or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Those dumb hands - Page 2

post #31 of 63

On the contrary, I think racers and the rest of the world ought to be a lot closer than they usually are. Remember How the Racers Ski, by Witherell? A lot of people kind of looked at it as like "Fine...that's how the racers ski, but it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of us." Witherell probably should have called it High Performance Skiing, because that's what it really was. It's just that a lot of the best examples of really good skiers, at the time, happened to be racers. In The Skier's Edge, LeMaster shows photo sequences of racers, almost exclusively.  But he's just using their skills to talk about what high end skiing can be. And in Ultimate Skiing, he widens the base even more.  There's a bunch of racers present, but there's also PSIA folks and other great skiers.

 

I just like watching people like Hirscher, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, et. al., because they're some readily available models of athletes skiing at very high levels in very demanding situations, and I think we can all learn a lot from their examples.  Go take another look at Hirscher training slalom, and ask yourself what you think he'd ski like in a gnarly bump field. 

 

I sort of high-jacked this thread, which was all about hands, so I'll offer one more suggestion and exit, stage left. We used to have a slogan when I was living, skiing, and teaching in Summit County which was "Know your limits...and exceed them frequently." Sounds liike pretty radical advice, and not something that your average lawyer would have any of us tell ourselves, much less anyone we're teaching or coaching. But I'm here to tell you, folks, that it actually works. Racing DH is simultaneously the scariest thing I've ever done and also the biggest adrenaline rush...and it's helped to make me a better skier, at age 63, than I was 20 years ago when I started Masters racing.

 

Please go take a look at Back to Basics, where I get into this theme. What I'm saying is along the lines of whatever that martial arts mantra is, which is something like "Don't think, do." It's fine to spend a bunch of time talking about skiing, equipment, studying the sport, and so forth. But those activities are kind of just the prerequisites, and you don't want to get stuck going through that same door too many times.  To really get anywhere in skiing, at whatever level of skill you happen to be, the best advice I can give you is something I heard a few years back, which is "Point 'em down, and let 'em buck." It's the concept of free skiing, as opposed to trying to whittle yet another Cub Scout neckerchief holder. I really believe that skiing well is a lot like driving an aggressive line in a fast car on a track, which is something else I do. We all know all the rules...great, now go out and break some of them, and see what happens. With this approach, you're likely to have a few less than perfect turns...but they might also be a whole lot of fun, and maybe you'll even find out that you can do a whole bunch of things that you thought you'd never do...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

I kinda got lost a few posts back.

Are you saying that we should all have our hands in the same position as racers? 

I get the intricacies that a recreational skier shares with a racer's angles, but I'm not sure that race coaching and recreational skier teaching is in, nor should be the same. 

 



 

post #32 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

 

alignment. Most skiing problems are balance problems, and balance starts from

the snow up. Before you start talking about (or hearing about) the hands, make

sure the feet are doing what they're supposed to do, and so on up the body

structure. The kneebone really is connected to the thighbone."

 

Skiing is not a stance, it's not a position. It's series of movements, not unlike cross country skiing or trail running. In the case of alpine skiing, you're trying to balance on a moving platform going down a slippery inclined plane.  You can't do that unless you keep moving.  You'd like to keep moving efficiently and effectively, two mode that I also talk about in this article, but it's better to keep moving, even if it's a little ragged, than it is to try to rigidly confine any part of the body to a stiff , static pose. 

 

 

Here's a great example of excellent balance, quiet upper body, and pretty purposeful movement of the arms and hands by Marcel Hirscher, training slalom. 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuZJim10RXA

 

 

And the funny thing is, if he submitted this clip to Epic Ski, I'm sure we'd hear all kinds of stuff about how he gets back once in a while, or lets his upper body get a little wild, or lets his inside hand drop.  We're trying for excellence, folks, not perfection, and it's okay to make a few mistakes as long as you don't park and ride and the skis are doing what they're supposed to in the snow...

 

 



 


Okay, getting back to this. 

Skiing is not a "stance" but if you can find your neutral stance, you can recover from bad moves while you're dancing with the mountain. 

 

I  thought I read that this clip showed that he didn't have his hands outside his elbows, but I can't find that post now.  

While watching it I see that his hands are not static, but the neutral place for his hands is just like I see in other good skiing. 

 

 

post #33 of 63


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

I kinda got lost a few posts back.

Are you saying that we should all have our hands in the same position as racers? 

I get the intricacies that a recreational skier shares with a racer's angles, but I'm not sure that race coaching and recreational skier teaching is in, nor should be the same. 

 


The free skiers I really admire have much more in common with WC racers than not, hands included! smile.gif

 

Love this clip below:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09GRD0YRnYk&feature=fvsr

 

Ingrid and Arne:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw3NIGHajqg

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bic_SPEjow

 

and these guys again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wop_Zc0x1Sc&feature=fvsr

 

post #34 of 63
Thread Starter 

HA, I ran into Ingrid at Squaw Yesterday when I went in for lunch.  

Her hands were inside her elbows when she was eating her sandwich. biggrin.gif

post #35 of 63

Next time you see her, ask her what she thinks about the importance of hand discipline in skiing... 

post #36 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Next time you see her, ask her what she thinks about the importance of hand discipline in skiing... 



I went to the Next Level Ski Camp with her and Jessica Sobolowski Quinn last year.  When we were working on confidence in small drops she emphasized hands out front, but I don't recall what she said(if anything) about hand position inside or outside elbows.  I'll ask her next time I get a chance to chat with her.

 

post #37 of 63

Why is it a duality instead of merely "where the hands are is an expression of where you want the (hopefully active) core to go"?

 

Are the hands "dumb" when the core intent is unclear to the skier?

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post



I went to the Next Level Ski Camp with her and Jessica Sobolowski Quinn last year.  When we were working on confidence in small drops she emphasized hands out front, but I don't recall what she said(if anything) about hand position inside or outside elbows.  I'll ask her next time I get a chance to chat with her.

 



 

post #38 of 63

Hi TrekChick

 

Hands are HUGE... Not static but disciplined and in front. They do need to be moving.. One of the primary focus' for me that helped me pass the L3!.

 

Too bad I didn't know you were at Squaw yesterday. I could have tried to catch up with you at the end of the day. We had almost an hour to wait for our results.

 

DC

 

 

post #39 of 63

Congratulations, dchan!!!!!!!!

beercheer.gif

post #40 of 63

 

 

Quote:
I don't recall what she said(if anything) about hand position inside or outside elbows. 

Just ask her how important she thinks the hands are in big mountain skiing and please report back.

 

The folks in the business I have talked to have volunteered that arms/hands are, as dchan says, HUGE. 

post #41 of 63

At one of the feedback stops during our exam. (after Dynamic Short radius turns on a very steep pitch) my examiner looked at me and said "remind me to talk about hands". My thought at that moment was "Oh Damn there I go again" Then when the rest of the group pulled up, he talked about hand position and then looked at me again. He followed up with "those were very good turns, but every so often that right hand got a little back. Not "gross" but enough to put you in a position where it could get you in trouble" We were probably talking about a matter of inches but it would have been enough to throw me for a loop if I had encountered a bump or strange snow.

 

 

post #42 of 63

Go get that turn and ski with attitude.

post #43 of 63

Regarding big mountain skiers, this video has Eric Pehota (red jacket, black pants) and Scott Kennett (all green, full-face helmet) and shows their styles pretty well.  Hands are out front and fluid yet pretty quiet.  They will tell you that hand position is very important, especially in the air.  We actually all talked about hand position when we first cut this clip and we all were pretty staunch on our opinion that hands need to be in that kind of position.  One of the group had her hands coming too close together and we all were working with her to get them out further, which she did much better at the rest of the trip.  The importance of good hand position is clear as it has so much to do with balance in varying terrain with a lot of other dynamic effects.

 

 

Reply
post #44 of 63


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

 

Just ask her how important she thinks the hands are in big mountain skiing and please report back.

 

The folks in the business I have talked to have volunteered that arms/hands are, as dchan says, HUGE. 



In MH experience, the leap from advance intermediate/lower level expert to an 'everywhere, anytime, any condition' expert is mastery of the hands. As others have said, this all falls into the grey realm of 'cause' vs. 'effect', and it's easily poorly coached, but when alignment is sorted out, stance is stacked and solid, CM over the boots, then hands can be addressed. Years ago, our alpine coach said," When hands go in bad places, the body follows." That's a bit extreme of course, but the main point, if there are bad habits with hands and pole plants, you're just not going to get to that next level.

post #45 of 63


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post

Regarding big mountain skiers, this video has Eric Pehota (red jacket, black pants) and Scott Kennett (all green, full-face helmet) and shows their styles pretty well.  Hands are out front and fluid yet pretty quiet.  They will tell you that hand position is very important, especially in the air.  We actually all talked about hand position when we first cut this clip and we all were pretty staunch on our opinion that hands need to be in that kind of position.  One of the group had her hands coming too close together and we all were working with her to get them out further, which she did much better at the rest of the trip.  The importance of good hand position is clear as it has so much to do with balance in varying terrain with a lot of other dynamic effects.

 


Thank you! E.P.'s one of the greats for sure! Excellent clip! The 'old guy' just has the master of balance and flow that take years and years of mileage and 'smarts' to make happen. 

post #46 of 63

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan View Post

Hi TrekChick

 

Hands are HUGE... Not static but disciplined and in front. They do need to be moving.. One of the primary focus' for me that helped me pass the L3!.

 

Too bad I didn't know you were at Squaw yesterday. I could have tried to catch up with you at the end of the day. We had almost an hour to wait for our results.

 

DC

 

 

 

Disciplined, that's a good word to describe it. The last few years in the early season I would go to Killington to get some runs in. I would be riding the lift and watching the KMS (Killington Mt School) kids just working on pivot slips with strong upper body/lower body separation, hands up and out front. Mostly only easy green/blue groomers open, get into mid season and see the same kids skiing the competition bumps on Outer Limits and they look exactly the same disciplined except going mach 1 down the zipper line with kickers thrown in.

post #47 of 63
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan View Post

Hi TrekChick

 

Hands are HUGE... Not static but disciplined and in front. They do need to be moving.. One of the primary focus' for me that helped me pass the L3!.

 

Too bad I didn't know you were at Squaw yesterday. I could have tried to catch up with you at the end of the day. We had almost an hour to wait for our results.

 

DC

 

 

Why didn't you let me know you were coming?  I'd have made it a point of meeting up with you. 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

 

Just ask her how important she thinks the hands are in big mountain skiing and please report back.

 

The folks in the business I have talked to have volunteered that arms/hands are, as dchan says, HUGE. 

 

Okay, had a nice chat with Ingrid today, though not very long as we were heading in different directions. 

I told her a bit about this thread and she said.  "Oh that's a cool discussion.  Hands are so important"  

She elaborated a bit, but you get the gist of it. biggrin.gif

post #48 of 63
Thread Starter 

post #49 of 63

Thanks TC.  That last clip really nailed it for me.  The way he explained the hand slightly driving down and forward is just how I learned this at mogul camp as well.  I find the key is to have them driving down the hill in a forward line that really helps get my tempo working in bumps or steep stuff.  As soon as a hand falls back its all over. 

post #50 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post

Thanks TC.  That last clip really nailed it for me.  The way he explained the hand slightly driving down and forward is just how I learned this at mogul camp as well.  I find the key is to have them driving down the hill in a forward line that really helps get my tempo working in bumps or steep stuff.  As soon as a hand falls back its all over. 

Bumps or not, healthy hand position, or lack thereof, makes a huge difference. 

 

My lazy left hand is my issue, and something I'm working on. 
I tried a method of using a survey tape between my poles to keep me from letting the hand drop back.  After a few runs like that I could take the survey tape out and started to imagine the tape, which has helped a lot.

 

But still...........my left hand gets lazy and all bets are off. 

post #51 of 63

It's okay to focus on the hands, sort of, but if you're hands aren't doing the right thing, it's likely that your overall balancing act is off and/or your upper body isn't quiet and working to balance over the lower body. Just a guess, but it's possible that your lazy left hand is really because your upper body is rotating to the left on your right-footed turns. And if your upper body is off, it's likely that there are some other things lower down that aren't doing what they should. Here's a from-the-snow-up drill that'll get you centered over your foot. Go find some flat terrain and make a series of easy turns, don't worry about whether they're carved or not, because you're working on balance. Try to ski as if your skis are only as long as from the front of your toepiece to the rear of your heelpiece. Or, as Debby Armstrong once told me, Tamara McKinney used to beat stronger athletes like Debby because Tamara always skied with her balance between the toepiece and heelpiece of her bindings. The usual objection I get when I ask somebody to do this drill is "But how do I control pressure distribution?  How do I get the tips to bend at the beginning of the turn?" Easy: Your whole foot is always flat in the boot.  If you're heels are up, you're leaning forward, if your toes are up, you're in the back seat. But with your feet flat in the boot, you can still control pressure distribution: pressure predominantly on the ball of the foot to bend the tip and start the turn, pressure at the front of the arch in the middle part of the turn to engage the waist of the ski, pressure on the back part of the arch at the end of the turn to bend the tail...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Bumps or not, healthy hand position, or lack thereof, makes a huge difference. 

 

My lazy left hand is my issue, and something I'm working on. 
I tried a method of using a survey tape between my poles to keep me from letting the hand drop back.  After a few runs like that I could take the survey tape out and started to imagine the tape, which has helped a lot.

 

But still...........my left hand gets lazy and all bets are off. 

post #52 of 63
Awesome discussion. Early last season I got tips from an Alta geezer who couldn't stand to watch me staggering about and gave me pointers that were entirely about hands position--basically to do anything except gluing them to my sides or waving them around wildly, because he thought that alone was a problem. I quickly forgot about it as I wrestled with my gear, but in my new Magic Boots I'm out of the back seat. On Saturday I realized that my hands and arms now naturally fall into similar positions as the ones demonstrated in the instruction videos--except when I get defensive and often fall to pieces. I'll start seeing if they can be 'still but active' and tell whether they affect or are symptoms of what I'm doing or failing to do, including trying to maintain their position when I lose or fear losing my balance.

Thanks again, guys and gals. I'm always grateful for such useful, well-explained, and concrete info.
post #53 of 63

Here's a completely different hand issue.  I think this one is purely a flag, not a cause.

When I get thrown off balance, I sometimes do a recovery move that an instructor described as "throwing the empty beer can into the back of the pickup truck."  On pitches where things were working correctly, that doesn't happen (of course).

post #54 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

Here's a completely different hand issue.  I think this one is purely a flag, not a cause.

When I get thrown off balance, I sometimes do a recovery move that an instructor described as "throwing the empty beer can into the back of the pickup truck."  On pitches where things were working correctly, that doesn't happen (of course).

 

Its a recovery move, generated from natural instinct.  Perfect.  Dont lose that...getting out of balance from time to time is part of dynamic skiing...being able to recover and quickly get back into balance is part of being a good skier.

post #55 of 63

I think it was Bud that said somethingn like -

 

"Get out of balance and your hands will change location."

post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Its a recovery move, generated from natural instinct.  Perfect.  Dont lose that...getting out of balance from time to time is part of dynamic skiing...being able to recover and quickly get back into balance is part of being a good skier.

The problem is that when I need a recovery move that big, there are other problems.  (I think I know what they are, but that's a separate issue for a new thread.)  The big recovery move is a big, obvious reminder -- much harder to miss or make excuses about than the fundamentals.

post #57 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

The problem is that when I need a recovery move that big, there are other problems.  (I think I know what they are, but that's a separate issue for a new thread.)  The big recovery move is a big, obvious reminder -- much harder to miss or make excuses about than the fundamentals.

 

You know your skiing better then me.  

 

But my point is more that too many "instructor types" strive to make these perfect, 100% controlled, never lose form type of skiing...that frankly is in reality static, slow, boring, low performance type of skiing.  Dont be afraid to get bent out of shape.  If you never get bent out of shape....you are not trying hard enough.  That is not to say one should be getting bent out of shape every 5 minutes...but.....if you are never losing form - that is likely worse, and will hinder your progress greatley.

post #58 of 63

I posted a video awhile back and got alot of feedback on my hands/pole planting. it helped tremendously. The only thing I cant figure out is the "palms facing down" bit. It seems if the palms were to face down then your poles would be sticking straight out to the side??? Maybe instead of saying palms facing down, it should be a slight angle facing down ie. the pinky side of the hand should be lateral to the index side of the hand... or the tips of the poles are further out than the handles of the poles???

post #59 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

I posted a video awhile back and got alot of feedback on my hands/pole planting. it helped tremendously. The only thing I cant figure out is the "palms facing down" bit. It seems if the palms were to face down then your poles would be sticking straight out to the side??? Maybe instead of saying palms facing down, it should be a slight angle facing down ie. the pinky side of the hand should be lateral to the index side of the hand... or the tips of the poles are further out than the handles of the poles???

 

Yes. The poles function as balance outriggers when out to the side.  

 

 

1000

post #60 of 63

While watching skiers from the chairlift last weekend, I noticed a few who stabbed the snow in front of them with their poles.  It was as if they were attempting to stab a fish in the water.  They would stab down with pole baskets pointed ahead, pole would hit snow with its tip pointed downhill, then it would rebound hard.  The pole bounced right back up along the same path it went down.  Stab, Rebound.  I watched the hands.  Pole in fist with pole diagonally pointing down and ahead, hand goes down with the stab, stops hard as the pole makes contact, then hand rebounds back up along the same path as the pole.  The action was at the elbow - elbow opens to stab, elbow closes as pole rebounds.  Wrist absorbs the force.  I'm thinking this is carpal tunnel syndrome in the making.

 

Then I watched the race team's coaches skiing down.  What a difference in pole action.  They swung their poles with their wrists, they didn't stab them.   The basket of the pole would travel in a semicircle below a stable hand, with its tip swinging fore-aft, as if the pole were a pendulum hanging from the hand.  They were moving the pole this way with wrist action.  On the downswing, the pole would gently touch the snow and rise back up without any rebound, continuing along undisturbed in its arc.  The hand stayed quiet, no bouncing back up after a stab.  Pendulum arcs, not stabbing and bouncing.  Much more wrist-friendly.   Much more flow-friendly.

 

Oh, and those poles were out wide, as in the previous pics.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching