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Author Topic: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...  (Read 4108 times)
Koda
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Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« on: 12/23/16, 10:23 AM »

I have had only a few people I have simply clicked with while ski touring, regarding our group dynamics between the two of us. Despite any gear, fitness, experience differences we each understand each others decisionís and thought processes and when we make choices in the field they are most always in line with each other. I get the most skiing in, and accomplish the most objectives successfully, thus touring with these individuals Ive preferred just being the two of us.

But then there is the others... the rest of the people you know who tour but you dont ski with as often. Often not always in agreement as the tour/day unfolds and decisionís are made and differences are discovered we spend more time talking about it. It adds up to slower travel, altered plans or route, less accomplished, less skiing and often bailing on the objective for various reasons mostly due to running out of time. Typically I often default, as a courtesy, to accommodating the most conservative member of the groupÖ I feel that risk factor comes to play in this and I donít want to influence someone to do something they are not comfortable with especially with stability considerations. How does everyone handle this scenario?
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Koda
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #1 on: 12/23/16, 10:15 PM »

There was a day back when people loved to talk about this stuff. Is TAY dead?
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kamtron
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #2 on: 12/24/16, 11:27 AM »

Communication, communication, communication
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SKIER-X
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #3 on: 12/24/16, 03:12 PM »

Speak up in the parking lot interview segment of the day when you're all checking transiever range (hopefully)! Any more than 1 partner becomes complex . Add a few and it can deteriorate out of control. If subdivision happens get every ones plans down. Don't get above or below others in avy. terrain . Exchange vital info ! If you have a list of golden rules regarding best safety practices and protocols , STICK WITH THEM ! No matter how many certifications or levels your new partners have achieved . Don't become a hueristic statistic. Remember ,the most dangerous B.C. segment to ski with are professional skiers on there days off. Hopefully there are many knowledgable contributors to help you on this forum. This message has been approved by SKIER-X.
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mikerolfs
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #4 on: 12/24/16, 09:34 PM »

I find it's easiest if someone is the alpha. Today you are skiing with me. Tomorrow, I'm skiing with you. That way, the inconsequential decisions don't require discussion. When I'm in charge, I tell you where I want to go, and as long as you are okay with it, discussion over. We can talk minutia on the way. When it really doesn't matter left or right, it's way easier to defer to the leader (for me at least) than to discuss how we all feel about it. Similar to menu selections. Anything you order will taste good. Let one guy pick.

If we aren't equals, if someone is along for the ride and just trusting that I won't get them in trouble, then I'm going to be the alpha and point out hazards and I'll be an instructor. These tours are less satisfying to me. Its not skiing with a partner, its just taking someone on a tour.
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peteyboy
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #5 on: 12/24/16, 10:56 PM »

Koda, good on you for expressing what you desire in your day and how you ensure the decision in a group is deferential to the most conservative member.  That's honorable, the way to be, and not always so much fun.  So helpful to get to know people in basically all other situations, like socially, then mountain biking, trail running, surfing, etc., as well as talking about comfort levels/perspectives, before being out there in it.  Sizing each other up as potential partners is underrated and underutilized.  Totally expected that people have different capabilities, expectations, ambitions,  and risk thresholds.  Totally ok to like it how you like it with who you go with.
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freeski
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #6 on: 12/29/16, 10:41 AM »

I find it's easiest if someone is the alpha. Today you are skiing with me. Tomorrow, I'm skiing with you. That way, the inconsequential decisions don't require discussion. When I'm in charge, I tell you where I want to go, and as long as you are okay with it, discussion over. We can talk minutia on the way. When it really doesn't matter left or right, it's way easier to defer to the leader (for me at least) than to discuss how we all feel about it. Similar to menu selections. Anything you order will taste good. Let one guy pick.

If we aren't equals, if someone is along for the ride and just trusting that I won't get them in trouble, then I'm going to be the alpha and point out hazards and I'll be an instructor. These tours are less satisfying to me. Its not skiing with a partner, its just taking someone on a tour.


Isn't what you are describing concidered to be a hueristic trap?

Many years ago a summer time out bound group leader asked us if he could join our group of 3 in the parking lot on a high avy day. We said yes. We didn't want to hurt the guys feelings and we were headed to the trees.

On the first lap he decided to ignore the buddy system and skied away from the group without incident. On the second lap we had another group meeting.

We had identified a wind slab on a convex roll  in the top gulley and told him in no uncertain terms to stay out of the gulley.

i took up a ridge position to watch one of my regular partnerrs ski and he had just triggered a shooting crack next to the gulley and lo and behold there was  our new member skiing past me and skiing toward that crack despite me yelling to stop at my location.

He stopped in a safe area just a couple of turns below me. I said to him, that was not our intended line  as it would place us above our other two group members.
 
He started to climb to regain the ridge but really wanted to enter the gulley because it was the path of least resistance. I said to him, no, twice.

He finally gained enough vert to shuffle level over to me in the lower angle terrain above the gulley. However he tried to gain some speed in the deep snow with a downhill traverse. That put him in the gulley start zone and he triggered an avy.

He almost was able to ski off the slab but he disappeared in a cloud of snow.

He was lucky. He got filtered out of that avy by hitting two rather large trees and was unhurt except for a strained back. The two partners below had just clearned the runout zone when the slide went by and they heard gear hitting trees.

 The search for his gear began.

So here he is now in waist deep snow and no skis with almost a 4000' descent and an hour of light left.

lucky for him one of my regular ski partners is a natural born tracker and found his skis.
we learned a  valuable lesson that day. No more baggage. That kid almost lost his life that day because we didn't want to hurt the kids feelings. Better that than dead.

Imo-No one, including guides, should play god with peoples lives in dangerous terrain.





« Last Edit: 12/29/16, 12:03 PM by freeski » Logged

"I'm not making love to anyones wishes, only for that light I see." Cat Stevens
freeski
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #7 on: 12/29/16, 11:39 AM »

 Remember ,the most dangerous B.C. segment to ski with are professional skiers on there days off. Hopefully there are many knowledgable contributors to help you on this forum. This message has been approved by SKIER-X.
Quote
people may not know that one our of good friends could have been avy killed triggered by a guide last year. That guide, with client, ski cut an avy path without knowing the slope below was clear and the resulting avy took our friend out ( our friend was on his own skin track at the time).

last year i experienced two separate  incidents where off duty guides placed me and my partners at increased risk of harm because they decided it was ok to follow us into hazardous terrain.

 These repeated incidents are making me sick. The thing is, i really like most of these guys around here.

What steps can we take to make our local bc a place where we can all seek solice without the bs of commercialism endangering our lives?
« Last Edit: 12/29/16, 05:10 PM by freeski » Logged

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #8 on: 12/29/16, 07:11 PM »

For pure efficiency, I've found no substitute for a trusted regular ski partner. Someone who you know, trust, and have a long-time rapport with can make decision making fast, efficient, and reliable. It takes a long time to find a good one, someone who thinks a lot like you do; they're rare.

Regulars or irregulars, I'm now becoming convinced that a proper morning meeting that addresses most major concerns, airs everyone's goals, determines plans and alternates, and comes up with an emergency plan actually lets you have a better time and go faster once you're in the field. If someone isn't a team player enough to give a fifteen minute meeting over coffee or a McMuffin a try, we probably don't want to tour with them anyway.

When conditions and the plan are simple, a morning meeting goes fast. When they're not, it's more efficient to chat about it when you're warm, rested, and happy than cold, tired, and cranky.

Also, you can't reasonably expect to push your own performance envelope with a new partner.

Streamline effective communication, ski more pow, have better adventures.

On the conservative point - ya gotta roll with the most conservative party member's concerns. It might save your life, and will certainly help the conservative party member feel like they're on a team and build some mutual trust. You can always get rad tomorrow with a different partner.
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mikerolfs
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #9 on: 12/29/16, 09:28 PM »

On the conservative point - ya gotta roll with the most conservative party member's concerns. It might save your life, and will certainly help the conservative party member feel like they're on a team and build some mutual trust. You can always get rad tomorrow with a different partner.

Amen to that! I always feel grateful when I say "I don't want to ski that", and my partner says "Then we won't ski that".† And since I appreciate it so much when others do it for me, it's easier for me to do it for them. Even when I really want to ski it.
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Koda
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #10 on: 12/30/16, 03:25 PM »

good replies, essentially they tell me I'm on the right path and when skiing with others its just the way it is there is no magic way to get someone on the same page as you and the important thing is to work within everyones abilities by identifying the most conservative person and working within their comfort level. I think what might make those trips go more efficiently is to learn how to identify that early, ideally the morning meeting.
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T. Eastman
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #11 on: 12/31/16, 09:39 AM »

Part of my thinking is based on this premise:

If I wouldn't ski something by myself...

... why would I want to drag anyone else along?
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NWAC
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #12 on: 01/05/17, 09:39 AM »

NWAC is holding an evening of continuing education on exactly this topic on Thursday, Jan. 12. All of the workshops in the Going Deep Series are designed to improve decision making for those with experience in the backcountry - but this one will focus specifically on Teamwork and communication.

Tickets here: https://www.rei.com/events/going-deep-series-a-voice-and-a-veto-effective-teamwork-and-communication/seattle/160850
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #13 on: 01/05/17, 10:58 AM »

Thanks for the reminder -- just signed up!
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Koda
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #14 on: 01/05/17, 11:04 AM »

NWAC is holding an evening of continuing education on exactly this topic on Thursday, Jan. 12. All of the workshops in the Going Deep Series are designed to improve decision making for those with experience in the backcountry - but this one will focus specifically on Teamwork and communication.

Tickets here: https://www.rei.com/events/going-deep-series-a-voice-and-a-veto-effective-teamwork-and-communication/seattle/160850

Wish you had one of these in Portland....
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freeski
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Re: Group Dynamics, skiing with irregulars...
« Reply #15 on: 01/07/17, 11:05 AM »

Part of my thinking is based on this premise:

If I wouldn't ski something by myself...

... why would I want to drag anyone else along?
because someone needs to hold the camera while you drop that rad line with avys going off behind you.

But to be serious for a moment, i just read that someone died in an avy skiing solo.

Like you, i also ski solo quite a bit and i also know quite a few seasoned skiers who tour solo. And like me, some of those folks are strong advocates for
using the best back country safe practice protocols.

Well the reality is that skiing solo is NOT is considered to a safe practice protocol.

However, without partners, there are no partners above you in avy terrain and there are no group dynamic traps.

So why ski solo. I do it for the above reasons but also because the focus becomes so, well, focused that a flow state ensues. And that is sublime.

I do have to say that i was pissed when i read the area commercial person's comments to Q13 news concerning that recent death.

According to Q13 news, the resort said that it's ''a very unfortunate reminder that you should always ski with a partner and carry proper equipment''.

 But skiers touring with partners die all the time.

And i already pointed out that a commercial guide with a client almost killed a solo seasoned ski tourer in our area. 

That commercial guide ski cut an avy down on my friend and it had nothing to do with proper equipment.

So i say to the commercial ski community, save your teachable moments for your own commercial related screw ups instead of going into damage control and cover up mode.

Those of us who tour for reasons other than money don't need your false truths
 or blame.

And Mr. Nwac, please use commercial accident examples for your mishaps and lessons learned portion of your commercial events.
Rant over.   
« Last Edit: 01/07/17, 01:29 PM by freeski » Logged

"I'm not making love to anyones wishes, only for that light I see." Cat Stevens
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