Ski racing season turning ugly

After all the lockdowns and all, was really looking forward for the ski racing season but this is turning bad. Too many bad falls and injuries. My guess is that many skiers had a poor preparation season because of all the covid related interruptions and it shows in the races. There’s been bad accidents even in GS races which is very unusual.

And that was before the pointy end of the season. Cochran-Siecle was very lucky yesterday in Kitzbuhel DH to escape without serious injuries but not Kruenbuhl. That was a very bad looking crash. After that the organisers lowered the last jump but that obviously wasn’t enough. Muzaton was fuming after the finish line and many racers were clearly slowing down big time just to make it through.

I know, that’s DH racing and that’s Kitzbuhel but that’s hardly a justification for not looking after the skiers. I’m definitely starting to lose my interest in watching the races turning into carnage.

What do you good people of the forum think?

Sorry, but I can not tell. My husband has been watching online but I only look out of the corner of my eye. I hockey stop slammed my hip into a Ponderosa pine in deep powder to save my cabeza resulting in a shattered femur 15 years ago. I can’t take watching. Appreciate the strength, skill and guts though!

I think that there is less preparation, or maybe more preparing for COVID-19 and less preparing to ski, just like you’ve said.

I’m just taking a break during this madness, but otherwise an avid skier, tele, heli, backcountry, you name it.

Sounds like an awful incident. Sorry to hear that. Are you still able to ski?

Hasn’t been a very inspiring season. Could be just because of all the nonsense happening around that it’s hard to get excited about watching sports.

My break is getting long. Here in Australia last season (June-September) was lost and the one before that was bad as well. Didn’t get to go to Europe their last season, either, for obvious reasons. The skis are all unemployed and looking sad.

Planning a long ski trip to The Alps next season but let’s see if that happens. Here in Australia it’s impossible to plan anything beyond the afternoon given how random and overreacting the response to covid is.

The snow pack here in Colorado has been the worst I’ve ever seen, perhaps. Colorado Avalanche is much more than a hockey team this year. Quite a few dead, unfortunately. Doesn’t mean people can’t ski, it just requires a reservation to do so, which is more uncommon than avalanches.

I’ve seen in the news that there have been a number of incidents this year. Wondering whether it’s because of snow conditions or inexperienced off-piste skiers heading to back country to stay away from the crowds.

Came to Colorado a few years ago. Really liked it there but was a bit early in the season and there wasn’t quite enough snow yet. Never seen that many icy moguls in my life. Then I headed to Austria and was drowning in the white stuff. Entertaining to those of us with long skis looking for DH racing pistes :wink:

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The typical season in CO is early snows in late Oct and Nov, followed by a relatively dry warm spell in early December, which allows a layer of rot to develop that the “real” snowpack sits on later in the season. The longer and warmer the dry spell, the more unstable the resulting slabs become as the season progresses.

This year is in a " La Niña" pattern until March, so we had an exceptionally dry early season and avalanche conditions are MUCH worse than normal, now that the snow is picking up as we get closer to March (Colorado’s snowiest month).

Most all of those killed this year were experienced back-country skiers and not novice bushwhackers. Just about any slope over 30 - 35 degrees is suspect.

Next time hit Steamboat Springs around the end of Feb to mid-March. They actually trademarked the term “Champagne Powder,” and for good reason.

If you don’t care for icy moguls and “loud powder,” stay the hell away from the eastern New England resorts.

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As far as resort skiing, they are all open and booming. Depending on the operator you (a) either have to reserve particular days, in which case your RFID lift ticket is programmed for those dates, or (b) you have to reserve a parking spot in which case you have a QR code on a phone app that the parking lot attendants scan on your way in.

Apart from that, bars an eateries at most resorts are closed or there’s only grab-and-go food. Face coverings must be used while inside buildings, in the lift lines and on the lifts.

BUT, these places are more crowded than I’ve ever seen. “Work from home” and “on line college classes” have created a season-long spring break. I thiknk the resort operators put one over on the health authorities, although social distancing while wearing skis isn’t that difficult.

Thank you for the explanation. Always sad to see people perish in avalanches, whether experienced or inexperienced.

I was in Steamboat and some other resorts in late December 2017 and early January 2018. It was quite cold and the snow was very hard. Not unlike the conditions I used to ski when I grew up in Finland except not quite that cold. Would love to come back but will make sure it will be a bit later in the season.

Just got back from a Vail trip. Plenty of restaurants open, we ate at several. As far as bars go, we sat in a group at tables and drank (group of 10 guys). Different than packed bars of past trips but whatever (and I do enjoy a packed bar). All we had to do is ask for a variance and got it. Vail was pretty crowded, lift lines were not short (back bowls were fine like usual).

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Was just talking to a friend in Switzerland. He says they are having a great season as the slopes are not crowded by tourists.

It’s a great cycling season here - been a mild summer in the Australian standards - but I still miss snow. Bicycle sales have totally sky rocketed and the roads are full of inexperienced cyclists. I do fully welcome them, there’s a plenty of space for everyone, but also look forward for tons of hardly used bikes to pop up on the second hand market in the next six to twelve months time.

Put a set of wheels on the market and in less than two hours they were gone.

Yeah, mid-March is usually prime. Early season is when you use your “rock skis.” :grin:

To give you an idea of how dangerous the snowpack is this year, here’s a video put out by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Check out the stability test at around 2:00.

There’s some variation depending on who the operator is. The Vail Corp. resorts (Vail, Breck, Keystone) on the Epic Pass seem to be run a whole lot looser than the Powdr Corp (e.g. Copper Mtn) resorts on the Ikon Pass.

Winter Park just went Code Red because of a Covid breakout of 100+ cases among resort employees. OOps.

That is scary. Hope people pay attention and look after themselves. Don’t think it will get any better once the weather starts to warm up towards the spring.

I was carrying a pair of 194cm Voelkl GS Race Tigers and a pair of 193cm Nordica Enforce 100’s. Not ideal for all the double diamond frozen moguls but the legs got a good workout.

Edit: My 100 mile charity ride on the coming Sunday was just postponed. There were like two cases of covid in Melbourne (Australia that is, not FL) and the premier of the state put the whole frigging state on a five day strict lockdown on a few hours notice and even if the lockdown will be lifted starting tomorrow of course the organisers can’t just pull the event together with this sort of random interruptions. Let’s try again in March.

Yikes. I do like Volkl skis, but those lengths on the double-blacks are above my pay grade at this point, as I’m sportin’ several after-market suspension parts. :roll_eyes:

Resort skis I see are mainly 175 - 185 lengths with 90- 105 cm underfoot. I’m demoing a pair of the new Rossi Black Ops Senders for the next two days at Copper and Keystone. I tried 'em at a local hill and they were surprisingly good on wind-blown hardpack and groomers, but I want to see how they perform on the really big mountains and in Copper Bowl.

I’m 194cm (6’4") tall and like longish skis. Even my short skis (Volkl Speed Wall Code L) are 178cm. The Race Tigers are mostly for flying down the DH tracks at The Alps. Reckoned I’d be finding similar tracks in Colorado. I guess I reckoned wrong :wink:

With the Nordicas I visualise myself as a manta ray doing fast, looooong smooth turns by weight transfer with very little carving happening. Awesome ski if you find wide, long groomers. Gets a bit hard but still manageable in soft snow and very hard in moguls. I like that they are so long and stiff I can really lean back on them with my full weight but that doesn’t make them easy to turn.

I was looking into some Blizzard Brahmas but then all the lockdowns and whatnot kicked in and I haven’t worn my ski boots since Feb 2019 except for one day (which turned out an epic failure) in June 2019.

Good luck with your demoing. Hope you have great time. Wish I could be there to write down the observations :slight_smile:

Thanks for asking. Sheer luck and logistical and financial access to good medical care and disability income got me through it. Stuck with a plate and 14 screws. I do not ski enough, but have since had some great powder days at Mammoth and Alta and a wonderful guided off piste adventure in the Italian Alps. I am not that aggressive about those couloirs and steep tree glades anymore, though. Safer to stay home and listen to music.

PS Bad year for backcountry randonee. Wait til spring corn.


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The racing has been particularly nasty this year. A combination of things no doubt. It pains me to see people hurt or worse suffer career ending injuries.

In my experience Colorado has nothing on Utah’s Wasatch range. Lived and worked for 4 years at Snowbird '87-'91 and frequented surrounding hike and ski lines all over Little Cottonwood canyon.

Uber dry snorkel-required skiing but we also had the late Fall lull during Dec-Jan to then get over 500"/13m on average per year!

Ah the days of youth, long skis, sweat pants, duct taped gloves and good friends. I had access to many skis but I believe I’m on a pair of Junior National Super-G 213cm boards that started to get fun about 35MPH/55KPH.

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I love Utah and have had many great days there. Also love skiing in Alaska, and let me tell ya, the Chugach makes the Wasatch look like a monkey cage at the zoo.