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Tips for woods/glade skiing?

slyfox4

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hi all! Lower advanced skier here, looking to really expand my skills by doing some woods/glades turns this winter. I've dabbled at Jay Peak where they're often much wider and not as steep, but not all days are created equal with luscious powder. Today I did some woods at Loon and felt like a terrible skier, it was actually quite humbling. They were so scraped off, I felt like I couldn't keep my speed in check and the turns got the best of me. A friend took me into a smaller, flatter, glade, that was less tracked out and had WAY more powder, yet I still felt like I couldn't get a grip on my speed. I ski my Line Pandoras, which are surf-y and flex-y, so it's probably not much of an issue with gear. I can turn quick on a dime when I'm on the regular slope...but man, maybe it's because I don't want to smash into a tree?! How do those pro skiers make it look so effortless!? Any tips for glades/woods skiing you lovely divas can share me?!
 
#2
Don’t ski the trees. Ski the gaps! :wink:

More seriously, the secret that opened up glades for me was learning to get off my edges and turn my legs. Lots of flat pivoty skiing keeps things as slow as I want - especially if they are scraped off. I can always speed things up if I’m comfortable and slow it back down when negotiating tighter trees.

Also - don’t wear pole straps and go with a buddy!
 
#3
I’m kind of in the same place, and have been practicing a lot on bump runs without trees since most eastern glades are just bump runs with trees as an added attraction/distraction. Do you feel the same thing on a regular bump run as you do in the trees? When I feel like I can’t keep my speed in check in bumps and especially in trees, for me it usually means I’m leaning too far back out of fear.
 
#4
My first piece of advice would be about line choice. Skiing on an open groomer you can turn whenever and wherever you want. When you choose a line on a groomer, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a foot or two off of where you wanted to turn. In trees, being a foot or two off can have much larger consequences. Choose a line you know, 100%, that you can nail. Don’t be afraid to choose the easy line. If this means traversing across 3/4 of the glade “shopping” for your next turn...do it.

Second piece of advice is to always be looking ahead. Always be scanning ahead, 1, 2, 3 or more turns ahead. The faster you’re going the more turns ahead you should be looking. Also don’t look at the trees, look at the spaces...naturally you will go where you’re looking.
 

slyfox4

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Also - don’t wear pole straps and go with a buddy!
I ALWAYS used to wear straps...then one day, I just stopped doing it. I think it was causing a lot of pain in my wrists because I used the straps to "brace" myself instead of using the poles. In all of my falls this season I've managed to keep holding them! *knock on wood*

Do you feel the same thing on a regular bump run as you do in the trees?
Last season I really ventured into some bumps. I never head for the moguls, but when pow days get chopped up that's kind of like bumps to me. A couple of years ago I had no idea what I was doing, I was on the wrong skis, I couldn't get the turns down and I'd end up just scraping over the bumps. Now I feel like I really get the pivot down, I can turn on a time, but I take way more breaks than I do on groomers because it's tiring! I can definitely agree with leaning to far back out of fear in the trees. I constantly remind myself in bumpy situations to charge the ski and lean forward and I have a way better time of it, but you're right...I was feeling fear...fear of splitting my skis on some trees!

My first piece of advice would be about line choice.
YES! 100% yes! I got to the top of my glade and my buddy was on a snowboard and she zoomed down, but she does glades all the time. I yelled out to her "just scoping out my line" and she yelled back "I like to go allllll the way across, and then back again, helps keep your speed in check." I think I got a little freaked with the icy spots and didn't do the full traverses, but I kept stopping every few turns to keep looking for a good line. And you're right, I'm totally looking at the trees because I'm trying to avoid them...when I should be looking for the spaces in between the trees! :becky:


Thank you guys! I'm going to think about this the next time I get out in the trees. I am hoping that I can have some fresh powder next time and that it won't be so scraped off, which I think will help my confidence a little more!
 
#6
I think I got a little freaked with the icy spots and didn't do the full traverses, but I kept stopping every few turns to keep looking for a good line.
This sounds like you're on the right track. Nothing wrong with stopping, and thinking about where you want to go...even every turn if you need to. The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll get, and the quicker you'll be able to choose your line, and hit it. As long as you're a decent skier (i.e. you don't need to be an expert) skiing trees is as much (if not more) of a mental exercise as a physical one, IMO.

Also...100% agree with your friend on the traversing. Think about how you see beginners on the groomers traversing aaaallll the way across, then one turn, then aaallllll the way across, then turn. Eventually their "lane" gets smaller and smaller as they get better and they get more comfortable. Same thing can apply to skiing trees.

One way of working on line choice this is pairing up with something just a bit better than yourself, and have them "tow" you into a line...meaning follow their lead, turn for turn, without you needing to really think about the line choice yourself. If it's someone much better, then maybe ask them to slow down a bit for one run so you can follow them.

On a similar note, if your snowboarder friend is really good and snowboards quick through trees, be wary of following her line directly. As a snowboarder and a skier...the best line on a snowboard is generally different than on skis (e.g. I'll generally ski the mogul, whereas on a snowboard I ride the trough).
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
On a similar note, if your snowboarder friend is really good and snowboards quick through trees, be wary of following her line directly. As a snowboarder and a skier...the best line on a snowboard is generally different than on skis
^^^
This could be a thread by itsself. The only time DH (snowboard) and I get frustrated with each other is in the trees. Totally different lines especially in tight trees. Try to find a skier to follow, it will be much easier.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
^^^
I actually thought yes, "something" ok I get it -- sometimes Rabbit or other animal tracks are the best to follow.... lol
 

canski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Technique aside, make sure your boots fit you REALLY well - any sloppiness will show up in spades in trees - a little hesitation/fear putting you in the backseat and loose boots....(i am a prime example of needing a new footbed in just one boot, and voila!).
 

MrsPlow

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
If you're traversing, look up hill first - same as if you're entering an open run from the side (ie if you're not sure that those above you can see you). I love a nice long diagonal line through the glades, but I had a close call recently, so now I'm trying to stay aware that there are people who like to ski or more especially board straight down the fall line. I realise that it's the responsibility of the up-hill skier to not hit people below them, but they may not see you if you're behind a tree and crossing into their line.

Making a bit of noise to announce your presence is a good idea too.
 
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Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
On a similar note, if your snowboarder friend is really good and snowboards quick through trees, be wary of following her line directly. As a snowboarder and a skier...the best line on a snowboard is generally different than on skis (e.g. I'll generally ski the mogul, whereas on a snowboard I ride the trough).
A word of warning from my own experience, if you're following someone who's making first tracks, keep in mind that you might pick up more speed than them because, well, you're following in their tracks. On more than one occasion I followed my BF's tracks through tight trees (hesitant to pick my own line) and picked up too much speed. If it's not too tight, I like to ski directly next to his line.

I don't know for sure, but it sounds like it's a lot more popular to ski trees and glades on your side of the ocean. There's usually a few other tracks over here but it doesn't track out or form moguls, except maybe in really popular resorts after a few days.

I definitely found tree skiing scary and intimidating at first, but it's also one of the things that makes me feel most connected to nature and the mountains. Easy does it - frequent stops and looking ahead to choose a line. Something that helps me with learning how to pick a good line is watching videos of professionals freeriding and trying to predict what line they'll go for and/or what would be a good line to ski on that particular run for a normal human being :tongue:

If you're traversing, look up hill first - same as if you're entering an open run from the side (ie if you're not sure that those above you can see you). I love a nice long diagonal line through the glades, but I had a close call recently, so now I'm trying to stay aware that there are people who like to ski or more especially board straight down the fall line. I realise that it's the responsibility of the up-hill skier to not hit people below them, but they may not see you if you're behind a tree and crossing into their line.

Making a bit of noise to announce your presence is a good idea too.
This is very solid advice for groomers, glades, trees, basically anywhere. I love the idea of the skiers code and good manners on the hill, but don't put all the responsibility with the uphill skier. If you're traversing an entire slope, glade, merging back onto a groomer after skiing a glade etc., for your safety and that of others, just look up and check if it's safe to go.
 

slyfox4

Certified Ski Diva
#13
Technique aside, make sure your boots fit you REALLY well - any sloppiness will show up in spades in trees - a little hesitation/fear putting you in the backseat and loose boots....(i am a prime example of needing a new footbed in just one boot, and voila!).
YES! 100% yes!!! I wore ill fitting boots up until late last year. I knew they were wrong, but I had so many poor experiences with my toes banging the front that I said "I don't care, give me a bigger boot." I was in a 23.5...but now I'm in a 22 and they're honest to god MORE comfortable than my snowboarding boots! People tell me I'm crazy for saying that. But you are right. I accidentally left mine in walk mode and went down an icy, scraped off black diamond at Loon and was like WTF is wrong with me?!?!? Why can't I ski this?! Felt like an idiot when I skied back to the lodge and realized my walk mode was on!

This is very solid advice for groomers, glades, trees, basically anywhere. I love the idea of the skiers code and good manners on the hill, but don't put all the responsibility with the uphill skier. If you're traversing an entire slope, glade, merging back onto a groomer after skiing a glade etc., for your safety and that of others, just look up and check if it's safe to go.
I'm quoting you -- but so many others have said traversing is the best thing to do, and I always look up the hill before going, regardless if they're trees or not. I am more worried about others on the mountain than me!

This sounds like you're on the right track. Nothing wrong with stopping, and thinking about where you want to go...even every turn if you need to. The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll get, and the quicker you'll be able to choose your line, and hit it. As long as you're a decent skier (i.e. you don't need to be an expert) skiing trees is as much (if not more) of a mental exercise as a physical one, IMO.
I agree, definitely a mental exercise. Glad I'm on the right track!

Thank you to you lovely Divas for this great advice!!!
 

Artis

Diva in Training
#15
For me it is all about mindset! For years I skied trees and glades without thinking. This year, after breaking my ankle pre-season, I really have to revert back to thinking about the first 3 turns, stopping and thinking about the next 3 etc. It is basically fear pushing me in the backseat after 3 turns so I am just slowly working through it again!

I am thinking about taking a semi-private lesson to work through it faster, but not feeling the need to link ALL of my turns right now helps me lots.
 

Polly

Certified Ski Diva
#16
Hi all! Lower advanced skier here, looking to really expand my skills by doing some woods/glades turns this winter. I've dabbled at Jay Peak where they're often much wider and not as steep, but not all days are created equal with luscious powder. Today I did some woods at Loon and felt like a terrible skier, it was actually quite humbling. They were so scraped off, I felt like I couldn't keep my speed in check and the turns got the best of me. A friend took me into a smaller, flatter, glade, that was less tracked out and had WAY more powder, yet I still felt like I couldn't get a grip on my speed. I ski my Line Pandoras, which are surf-y and flex-y, so it's probably not much of an issue with gear. I can turn quick on a dime when I'm on the regular slope...but man, maybe it's because I don't want to smash into a tree?! How do those pro skiers make it look so effortless!? Any tips for glades/woods skiing you lovely divas can share me?!
I'm learning in wide-set, beginner glades (think Kokomo and Sweetheart? at Jay Peak) and my expert glade-skier fiance has told me, and he's right: no carving! the trees don't move! if you can't ski bumps, you aren't ready for trees! learn to speedcheck, but hope you don't have to! pick your line and go! LOOK BETWEEN THE TREES NOT AT THEM and lastly- always, always wear a helmet. I was putzing around at Pat's Peak near my house this week and was in some super easy (flat) glades. Well, despite it being easy, there were bumps, etc. and a thick, 4" tree branch broken, jagged and pointing at me in my line would have speared my head without my helmet. Needless to say, I didn't see it and thankfully, I had protection.

Also, since you're in NH, too it seems...check out Bretton Woods for some easy trees! Pat's Peak too has some great easy glades and so does Cannon's green/learning area.
 
#18
I LOVE skiing trees, and I am happy to do so at my own pace. Don't compare yourself to others--do it and enjoy what you can do. Also, I can't stress enough DO NOT, NEVER EVER, LOOK AT THE TREES. Look at the space between the trees and that is where your body will go. It's actually quite amazing how you go right where you look. I've skied trees for years and the only time I have bumped into a tree was when I was looking at it. I made that mistake with a student I was teaching to backcountry ski--I called out to her from below, and she looked right at me and ran into me. It was pretty funny, actually. No one was hurt. Lots of great suggestions here also for easy trees to ski and practice in!
 

R0ckette

Diva in Training
#19
Also if you plan on skiing tight, deciduous trees - you might want to wear stuff you're not afraid of getting torn. I've gotten all sorts of stuff snagged by a small branch - pretty much a costly (monetary anyway) mistake.

I love glade skiing as well, but it seems like in early spring is the time to avoid the glades because the trees seem to have their "bounce" back more causing more stray branches.
 

slyfox4

Certified Ski Diva
#20
Thank you all SO MUCH! I love these tips for skiing the space between the trees ; ) @Polly I will definitely be checking out Bretton Woods. I haven't skied there in a few years but have been wanting to go back. We also go to Jay once a year and I LOVE their woods, we have such a great time there.

Thanks again you lovely divas!
 

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