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MA for relatively new skier

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My girlfriend just started skiing last season with old, used, ski and boots. We got her some new skis and boots this year, and she is loving them! 

 

I have been skiing since I was about 8 years old, so I taught her the basics of how to ski, but she has now gotten to a point where I don't really know how to tell her how to get better, or rather, how to verbalize what she can improve upon. 

 

One of the big things I notice she is doing is relying heavily on her left leg for stopping/slowing down and not on carving consistently to reduce speed.

 

Below is a video I took of her skiing last weekend at Keystone. Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

Skis - 161 Salomon Rockette 90

 

 

 

post #2 of 14
Ok my phone won't play the video feed for very long but, looks like she needs to open up her turns/ round them out and relax. Fine tune her balance skills with some drills. Nothing personal but she would benefit from a prof. lesson. She looks like real go getter. :-)
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

Ok my phone won't play the video feed for very long but, looks like she needs to open up her turns/ round them out and relax. Fine tune her balance skills with some drills. Nothing personal but she would benefit from a prof. lesson. She looks like real go getter. :-)

Yeah, I definitely agree with the professional lesson! Only problem is that she can't afford to pay for one herself - I pay for all our ski related expenses, and I can't swing a couple hundred for some lessons right now. Hopefully later in the season though. 

post #4 of 14

I'm seeing a lot of defensive skiing. All of her motions are stop motions, to keep her from going. She is using braking maneuvers to execute turns. During each turn, her arms and her upper body are being drawn backwards, as if preparing for an impact. This is causing a number of issues.

 

First, she needs to round out her turns and use her turn shape to control speed, rather than a skidding, braking motion. Currently, her turns are Z shaped, and do not finish across the fall line. Efficient turns will be rounded, and finish across the fall line. Because she is not utilizing turn shape, she essentially is skiing with a series of linked recoveries. She gets going too fast, throws on the brakes, then goes the other way until she needs to throw on the brakes again. This is a fairly inefficient way to get down the mountain, and doesn't allow for much ability.

 

Second, the tension in her upper body is throwing her out of balance in a number of places, and putting her more in the back seat than she wants to be. Because of that, she needs to break significantly at the waist in order to stay over her skis. From that stance, most dynamic moves are difficult if not impossible. 

 

Now I'm going to throw some harsh reality at you, man. You have already said this is about as far as you can get her on your own. You're not going to glean the skills needed to help her progress by asking questions on an internet forum. I can spend the rest of the evening telling you about CoM's and BoS's and CoB's, edge angles, platform angles, balance, edging, rotary, pressure, active steering, strong inside halves, femoral rotation, foot squirt, fore aft balance, and a zillion other things. It's really not going to make a difference. In order to be an effective instructor, you need to have mastery of the knowledge, and you need to be able to impart it in a clear and understandable manner. If you would really like to see your girlfriend improve, you need to provide her with professional instruction. I know its pricey, I don't expect to buy a Mercedes for the same price as my Subaru. 

 

I also say this to help you preserve your relationship. I have seen many, many relationships go south or get seriously damaged because boyfriend tried to teach girlfriend, or vice versa. Its just a bad dynamic, and never ends up well. I have been teaching for a long time, taught hundreds of lessons over the year, to thousands of students. I'll never, ever, EVERRR teach my wife a ski or snowboard lesson. I like her, and I'd like to keep her around. 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the input @freeski919! I would definitely agree that it is "defensive" skiing. I think working on her turn shape will help her a lot though. She complains of her legs burning and such after every run, and I bet you know why too! She knows that she is supposed to make more fluid turns, but at this point it seems as though she is too afraid of going faster to get her turn initiation going and just snowplows to a stop so she is comfortable with her speed. 

 

And yes, as I said above, I do plan on getting her some lessons this season. I know I can only teach her so much before she has to have professional instruction to get better. As I said in my initial post, I've been skiing my whole life and can ski anything on the mountain, the problem is, as you said, I can't explain to her how to ski everything on the mountain. I'm looking for some advice and help to keep her progressing in the meantime, and you've pointed me in the right direction!

 

EDIT: Also, while I know teaching a SO can be rough, she is very understanding that I am trying to get her better and I am very patient as well. It's worked out good so far, she was very appreciative of my lessons last season. She even went up without me yesterday! She even told me a few weeks ago that she understands why I like skiing so much now!

post #6 of 14

Private lessons are great but if cost is an issue go with a group lesson. Half day adult intermediate group lessons start at $121 at Keystone. They can be fun and you have other people to react with and learn from. If you can go mid week you might be a group of one or two. Another great thing about the half day lessons is you learn a little then practice it for the rest of the day or weekend. Do that for three weekends and  by Christmas she'll be doing great.

 

http://www.keystoneresort.com/plan-a-vacation/book-ski-and-ride-lessons/products/Adult-Half-Day-Intermediate-Ski-Lesson?pfm=lrmore

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rellik92j View Post
 

Thank you for the input @freeski919! I would definitely agree that it is "defensive" skiing. I think working on her turn shape will help her a lot though. She complains of her legs burning and such after every run, and I bet you know why too! She knows that she is supposed to make more fluid turns, but at this point it seems as though she is too afraid of going faster to get her turn initiation going and just snowplows to a stop so she is comfortable with her speed. 

 

 

If she is afraid of going faster, the terrain is too much. She will never learn and improve if she is in survival mode. There's a reason you see racers doing drills on green terrain. 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

@freeski919 I agree with you on that one. Hopefully with all this snow we've been getting in Colorado this week Keystone will be opening some green terrain and we can practice on that some more. Also this was her second day skiing on her new skis, which are much longer than her skis from last year (146's) and she is also breaking in new boots (last year she had size 27 boots, we got her properly fitted and she is now in 24.5's) so hopefully she will get some more confidence back after skiing a few more days. 

 

She wants to ski the blues to be able to ski with me more, and I'm not one to tell her no!

post #9 of 14

Breaking in new boots... did she have her boots fitted?

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

She did. She was very adamant that she was not a 24.5 when we first got her fitted. Thinking that ski boots were supposed to fit like shoes. They've packed out a bit and she got them heat molded so they are more comfortable now, but going from a 27 to a 24.5 is quite a jump for someone who hasn't ever had a proper fitting ski boot. 

post #11 of 14

Wow, she's a fearless WROD maniac!  I'm impressed she's excited about skiing our current conditions.  My wife would be looking over her shoulder every turn and want to go home after one run.  (OK, I would too ;))

 

Maybe temper her enthusiasm so that she's still excited about skiing A-basin in May.  She'll improve a whole lot more if she doesn't burn out and sticks with it the whole season.

 

A couple thoughts from a non-instructor on how you can help her in addition to lessons:

 

  • Ski in front of her slowly and model arms up and out and completing turns, as suggested above.
  • Be willing to ski with her a lot on terrain that isn't terribly interesting to you.
  • Ski more slowly than you otherwise would so she can model your skiing.
  • Consider taking a lesson yourself, and/or putting video of you skiing up here yourself, so that you are providing a better model.
  • Consider books and or videos on skiing from the library.

 

Most importantly, make sure all that is fun.  It's easy for a guy to get too hard-core and turn off a girlfriend to skiing.  Keep the whole thing fun and relaxed, from the drive up to the drive home.   She'll improve hugely just from mileage, but she'll never get the mileage if she isn't having fun.   She's got the bug, make sure she doesn't lose it!

post #12 of 14
If you french fry when you're supposed to pizza your going to have a bad day. Keep it light and have fun together. Of course you can create a ski monster too. Talks skiing all the time, buys ski gear all year long, constantly watches the weather and the worst watches ski flicks during August.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

@slider Sounds like you are talking about me! :rotflmao:

 

@tball Good suggestions, I sent her a couple of videos on turn initiation and completion today to watch. Just saw the news that Keystone will be opening up Schoolmarm this weekend and I plan on going up and have her follow me around (slowly) to get a better feel for it this weekend. 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rellik92j View Post
 

@slider Sounds like you are talking about me! :rotflmao:

 

@tball Good suggestions, I sent her a couple of videos on turn initiation and completion today to watch. Just saw the news that Keystone will be opening up Schoolmarm this weekend and I plan on going up and have her follow me around (slowly) to get a better feel for it this weekend. 

 

There are obviously a lot of "how to ski" videos out there of varying quality.  Part of the problem with the internet is that we obviously don't know you, your background, what aspects of ski technique you've discussed with your girlfriend or what your current understanding of ski technique is.  So you kind of get hit from all angles here, and if you continue with the "teach her yourself" approach, you're going to have to sift through the available material and present it to her in some sort of logical fashion.

 

At any rate, I believe that modern ski technique makes absolutely no sense and you have very little chance of performing it "correctly" until you not only fully understand but embrace what it is you're trying to accomplish.  I'm going to shut up now and just hand over the link to the best "why we turn" video out there:  http://vimeo.com/6595337

 

 

Note that it's not a "how to" guide so much as it is a "what to" guide.

 

The creator of this video (Bob Barnes) is active on these forums.

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