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evaluate my skiing

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I had you folks at epic ski eval me last year and have tried to follow as much advice as possible

If anyone has a minute - please have a look at my recent ski outing

I GREATLY  appreciate any feedback

both vids I start at 19 sec

post #2 of 18

for reference - here is the thread from last year

post #3 of 18

Not a whole ton to go on here, but one thing I'm seeing are some lazy hands. Your hands should be out in front of you during these low angle turns. They shouldn't be static once you get used to them, but for now, at least they shouldn't be dangling loosely at your sides. A drill to encourage this: take one or both of your poles, tuck them under your armpits so the pole goes across your chest, and you're holding it there with your elbows. point your palms down the hill. Ski.

post #4 of 18

Hi cmerchant, 

 

Looks like you're already comfortable moving fast. Comfort is a good thing - you've gotten the mental part of skiing in place. I also see you smoothly ride out the bottom half of the arc. Great. For now, bring down your speed so you can make changes to your skiing:  

 

Turning mechanics: Currently your skiing shows a big movement with the hip to push your bum into the turn. In part you're stuck here because your body gets a bit behind the skis. To improve your ability to shape turns, I'd suggest starting your turns by rolling through the cuff of your boots. It's critical that you feel the cuffs of your boots though - otherwise you will remain in the backseat and continue to bum into turns. Start turning from the ankles, work up to the knees, and allow the hip to move in. The hip doesn't start the turn; it moves as a result of your lower joints turning.  Some exercises to help you develop your mechanics: 

Feel the cuffs while turning

Rollerblade turns - check for clean arcs

Long leg/short leg

 

 

Popping: You make a big pop up to get your bum out of the old turn and bum into the next turn. Since you're going to stop making turns with your bum, you won't need to do a big pop anymore. If you're popping, you're probably bumming. No particular exercise here - this should go away once you fix the mechanics. You can think about skiing through a tunnel with spikes above your head to check for your ability to turn without the pop. 

 

Turning the lower joints: Currently you have an abrupt skid at the top of the turn, and park yourself into the end of the turn. I'd like to see you slow down the turning through the top of your turn. Take your time here and shape it nicely. As you turn the legs, think of gradually drawing a clean arc in the snow. No windshield wipers. Exercises to help you: 

Bracquage/pivot slips

Javelin turns

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

thank you free ski!

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Metaphor,

 

Thank you for your insight.  I see what you are talking about and feel it when I ski.  As Ash said in Alien I am "collating."  I am studying my video and the drills you mention and trying to understand what I have to change.  I will post again when I have something intelligent to say.

- charles

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Metaphor & freeski919
I have been thinking about your suggestions and trying to understand how to change what i am doing. I have been skiing twice since reading your comments but didnt really get what you are saying until watching a tutorial on pivot slips and seeing upper - lower body separation and what you mean by turning with the cuffs and not the hips. Also i have been trying more long leg short leg as you mentioned. I hope to post another vid soon
Again many thanks for your help
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Metaphor,
I have taken your advice and have been doing pivot slip drills and now i better understand the upper lower body separation idea better. The video you analyzed of my skiing shows me concentrating on getting up on edge without concentrating on what i do to get there. I now better understand that my edging should come from a twist at the cuffs/thighs/hips while keeping my pelvis motionless. You got me to understand that i swing my butt to start my new turn. Because i edge with movements above my hips I lock myself into my turn and am unable to initiate the new turn without breaking the position with the big butt move. I never knew i was doing this wrong till you pointed it out - thanks again!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

My latest ski outing:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mQBkYD0Hr0g

 

I have been doing pivot slips to get a feel for upper lower body separation and now twist my legs while holding my pelvis as still as I can

And have been doing white pass drills to improve shifting my weight  

I am gonna try to get out for another day of skiing - any additional advice would be hugely appreciated. 

post #10 of 18

Wanted to give the other instructors a chance to weigh in first, but since nobody's biting... 

 

Nice progress from your earlier video. I see a lot more mobility (your feet and legs are turning more, and you're bending and stretching more through your legs). I can also see your feet and knees turning a bit more than your hip and chest. Great! 

 

I still see a lot of stepping on your outside ski and then leaning in to start each turn. "Stepping" pushes your mass up the hill, so you're on the inside ski through most of the turn. You can actually see your outside pole is off the snow the entire turn. While you can get down fine in the sloppy/soft stuff you're skiing in the video, you'll lose your edge on hardpack and ice. Moving the upper body is also slower than moving the lower body, so you'll have trouble in short radius turns, bumps, etc. So while you feel like you're getting a quick start by rushing into the turn, it's actually limiting your ability to make quick turns. 

 

Compare your turns to Tobin's, a Canadian level 4 (I'd consider him one of the best) and an occasional poster here:

 

 

 

Now, Tobin is obviously amazing and a fair way off for most of us! However, there a few things I'd like you to notice in his skiing: 

  • Tobin turns by turning his lower joints, rather than with his upper body
  • Tobin rolls his skis on edge gradually, and rolls them off again gradually
  • Tobin's upper body appears to be quiet. (Under his jacket, you can bet his core muscles are activated--but his chest/shoulders/arms aren't bobbing around or twisting.)

 

Your goal is to start your turns from a stable platform (rather than hopping from one ski to the next), turn your lower joints, and roll gradually on edge. Here are some exercises that can help:

 

Power Plow can help you learn to establish a platform early, and learn to steer your skis into the start of each turn

Dragging both poles through the snow, particularly the outside pole, through the outside of the turn, is a good cue for you

Pivot slips will help you practice turning the ski without a big up-and-over move, as well as help you with edge control (getting off your edges is part of the skill of edging :)

Lifting and tapping the inside ski through the bottom half of the turn is another good cue (if you can't lift the inside ski, you have substantial weight over it)

Javelin turns are great too - it's impossible to do one if you can't balance on edge. These may be too difficult for now - if so, try the lift/tap exercise above

Skating will help you develop balance on your outside ski

Rollerblade turns will help you learn to roll on and off your edges

 

I've just given you perhaps a season's worth of exercises... so just pick one category from the list and work through it. Definitely would like you to be able to start from a stable platform though. 

 

Good luck!

post #11 of 18

Metaphor's analysis and exercizes/drills are spot on and excellent.

 

The only drill that I might want to add would be this excellent 'PSIA - gaining balance over your outside ski" drill:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSRk9dB8adk

 

Please note that he begins to lift the new inside ski well above the fall line (this is very important) and then balances over the outside ski throughout the turn.  He continues this turn uphill, and then he transitions to the new outside ski to start over again in the other direction.  He moves into the balanced position over the new outside ski at the very beginning of the turn  You will also see that he toes in the inside ski as he moves into the belly of the turn.  That is because he is countering with his upper body to achieve balance over the outside ski as the edge angle increases. 

 

You will want to begin practicing this on gentle terrain where you can easily control your speed. 

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for the eval.

I watched my video dozens of times and again, metaphor, you are amazing. You have pointed out to me what I am doing wrong - I don't have upper / lower body separation (probably many other things too but bear with me - while trying to fix this problem I think I have learned something that could be of use to others)

 

Upper / lower body separation to me seems to be the most important single factor to skiing better.  Balance and weight shifting and fore-aft movements and pressuring the outside vs inside ski, etc are obviously important too but I think that until you can separate upper from lower body or more specifically turn and twist your legs without turning your pelvis and upper body, your skiing cannot improve much.

So why in my videos am I seemingly not able to separate my upper from lower body?  I don't have limited range of motion in my hips or hip arthritis so why can't I move my hips better when I ski?  Apparently it's because my butt is so weak.

 

I went to a very insightful physical therapist in our office and showed her my video and asked her why my legs don't move independently from my pelvis.  What she told me was simple and unexpected.  Apparently, many of us suffer from weak butt / gluteal  muscles.  Because of this muscle weakness we lean back and stand using ligaments in our pelvis to support our body weight.  Apparently many of us do this because it's much less tiring to stand without constantly firing muscles.  This position causes all kinds of problems including hip and back pain and the same mechanisms are responsible for limiting that swiveling of the hips under a stable platform that everyone calls "upper / lower body separation."  The answer is not just to do pivot slips and force the separation to increase (- my hip hurt for a week after my last outing of doing lots of pivot slip drills).

 

The better way is to do 2 things:

1.  Lean forward

This gets the weight off the immobile ligaments and onto the flexible "core" muscles

 No surprise right?  How many times have we been told to lean forward more?

 

2.  Strengthen your butt (The gluteus group -not your thighs / quads)

Most of the ski  exercises I see involve quad strengthening - jumping, squatting, wall sits, etc.  But apparently the exercises we need are those "Brazilian butt lift" type exercises - there are lots of youtube videos on this - hip abduction and extension exercises, gluteus medius, minimus, rotators etc. 

Perhaps the quad exercises are for racers and experts - people who already ski great and just want to be quicker around the gates or bumps - What the average skiier needs I think is to work on muscles that will allow us to ski properly

 

I tried this myself - did a bunch of butt exercises and then marveled at how much easier I could rotate my femurs in their sockets without turing my pelvis - did this barefoot on carpet but no reason it wouldn't apply on skis

 

Anyway - this is my attempt to give something back after all the help I have received from this site!

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

my next ski day after taking metaphor's advice

 

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

 

I am starting to realize that I have always turned by leaning my body side to side and up the hill instead of letting my skis swivel around below my stable pelvis / "platform."  Balancing is harder because I am having to learn to balance while my skis move in different planes.  And it seems like you really need to lean forward and get your center of balance over the middle of your skis or you cannot turn them.

post #14 of 18

Still got some work to do there merch. This pic is a symptom. If you can feel yourself picking up that inside ski like this (tip higher than tail), then you haven't "got it" yet. Your upper/lower body separation is better but you still have the up move to start your turns. The mantra of "flex (the new inside leg) to release" could be very helpful here. Try finishing your turns going uphill and changing to the new edges while you are still going uphill with some speed. Do this and imagine that there is a high voltage power line overhead. Any vertical extension gets you zapped worse than Cartman singing O Holy Night. Next, we'll try skiing in French.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Still got some work to do there merch. This pic is a symptom. If you can feel yourself picking up that inside ski like this (tip higher than tail), then you haven't "got it" yet. Your upper/lower body separation is better but you still have the up move to start your turns. The mantra of "flex (the new inside leg) to release" could be very helpful here. Try finishing your turns going uphill and changing to the new edges while you are still going uphill with some speed. Do this and imagine that there is a high voltage power line overhead. Any vertical extension gets you zapped worse than Cartman singing O Holy Night. Next, we'll try skiing in French.

 

 

Bon, si vous pouvez faire du ski en français, vous pouvez skier en tous les langues -- c'est le lingua franca du ski, non?

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
I agree that the last vid looks bad. I think that I have skiied wrong for so long that I am having to unlearn bad habits. But i am so excited to start understanding the concepts that have eluded me. The last couple of videos are only 2 ski outings apart. The difference in how i feel now when ski is SO different from a couple of weeks ago. I can feel different hip movements and my body trying to balance in different planes than before. And its because of the expertise of the members on this site - i love it!
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post
 
Bon, si vous pouvez faire du ski en français, vous pouvez skier en tous les langues -- c'est le lingua franca du ski, non?

Il était une référence à la vidéo de South Park. Imaginez essayer de skier en français avec une prod prêt à frapper à la moindre bévue de bovins français.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Il était une référence à la vidéo de South Park. Imaginez essayer de skier en français avec une prod prêt à frapper à la moindre bévue de bovins français.

 

 

Ah, bon -- c'est pourquoi je ne peux pas le comprendre. 

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