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NEED HELP with uphill ski and one legged skiing

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

I'm pretty glad I found a page like this. I am a die hard skier and I started around 4 years ago and took it seriously 2 years ago when I worked as an instructor for little kids. I decided that I really wanted to take my skiing much further and went ahead and joined my local mountain's race team. My skiing improved tremendously and I had a lot of fun but I really want to be competitive. I'm entering my second year and so far but I have been plagued by an issue which has really hurt me especially in slalom and even when I am doing moguls on my free time. 

 

I am having trouble carving my uphill ski and creating angulation. I can carve when my uphill ski at a great enough speed but I can't really do it at slower speeds and I am having trouble carving small radius turns such as slalom turns without skidding. 

 

Also, when I attempt a one legged skiing drill, I am having trouble even tilting my skis uphill... (like if i was using my right ski, I can't turn right) I'm not sure if I am attempting to tilt my skis incorrectly. It can't even get my skis to turn right a little bit using my edges.

 

Any tips or advice would be very appreciated! This is one of my biggest goals this season.

 

Thanks,

Alvin

post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by a98alvin View Post
 

Also, when I attempt a one legged skiing drill, I am having trouble even tilting my skis uphill... (like if i was using my right ski, I can't turn right) I'm not sure if I am attempting to tilt my skis incorrectly. It can't even get my skis to turn right a little bit using my edges.

 

Any tips or advice would be very appreciated! This is one of my biggest goals this season.

 

Thanks,

Alvin

 

For starters you are going to need to make sure that your boot alignment is dead-on. Odds are high that it is not or this wouldn't be all that hard.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Yea, I was thinking something on the lines of this, but I am not sure how I can check this...

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

I looked around online and realized that I had all the symptoms of a skier with a boot that's not properly aligned. I was wondering where or how I could fix this.

post #5 of 25

@a98alvin, it sounds like you are not yet comfortable skiing along on the little toe edge (LTE) of either foot/boot/ski.  
Try this drill to increase your comfort there on that weak side of the foot.  (The big toe edge - BTE - is stronger by far than the LTE.)

 

Traverse on a wide trail that has no skier traffic.  
Glide across the hill on your uphill foot/ski, which means you will be on its LTE.  Lift up the downhill ski, and lift the downhill hip along with it.

Turn around at the far side and go across in the other direction on the other LTE.  Your goal is to cleanly carve across, without setting down the lifted downhill ski.  Turn around and look at your tracks.  Get them smooth not wobbly, and pencil thin.  At this point it doesn't matter how you turn at the trail's edges.  

 

Once you can cleanly railroad track your way across this wide trail on each LTE, add pumping into the front of your boot cuff.  Here's how.

 

Traverse again across on the LTE of your uphill ski, but this time flex and extend that uphill leg so that your flexing brings the downhill ski low enough to tap the snow (the whole ski, not just the tip or tail - very important!!!).  Now extend/lengthen the uphill leg, which will bring the downhill ski back upwards off the snow, along with the downhill hip.  Do this uphill flexing and extending in order to tap, lift, tap lift the downhill ski repeatedly.  This flexing/extending will require that you press/pump into your uphill boot cuff with your uphill shin.  To do this drill "correctly," get that downhill ski down onto the snow and lifted up only by flexing/extending the uphill leg.  No fair cheating by bending and lengthening the downhill leg or by doing anything with the downhill hip.  All the action is happening with your uphill leg.

 

Work on this often, turning around to view your tracks in the snow.  See if you can cleanly rail your traverses even when you are pumping and tapping.  Your goal is to develop comfort, and assertiveness, and confidence on that LTE.  It will translate to your two-footed skiing.

 

Also, proper boot alignment and fit is critical.  If boots fit and alignment are good, it still takes some serious practice to get used to the LTE.  This is not intuitive.  Just because you are having difficulty working the LTE doesn't mean necessarily it's a gear issue.  Work both ends of the issue, fine tuning your boots and doing deliberate practice to feel confident on the LTE.  

 

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post #6 of 25
Boots need to fit and be aligned. Go to a real fitter, except it when he tells you your boots are too big and remedy that. Key is going to a real boot fitter and not someone that happens to sell ski boots. It might cost a bit but it will pay huge dividends.

I haven't been skiing much longer than you. About 7 years. Two seasons ago I taught myself to ski on one ski (though poorly) and last season I taught little kids to do it. I can do it much better now because I realized it isn't just about changing direction, but still making a proper turn and following all the steps of making a turn on two skis.

My recommendation is to first fix the boots and once that is done, go to the bunny slope. That's what I did. Go through a progression as LF laid out; simple traverses, then a traverse that curves uphill (smiley face) etc.

One of the things that is key is you CAN NOT be in the back seat and do this without great difficulty. I would have the kids (and myself) flex their ankle to the point of crushing the boot when first starting out. Brings you way forward and makes the task easier; not easy but easier.

Something else to consider is it sounds like you are trying to carve on one ski before you can steer on one ski. That isn't how you learned to ski so consider following the same approach. First do steered turns. Carving is great and I love it but there is much learning to be had in steering turns that will again pay huge divideds in carving.

In a perfect ski world with perfect form, you would only have to start skiing, lift one leg and viola! You're skiing on one ski. The problem is most folks, me included, don't have perfect form so it takes a ton of practice. The good news is it will help your form.

Go slow and back to basics. This will greatly improve your foundation skills and will make you a better racer.

Ken
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

Boots need to fit and be aligned. Go to a real fitter, except it when he tells you your boots are too big and remedy that. Key is going to a real boot fitter and not someone that happens to sell ski boots. It might cost a bit but it will pay huge dividends.

I haven't been skiing much longer than you. About 7 years. Two seasons ago I taught myself to ski on one ski (though poorly) and last season I taught little kids to do it. I can do it much better now because I realized it isn't just about changing direction, but still making a proper turn and following all the steps of making a turn on two skis.

My recommendation is to first fix the boots and once that is done, go to the bunny slope. That's what I did. Go through a progression as LF laid out; simple traverses, then a traverse that curves uphill (smiley face) etc.

One of the things that is key is you CAN NOT be in the back seat and do this without great difficulty. I would have the kids (and myself) flex their ankle to the point of crushing the boot when first starting out. Brings you way forward and makes the task easier; not easy but easier.

Something else to consider is it sounds like you are trying to carve on one ski before you can steer on one ski. That isn't how you learned to ski so consider following the same approach. First do steered turns. Carving is great and I love it but there is much learning to be had in steering turns that will again pay huge divideds in carving.

In a perfect ski world with perfect form, you would only have to start skiing, lift one leg and viola! You're skiing on one ski. The problem is most folks, me included, don't have perfect form so it takes a ton of practice. The good news is it will help your form.

Go slow and back to basics. This will greatly improve your foundation skills and will make you a better racer.

Ken
Thank you for taking the time to write such good advice for me. I'm definitely going to fix my boot and try your drills on the bunny slopes again once I have fixed then. I do train over 25 days a season and my coaches end up telling me to do those drills but every time I can't even angulate my uphill ski even a little bit. And also I think the boot is making me stand weird. I'm near complete confidence now that my boots have been hurting me in these drills cause I used to be able to do them even on rental boots... Now I can't.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by a98alvin View Post
 

I looked around online and realized that I had all the symptoms of a skier with a boot that's not properly aligned. I was wondering where or how I could fix this.

You're going to need to go to a bootfitter. A real one. One place to start is looking to see what shops have an America's Best Bootfitter certification. I'm not going to say that this is an absolutely exhaustive list, but it is a way to know that the shop adheres to a certain standard. It looks to me that if you're in Princeton, the Ski Barn in Lawrenceville will be the closest shop with an ABB certification. 

 

Two things to keep in mind walking in the door. First, if you are still instructing, let them know that off the bat. Most good fitters give pros some sort of deal, or other professional-to-professional courtesies. Second, if you bought your boots from anywhere but a qualified bootfitter, you're most likely going to end up needing new boots. Boots bought without guidance are invariably too big. And while a fitter can do a ton of different things to make a boot slightly bigger, there is nothing they can do to make a boot smaller. If your boots are too big, you will need new ones. While this may sound like a drag, I can't understate the difference a good pair of boots will make in your skiing. I'm the first one to discourage people from buying skis to try to "buy" a turn, but good boots really can have a significant and immediate impact on improving your skiing. The right boots will cost you a little, but they'll pay you back with every turn you make. 

post #9 of 25

PM, Sent

post #10 of 25
Thanks to all who have contributed to this conversation, and to the OP for starting it. This is something I need to work on as well. I feel like I still have too much skid in my transitions and hope that a drill like this will help me lose that.

A question that may fit in here. Is there a point at which we should attempt to transition from little toe side to big to side in the one ski drill? I.e. should we carve (or maybe even steer) a turn all on one leg?
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbeinct View Post

Thanks to all who have contributed to this conversation, and to the OP for starting it. This is something I need to work on as well. I feel like I still have too much skid in my transitions and hope that a drill like this will help me lose that.

A question that may fit in here. Is there a point at which we should attempt to transition from little toe side to big to side in the one ski drill? I.e. should we carve (or maybe even steer) a turn all on one leg?

 Absolutely. There is always a progression to be made. Here is my basic one-foot drill progression:

 

1. Make turns with only the the outside ski. Lift the tail of the inside ski off the snow. Leave the tip of the inside ski on the snow to ensure that you are properly balanced and not in the back seat. Obviously, alternate feet as you go. The very beginning is to initiate a turn with both feet, and finish it with just the outside. Then progress to lifting the inside foot before you initiate the turn. 

 

2. Make turns with only the inside ski. This will really start getting you going with your little toe edges (LTEs). Again, start the drill by initiating the turn with both feet then lifting the outside ski tail. Progress to initiating the turn with your outside ski already off the snow. 

 

3. Start transitioning from edge to edge with just one ski on the snow. Start by trying one transition, then build to multiple turns, keeping just your left or your right ski on the snow. 

 

4. The final step in the one ski drill progression is to genuinely ski on one ski. Take your skis off the rack, pick one and put it on. Put the other one back on the rack, and go ski a run or two with just one ski. I highly advise sticking to green runs for that. 

 

In all stages of this drill, the turns can be carved, slarved, smeared, or skidded. I generally find starting with a smeared turn is easier, then working up into a carved turn. 

post #12 of 25

                         

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by a98alvin View Post

 

 

I am having trouble carving my uphill ski and creating angulation. I can carve when my uphill ski at a great enough speed but I can't really do it at slower speeds and I am having trouble carving small radius turns such as slalom turns without skidding. 

 

I have no idea what you mean by "uphill ski".

 

When you turn to the left, your right ski starts out as uphill ski and then becomes the downhill ski at the end of the turn.

 

"Inside ski" and "outisde ski" are the usual terms these days.  Back in the last century, instructors liked to confuse their students with "uphill ski" and "downhill ski" but that's gone out of favor.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

I have no idea what you mean by "uphill ski".

When you turn to the left, your right ski starts out as uphill ski and then becomes the downhill ski at the end of the turn.

"Inside ski" and "outisde ski" are the usual terms these days.  Back in the last century, instructors liked to confuse their students with "uphill ski" and "downhill ski" but that's gone out of favor.

I use the term uphill because the ski becomes uphill and downhill with every turn. Like if you are on your right ski, when you turn right, your ski is the uphill ski.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by a98alvin View Post


I use the term uphill because the ski becomes uphill and downhill with every turn. Like if you are on your right ski, when you turn right, your ski is the uphill ski.

 

The point of confusion with the "uphill" and "downhill" terms is that when you start turning right, your right ski is initially downhill (at the start of the turn when you're looking at the trees on one side).  Then you get to the fall line and neither ski is uphill or downhill relative to the other; you're just going straight down for an instant.  And then you start going towards the trees on the other side and finally your right ski is "uphill".

 

However, during all of a right turn, your right ski remains "inside" -- i.e., it's turning a smaller arc than your left (outside) ski is.  The right ski's arc would fit "inside" the left ski's arc (in a right-hand turn).

post #16 of 25

Alignment and LOTS OF PRACTICE.

 

You got some good advice so far. have a real good fitter check your alignment, if you can get somewhere that a bootfitter is on the hill, even better. I know some fitters that used to actually go out on the mountain and ski with their clients but I have not heard much of that any more. Once you get aligned, go out and practice every chance you get. It's not always perfect depending on how you ski. You will be amazed how much the body can compensate for not being perfectly aligned but getting the alignment right does make the one legged skiing easier.

 

The other thing is don't get discouraged. Just keep working at it. The above drills will all help. I will tell you steered slow speed turns are much harder than carved turns but once you learn to initiate and steer a slow turn to the little toe edge well, the carved turns will seem easy. And I know of several L3's that struggle with LTE one legged turns. They are NOT EASY. so a 4th season skier, even sort of mastering them, is a great accomplishment.

post #17 of 25

This might help explain uphill/downhill is inherently confusing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

uphill/Downhill Ski

A terminology concept that identifies one ski from the other.  It’s best used when discussing the role of the feet and skis during a traverse, or within the confines of a standard transition between turns.  In those situations, one ski is at all times an uphill ski, and one is a downhill ski.  

 

When discussing the roles of the feet and skis during a turn, it’s better to refer to an Inside and Outside ski.  During a turn, which is the uphill ski, and which is the downhill ski, changes.  That creates confusion.  Which is the inside and outside remains the same.  Much clearer. 

 

post #18 of 25

post #19 of 25

Good explanation Rick. I was working with my wife yesterday to get her to put more pressure on the boot cuff. I was trying to get her to pull back the "uphill" ski and she just was not getting it. I just re explained it to her using the "inside ski" with the circle analogy  instead and she understands it now-see what happens on the slope Sunday.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V. View Post
 

Good explanation Rick. I was working with my wife yesterday to get her to put more pressure on the boot cuff. I was trying to get her to pull back the "uphill" ski and she just was not getting it. I just re explained it to her using the "inside ski" with the circle analogy  instead and she understands it now-see what happens on the slope Sunday.

 

Cool!  Thumbs Up

 

Make some turns for me, my friend, I'm sand bound.

post #21 of 25

For the uphill / downhill and inside / outside challenged, try talking about Big Toe and Piggy Toe.

 

PRACTICE your one footed skiing on TWO SKIS.  There is no sense falling down and frustrating / injuring yourself.  EASY TERRAIN.  There is not much sense for an adult who has to get up and go to work to train one legged on blue terrain.  Get back in touch with the bunny slope.

 

DO NOT try to keep up with 14 year olds ripping down on one ski.  They have been doing it for years and practicing regularly, AND anything short of a broken leg will be fine in a few days.  

 

Try transition from ski to ski on the big toe (downhill) edge.  Then switch and pick up the DOWNHILL ski and carve the pinkie toe.  

 

Here's Mikaela on the DOWNHILL (Big Toe) edge.

 

http://ussa.org/alpine-programs/athletes/development/skillsquest/skiing-assessment

post #22 of 25

Can someone explain why this LTE or inside foot skiing/drills should be done when most skiing is done with weight on the outside foot?

post #23 of 25

People who use the LTE end up being able to control their turns more precisely than those who exclusively focus on and use the BTE.  

This opens up more terrain and conditions for them to ski confidently.
Doing stuff with the LTE is the secret weapon for successfully building stronger skiing skills.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
 

Can someone explain why this LTE or inside foot skiing/drills should be done when most skiing is done with weight on the outside foot?

 

Its an excellent question and the answer is not simple as to why focus on LTE.  Here are a few reasons, others may think of more to say:

 

  1. If you start a turn on the actual LTE of the uphill ski, you can put pressure on the ski before rolling it over to the BTE.  This can be milliseconds of which you linger on that uphill LTE, or could be longer, but the point is that doing this causes you to do a number of other things to position your body in such a way as to establish pressure on the LTE of the uphill ski.   Then when you finally do roll onto the BTE, there is less likely to be a stem out of that ski or rotary of that ski.  There can be if you are actively pushing on that ski at the time you roll off the LTE, through flat and onto the BTE.  If you are more careful about establishing balance on it without any pushing to get it, then rolling onto the BTE becomes a very clean thing.
  2. By focusing on the LTE of the inside ski and tipping the inside ski (without weight), the body is drawn into the turn, creating inclination automatically on the outside half, and thusly putting pressure automatically on the outside ski BTE.  This is a good thing because it avoids over doing it on the outside BTE by trying to mash it or crank the outside knee in or whatever.  By focusing on tilting the inside ski towards its LTE, the body inclines, which automatically inclines the outside ski and thus creates an appropriate amount of tipping on that BTE without other gross movements that can mess things up.
  3. Some inside ski drills are done and we have to ride on the LTE to do them.  The purpose of those drills is not so much to learn how to ski on the LTE, but often to work on other things.  For example, white pass turns, tracer turns, etc.  These require certain body movements to help move the CoM across and for the most part preclude being able to stem the uphill ski, etc to start a turn.  So doing them will help people learn to use other means to move across. However, being able to do them also requires us to learn a little bit of riding on the LTE of the inside ski for at least part of a turn.  Its not a bad skill to have anyway because sometimes in real skiing we have to do exactly that, but generally the purpose of these drills is to improve other aspects such as what I have mentioned.
post #25 of 25
A great resource for alignment in your area is Billy Kaplan, AKA "Cantman," atPerformance Pedorthics in Feasteeville, PA, about20-25 min from Princeton via I95 and Route 1. I had a very satisfactory experience there a couple of years ago that involved cooking my Intuition liners and wedging my boots. It's described on one of my posts somewhere here. He's at 800-283-2370 or 215-760-8226 , and Cantman@speakeasy.net
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