Trail design: is XC keeping up w the times?

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Trail design: is XC keeping up w the times?

Post by JeffOYB » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:23 am

Have many XC trails revised their lines in recent decades? Or since the trails were built? Seems like most trails probably built in the 1970's -- for wood skis, 75mm boots!

Nub's Nob is a famous old upnorth Michigan ski resort. It also has an awesome XC trail that I visit each time I ski at Nub's. It's the kind of trail that could attract ppl to XC maybe if it was marketed. As per usual the XC is an afterthought. Yet the grooming is famous for both XC and alpine there. Ranked high nationally.

The expert loop is fun -- but I think it's the same one since the 1970's. It seems like the exact same loop I skied there in 1982, say. For it being one of our best XC loops, though, maybe isn't saying much. It's a half mile twisting downhill then undulates back up. Probably not ideal flow but much more thrill than we're used to. Even so it has several turns that are basically unskiable -- this really can't help XC popularity. It took all my skill to not fly off into the woods and the trail was even soft. I did it a cpl wks earlier when it was icy and crashed. Yes, I could have skied it in the snowplow position but that's not really skiing -- and these were surprise turns, tightening radius, etc. If you're going fast when you see them for most skiers it wd be too late. That is very bad design. Seems like a no-brainer to not design turns to wreck the ski experience -- or give you a negative that you need all skill to reduce from disaster to merely terrible. It seemed to be designed for slower skis. No money to change since the 1970's? Well, it's true that skiing collapsed then. Still one can try to invest for growth. ...Or even to give a fun, safe experience. They charge for a pass -- same as for alpine -- and they constantly sculpt the alpine slopes to deliver quality.

Have many US XC trails been upgraded to adapt to today's faster gear? True, today's gear is also more powerful and easy to handle, thank heavens. Heck even my old "slow" stuff would be insane to ski on that Nub's trail. I suppose it might be the grooming that gives so much more speed?
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Re: Trail design: is XC keeping up w the times?

Post by jt10000 » Sun May 06, 2018 11:43 pm

Three places I ski have worked on their trails quite a bit - widening them to make them better for skating and racing, and/or and making them smoother so they are skiable with less snow.

A fourth place in my area is new, and has some very wide, high speed banked sweeping turns, which is a pretty new thing locally.

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