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I need help with every aspect of my skiing

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm 52 years old.  6'1, 225lbs.  I have only been skiing a few times until last year when I went 3 times.  I went once this year with another trip planned for Spring Break.  (Two or three times per year is all a person from Houston Tx can hope for).  My goals are modest - to be able to ski greens and perhaps some day blue runs without wedging all the way down the hill.

 

Last year I found Liquidationsports.com and bought Nordica Sport Machine boots and Salomon Scrambler 55 (165cm) skis.  My thinking was a shorter ski would help me with my turns.

 

When I ski I find my skis in a wedge, plowing down the hill.  When I do turns, I can't seem to get my skis out of the wedge, particularly when turning left.  When I go down anything that remotely resembles any kind of steep grade, I make one successful turn to the right.  When I go left, I get 1/2 way through it, wind up pointed downhill, then start plowing until the slope lessens.  All this plowing burns up my quads.  On day 2, my quads are useless - making my turns even worse.

 

All I want to do is make smooth turns across the slope all the way down the hill.  At 52 and still a beginner, I don't really have the need for speed.  We're going to Copper Mtn, Co. in March.  I don't mind spending all my time on the bunny slope, as long as I get better.

 

Any tips on technique and equipment would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 8
Spend some time in a ice rink skating, it will help more then you might think.
post #3 of 8

Welcome to EpicSki!  Always glad to hear from folks who live in the flatlands in the south.

 

Have you found the Beginner Zone yet?  Here's a thread to get you started.  Includes a video of a man having his first lesson at age 60.  It's never too late!

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/114722/tips-for-beginners-over-40-or-50-or

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrundy View Post

Spend some time in a ice rink skating, it will help more then you might think.


Last February, I decided roller skating would be good exercise for both the legs and ankles.  Two surgeries, a plate, and seven screws later, my wife got to watch while her daughter and I skied without her.  We won't be skating in any form this year.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dperkinstx View Post
 

I'm 52 years old.  6'1, 225lbs.  I have only been skiing a few times until last year when I went 3 times.  I went once this year with another trip planned for Spring Break.  (Two or three times per year is all a person from Houston Tx can hope for).  My goals are modest - to be able to ski greens and perhaps some day blue runs without wedging all the way down the hill.

 

Last year I found Liquidationsports.com and bought Nordica Sport Machine boots and Salomon Scrambler 55 (165cm) skis.  My thinking was a shorter ski would help me with my turns.

 

When I ski I find my skis in a wedge, plowing down the hill.  When I do turns, I can't seem to get my skis out of the wedge, particularly when turning left.  When I go down anything that remotely resembles any kind of steep grade, I make one successful turn to the right.  When I go left, I get 1/2 way through it, wind up pointed downhill, then start plowing until the slope lessens.  All this plowing burns up my quads.  On day 2, my quads are useless - making my turns even worse.

 

All I want to do is make smooth turns across the slope all the way down the hill.  At 52 and still a beginner, I don't really have the need for speed.  We're going to Copper Mtn, Co. in March.  I don't mind spending all my time on the bunny slope, as long as I get better.

 

Any tips on technique and equipment would be greatly appreciated.

@dperkinstx, here's what I think you are saying about your skiing.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

1.  You started skiing in your 50s, and have been skiing four times so far.  You loved it and bought boots and skis online.

2.  You ski in a wedge.  

3.  You can make a full turn to the right in that wedge, but not to the left, when you are on a "steep grade."   What's steep?  A blue?  Where are you skiing? 

4.  On these "steep grades" your wedge turns to the left cancel themselves out before you finish, and you end up heading straight downhill in a braking wedge until you get slow enough to make a turn to the right.  

5.  Your quads burn when you ski.  

6.  You are not interested in speed, but smooth controlled turns in both directions, preferably not in a wedge.  You are willing to work on your form on the bunny slope.  You have a spring break trip to Copper coming up.

 

 

So here goes a quick assessment.

1.  First things first.  Do your boots fit?  Read the link below, do exactly what it says, and find out if your boots fit.  The bad news is if they don't fit, you're going to have difficulty getting your skis to do what your feet tell them to do.  If this is the case, rent better fitting boots until you can buy ones that fit properly.  Many skiers are in boots too large, and wonder why they can't do what the experts are doing no matter how hard they try.

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

2.  You have normal issues that day-one skiers have.  Your turn to the right is strong, and your turn to the left is weak.  A beginner lesson is designed to help people get past the strong-turn-in-one-direction-only problem.  I get skiers taking a beginner (never-ever) lesson as a tune-up even though they have been skiing before.  They often do this when they feel insecure with turns in one direction.  I think you should consider taking a beginner lesson again to work on those left turns on the beginner slopes.  

3.  Dude!  You indicate you are venturing onto what feels like "steep grades."  Wait to do that until you get those left turns under control.  Kids sometimes head down the slope in a braking wedge; that's bad enough, but 5 year olds are tiny.  If they run into someone else, they are not going to cause the damage you will at 225 lbs.  Get thee back to the bunny slope until you can control your speed with your turns, not with a braking wedge straight down the hill!

4.  Any time your quads are burning like you describe, you know you are waaay in the back seat.  Bend forward at the ankles while on those skis.  This will put your entire body more forward.  You need to feel like you are hovering your whole self over the fronts of your skis.  Holding your body in a sitting-down position while on skis is possible because they are so long out back, but it's like getting into a squat in the gym and holding that for 7 hours.  Stand up pretty straight, while bending forward at the ankles so your shins press into the boot cuffs, and practice your turns on beginner terrain until you can do turns in both directions without crumpling over (as if holding onto a walker) or sitting back (as if on a toilet seat).  

5.  There's nothing bad about skiing in a wedge.  Learn the fundamentals in the wedge on the super easy terrain under the watchful eye of an instructor.  Then take it up the hill to the next steepness available.   Go back down when you find yourself in quad burn despair, or when you are doing the killer-power-wedge-braking thing.  

6.  Once those two baddies are gone, take another lesson.  Your instructor will help you get out of the wedge.  Steeper terrain requires parallel skiing.  

7.  Oh, and welcome to the world of skiing.  You can do this; I know because I did (I started at 53).  Best of luck, and have fun.  Don't forget to check those boots.  You may need to rethink them if they are too large; they can make controlling your skis impossible if too large.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/28/14 at 2:28pm
post #6 of 8

Do you know what it is that makes your skis turn? It is the fact that the side of the skis is curved and the ski wants to follow that curve. If you have both skis on the big toe edges they will want to turn toward each other and you will have a wedge. Probably a braking wedge. You will get the sensation that your inside ski is pulling you back and keeping you from turning the direction you want to. You can force them to turn, but it will be hard. If you can simply flatten the inside ski, it will no longer care where it goes and the outside ski which is on it's big toe edge will turn you.  When you are ready to go the other way you flatten the outside ski and let the inside ski come to it's big toe edge. When you have got this take it a little farther so that you are on big toe edge of your outside ski and little toe edge of your inside ski.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

@dperkinstx, here's what I think you are saying about your skiing.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

1.  You started skiing in your 50s, and have been skiing four times so far.  You loved it and bought boots and skis online.

2.  You ski in a wedge.  

3.  You can make a full turn to the right in that wedge, but not to the left, when you are on a "steep grade."   What's steep?  A blue?  Where are you skiing? 

4.  On these "steep grades" your wedge turns to the left cancel themselves out before you finish, and you end up heading straight downhill in a braking wedge until you get slow enough to make a turn to the right.  

5.  Your quads burn when you ski.  

6.  You are not interested in speed, but smooth controlled turns in both directions, preferably not in a wedge.  You are willing to work on your form on the bunny slope.  You have a spring break trip to Copper coming up.

 

 

So here goes a quick assessment.

1.  First things first.  Do your boots fit?  Read the link below, do exactly what it says, and find out if your boots fit.  The bad news is if they don't fit, you're going to have difficulty getting your skis to do what your feet tell them to do.  If this is the case, rent better fitting boots until you can buy ones that fit properly.  Many skiers are in boots too large, and wonder why they can't do what the experts are doing no matter how hard they try.

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

2.  You have normal issues that day-one skiers have.  Your turn to the right is strong, and your turn to the left is weak.  A beginner lesson is designed to help people get past the strong-turn-in-one-direction-only problem.  I get skiers taking a beginner (never-ever) lesson as a tune-up even though they have been skiing before.  They often do this when they feel insecure with turns in one direction.  I think you should consider taking a beginner lesson again to work on those left turns on the beginner slopes.  

3.  Dude!  You indicate you are venturing onto what feels like "steep grades."  Wait to do that until you get those left turns under control.  Kids sometimes head down the slope in a braking wedge; that's bad enough, but 5 year olds are tiny.  If they run into someone else, they are not going to cause the damage you will at 225 lbs.  Get thee back to the bunny slope until you can control your speed with your turns, not with a braking wedge straight down the hill!

4.  Any time your quads are burning like you describe, you know you are waaay in the back seat.  Bend forward at the ankles while on those skis.  This will put your entire body more forward.  You need to feel like you are hovering your whole self over the fronts of your skis.  Holding your body in a sitting-down position while on skis is possible because they are so long out back, but it's like getting into a squat in the gym and holding that for 7 hours.  Stand up pretty straight, while bending forward at the ankles so your shins press into the boot cuffs, and practice your turns on beginner terrain until you can do turns in both directions without crumpling over (as if holding onto a walker) or sitting back (as if on a toilet seat).  

5.  There's nothing bad about skiing in a wedge.  Learn the fundamentals in the wedge on the super easy terrain under the watchful eye of an instructor.  Then take it up the hill to the next steepness available.   Go back down when you find yourself in quad burn despair, or when you are doing the killer-power-wedge-braking thing.  

6.  Once those two baddies are gone, take another lesson.  Your instructor will help you get out of the wedge.  Steeper terrain requires parallel skiing.  

7.  Oh, and welcome to the world of skiing.  You can do this; I know because I did (I started at 53).  Best of luck, and have fun.  Don't forget to check those boots.  You may need to rethink them if they are too large; they can make controlling your skis impossible if too large.

 

I skied before my 50's, but only once every 5 years or so.  So it was pretty much like starting over every time I went.  Last year was the first time in probably 10 years, so I might as well say that's when I began.

 

I just got back from Winter Place, WV.  I think the blue trails at Winter Place are easier than the greens at Heavenly or Winter Park Co.

 

Last year I went to Sun & Ski Sports and got fitted.  I felt the 28.5 boot he had me try on was too tight.  He didn't have any 29.0 boots in stock, so he said the 28.5 was the size I needed.  The first time I ever went to the snow I rented a boot that was too small.  It was -10 degrees.  When I took those boots off, my toes stung for an hour.  I wasn't going to buy boots too small again, so I bought a pair of 29.0. 

 

I did the boot size test you referred me to.  The front-to-back is just under 1 inch.  The side-to-side is just about perfect.  My boots are quite comfortable already but I will insert some Dr. Scholls foot cushions since that was suggested.

 

I've been looking at some other posts.  I'm sure my biggest issue is back seat skiing.  In March I'll look for an instructor to get me over the front of my skis. 

post #8 of 8

dperk...Two thoughts. 

 

If you are able to turn fine in one direction but not the other it would indicate that something is not aligned properly to your unique body. You should seek a professional's help getting your equipment properly set up. 

 

Second- You have been taught an OUTSIDE SKI DOMINANT TURN where you use the outside ski to muscle your way around.  This technique has been outdated since the inception of the modern shaped ski. It is responsible for more terminal intermediate skiers than just about anything else in the ski instruction world. You're just plain fighting the skis and the mountain. 

 

Though sometime a WEDGE can be taught to beginners because of the need for stability at lower speeds , a proper wedge is taught with the INSIDE ski as the dominant guiding ski. And though ultimately the outside ski will at some point in the turn carry the preponderance of pressure, to pressure the outside too early can cause a myriad of other issues and bad habits. The contiuous active inside ski, linked with a correct concept of a proper turn shape and its function is the ticket to much more enjoyable and higher level skiing. 

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