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How am I doing? MA?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think this is a MA post, but first, what does MA mean/stand for?

First time posting something like this. This is my second year skiing, I took a lesson last weekend, and the primary thing the instructor was pushing was pole planting. It shows I'm still pretty new to the concept (my arms are dropping, and should the pole be whipping like that behind me?). I also slightly tripped a little before passing the camera.

I also feel like this video is not how I always ski. I definitely seem to ski faster than the average person (I broke a new record at 36 MPH using AwesomeHUD on the iPhone), so I was trying to pick up speed in this video, hence the short turns on this not very steep hill. Later on when I was on the easy blacks (this was at Pats Peak in NH, the blacks are easier and are blues on other hills), my poles were constantly touching on the inside of the turn, and my entire body was much closer to the hill, with my knees bending a lot.

I know the video isn't great, but what can you guys tell me? You may want to watch this full-screen with highest quality due to the iPhone aspect ratio.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV6aSjlXA2Y

post #2 of 15

Well, I can answer the easy question -- movement analysis.

post #3 of 15

I wouldn't call those short radius turns, as that would imply some turning. To be honest, I would be frightened if I were in front of you - I wouldn't want to ski anywhere near you. You basically appear to be out of control and didn't make a single completed turn. Pole plants are not the right thing for you to be focusing on--I think you should ask for your money back. Speed management and learning to steer your skis are a more useful goal. Once you learn to turn, you'll be in a safe position to increase your speed through tactics - but not by just "not turning". 

 

I recognize this comes across as punitive, but you look like a hazard. 

post #4 of 15

nemesis, 

 

Welcome to the world of ski forum coaching!

 

From your first post above, and your other posts so far on epic, I get that this is your second year skiing, that you ski in NH, and that you have taken lessons. You are interested in mastering speed, and consider being able to make very, very short radius turns getting down the hill at high speed and skiing blues and blacks at high speed as signs of increasing skill.  You clock your speed to document how fast you go.  You are not alone; others think this way as well.  

 

You want comments here maybe in order to confirm your quick progress, and also to help you clarify what's good with what you are doing.  You also may be hoping for some suggestions about your pole plants that you can improve on.  

 

You may get more than you bargained for, so get ready.

 

First thing you need to know is that there are a lot of instructors with tons of experience who may post in this thread.  Listen to them, even if you don't like what they say.  Second thing you need to know is that the way to improve is to lose your focus on speed and work on gaining technical prowess.  Going fast down something without having a serious accident does not mean you did it the way an expert does it.  You are still at the beginning of your learning curve, and going that fast may put you and others in danger if your stopping and turning skills are not yet well-developed enough to enable you stop on a dime, should something unexpected happen. Certain things about the way you are skiing, and the way you stop at the end of your run indicates that this is the case. Thus Metaphor's harsh post.

 

Given your aspirations and the intensity of your desire to become an expert skier, you will succeed.... IF you shift your focus.  You need to learn to manage your turns with high skill at slow speeds on easy terrain, and only then move those skills to higher speeds and steeper pitches.  

 

Perhaps you can do more turning than this video shows, but did not video those turns because you were happier with this fast way to get down a trail.  You might consider posting a video of full turns, and take the comments of the pros very seriously when they give comments. I am curious about your instructor focusing on pole plants.  What did you ask for in the lesson, and what was the intended outcome of using pole plants?   

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

In a way I'm not too surprised from your responses, but I do like to ski fast (I probably average 25MPH as my fast speed, that 36 was pretty crazy), and I did still feel in control in that video (except for that little jump, that doesn't happen very often). My usual spot is Wachusett in MA, and that's where I did the lesson (private by the way). I think I marked myself as a level 6, and I asked the instructor to take a look at how I ski and what to do to improve. While doing the lesson, he did have me make wider turns by going across the mountain and using skidding for turning. I find this not as enjoyable, and wonder how to do this and still go relatively fast. The intended outcome of the pole plant was for rhythm, consistency from turn to turn, and he said something about "opening the mountain to you".

 

One thing the instructor mentioned is that, at this point, I'm over skiing the equipment I have. This doesn't surprise me, since it's cheap rental gear that I bought from the rental shop at Wachusett. The skis are Head Alien, 150 in length, widths are 107 69 96, and radius is 13. I'm 5'7" 130lbs. I know that boots are more important, but what type of skis should have? Are the ones I have part of the problem? What should I have to be able to do wider turns but still go a little faster? I'm planning on buying new boots and skis in the fall.

 

By the way, what about the way I stopped at the end is wrong?


Edited by nemesis256 - 3/25/13 at 6:51am
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

I wouldn't call those short radius turns, as that would imply some turning. To be honest, I would be frightened if I were in front of you - I wouldn't want to ski anywhere near you. You basically appear to be out of control and didn't make a single completed turn. Pole plants are not the right thing for you to be focusing on--I think you should ask for your money back. Speed management and learning to steer your skis are a more useful goal. Once you learn to turn, you'll be in a safe position to increase your speed through tactics - but not by just "not turning". 

 

I recognize this comes across as punitive, but you look like a hazard. 

Bwahahaha Lol.  Wow a little harsh ;)  Hey gotta have thick skin if you're gonna bark with the bears :)

 

I see some good things here.  You have confidence in your edging and stopping ability.  I do not get the out of control vibe here though I too admit I would likely give your line a wide berth :)

 

You need three things here:

1.  Work on finishing your turn.  You are skidding turns not carving.  Practice setting your downhill edge and carving ACROSS the hill before the next turn.

2.  Get on the tongues of your boots.  Bring your hands forward and ski on the fronts.

3.  Your pole plant rythym is pretty awkward and out of synch.  Search for a video of an expert making medium radius turns and compare his/her pole plant rhythm to yours in the vid.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post

 

 

By the way, what about the way I stopped at the end is wrong?

I won't comment on your skiing, except that I see it as a total rebuild project. Sorry but you should really have an instructor that can start over with the basics. If you get better with the wrong movements you will just be a better "bad" skier. If you want to teach yourself there are some good resources on the net and books/DVDs. A few pointers from an internet forum is not enough.

 

Regarding the stopping. If you want to go fast you'd better have a rock solid hockey stop, able to stop straight, back or forward on a short distance. Now it just a prolonged skid turn.

post #8 of 15

Well I would not consider you a hazard on that run just limited control.rolleyes.gif Actually you are athletic too bad it's wasted. SLOW down and turn your skis across the fall line and keep you upper body going down the fall line. If you like to ski fast you first have to learn how to ski slow. Without a solid movement foundation your skiing will fall apart ending in disappointment and..........

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post

In a way I'm not too surprised from your responses, but I do like to ski fast (I probably average 25MPH as my fast speed, that 36 was pretty crazy), and I did still feel in control in that video (except for that little jump, that doesn't happen very often). My usual spot is Wachusett in MA, and that's where I did the lesson (private by the way). I think I marked myself as a level 6, and I asked the instructor to take a look at how I ski and what to do to improve. While doing the lesson, he did have me make wider turns by going across the mountain and using skidding for turning. I find this not as enjoyable, and wonder how to do this and still go relatively fast. The intended outcome of the pole plant was for rhythm, consistency from turn to turn, and he said something about "opening the mountain to you".

 

One thing the instructor mentioned is that, at this point, I'm over skiing the equipment I have. This doesn't surprise me, since it's cheap rental gear that I bought from the rental shop at Wachusett. The skis are Head Alien, 150 in length, widths are 107 69 96, and radius is 13. I'm 5'7" 130lbs. I know that boots are more important, but what type of skis should have? Are the ones I have part of the problem? What should I have to be able to do wider turns but still go a little faster? I'm planning on buying new boots and skis in the fall.

 

By the way, what about the way I stopped at the end is wrong?

You are making a turn to your right to stop.  You are extending your left arm out towards the trees.  This brings your left shoulder forward.

Such a move is called "upper body rotation."  

You are leaning over to your right.  This puts much of your weight on your right ski.  This move is called "leaning in."

You have most of your body behind your boot toes, on the tails of your skis.  This is called "in the back seat."

Your stop takes you way across the hill.  It shouldn't be that way.  It's because of these three no-nos.

This trio of movement patterns is common for beginners.  Ski instructors deal with helping people get over it all the time.

You need to lose the upper body rotation, the leaning in, and the back seat driving before you will become a level 6 skier.  

 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks LiquidFeet, these things sound hard to fix! At this point I'm unlikely to take another lesson until next year. Two things my instructor mentioned was to try to lean forward (legs touching front of boot) and to always face down the mountain. I guess I didn't realize that also applied to stopping.

 

Do you have any input on my skis question?

post #11 of 15

Those rental 150s are pretty short for your size, and they are torsionally soft, all the better for people learning to ski who are staying on the beginner trails.  If you are on a budget, spend money on ski instruction before buying new skis.  No ski will help you replace the trio of no-nos with good movement patterns.  Instructors working with you can do that.  If your budget allows you to do both, then the thread about which skis to buy will most likely help you pick out a good ski.  (Has anyone yet told you yet to get good boots fitted by a good bootfitter before dropping big $$ on skis?  There's another mistake new skiers make - focusing on skis instead of boots.)

 

If you choose not to take lessons and continue skiing the way you are skiing now with a focus on speed, then longer skis will give you a bit more personal stability (as in, shock absorption) while blasting down the slopes at 35 mph.  So your instructor was right; you are over-speeding your current skis.   You are not over-skiing them, however.  

 

Worth repeating: skis don't help fix technique issues.   When I started skiing, I thought along the same lines as you.  Speed + black diamonds = skill.  Just not true.  The rude awakening is happening to you in your second year, which is good!  Better now than after 10 years, when the movement patterns have had that much longer to get embedded and will be very tough to get rid of.  

 

You're still new to skiing and very enthusiastic and also willing to take lessons; it won't take you long to re-set those patterns.

post #12 of 15

Nemesis,

 

Welcome to Epic! You turn your skis very well. Your next step up in my ability will be when you can let the skis turn you. Going fast is fun. Going fast down hill is easy. Going fast across the hill is hard. If you carve instead of skid you can go fast in wider turns. One hallmark of an advanced skier is the ability to control speed (fast or slow) in different size turns. If you can do this, you will be ready to safely and comfortably ski more difficult slopes.

 

Maintaining shin-tongue contact (legs touching front of boot), skiing into and out of counter (facing the mountain) and using the pole swing to help initiate movement of the center of mass to the inside of the new turn (opening the mountain) are important pieces of getting to the next level. There are more pieces (e.g. tipping the skis, balancing against the outside ski). As we learn these pieces in isolation one by one, not all of them are going to feel comfortable or be fun. A general rule of thumb I have is that if a drill is not easy to do or does not "work", then it's really telling me that I have a problem. If you don't have the patience to wait for all the pieces to come together, short cuts are only going to take you so far.

 

I'm 5'10", 240 lbs. I have a pair of 120cm Elans that are the same model as our rental fleet (I use these for teaching little people). I can over ski these skis, but I can also have a lot of fun on them. You probably could get more bang for your buck by investing in a good tune for your Heads and applying the difference to lessons. This would let you step up to a higher performing ski by the end of next season versus what would be appropriate in the fall.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

 

Welcome to Epic! You turn your skis very well. Your next step up in my ability will be when you can let the skis turn you. Going fast is fun. Going fast down hill is easy. Going fast across the hill is hard. If you carve instead of skid you can go fast in wider turns. One hallmark of an advanced skier is the ability to control speed (fast or slow) in different size turns. If you can do this, you will be ready to safely and comfortably ski more difficult slopes.

 I am also pretty new to carving, which if I understand correctly, is done by bending your knees sideways. I have noticed that while carving I maintain a constant speed even in turns. The conditions also have to be right, like not to icy, and not too steep. But when they were, and I think I was doing it correctly, it felt REALLY good! Although one thing I am almost positive about, is that my carving turns are still not as wide as they could be.

 

Hopefully next weekend I can go out again and record another video. Hopefully I can do a better job this time.

post #14 of 15
There's an upper and lower limit to how wide/tight your ski will carve determined by its sidecut, so if you want to make really wide turns you have to skid it instead of carve.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 is done by bending your knees sideways. 

The knee joint does not actually bend sideways, but if your legs are bent you can "think that" and get the skis to roll on edge. You can tell if you are doing it correctly by looking at your tracks. If they are pencil thin you are doing it correctly.

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