Flying and Skiing in the Tordrillos

Brian M

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Yesterday didn't suck.

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Brian M

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Hey, Brian, In the ski tips and poles photo are those your own tracks from a previous visit?

Nope, I think that's just a little wind-created texture in the snow. It was my first time there, and there were no signs of anyone having skied the area recently.
 

4merguide

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You'll have to excuse my ignorance Brian, but, can you land on any amount of snow? Meaning, will the plane only sink down in so far in any depth of snow? I've always wondered how guys know if the snow is too deep to land or not. Is there a point when you could actually get stuck? For some reason I've always thought there was. No?
 

Brian M

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You'll have to excuse my ignorance Brian, but, can you land on any amount of snow? Meaning, will the plane only sink down in so far in any depth of snow? I've always wondered how guys know if the snow is too deep to land or not. Is there a point when you could actually get stuck? For some reason I've always thought there was. No?

Let me preface my answer by saying that I'm pretty new to ski flying, so...take my answer with a grain of salt.

Ooooh yes, you can definitely get stuck. Overflow on lakes is a bigger problem than deep snow on land, but yes. The first time I posted pictures of ski flying during my first winter, I was quickly (though kindly) contacted by some more experienced people who pointed out my error. Can you see it in the picture below?

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It makes for a pretty picture, but stopping in fresh snow is a bad idea unless it's very shallow. Standard practice is to drag your skis multiple times before commiting to a full stop landing. This allows you to get a feel for snow depth and texture and, if you're on a lake, allows you to look for evidence of overflow (the tracks will darken due to water seeping up through the snowpack). Crucially, it also packs down a track so that when you stop you can get started again. I didn't get stuck on the day posted above by the iceberg, but I easily could have. In the pictures posted from this weekend, I'd bet I almost certainly would have gotten stuck if I didn't stop in my tracks.

I still have lots to learn, but I'm slowly figuring it out one stupid choice at a time.

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stillapa12drvr

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Fairly limited experience here as well, but one learns (not quickly but learns nevertheless) that making a few passes/drags and creating tracks long enough to land AND takeoff from is much more efficient than digging out / packing a strip on snowshoes.

Thankfully, some lessons are learned when one is young and strong enough to make it through the learning phase.
 

4merguide

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Thanks Brian, you answered my question. And yes, I was aware of the potential problem with overflow on a lake, but on land, was wondering if you did in fact drag the skis a couple times first to gauge the depth, before actually deciding to land or not. Makes sense.
 
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