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Skiing in the backseat -- off piste exercises to help correct?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

First time poster.

 

Took up skiing last year after boarding my whole life (now 41 - easier to chase the kids around on skis.  And I'm getting to old to deal with strapping in each time. :))

 

Anyway, have invested in lessons and practice.  I am still definitely skiing "in the backseat" - having a very hard time keeping weight forward.  Quads burning all the time as I muscle it down.  Find it exhausting relative to boarding, where I can cruise all day with no issue.  Found this forum and great advice here on exercises to do on the slopes to get position corrected.  (Especially loved the tip about lifting the toes to engage forward ankle flex.) I will also take more lessons of course.

 

But I don't head back up to the mountain again for a couple weeks.  Are there any balance exercises I can do as practice?  (Thinking of getting out the balance board and trying squats?)

 

Also - good instructors at Killington to look up for some more lessons?

post #2 of 18

Skate.  If you sit back you'll fall.  It'll get your balance correct.

 

When skiing, you want to be on the balls of your feet all the time.  The only physical activities I've found where one is ever on their heels are waterskiing and clog dancing.  Any other activity...tennis, golf, baseball, etc...the coach will tell you to get on your toes (actually the balls of your feet).  When skiing, stand tall, lightly on the balls of your feet, hinged forward at the ankles so you're against the tongues of your boots.  Forget about curling your toes up.  That engages very weak muscles, and it also tenses your feet so you can't respond well.  Don't think of getting your weight forward--there are only minor muscle groups to do that.  Think of (and do) get your feet behind your hips.  You have strong hamstring muscles to do that.  While we really want the feet under the hips, it feels like they're behind.  Especially when skiing a steep slope, it feels like your head is the first thing going down the hill and over the abyss.  That's good.  You must have your feet behind you to allow the ski tips to engage and turn in the snow in a tight radius that will control your speed.  At the end of each turn strongly pull both feet behind you.  The tighter the turn and the steeper the pitch, the stronger and farther you need to pull your feet way back.  All the time during each turn strongly pull your inside foot back. Try to keep it even with the other foot.  It can't be done in stiff ski boots that don't let the ankle bend, but try.  The muscle tension in that hamstring impels the body forward over the sweet spot on your skis...somewhere between the toe binding and the logo...and the skis will perform for you the way the ski designer intended.

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by redfalcon View Post
 

First time poster.

 

Took up skiing last year after boarding my whole life (now 41 - easier to chase the kids around on skis.  And I'm getting to old to deal with strapping in each time. :))

 

Anyway, have invested in lessons and practice.  I am still definitely skiing "in the backseat" - having a very hard time keeping weight forward.  Quads burning all the time as I muscle it down.  Find it exhausting relative to boarding, where I can cruise all day with no issue.  Found this forum and great advice here on exercises to do on the slopes to get position corrected.  (Especially loved the tip about lifting the toes to engage forward ankle flex.) I will also take more lessons of course.

 

But I don't head back up to the mountain again for a couple weeks.  Are there any balance exercises I can do as practice?  (Thinking of getting out the balance board and trying squats?)

 

Also - good instructors at Killington to look up for some more lessons?

Have you ever seen the SkiA Sweetspot balance trainer?  You use it with ski boots on.

post #4 of 18

Pilates.  Engage you core.

post #5 of 18
+1 skate
post #6 of 18

Totally agree on skate. Disagree on ball of foot. You want to use your whole foot. Pushing with the BOF takes away shin to tongue pressure. IE. it actively opens the ankle. 

 

 

You want to ski with the muscles of your feet i.e. toes flexed and clawing into foot bed. attempting to resist inversion/eversion. While using your balance to shift your weight forward/backwards, thus pressing your shin into the tongue of the boot, allowing the boots flex to work. 

 

In simple terms, strong toes, relaxed ankle, Feet back, chest forward. Flex the boot. 

 

Practice on dry land. Then practice skating, really flexing the boot, especially right before you kick. 

 

 

I'm not an instructor, i've never taken lessons since childhood, but that's they way i do it, for whatever that's worth. 

post #7 of 18
Stop using the back of your boot for support... Just stay centered in boots.

Undo your boots and ski like that for a bit - it may get hairy if you can't ski well or balance though smile.gif

Otherwise, the mental cue for staying forward is to have your shoulders over the front bindings...

Edit: I mean get on your skiis right now and feel back of boot, front of boot and get a feel for being centered... Then go out and ski with your boots undone on an easy slope.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by redfalcon View Post

First time poster.

Also - good instructors at Killington to look up for some more lessons?

Try to book Jon Lamb. He's one of their 3 top instructors and the best match for your current situation. Call soon since he's very popular.
post #9 of 18
If you try what softsnowguy suggested, have someone help you identify the correct muscles to engage -- many people bring the gluteus maximus into use too and this causes problems.

Have a helper place a ski pole behind the crook of your knees when you're standing still on snow. Now pull one foot back without moving the pole. The only way to do that is to use your hamstrings.

Next learn how to pull the other foot back via the hamstrings. Odds are that one foot will be easier to gain this control over, so you'll have to work harder on one side.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
 Disagree on ball of foot. You want to use your whole foot. Pushing with the BOF takes away shin to tongue pressure. IE. it actively opens the ankle. 

Stay on the ball of the foot in at least the top 3/4 of the turn.  Moving to the whole foot in the last 1/4 is good for advanced skiers.

 

Always tell a student to go too far.  They won't go far enough and think they've gone as far as you want.  It is easier to do less of a movement if one does go too far than it is to add range to a movement that doesn't go far enough.

 

We aren't pushing with the ball of the foot.  We're standing on it and hinging forward at the ankle to maintain tongue pressure.

Quote:
 You want to ski with the muscles of your feet i.e. toes flexed and clawing into foot bed. attempting to resist inversion/eversion. While using your balance to shift your weight forward/backwards, thus pressing your shin into the tongue of the boot, allowing the boots flex to work. 

The original poster mentioned the opposite movement, lifting his toes.  This energizes very weak muscles that can't pull the body forward, as he describes.  Flexing the toes and clawing into the foot bed also has the problem of keeping the muscles in the feet tensed.  That is tiring, and clenched feet restricts movement in the feet to react to circumstances--try just walking with your toes flexed and clawing into your shoe insoles--it ain't pretty, and skiing is more complex.  Inversion of the ankle is rolling the ankle out to lift the big toe.  Eversion is rolling the ankle in to lift the little toe.  Inversion of the ankle of the inside foot to start and continue a ski turn is one of the subtle movements that pays big dividends.  It sets up the body to balance over the inside edge of the outside ski so the skis turn the skier.  Combine inverting the ankle of the new inside foot with lightening that ski on the snow...give it a try.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Awesome advice guys - can't wait to get back up try try it out and report back.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Also - the ball of foot comments really resonate.

 

I think I have been focused on pushing down on the ball of foot to initiate the turn.  In my mind I had been imagining a gas pedal.  Clearly this has the effect of opening up the ankle, which is exactly what I don't want to happen.

 

But what I need to be doing is getting my center of mass over the foot to initiate the turn.  Get my hip over it (closing the ankle) and also lighten the other ski.

post #13 of 18

Can someone tell my why the mark on our boot is suppose to match the mark on the ski?    I would really like to hear Softsnowguys reason first, if possible (again, not a challenge - I'm open to ideas)


Edited by bsofbos - 1/16/14 at 6:04pm
post #14 of 18

I don't really cares who posts first, but thought it would be good to hear from the guys that like to balance on the ball of the foot, given they have posted the most.

 

Anyone - why do we have a mark on the boot and ski that correlate?

 

Thanks.

post #15 of 18
bsofbos,

Do a search and you'll see binding mount point has been discussed here plenty. Opinions vary...


Here is a excerpt from Skiing Mechanics by John Howe that might be applicable to your question.

Quote:
John Howe, Skiing Mechanics, pg41




…Binding placement standardization has been proposed by the ASTM ski safety committees. Most new boots have a midpoint boot mark that should be aligned with corresponding marked on the ski. This has the advantage of placing small or large boots in the same centered position on the ski. As a general rule, this mid boot location is about 6 inches behind the mid-chord length of the ski (6 inches behind the toe of a normal boot) and 3 inches behind the ski running surface midpoint. The result is that the center of forces acting through the leg, ankle, and boot concentrate on the ski about 9 to 10 inches behind the mid cord length of the ski. This coincides nicely with the typical narrowest point in the side cut, although it it is usually behind the flex center of the ski…
post #16 of 18

Thank you!  That was helpful. 

 

Without having the time yet to dig into this further, does that tell us anything on where to balance for different types of turns?  I understand that balancing/pressuring your toes will bring the pivot point fore and balancing/pressuring your heels will bring the pivot back on the ski. 

Gracias-

post #17 of 18
OP, height, weight, and what boot are you in?
post #18 of 18

seriously standing on the balls of your feet is a great way to remain backseat. ironically pressuring your heels will actually close your ankle and bring your COM(center of mass) more forward but then again no one can tell you where you feel balanced at except for yourself......

 

...so how do you tell yourself? 

 

go down a hill and do some turns with basically pushing and pulling your feet using different joints in your legs to accomplish extreme for and extreme aft balance. Try to actually lift you tails and tips off the ground if possible(FYi its possible on any ski I have ever skied on). discover where you feel best balanced at, and also learn how to move to your extremes. Balance is not about staying in one places its about learning how to move down the hill in every which way possible. 

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