other people won't crash from it.  But messing up the center lane isn't a thing you need to worry about, you have as much right to be there as anybody else.  Actually you have more right to be there than the sledders and snowshoers.   smile.gif

I've noticed the same thing as rossb, the people having a hard time on the trail are usually coming from a downhill background.  But that phase doesn't last long, I have a friend who did downhill for years, bought a pair of xc skis in December, and she's getting the hang of it.  You will too.
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rossb
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:48 am 
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kiliki wrote:
Cyclopath wrote:
kiliki wrote:
I did get to practice the snowplow at Sun Mountain when out of the tracks--at first I thought well, I'm a beginner so I need to stay in the tracks, but that ended up not being a good strategy going downhill.

Definitely get out of the tracks every time you're going down hill.  Until you get pretty comfortable on XC skis.  You have so much more leeway in the skate lane (middle of the trail), if it's a sharp turn it's harder to do and stay in the tracks, but you can slow down more and you can make a wider turn outside of the tracks.  Seriously, every time.   smile.gif

Ohhh...okay that is good info and not what I expected. As I mentioned earlier in my lesson at Sun Valley the instructor had me practice downhills in the tracks, but again, those downhills were small so it worked. When I was snowplowing down the hill at Sun Mt I felt like I shouldn't be doing that--I was afraid I was messing up the skate lane, and I was equating it with snowplowing down a hill when downhill skiing (more of an emergency maneuver when as a beginner I didn't know how else to cope). Which I guess is kinda the case here too but it sounds like that is what I should be doing right now.

Absolutely on all points. I'm a very experienced cross country skier, and if I'm going too fast, I snowplow nine out of ten times (if it is groomed). It does get tiring, so at times I'll connect a few parallel turns together. But it is so easy for them to go wrong (to catch an edge) that I generally avoid that unless the conditions are just right. (And usually when the conditions are just right I'm not trying to slow down).

I will say that in deep (ungroomed) snow, things are different. A snowplow won't work (unless the snow is really dry -- good luck with that around here). You have to find other ways to slow yourself down. It is common to have a trench formed by skiers and those on snowshoes. If you go in the trench, it is really fast, but there is no room to snowplow. So going on the side (in deeper snow) is recommended. You can even do what I call the outrigger approach -- one ski in the trench, one outside it. By shifting your weight back and forth you can control your speed. Eventually you get better at it, and one of the key skills is matching the conditions with the route. There are roads I can ski in just about any condition, and roads where the snow better be good.

Of course the ideal is make a telemark turn, but I'm not that good at that (I'm experienced, but I'm not great).
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:51 am 
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One more thing.

Winters used to be really hard for me.  The soaking rain, the constant overcast threat of rain, hiking and riding a bike are a lot less fun, the darkness, and knowing it'll be months before I'm back on the trails I love.  Skiing is a way to be outdoors in the mountains, you can spend hours enjoying a trail, the exercise releases endorphins ... I went from hating the winters here to looking forward to them.

I hope you find up enjoying it as much.   smile.gif
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kiliki
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 10:21 am 
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Foist wrote:
kiliki wrote:
Ohhh...okay that is good info and not what I expected. As I mentioned earlier in my lesson at Sun Valley the instructor had me practice downhills in the tracks, but again, those downhills were small so it worked. When I was snowplowing down the hill at Sun Mt I felt like I shouldn't be doing that--I was afraid I was messing up the skate lane

Wow sounds like you had a really lousy lesson at Sun Valley.  Going downhill in the tracks is the number one way to fall, especially as a beginner.  "Skating lane" is a bit of a misnomer, it's really for classic skiers too, especially on hills.  It is tricky to get out of the tracks once you have momentum, and I still mess it up occasionally even after XC skiing my whole life. The one time I've taken a spill this season was trying to get out of the tracks when going too fast.

I think it was probably just a function of the terrain. The hills were little golf course bumps, so it was no problem to tuck with hands forward and just ride them down and cruise to a stop. That was probably the appropriate technique for that terrain.

Thanks for the additional good advice, guys. I'm feeling a little better about my falls as they were all but one a function of catching an edge while going downhill in the tracks. I didn't have any issues when I was snowplowing outside the tracks or going uphill. Haha I think I'm a ways away from setting out on any ungroomed snow...
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 5:10 pm 
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A few underground tricks I learned when first learning XC probably all bad style.

Gaiter brake - slowing down by pressing ankles out against side of track to slow down.

Survival crouch - squatting down and dragging poles between legs to slow down.

Track turn shush  boom - on downhill just go for it and let track make your turns for you.

Bowling for sliders - practiced at bottom of Kendall road on a weekend when icy. Heading down road in snowplow survival crouch in slalom tuck.

Note: most of these tricks are dangerous to others, the track, and yourself, can be handy in a pinch. Seldom used now since invention of metal edged XC skis.

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Cyclopath
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PostSat Jan 30, 2021 9:39 am 
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I saw a guy do a hockey stop last month in Mazama.  Is that a downhill skill?
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kiliki
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PostSat Jan 30, 2021 9:40 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
I saw a guy do a hockey stop last month in Mazama.  Is that a downhill skill?

Yes, it's how you stop.
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Anne Elk
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PostSat Jan 30, 2021 11:00 am 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
most of these tricks are dangerous to others, the track, and yourself, can be handy in a pinch. Seldom used now since invention of metal edged XC skis.

My first pair of XC-skis that I bought in Calgary back in the 70's were Bonna wood touring skis with metal edges and cable bindings. I still used all those tricks despite the metal edges.  But in Banff NP back in those days, there was no "track" pretty much anywhere.  Best long distance trip was a circle trip from the Banff Springs Hotel to Mt. Assiniboine and out thru Sunshine Ski Resort. Fun times.  cool.gif

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Eric Hansen
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PostSat Jan 30, 2021 6:12 pm 
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Kiliki,

Spotted this 2 minute youtube video on learning the snowplow

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rossb
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PostSun Jan 31, 2021 2:35 pm 
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Cyclopath wrote:
I saw a guy do a hockey stop last month in Mazama.  Is that a downhill skill?

Sort of. I wouldn't call it downhill skiing unless you actually link a few together like that. I do a lot of hockey stops after stem christie/snowplow -- I did a few today coming back from Kendal Lake Road -- but I wasn't really skiing parallel.

That being said, for someone with a downhill skiing background who is getting the hang of cross country skiing, it is a very good maneuver. It comes natural. Unlike trying to ski parallel, you are unlikely to have a bad fall. I guess in that sense it is basically a transition technique between the two styles.
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rossb
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PostSun Jan 31, 2021 2:43 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Malachai Constant wrote:
most of these tricks are dangerous to others, the track, and yourself, can be handy in a pinch. Seldom used now since invention of metal edged XC skis.

My first pair of XC-skis that I bought in Calgary back in the 70's were Bonna wood touring skis with metal edges and cable bindings. I still used all those tricks despite the metal edges.  But in Banff NP back in those days, there was no "track" pretty much anywhere.  Best long distance trip was a circle trip from the Banff Springs Hotel to Mt. Assiniboine and out thru Sunshine Ski Resort. Fun times.  cool.gif

Yeah. I've used some of those techniques on skis with and without metal edges. I should have mentioned the "Gaiter brake" (great name, too). That's a great one when you are going just a bit too fast.

As far as "track" goes, there isn't much difference between a track you make (or another skier makes) and one that is made by a machine. In my opinion, nothing beats one made by skis. Kinda like making your own beer -- if you nail it, there is nothing better in the world.
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Jan 31, 2021 3:08 pm 
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While we're on the subject, can anybody tell me where to take a pair of Nordic skis to enjoy Rainier?  They're 59 mm with metal edges, I'm using them with very stiff race boots, I'm happy with the way they handle on ungroomed roads.  (I'd love to hear about other places I should explore too.)
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