Hi, im pretty new to skiing, i live in the uk and have been skiing st a snow dome a couple of times now. The first 3 times i went i went with friends, I had never been on skis before. I went up half way and they tried to teach me how to do the snow plough, i couldnt really get the hang of it to be honest, just slowly ended up gaining more speed and couldnt stop. So i kindof went straight onto parrallel, and the next 2 times i just practiced this, i can ski, and feel comfortable in parrallel. I actually got a lesson today, and they tried to teach me to snow plough i could do it and control my speed on a small slope, but when i went higher, i could kindof stay slow, but couldnt come to a complete stop. Long story short i dont think i can make the snow plough wide enough. After a few times my calves are really sore. When i was off the skis i tried to put my feet in the snow plough possition and cant really get my feet that far rotated in the snow plough driection, but can get them over 180 degrees in the other direction. Does anyone have any recomendations of any stretches that may help, or what i can do. Apparently one of my friends cant snow plough either, but is a really good skiier, is the snow plough essential? I mean when i was skiing parrallel i was comfortable going over jumps and rails, the only problem is that i cant really slow down with the snow plough, i have to try and put in a turn, which can be awkward inbetween the rails. I was just wondering if anyone had come across this before and if anyone had any recomendations? cheers
Wow, jumps and rails after 3 visits!
It can be tricky to maintain a snowplough in turns on steeper slopes but I suspect the difficulty you encountered may be as much to do with the way your friends taught you as an inability on your part. You say you can stop on gentle terrain using it and it's really on easier terrain and at lower speeds that it's effective for slowing down/ stopping.
If you have a physical difficulty getting into a snowplough, it's more likely due to tightness in your glutes than in your feet. It's chiefly these muscles that rotate the femur in the hip socket. Check out some good stretches on Youtube. There'll be loads on there but make it part of a balnced training programme.
As for whether or not you need the snowplough, I would say probably yes but having not seen the level you ski at it's difficult to say categirically. I would always take a novice through first turns using the plough. What I would definitely advise though is to get a few lessons from a qualified instructor. They know how to develop your skiing properly. Time spent now developing sound fundamental skills will pay dividends even though you sound impatient to go fast. Believe me that approach will get you doing what you want to and experiencing the real thrill of skiing much more quickly.
I am also from England and ski regularly on an indoor snow slope. They're great facilities if used well.
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The angle of the skis to each other is not nearly as important as the angle of the ski base to the snow, If you can keep the ski bases flat on the snow, it will not matter much how far apart you get your feet, you won't slow down much. Your feet need to tip to the inside, i.e. toward each other to engage the the inside edges. You need to do it equally or you will start to turn. Make sense?
Firstly I should clear up i put rails, but i ment box rails haha. I think you hit the nail on the head i just want to go quick, and do jumps and things straight away, probably because all my friends are good skiiers, and im not really bothered if i fall over and hurt myself. I was thinking that stretches would help, but i wasnt sure what muscles, so cheers for that. today the instructor said i used to much edge when trying to snoplough? I think that i will do the stretching and see what i am like next week, because i am going to do a lesson a week, and will hopefully be ready to go skiing after christmas.
Sounds good. I'm sure you'll make good progress. Using too much edge is often caused by tension and being a bit defensive. This causes you to clamp the knees together and the skis to rail along their inside edges. Are they tending to want to cross as well? Relax, particularly around the hip area and allow your legs to diverge naturally. This will create some edging. Have a look at videos (again youtube is a good source) of instructors demonstrating the snowplough.
I've found down the years that footballers are often a bit slower in their progress and get frustrated, not because of their build or by any lack of athleticism but more because they try to muscle the skis around. This tends ot lead to all sorts of problems. Remember that the skis are highly engineered pieces of kit designed to turn if you put them in the right place. The movements you make need to be subtle, another reason to have good instruction.
I found this. It's brief but a good idea of what I mean. Nice and relaxed with good symmetry. The way the legs diverge causes the skis to edge slightly. Its about 1/2 way through the level1 video. http://www.skinewgen.com/find-your-level/ski-levels.html
thanks for the advice, its just a bit frustrating, as i can parrallel ski, but i cant do the most basic snow plough, but i will try all of the advice for next week, i was trying to get the skis on the edges while sno ploughing, i thought that was the idea. I think i do try and muscle the skis a bit aswell.
Sorry to go on a bit about this point Thompa but just think what happens to your feet as you push both legs apart, they naturally tilt a little. Trying to develop edge angles will come later. Work through the stages.
I hope this doesn't sound negative but I would imagine that when you say you are skiing parallell you are probably throwing the skis round in a roughly parallell relation to one another. Watch some of the good skiers on the hill and see what they do. Their upper bodies should be quiet and the turning effort is coming from the legs. This should be what you aspire to.
Good luck. It's a fantastic and all consuming journey.
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Excellent points about stretching the glutes. The reason for that is the foot rotation to make a wedge (snowplow) doesn't come from the knee or the ankle, it comes from the hip. And as far as the idea that your legs are too muscular to ski effectively, take a look at Bode Miller or any other World Cup skier. Their legs are like tree trunks, as muscular as Didier Drogba any day. Also, if you're a soccer player, I seriously doubt you really have an inability to rotate your foot in the manner necessary. You just don't realize you can do it. Can you a dribble a ball straight ahead using the outside of your foot, with your shoulders square to your direction of travel? I couldn't have survived 20 years of competitive soccer without that ability, so I'm guessing you probably have that ability as well. That rotation is pretty much the same rotation you need to make a wedge. The ability to relate your motions to soccer will be invaluable. I totally agree with the idea of not muscling the skis too much. You don't try to outmuscle the ball on the pitch, don't do it to skis on a pitch, either. Think about the type of energy you put into crisp, precise, foot-to-foot passing, not the type of energy you put into a shot on goal. That will give you a better idea of the type of power you need to put into your skis.
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This would be a lot easier if you could post a video of you doing a snowplough. But based merely on your description, this would be my analysis.
You're pushing (muscling) your skis out to make the snowplough. Your legs would probably be fairly straight and far out from you (hence causing the high edge your instructor points out). You're on your heels and bracing your legs against the snow to create a frictional resistance to slow down. A tiring movement that works only on the flattest of slopes.
The snowplough is a technical movement that a child with their muscular strength can perform. It is the shape of the snowplough and how you achieve that shape that makes it work. A simple way to explain the movement would be, 'stand on your toes and point your heels out'. (In reality it's more around the ball of the foot region rather than toes). From this basic pivoting out movement, you then increase the distance between the tails of your skis.
My experience with footballers is that they can tend to be stronger in one leg (the leg they kick with more often). This makes for uneven movements when performing a snowplough. Both legs have to move equally and simultaneously.
Many self-taught skiers don't like to learn the snowplough when they come to lessons for many reasons. It has its purposes though. And if anything, it's really useful in lift lines.
well went for a lesson today, dont know what i was doing before, but i managed to stop with the snowplough no bother whatsoever, so i guess that the above advice has helped, also got signed off for the intermediate level, even though i was doing the beginner 3 course :) cheers for all the advice
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Sounds like you were having trouble higher up the hill, which I assume is slightly steeper than the bottom? If that's the case, then it makes sense that a snowplow is getting difficult. While a snowplow is definitely an essential skill to have in your repertoire, its really hard on your hips to try to use it for speed control while you're heading straight down a steep slope. Kids can do it, cause they're little freaks of nature with rubber for bones, but us grownups are better served by other techniques. Once you start to increase your speed and/or hit steeper slopes, its much easier on your legs to control speed though turning.
If you're looking to control speed in a straight line to hit rails, and comfortable sliding on parallel skis, you might want to try hockey stops/sideslipping to keep your speed where you want it.
yeah i have been controling my speed through turning, and am comfortable doing so, can even do it going pretty quickly now. The only thing that was bothering me was the fact that i couldnt seem to do the most simple thing, so i wanted to make sure i learned how to do this before i tried learning new things. Now i can do that no bother i am much happier, and cant wait to get back on some skis