Originally Posted by drainbamage
I ski in Utah at Snowbird. I have been skiing for about 3 years now seriously skiing ( when I was about 7 or 8 I got group lessons and that but didn't ski much) and I am starting to realize that I need to stop leaning back and then I would be so much better if I fixed that problem. I am fine on groomed runs but anytime there is more than 10 inches or very choppy snow/moguls that brings out all my weaknesses! I really think I could get better just by fixing that habbit. I know I when I am really backseat, my skiing is very shaky, my tips come up off of bumps, I have to work a lot more and I get the worst shin bang. I can fix my backseat problem sometimes and I really know when I do, I try to get my hands way out in front that helps but I still no matter what have a tendency to get back. As much as I ski I should be pretty decent. In fact I really think I could fix this I would be so much better not just skiing but being able to ski faster with control and not being so slow on steep choppy or hard to ski stuff that'd help me with tricks too because going off of jumps, I know when I take off backseat, I flop around and when I actually stay centered going off, I am centered in the air, and then landing is huge difference. But whenever I think lean forward it never really helps because then I feel like I bend forward at the hips which is no good.
But I see kids who ski my age, the ones who are backseat only like to ski groomers because they look bad on choppier snow and they only do bad looking 180's off of little bumps and somtimes a 360 who never get any better. Then I know kids who ski centered who are going much bigger with tricks, more style all over the mountain etc. I want to eventually progress to that point.
So what is a good thought or drill to help that so i can get better and progress?
It is pretty common for aggressive young skiers to try to ski from the backseat, especially in bumps & variable conditions. I also know that shin bang thing really sucks, & it is a struggle to muscle the skis around when they are getting ahead of you. You make some pretty good observations about your own skiing, recognizing that there is a problem is half the battle to fixing it. Of course, without actually seeing you ski it is difficult to give specific prescriptions.
Here are a few generic drills & tasks that may help you break out of the backseat:
First, you need to make sure that you have a good, centered, athletic stance when you are just standing there or sliding straight down an easy hill. Are your joints all flexed equally? Ankles, knees, hips & spine, or are your knees bent more than your ankles? Are your shins in contact with the tongues of your boots or are they straight & stiff with your calves digging into the back of the boots? Are you bending forward excessively at the waist, with your butt behind your feet? Whether you are flexing alot or a little, all your joints should flex equally.
Next, try these two simple drills, first on easy groomers & then take it to the crud. Practice them until you can integrate it into your regular ski turns.
In a low angle traverse slide your feet forward & pull them back under you using your ankles. Feel pressure move from your toes through your arch to your heals. Forward & back, forward & back opening & closing your ankles & making sure the position of the rest of your body stays balanced & evenly flexed. Try not to let it feel like your upper body is swaying back & forth. As you reach the end of your traverse, time it so that you are pulling your feet back as you enter the fall-line & hold them back until you are at a low enough angle across the slope to begin the process again. The lower part of Big Emma is great terrain to start out, but once you get it down, don't hesitate to take to gradually steeper terrain & more difficult snow.
The idea is to eventually eliminate the traverses & plug the feeling of holding your feet back as you enter the new turn. Also, begin to realize the limit of how far back on your feet you can go. I find the limit to be about where I begin to feel the pressure move from my arch to the front of my heal. If I go any further than this & begin to lose shin/tongue contact, I am screwed!
I call this the 100 hops drill. Pretty much done in the same fashion as drill #1, just substitute small hops for the pushing & pulling of your feet. Instead of hopping up in the air when you enter the fall-line, think about pulling your feet off the snow underneath you. Once you take it into the crud, make the hops more & more subtle until you lose them completely.
Now integrate the pulling your feet back (especially the inside foot) & retracting your feet up underneath you as you enter each new turn. As you anchor the movement, make it more & more subtle. Combine this with a pole swing that reaches down the hill & your center of mass (CoM) will be moving ahead of your feet into the direction of the new turn.
You can do these drills in any kind of terrain & speed depending on the limits of YOUR comfort zone. Remember, first you need to find a balanced, athletic stance that will allow all of your body parts to work independently.
One of my favorite sayings is: "It is a lot easier for my skis to catch up with me, than it is for me to catch up with my skis".
Next, do a search on Dolphin Turns.
EDIT: BTW, this thread probably belongs in the Instruction Forum