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MA request - Beginner/Intermediate skier

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I was up at Squaw today and had a friend take a few videos of me skiing. I am basically trying to get better at skiing - my goal is to ski those moguls off of Headwall and those of piste runs off of Granite Peak really well.

 

Long way to go for sure :o). But any tips/ideas on what I am doing right/wrong and what I should focus on would help. Also, looks like as the terrain gets steeper/harder, my skiing gets worse. So I probably need to work on basic things on easier terrain.

 

This first video was off of the main run on Granite Peak. Snow conditions - wetter/crudier snow - kind of mogully/bumpy terrain but softer snow.

 

 

 

 

This second one was off of one of the runs next to the Shirley Lake chair. Same snow conditions, but less steep, and less mogully/crudy.

 

 

post #2 of 24
I'd work on getting comfortable making turns. Your shopping for your turns. It takes a while to trust your equipment but once you do you'll find you can turn on anything. From a technique standpoint, I'd say you look to have a weak transition. You're placing too much weight on the uphill ski.
post #3 of 24

To improve on this and other terrain you need to improve on how your body travels DOWN the hill.

   Right now you cling to every turn, I see you, at the start of the turn, try to stand on your uphill ski and turn it down the hill leaving the downhill/inside ski behind until late in the turn as you cross the fall line when you brush it's tail in.

   A better solution would be as you finish a turn start to flatten the downhill ski to the snow and and allow the tension in your leg to decrease leading to flex in that leg and ankle. As you move down the hill twist BOTH the skis from the center, right under your boot, across the fall line.. Speed control comes from how far you turn across the hill, not hard edge sets.  Immediately start the next turn by repeating the cycle learn to brush a flatter ski on this terrain.

  I'd highly recommend working on easier terrain, you look a little over your head on the first run. You will make better progress when you are not in fight or flight mode.


Edited by pdxammo - 3/6/14 at 8:58am
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies . Yeah totally over my head on Granite but the run off of Shirley Lake was less intimidating.

I think I put more weight on the uphill ski because the snow was softer and a little deep(er) and I recall that in deeper snow, I should put more equal weight on both skis. Is that not true in conditions like those? Also, need to get more comfortable with my skis agreed, need to practice on more gentler terrain I guess.
post #5 of 24

I like how you took out your filmer at the end of the first clip.

 

In general, you are pretty balanced and have good ability to deal with varied terrain.

 

What you need to work on is skiing more fluidly. As voghan says above, you are shopping for your turn. Work on trying to flow from one turn to the next without hesitation.

 

Even on Shirley, you seem to turn traverse turn traverse turn.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Agreed - my turns are not smooth - again because I lack the ability to turn at will so if I can't find a comfortable place to turn, I traverse. Thing is it is also tough to find progressively harder terrain so sometimes I guess I have to ski the harder stuff till I can ski it well.
post #7 of 24
So the easy advice is take a lesson. I'd suggest going to an easy run and work on forcing your ski to turn. You need to learn how to bend your ski and let it make you turn.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post

Agreed - my turns are not smooth - again because I lack the ability to turn at will so if I can't find a comfortable place to turn, I traverse. Thing is it is also tough to find progressively harder terrain so sometimes I guess I have to ski the harder stuff till I can ski it well.

What ability to you lack to make a turn in general where you "want" to?

 

By shopping like that all the time you are doing much, much, more work. You could ski the same run with almost no effort if you force yourself to go down the hill. That is, your body is committed to going downhill and the ski come around.

Certainly don't need harder terrain. You need to practice on easier terrain. I also suspect your right boot is set up more to the outside edge so it's hard to get on edge without pushing it away from your body. Try shoving 4-6 trail maps on the medial side of the cuff between cuff and liner.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response. How do I practice that - body committed to going downhill and skis coming around? I did some of the drills in Dan Dipiro's book (and thought I had it figured out lol). I actually tried to learn this by picking up my poles and pointing them straight down-hill at shoulder length and turning my skis without moving my arms a lot (a way to practice a quite upper body I guess). Not sure I am doing that right.

 

BTW that is an interesting comment you made about my right boot. When I practice a one-legged traverse (with the other leg completely off the snow), I can do it easily with my left boot but not so easily with my right boot (very hard with my right boot).

post #10 of 24

Greetings Nomad and welcome to Epic!

 

The beauty of the wedge christy to handle narly terrain is on display here. There's a lot to be said for a skier with this level of ability to be able to safely navigate this terrain in these conditions. Of course, one downside of this is that practicing this particular variation of a wedge christy technique in difficult terrain is making these movements a permanent part of one's repertoire. If you want to develop parallel turns, the theory is that you are better served practicing the more efficient movements on easier terrain before you go tackling Shirley. Yada yada yada - when I'm not teaching I don't have a lot of patience for that crap either.

 

My philosophy of teaching is that there are no right or wrong ways to ski. You wanted to ski those runs. You did so without injuring yourself or endangering others. Well done in my book. You want to ski those runs smoother, faster, and better able to control your own line? Then you need some options. You'll have the most options when you can make a parallel turn in that kind of terrain. You may already have the ability to make a parallel turn on easier terrain. It's possible, but not likely. Assuming not, the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line. Eventually you will be able to use those movements to engage both skis on their downhill edges simultaneously at the start of your turns and balance your weight against the new outside ski at the same time you are moving your weight to the inside of the turn arc. That's parallel skiing. And that's how you will see most of the better skiers skiing these runs. But you're not likely to learn to make those movement changes in this kind of terrain.

 

Thanks for getting such nice video and being brave in search of feedback. Good luck on your quest to tackle Shirley and Granite with even more aplomb in the future,

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Greetings Nomad and welcome to Epic!

 

The beauty of the wedge christy to handle narly terrain is on display here. There's a lot to be said for a skier with this level of ability to be able to safely navigate this terrain in these conditions. Of course, one downside of this is that practicing this particular variation of a wedge christy technique in difficult terrain is making these movements a permanent part of one's repertoire. If you want to develop parallel turns, the theory is that you are better served practicing the more efficient movements on easier terrain before you go tackling Shirley. Yada yada yada - when I'm not teaching I don't have a lot of patience for that crap either.

 

My philosophy of teaching is that there are no right or wrong ways to ski. You wanted to ski those runs. You did so without injuring yourself or endangering others. Well done in my book. You want to ski those runs smoother, faster, and better able to control your own line? Then you need some options. You'll have the most options when you can make a parallel turn in that kind of terrain. You may already have the ability to make a parallel turn on easier terrain. It's possible, but not likely. Assuming not, the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line. Eventually you will be able to use those movements to engage both skis on their downhill edges simultaneously at the start of your turns and balance your weight against the new outside ski at the same time you are moving your weight to the inside of the turn arc. That's parallel skiing. And that's how you will see most of the better skiers skiing these runs. But you're not likely to learn to make those movement changes in this kind of terrain.

 

Thanks for getting such nice video and being brave in search of feedback. Good luck on your quest to tackle Shirley and Granite with even more aplomb in the future,

Thanks for the reply and good feedback. I will definitely work on these things on easier terrain. 

 

" the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line."

 

How do I practice that ? Patience turns ? BTW on gnarlier terrain like Shirley and Granite, the movements have to be faster/more aggressive right ?

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post
 

Thanks for the reply and good feedback. I will definitely work on these things on easier terrain. 

 

" the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line."

 

How do I practice that ? Patience turns ? BTW on gnarlier terrain like Shirley and Granite, the movements have to be faster/more aggressive right ?

 

I am always nervous when I hear ski movements described as "faster" or "more aggresive".  The hardest thing to learn in skiing is patience.  Patience.  Your skis will come around.  An expert's short turn is not a quick burst; it's a constant motion.  Each turn -- while it looks quick -- started long before most people think it did, and ends long after most people think it ended. 

 

As soon as you start thinking "aggressive" or "turn NOW" -- that usually means things are about to go from "bad" to "worse".

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post
 

Thanks for the reply and good feedback. I will definitely work on these things on easier terrain. 

 

" the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line."

 

How do I practice that ? Patience turns ? BTW on gnarlier terrain like Shirley and Granite, the movements have to be faster/more aggressive right ?

 

I am always nervous when I hear ski movements described as "faster" or "more aggresive".  The hardest thing to learn in skiing is patience.  Patience.  Your skis will come around.  An expert's short turn is not a quick burst; it's a constant motion.  Each turn -- while it looks quick -- started long before most people think it did, and ends long after most people think it ended. 

 

As soon as you start thinking "aggressive" or "turn NOW" -- that usually means things are about to go from "bad" to "worse".

Well said & so true.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Greetings Nomad and welcome to Epic!

 

The beauty of the wedge christy to handle narly terrain is on display here. There's a lot to be said for a skier with this level of ability to be able to safely navigate this terrain in these conditions. Of course, one downside of this is that practicing this particular variation of a wedge christy technique in difficult terrain is making these movements a permanent part of one's repertoire. If you want to develop parallel turns, the theory is that you are better served practicing the more efficient movements on easier terrain before you go tackling Shirley. Yada yada yada - when I'm not teaching I don't have a lot of patience for that crap either.

 

My philosophy of teaching is that there are no right or wrong ways to ski. You wanted to ski those runs. You did so without injuring yourself or endangering others. Well done in my book. You want to ski those runs smoother, faster, and better able to control your own line? Then you need some options. You'll have the most options when you can make a parallel turn in that kind of terrain. You may already have the ability to make a parallel turn on easier terrain. It's possible, but not likely. Assuming not, the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line. Eventually you will be able to use those movements to engage both skis on their downhill edges simultaneously at the start of your turns and balance your weight against the new outside ski at the same time you are moving your weight to the inside of the turn arc. That's parallel skiing. And that's how you will see most of the better skiers skiing these runs. But you're not likely to learn to make those movement changes in this kind of terrain.

 

Thanks for getting such nice video and being brave in search of feedback. Good luck on your quest to tackle Shirley and Granite with even more aplomb in the future,

Thanks for the reply and good feedback. I will definitely work on these things on easier terrain. 

 

" the two biggest movement changes that will help to develop that ability are steering into a countered position at the end of your turns (i.e. having the skis turn more out of the down the hill direction [i.e. fall line] than your upper body as you finish your turn so that your hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of where the next turn will be going) and beginning the new turn with your body moving over the new inside ski to flatten it and then bring it onto the new edge above the fall line so you are engaging the downhill edge of the new inside ski above the fall line."

 

How do I practice that ? Patience turns ? BTW on gnarlier terrain like Shirley and Granite, the movements have to be faster/more aggressive right ?

There are many exercises that can hep you develop and refine these movements. A good instructor will select the most appropriate for the conditions du jour and give you the feedback to help you get the most out of them. For example, I often use the "picture frame" drill (hold poles in the middle of the shaft and frame an object at the bottom of the trail, then keep that object "framed" at all times throughout every turn. That sounds easy enough, but many people lose the frame without knowing it. A common drill I use for an initiating movement is to lift the tip of the new inside ski then tip it into the new turn. But some people need to fix stance issues before they can do this drill and it will really mess you up if you are not countered to start with.

 

In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power, but there is a subtle difference between using strength to counter increased forces due to pitch and speed versus using strength to overcome less efficient technique. Either approach can work on the slopes but one works better at helping you improve faster. I've often been described as a strong skier. That term is not well defined. When applied to me I take the term to mean that I ski slightly faster and put more energy into the skis (from speed and muscle) than an average skier. I'd probably improve my skiing faster if I skied with a lighter (less aggressive) touch. I can ski that way. I choose not to most of the time when I'm free skiing and I have to dial it to specific levels when I'm teaching. It's much easier to develop movements and skills at slower speeds and lighter power levels.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

There are many exercises that can hep you develop and refine these movements. A good instructor will select the most appropriate for the conditions du jour and give you the feedback to help you get the most out of them. For example, I often use the "picture frame" drill (hold poles in the middle of the shaft and frame an object at the bottom of the trail, then keep that object "framed" at all times throughout every turn. That sounds easy enough, but many people lose the frame without knowing it. A common drill I use for an initiating movement is to lift the tip of the new inside ski then tip it into the new turn. But some people need to fix stance issues before they can do this drill and it will really mess you up if you are not countered to start with.

 

In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power, but there is a subtle difference between using strength to counter increased forces due to pitch and speed versus using strength to overcome less efficient technique. Either approach can work on the slopes but one works better at helping you improve faster. I've often been described as a strong skier. That term is not well defined. When applied to me I take the term to mean that I ski slightly faster and put more energy into the skis (from speed and muscle) than an average skier. I'd probably improve my skiing faster if I skied with a lighter (less aggressive) touch. I can ski that way. I choose not to most of the time when I'm free skiing and I have to dial it to specific levels when I'm teaching. It's much easier to develop movements and skills at slower speeds and lighter power levels.

Thanks Rusty (and all). So I went back to easier terrain and practiced the drills again. 

 

What you say here - "In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power" I think applies to me. I "think" I can do the movements on easier terrain. But get quickly defensive on steeper terrain. Is this because I really can't do the movements (even though I think I can) ? Perhaps. Or because my movements are not accurate/powerful enough like you surmise?

 

If the latter, then the only way to learn movements on steeper terrain (because the fear factor is higher in those conditions regardless of skier), is to ski that terrain and do the drills there right ? Perhaps 80%-20% (20% harder) to start with and slowly increase the percentage as I feel more comfortable? Because learning skills on more forgiving terrain does not necessarily translate to less forgiving terrain if one immediately gets scared in the latter ? I guess that transition to carry those skills from an easy groomed blue run to a black/bumped out black run is very hard for me, mentally.

 

I totally agree with KevinF. Expert (any skill) is not "more", it is "more efficient". But the only way to teach myself (mentally) is to forcibly do those movements on harder terrain and see that my skis turn (to save my a$$) every time so I trust them right ?? 

post #16 of 24
Even if you could do it, the nervousness could make you defensive and abandon them in favor of what your brain instinctively considers "safer" alternatives, which in fact is the worse one in practice.

Throw yourself on steeps may or may not work for you, if you can force yourself to ignore fear it may click, then again it could go the other way. An easier alternative is to practice the same skills on blues, and occasionally go to steeps to check how you respond. When you are confident enough with your skills you'll just start doing it without any fear.
post #17 of 24

It is a terrible shame that anyone taught you the stem christie turn (or wedge christie).  In 1868 the Norwegian potato farmer Sondre Nordheim won a ski race with this new style turn near the city of Christiana, Norway (now Oslo).  The turn should have been named the Norwegian Potato Farmer turn and retired generations ago.

 

Look at :25 seconds in your first vid.  See how you step out the new outside ski.  This prevents you from ever getting better.  This also shows up several other places (:40 seconds vid 3).

 

Look at :04 seconds in vid 2.  Your feet are in front of your hips.  This never works out well.

 

 

So...Stand on the balls of your feet.  Very light contact with your heels, but most of your weight on the balls of your feet.  This is true for every sport I've found except maybe water skiing and clog dancing.  Keep your feet walking-distance apart.  No more than that.  As you crest over a drop-off, pull both feet strongly back behind you so the ski tips come down to make contact with the snow and you have control.  Twist your body the opposite way from the turn--as your skis turn right your body twists left, etc.  This is called counter.  You want to be ready to make a pole plant and start your next turn before your skis head down the fall line.

 

Feet walking width apart.

Balance on the balls of your feet.

Pull both feet back to get the tips down to the snow.

Counter--counter rotate your body toward the outside of the turn.

Reach down the hill with your pole plant, not forward.  This combined with the counter will put you in a better position.

 

As you make each turn with both feet turning in unison and in balance you'll feel like time has slowed down and the hill flattened.

post #18 of 24
Having a functional understanding of how movements lead to an affected outcome is paramount.
The wedge and Stem christie are polar opposites in skiing. It is not possible to have a constructive discussion regardless of your own technique preference if you cannot define and recognize these differences.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the feedback. Much to practice. Yeah - I now I see it - I am stepping onto the outside foot instead of leading with my (new) inside ski by - 

a) softening the foot by moving my body over it so that the ski flattens on the ground

    -- at this point my (new) outside ski should automatically be flat on the snow

b) Continuing the motion by tipping the new inside ski (onto the little toe) and the outside ski also follows suit.

 

Couple of questions - 

i) For b) - should I consciously tip the new inside ski or let the forward movement of my body do this for me or both ?

ii) After both skis are on edge (above the fall line) and at the start of the turn - should the weight distribution should be 80-30% ? Is that true for all conditions (except powder) ? When both skis are (momentarily) flat - ie in neutral position, what should the weight distribution be ? As the turn progresses - centrifugal forces should automatically make the weight larger on the outside ski - but regardless - should I consciously start to put more weight on the outside ski (someone above commented that I had too much weight on my inside ski) - and if so - how much ??

 

SoftSnowGuy - you said I should pull feet back so that the tipping happens. This is the same as move my upper body over the skis right ?

 

Again - thanks all for the help. Back to work now ...

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post

Agreed - my turns are not smooth - again because I lack the ability to turn at will so if I can't find a comfortable place to turn, I traverse. Thing is it is also tough to find progressively harder terrain so sometimes I guess I have to ski the harder stuff till I can ski it well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post

How do I practice that ? Patience turns ? BTW on gnarlier terrain like Shirley and Granite, the movements have to be faster/more aggressive right ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post

Thanks Rusty (and all). So I went back to easier terrain and practiced the drills again. 

What you say here - "In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power" I think applies to me. I "think" I can do the movements on easier terrain. But get quickly defensive on steeper terrain. Is this because I really can't do the movements (even though I think I can) ? Perhaps. Or because my movements are not accurate/powerful enough like you surmise?

If the latter, then the only way to learn movements on steeper terrain (because the fear factor is higher in those conditions regardless of skier), is to ski that terrain and do the drills there right ? Perhaps 80%-20% (20% harder) to start with and slowly increase the percentage as I feel more comfortable? Because learning skills on more forgiving terrain does not necessarily translate to less forgiving terrain if one immediately gets scared in the latter ? I guess that transition to carry those skills from an easy groomed blue run to a black/bumped out black run is very hard for me, mentally.

I totally agree with KevinF. Expert (any skill) is not "more", it is "more efficient". But the only way to teach myself (mentally) is to forcibly do those movements on harder terrain and see that my skis turn (to save my a$$) every time so I trust them right ?? 
For a long time I took this attitude--just throwing whatever new thing I'd figured out onto something steeper, cruddier, whatever-er--and simply made what could be functional offensive movements into defensive, life-saving, "gonna-die" rushed turns and crouching stiff traverses, then drilled those negative movements into my form. Now I have to replace all that dysfunctional stuff with actual ski technique. I very strongly recommend against teaching yourself something or trying to 'get' a concept and then just trying to gut it out on steeps. The more you avoid the fall line and adapt to survival mode, the more work you'll have down the line driving those ideas out of your head and those movements out of your body.

That being said, if your problem is timidity, you may need to push yourself into steep terrain before you think you're ready. But what I hear you saying is not that you're timid; it's that you know that you're unable to maintain control on difficult terrain unless you carefully muscle your way through skidded turns and spend the rest of your time controlling your speed (you do that very well, by the way; it may not be pretty, but it's effective, and I'm not being snarky). But that's not timid; that's intelligence. Listen to it. You don't just need to grok a movement; you need to get it right, and really get it into your body, before you can move on.

Because when you apply the skill you learned on easier terrain to something cruddy or chopped up, or icy and steep, or narrow and bumped up, you're not forcing anything, because you don't need to anymore, and every once in a while you forget why it was so challenging in th first place, or stand at the bottom of a run and marvel that it was so much fun when it puckered you up a short time ago. That challenge is gone, and now it's time to find another one, another skill that makes even harder terrain not just smoothly doable, but really, really fun. And so on and so forth. It's not negative reinforcement where you build ability through adversity; it's positive reinforcement where you get greedy for more ways to explore more challenges.

Of course, you may have friends who tell you you've got to man up and just point your tips downhill. But speaking for myself, developing resilience through building on skills is much more fun than bravely facing the abyss.

I also tried to learn to ski through the internet and books, but the problem with that is that while you may think you understand a drill, there's nobody there who knows what the drill should look like and can tell you whether you've got it or, more likely, what would help you execute it well enough to transfer it to the runs in your video. That warm body is generally called an instructor wink.gif.who can then tell you when you're ready to take the skill to the next level, point out where you're falling apart, and help you adapt it to different conditions.

And a caution about learning to ski on an internet forum: while you'll get encouragement and lots of suggestions, it's easier to learn skills one at a time, and not necessarily to take every piece of advice on how to execute a movement, because there are a lot of approaches, a lot of ways to explain things, and even expert instructors will sometimes use the same jargon to mean different things, which only makes the confusion worse. If you're trying to learn how to distribute your weight and frame with your poles and counter your weight and keep your feet a certain distance apart and carve all at the same time, it's likely that little of it's going to happen. That's my experience, anyway. You may have more luck than I did, though.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the post, litterbug.

 

Actually, I _always_ take a lesson once a year and a clinic once every other year (or two). I took an ESA once (loved it, hope they do it again) and my skiing really improved at the ESA. My issues are - I ski only 5-7 days a year - and usually take a lesson on the 5th or 6th day. So this year, I have promised myself that I am _not_ going to take any more lessons until I drill all those lessons into muscle memory properly hehehe (all this while skiing at least 20 days a year). 

 

So I am not really here fishing for free advice, I am just avoiding taking a lesson this year :o).

 

Thanks for the feedback - all.

post #22 of 24
Okay, then, here's a better idea. Instead of taking a lesson when you only have a few days left to absorb what you learned, get a lesson on day 1 or day 2! Forget the backlog of learning tasks and get feedback and instruction based on your skiing at that moment. Then go forth and work on what you learned along with whatever else from the backlog is still interesting. It's plain pedagogy. Who knows, you may even decide to take a second lesson at the end of the week!
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

There are many exercises that can hep you develop and refine these movements. A good instructor will select the most appropriate for the conditions du jour and give you the feedback to help you get the most out of them. For example, I often use the "picture frame" drill (hold poles in the middle of the shaft and frame an object at the bottom of the trail, then keep that object "framed" at all times throughout every turn. That sounds easy enough, but many people lose the frame without knowing it. A common drill I use for an initiating movement is to lift the tip of the new inside ski then tip it into the new turn. But some people need to fix stance issues before they can do this drill and it will really mess you up if you are not countered to start with.

 

In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power, but there is a subtle difference between using strength to counter increased forces due to pitch and speed versus using strength to overcome less efficient technique. Either approach can work on the slopes but one works better at helping you improve faster. I've often been described as a strong skier. That term is not well defined. When applied to me I take the term to mean that I ski slightly faster and put more energy into the skis (from speed and muscle) than an average skier. I'd probably improve my skiing faster if I skied with a lighter (less aggressive) touch. I can ski that way. I choose not to most of the time when I'm free skiing and I have to dial it to specific levels when I'm teaching. It's much easier to develop movements and skills at slower speeds and lighter power levels.

Thanks Rusty (and all). So I went back to easier terrain and practiced the drills again. 

 

What you say here - "In gnarlier conditions, the movements need to be more accurate and done with more power" I think applies to me. I "think" I can do the movements on easier terrain. But get quickly defensive on steeper terrain. Is this because I really can't do the movements (even though I think I can) ? Perhaps. Or because my movements are not accurate/powerful enough like you surmise?

 

If the latter, then the only way to learn movements on steeper terrain (because the fear factor is higher in those conditions regardless of skier), is to ski that terrain and do the drills there right ? Perhaps 80%-20% (20% harder) to start with and slowly increase the percentage as I feel more comfortable? Because learning skills on more forgiving terrain does not necessarily translate to less forgiving terrain if one immediately gets scared in the latter ? I guess that transition to carry those skills from an easy groomed blue run to a black/bumped out black run is very hard for me, mentally.

 

I totally agree with KevinF. Expert (any skill) is not "more", it is "more efficient". But the only way to teach myself (mentally) is to forcibly do those movements on harder terrain and see that my skis turn (to save my a$$) every time so I trust them right ?? 

 

You may be able to do the movements accurately in easier terrain. It's a safe bet you could at least learn to do them more accurately and more powerfully on easier terrain. There are teaching approaches that believe that all use of difficult terrain for learning is detrimental. If you do believe that difficult terrain can help with skills growth then thinking in terms of a percentage split won't help. The issue is how you use the harder terrain. We can tell you to find steeper sections on the easier trails and flatter lines on the more difficult trails, but most beginner and intermediate skiers can't do this on their own. We can tell you to gradually work from slower speeds to faster speeds. We can tell you to work from bigger turns gradually to smaller turns. This also a challenge for lower level skiers. There's also a fair chance that you could forget all this mumbo jumbo and progress just fine skiing 40 days per year instead of 4. A lot of us here on Epic got to expert level that way.

 

I had two young (9-12) beginner ladies for a lesson last weekend. We started on the bunny trail and ended up skiing a black trail twice despite never losing the wedge christies. We should have stayed on the green terrain and developed parallel turns. I made the assessment that getting them into wide traverse/turns on steeper terrain was going to work better for them. But in order for this approach to work I had to very carefully pick the lines to ski and immediately put a stop to defensive movements as they cropped up (in addition to taking extra safety precautions). Softer snow, light crowds and special students made my job easier. Earlier in the season I had a young adult male at a slightly more advanced skill/experience level and we never left the advanced green trail. Sometimes it's good to go up a terrain level to make easier terrain seem even more easier and that allows new movements to be developed on the easier terrain. Every day and every student is different. Your mileage will vary.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad555 View Post
 

I ski only 5-7 days a year

 

The biggest barrier to your progress: you can only build muscle memory through repetition. Lessons are great, but you're not going to escape the valley of the terminal intermediate on 5-7 days/year. 


Edited by Metaphor_ - 3/10/14 at 12:54pm
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