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Losing backside hold on icy conditions


Eboot
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In better conditions I generally don’t have an issue holding a hard, or gentle, backside edge.

Today there was a thin layer of “powder” over ice on several sections of the slope and, despite concentrating, found my backside edge losing hold and slipping on my turns.  I guess it takes difficult conditions to highlight weaknesses some times.  

I was riding a 160 Angrry with good edges, 65/59 ish angles.  Working on this issue I found that only by aggressively weighting the nose at the start of the turn and then staying low through the turn while trying to get my butt as close to the snow as possible did the edge hold improve through the turn.  This requires a commitment that can feel daunting to me, knowing that there is ice below the board.

‘I have searched through the forum for advice on ice carving technique but did not find anything that talks to my problem specifically.  I do remember reading an article by @Beckmann AGthat mentioned this.

Is there some general wisdom / advice about carving technique for riding icy conditions in NE, especially wrt. backside?

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10 minutes ago, workshop7 said:

Here's the Beckman article you mentioned.  It's very helpful.

http://beckmannag.com/hardboot-snowboarding/riding-ice

That's an amazing article! I wish I found that a long time ago. It's hard to add anything of significance to that, but I'll add my thought process for ice: 

1. Slow down. As Beckmann says; we want to slice, not slide. If you need to skid to slow down to a comfortable speed, it can seem impossible to have the edge hold. Get the edges slicing (and holding) at lower speeds and open up the turns later as technique develops. 

2. For body position, I try to imagine tipping the board as high as I can without leaning that far towards the inside of the turn. This leads to the exercise of touching your boot with your outside hand. The hands aren't the goal, but a clue of how to move your upper and lower body parts to achieve the above. 

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image.png.f01a2c5f156dd5c53344bfa3ad604717.pngI know this is a picture of a skier but I tend to model my riding after ski racers. Look at his edge angle or board angle. Very high. When carving ice you need to get that board on a high edge angle. Coming out of transition you need first ankle flexion. This means you start your turn flexing your ankles and pointing your toes up. Your stance is around 60 degrees so flexing your ankles will start your turn. Next are your knees. Drive both of them together down toward the inside of your turn. Do all of this while keeping your weight forward and over your front foot. This does NOT create more pressure on your edge but rather keeps your center of mass over it. This will help in the case your board slides. In a low position where your center of mass is over your front foot makes it easier to regain control of your edge if it slips. Last is to create an angle with your hips. Look at the skier I posted and look at the angle he created with his hips. Look at the angle between his upper leg and torso. This is what you want to look like.

All in all just think to get that board angle high but do it from your lower body up.

 

Jt

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Dave, Corey,

Thanks. Glad you found that article helpful. I've been writing on the topic since the early 90's.  

Now I'm adding content to my new site, and am in the middle of a series on 'hard snow'.

 

https://beckman.fit/2021/01/07/truth-in-ice-skiing-snowboarding-on-hard-snow/

Edited by Beckmann AG
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For me the key is to tip it early and get the whole edge engaged long before I get anywhere near the fall line. If the back of the board is passing over the same groove that the front of the board just incised, I can vary turn shape continuously with pressure and tilt angle. However, if there's any pivot at all going into the turn it's really strenuous to get the whole edge to hook up again. The racers can all do that jam and slam thing but five turns like that on my old knees and I need a bowl of Wheaties and a nap.

I don't think about it mechanically, though - any least not on a good day. I do best when I'm trying to make that SOUND right at the top of the turn, and keep it sounding like that as long as I can. On my board (Proteus 180/BBP Lite/60-60) that means my weight is moving back progressively through the turn just a bit - if I stay forward I'll wash out the tail.

Lately I'm actually more secure heelside on really firm snow, but today - pretty icy - I just locked up my front boot and that helped me start the aggression early on toeside too.

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16 hours ago, Eboot said:

with good edges

There are good edges..........then there are Sharp Crisp, Clean Edges!                     Sharp edges are a game changing  confidence booster here on the ice coast!

My Tuner guy recommended for me to use this $25 edging tool at the end of most days to extend the life of his shop tune by getting rid of  any new burs or dings and this alone has increased my edge hold/grip and boosted my confidence on crust/ice more than anything this season.

https://www.swixsport.com/us/accessories/tools/edge-tuning/ta3004-diamond-round-pocket/

https://www.als.com/swix-sharpener-diamond-disk/p?idsku=67985&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=&scid=scplp67985&sc_intid=67985&gclid=CjwKCAiA_9r_BRBZEiwAHZ_v16SDg-1ZxnV0sN3dcxVHE3i6O0SdUP59zsonG3IvypvKvsbbo9VzfxoCH70QAvD_BwE

 

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Ice is the best teacher. Sharp edges help, but what matters most is your technique. This is what works for me:

Do not stand tall, remain crouched down as low to your board as is practical — and during transitions smoothly pass the board beneath you rolling it from heelside to toeside with your hips from a low and crouched position. You can set an edge and carve hard on ice but your transitions have to be smooth and confident. Angulate like a mofo, and reach for them boots!

What did it for me when I was working on this is staying low and rolling the board through my transitions with my hips and feeding the new edge into the channel it is making for itself slowly. Ice can support a ton of edge pressure but you've gotta get the board railing into a channel cleanly first.

Having another ice-coast carver help you out in person can go a long, long way here.

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Spent some hours with @GeoffVthis morning. He affirmed a lot of what has been said above:

  • board angle not steep enough
  • weight not front loaded enough at turn inception 
  • hips not low enough

I think that the biggest lessons are that I am not nearly as low in the turns as I think i am and that my weight is not forward enough, initiating the turn.  This exposes an old bad habit of mine where, as I speed up, I stop carving across the slope and instead accelerate down the slope.

As soon as the speed picks up and it’s not hero conditions I start washing out of the back side.  Working with Geoff this became very obvious and after a while I felt like a beginner again.  Thanx for all the help and time Geoff.  

More to come as I work with all of this.

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A 160 Angrry is a pretty turny board to practice getting lower.  I have an early T4 prototype and its a 9/10.5/9 sidecut.  It's exhausting to carve very long -- I use it when it gets too slushy and loose to carve well on my other boards but don't want to take the time to switch to softboots if off-piste is still froze up.  I treat it as a carving-optional hardboot novelty; mine's too stiff to carve ice well.

If you consistently lose one end or the other, like it's always the tail jack-knifing heel-side, but never toe side, you could be fighting a canting issue.  Try slip sliding both toe and heel side and if one or other feels like the tail slides out more freely, sort out angles and canting until the side slipping feels balanced and natural on both sides.

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Progress report:

like a piece of rotten wood, discovered by scraping away flaking paint, unrecognized bad habits can be exposed by observing a small issue.

@GeoffVwas able to show me that the perception of how low I was and angulation was far from the reality of the same.  For the first time I was able to watch some videos of my riding and it was painful.

issues;

 - apart form the front load and lower body requirement that Geoff pointed out for me it’s become clear that as soon as I start accelerating I abandon any technique to manage that which leads to a fear of loss of control and more speed, a self fulfilling cycle

- I seldom, if ever cross back up the mountain to shed speed, exacerbating the acceleration curve.

Just riding the same trail over and over tonight, that started gently and then dropped into a long, steeper section, I was able to concentrate on committing to early front loading and lower body position, aiming to get my knees, butt as close to the snow as possible, while trying to keep my upper body more vertical.  I have made real progress and, although it all still runs away from me by the end, the upper section of the (gentle) steeps has become more controlled and speed contained.

once I feel that I am able to complete the entire trail top to bottom with control, I will explore some possible changes to binding positioning, before moving onto the next more challenging trail.

Thank you all, especially Geoff, for your input.  Owning the fear and acknowledging that I still have much to learn 😉 has been hard, but necessary.  Who knows, with more practice I may even regain my cool walk!

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