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what did you learn, explore or improve upon this yr that made you a better, well rounded skier?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

For me it was just getting out there and putting in the time** and facing variations (with terrain, weather and even types of snow) with both more confidence and competence...and knowing when it's time to ramp it up and be more aggressive/powerful vs when to approach things with more technique/finesse ...and when to do both.

 

during the summer I will definitely get in MUCH better ski shape starting in aug/sept doing ski specific workouts (etc)....hope to continue to take more ski camps next yr too (aside from Dave Murray at Whistler and the Harb ski school I've heard of...feel free to suggest others, too, in western canada or the usa)

 

**out skiing 43 days out so far...still aiming for 50+  ....am an intermediate looking to improve each yr I'm able (at whistler summit series i'm in 'cautious black'/advanced blue classes)...age 49 who just got back into skiing 2 yrs ago after being away nearly 20 yrs...and even way back then I was only a beginner...bu tI always wanted to really 'get into' the sport to try my best at it...now that has finally been happening...better later than never, I guess.


Edited by canali - 4/13/11 at 4:16pm
post #2 of 41

For me i learned to to ski moguls a lot better and enjoy them now. Also my cliff jumping has improved from before.

post #3 of 41

I'm sure this has been done many times before, but it felt to me like I was discovering something new. Anyway this is what I did:

I was up at Grouse Mountain last weekend, skiing in overcast, spring-like conditions. I was wanting to check up on the shape of my turns, so I would stop and look up the slope to try to see my tracks, but the cut-up snow made it impossible to distinguish my tracks from all the others. I decided to try doing a run directly below the chairlift, between the chairlift pylons. As I rode back up on the chairlift, I could clearly make out my ski tracks and see the shape of my turns. By the look of the tracks, I can see that I'm not carving as much as I could, but I'm not too concerned about always carving. My turns could be more rounded, from the ski tracks it appeared that I do mostly short radius turns connected by a straight line, rather than smoothly linking one turn to the next. This could cause problems with speed control, and I must admit that, as an intermediate skier, I do have a bit of trouble in this area, getting faster and faster as I progress down the run and then having to dump speed with a "hockey stop". This was an interesting way to give myself feedback on my skiing, and didn't require the expense of an instructor. I wouldn't say this has made me a better skier, but it has started me thinking in a new way about my skiing. Who knows, maybe I'm on the verge of a breakthrough! Too bad the ski season is almost over.   ......

post #4 of 41

Never had this many ski days in a season before. I think overall my confidence for a wide variety of conditions has gone up.

 

And I've started to huck small cliffs and rocks, something I probably wouldn't of done in the past.

post #5 of 41

More comfortable in steep terrain.

 

More comfortable understanding snow science.

 

Better at walking up the hill and skiing switch.

post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 

I do like this link below...and can really relate to the 'skiing the steeps' and reaching down and focusing with the pole plant'...(and finishing my turns more up hill to slow down speed)....can't wait 'til next yr when I'm in better mental and physical shape to take on the hills again http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/rentals/school/sss_tips.htm 

post #7 of 41

I came accross Ricks (your ski coach) site & found it interesting. I never bought the DVDS yet but I tried some of the drills he talked about & tried skiing one ski like in the short video clip & I could not believe how much easier it was skiing. ( I was a prety good skier to begin with i.e., a friend of mine knew I was @ Lake Louise a year latter from my last visit because he saw my tracks & just by the tracks he knew I was there & I dont ski out of bounds)

post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 

Powder Jet:

I did buy Rick's series last yr and only reviewed the first 2 tapes (of 6 I believe thus far) ...yeah yeah, I know...nonono2.gif my bad....anyway, it has scored good reviews...that said, the narrational tone is bland (very monotone at times)....given Rick's obviously exceptional skiing skills, IMO he just needs to tweak it to make it more entertaining to watch (esp when we're learning something new).

...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder Jet View Post

I came accross Ricks (your ski coach) site & found it interesting. I never bought the DVDS yet but I tried some of the drills he talked about & tried skiing one ski like in the short video clip & I could not believe how much easier it was skiing. ( I was a prety good skier to begin with i.e., a friend of mine knew I was @ Lake Louise a year latter from my last visit because he saw my tracks & just by the tracks he knew I was there & I dont ski out of bounds)



 

post #9 of 41

I learned that there's a new ripper on the mountain and that I better up my game if I want to hold off the charge. Seriously, though, I picked up a little something about learning from skiing a little with this guy. His second or third time out was with me, after a couple lessons. I couldn't get him to do any of the things the instructor did, and I was getting frustrated. Finally I just told him to follow me, at first with me skiing switch, later just looking over my shoulder. He just took off and started turning where I did and he hasn't stopped since. Lesson: skiing is much more intuitive than we think, sometimes.

 

jagixepic.jpg

 

post #10 of 41


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I learned that there's a new ripper on the mountain and that I better up my game if I want to hold off the charge. 


You didn't have to put "seriously" at the front of the next sentence. Because no joke there.  wink.gif

post #11 of 41


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I learned that there's a new ripper on the mountain and that I better up my game if I want to hold off the charge. Seriously, though, I picked up a little something about learning from skiing a little with this guy. His second or third time out was with me, after a couple lessons. I couldn't get him to do any of the things the instructor did, and I was getting frustrated. Finally I just told him to follow me, at first with me skiing switch, later just looking over my shoulder. He just took off and started turning where I did and he hasn't stopped since. Lesson: skiing is much more intuitive than we think, sometimes.

 

jagixepic.jpg

 


My son is now in college. I remember the stages he went through, all fun times. He idolized me. He imitated me. He matched me. He surpassed me. And I can think of a particular run for each time he transitioned onward. One day in the Palisades, he straight-lined Extra Chute with his friends. He was on his own there. Squaw Valley top of headwall 99.jpgIn this photo, he is still very happy to ski with me and learn from me. awesome days.

 

post #12 of 41

good season for figuring out stuff (not that I perfected any of it) but the biggest thing was that I was dropping my right arm (turning left to right when the right arm is up mtn) on steeper terrain and in the trees: Phil spotted this and It changed things quickly, keeping the arms/shoulders level with the terrain kept my COM stacked and body moving forward into the new turn. When dropping that arm, its was causing rotation with the left arm twisting my body and getting in the back seat, while trying to balance.   I am working on being aware and correctling this. It really helped.  The other thing was honestly going to the Lange RX pro's. (yes Bush, gulping the cool aid!  biggrin.gif

 

 

post #13 of 41

For me it was focusing on the fundamentals; namely, shoulders facing down the fall line, staying centered over my skis, a quiet upper body, proper pole plants.  I also regularly did a traverse drill on steeper terrain where I would reach down with the downhill pole to shift more of my weight and better balance over the downhill ski and get the angulation for better edge grip.  That drill helped a bunch in showing me the body positioning I needed to control speed on the steeps and moved me up a notch in confidence on steeper terrain.  

post #14 of 41

After skiing most of the season on small groomers (western PA rolleyes.gif), I spent a week at the EpicSki Gathering skiing with some truly amazing skiers. Having them watch me and offer suggestions was great. Hopefully managed to improve my hand position (somewhat) and made my turns more fluid/efficient. I tend(ed) to set my edges too quickly (or, as Finndog said, I was stemming). I had a lot of trouble fixing this because I didn't know how to undo what I had been doing and didn't get how to transition. However, I was then offered the advice of listening to my skis and making sure that, as I transitioned, my skis were quiet. Listening to my skis REALLY helped. I would like to think that my carving became more fluid. It sure felt like it!

post #15 of 41

This season I continued to improove my ski racing skills.  I started skiing in an adult race program 4 years ago having never raced before and this year something must have clicked.  This was my 2nd season in BB Vet (over 40) and after not winning a single race last year I started out with a win in the first GS race of the season and went on to win 4 of the first 7 races, placing 3rd in two others and one DQ for missing a gate.  The last two wins in slalom gave me the two strikes I needed to bump up to A Vet. Only one more class to go, AA Vet My first weekend racing A Vet at our big combined weekend, I took a 6th in the super G, 3rd in GS and 2nd in Slalom giving me a 2nd overall for the combined (only 2 of us finished all 3 races, tough weekend).

 

I think my new Blizzard Race Mag SLR skis made a difference in my slalom, but I also think I am starting to react faster on the course instead of thinking first and then reacting.  I am taking cleaner and straighter lines and am starting to hit gates.  When I am free skiing in the trees or narrow trails and chutes, I am more confident now that I will make the turn I need to make.

 

I love the fact that at the ripe old age of 56 I can still be improving my skiing!

 

Rick G

post #16 of 41

PMTS

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post

PMTS


icon14.gif

 

post #18 of 41

I learned that pole straps are dangerous.  rolleyes.gif

post #19 of 41

Things that really helped this year-

Doing Masters races

Watching video/seeing pics

 

post #20 of 41

 

The physics of being a better skier

After spending most of a lifetime working on the physics of being a better skier, being comfortable on almost any terrain, any conditions, any speed, I stumbled on a small tweak that has made a tremendous difference, especially on hard surfaces at high speed.  I learned this by watching word cup racers.  When in a carve, take your downhill ski and slide it back, and quite a bit, even a foot.  When you see stills of GS or DH racers, you will always see this stance.

I took the time to analyze this stance.  Your knees are fully bent, as they should be to absorb terrain. If you are properly angulated, you are resisting the centrifugal force of the turn, and you can’t be knocked off your perch by those forces.  From a line perpendicular to your skis, your knees are forward of the line, your butt is back of the line, your shoulders and head are forward.  This serves to resist forward motion (gravity). You are in a very powerful perch atop your skis. 

But one thing is amiss here.  Your weight is averaged slightly back to resist the momentum and gravity and to anticipate terrain.  This stance centers your body weight slightly aft of your feet.  If you look at a still from the side at this point, it looks like you are sitting on a chair, with your upper body bent forward.  The action of sliding your downhill foot back puts your downhill foot more squarely right under your butt and increases the amount of your body weight that goes right into the carve.

Think of it this way:  The whole point of skiing more effortlessly at speed is to direct all three forces, centrifugal, gravity, and body weight into the sweet spot of the ski.  With the slightest wrong placement of body position, you can easily be sending one of these forces flying 10 feet beside or behind you.  Correctly positioned, you can spend more of your mental and physical effort making small adjustments to terrain.  This is how you can be seen to be flying effortlessly over even rough terrain.

You can, as I do, hold my own with good skiers half my age. 

post #21 of 41

Curious on that "pulling the downhill ski" back

 

I do just the opposite (that is, attempt to pull the inside ski back) and feel good for it!

 

 telemarkish.

 

I love the feeling of compactness and being right on top of my skis.

 

The world of options.....

 

Cal

 

 


Edited by Cgrandy - 4/23/11 at 10:03am
post #22 of 41

I had a very productive ski year-I got better across the board.  But the best thing I did was reacquaint myself with the 'hop'.  Yep, the old-fashioned hop-turn.  You know as an aspiring 'athletic' intermediate some years ago, I pretty much hopped my gaper butt down any slope with irregular terrain and steep pitch.  But, for about five years now I've eschewed all forms of hopping/ twisting in order to gain so-called expert skills.  In fact, I came to deride and dismiss all hopping as a 'cop-out'.  

 

That is, until this year.  One guy I ski with often, is one of the best 'bad-snow' skiers I know.  He uses skinny k2 crossfires in all conditions.  We had one day in some dense, off-the map east coast woods, all breakable crust on funky snow, and though I worked my way through it several times, I floundered, flailed, and hacked but never actually 'skied' any of it.   But my cohort, had no trouble-and I watched him, he used again and again this subtle, but effective little 'crud-hop' sometime little more than an aerial edge-change, other times a slight tip redirection and edge change-but he could do it without loss of fore/ aft balance and without sacrificing smoothly linked turns.  

 

I asked him (he is an instructor) to help me learn that move, and as it turns out, I actually sucked at hop-turns/ hop edge changes.  He taught me some good drills an I spent the next few weeks doing a number of hopping runs just working on smoothness, and staying centered and in balance at any speed (fast of slow) while hopping.  About a month later, in some trees at the Mittersill Area of Cannon, on similarly 'funky snow day' I busted out the 'crud-hop' and, frankly skied better, more fluidly, with more control (in terms of going where I wanted, when I wanted and not merely at the mercy of the mountain) than ever before.  I only hopped when it made sense or when there was no room to turn (or more specifically time to change edges traditionally), but man, this move opened up areas and lines that had me flailing a month earlier.

 

I know there are legions of folks on line who will dismiss any talk about hopping, let alone developing expert hop turns, as 'bad skiing' .  But I know that anyone who says they never hop is avoiding some terrain-snow condition combination.  If you are really going to ski the whole mountain, in ay condition, sooner or later you'll hop-and if you do, you might as well do the ground work to make sure that hop is an expert one, in balance, precise and effective.

post #23 of 41

Liam

 

I could use a little more "unweighted time" in many situations and conditions as well.  A technique that has been exercised more and more these past years is down unweighting.  or pulling the ski tales up behind me...for all the good reasons you mention.

 

Riding the ski "flat footed" is not always the best situation.

 

Thanks for the inspiration

post #24 of 41

The patience to impose your will on the hill.  This allows you to know what's going to happen before it happens.

post #25 of 41

that's why an experienced  skier just keeps adding methods, never eliminating a useful skill.

post #26 of 41

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougo View Post

 

The physics of being a better skier

After spending most of a lifetime working on the physics of being a better skier, being comfortable on almost any terrain, any conditions, any speed, I stumbled on a small tweak that has made a tremendous difference, especially on hard surfaces at high speed.  I learned this by watching word cup racers.  When in a carve, take your downhill ski and slide it back, and quite a bit, even a foot.  When you see stills of GS or DH racers, you will always see this stance.

I took the time to analyze this stance.  Your knees are fully bent, as they should be to absorb terrain. If you are properly angulated, you are resisting the centrifugal force of the turn, and you can’t be knocked off your perch by those forces.  From a line perpendicular to your skis, your knees are forward of the line, your butt is back of the line, your shoulders and head are forward.  This serves to resist forward motion (gravity). You are in a very powerful perch atop your skis. 

But one thing is amiss here.  Your weight is averaged slightly back to resist the momentum and gravity and to anticipate terrain.  This stance centers your body weight slightly aft of your feet.  If you look at a still from the side at this point, it looks like you are sitting on a chair, with your upper body bent forward.  The action of sliding your downhill foot back puts your downhill foot more squarely right under your butt and increases the amount of your body weight that goes right into the carve.

Think of it this way:  The whole point of skiing more effortlessly at speed is to direct all three forces, centrifugal, gravity, and body weight into the sweet spot of the ski.  With the slightest wrong placement of body position, you can easily be sending one of these forces flying 10 feet beside or behind you.  Correctly positioned, you can spend more of your mental and physical effort making small adjustments to terrain.  This is how you can be seen to be flying effortlessly over even rough terrain.

You can, as I do, hold my own with good skiers half my age. 

 

Perhaps you have the right idea, but your description is confusing.  In general, you should be balanced on your downhill (or outside) ski, which would make it impossible to pull it back.  For the most part, the only time this would not be the case would be at transition.  So if what you are saying is pulling back the old downhill/outside ski (which will become the inside ski) as you move into the new turn, then that would be correct.  Pulling back the inside ski will help lever you forward at the top of the turn.  However, for very aggressive turns (or bumps), this may not be sufficient.  For the kind of turns that world cup racers are making, they are generally pulling *both* feet back at transition.  This is because the aggressive flexion that is required to absorb the turn forces being generated moves your hips well behind the feet.  Fortunately, this is the "float" and during this time there is little to no actual weight on the skis.  To get back forward, you have to pull both feet back while you are light in transition.  It is this movement that levers your hips forward of your feet and combined with counteracting movement (as well as counterbalancing) puts you in position to apply maximum leverage to bend the ski.

 

 


Edited by geoffda - 4/23/11 at 6:30pm
post #27 of 41



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post

I had a very productive ski year-I got better across the board.  But the best thing I did was reacquaint myself with the 'hop'.  Yep, the old-fashioned hop-turn.  You know as an aspiring 'athletic' intermediate some years ago, I pretty much hopped my gaper butt down any slope with irregular terrain and steep pitch.  But, for about five years now I've eschewed all forms of hopping/ twisting in order to gain so-called expert skills.  In fact, I came to deride and dismiss all hopping as a 'cop-out'.  

 

That is, until this year.  One guy I ski with often, is one of the best 'bad-snow' skiers I know.  He uses skinny k2 crossfires in all conditions.  We had one day in some dense, off-the map east coast woods, all breakable crust on funky snow, and though I worked my way through it several times, I floundered, flailed, and hacked but never actually 'skied' any of it.   But my cohort, had no trouble-and I watched him, he used again and again this subtle, but effective little 'crud-hop' sometime little more than an aerial edge-change, other times a slight tip redirection and edge change-but he could do it without loss of fore/ aft balance and without sacrificing smoothly linked turns.  

 

I asked him (he is an instructor) to help me learn that move, and as it turns out, I actually sucked at hop-turns/ hop edge changes.  He taught me some good drills an I spent the next few weeks doing a number of hopping runs just working on smoothness, and staying centered and in balance at any speed (fast of slow) while hopping.  About a month later, in some trees at the Mittersill Area of Cannon, on similarly 'funky snow day' I busted out the 'crud-hop' and, frankly skied better, more fluidly, with more control (in terms of going where I wanted, when I wanted and not merely at the mercy of the mountain) than ever before.  I only hopped when it made sense or when there was no room to turn (or more specifically time to change edges traditionally), but man, this move opened up areas and lines that had me flailing a month earlier.

 

I know there are legions of folks on line who will dismiss any talk about hopping, let alone developing expert hop turns, as 'bad skiing' .  But I know that anyone who says they never hop is avoiding some terrain-snow condition combination.  If you are really going to ski the whole mountain, in ay condition, sooner or later you'll hop-and if you do, you might as well do the ground work to make sure that hop is an expert one, in balance, precise and effective.


Nice post Liam!  IMO, "good" hop turns are simply the far end of the spectrum of flexing in transition; i.e. full retraction of the skis up out of the snow for the purpose of making an edge change (as opposed to a direction change).  Turns made this way allow you to take the energy from the previous turn and use it to pop the skis out of the junk, switch edges and land with engagement in the high C portion of the turn.  Provided the edge change doesn't included a direction change, such a turn is very effective because it sets you up for speed control in the high C. 

 

A good drill to develop this skill is hopping edge changes.  Start stationary on a flat surface and simply try to hop by pulling your knees up and change edges.  The goal is to land on the new edges without exhibiting any change in direction; i.e the edges should be parallel with the grooves in the snow from the previous edges.  Once you can do this drill statically, try it dynamically.  On green terrain, try hopping your edge changes as described in the stationary drill above.  It helps to pick a target to aim at while you are changing edges.  If your skis are still pointing at the target after the edge change, you know you were successful.  To achieve a hopping edge change without a direction change for either drill, you must have strong counterbalancing skills and strong counteracting movments combined with strong tipping movements.

 

By contrast, hop turns that involve extension and twisting are not nearly as effective.  They are exhausting to perform and they either put you in the fall line immediately, or they require you to twist the skis in 180 degrees and land perpendicular to the fall line.  In either case, speed control is performed with a hard edge-set.  There are certainly places, where this might be the only option (namely a ski width corridor and either a level of steepness or snow condition that won't permit simply releasing the ski and letting it come around), but most skiers will never find themselves in conditions where this type of turn would truly be warranted.  Incidentally, even that type of hop turn is best executed using retraction to pull the feet off the snow and using anticipation to provide the rotation to swing the skis around. 

 

Skiers who routinely use this type of hop turn to deal with challenging conditions would be well served to develop the skills to execute the retraction based hop turn described in the first paragraph.  For skiers who already can perform the "good" hop turn, the challenge is to try to make the edge change without the full retraction in nasty conditions.  The essence of bad snow skiing (and for that matter all skiing) lies in having the ability (and confidence) to move patiently and deliberately from one set of edges to another to achieve engagement in the high C.  The less you have to retract to get this done, the less worked you will be by the time you get to the bottom. 
 

 


Edited by geoffda - 4/23/11 at 6:21pm
post #28 of 41

I learned that I need to figure out how to ski bumps if I ever hope to once again go "off-piste" out west.

 

I read a book once on success, and a big message was that you really need to work hard on things you suck at within an activity you wish to succeed in.  You need to focus most on the thing you are the worst at... so for me this means going to ski the bumps time and again till I get it right.  For the offseason, I found exercises that help with bump skiing, and I'm so stoked to do these to get bump-specific muscles/movements up and running.  I've also modified my lateral jumps to keep my hips and COM right above my feet instead of way to the side like in a carve.

 

 

 

What else?  Hmmmm....

 

 

I learned getting high-performance ski boots to fit your foot right is a royal pain in the ass.

 

170 cm--which once felt long--isn't enough ski.

 

Don't touch your base edges once they are set

 

If you're gonna hit the gas at 11,000 ft, you'd better have some Diamox and prednisone on hand.

 

Epicski is a great resource to get some tips, insight, information, and even motivation

post #29 of 41

I learned to get out of my own way.

post #30 of 41

Keep your knees bent and look about 30 feet in front of you rather than right were you.

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