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What year did I go wrong?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm new here and I'm sensing a strong theme- if someone has been skiing a long time, they are probably doing it wrong because skis have changed.  Whey the presumption that a person's skiing hasn't adapated with the changes in equipment?  Tennis rackets have changed dramatically over the years, but I didn't wake up one day not knowing how to play tennis because the racket I'm using today is different than the one I used 15 years ago.  If I go to a tennis pro for a lesson, they will build on the skills I have and tweak what needs tweaking.  Why is there the idea in ski instruction that you basically have to start all over at square one?  If I started skiing in 1981, what year did I cease knowing how to ski correctly?

 

I

 

post #2 of 16

I view it a bit differently...

 

The skills are the same (after all, there are still only three things you can do to a ski: tip it, twist it, or push/pull on it), but they are applied differently. We have to work much less hard to get the results we seek. The temptation can be to continue to ski with all of the energy and movements that we used for years, but doing so is both a waste of much of that energy and also less likely to get us the results we seek.

 

Today, you can arc a clean carve by simply tipping your feet. It was really hard to do that on pencil-straight skis. Today, you can arc-to-arc top to bottom. You can also do gentle smeared turns with virtually no effort (release the edges, let the skis find the fall line, help them finish). It's all much easier than it used to be.

 

Since starting to learn this 7+ years ago, I've been taking movements out of my skiing. I can ski longer and better now than ever before. I started a decade before you, too. I don't think of myself as having been "skiing wrong," but rather choosing to learn it over again in order to ski better. Of course YMMV.

post #3 of 16

I'm with Steve on this. You can build new skiing on top of your old skiing.

post #4 of 16

I think you need to find an instructor to build on the strengths you already have as a long time skier and work on improving those areas that are lacking rather than a complete build over. I'd walk from any instructor who didn't agree to do so.

 

post #5 of 16

I'd say that if you were a bit of a 'Student of the Sport' since 1981 then you will have gradually adapted to the slightly different skills that modern equipment respond best to, a simple pointer or three will have you skiing great on 'new' skis. If you were a 'I Follow My Friends Around and (seem to) Keep Up So I Can Ski' type of skier... well, you may have a very flawed 'base' that should be rebuilt with better 'substance'. Do you need to do this? Of course not, but if you would like to be a skilled skier you may need to un-learn bad habits in order to learn good movement patterns. 

post #6 of 16

i would also supsect you dont see nearly so many people using very dated tennis equipment (perhaps due to the lower price point)

 

i still see many people with equipment circa 1985..

post #7 of 16

Probably somewhere between 1998 and 1999... Just kidding... sort-of.

 

Anyway, the best skiers on the mountain always have been and always will be racers (sorry if I bruised some egos, but its true, so live with it), and they have been skiing with the same basic set of movements for the last 25+ years. Over the years those movements have refined to take advantage of modern equipment (this may be the link the OP is missing), but it is still much of the same. That said, if you were a bad skier in the 1980's and 1990's and haven't changed anything, you're probably still a bad skier.

post #8 of 16

Time on skis is not necessarily an indicator of the quality of one's skill base.  Good skiers adapted to the shape ski revolution without skipping a beat. Conversely, skiers who had been skiing for many years before skis became curvy, yet were skill base challenged, struggled with them.  If they haven't at some point between then and now done something to address those skill base holes, they're likely still struggling.

 

nmmountainmom.  If you're getting all you desire from the sport with the present skills you have, let no one's comments about your skiing affect you. If you're curious about what lies beyond, there are people here who can direct you towards a course of discovery.   

post #9 of 16



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmmountainmom View Post

I' If I started skiing in 1981, what year did I cease knowing how to ski correctly?

 


Welcome to Epic Mom!

 

The year you started kicking your dog is when you ceased knowing how to ski correctly. What? You never kicked your dog. My bad. Then you never started to ski incorrectly.

 

There is no right or wrong for ski technique. There are more efficient and less efficient techniques. There are more effective and less effective techniques. There are safer and more dangerous techniques. There are fun and less fun techniques. There is no most efficient, most effective, most safe and most fun technique. The beauty of skiing is that you get to choose what is right for you. Some skiers find the quest for more efficient technique leads to more fun on the snow. Other find the quest to be a total bore.

 

As time passes, technology changes and our bodies change. If we don't adapt to these changes, we're going to lose out on ... (efficiency, effectiveness, safety, fun, etc). Sometimes the adaptations are small and easy (e.g. rocker technology), sometimes they are big and hard (e.g. injury). When shaped skis were introduced, some skiers instantly started skiing better without making any changes to their technique. Some expert skiers hated the new skis because they skidded way too much and were unstable when a traditional unweighting turn initiation technique was employed. Some expert skiers loved the new skis after they learned to turn with their feet less and tip their skis on edge a little more. I'm not sure where you got the idea that instructors think you need to start over at square one. My standard "welcome back, intro to shape ski" lesson is a lot like most non-beginner lessons: introducing a few tweaks to generate more (efficiency, effectiveness, danger/safety, fun, rounder turns, smoother turns, etc.).

post #10 of 16

Elite skiers of 30 years ago are still amazing skiers today; they just don't have to work as hard with the new skis.  That's a good thing since they are now 30 years older.  Strong racers of the past and some strong freestyle skiers of the past, similarly didn't need to change.  They were already skiing well. 

 

The problem is the way most of us were taught to ski back then.  It is the skiing equivalent of holding a tennis racket with all of one's fingers and toes for "stability."  It works okay on the bunny slope at 3 mph.  Keep this image in mind the next time you're on the slopes. 

 

In 1972, the head of Burke Mountain Academy, Warren Witherell, wrote an influential book called "How The Racers Ski."  In it he compared the typical instructor's skiing to a golf cart in motion -- stable, boring, non-dynamic, and out of balance.  Like instructor, like student ... golf carts all. 

 

Shaped skis made it easier for a lot of golf carts to become skiers, and some of the golf carts took up the challenge.  If you were a golf cart, then your skiing could have used a change and you "went wrong" the year you first put on skis. If you were originally a skier, then you were still a skier when you first put on shaped skis.  duck.gif

 

post #11 of 16

Unfortunately far too many people have not put in the time to be able to really figure out how to get people from halfway to point B, to point B without going back to point A.  To oversimplify, the single biggest difference between turning a "straight" ski and a "shaped" ski (IMHO) is that a straight ski is steered then edged, a shaped ski edged then steered. If you have been skiing since '81 you probably have all the skills, you may need to rearrange their application. If you have a grooved pattern to doing things it may be easier to start from scratch then to change habits, but you do not lose your old skills, you just learn a new way to apply them. If you read a lot of posts on here you may think a stem christie is an obsolete turn with no place in a "modern" skiers bag of tricks. Get into the woods with breakable crust you'll be a lot happier with that obsolete stem then most edge roll and ride skiers will be.

 

Bjorn Borg was a great tennis player in the small racket era. When he tried to come back with a big racket it didn't quite work out. Was that because he ceased being a great tennis player? I don't think so, but he did have to relearn touch in an environment that left no time to think, just react. If you were trying to get to the top of your class in racing you would probably have to rebuild from the ground up. Hell, Tiger Woods rebuilt his swing from the ground up while he was at the top in order to stay there. But as your goal is to have more fun on more of the mountain, a skill tweaking is probably all you need. 

 

I guess the biggest proof of continuity of skills I can offer is that after 30 years of teaching skiing full time the things I wind up needing to work on whether alpine, tele, or even in some cases snowboarding are issues that came up in my skiing the very first time I tried out to be a ski instructor. I've gotten more sophisticated in disguising my weaknesses but fundamentals are still fundamental both good and bad.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post

I view it a bit differently...

 

The skills are the same (after all, there are still only three things you can do to a ski: tip it, twist it, or push/pull on it), but they are applied differently. We have to work much less hard to get the results we seek. The temptation can be to continue to ski with all of the energy and movements that we used for years, but doing so is both a waste of much of that energy and also less likely to get us the results we seek.

 

Today, you can arc a clean carve by simply tipping your feet. It was really hard to do that on pencil-straight skis. Today, you can arc-to-arc top to bottom. You can also do gentle smeared turns with virtually no effort (release the edges, let the skis find the fall line, help them finish). It's all much easier than it used to be.

 

Since starting to learn this 7+ years ago, I've been taking movements out of my skiing. I can ski longer and better now than ever before. I started a decade before you, too. I don't think of myself as having been "skiing wrong," but rather choosing to learn it over again in order to ski better. Of course YMMV.



 

 Nice post, ssh. With the next generation of skis and boots, we'll probably just need to think the skis into the next turn...well maybe with some help from the eyebrow muscles.

 

Seriously, I think that "taking movements out of skiing" summarizes as well as anything both the historical progression of ski technique as well as the natural adapation of a good skier to improvements in ski and boot design.

post #13 of 16

The question is, how much better can skiing equipment get to make skiing easier?

 

Another question is does it really need to?

 

Seems to me people are making skiing out to be a hard thing to master. It's not. New equipment does not mean you need a major overhaul in your bag of tricks to be a great skier. It usually means a few tweaks in the technique and an understanding of modern technology and equipment.

 

If you are truely happy with your skiing and comfortable in all conditions then chances are, you have a big smile on your face and your skiing doesn't need to be changed.

 

If by chance, you feel you are not getting the most out of your ski experience or not handeling the terrain you seek with comfort, than chances are, you need help or do need to  change technique, or learn technique that will allow you to do so.

 

It's not rocket science and it shouldn't be presumed so.

post #14 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

The question is, how much better can skiing equipment get to make skiing easier?

 

......

 

It's not rocket science and it shouldn't be presumed so.

 

I read this in an article on the airplane yesterday:

 

 

THE FUTURE

EXPERT // Kim B. Blair, Ph.D., Vice President of Massachusetts-based product-design consulting firm Cooper Perkins Inc., and founding director of MIT’s Center for Sports Innovation

“The two key words for the future of sports innovation are social and smart. Social is about being able to share your successes with friends. If you’re skiing in New England, you’ll be able to share your progress and prowess with your friend in Colorado in real time. You’ll do this via sensors built into your goggles or skis, which link to social media applications. Smart means we’re looking at a continuation of personalization used to help players improve their performances, or to help spectators improve their experience. In large part, that will mean a real advance in adaptable equipment. Right now, a serious skier might have a few sets of skis that he changes depending on the weather conditions. A golfer can have three of the same club. But in twenty years, as we continue to improve smart and variable-strength materials, that same guy can have one pair of skis that’ll be able to change shape or surface texture depending on the trail conditions or where he is on the run. A mountain bike will automatically adjust tire pressure from mud to swamp to dry land.”

 

http://www.hemispheresmagazine.com/2011/01/01/future-perfect/

post #15 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

The question is, how much better can skiing equipment get to make skiing easier?

 

Another question is does it really need to?

 

Seems to me people are making skiing out to be a hard thing to master. It's not. New equipment does not mean you need a major overhaul in your bag of tricks to be a great skier. It usually means a few tweaks in the technique and an understanding of modern technology and equipment.

 

If you are truely happy with your skiing and comfortable in all conditions then chances are, you have a big smile on your face and your skiing doesn't need to be changed.

 

If by chance, you feel you are not getting the most out of your ski experience or not handeling the terrain you seek with comfort, than chances are, you need help or do need to  change technique, or learn technique that will allow you to do so.

 

It's not rocket science and it shouldn't be presumed so.

Lars, I agree with the general sentiment (it's all about the smile!). That said, there are some alternatives that you have to experience to decide if you prefer. Back in 2003 when I first visited EpicSki, I was a darn good skier. But, by nature, I'm always looking for opportunities to improve and I read some things here that intrigued me. Then, I met Rusty Guy up at Loveland one day and he made a comment or two. I felt something completely different. Then, I did a new-hire clinic with him at Eldora and experienced brand new sensations and became aware of new possibilities in my skiing that I had no reference for until I had the experience.

 

Today, I ski considerably better than I did in 2003. However, I would say that I went backwards before I went forwards. Similar to more elite athletes who have changed their mechanics and dropped out of contention for a while before they returned, I struggled on some terrain and in some conditions that had previously been straight-forward for me. At the same time, it has been worth it. Even then, I got more out of my ski days, but now, there's just no comparison. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Do I think everyone has to? Nope. Do I believe that everyone could benefit from such an experience? Yes, so I encourage it. But, it's not a requirement for fun in the sun and on the snow.

 

Let's go!

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

 

 

 the best skiers on the mountain always have been and always will be racers



LOL biggrin.gif

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