Monthly Archives: November 2012
Skiing outside resort boundaries holds an increasing appeal to me, and it seems I’m not alone, considering the abundant backcountry gear options available in traditional ski shops and numerous mentions in the mainstream ski press.
For me, it’s a desire to explore new venues for my ski lust and to try new things along the way. Moreover, owning a condo at Solitude, Utah – where there are great lift-assisted backcountry options at the summit and many more at Brighton just up the road – definitely helps stoked my interest in earning turns outside the resorts.
Backcountry skiing is also growing here in the Northeast. One could reasonably argue that the smaller amount of snowfall in most of the region consequently limits the backcountry options. I would counter that the prevalent hard-surfaced artificial snow conditions found at many ski areas actually increase the allure of traveling further (usually north) to find alternatives.
The Thousand Steps Ski is my favorite early season drill to get everything warmed up and working together. It’s a popular exercise in instructional and coaching circles because it works all four major skiing skills – Balance, Edging, Rotation, and Pressure Control.
Select a wide green or easy blue groomed slope. You can get going quite fast so pick a safe spot to do it.
Start by sliding across the hill and making a series of sidesteps up the hill. Once you get the feel for this, as you start a new turn step your downhill ski onto your little-toe edge and balance on it and step the uphill ski down the hill too. Continue stepping until you are going across the hill in the other direction and then repeat.
Ski Day 1: It’s only opening day if you’re there right? We’d missed Gore’s spring skiing bumpfest yesterday. And as I checked the weather last night, a week of warm inversion, followed by rain, and a cold front…well, I wasn’t expecting much.
It started spitting frozen precip last night and eventually it turned to a light snow. It actually snowed on and off most of the night and day on the hill, and I’m recording an inch for the top of Bear. Much of what fell on bare ground vanished, but you could see it was sticking to the trails.
The Slides at Whiteface are some of the most exciting sidecountry in the northeast. The steep, ungroomed terrain, the all natural conditions and the fact they’re open only a few days a year, heighten the mystique and generate a lot of curiosity about what first time skiers can expect. We’re often asked for information by those who haven’t had the opportunity to ski the Slides.
In August of 2010, Highpeaksdrifter penned our first guide to skiing the Whiteface Slides. It provided insight for the uninitiated and pure stoke for those who’ve been into the cirque and long to return.
The initial response to the Slide Guide was very positive. Over the last year, we’ve wanted to upgrade the guide to include larger photos and more information. In addition, since the original guide was written, the rains of 2011 have changed the terrain in the cirque, especially between Slides 2 and 3. We’ve upgraded the guide, creating an Slides Overview and giving each inbound slide it’s own page. This new guide is a cooperative effort between Highpeaksdrifter, Coach Z, ScottyJack and NYSkiBlog.
Our goal, as stated in the overview, is to prominently feature this terrain, and to give uninitiated, qualified expert skiers an idea of what to expect when skiing this exciting terrain. It is NOT our intention that this piece be taking as a recommendation that any skier attempt to ski the slides. Only the most qualified and confident skiers should attempt this terrain. Always respect the terrain, proceed with extreme caution and above all obey Patrol. Whiteface Patrol is the most qualified to determine when the Slides should be skied. We hope you enjoy…
The updated NYSkiBlog Guide to Skiing
The Whiteface Slides
Please note that this blog post includes all the comments that were posted under Highpeaksdrifter’s original post. The pages of the new guide do not have space for comments. We ask that any comments related to the guide be posted under this entry.