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Hip Steering - Who's Got a Killer Progression?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Or maybe multi-year course of study to help rid aspirants of this most pernicious and intransigent of habits?

post #2 of 22

Do you mean hip rotation? 


Butt swishing?


Peggy Portland turns?

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yes, hip rotation, butt-swishing, if you will.  Don't know who Peggy Portland is or why she might have a turn named after her but if tht is a reference I could profitably use, then I would like to learn more about her, too.

post #4 of 22

We did a few threads here a while back about waist steering and Rick  was doing something with that group. If you query his profile I'm sure he could help you with more than a few ideas.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sounds great, thanks.  For this relative newbie, please, what is his profile name and how do I query it?

post #6 of 22
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

We did a few threads here a while back about waist steering and Rick  was doing something with that group. If you query his profile I'm sure he could help you with more than a few ideas.

post #7 of 22

molesaver - waiststeering or any other system will not rid you of your hip rotation. Its not a system specific thing. Or lets say that the fix is deffinetly not a system specific thing. Do a quick search here on epic for my Bad Rotation thread. It aims at giving advice about how to use your hips. Its as close as you get to Hip Steering. Here is the link:


post #8 of 22

molesaver, I think your term may have confused some here.


Can you describe (or better yet, post video of) your movements and talk about what you're trying to eliminate and why you want to do that? Doing so will really help those who can to help you.


BTW, there is another concept called "waist steering" that is an approach used in racing that has been discussed here a lot. I'm thinking that this is NOT what you mean. Am I right? 

post #9 of 22

shh, I think the OP is confusiing Waist with Hips. I have never heard about Hip Seering before. Like the OP, I too dont know who is Peggy Portland.

post #10 of 22

Pull out the hip-o-meters and work it out. It's a good topic.

post #11 of 22

He's talking about hip rotation, which indeed is a "pernicious and intransigent habit." Sight unseen, I will offer this advice: Awareness is curative. It doesn't take years to get rid of a habit--it simply takes one blinding flash of the obvious. 


"Peggy Portland swished her hips and that was how she earned her tips."  A ski instructor from Maine named her after one of the more prolific types in skiing. 

post #12 of 22

This post is assuming that the OP is not talking about waist steering.


To get to the root of the problem we must first understand why we have the problem. Turn intiation through upper body movements occurs when things are not working down below. There are two basic means of getting the feet to turn so that the hips and/or shoulders do not have to be employed to initiate turns: get the skis to turn the feet or get the feet to turn the skis. You get the former by introducing tipping movements. You make the latter work a lot more effectively when you increase flex/extend movements of the knees and ankles. In general you can't take away movements without introducing other movements that make the undesired movements unnecessary. With either approach you need to make sure the stance is centered first before you work on tipping or foot steering movements.


Choosing a specific progression is tough because they are other elements to consider as well (e.g. terrain available, conditions, fear issues). In general, you introduce stepping or shuffling drills to work on getting centered. Edge drills like side slipping, hockey stops, tug of war, carved traverses, cowboy turns, railroad tracks or hands pushing on knees can improve tipping. Drills like hop turns, hop to shape, pivot slips, long leg short leg, retraction turns, and bump traverses can help develop increased flexion/extension. I often show students a karate punch as an example of how we can use leg flex/extend movements to increase foot turning (what works for the hand in karate works for the feet in skiing or riding). So an example progression I might use would be a shuffling drill, a tug of war drill, then a fan progression of carved traverses leading to linked carved traverses.

post #13 of 22

To add to what Rusty wrote, let's think about what happens when we add rotary (swishing the hips, turning the shoulders, etc..).

We're introducing angular momentum and in most cases we are trying to add torque to the skis. Depending on how we are holding the skis this changes the direction the skis are facing. If the skis are on edge and engaged when we twist towards the turn it adds pressure to the tip and that draws us into a tighter turn. If the edges are not engaged (either flat to the snow, or no pressure on the snow) the skis simply pivot in the same direction we are twisting them. If the ski edges are partially engaged we see a skidded turn develop. The question then becomes why add that move? Well if the skis aren't coming around quick enough for the students liking, it helps turn the skis faster. Fear of the fall line is the most frequent situation where we would see this occurring. Ironically, the other most common place we see this is in race courses, in spite of the common coaching philosophy of rotary being a secondary skill. A shoulder turn, or hip swish may add just enough torque to the skis to help the racer maintain their line, or even scrub off some speed.


Should either be a default movement? Probably not but again that still depends on the student. Which means as default movement patterns go, there is a phase in a skiers development where pivoting the skis is explored and will temporarily be a default movement. If the student lacks the leg strength to steer the skis with leg steering, or if they are overedging it's quite natural to add the shoulder, or hip twisting. The problem it creates is seen later in the turn when the tails wash out, or their body ends up facing uphill. They are in no position to start the next turn, so they must add some sort of corrective movement just to get set up for the next turn.


That being said, as the skier develops other skills, these new skills allow the skier more options and a greater range of possible positive outcomes. Eventually these student will gain the confidence to tip the skis and engage the edges with some pressure and simply ride the skis through the turn. (They become more comfortable with the acceleration they experience in a more carved turn). Adding pressure to the flexed and engaged ski reduces the turn radius and represents another way to define a turn. Sadly that's where most folks stop growing as skiers.

Experts understand the idea that there are no pure skill applications in the real world and no evils when it comes to movements. They instead view movements through the filter of appropriateness for the intended outcome. They also make tactical and technique choices based on producing specific linked turns, not to adhere to a theoretical ideal. Not that they can't do so on demand, it's just they understand skiing on a much deeper level and outside an isolated drill,  isolated skill applications are extremely rare. Hip steering falls into this isolated drill catagory as far as I'm concerned. It teaches us how to add angular momentum to a turn using the hips, shoulders, legs, feet, etc.

The last issue I see is why you are seeking a "hip steering progression" in the first place? To what end would you use hip swishing, hip steering, or whatever you are calling the movement? As an instructor, why not play around with the movement and explore situations where it might be appropriate? While you're at it, explore the movement using a wide variety of different DIRTs in different parts of your turns! When you truly understand how it effects how the skis behave and how it effects your stance upon the skis at all phases of a turn, then and only then, are you capable of developing your own conclusions about using the movement and if it's really something you still feel like teaching to your students. BTW, I could give you a couple progressions, or at least activities that would feature hip steering but regurgitating those activities will not help you develop a better understanding of the movements and why we generally don't teach it. That being said, I am curious and would love to read your thoughts on how you developed your own progression and why you feel it's important to teach this move to the general public.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

I love your deep thinking about deliberately making this move and exploring the effects/sensations.  But I must have completely blown my question.  I don't want to teach people to do 'waist steering' (I never come into contact with racers).  Nor do I want to teach people to do hip steering or hip rotation.  I want to teach people who DO hip steering, hip swishing, Peggy Portland turns, what-have-you, to do something else.  Seems to me that upper body rotation in early level skiers is relatively easy to deal with.  It is the pretty darn good skiers ( with lots and lots of rehearsal time) who are adding power to their steering movements by swinging that hip around that I am looking to reach.  I want to teach no-hip steering.


Having said that, thank you all for your exhaustive replies.  I learned about waist-steering (sort-of, I should say that I learned such a thing exists and that is probably as deep as I will ever go), got some excellent practical advice from Rusty to use on the hill, and some deep thoughts from anotherpro that line up nicely with some thinking I've been doing about trying to get deeper into what the student is experiencing rather than going strictly on how what they are doing departs from the manual.  Thanks for the mentoring.

post #15 of 22

molesaver, I think skis-off bow ties with boots can show how you can steer without hip movement. Doing boot arcs is the next step (again, no hip movement). Then, you can take that to the hill and skis. I've done this at the top of a groomed blue and then taken it to skis on that run.


Just something else to consider...

post #16 of 22

Molesaver, I take it you already know about this site? http://www.waiststeering.com/

And maybe this: http://www.modernskiracing.com/level1.php


If you didn't, I'm not surprised the answers surprised you.  :)

post #17 of 22

Molesaver, Perhaps the easy answer to excessive hip rotary, swishing, would seem to be the total elimination of all hip / upper body steering. Then again, maybe we need to look a little deeper at the idea that there are some situations where a little hip steering is a good thing. There are also some situations where some hip counter steering is a good thing. Not as default moves mind you but here's a few that come to mind.

  • The most obvious is the stivot in the top half of the turn. It's not just a race move! Bode and McNichols suggest it for steep slopes.
  • Tree skiing we often don't have the same options we would have on an open slope. Just like a racer in the gates if you think about it.
  • Airplane turns (airborne bank turns), 360's, etc.
  • Riding in the half pipe, where changing direction at the rim involves a 180 turn so you continue to face the direction you're moving.
  • Staying square to the skis through a turn. The inside half not staying ahead of the outside half of the body introduces some hip / upper body induced angular momentum. As you reach the transition how do you arrest this momentum? It doesn't just go away on it's own.
  • What about anticipation? Unwinding from a countered stance involves the skis being redirected into the turn because of the tension between the upper and lower body. The hips don't twist into the turn  but they still steer the skis into the new turn.

That's just six situations where the hips are used to steer the skis and all of them are widely accepted within the PSIA.

I am hoping others take up the discussion and add to this list. Nolo? Gary? Steve?

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

Holy cow!  I am getting the graduate course, here.  Good stuff.  Please excuse the ignorant question but what is a 'stivot'?

post #19 of 22

Steered pivot. Think of a side slip across the hill.

post #20 of 22

Hmmm... that's a great line of thinking, JASP, but you hit the ones that came to me right away... I was using moves like this in steeps today...

post #21 of 22

Of course we need to include Mole's idea of no hip steering. After all not moving the hips is an extreme form of hip steering. I subscribe to a more active role for the hips but many people still subscribe to the spyder leg style of movements. Knowing how to do either gives us more versatility.

post #22 of 22

You may just get a kick out of the video that songfta and I took today, then... wink.gif


Soon as I get the rest of the videos from songfta, I'll post them into the "Old School" thread...

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