La Niña Effect

The start to this winter was predicted to be bitterly cold and with constant snow due to the La Niña in the Pacific ocean – which apparently caused a long warm and dry summer here. So far predictions appear to be accurate… The ski stations are struggling to open up fully due to the amount of snow and weather – and the associated high avalanche risks. We handled this today by sticking to moderate gradients at high altitude when off piste. Officially avalanche risk was posted as 4/5 above 2200m and 3/5 below but I think they got that the wrong way around. Temperatures were fluctuating wildly at the the lower altitudes (snow becoming damp and heavy) while slab accumulations at higher altitude from the wind were fairly obvious. The main problem is that the base layer all over is formed from a thin layer of snow transformed into hoar frost crystals (like ball bearings) due to and extended period of extreme cold, going below -20°C.

Just a few technical pointers here… You can see the head starting off the rotation of the upper body – blocking clean movements across the skis. Knowing that Haluk is aware of those issues it strikes me that the underlying reason they persist is due to overturning. I’ve linked a short Salomon video below with racers – there are two things to notice here:

  1. their turns have their apex out to the side and not below them on the mountain 
  2. the only technical issue mentioned is the need to feel pressure on the front of the ski!

Those two issues combine off piste (or anywhere else) to direct the skier without the need to crank the skis around below the body on the majority of turns. This allows the skis to run over just about anything – even in poor visibility – with far greater security for protection of joints and against accidents. Speed can be modulated by tightening the turn radius but without changing the basic form or timing. Control over this movement pattern is quickly lost if rotation is allowed to creep in. The upper body almost has to relate to the fall line – with the sensation that all its motion is either across the hill or directly in the fall line itself. The arc travelled is independent of the motions and impulses of the upper body. This gives the sensation (when there is good angulation/inclination) of the ski pointing downhill but the bending of the front of the ski pulling you across the hill. The sensation of turning in an arc to the inside of the ski is largely eliminated.

Although we were protecting our lives by avoiding unnecessary exposure to avalanche risk, protecting our knees and backs from wear and damage from poor ski technique and generally trying to improve in all those directions – there is perhaps an even more important aspect to skiing which is perhaps surprising – and that’s “longevity” itself. Watching through this next video clip reveals some interesting insight into the connection between lower body strength and longevity…

The following photos are taken in Panasonic’s unique 4K Photo mode (8mp at 30 images per second)  I’d used a “program” setting but the images would have been even clearer if I’d set the shutter speed instead – to 1/1000th (goes all the way to 1/16000th)

This is an experimental photo taken in 4K (8mp) post focus mode. The subject and background are all in focus due to the merging of several different images taken in rapid succession with focal/aperture settings. To get the backlit subject exposed correctly the background is relatively over exposed. I need to investigate to see if HDR (High Dynamic Range) multiple image mode can be combined with Post Focus mode!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *