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Powder difficulties

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi there, 

 

I switched from snowboarding to skiing a few seasons ago. On the groomers I'm pretty confident, especially if they are in good condition I easily find a good rhythm to my skiing and can carve well in an aggressive and deep position. When the snow gets variable or deeper, it gets a lot more difficult but during the last two weeks or so I've been able to improve on it slightly. 

 

When filmed, however, I can see myself lifting my inside leg as I go into the turn and I can't seem to be able to get rid of this annoying habit. Any suggestions as to what might be the root cause behind this and/or how to get rid of it? 

 

I'm skiing rockered skiis and Full Tilts. I have the flex 10 tongue, which I think may have a bit to do with my problem as I can't seem to bring myself to be in a forward enough position most of the time due to the stiffness of the boot. The medium forward lean might not be enough also - however, with my previous boots I tried the most forward lean setting, but it was way too hard for my quads. (Even though as cyclist, I should have enough power to ski OK..) I'm fairly lightweight at 6' and 150 lbs. Feel free to point out if my logic is flawed, though!

 

The video isn't the best possible, but it's what I have available now. First you see the three short runs in normal speed and then in slow motion. 

 

 

Cheers!

post #2 of 14
I would check into your boot alignment.
post #3 of 14
Welcome to EpicSki, dFiz. Your video is spectacular! (Where was it shot?)

But you're right--it is of little use for much technical analysis of your skiing. I do see one thing in it, though, that may well contribute to your problem of lifting that inside ski at the initiation. Lifting that leg (while extending, or at least maintaining the length of, the uphill leg) helps you to move down the hill, across your skis, and into the new turn. It's not a bad way to accomplish that when needed. But the error is in needing it in the first place.

When turns link smoothly and seamlessly, at the initiation of a new turn your body will already be traveling in a path that crosses the path of your feet. But your turns in that clip tend not to link seamlessly. You tend to finish each turn and then stop moving your body momentarily, causing a "dead spot" and a brief traverse between turns. Since you've stopped moving, you then need to get your body moving down the hill and across your skis again to start the next turn--hence, the lifting of the downhill ski. "The lift" is not an error or a problem in itself. It is an appropriate solution to a different problem. Eliminate that problem, and you won't need the "solution" anymore!

In the clip, compare your tracks in the run that begins at 0:17 to the set of tracks of the skier who preceded you. Your turns were not just larger--the tracks show the straight-ish traverses between the turns that I'm describing. And when you watch yourself skiing that line, you can see the hesitation of your movements between the turns.

In theory, at least, the solution is simple. All you need to do to link your turns better is to start each new turn just a moment sooner. But that may be easier said than done, and a lesson with a qualified pro would help you discover the right movements and timing better than anything anyone can suggest here in text. Still here are a few suggestions: Keep moving. Eliminate the traverse. Strive to finish each turn in what I call "neutral"--which is literally the position, sensation, and attitude from which the next turn begins. Visualize turns as "across-the-hill S's" that go from fall line to fall line, rather than as "C's" that go from from traverse to traverse. Find a continuous turning rhythm, like the sensation of bouncing on a diving board or a trampoline.

On easy groomed terrain, practice beginning turns with your balance still mostly on the downhill ski (new inside ski). Link turns together until you feel a continuous flow. Ski under a chairlift, and look at your tracks on the way back up. Synchronize or "figure 8" behind an excellent powder skier (perhaps the person who made that other set of tracks), matching his or her rhythm.

And one other thing: Learn to turn your skis with your legs only, femurs rotating in your hip sockets beneath your pelvis and upper body. Your clip shows turns that begin with what we call "upper body rotation"--you turn your upper body first, then yank your skis around using the momentum from your upper body. Among other problems, that movement pattern often leads to traverses between turns, and also often causes your skis to turn sequentially (one-at-a-time)--which can contribute to the tendency to lift that downhill ski. This "independent leg rotation" is a critical move in good skiing--and something that cannot happen on a snowboard, where both of your legs attach to the same board. Again--and perhaps even more than the timing issue--you would probably find this technical change much easier with the help of a good instructor.

Good luck, and keep those videos coming! We haven't seen much snow like that in Colorado (yet) this season, so it's good to see that it's snowing somewhere!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 14

What he said! The only thing I would add is instead of driving the shins into the boot tongues try flexing the ankles and knees so you sort of kneel into the tongues. Let your weight be supported by the boots. Not that you need to stay there all the time but especially in transition being aft may not allow you to do what Bob is suggesting. That may also be why you add the traverse, it allows you time to recenter. Try recentering while you simultaneously complete the current turn and you will arrive at the start of the new turn ready to start the new turn.

post #5 of 14

Bob is right on here (as he should be). What I would add is you have a tendency to square-up and then sit back on the tails. What i mean by square up is that at the end of each turn your shoulders are facing the same direction as the tips of your skis. Your inside hand then drops almost all the way to your pocket, pulling you into the back. It is very hard to move downhill from this position. Keep that inside hand out in front of you where you can see it while you look in the direction of your new turn. This will get your core moving towards the new turn and give you a stable upper body to turn the legs against.

Giving ripping that powder though. Even anything, do it for those of us who have none.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input guys. I'll try to use it to improve my skiing. The video was shot here in Austria. I've been thinking of getting a ski instructor, but it seems like most of the instructors here are just young dutchmen/germans/austrians/brits who're doing it as a temporary thing, the good ones are really hard to find.

 

Anyway, I'll see if I can get you a better video after I've had a bit of time to practise again :)

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

On easy groomed terrain, practice beginning turns with your balance still mostly on the downhill ski (new inside ski).
Yes. You do not have to step from one foot to the other, at least if your body is in the right place (see below). You can start a new turn with your old outside/new inside ski fully weighted. Really!

And one other thing: Learn to turn your skis with your legs only, femurs rotating in your hip sockets beneath your pelvis and upper body. Your clip shows turns that begin with what we call "upper body rotation"--you turn your upper body first, then yank your skis around using the momentum from your upper body. Among other problems, that movement pattern often leads to traverses between turns, and also often causes your skis to turn sequentially (one-at-a-time)--which can contribute to the tendency to lift that downhill ski.
Yes. I thought the upper body rotation and the movement of the upper body uphill in at least some turns as the turns developed made the traverse unavoidable because you couldn't move downhill into a new turn without taking some time to recover balance and move your center of mass from a point uphill and behind your feet to a point over and then downhill of your feet. (But I could be wrong...)
And Bob, we've had plenty of snow like that in British Columbia. Mebbe you should come visit us sometime. biggrin.gif (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

 

post #8 of 14

Look at :36 seconds.  Your feet need to be under your hips, not way out in front of your hips.  You have got to pull your feet back to get balanced, or nothing else will ever work right.  When you sit back like that, you must make the moves you're showing to crank the skis around.  The rocker skis might be hurting your skiing allowing you to get by with your movements.

 

Look at :39 seconds and :56 seconds.  You'll see the same thing in both clips.  You are leaning into the hill.  You are twisting into the hill.  Your stance is too wide.  You have the inside foot pushed way forward.  On easier terrain, and start on packed green or easy blue runs (but not on the rockers on groomers), keep both feet together, both close together, side by side, and always equal weight on both in the deep stuff, and on the packed runs for this drill.  Find your balance over the centers of the skis--you'll know the sweet spot when you get there.  Learn to ski with your feet and keep your upper body balanced and heading down the hill.  First feel yourself doing the things I mentioned, then make several hundred turns without making those errors.  There is some good advice above and some that won't help at all.  Poor hand position can hurt one's skiing, but correct hand position won't help--you need to get the body correctly positioned and the hands will follow.  You can't flex your ankles.  Your boots are properly stiff and there are few muscles to force the flex.  Instead, pull your feet back under your hips until you feel the balance spot.  Do try loosening the top buckle and strap to see if that is some help.

 

 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredknees View Post

Look at :36 seconds.  Your feet need to be under your hips, not way out in front of your hips.  You have got to pull your feet back to get balanced, or nothing else will ever work right.  When you sit back like that, you must make the moves you're showing to crank the skis around.  The rocker skis might be hurting your skiing allowing you to get by with your movements.

 

Look at :39 seconds and :56 seconds.  You'll see the same thing in both clips.  You are leaning into the hill.  You are twisting into the hill.  Your stance is too wide.  You have the inside foot pushed way forward.  On easier terrain, and start on packed green or easy blue runs (but not on the rockers on groomers), keep both feet together, both close together, side by side, and always equal weight on both in the deep stuff, and on the packed runs for this drill.  Find your balance over the centers of the skis--you'll know the sweet spot when you get there.  Learn to ski with your feet and keep your upper body balanced and heading down the hill.  First feel yourself doing the things I mentioned, then make several hundred turns without making those errors.  There is some good advice above and some that won't help at all.  Poor hand position can hurt one's skiing, but correct hand position won't help--you need to get the body correctly positioned and the hands will follow.  You can't flex your ankles.  Your boots are properly stiff and there are few muscles to force the flex.  Instead, pull your feet back under your hips until you feel the balance spot.  Do try loosening the top buckle and strap to see if that is some help.

 

 


I am going to have to disagree and agree with some of this.

First; You want your center of mass over your feet. Your center of mass is somewhere near your belly button. Suggesting that the hips should be over the feet often leads to skiers who stand too tall and lock out their hip flexor muscles. 

Second; Rocker skis are of great help in the pow, but learning to ski them in all conditions (including green and blue groomers) can make you a much better skier. For one, your zone of balance is much limited by rockered skis so getting used to them on groomers can often show you when you are in and out of balance.

Third; I'm assuming you mean "keep both feet together" as in both feet should be more in line toe to toe. This good be miss construed as put your feet right next to each other, something that make it much harder to have good leg length differance, making it easier to tip into the hill, and limiting lateral balance. Along with that when having an active inside half (body heading down the hill) the inside hip should lead a bit resulting in some tip lead so your feet can't really be next to each other. You should not push your foot forward to move the hips though. Move from the core/hips and the tip lead is a result of that.

Fourth; Correct hand position can help your body be positioned correctly especially when done with an active inside half and you center of mass over your feet.

Fifth; Loosening you top buckle and strap won't make your boot flex softer, it will disconnect you from the cuff of the boot and cause a delay from when you begin a move till that move is translated to your skis. When standing in a flat, not moving, you should almost feel the whole boot wrapped around your ankle/calf. When you flex forward you should only be able to put one finger or less between your leg and liner. If you want the boot to flex softer go to a qualified boot fitter and have them make the necessary cuts to soften the boot.

 

 

post #10 of 14

 

Quote: From dFiz

I can see myself lifting my inside leg as I go into the turn and I can't seem to be able to get rid of this annoying habit. Any suggestions as to what might be the root cause behind this and/or how to get rid of it? 

What you're doing there with your ski when you lift it is, you are dragging the tail using it as a rutter.  That's why your tip is higher than your tail when you lift your ski.  It would be the same idea if you had a stick in both hands and dragged it firmly through the snow on one side of your body, then the other side in order to cause your self to turn.  The reason you need a rutter like this is because your skills of turn initiation are somewhat lacking.  In other words, you have trouble initiating a turn, so you're dragging something to cause yourself to turn. 

 

To break the habit focus on leaving that ski down on the snow and work on initiating a turn another way.  You'll need to experiment with more of a balanced unweighting.  It might help to exagerate your unweighting for a little while.  While standing still in your skis, can you jump up and rotate your body and skis 90 degrees and then land balanced?  Unweighting can be kind of like that.  Experiment with it, exagerate it, but then tone it down and make it efficient. 

 

Everything else looks pretty good.  It doesn't make sense that a stiff boot or whatever would keep you from being forward.  I also think that you are not too far back for powder skiing.  It's ok to be back a little in powder as long as you don't do it more than necessary (modern big rockers do make it less necessary).  Here is a video that I think proves this point.  Dominique Perret is one of the best skiers in the world.  This video is great, but you can clearly see him leaning back a little bit in the powder.  Experiment with leaning back less and see how it feels to be sure you're not overdoing it. 

 

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 14
To work on riding your old outside ski into the new turn, where it becomes the new inside ski, find a shallow slope that is not busy and traverse across it. Notice that you have more weight on the downhill ski. Move forward and toward downhill slightly, keeping weight emphasis on the downhill ski. The ski tips will begin to turn toward downhill. This movement has released the downhill ski's uphill edge. This should be the beginning of your turn. If you reedge the downhill ski, you will resume your traverse. Keeping the weight emphasis on the downhill ski, wiggle across and downhill alternatively by flattening and reedging the downhill ski. Then take the move into a full turn, allowing your weight to move toward the new outside ski as you approach the fall line. Practice this a bunch on easy terrain and gradually take it to steeper terrain.
post #12 of 14

Float & sting. Be heavy when turning then bring the skis back out of the snow by floating when in transition. Feel is what it is about.

 

Video with skiers on pow skis and 2 skiers skiing GS skis with 66 mid anything over 88 mid is making powder skiing seem like skiing on groomed runs.

 

post #13 of 14

I love the advice Bob and Nate offered. Especially the stuff Nate wrote in response to tiredknees' response. That said, I would suggest watching the video again with a focus on what the hips, knees, and ankles are doing to keep the torso moving where you want it to go. Notice the hips flex more than the ankles and it seems that the hips flex prior to the knees and ankles doing very much. You mentioned your boots dFiz and as we have posted many times around here the forward lean in a boot, combined with a stiff forward flex can lead a skier to dropping the hips aft as they flex to absorb. It's quite natural (bio mechanically) since the femur becoming less vertical drops the hips aft but done in excess the move stalls the core's momentum and necessitates a corrective move to get it moving again. So just keeping the core moving through the transition can be a challenge. A relatively easy solution is to incorporate a more even flexing of the ankles, knees and hips since that movement pattern produces less core stall. Another relatively easy change is to not drop the hands down since each arm represents about 9% of your total body mass and letting them move down and aft as the hips flex contributes to the core losing even more forward momentum. I suspect that these two minor changes will allow you to maintain some additional forward momentum in your core and it will eliminate the need for the big "huck the core down the hill" or "across the skis" moves in the transition phase. Try them and by all means please give us some follow up on what worked for you and what didn't.  


Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/1/12 at 11:58am
post #14 of 14

Good advice from the above crowd but 1st thing I saw in the video is a huge backpack that looks to be pulling your upper body backwards, ditch some of that weight and maybe you can get a bit more forward and centered over your skis.

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