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Switch skiing

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Looking for some pointers on switch skiing.

When I'm with my kids, I've been messing around skiing switch. What's the normal progression for teaching this skill? Would like to do this myself instead hiring a instructor.

Skiing in spring conditions, so maybe that helps???

I've got a hockey background so skating backwards isn't an issue. Can someone help me connect the dots? Drills?

42yo
Intermediate
Blues, some blacks
6' 205lbs.
Rossi E88's 178

Thanks!
post #2 of 11

No "normal" progression. I'm just making this up.

 

Start on the "flats". Get in a wedge facing downhill and herringbone uphill backwards.

 

Ski straight down an easy green backwards in a wedge. Vary the size of the wedge to control speed. Vary the weight on each foot to control direction. Turn across the slope to a wedge christie stop.

 

Do an "extended" 360 (turn completely to an uphill finish, ski backwards until another uphill finish, ski forward out of it). Going forward keep turning until you are faced uphill and stop. Slide backwards with your skis parallel until you pick up speed, open up into a slight wedge and turn until your back is facing uphill. Ski forward out of it. Make special note of the weight transfer change you need to make as you switch for forward to backward skiing.. Continue doing extended 360s with smaller and smaller wedges.

 

Do regular 360s with spins in both directions.

 

Do a straight slalom run (flush) backwards in a wedge. Transition to doing it in a wedge christie. Transition to doing it full parallel backwards.

post #3 of 11
Don't forget to keep looking past your back to where you're going while sliding "switch".

Having a spotter following you to issue warnings about folks/hazards you're approaching also is a good idea.

Never ski "switch" with other skiers around.

I see no value to this except in the terrain park.
post #4 of 11

I've been down this road over the past two seasons teaching my youngsters, backwards.  Couple of things I noticed.  Race boots or general set ups with a lot of ramp angle are BAD for skiing switch.  Your calves will get tired quick and be sore from working your skis backwards.  Also, like mentioned, it is a difficult task to balance watching and coaching the kid while also keeping an eye behind you to be sure you don't hit anyone or anything.  If the place is crowded you're better off actually skiing behind the little kid to block so nobody else blasts them from behind.  If you're skiing switch in front of them watching  you are helpless to stop an out of control rider from crashing in to them and you're also not paying enough attention to where you're going if the run is crowded.

 

The main thing that I did backwards was holding their tips and guiding them to get the feel of plowing, but that is done in a full reverse plow myself.  Tip, wear a tight fitting jacket.  If you have a baggy one it will droop down too far and block the view you have between your legs so you can't see where you are going.. And, leave the poles at the base during this early stage.

 

Once they started to handle the skis themselves I'd ski switch and watch for a few minutes, 180 back regular to be sure the trail was clear, and when it was go back switch to watch and coach them along more, rinse and repeat..

 

Good luck and have fun.  It's really a blast when they start to get it and can ski even a green mostly on their own:yahoo: 

post #5 of 11
Cr, you're doing it wrong if their calves hurt. You should have solid shin contact IN FRONT of the boot when skiing switch. smile.gif
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Cr, you're doing it wrong if their calves hurt. You should have solid shin contact IN FRONT of the boot when skiing switch. smile.gif


My calves only hurt when I have the mucho forward lean boots on bindings that also have risers (my regular set up).  I figured out that skiing in more forgiving boots with flat mounted bindings work fine with no calf burn.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 


My calves only hurt when I have the mucho forward lean boots on bindings that also have risers (my regular set up).  I figured out that skiing in more forgiving boots with flat mounted bindings work fine with no calf burn.


Then you don't have a neutral stance to start with skiing forward.  Stance shouldn't change front or back on a regular set up.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Don't forget to keep looking past your back to where you're going while sliding "switch".

Having a spotter following you to issue warnings about folks/hazards you're approaching also is a good idea.

Never ski "switch" with other skiers around.

I see no value to this except in the terrain park.

 

Great advice to tell him to watch where he's going.  He's all set now for sure...  :rolls eyes:

 

I worked on spinning 360's for a long time and then worked into a reverse wedge and slowly moved that into parallel turns.   You'll also need to work on doing a hockey stop out of switch, which I find very fun overall.   As someone mentioned, start on greens only and as smooth of a surface as possible.

 

I would not work on this in any sort of powder of spring like conditions as it will grab your edges when you spin around and you'll eat it, hard, onto your side.   I like practicing this on very packed slopes as it's fairly easy to spin around that way to switch and back out of it.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post


My calves only hurt when I have the mucho forward lean boots on bindings that also have risers (my regular set up).  I figured out that skiing in more forgiving boots with flat mounted bindings work fine with no calf burn.

You sir, sound like you have limited dorsiflexion or you're skiing in a very soft boot. This creates all sorts of issues with skiing. Apologies if you're already aware of all this.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


You sir, sound like you have limited dorsiflexion or you're skiing in a very soft boot. This creates all sorts of issues with skiing. Apologies if you're already aware of all this.


I have two pairs of boots.  It's the stiff ones that leave me with sore calves... because they are tipped so far forward I have to push the toes to keep my nose off the snow when switch.  I go with the old Langes, pretty soft but also pretty upright, when I know I'm going to be doing lots of odd things other than just skiing steep stuff.  The soft ones don't leave me with sore calves nearly as much.  So, you sir, are barking up the wrong tree.

 

Full disclosure though, for regular skiing I don't like either of them tight above the ankles. I'll often ski with the top buckles barely cinched and only crank them down if I'm going to ski NASTAR or really hard, icy steep stuff.  I hate booster straps and actually cut them off.  Perhaps that is why, but oddly not a problem except in high ramp while doing a lot switch so go figure.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

 

Full disclosure though, for regular skiing I don't like either of them tight above the ankles. I'll often ski with the top buckles barely cinched and only crank them down if I'm going to ski NASTAR or really hard, icy steep stuff.  I hate booster straps and actually cut them off.  Perhaps that is why, but oddly not a problem except in high ramp while doing a lot switch so go figure.

 

Yep... you've neutered your shoes. :)

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