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Essential Exercises that all good skiers should be able to do

Poll Results: Please check which tasks, drills, exercises you feel all good skiers should be able to do competently.

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 6% of voters (14)
    Straight run
  • 6% of voters (15)
    Stepping - both sidestep uphill and step out of straight run
  • 7% of voters (16)
    Traverse
  • 8% of voters (18)
    Side slip
  • 5% of voters (12)
    Forward side slip
  • 6% of voters (14)
    Falling leafs
  • 4% of voters (10)
    Sidehill garlands
  • 5% of voters (12)
    Patience turns
  • 5% of voters (13)
    Pivot slips
  • 5% of voters (12)
    One skiing
  • 3% of voters (7)
    Leapers
  • 4% of voters (10)
    Hop turns
  • 5% of voters (13)
    Uphill christies - J-turns
  • 6% of voters (15)
    Railroad tracks
  • 4% of voters (9)
    Tuck turns
  • 4% of voters (9)
    Shuffle turns
  • 4% of voters (9)
    White Pass turns
  • 3% of voters (7)
    Bumps without poles
  • 3% of voters (8)
    Human slalom
  • 6% of voters (15)
    Hockey slides/stops
219 Total Votes  
post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Please select which of these exercises you feel should be on a short list that all skiers could do to improve their skiing skills. 


Edited by nolo - 6/26/12 at 5:53am
post #2 of 24

All of the above.

post #3 of 24

What are Patience turns?

post #4 of 24

I selected most, am inclined to go with rfl1 and say "all".

 

Since I don't live in Bozeman,  wink.gif, nor am I an instructor (yet) some of the terms are beyond me. I've included my interpretations for the questions below. Some I had no idea so would not even guess at:

 

 

 

Straight run - A super-g/downhill line like we use to get enough speed to get across a flat area in powder.
 
Stepping - both sidestep uphill and step out of straight run - Walking in skis on the hill?
 
Traverse - Moving perpendicular to the fall line across a slope.
 
Side slip - A controlled slide sideways down the fall line. Skies are perpendicular to the fall line.
 
Forward side slip - A controlled slip down the fall line, skis psciallte back and forth across the fall line but to about 45 degrees?
 
Falling leafs - ?
 
Sidehill garlands - A combination of slalom and traverse? I.e. turning while traversing?
 
Patience turns - ?
 
Pivot slips - Side-slipping while pivoting to fit through gaps. I presume this'd be used in a tight situations like a couloir?
 
One skiing - Remaining in control on one ski.
 
Leapers - Taking some air e.g. steep terrain, getting across avalanche debris, cliffs etc.
 
Hop turns - Classic technique for skiing steep stuff.
 
Uphill christies - J-turns - "Over-finishing" a turn to loop back uphill and stop?
 
Railroad tracks - ?
 
Tuck turns - Turning while in a tuck?
 
Shuffle turns - Gliding on the bases and "baby stepping" (shuffling) to change lines? In contrast to holding an edge and carving a turn?
 
White Pass turns - ?
 
Bumps without poles - Skiing bumps without poles...
 
Human slalom - ?
 
Hockey slides/stops - Just like on skates.

 

I was gonna PM this to you but I reckon there'll be others that could benefit from descriptions - well I hope anyways! 

Thanks in advance.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Patience turns are when you release a turn and wait (be patient) for gravity to pull your ski tips into the fall line to facilitate turn initiation. The drill calls for drawing out (exaggerating) the release phase in the transition between turns. 

 

The Sidestep was a way of climbing hills before magic carpets. It also introduces the concept of edges, edge engagement, and tipping movements. Stepping out of a straight run to a stop requires good stance and balance and introduces edging movements and turning the legs independently under the body. 

 

Forward side slips are the classic introduction to the "simultaneous" edge change of the parallel turn. Generally we teach sideslips first going straight down the hill which requires standing centered on the skis. A forward sideslip introduces moving pressure forward toward the tips of the skis to help initiate turns. 

 

Falling leaf is when you practice moving pressure fore and aft on the skis while sideslipping, which when done rhythmically results in a "falling leaf" path down the hill. The idea is to stay centered on the skis and maneuver the skis with fine muscle control. The falling leaf exercises moving pressure fore and aft, tipping movements and twisting movements. 

 

Sidehill garlands are short turns performed across the hill to practice changing edges without being directly in the fall line. (Short version.)

 

Pivot slips

 

Speiss (Hop) Turns 

 

Leapers are where you perform the edge change while momentarily airborne, as in a hop turn, but generally in a longer radius turn.

 

Uphill christies are done singly, to each side. Start by gliding in a traverse about 45 degrees to the fall line, then actively and progressively engage the inside edge of the downhill ski and press on it to make the edge bite and the ski turn up the hill to a stop. This will train you to continuously guide the skis through the finish of the turn.

 

Railroad tracks are what they seem:

 

Tuck turns are done on a shallow slope, in a tuck, rolling the skis over from one set of edges to the other under the body. This exercise is great for feeling the legs turning under a stable upper body, smooth progressive edge change, and moving down the hill with the skis.

 

Shuffle turns are Thousand Steps on Prozac. See Thousand Steps Drill by Bob Barnes. 

 

White Pass turns happen when the skier stands on the old outside ski through the edge change from inside to outside edge. This means that you initiate the new turn on the outside edge of what will be the inside ski. It requires an aggressive move into the turn and balancing on an unfamiliar platform. 

 

Here's a visual from our friends in New Zealand:

 

If anyone wants to add or edit my descriptions, please feel free to do so. 


Edited by nolo - 6/25/12 at 4:14pm
post #6 of 24

Can you tell me more about patience turns?  Are they for powder?  Ice?  What habit are they trying to break?  What skill are they teaching?

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Note to self: I missed 1000 steps and javelin turns on our survey.

 

Javelin turns:


Edited by nolo - 6/25/12 at 4:15pm
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Patience turns are an exercise, but the idea is applicable to any conditions or terrain in which you find yourself "rushing" the initiation of the turn -- e.g., twisting the tails of your skis to get the tips into the fall-line rather than letting gravity assist the initiation. 

post #9 of 24

I'm curious to know how many use human slalom? It works well in my opinion but we were expressly forbidden to use it because it was seen as a liability issue.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

You're right about the dangers inherent in the human slalom. If I had been thinking, I also would have realized it's one of those tasks that require a lot of skiers so it's probably not feasible either. 

post #11 of 24

Just noticed it looks like two different questions here.  For the poll, I don't think a good skier should find any of these tasks totally out of reach.  That of course does not necessarily mean they are performed perfectly, but they should certainly not be completely out of reach.  The other question asks which exercises would be good for ALL skiers.  From this list I think I would take Stepping, Side slip/pivot slip, Patience turns, and RR Tracks because these are exercises that can have benefit to any level skier while still being accessible to many abilities.  I also think one ski skiing, while perhaps not as accessible across the board, can have many positive effects (both physical and technical) throughout your skiing.

All good exercises though.  

post #12 of 24
I don't agree that hop turns are what you do on something very steep. Hop turns are done off both skis, while on a steep slope (45 deg or more), the downhillleg is pretty straight, so you can't hop off a straight leg, which is why you push off the uphill ski.
post #13 of 24
Quote:

Please check which tasks, drills, exercises you feel all good skiers should be able to do competently.

For the poll & this question I would agree with others that "all of them" + most of those listed in the other thread are drills that good skiers should be able to do competently.  If not they would most certainly benefit from them.

 

If I were to narrow it down to 3 that would be essential & benefit anyone in their quest to be well rounded skiers I would choose:

 

RR track turns

Pivot Slips

& Javelin turns

 

IMO, If a skier can master these 3 drills & then blend them properly into the rest of the mix, they will have a recipe for success & the ability to learn the rest with minimal stumbling blocks!

 

Thanks,

JF

post #14 of 24

I think I might be confused about RR track turns- is it just a turn where you are just edging the skis lightly and following the radius, creating two smooth parallel lines that look like railroad tracks? Or am I missing something?

 

And for pivot slips, is maintaining a constant velocity an important part? It seems like the DPS Spoon could be an effective tool for pivot slips as catching an edge would be rather difficult.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

day7, I made both titles of poll and thread the same. Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. 

 

Duke, you are correct about railroad tracks: these are shallow turns with skis equidistant as though on rails where the skier tips the skis from right to left edges rhythmically and continuously leaving two distinct lines in the snow.

 

Bud Heishman's Ode on the Pivot Slip may help your understanding of the nuances --

 

 

Quote:

Pivot Slips, arguably one of the most important and relevant drills to unlock expert skiing skills!

 

The most import skill developed by perfecting pivot slips is the EDGE RELEASE.  I spend many clinics during the season trying to develop this skill amongst instructors.  Pivot slips are invaluable to getting habitual sequential edge changers out of the one, two habit!

 

Boiled down to the meat of what pivot slips teach us is the edge release.  We can learn this skill from, a static skis perpendicular to the fall line position, a traverse, a forward side slip, or a christie turn finish.  The key to developing the skill of the release is to "clutch" your edges similar to using a clutch on a manual transmission!  Beginning from a static position with skis across the fall line, we need to assume a good countered position which tensions or stretches the legs and torso muscles creating some coiled energy.  This stored energy, when the torso is blocked in a stable position, via a pole plant or internal muscular effort,  can take advantage of the recoil effect when the edges are released to aid gravity in pulling the ski tips down the hill.

 

The key is letting the clutch out slowly to prevent a stall or bucking as happens in your car or motorcycle if the clutch is released to fast.  Just like your manual transmission, we begin to move as the clutch is released.  If once we begin to move, the clutch is dumped too quickly the car/bike either stalls or bucks violently.  The same is true with learning to release our ski edges simultaneously from a dead stop.  The skier must be patient even as the tips begin to seek the fall line, understanding that the edge CHANGE does not occur until AFTER the fall line.  Most skiers want to change edges way to soon causing converging skis or a sequential movement.  

 

Remember, pivot slips are NOT turns so the feet should remain pivoting around the fall line directly down hill from the starting point.  I believe most who have difficulty with this drill have difficulty understanding the mechanics which are at the opposite end of the spectrum from carving.  Skiers habitually want to feel the security of the new turn engagement before they let go of the old platform.  This thinking locks them into habitual stemming or sequential edge changes.  

 

If you have ever windsurfed you understand the concept of sub planing jibing mechanics and planing jibing turn mechanics which are very similar to skiing.  Allow me to explain.. When turning down wind on a windsurfer when the board is moving slowly and is not planing or skipping across the top of the water the sailor will move back on the board to lift the bow and weight the outside rail of the board to cause it to pivot around the turn.  Conversely, when the board is planing or skipping across the top surface of the water the turn mechanics are totally different.  Here the sailor steps forward with the back foot and weights the inside rail carving through the turn.  How does this relate to skiing?  Well when we are moving slowly (sub planing) through a series of turns with very little forward momentum the mechanics of edge change are different from when skiing fast with lots of forward momentum which permits us to simply tip the skis to the new set of edges and balance on them to carve from one turn to the next.  This is where the mechanics of the pivot slips pin points the other end of the skill blend spectrum.  Here the edge CHANGE actually occurs much later through the arc of the turn, after the fall line.  As the skier creates more forward momentum with a smaller and smaller steering angles, we move toward the planing transition.

 

Sub drills to develop the release:  A good drill I have found that facilitates this release movement is a modified falling leaf where from the backwards slip the ski tips are washed out and turn down the fall line into a forward slip to the other side followed by washing the tails out and slipping backwards again and repeat. 

 

Quote:

We are simply maximizing pivoting (rotary skill), minimizing edging, neutralizing fore/aft, vertical, and lateral pressure variations to AVOID any direction changes.  Pivot slips represent one extreme on a spectrum of skill blending and mastering each end of the "pivot vs. carve" spectrum is prerequisite to expert skiing.  More skiers have difficulty with this pivoting end of the spectrum than do with the carving end, especially with modern carving ski designs making carving rather easy.  Skiing on the pivoting end of the spectrum takes more time and practice to perfect.  Some skiers even consciously and mistakedly choose to avoid this end of the spectrum believing it represents poor skiing!?  

 

In truth, mastering pivot slips represents the purest form of pivoting using the same body mechanics present in a carved turn including counter, lead and lead change.  What is missing that makes pivot slips an exercise or task rather than skiing is angulation and inclination to produce edge angle, and pressure management (ie: fore/aft leverage, up/down unweighting, and lateral weight shifts) to take advantage of some of the ski's turning design benefits.  

 

When we blend in any kind of edge angle and/or forward leverage to a pivot slip, a turn is born.  By isolating these skills and accurately changing their blending, we can precisely choose where on the pivot vs. carve spectrum we wish to ski.  Owning the whole spectrum is a mark of expert skiing.  Choosing to avoid either end is to short change your skiing versatility.

 

 

NOTE: Highly recommended for aspiring skiers as well as instructors -- The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing by Bob Barnes -- available in PDF download for a mere $10 ($5 for Supporters). Here you will find descriptions of all manner of things regarding skiing. Some entries have video counterparts that are available on Bob's channel at Vimeo. 


Edited by nolo - 6/27/12 at 2:22pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

NOTE: Highly recommended for aspiring skiers as well as instructors -- The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing by Bob Barnes -- available in PDF download for a mere $10 ($5 for Supporters). Here you will find descriptions of all manner of things regarding skiing. Some entries have video counterparts that are available on Bob's channel at Vimeo. 

If someone is already a supporter/sponsor, how do you get the $5 price?  I see how to buy it for $10 and how to pay a total of $40 (instead of $35) to include it with a supporter sign up, but don`t see how existing supporters+ can get it for $5

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

Can you send a check for $5? 

 

If you can do that, make it out to EpicSki and send to

P.O. Box 895

White Sulphur Spgs., MT 59645

 

When you send the check let me know and I'll get you the download info. 

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

You're right about the dangers inherent in the human slalom. If I had been thinking, I also would have realized it's one of those tasks that require a lot of skiers so it's probably not feasible either. 

With groups, we're using line rotation instead of human slalom. That's where the group skis past eachother instead of around eachother. Still lets all participants watch most of eachother make repeated turns with less danger of running over someone.


I'm in the group that thinks any "good" skier should be able to do all the other tasks.
post #19 of 24

In retrospect I think a "good" skier should be able to do all of these exercises (how good is "good" supposed to be though?). But then I think of Bill Briggs. I wonder if he could do one legged skiing? One of his legs is fused at the hip I believe and yet no one would claim that the first person to ski the Grand Teton was not a good skier.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

In retrospect I think a "good" skier should be able to do all of these exercises (how good is "good" supposed to be though?). But then I think of Bill Briggs. I wonder if he could do one legged skiing? One of his legs is fused at the hip I believe and yet no one would claim that the first person to ski the Grand Teton was not a good skier.

Let's not get into what defines a 'good' skier again! 

 

I like all the exercises listed in the poll, I'm with 4ster on railroad tracks and pivot slips being vital to any skiers arsenal, both extremes of the pivoting-edging spectrum.

 

The idea of Javelin turns is good too, but to be honest I very rarely use them in the way presented as they are nigh on impossible to do without 'cheating' by either dragging the tail of the inside ski/inside pole (helps the exercise but are negative things in day to day skiing), or just riding the sidecut and pointing your inside ski out (it works, but it's not really the idea). There are better exercises for balancing over the outside ski, and for rotational separation that don't introduce undesired movements. 

post #21 of 24

Thanks nolo, great response! The videos demos are an excellent addition.

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke2320 View Post

I think I might be confused about RR track turns- is it just a turn where you are just edging the skis lightly and following the radius, creating two smooth parallel lines that look like railroad tracks? Or am I missing something?

 

And for pivot slips, is maintaining a constant velocity an important part? It seems like the DPS Spoon could be an effective tool for pivot slips as catching an edge would be rather difficult.

 

I believe Bob Barnes describes the goal as pivoting as slowly as possible while slipping as fast as possible.

post #23 of 24

All of the above would be my vote as well.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

I don't agree that hop turns are what you do on something very steep. Hop turns are done off both skis, while on a steep slope (45 deg or more), the downhillleg is pretty straight, so you can't hop off a straight leg, which is why you push off the uphill ski.


Hop turns are most useful on very steep terrain in very narrow chutes. Done correctly maybe the first lift off will be pushed off the uphill ski but an gentle edge set and proper rebound will get you back up in the air to turn the feet the other direction straight legged or slightly flexed..Our L3 exam took us in to very steep terrain to do one of our sets of hop turns.

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