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Foot skills! [A Beginner Zone thread]

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am taking beginner classes and they are telling me to press down the little toe of the outer foot you wish to turn.  I took a class last year and I was to press down the big toe of the outer foot I wish to turn.  I am just a mess with my turns.  I cannot get the pizza (wedge) out of them.

 

Can someone walk me through exactly what toe and which pressure of the foot should I be doing to make a turn. I have been muscling my way down a steeper slope.  I am the last one in my group class to descend due to this.  Everyone is out of their wedge and able to zip down the hill.  What am I doing wrong???

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007cupcake View Post

I am taking beginner classes and they are telling me to press down the little toe of the outer foot you wish to turn.  I took a class last year and I was to press down the big toe of the outer foot I wish to turn.  I am just a mess with my turns.  I cannot get the pizza (wedge) out of them.

Can someone walk me through exactly what toe and which pressure of the foot should I be doing to make a turn. I have been muscling my way down a steeper slope.  I am the last one in my group class to descend due to this.  Everyone is out of their wedge and able to zip down the hill.  What am I doing wrong???

Thanks!

Terminology: If you intend to turn to the right, the left foot is your outer, the right the inner. They remain that way throughout the turn.

I think of them this way: The inside foot guides the turn, the outside foot carries the load.

If you stand with skis/feet parallel and roll the feet to the right (a right turn), you need more weight on the left foot than on the right. You want to use the right edges. I think of this in terms of engaging the arches of the feet. On the right (still in a turn to the right), I am raising the right arch off the snow and raising the outside (little toe) area of the left foot.

Watch this video:

For forming a wedge, stand with the feet parallel, press your shins into the cuffs of your boots, spread your feet. You then will be standing on both arches.
post #3 of 9
Quote:
 What am I doing wrong?

Listening to a horrible lesson.  Sorry, that's the facts.

 

Try this.  Ski on a very easy slope, standing easy on the balls of both feet.  Your feet should be walking width apart.  No wider.  No narrower.  Natural balanced position.  Note where the label is on each ski between the tip and your toe.  Don't look down, look ahead always.  To turn right, slightly move forward so you have most of your weight on the ball of your left foot (you aren't pressing anything, you're just standing easy & balanced on the ball of your left foot).  Turn your body slightly to the left.  Your goal is to have your zipper pull dangling above the label on your left ski.  Turn both feet to the right as you move out over your left ski.  To increase this action, at the same time, lightly lift the big toe edge of your right ski off the snow just a fraction of an inch by rolling your ankle inside your boot.  You still aren't pressing anything.

 

Reverse the movements to turn left.  You will be standing on the ball of your right foot.  Zipper pull over the label on your right ski.  Left big toe lightly lifted off the snow by rolling your left ankle inside the boot.

 

For steeper slopes--just more of the same.  Smooth but quicker movements.  Get your body farther downhill and farther out over the outside ski.  This is tough.  It is natural to lean back, and if you do, you're doomed.  Make the movements I describe and don't give up part way through.  Stay out over your skis until you've turned far enough toward up hill to control your speed, then do it again the other way.

 

Here's what's happening.  Look at a ski.  It has the hour glass waist shape and the tip is the widest part.  If you move your body, smoothly, nothing extreme, so the skis are a bit on edge, and move so your weight is over the front half of the ski to engage that broad tip in the snow, the ski turns you.  All you have to do is balance.  It really is that easy.

 

I've taught many first-day'ers to make parallel turns on the easiest slope.  It is a real problem for new skiers to wedge so much that it has become a habit.  Don't use a wedge anywhere except in a lift line.  Challenge yourself on either technique or terrain, not both.  Don't try slopes that are so steep that you're uncomfortable and make bad movements.  Get it right on the easy stuff, then gradually work your way up the mountain continuing to make good, controlled movements.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you!! I can't seem to watch the video.  She was saying look at the little toe and press the little toe.  I looked like a goblin going down the hill!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you SoftSnowGuy!  Now that is what I was asking.  I kind of overanalyze things and having someone go step by step with how my feet, pressure, ankles are suppose to be helps me.  I will try this Tuesday when I go back for my lessons.

post #6 of 9

@snowguy:  Thanks for your tips.  My issue is: I have no problem doing parallel turns on green slopes.  But when I get to blues, I become inconsistent and often times, I can't make the parallel turns on blues, I am still doing wedge turns.  What is your advice in case like this?  Is this a mental block?  fear factor?  or I do not have the parallel skills down 100% hence can't replicate it in blues consistently?  

post #7 of 9

fos, here's the hard part.  The skier's paradox.  You need to be very aggressive in your movements to have the control to go as slowly as you want.  As the hill gets steeper we need to get our body more forward as the skis tip away from us and down the hill.  We have to get much more forward to pressure the tips to engage in the snow and make sharper turns.  We need to do this more rapidly so we get that engagement of the ski tips in the snow before we start going too fast.  Our speed is controlled by the radius of the turn.  We set the radius of the turn in the top 1/3rd of the turn.  We gott'a get the tips engaged very early in the turn.

 

Instructors will tell you to get forward.  We don't have much muscle to do this.  It accomplishes the same thing to pull the skis back.  We have strong hamstring muscles in the backs of your legs to do this.  On the easy hill, very strongly pull both feet behind you as you start each turn.  This is the first movement you make to get the turn started.  From here you make the parallel turning movement.  Look for any steeper bit on the easy hill to really give this a try.  Look for a short steep section with a safe runout at the bottom so you can't get into trouble.  As your toes pass over the lip of the steep part, strongly pull both feet back, then make your parallel turn movement.  You'll feel like you're diving head first off a cliff.  Not really, but that's the feeling.  It's fun.  What you're doing is getting the fronts of the skis down to the snow and pressuring them to engage in the snow.  Now your have the opportunity to control your skis.  If the skis slide out from under you and the tips aren't pressured, you're doomed (as you well know).

 

Find some suitable short pitches where you can practice this, and practice, practice, practice.  When you can think of other things while doing it, you've learned it!  Mental block and fear factor all relate to not knowing the skill.  Now you know the skill.  Many practices will be needed before you've learned it and it becomes automatic.

post #8 of 9

Not an instructor, but I don't recall ever focusing much on my toes.  I probably subconsciously weight them, but it's not something I ever think about.  I focus on driving my tips, the angle I hold the edge at in relation to the snow, and the pressure I exert on the edges.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

@snowguy:  Thanks for your tips.  My issue is: I have no problem doing parallel turns on green slopes.  But when I get to blues, I become inconsistent and often times, I can't make the parallel turns on blues, I am still doing wedge turns.  What is your advice in case like this?  Is this a mental block?  fear factor?  or I do not have the parallel skills down 100% hence can't replicate it in blues consistently?  

 

This is your caution working against you.  You probably do what so many others do when faced with a more "interesting" pitch:  you go into self-preservation mode.  Instead of starting your turns in a  way that will get both skis going downhill at the same time, you hang onto the old downhill ski's grip by keeping it edged against the snow, while  you move the tail of your uphill (soon-to-be-outside ski) ski out so that ski gets a head start on the new turn.  This happens unconsciously, probably because you know the new outside ski will turn you.  Then you step onto it and make your turn.  Voila:  that wedge (more accurately called a stem entry).  There may be more going on as well.

 

Teaching yourself to start your turns parallel on blues is a good task to take on.  It involves several things; not being aft (soft snow's suggestion to pull both feet back is a great strategy), releasing the downhill ski (flatten it) before doing anything with the other ski, allowing your body to cross downhill over your skis as you release that ski, and once the turn starts allowing your skis and whole body to point downhill for a bit before you turn to face the trees on the side.

 

Do you do all these things as you start your turns on greens?   If not, work on those one at a time, on beginner terrain, until they are solidly in your muscle memory.  Sometimes people can make parallel turns on flattish terrain without all the parts being in place.  Ease your way back up to blue terrain.  The effort is well worth it.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Foot skills! [A Beginner Zone thread]