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Helping a first timer that can't engage edges

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So let's start off by saying that I'm not an instructor, but looking to help a friend.

 

We just got back from a ski weekend with another couple.  The wife had never skied before and decided this time that she wanted to try it.  We set her up with the beginner package (ticket, rentals, one hour group lesson).  It wasn't very busy and that one hour group turned into a one hour semi-private followed by a one hour private with a great instructor who even refused a tip after spending so much voluntary time with her.

 

Anyway, when we met up with her after the lesson, she was riding the beginner chairlift and coming down the short flat bunny hill in a nice gliding wedge.  I spent a few runs skiing with her trying to help her practice and continue improving.  Basically just skiing backwards slowly and having her follow me.  Giving basic reminders of where she should be pressuring her ski to make the right turn to follow me.  She was having fun and getting more confident, but the real problem was that she seemed incapable of really engaging her inside edges.  Basically, she'd be pointed straight down the hill in a wedge and could pressure one ski or the other to kind of drift back and forth across the hill while still being pointed straight down.  Watching her I could see she was trying to make the right motion but didn't seem to be able to tip the ski enough.  Knowing she'd taken up running last year, on the second run I asked her if there was anything special about her running shoes and she said she had special ones that were supposed to compensate for the fact that she normally walked almost entirely on the outside edge of her foot.  Sounds like we've identified the cause of our troubles.

 

So of course the obvious thing to do would be buy boots and have a boot fitter make the same kind of adjustments to the ski boots.  But this was her first time and she's not ready to drop hundreds of dollars on equipment until she's sure she likes it.  So my question is whether there's anything that can be done on trip two while still in rental boots that can help her progress further.  I think if she could get past this small problem she'd be capable of tackling slightly more difficult greens from the top and that would open up a lot.  She would be taking another lesson, but I'd like to be able to offer some more help while she's practicing afterward.

 

I did suggest she take a look at those running shoes to see if the special part was a removable insole she could stick in the rental boots.

post #2 of 9

You can put trailmaps between the shell and the liner until the skis are flat when she is standing on flat ground with a functional stance. If the problem is inside the boot you can put stuff under the inside sole.

 

Make sure she is edging the ski by tipping the feet. This does not work if the boots are too big.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by curih View Post

So let's start off by saying that I'm not an instructor, but looking to help a friend.

 

We just got back from a ski weekend with another couple.  The wife had never skied before and decided this time that she wanted to try it.  We set her up with the beginner package (ticket, rentals, one hour group lesson).  It wasn't very busy and that one hour group turned into a one hour semi-private followed by a one hour private with a great instructor who even refused a tip after spending so much voluntary time with her.

 

Anyway, when we met up with her after the lesson, she was riding the beginner chairlift and coming down the short flat bunny hill in a nice gliding wedge.  I spent a few runs skiing with her trying to help her practice and continue improving.  Basically just skiing backwards slowly and having her follow me.  Giving basic reminders of where she should be pressuring her ski to make the right turn to follow me.  She was having fun and getting more confident, but the real problem was that she seemed incapable of really engaging her inside edges.  Basically, she'd be pointed straight down the hill in a wedge and could pressure one ski or the other to kind of drift back and forth across the hill while still being pointed straight down.  Watching her I could see she was trying to make the right motion but didn't seem to be able to tip the ski enough.  Knowing she'd taken up running last year, on the second run I asked her if there was anything special about her running shoes and she said she had special ones that were supposed to compensate for the fact that she normally walked almost entirely on the outside edge of her foot.  Sounds like we've identified the cause of our troubles.

 

So of course the obvious thing to do would be buy boots and have a boot fitter make the same kind of adjustments to the ski boots.  But this was her first time and she's not ready to drop hundreds of dollars on equipment until she's sure she likes it.  So my question is whether there's anything that can be done on trip two while still in rental boots that can help her progress further.  I think if she could get past this small problem she'd be capable of tackling slightly more difficult greens from the top and that would open up a lot.  She would be taking another lesson, but I'd like to be able to offer some more help while she's practicing afterward.

 

I did suggest she take a look at those running shoes to see if the special part was a removable insole she could stick in the rental boots.

post #3 of 9

Hey Curih, poor as in too loose boot fit could be a problem, balance and stance could be a problem. Another way of seeing what you saw, maybe her problem isn't engaging the left edge but disengaging the right one to go right? Are her feet under or outside her hips when she tries to turn? 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hmm, I don't think disengaging is an issue because they're never really engaged much.  Pressuring both to stop was just as much a problem.

 

I'd say feet more under than outside.  Stance wasn't particularly wide.  Definitely tended to lean back onto her heels which certainly won't help anything.

post #5 of 9

If she's naturally way on her outside edges, it'll be hard to get onto the inside edges at all.  Makes turning a bit tricky, as your outside ski will always want to track away from you.

 

The 'right' fix is to modify the side-to-side canting of either the boot sole or the binding, neither of which you can do in rentals.  In theory, you could try a few layers of duct tape on one side of the boot sole/binding to test if it helps, but this can mess up the binding's ability to release and is not a good long-term fix.

 

If she has custom footbeds/orthotics in her running shoes, you could *try* using those in the ski boots.  If she's bow-legged, though, you'll probably need to have the actual angle of the boot relative to the binding changed to really fix it.

post #6 of 9

 I'm a bit confused by the description of the turns. Lots of contradictory information.  Most importantly is the idea that additional edge angle is possible in a narrow gliding wedge where the feet are under the body. The only way to do that is to ski in a knock kneed stance. The inside leg is too much in the way for any other outcome to occur. It's also questionable if she needed more edge angle if she is doing a gliding wedge. Sounds like you were teaching a blocking wedge, or trying to get her to carve with the outside ski. Both are nearly impossible for a newbie who is in a hip width wedged stance.

My recommendation is to put her in a full day, or multiple day lesson where the pro can help her work through these issues and recommend whatever equipment changes she may need. Including alignment issues. BTW, Fundamental Skill development takes time and the best solution is more experience and mileage with one coach. If that's you great, if not then it gets a bit confusing for the student. Too many cooks spoil the dish...

JASP

Alpine Staff Trainer

KSRS

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by curih View Post

 So my question is whether there's anything that can be done on trip two while still in rental boots that can help her progress further.  I think if she could get past this small problem she'd be capable of tackling slightly more difficult greens from the top and that would open up a lot.  She would be taking another lesson, but I'd like to be able to offer some more help while she's practicing afterward.

 

Curih spend some time with her in the rental shop to make sure she gets a good fitting boot; you know how a boot should feel, she doesn't. Make sure they're buckled properly. I've had a never ever student who had good stance & movements in the beginners area who lost control over her skis when taken to slightly steeper terrain. My bad, i failed to check her two upper buckles because the two lower ones were tight enough.

 

Sounds like she is comfortable with riding the lift. A half day lesson should get her turning or highlight an alignment issue if there is one.The instructor will be more than happy after the lesson to discuss her progress and some things to do.

 

When practicing with her make sure she looks where she wants to go, never down at her skis. Do not let her hands drop down, maybe try a few runs without poles. While she is in her skis on the flat, have her take her stance and reach both hands forward and try to touch yours; keep yours just far enough away that she has to move forward until she can feel the boot supporting her shins, then move a little bit more. After she feels that, ask her to move back, towards the back seat, she'll feel no support.   

 

It's great to of you to bring new folks into our sport, especially considering the time you are willing to spend with your friend. Good Luck.

post #8 of 9

Hi curih,

 

Some good advise by jasp and others.  Canting can be an issue and rental equipment is not known to fit the greatist.  Taking the time and trying different rental boots that fit around the ankle and leg may help along with her foot bed if it can be used.  

 

Learning leg rotation can also help.  Both legs need to me rotated in the direction of the turn for the wedge turn to to work.  If she is meerly just pressing on the outside ski to turn, the edge may not engage and move the ski along it's length.  If she is pushing the heel out instead of rotating the leg, this causes the ski to travel in the direction of the push.

 

A qualified instructor can analize her movements and get her turning.

 

Ron

post #9 of 9

take 2 trails maps, fold them in half and shove it the inside of both of her boot between the liner and the shell.....

 

....its not exact but at least it might give her something to turn against

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