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Learning how to ski again

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

After a roughly 8 year hiatus from skiing, I'm heading back to the hill. I spent 25 years skiing in New England, and a bunch of time in Utah, Colorado and BC. I have always love short turns, and spent a lot of time learning how to make short carved turns on very hard steep snow. Back in the day I LOVED my Volkl P9 SL 203s and trusted those babies everywhere. 

 

Now I'm going to revisit the sport--this time on shaped skis that I gather require a somewhat different technique. I'm not worried that I won't be able to figure out how to ski modern skis, but I would like to shorten the learning curve if possible.

 

I've done some searching here for tips, but I have had only limited success. I'm sure this has been covered before.

 

I was thinking about taking a private lesson my first day out, but as a guy I hate that idea. ;)

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

post #2 of 22
I came back after about 20 years, and fought against it. Not starting out with lessons is my biggest regret.

I would be so much farther ahead right now if I had not had to unlearn so much stuff I taught myself wrong.
post #3 of 22
Take the lesson. Most importantly, before, during and after the lesson, try to leave thoughts of past skiing accomplishments - and the movement habits that go with them - behind. Listen and watch with an open mind. Give the instructor benefit of all doubt. Don't try to "translate" what you see and hear into something you already know. Learn the new body language idiomatically, as though you had never skied before. Leave your pride behind and you will "get it" much faster. There will be opportunities much later to fold in stuff from your previous ski life.

Signed, stubborn guy who learned to ski in 1968.
post #4 of 22

Where are you going to ski? At the upper levels, you can often get a private for a price of a group. Either way tell your instructor you are new to shapes.

 

When shapes first came out, most accomplished skiers adapted quick enough without lessons. A few had a hard time seeing the value in the shapes because the skis ski like crap if you work them like straight skis (no names mentioned Glen Plake). I was lucky because as an instructor I got a free in depth lesson on the differences early on. The short version is: tip the skis more and turn the skis less. Let the skis turn you and listen to the feelings they send to you because they will tell you when your technique could improve (e.g. sitting back). Modern skis are like 4 or 5 generations better than the best shapes. They are so easy to turn it's almost a crime. Still, a lesson will most likely save at least a lift tickets worth of self learning curve time.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Great posts and suggestions! I did get a pair of shaped skis about 10 years ago (Volkl Vertical Motion). I'm guessing I skied on them four times. My recollections are that they were fun skis, and I didn't have any problem with them, but they are several generations old and it sounds like the current skis have evolved quite a bit.

 

I like the idea of a private lesson. Not only will it help with the skiing, but I can get the skinny on the resort from a real insider.

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

When shapes first came out, most accomplished skiers adapted quick enough without lessons.

 

Maybe because I live in a state where lots of people learned to ski as kids, and where the average age is very high (we are the "oldest" state in the U.S.) and where people tend to value the old ways. (How many Mainers does it take to put in a light bulb?) But every time I ski I see TONS of people out there on current or almost-current skis with their feet glued together, windshield-wipering along with about as much edge angle as a spatula spreading jam on soft bread and about as much impact on direction of travel. If you ask them in the chair about the new skis they will enthusiastically rave about how great they are, how much easier it is to "turn" on them, etc., etc. So they've "adapted" well, sure. We've had this conversation before many times here on Epic. Fun is fun, and more power to the people having it. Don't want to get in the way of that. However, since the OP asked, and since he sounds a little bit more like me than I like to admit, personality-wise, I stand by my position that he will be doing himself a favor if he goes into it on day one with someone who can help him really use the new tools the way they were designed to be used. Not arguing with you at all, Rusty. I'm on board with the substance of your post. I just worry that the first sentence can be latched onto all too easily by someone who is looking for a reason to spend the prom in the parking lot tailgating with his buddies when all the while someone is prepared to introduce him to a pretty girl who needs a date.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Ok a private lesson is $625 (AYFKM?) :eek:eek:eek Switching to Plan B...

post #8 of 22

I did not have a hiatus in my skiing, but being stubborn and on a limmited budget, I kept skiing my old straight SGs until well into the shaped ski era.  I had no problem adapting to the shaped skis.  The new skis behave at slow and moderate speeds, just like the old skis behaved at speed.  The main difference is all you really have to do is tip the new skis up onto their edges, show the bases to the sky and they are carving.  The timing and amount of weight shift to the front, and what you had to do in order to pre-bend the front of the ski when skiing slowly has changed, but that is something you should be able to pick up easily enough if you really were carving arc-2-arc locked in turns on you old straigth skis.

 

Try skiing for a few days, and if it doesn't click in, then get a 1-hour private with the goal being to cover shaped ski technique.

post #9 of 22

Frontside skis haven't really change that much in the past 10 years, minor improvements here and there.  It is the deep show and crud skis that have had the biggest changes in camber and shape evolution over the past decade.

 

Private lessons in the Midwest and Mid Atlantic fetch around $50/ hour.  Learn there, take what you learn to enjoy bigger mountains out west.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

something you should be able to pick up easily enough if you really were carving arc-2-arc locked in turns on you old straigth skis.

 

 

Yeah. All twenty-three of you. :rolleyes

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

I've been watching vids of people skiing on contemporary gear, and I can't really see a huge difference in technique. If anything, I see people using poles less, which is puzzling to me.

post #12 of 22

I had a 10+ year hiatus so I missed the evolution of the shaped skiing world. Went from slalom skis (185 cm for 5'4") for mogul skiing to the new ones. When I went for rentals, I still stuck with skis less than 80 at the waist, but the 154s they wanted me on were ridiculously short. With new skis and boots (and new reconstructed ankle), I did start on a few greens for the first couple of runs. I had read how I should tip more to get on edge. Being from the East coast, I am so used to short radius turns on icy moguls. What I wasn't finding was the rebound that I used to have from carving one turn to the next. I don't know if this was due to shaped skis, or just the skis I was renting. I progressively found steeper groomed runs to feel my way through experimentation of carving. I think my breakthrough was when I finally decided to go wider. That's when I saw the benefits of less exertion and more efficient turning.

 

Make sure you post a follow-up after your first experiences with shaped skis.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

Being from the East coast, I am so used to short radius turns on icy moguls. What I wasn't finding was the rebound that I used to have from carving one turn to the next. I don't know if this was due to shaped skis, or just the skis I was renting. I progressively found steeper groomed runs to feel my way through experimentation of carving. I think my breakthrough was when I finally decided to go wider. That's when I saw the benefits of less exertion and more efficient turning.

 

Interesting experience. One of the thinks I liked most about skiing was the rebound from the ski when coming off an edge set in short turns. I don't see people talking about that now, so I'm guessing that transitions are much more muted now. I am really looking forward to trying all this out.

post #14 of 22

The rebound is still there, but in the advanced-expert skis, not so much in the beginner and rental skis.

post #15 of 22

Are you talking a day long private?  All you need is an hour.  I am not a lesson taker, but I took one after getting my first shaped skis.  I could ski them fine before the lesson but it did help me to understand how to get the most out of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maui19 View Post
 

Ok a private lesson is $625 (AYFKM?) :eek:eek:eek Switching to Plan B...

 

One difference I was taught is that you do not need to roll your weight back along edge as the turn progresses with shaped skis. To simplify - just keep your weight on the shovels and tip 'em over.   I still do this ( shift my weight back) sometimes more as a drill to increase my awareness and  balance control then as a necessity to keep my edge tracking and engaged.


Edited by crank - 1/12/15 at 6:40am
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

The rebound is still there, but in the advanced-expert skis, not so much in the beginner and rental skis.

 

To clarify for maui, and you may already know this: the rebound effect doesn't really come from the skis - it actually comes from the resistance of the snow against your mass as you steer the skis into an edge set, plus a "rubber band" effect of your leg and hips as they contract and stretch during and after the edge set. Skis aren't stiff enough to store energy from a skier's weight and appreciably release it into a turn. (All this lifted from Ron LeMaster's Ultimate Skiing, p. 104) So as long as speed and the skier's mass and their effective stance are equal, there should be no reduction in "rebound" effect whether skiing on old or new skis.  

 

The only impact of the ski is if it's so noodly that it deforms during the edge set, which could be the case in a beginner ski. 

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 

We are in the final countdown before heading to the slopes. Any last minute tips??

post #18 of 22

Lessons are your friends, and wear a helmet. 

post #19 of 22
I switch about 3 years ago, Ghost assessment is correct. Anything on the beginner/intermediate and some advanced skis will likely feel to soft for you. The higher end skis you can ski like the old easily because they are shorter but the really fun begins when you adjust to the slight differences. If you can get lessons or ski with some one the knows old straight skis. You'll progress the fastest this way. The differences are slight but they are differences that must be learned.

Enjoy
post #20 of 22

Clearly, you have a number of years of skiing experience.  Based on your original post, my first suggestion is always going to be taking lessons.  Find an instructor you like.  Hopefully, they or someone else can capture some video of you skiing during the lesson(s).  Video of yourself makes it easier to see what it is you may be doing wrong, or what you could be doing differently.  Video will also help in making more sense of what the instructor is trying to teach you.  After that, you will be able to "feel" or sense when you're not doing something that you want to be doing.  Noisy skis tell no lies, unless the skid is on purpose as a skill or tactic you've chosen to employ in a given situation.

 

Your subsequent post referencing the cost of a private lesson made me think of a YouTube video I watched some time ago that might be right up your alley.  Before I mention it, I must throw out a disclaimer because I do not wish to offend anyone who might read this.  I do not advocate for any one method, style, technique or philosophy when it comes to skiing.  I am a recreational skier who believes that there is knowledge to be gleaned from many different schools of thought when it comes to skiing.  Kind of like martial arts.  There are many different disciplines...who am I to say if one is better than another.  Skiing is, and as far as I know, has always been, as much about self expression as it is about solid fundamentals on the types of terrain you wish to ski.  If you complete a run with a big Cheshire Cat grin on your face...keep doing what cha did!!!

 

Anyhow, the video can be found on YouTube.  Type in Lito Tejada-Flores.  The video is his 3rd in the series, and is about 53 minutes in length.  There is some stuff he talks about, that goes directly to the crux of your original post.  Maybe you'll find it useful, maybe ya won't.  In any case, I wish you the best of luck.

 

Cheers     

post #21 of 22
Are you doing the group lesson thing?
Afternoon groups,even am ones for advanced adults are not popular so you'll be with few people.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm back from the mountains. I have to say that modern gear makes skiing so easy it is hard to describe. One thing I noticed is how rarely people fall these days. Back when I used to ski, if you were on a medium steep slope, you didn't have to watch for long before seeing someone wipe out. Today on that same kind of trail, virtually everyone is upright..

 

I didn't have any trouble adjusting to the gear. No lessons necessary. I was pleasantly surprised at the edge hold of the skis on steep, hard trails, and how stable they were at speed.

 

Gear has definitely come a long way in the last ten years.

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