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MA Help me get out of the backseat! (Northeast intermediate) - Page 2

post #31 of 55
We can only learn to ski as well as the quality of our stance will allow, or prevent, us from doing so.

We can ski in the backseat on two skis because of the support of two boot cuffs and ski tails. Not so standing on one foot/ski. So try some activities that involve standing on one leg only.
Start with 1-ski straight run, lifting tail only (try on each foot). Find a stance that gets your hips up over your feet with more support from leg bones that the thigh muscle. Then same in a traverse (each way). Then sideslipping on one ski. Then turning with inside ski lifted. This process will start re-molding your 'home' stance to one that is more centered up over your feet.
Put in the time to create a new stance them learn where it can take you.
- Arc
post #32 of 55
Just a question. (Again, not directed at anybody in particular.)

The first time you take somebody that's doing pretty good on a green run to a blue run, they might go back seat because they are "uncomfortable" not being in control of their skis.

Do you start by teaching them techniques for getting out of the back, or do you teach them to control their skis so they can help bring themselves out of the back seat?
post #33 of 55

Arcmeister should be listened to.

 

Another good 1 foot drill which I still do, and I teach in MA, is to ski on the outside ski.  

 

In skiing we need to keep our weight predominantly on the outside ski and centered fore/aft.

 

By lifting the inside ski we learn all kinds of things.  You can't lean into the turn (you'll fall over) you can't be in the backseat, you need to be angulated, and so on.

 

But the simple thing is to just do it.  Do whatever it takes to feel balanced with the inside ski raised off the snow.

 

I am results based, instead of focusing primarily on what to do, I focus on what is happening.  By skiing on one ski it will be extremely obvious when you're well balanced both fore/aft and laterally.  You'll make the needed adjustments.  Do it a lot and feel what you have to do.  Feel where the pressure is on the bottom of your feet (ball of foot, center, heel.)  Feel, feel, feel.   This is the bottom line.  The bottom line isn't pulling your feet back, turning your femurs, etc.  The bottom line is the skis doing what you want them to do.

 

Another thing about the one footed skiing on the outside ski is to notice when you put down the soon to be outside ski.  Ideally you want to start putting it down early, riding a little on the little toe edge and then roll it over to the big toe edge and ride it around.  

 

Focus on the results, then you can try all kinds of things and see what works for you.

post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister View Post

We can only learn to ski as well as the quality of our stance will allow, or prevent, us from doing so.

We can ski in the backseat on two skis because of the support of two boot cuffs and ski tails. Not so standing on one foot/ski. So try some activities that involve standing on one leg only.
Start with 1-ski straight run, lifting tail only (try on each foot). Find a stance that gets your hips up over your feet with more support from leg bones that the thigh muscle. Then same in a traverse (each way). Then sideslipping on one ski. Then turning with inside ski lifted. This process will start re-molding your 'home' stance to one that is more centered up over your feet.
Put in the time to create a new stance them learn where it can take you.
- Arc


Hey, Roger, good to see you participating here again!!

The OP can get a lot out of Arc's post, especially if he follows the dictate to "put in time to create a new stance, then learn where it can take you." The changes he needs will not come instantly.
post #35 of 55
darn double posting again.
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofort99 View Post

Just a question. (Again, not directed at anybody in particular.)

The first time you take somebody that's doing pretty good on a green run to a blue run, they might go back seat because they are "uncomfortable" not being in control of their skis.

Do you start by teaching them techniques for getting out of the back, or do you teach them to control their skis so they can help bring themselves out of the back seat?

By the time I move a student from greens to blues, I have already taught the techniques needed for a centered stance. If they revert to a back seat posture, I'll move them back to greens and give them new strategies. The general rule is that you never teach new techniques on new terrain. The exception being never evers, to whom everything is new. Teach the techniques on familiar terrain, then move the terrain intensity up.

post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post
 

Since you are facing the direction of travel you will faceplant if you hook up an edge. I still don't see why you couldn't ski square and be fore?

 

Jamt, I think it is just a matter of terminology here.  Someone explained to me today that in the "race world" square is what we instructors refer to as counter.  However, if your skis turn across the hill more than your upper body then chances are you will move fore.  I think that' what Josh was getting at. 

post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister View Post

We can only learn to ski as well as the quality of our stance will allow, or prevent, us from doing so.

We can ski in the backseat on two skis because of the support of two boot cuffs and ski tails. Not so standing on one foot/ski. So try some activities that involve standing on one leg only.
Start with 1-ski straight run, lifting tail only (try on each foot). Find a stance that gets your hips up over your feet with more support from leg bones that the thigh muscle. Then same in a traverse (each way). Then sideslipping on one ski. Then turning with inside ski lifted. This process will start re-molding your 'home' stance to one that is more centered up over your feet.
Put in the time to create a new stance them learn where it can take you.
- Arc

Hey Roger,

Great to see you here again!

Best,

Chris
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister View Post

We can only learn to ski as well as the quality of our stance will allow, or prevent, us from doing so.

We can ski in the backseat on two skis because of the support of two boot cuffs and ski tails. Not so standing on one foot/ski. So try some activities that involve standing on one leg only.
Start with 1-ski straight run, lifting tail only (try on each foot). Find a stance that gets your hips up over your feet with more support from leg bones that the thigh muscle. Then same in a traverse (each way). Then sideslipping on one ski. Then turning with inside ski lifted. This process will start re-molding your 'home' stance to one that is more centered up over your feet.
Put in the time to create a new stance them learn where it can take you.
- Arc

Well said, and if you have problems with these drills chances are you need alignement.

post #40 of 55

~~Definitely a lot of advice here, I'm just not sure what I should be trying first! I know my biggest problem is being too far back, but isn't pulling my feet backwards like SoftSnowGuy said a method of possibly fixing this?

 

The question to your success in improve your skiing is, Why are you ending up in the backseat, If you believe that's your problem, yes you will stand more above the center of your ski. If you think you are afraid of the steepness, speed or ski whit a tight stands or pushing your arms to far forward you are on the right track. Look at you movies. and make  up your mind.

 

I believe that you are lacking balance over your outside ski. Result, you don't get a good grip in the snow, and you have to stand on both skis to get balance. This will make your turns stretch-out (not travel in a good c shape turn) and you will not finish your turn. I think this is why you end up in the backseat. probable more in steeper terrain and more bumpy slopes, or?

At the end if you don't get the outsideski to grip. in balance.(you will never be able to do a short turn on harder suffice) you will Always  have this problem.

 

Balance over outside ski is the number one key skill even for a expert skier. so start there. I believe that will improve you skiing skills a lot and very fast. The backseat will fix it self when you find the balance on the outside ski.

There is so much you can do to develop but you have to find out, what is the problem, and what comes as a result of the missing key.

post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofort99 View Post

Just a question. (Again, not directed at anybody in particular.)

The first time you take somebody that's doing pretty good on a green run to a blue run, they might go back seat because they are "uncomfortable" not being in control of their skis.

Do you start by teaching them techniques for getting out of the back, or do you teach them to control their skis so they can help bring themselves out of the back seat?

Like Freeski said- new terrain= old task.  As I move someone onto steeper terrain I focus more on tactics than technique- I remind them to complete their turns which is something I have had them do on flatter terrain first.  The first time on a steeper run, I will encourage them to almost come to a stop after each turn by completing it across/up the hill.  Once they have mastered that and are starting to feel more comfortable on the steeper terrain, I will encourage them to try to link their turns at a constant/controlled speed.

 

In terms of technique, I will show them, using ski poles, that a balanced stance must match the terrain.  AKA, in steeper terrain, they must be more forward relative to a vertical line into flat ground.  I will explain that if they stay perpendicular relative to flat ground that they will be on the back of their skis which will give them less, not more control.

 

I do feel there is a time and place to teach students how to return to center from the back seat, but this is not what I focus on the first time in steeper terrain.

 

To the OP, you have been given a lot of tools/drills to try to improve your skiing.  Pick a few and try them out the next time you go out.  If something seems way too easy, move onto something that offers a bit more of a challenge.  If something seems way too hard, go to something else that seems more within your ability level.  Keep in mind that good instructors will typically start with something static (stationary, with or without skis), progress to something simple that is related, then proceed to something complex that focuses on the same skill.  Later, you can come back to this thread and pick other tools/drills to work on. I encourage you to either find a good instructor that can do this with you or to attempt to follow these same steps if you do it on your own.  

post #42 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uturn View Post

 

Balance over outside ski is the number one key skill even for a expert skier. so start there. I believe that will improve you skiing skills a lot and very fast. The backseat will fix it self when you find the balance on the outside ski.

Is that achieved by lifting up the inside foot, leaning the legs more, or something else?

post #43 of 55

Don't lift; lighten.  A drill is to lift the tail of the ski only and to allow the tip to drag on the snow.  Lifting the whole ski makes it easy to get into the back seat.  Lift just the tail of the inside ski for the drill, and pulling that foot strongly backward will keep you centered.  When skiing with the lightening, not the lifting, you can test yourself by momentarily tapping the inside ski up & back down to the snow.  If you can do this, then you are balanced over the outside ski.

 

Keep in mind that counter and angulation are needed for balance.  You need to turn your hips toward the outside of the turn (while pulling the inside foot back) and bend slightly at the waist toward the outside of the turn.  This balances you over the outside ski.  Leaning in toward the hill (inclination) is bracing, not balancing.  If you hit a slick spot while inclining, your feet will slide out from under you.  If you hit a slick spot while countered and angulated, you'll be balanced over the ski and slide in balance over the slick spot.  If anyone tells you to "ski squared" with your ankles, hips, & shoulders at the same angle to your direction of travel, (a) ask the biomechanical advantage of such a position, or (b) listen politely, nod your head in affirmation, then ignore it.

post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 

Is that achieved by lifting up the inside foot, leaning the legs more, or something else?

 

Here's a simple drill to get yourself familiar with the feeling of being centered instead of in the back seat.

On a beginner slope, a real, real easy pitch, ski straight down.  

Lift the tail of the left ski two inches off the snow, while keeping its tip slightly touching the snow.  

Tip it ever so slightly to the left (little toe edge down in the snow, arch edge up in the air very slightly).  

Your other ski should passively tip to its big toe edge.  If it doesn't, make it so.

You'll turn to the left.  Be patient; allow the turn to build slowly across and up the hill until you coast to a stop.

Do this in the other direction.  Then link turns doing this.

 

What counts is lifting the tail and not the tip.  If you only can lift the tip, you are in the back seat.

Do what you have to do to lift the tail.  

This might involve closing your ankles until you feel your shins against your boot tongues and using muscles in your lower leg to keep that going. 

It might involve pulling one foot back (the lifted tail foot), or pulling both feet back.  

It might involve standing up taller, especially if you are skiing in a crouch now.

It might involve keeping your elbows forward of your jacket seams, and your hands forward as if holding a cafeteria tray.

The solution depends on how you are skiing now, and we don't have video.  Trial and error will tell you what works.

 

When you can do this drill, linking turns to the left with left ski tail lifted, and vice versa, you're no longer in the back seat.

Delete the lifted tail part and continue working on your turns while maintaining all the stuff you had to do to lift the tail.  

Then move back to your easiest regular trails. 

If you revert to the back seat on those, try lifting the tail an inch and see if that brings it back.

Best of luck; this is a common issue and you can teach yourself to get more centered with some practice.

post #45 of 55
Thread Starter 

Just came back from my first day after receiving all of your advice. No video, but I think things have gotten much better! I think what helped me the most is the exercise that LiquidFeet (and a couple others with similar exercises) explained above. I also paid close attention to things like feeling the front of my boot on my shins, lightening most of the weight on the inside ski as well as pulling it back, and feeling more weight on the ball of my foot on the outside ski. Instead of my quads hurting, my ankles were hurting, especially the left one, but I'm not sure why one would hurt more than the other. I'm not completely out of the backseat, as a couple times my quads were hurting a bit, but it's not to the point where I had to stop mid-mountain and take a break so I wouldn't fall, which is something I felt in the past couple weeks. I think I have improved quite a bit though!

 

I did try some shorter radius turns by rotating the femur and skidding turns, but it feels like it's going to need a lot more work.

 

Thank you all for the help!

post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 

Just came back from my first day after receiving all of your advice. No video, but I think things have gotten much better! I think what helped me the most is the exercise that LiquidFeet (and a couple others with similar exercises) explained above. I also paid close attention to things like feeling the front of my boot on my shins, lightening most of the weight on the inside ski as well as pulling it back, and feeling more weight on the ball of my foot on the outside ski. Instead of my quads hurting, my ankles were hurting, especially the left one, but I'm not sure why one would hurt more than the other. I'm not completely out of the backseat, as a couple times my quads were hurting a bit, but it's not to the point where I had to stop mid-mountain and take a break so I wouldn't fall, which is something I felt in the past couple weeks. I think I have improved quite a bit though!

 

I did try some shorter radius turns by rotating the femur and skidding turns, but it feels like it's going to need a lot more work.

 

Thank you all for the help!

 

 

I would caution about standing on the 'balls of your feet" if your stand in your ski boots and press down on the ball of your foot your heel will rise(maybe lift) and your lower leg will actually straighten.  Lifting your toes again can be cue IMO its closer to what we do but can still not tell the whole story.

 

ankle flex yes but standing on the ball of your foot is opening and not closing the joint and IMO is one of the most common miss conceptions of ski instruction.  think of standing on your whole foot and using your ankle joint to bring you forward in your boot.

 

short radius turns done smoothly are hard and quite honestly out of reach at your skill level, I would first just focus on the some of the stuff that got you more balanced, and still focus on turning your legs from the femur but at first longer radius turns are easier to do, and probably better practice.


Edited by Josh Matta - 12/21/13 at 2:02pm
post #47 of 55
Nice post Josh
post #48 of 55

Nemesis, as you are working on those short radius turns, try this at home, on a hard floor, with slippery socks on:

 

--stand somewhat tallish, not bent over or crouched (it's easier to rotate the femurs if you are more upright)

--look into a mirror which shows your feet and legs

--rotate both feet to the left while not rotating the hips & shoulders (they continue to face the mirror).

--you can rotate those two feet with the heels stationary, or with the toes stationary.

--but the way you should try to do it is with the arches as the pivot point, i.e. the arches need to be stationary.

--practice this until you can do it with eyes closed; pay attention to the feeling.

--imagine doing it on a tilted surface, with your whole self also tilted so you are 90 degrees to the snow surface.

--did you remember to keep your ankles closed, with shins pressed up against the tongues of both boots?

--go out and try it on hard snow on a blue run, the steeper the better.

 

You should get some version of a short radius turn from femur rotation on that hard snow.  

 

--keep the movement slow and easy in both directions

--try pulling/holding the new inside/downhill foot back; try not doing it; see what the difference is; different strokes for different folks.

--avoid doing a quick pivot followed by a pause as you slide diagonally down the hill; that's a fail.

--the slow continuous movement should produce skidded linked C-shaped turns that progress down the hill at a nice'n'easy pace.

 

What hangs people up are the parts I've put in red.

 

If you turn your hips and shoulders with the skis, you will tend to over-turn, lean in, put too much weight on the inside/uphill ski; you'll get stuck traversing.

If you stand vertical as the trees grow, your feet will be downhill of you and you will have difficulty turning the skis; you'll be doing linked hockey stops.

If you forget to press shins against tongues (shin-tongue), you'll end up in the back seat and won't be able to rotate the skis; hockey stops again.

post #49 of 55

One tip I learned was to do small steps from one foot to the other.  First do this just going across the slope (watch out for other skiers uphill obviously).  Then start to incorporate that into turns. It not only gets you to stand tall on your outside ski, it helps you to find a balance on your inside ski, and encourages independent legwork.

 

I think you have reached the intermediate plateau...it takes some work to get past it but the most important thing is desire.

 

As always, lessons are recommended.  The good thing is, you will probably find yourself in smaller classes, as unfortunately many people stop after they reach the level your at.

post #50 of 55

+3 on not pushing down on the balls of your feet.  I took up ice-skating this off season and was on figure skates so you could not push down on your toes or you'd engage the toe pick and fall.

 

This taught me to stay centered on my foot and get forward by flexing my ankles as Josh said.

 

The result was skiing twice as well my first day out this year.  Don't lever your feet onto your toes, flex your ankles and drive forward.

 

Ski only on the outside ski, I'm telling you - as a drill.  "Lifting is learning, lightening is advanced skiing."

 

Lift it.  You will have to be balanced.  Keep it simple.  Make medium radius turns on your outside ski, I'm telling you. No better way to find your balance points.

post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

+3 on not pushing down on the balls of your feet.  I took up ice-skating this off season and was on figure skates so you could not push down on your toes or you'd engage the toe pick and fall.

 

This taught me to stay centered on my foot and get forward by flexing my ankles as Josh said.

 

The result was skiing twice as well my first day out this year.  Don't lever your feet onto your toes, flex your ankles and drive forward.

 

Ski only on the outside ski, I'm telling you - as a drill.  "Lifting is learning, lightening is advanced skiing."

 

Lift it.  You will have to be balanced.  Keep it simple.  Make medium radius turns on your outside ski, I'm telling you. No better way to find your balance points.

 

Yes to everything SkiMangoJazz says.  

Flex forward at the ankle instead of pushing on or pressing down on the balls of the feet.

 

Another way to conceptualize this:

--get forward while keeping the soles of the heels in contact with the footbed under them (success underfoot can be felt immediately)

--do this by flexing forward at the ankles so body weight goes forward; heels stay down when you do this instead of lifting up 

--ultimate test is to ski with boots unbuckled; be careful, the bindings probably won't release if you catch an edge  

post #52 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 
 

Another way to conceptualize this:

--get forward while keeping the soles of the heels in contact with the footbed under them (success underfoot can be felt immediately)

 

 

We teach beginners all the time to not be on their heels, but the reality is that having pressure throughout the bottom of your feet is the way to go,  it shifts during a turn from heel to just behind the ball of the foot, you use your entire foot, but the key is doing this while still being forward.

 

Some say to feel your shins against the boot cuffs, others de-emphasize this. This ankle flex thing (and not flexing the knee a lot, as that moves you back) is really the key.  I also find thinking of moving my core forward as a good focus, the hips move forward, but thinking of the core might work better than the hips for you - who knows.  Different foci for different people.

 

In any case -  feel the bottoms of your feet, feel where your weight is.  Move forward.  

 

Slice through the snow.

 

Move forward.

 

Feel where your weight is.

 

Move forward.

 

Simple.  Don't overcomplicate things.  Balance over your outside ski, flex your ankles and move forward.

 

Oh and did I say to feel what's happening?

 

If you focus on what's happening, your body will adjust and do what's needed to get forward to a certain degree.

 

If you constantly focus on what to do to be forward you could lose that awareness of what is happening. 

post #53 of 55

I have a slightly different take on balance than most people when it comes to skiing. 

 

Nemesis256 you have been skiing for three years, are very aware that you ski in the back seat, have tried various things to fix it without success and you are frustrated. In the videos you are for the most part skiing parallel and not out of control, you are able to turn in both directions with about the same motions.

 

Balance whilst skiing is partly inate and partly techniques that enhance balance on skis.  You are well past the "Oh sht" stage but still having major difficulties with balance. Think about buying a turn with a good boot fit/alignment.

 

The angles your body makes fore/aft suggest to me that you are not in a good boot for you as an individual. I would start with a good boot fit/alignment as all the technique in the world is of marginal value if you cannot apply those suggestions because you are not aligned or ill fitted in your ski boots. My guess is that your boots are too big or your forward lead Is too small but that Is just a guess based on stance.

 

The problem is finding a competent boot fitter.  Most shops that do alignments do what I call a comfort fit.  They select a boot they think is about right, build a quick forming foot bed,  ask you about fit and comfort, watch you flex a bit, look at you from the side to see if you are reasonably close in their mind for stance and out the door you go in less than an hour.  This type of alignment gets about 60-70% of all skiers reasonably close.  The other 30-40% need a much more thorough analysis and proper alignment performed.   That includes a total  foot/leg/body type assessment, correct shell and liner type, building a custom foot bed, fore/aft alignment, lateral alignment and a final evaluation with you dressed in all your normal gear, including back pack and your skis on to check a final fore/aft final assessment and possible final adjustment in delta angles.  Expect to pay dearly for it and a couple hours of your time but what is your time worth that you may be wasting on trying to learn from a poor alignment position?

 

Many of the suggestions in this thread are good for the technique part of the equation but may be of limited value depending on you equipment situation.  I cannot sit here and evaluate either alignment or technique as the best course of action to take first and neither can anyone else short of actually skiing with you.

post #54 of 55

Pierre knows what he's talking about.  

post #55 of 55

One other thing that I had just thought of is that I have found a very slight amount of dulling to the edges at the tails of the skis make a world of difference.  Maybe like 1/4 to 1/2" .  I discovered that years ago when I started doing my own tuning.  If the tails are sharp right to the very end, try knocking offthe sharpness just at the area that rises up off the snow. 

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