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Looking for advanced skier MA to get me ready for the coming season!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Had some video taken of me skiing at Mt. Baker in some deepish crud/powder last year, and decided to finally post it and see what input I get on things to work on in the rapidly approaching season.

 

I'm skiing on my Blizzard Cochise 185's and will be focusing this year on continuing to improve my technique, making larger turns and going faster off of some bigger cliffs, and maybe trying out a 360 or two. I'd call myself an advanced skier, but of course that's a rather wide range of skill. Apologies for the upright video rather than sideways. I'm 19, and will weigh a rather stronger 180 pounds and 6' foot compared to my 150 last season, which should help me out a bit with skiing as I got worked by the Cochise in the start of the season on occasion.

 

 

What I'm seeing in the video is that I seem to drop my inside hand back during the turns, get bounced around by the snow a bit especially at the end of the video when I was stopping, and might have a slight A-frame stance (not sure about that one).

 

Thanks so much for all advice and input!

post #2 of 23

That's a pretty difficult video to MA.  It's too short, hard to see, and the terrain doesn't allow anyone to get a sense of what technique you are pursuing.  You ski a couple of turns that rely primarily on youthful, heavily rotated,  gross-motor exaggerated movements, and you get a little kicked around by the terrain and within 12 seconds you lose your balance and come to a stop.  You first turns were mostly recoveries and the last one you just failed to recover.  

 

Looks like it was a fun day...however.  Why do you think being chunkier will help you ski???  The Cochise didn't 'work you' in this terrain because you didn't weigh enough.  

 

360's and Cliff jumps are worth learning, but they won't correct what's going on in this video (well, actually, the 360's might).  

 

Online MA can be a great tool (it sure has hell has helped me), but you'll need a better, cleaner video on more moderate terrain with more turns to get at your technical needs.

 

Others may see this differently, however.

post #3 of 23

next time please let the person filming you know not to hold the cell phone vertical while you film them....

 

 

there is alot going on there, not to mentioned that its a very short video of basically a couple turns in variable terrain which every turn will be different in chunky bumpy terrain pictured.

 

You are correct about the A frame, that the only thing I would take care of from watching this clip because every other thing I am seeing could be caused by that. It causing your feet to be to wide for this snow and for any other snow really, its causing balance to go your inside ski, its causing your upper body to rotate bring your lower body around because edging with some femur rotation is not doing it.

 

You alignment is off, its not that you can not ski better with your current alignment but my suggestion is to make it so you naturally stand with flat skis at comfortable width apart......

post #4 of 23

   I like your enthusiasm here (though I agree with the others regarding video quality) Keep in mind that my MA skills may be a bit rusty (so take this with a grain of salt), but I'll give it a go anyhow. I notice a few things with your skiing. Probably the most significant thing I see is a need for more emphasis on upper/lower body separation. By this I mean that your turns here look to be initiated with your upper body which results in a rotary type of quality to your turns. This is causing a few issues for you:

 

   1) Your skis and body are turning as one unit, which is making it difficult for you to initiate your next turn(s) (and is causing that inside hand drop which you noticed).

 

   2) Leaning in to the hill, which is making it difficult for you to have enough weighting on your outside ski as you move through the later phase of your turns. 

 

  3) A tendency for you to stay too far back during initiation. 

 

  4) A bit of a sequential edge change (one ski is moved, then the other).

 

  So, what to work on here? Often times, the best way to improve your skiing off-piste is to bring it on-piste, so work on the below suggestions on a blue groomer until you get the feel for them....

 

  1) Side slip drills. Start with your skis pointed across the fall line and then release, or tip them towards the fall line. As you do so, make sure your upper body moves over your outside ski(s). Also, try and keep your fore/aft balancing centered as you do this. You should notice yourself slipping directly down the fall line, not diagonally. This will help teach you how to change your edges at the same time and how to let your upper body move into the new turn first.

 

  2) Pivot slips.. Don't have time to fully describe, so here you go (courtesy of Bob Barnes' default album ;))

 

    b331b862_md.gif

 

 

     Same edge release as the side slip, but with linked "turns". This helps teach upper/lower separation. Notice the legs turning beneath the upper body and how both skis are releasing at the same time....this will be KEY for you to learn so you can progress.

 

   But now it's time to start the day, sorry I didn't have time to say more.....

 

 

    p.s. Josh's suggestion for a narrower stance in the pow is a good one Thumbs Up...

   

        zenny


Edited by zentune - 10/22/13 at 7:41am
post #5 of 23

Since there isn't really much to go on to do an MA on technique, I'll give you something on tactics, which jump out at me. You are getting rocked by the terrain, which you accurately observe. It appears that the terrain is surprising you, which is something that shouldn't be happening. It also appears that the terrain is acting as an obstacle to what you want to do. Such an approach works great when you're 19, but letting the mountain beat the hell out of you repeatedly gets old pretty quickly. Get your head up, look more down the line you intend to ski. Plan ahead, and use the terrain to your advantage. Be ready to absorb abrupt terrain changes, rather than slamming into them and letting them rock you. Think about how the terrain feature in front of you will help you ski the terrain features 1, 3, 5 turns from then. As you go, always have your eyes up and planning what happens a few turns from now. Let your feet ski the turn you're in and the next turn, your eyes should be skiing the turns after that.

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post
 

   I like your enthusiasm here (though I agree with the others regarding video quality) Keep in mind that my MA skills may be a bit rusty (so take this with a grain of salt), but I'll give it a go anyhow. I notice a few things with your skiing. Probably the most significant thing I see is a need for more emphasis on upper/lower body separation. By this I mean that your turns here look to be initiated with your upper body which results in a rotary type of quality to your turns. This is causing a few issues for you:

 

   1) Your skis and body are turning as one unit, which is making it difficult for you to initiate your next turn(s) (and is causing that inside hand drop which you noticed).

 

   2) Leaning in to the hill, which is making it difficult for you to have enough weighting on your outside ski as you move through the later phase of your turns. 

 

  3) A tendency for you to stay too far back during initiation. 

 

  4) A bit of a sequential edge change (one ski is moved, then the other).

 

  So, what to work on here? Often times, the best way to improve your skiing off-piste is to bring it on-piste, so work on the below suggestions on a blue groomer until you get the feel for them....

 

  1) Side slip drills. Start with your skis pointed across the fall line and then release, or tip them towards the fall line. As you do so, make sure your upper body moves over your outside ski(s). Also, try and keep your fore/aft balancing centered as you do this. You should notice yourself slipping directly down the fall line, not diagonally. This will help teach you how to change your edges at the same time and how to let your upper body move into the new turn first.

 

  2) Pivot slips.. Don't have time to fully describe, so here you go (courtesy of Bob Barnes' default album ;))

 

    b331b862_md.gif

 

 

     Same edge release as the side slip, but with linked "turns". This helps teach upper/lower separation. Notice the legs turning beneath the upper body and how both skis are releasing at the same time....this will be KEY for you to learn so you can progress.

 

   But now it's time to start the day, sorry I didn't have time to say more.....

 

 

    p.s. Josh's suggestion for a narrower stance in the pow is a good one Thumbs Up...

   

        zenny

The bold part is the best advice so far, love the enthusiasm you have but you need to dial it down to some greens and blues and work on somethings or you will just perfect bad habits to make skiing the harder stuff manageable. If you really like steep try to find a groomed steep and make the slowest, round parallel turns you can in the tightest boundary i.e. like the width of a cat track or side of trail to 10-15' out.

post #7 of 23

Duke,

 

Thanks for posting and being brave enough to ask for opinions. Before we get to technique, thanks also for the postcard shot

 

 

Don't let anyone rag on this. It captures what is fun about skiing.

 

 

There are some fundamental things we can point out.

Here you are leaning into the hill. As you turn across the fall line, you want your shoulders parallel to the fall line (in this case your right shoulder lower than the left). The other thing that we want to see happening at the end of your turns is that your upper body faces more down the hill then your skis. Here your hips and shoulders are facing your ski tips. You are also cutting way too much across the trail and finishing the turns with a skid to an edge set to control speed.

 

 

In general you have your weight too far back. But when you control speed at the bottom of the turn, you are going to overflex at the waist because your legs/knees are unable to absorb the sudden decrease in speed. See how much of the inside ski tip is airborne? The snow is not that deep. It's up because you are going over a mogul. Some amount of air is unavoidable. The question here is are you in a position to drive that ski tip back onto the snow ASAP? Here, the answer is "no". If you draw vertical lines from the toe and heel pieces, you want to see most of your body mass in between the toe and heel piece lines most of the time.

 

 

When you have your weight too far back, guiding the new turn with the inside ski is difficult. So you need to lift it to get it out of the wayyyyyyy. BTW - Here you can see most of your body mass behind the "heel" line.

 

 

This is what we call overflexing at the waist.

 

Hey Josh!

What could possibly be wrong with Duke's alignment? Would you care to elaborate?

 

 

Let's recap. Steep crud without stopping or crashing. Pretty good.  Sore back? Eventually!

 

Crud tends to revert "good technique" to "old habits". It's real hard to fix fundamental technique issues in crud when you have the same issues on groomed snow. We don't know if you have these issues on gentler terrain/easier snow. If you don't then the thing to do is to go back to easier terrain and become more aware of the fundamentals I've pointed out  (shoulders parallel to the slope pitch, developing counter through turn finish, keeping the weight more centered, control speed through round turn shape vs skidding), then carry that awareness back into more difficult conditions. If you do have these issues in your normal skiing, these problems tend to feed off each other. In this case we would need more investigation to determine the root cause (e.g. an alignment issue like knock knees). 

 

Or

Stay more in the fall line (vs turning so far across the hill)

Let your whole body flow across the skis as they cut underneath you (vs collapsing at the waist)

Close your ankle joints (lift the toes) to get the skis to float in the crud (vs sitting back)

Aggressively drive the ski tips back to snow contact on the back sides of the moguls

 

In softer snow you want to balance against the outside ski less than on firmer snow (but more than we see in this clip). You also want to keep your skis a little closer together (both tip lead and stance width) to get them to act more like one unit than two independent ones. With these changes and more upper/lower body separation with the upper body staying more vertical, you will be better able to resist the snow knocking you around so much.

post #8 of 23
Duke, The Rusty said something that I didn't get across, that is, it takes a lot of guts to post your video for scrutiny so kudos to you! smile.gif Also as he said, it appears youre having fun which is the reason we all ski...so keep at it and youll get there! wink.gif

zenny
post #9 of 23

Rusty that was a fantastic post.

 

Duke you've got the confidence in your skis and I assume you could ski a longer line than this short segment.  That is so important and you should be (and I get the feeling you are) thrilled to be able to do that.

 

I think Rusty gave you enough to work on for about 2 years though.  Probably best to stick with one or two focuses (foci?) at a time.  I think fore/aft balance is a great way to start, Two years ago i spent an entire season working on just that.  Finding your center, the way to flex your ankles and knees and waist independently is an incredible tool to master.

 

Rock on!

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks to you all for your input! I'll keep the universal suggestion in mind for more moderate terrain and a longer and horizontal video for the next video.

 

Liam- I've been bulking up a bit because I'm tired of looking skinny and want to improve my strength in general, which I figure can't hurt my skiing as I should be able to bend the ski a bit easier due to that. Not really that relevant to my skiing however.  What do you mean by my turns were recoveries? I was planning on stopping at the bottom, the fact that I got bounced by that mogul was a result of me trying to sneak around the back of my friend who was taking video.

 

Josh- I presume my alignment is something that needs to be worked on with a bootfitter? I was planning on heading in to the shop to get my boots punched out a bit, hopefully I can get it done at the same time.  As far as my A-frame goes, what sort of progression should I use to work on that?

 

zentune- Upper/Lower body separation sounds like a good thing to work on, I've done pivot slips and side slips but if I remember correctly didn't have the straightest path down the hill.

 

freeski919- Thanks for the look at tactics, looking farther ahead down the hill is something I've tried to do but still need to work on more. Being less tired sounds good as I'm often rather beat by the end of day and take too long of a lunch/rest break sometimes.

 

Snowbowler- I'm willing to ski whatever terrain is going to make me a better skier the quickest, this is just the only video I had taken last season of me that I have right now. I'll try and get some more pretty quick once Baker opens up.

 

TheRusty- Thanks to you especially and everyone else for not being too unkind with the MA, I wasn't too terribly depressed by it, haha.  Last year was the first year on skis where I spent a significant amount of time in deeper snow, which I could tell really hit me with some of my bad habits.  You've given me a lot to think about once the snow's here, the frame analysis of my video is really helpful, thank you for taking the time to do that.

 

SkiMangoJazz- You're absolutely right, skiing is my favorite outdoor activity, just beating mountain biking out barely.  I usually ski longer segments than this and will try to get one of those filmed for the next video.

post #11 of 23
@duke2320,

yup, go back to work on those pivot/side slips (on some moderate groomers--i know, lame biggrin.gif ) and get them dialed so you travel down the fall line. this wilk help you find your "center" and from there you will be able to better access your fore/aft balancing (not to mention your lateral balancing as well) as skimango and others mentioned...

@the rusty, that was a nice post!

@skimango, my vote is for "foci" wink.gif

zenny
post #12 of 23

Duke you are doing fine, you will get there because you have the passion and desire. I was you 25+ years ago learning to ski, I saw a trail at Sugarloaf that had the name Widowmaker, double black diamonds, yeah I can do this. I got the crapped kicked out of me. An "old" couple blew by me and they were not really even moving. I sucked but I had this huge smile on my face, I was hooked. I just had to get better, however  I could. Ski instructing helped me but also lots of practice and exploring any type of terrain. I'm definitely in the school of hard knocks especially when it comes to tree skiing , yeah I've hit a few.

 

But taking some time each ski day be it 1-2 hours, 1/2 run practice, 1/2 run go full bore, focus on 1 drill for part of day, ski all greens , ski only blues, heck ski only bump runs all day. The more you do the better you get but I think the thing that helps me is taking a drill, idea, task and playing around with it on easy green stuff, start to own it , then work it up the difficulty chain out on the mountain. It can't be all practice or we would get bored, but it can't be all get the crap beat out of us every run because well: bodies start to hurt.

 

Learning to RR track turns on easy green groomers was one of the most important things for my skiing development, are greens boring? , yeah maybe , but if it is wide open and no one is around ripping the corduroy is a blast. Plus it taught me how to tip skis and use edges, the same skill you, me or anyone  could use skiing the tracked out stuff in your video.

 

Keep at it I think Mt. biking will be a distant 2nd soon in your favorite outdoor sports. Good Luck

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

I went on a search and it seems that Bellingham doesn't have a ski shop that does alignment work.  I did get some advice to mess around with some paper under the ball of my right foot, with the stack higher on the left side of the boot.  Any thoughts on if I should just leave well enough alone for the time being, try for some DIY alignment work, or try and make the trip to another shop to get it worked on?

post #14 of 23
Duke, my advice is to leave well enough alone for right now and when you get to ski, work on the suggestions we have given you first. People can and do mess around with their own alignement but even then it helps to have some experience with it and someone there to help measure how far off you may or may not be (like find you center of knee mass and then drop a plum bob while you stand in your boots, etc...). Between now and then, I would search for a good fitter somewhere else (seattle?)--if youre going to do it, and if you do need it, its probably best left to a pro....

zenny
post #15 of 23

My advice would be to get someone to tape you on a flat beginner run with packed or firmer snow.

 

Run 1: Skiing straight at the camera, starting from both feet flat, lift one foot, hold it 5 inches off the snow for a 2 count, set it back down for another 2 count, lift the other ski for a 2 count and set it down. Get 2 lifts for each foot.

Run 2: Skiing straight at the camera,  do mini railroad tracks never letting the skis get more than 15 degrees out of the fall line. These are parallel turns where you are engaging the new edges for a 2-4 count, then release and engage the other edges. Try to stay within a 6 foot wide corridor. Get 4 turns in the clip (2 each direction).

Run 3: Skiing straight, with the camera viewing from the side (either stationary or moving with you), do a straight run and hop 2 inches in the air, land and hold for a 3 count and hop again. Get 3 hop and holds.

 

Have the camera operator make sure the zoom is set to keep the skier at 50-66% of the viewfinder.

It does not matter whether you do these "well" or not.

 

Bonus indoor shot:

Wear shorts. Get front and side shots of you standing in your boots. Close up shot from the waist down taking up 80% of the viewfinder.

 

Then post the video in the bootfitters forum and ask for an alignment assessment.

 

For shops, there are plenty in Seattle and Vancouver, but you may want to get your boot work done in Whistler.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

TheRusty & zentune-

Great! I will get some video of that, along with some of me on a more intermediate run.

When I was in the shop yesterday, the bootfitter had me stand on one foot, and flex forward and back, and I could tell that my right knee was moving in a decent bit towards the left when I did this. I'm guessing this issue will carry over to snow.

Whistler has some pretty good bootfitters, I'd bet. Maybe I'll have to try and make a trip up there this year for College Weekend and some bootfitting!

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke2320 View Post

TheRusty & zentune-
Great! I will get some video of that, along with some of me on a more intermediate run.
When I was in the shop yesterday, the bootfitter had me stand on one foot, and flex forward and back, and I could tell that my right knee was moving in a decent bit towards the left when I did this. I'm guessing this issue will carry over to snow.
Whistler has some pretty good bootfitters, I'd bet. Maybe I'll have to try and make a trip up there this year for College Weekend and some bootfitting!

If you're ever down in Seattle, give Jim Mates a call.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


If you're ever down in Seattle, give Jim Mates a call.

Thanks! I'll keep him in mind, as I'll probably get to Seattle a lot sooner than I will Whistler.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke2320 View Post
 

Thanks! I'll keep him in mind, as I'll probably get to Seattle a lot sooner than I will Whistler.

 

Get in line though... call in advance. He's a busy dude this time of year.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Got some video of myself in some icy moguls up at Baker today. I think my ski edges could use sharpening as I was skidding a bit more than I'd like on the harder snow.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IblT0_B0QU

 

The clip is short as the patch of moguls was pretty small, I'm going to try and get some better video of myself tomorrow on a groomed run which I forgot to do today. It looks to me like I could probably use a bit more upper/lower separation and some work on absorption.

Thanks for any input!

post #21 of 23
Looks like you're heel pushing from one skid to the the next. Get your weight more forward and initiate turns from the tips. The reason you're skidding is because you're in the back seat making it very difficult to pivot your skis under your feet to help with steering.

(You can also afford to be much more dynamic and absorb the terrain to maintain snow contact, before driving down the tips.)

Your weight distribution is the most fundamental issue - you're likely to improve most rapidly by dialling back the terrain and focusing on stance and balance drills.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke2320 View Post
 

Got some video of myself in some icy moguls up at Baker today. I think my ski edges could use sharpening as I was skidding a bit more than I'd like on the harder snow.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IblT0_B0QU

 

The clip is short as the patch of moguls was pretty small, I'm going to try and get some better video of myself tomorrow on a groomed run which I forgot to do today. It looks to me like I could probably use a bit more upper/lower separation and some work on absorption.

Thanks for any input!

 

 

the biggest thing you cna work on is skiing a slow line fast. thank you for the much better no vertical video as well. 

 

watch this an understand why line should dictate your speed, and not skidding at the bottom the turn.

 

post #23 of 23

Congrats on getting that video horizontal.

Otherwise, what Josh says.  Aim to make round C-shaped turns all the way down the hill.  You are making a quick pivot then bracing for a skid at the bottom of your turns, which makes your turns kind of like linked hockey stops.  Thinking of linking hockey stops can get your rhythm going, but a hockey stop is a braking motion.  If that kind of movement pattern or thinking gets embedded in your skiing it limits your advancement big time.  

 

For more targeted advice here, video two runs, one with you doing the smallest, shortest round turns you can do, and the other with you doing big wide round turns.

Do both on the same run with the camera position the same.  This time continue skiing past the person with the camera so we can see your turns from the side as well as from below and from behind. 

The side view is particularly important as it allows us (and you) to see clearly if you are in the back seat at some point in your turns.  Front view and back view tells us about upper body/lower body separation.  The continuous flow lets us know about the shape of your turns and the the grip your skis have on the snow. 

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