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Dryland training to learn how to drop cliffs

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

First time skied after turning 45 and now about 5 years later I can ski moguls and trees and steeps reasonably well. However I would like to move on and be able to drop in places like CC or S &S in JH. Last season I dropped cornices along the Lake chutes in Breck. And although it was easy, it is a very open ski out and I don't think I did it right. It looks to me like an entirely different type of animal. Naturally I am quite a bit hesitant considering the advanced age and  lack of prior experience. I wonder whether there are any dry land exercises which simulate/imitate this type of activity (a very silly type at that) in order to reduce the risk of injury in an old fool like me. I googled the web and could not find anything. I realize that any terrain park is probably a good way to train for that.

 

post #2 of 25

I'm thinking jumping cliffs into swimming holes would help some. Make you feel better about being in the air.

post #3 of 25

An office down the hall from mine  had an amazing poster of a jump into S & S Coulour.

No skiers there (hint- I should have poached it).

 

I'd die for it but Bob Peters at Jackson Hole says it's been out of print for 20 or 30 years.

 

Never would I'd consider a jump into S & S, OTOH I've done CC -once was enough.

 

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

Spring board jump into a swimming pool? Not a bad idea. Will try that this summer.

 

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'm thinking jumping cliffs into swimming holes would help some. Make you feel better about being in the air.



This.  Not sure about out by you but here there's so many quarries, lakes, gaps and gorges to jump and jumping off of stuff (no matter the season) is 90% balls and familiarity.  The more you jump and the higher you go the less afraid you'll be to drop something on skis.  This year I've been practicing quite a bit already, and my highest jump so far was somewhere between 80ft (local height claim) and 70ft (my best estimation) and overcoming that mental obstacle- coming up with a mental plan and just not hesitating- is a very developmentally oriented skill.  You don't just stroll up, confident and cool the first time I don't care who you are.  Most people have a hard time overcoming the hesitation and anxiety that apprehension at heights creates and getting out and throwing yourself off something huge repeatedly will certainly help. (not to mention it's a great time!)   

 

My advice would be to start small, or around 20 feet or so and work your way up.  You won't need shoes until you get over 50 or so but def wear some foot protection on anything >50ft.  Contentrate on keeping your weight centered and stable on increasingly big jumps and remember in water you want to pencil dive into the water or you'll bruise your arms, etc.  Come winter time you'll know how to handle the mental aspect of sending it, and also how to handle yourself in the air.  The rest is up to you, the skis and the snow. 

 

Best of luck! 

 

post #6 of 25

Use one of those big trampolines for 10-20 minutes a day. Practice your hand positioning and pulling your knees towards your stomach and holding them there. Good luck!

post #7 of 25

Try waterski jumping. It feels like coming out of deep powder onto glare ice. Then air with a soft landing. Exhilirating, challenging and not too dangerous. Find a ski school or private lake and have some fun!

 

Eric

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

I am a great believer in simulation (I use it a lot in training residents how to perform various medical procedures). Most complex  motor skills can be broken in basic fundamental components, which could be trained separately before starting to perform an actual physical task, akin to what pilots do to prepare for certain tasks like emergency landing etc. I wonder if those of you who perform a lot of big air stuff can identify what those components are and how they can be imitated on dry land. For example, my personal experience with mogul skiing lead to believe that regular trampoline can be used to master absorption and extension w/o jumpimg in the air. This movement on the trampoline can be very similar to the sensation in the bumps.

post #9 of 25

find stuff like this.

 

Jumper = Elizabeth McClure, photo = Erik Suvanto

 

247934_10150201535760000_669099999_7298914_3360821_n.jpg

 

repeat

post #10 of 25

I think swimming holes like that one are great because it has a bit of a sniper landing. You have to have some ense of where you are going when you send it. Unlike a quarry (which may be a great place to start working on the "balls" aspect of it). Also, I think dirt-jumping or bike park riding will be good for learning to orient your self for the transition.

post #11 of 25
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/103984/epicski-drill-of-the-day 

 

 Drills 12 & 15 beercheer.gif



These drills are awesome!

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/103984/epicski-drill-of-the-day 

 

 Drills 12 & 15 beercheer.gif

These are unquestionably good drills. However, I would like to define the goals and the ways to achieve them. For example in mogul skiing there are few very clear movements which help with speed control, and could be trained separately: 1. Short radius turn, 2. Absorption; 3. Extension; 4. Retraction/ Backpedaling etc. What are those components in  successfully dropping let say 10 feet, besides psychological issues. Is there something like a diagram what body position should be during different stages of being in the air and landing stages? Knowing these parameters may help to design the type of exercises necessary to form an appropriate motor memory. I'll give an example of such a creative approach I saw on line http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=067n1oRiwLA. This exercise can help to learn how to balance on uphill ski at the end of a turn. I realize that if one spend 40-100 days a year on slopes it is the best practice for any type of skiing. But people who can ski only 12-20 days a year and want to learn something new, like tree skiing or bumps or air might benefit tremendously from visualizing correct movements and practicing them on dry land. That definitely helped me to progress from being a point blank beginner at 45 to reasonably confident advanced bump/tree skier in just 4 seasons. I remember that last year I saw a diagram/animation put by someone on EPICSki for correct bump skiing and it was a great help to create a mental image of what need to be practiced to get there. I wonder if someone could do the same for jumping of cornices and cliffs (even small ones).

 

post #14 of 25

You are over thinking this.

 

I never hit any cliffs till this past season. I started small and worked up to 10' this winter which is still pretty small. It is actually simple to do if you pick the right cliff. Just ski off the edge in balance, land on your feet and ski away. No special technique required. The important stuff is picking your spot. Scouting your line before you hit the drop, checking out what the snow is like (hopefully deep powder or loose soft snow), how steep is the landing (you want is nicely ramped, not flat), how fast do I need to go to hit the transition (start with ones where you can just roll off at about a running pace), what other risks are involved in doing the drop (don't land on a rock, bro).

 

As far as dry land training, maybe just shot gun a beer and punch your self in the face, at least that will put you in a proper frame of mind.biggrin.gif

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

You are over thinking this.

 

I never hit any cliffs till this past season. I started small and worked up to 10' this winter which is still pretty small. It is actually simple to do if you pick the right cliff. Just ski off the edge in balance, land on your feet and ski away. No special technique required. The important stuff is picking your spot. Scouting your line before you hit the drop, checking out what the snow is like (hopefully deep powder or loose soft snow), how steep is the landing (you want is nicely ramped, not flat), how fast do I need to go to hit the transition (start with ones where you can just roll off at about a running pace), what other risks are involved in doing the drop (don't land on a rock, bro).

 

As far as dry land training, maybe just shot gun a beer and punch your self in the face, at least that will put you in a proper frame of mind.biggrin.gif


^^^^What he said. It's not like the park, and it's not like jumping into a quarry. You just ride off of an edge, plummet a little bit, and ride away with some speed. If anything, a ramp without much lip to it in the park is probably the best simulation. It's all about stomping the landing and being prepared to be skiing with some speed when you hit the ground. Nothing on dry land comes close.
 

 

post #16 of 25

Try to straightline the line next to the cliff drop to get an idea of the acceleration and required stability for the landing/ski-out.

post #17 of 25

Maybe watch a few Shane McConkey movies. The cliff jumping gure wirh the biggest balls of all!

 

OTOH, don't even think of trying anything he's done.

eek.gif

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

You are over thinking this.

 

I never hit any cliffs till this past season. I started small and worked up to 10' this winter which is still pretty small. It is actually simple to do if you pick the right cliff. Just ski off the edge in balance, land on your feet and ski away. No special technique required. The important stuff is picking your spot. Scouting your line before you hit the drop, checking out what the snow is like (hopefully deep powder or loose soft snow), how steep is the landing (you want is nicely ramped, not flat), how fast do I need to go to hit the transition (start with ones where you can just roll off at about a running pace), what other risks are involved in doing the drop (don't land on a rock, bro).

 

As far as dry land training, maybe just shot gun a beer and punch your self in the face, at least that will put you in a proper frame of mind.biggrin.gif



Yes.  I thought I was the only one who shotgunned beers and punched myself in the face!  SUCH a great exercise!     

 

Imo, the control in the air is huge.  If you lose balance in the air or on takeoff, you're going to land weird and it's going to be way harder to recover and make your next turn if you land it at all.  Considering most of the good drops here on the EC are in the woods, or on steep or sketchy faces this is a very important thing to keep in mind and be ready for.  One drop in particular I like to hit someone followed me off of and later told me "Dude, you skied that drop just like the rest of the run!" and it stuck with me, as staying smooth and not getting rattled has become my goal in drops more and more.  Maintaining flow, y'know?   

 

I'll also X2 on the swimming hole stuff, as it mixes in a little uncertainty in respect to your landing zone, which you'll need to handle effectively on skis as well.  Def great to keep working on that stuff!   

 

 

 

All this talk of being airborne and hucking stuff has got me moist. 

 

post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 

I think this discussion needs a little reset. I do get it that just trying it out and learning from your own mistakes, face-plants, yard-sales etc., will eventually get you there. I have done plenty of that and I am already dropping some rocks (ugly show it might be though). But that is not what I am talking about. I have been teaching medical students and residents for a couple decades and came to realize that some critical clinical skills and procedures (like intubating tracheas, placing big intravenous central catheters etc) in order to be performed SAFELY on actual patients need to be practiced at least partially on something else. Notice, that this is not the prevailing current practice. Traditionally you let your residents to learn and practice their first procedures on real patients, and if they make a wrong move and patients suffer a complication, oh well, it is a teaching hospital after all...    Not a great approach on close examination, considering that alternatives can be found. Of course I could let them have themselves punched in the face and just go for it (no beer though) and experience couple of those bone shuttering landings and embarrassing yard sales, so to speak. That is exactly how I learned more than 20 years ago, before I became pretty good with what I do in life. But personally I find it unacceptable and now I teach my trainees in a simulated environment before they move to practice on real patients, which is safe for their future patients and themselves, litigation wise. The approach I use, is breaking every critical skill in a few basic element which could be addressed separately and practiced to the point of proficiency. When proficiency is achieved those elements can be merged into one whole in a dynamic way. This is exactly what I an looking for when it comes to skiing. A good example of it is Chuck Martin series of youtube segments on bump skiing (the best in my opinion) or Harald Harbs stuff on the web (don't attack me for that, because I think he is great, I don't care what anyone says). Their stuff does not always directly translate in actual dryland exercises but it definitely demonstrates essential elements of successful technique. From there it is only a little step to design appropriate imitations, akin to medical simulation. 

 To give another analogy, let say Tyrone Shoelaces (sorry for using you as an example, but you seem to be great with dropping awesome stuff) becomes a grandfather. Let say, for the sake of this analogy, his own daughter happened to have very little esteem for all this dangerous stuff her own father has been doing all his life, and, naturally is very reluctant to let her precious son to go out and ski with his doting grandpa. And she gave a very firm and clear warning that god forbid if anything happens during this skiing outings... Anyways, the kid ( 8 yo) is getting actually quite good at skiing and begging his grandpa to teach him how to jump cliffs. What are the essential elements of proper SAFE technique  Tyrone would  have to tell about, over and over again to his beloved grandson, and how would he prepare him for that. Besides shotgunning beer and teaching how to effectively punch yourself in the face, which has been ruled out by his daughter for some vague reasons.

post #20 of 25

Check out Chapter 6 of the book, "Ski The Whole Mountain".

 

I think that breaks it down into more of what you are looking for.. no dryland tips though.

post #21 of 25



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post

I think this discussion needs a little reset. I do get it that just trying it out and learning from your own mistakes, face-plants, yard-sales etc., will eventually get you there. I have done plenty of that and I am already dropping some rocks (ugly show it might be though). But that is not what I am talking about. I have been teaching medical students and residents for a couple decades and came to realize that some critical clinical skills and procedures (like intubating tracheas, placing big intravenous central catheters etc) in order to be performed SAFELY on actual patients need to be practiced at least partially on something else. Notice, that this is not the prevailing current practice. Traditionally you let your residents to learn and practice their first procedures on real patients, and if they make a wrong move and patients suffer a complication, oh well, it is a teaching hospital after all...    Not a great approach on close examination, considering that alternatives can be found. Of course I could let them have themselves punched in the face and just go for it (no beer though) and experience couple of those bone shuttering landings and embarrassing yard sales, so to speak. That is exactly how I learned more than 20 years ago, before I became pretty good with what I do in life. But personally I find it unacceptable and now I teach my trainees in a simulated environment before they move to practice on real patients, which is safe for their future patients and themselves, litigation wise. The approach I use, is breaking every critical skill in a few basic element which could be addressed separately and practiced to the point of proficiency. When proficiency is achieved those elements can be merged into one whole in a dynamic way. This is exactly what I an looking for when it comes to skiing. A good example of it is Chuck Martin series of youtube segments on bump skiing (the best in my opinion) or Harald Harbs stuff on the web (don't attack me for that, because I think he is great, I don't care what anyone says). Their stuff does not always directly translate in actual dryland exercises but it definitely demonstrates essential elements of successful technique. From there it is only a little step to design appropriate imitations, akin to medical simulation. 

 To give another analogy, let say Tyrone Shoelaces (sorry for using you as an example, but you seem to be great with dropping awesome stuff) becomes a grandfather. Let say, for the sake of this analogy, his own daughter happened to have very little esteem for all this dangerous stuff her own father has been doing all his life, and, naturally is very reluctant to let her precious son to go out and ski with his doting grandpa. And she gave a very firm and clear warning that god forbid if anything happens during this skiing outings... Anyways, the kid ( 8 yo) is getting actually quite good at skiing and begging his grandpa to teach him how to jump cliffs. What are the essential elements of proper SAFE technique  Tyrone would  have to tell about, over and over again to his beloved grandson, and how would he prepare him for that. Besides shotgunning beer and teaching how to effectively punch yourself in the face, which has been ruled out by his daughter for some vague reasons.

 

Let me walk your throught a cliff huck. 

 

1. roll off the edge in balance.

2. fall.

3. stomp the landing (so you don't get compessed and land too far in the back seat / potentially knee yourself in the face).

4. recover / rebalance yourself

5. ski away.

 

 

post #22 of 25
post #23 of 25

Um, that's not Lower Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, NY, is it? 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

find stuff like this.

 

Jumper = Elizabeth McClure, photo = Erik Suvanto

 

247934_10150201535760000_669099999_7298914_3360821_n.jpg

 

repeat



 

post #24 of 25

Back in the day, Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA had large sand erosion "cliffs" we used to jump off. Depending on how fast we ran off the top, we could drop 10-20 feet vertical into a super soft, steep sandy slope. Side bonus: great exercise clambering back up. Maybe not super helpful for practicing ski-like technique (arms and legs flailing at take-off), but really fun.

post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 

I actually started to use my backyard trampoline to practice the sensation of staying balanced in the air (not necessarily a routine feeling for a 51 yo). But instead of taking off with stiff straight legs I partially use the rebound to let my knees come close to my chest with hands holding imaginary skis in front of me. On the way down I extend my legs to meet the trampoline while keeping my hands out in front (holding actual poles helps). As I land I completely absorb the trampoline impact (w/o jumping off in the air), to imitate the soft snow impact.Repeat ad nauseum. Obviously it does not simulate the forward movement either during the flight or on landing but it is still a good exercise to practice legs bending and keeping feet behind the CM  while staying balanced in the middle of the jump, and also extending legs and absorbing impact. My wife tells me that I act and look like a total dick, while doing it, and the kids second this notion.Oh well... Need to make a movie of it and post it for constructive public criticism. may be later.

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