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Pre-parallel To Parallel - Help With Gaining Mileage and "Going Back to Basics"

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Greetings Instructors,

I'm a 34 year-old beginner skier with five days experience (4 last year, 1 this year). I am about to head back to Winter Park at the very beginning of April to get a few days in, and I thought I'd seek a little advice.

I've had two group lessons (1st day ever, and then my one day this year - a half day lesson). Unfortunately due to weather I was unable to get back to WP to ski in the days immediately after my lesson (big snow in Denver, wasn't comfortable driving back to mountains with that uncertainty).

Anyway, I was placed in the "intro to parallel" group, which was a lot of information to try to take in. The instructor was wearing a PSIA pin, so no worries on my part regarding the content of the lesson. That said, I definitely struggled to "get it."

The words the instructor used were that I "loved my inside edges" and really need to focus on flattening the inside ski. The feeling he told me was that it'd feel like I was going bowlegged. And, because I loved my inside edge so much, think "right foot to go right, etc.".

After reflection on the lesson, I think what got me into a knot was I'd focus on the inside foot so much I'd stand on it, forgetting about the other foot. So in defensive mode, I'd revert to my wedge, as the instructor put it, "for safety and stability."

My question to the group is, as I think I just need mileage on the snow, when it comes to getting to this next stage, how do you balance trying new skills of getting the skis parallel versus "going back a step" to what I'm comfortable doing?

Also balancing practice with fun and recreation?

Thank you so much for any insights.
post #2 of 11

One of the hurdles to getting to parallel skiing is getting both skis onto the same edges (facing the direction you are turning).  Once you get used to the safety and security of dual big toe edges being engaged in a wedge, its hard not go back to that.  Getting the inside ski rolled all the way over to the little toe edge requires a concerted effort, which is more difficult at slow speeds and with a wide stance too I might add, all factors that will make it easy for you to revert back to standing on the big toe edge of that inside ski.

 

Keep doing exactly what the instructor told you.  It was good advice  Get that inside ski all the way over to the little toe edge side.  I don't particularly care whether you are standing on it or not, focus on tipping it all the way over to the little toe edge.  I tell the young kids to imagine they are trying to pour a cup of cocoa onto the snow  with the inside ski (over the little toe side). 

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
 

One of the hurdles to getting to parallel skiing is getting both skis onto the same edges (facing the direction you are turning).  Once you get used to the safety and security of dual big toe edges being engaged in a wedge, its hard not go back to that.  Getting the inside ski rolled all the way over to the little toe edge requires a concerted effort, which is more difficult at slow speeds and with a wide stance too I might add, all factors that will make it easy for you to revert back to standing on the big toe edge of that inside ski.

 

Keep doing exactly what the instructor told you.  It was good advice  Get that inside ski all the way over to the little toe edge side.  I don't particularly care whether you are standing on it or not, focus on tipping it all the way over to the little toe edge.  I tell the young kids to imagine they are trying to pour a cup of cocoa onto the snow  with the inside ski (over the little toe side). 


What he said. 

post #4 of 11

What they said.

You need your weight centered between the front and back of your skis, not aft over the backs of your skis; this is important.

You need your feet close enough together to tip that new inside ski onto its little toe edge; it's real hard to do if you have a big wide stance. 

post #5 of 11

practice side slipping when you have some amount of slope to play on. Try keeping on either 2 left edges or 2 right edges and with skis across the slope release edges or flatten skis and let skis slip sideways down a few inches at 1st then try for few feet than move up to yards. Change directions and do it on the other side. Keep steering the tips across or slightly up the slope to keep the skis from taking off downhill, as you feel comfortable balancing on 2 same edges 2 lefts or 2 rights work that slip into gentle traverses and semi turns back up the hill. Round skidded turns will be your friend for awhile. As Liquidfeet said a narrower stance ( around hip width or less) will help let you tip the inside ski on to its little toe edge

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone for the replies. I'm headed back out there middle of next week and can't wait to try some things out.
post #7 of 11

One more thing, that may or may not apply to you.  I taught my daughter how to carve (parallel) turns in short order with no problems.  My son wasn't getting it, so I paid for a lesson.  Turns out he needed to establish good fore-aft balance before taking the next step, something I didn't see, but the experienced instructor saw right away.  Thousand step drill helps with that; concentrate on feeling your weight dead centre fore-aft as you alternate picking up one and then the other foot/ski and putting it back down.  Do it top of run to lift line coral, while going straight and while turning,all the time. 

post #8 of 11

It may seem silly to say, but don't be afraid to fail and fall down...like your instructor said, you're sticking with a comfort position, mostly trying to ensure you don't take a fall.  A lot of times a fall or 2 can teach you what works and what doesn't work, and what signs to look for in your own body and balance while making the transition to parallel skiing.

post #9 of 11

There are some very good instructors making comments here so listen to them.

 

Here are my 2 cents (from cattle teaching at a local hill several years back, objective was get them skiing safely and controlled so that they could have free run of the lifts as fast as possible, my group as always the first to have full access ski controlled and safely).

 

Pizza or snow plow to stop are a must, if you got this read on!

 

On a very easy slope as you can gain some speed (more than you can control so stop if this happens and start over) doing it this way but it will give you a feel of what it is you are looking for and that is half the battle.

 

  • Stand upright (this should reduce the chance of sitting back and if anything put you slightly forward and it is something that you are already used to in life, lowering CoG is a separate but import skill that comes a little later and likely more upright than most instructors will suggest).
  • Feet so that your fist fits between the ankles (likely narrower than most instructors will suggest)
  • Point the skis downhill parallel or French fry format, with hands about 16 inches in front of you (keeps you forward) and you will start to move (at anytime the speed feels like it getting to fast stop and start over! If the speed gets to fast to quickly find an easier slope!)

 

To start carving, yes carving,

 

  • Roll to the left (don't twist the skis left, just lean left) let the skis do the work.
  • Roll to the right same thing.
  • Repeat again and again.

 

The skis will carve and turn for you.  This is carving in the simplest form as this is what modern skis are designed to do.  (Little PSIA man skiing video should fit in here)

 

  • Once you feel comfortable in this add in leaning forward and back and see what the effect is.  Forward will generally cause the turn to grab harder at the start, back will cause the tails to slide.

 

Again, you now feel how skis react and feel along with some balance skills. 

 

For edge feel and balance.

 

A simple drill to get edge feel, side slip on both sides, in a straight line for about 5 to 10 ft. at different speeds and smoothness at start and finish. This will give you edge feel and balance.  There is a lot more to this drill but at this point keep it simple.

 

There are significant other skills involved that good certified  instructors will teach you through various drills that will greatly add to the experience which are definitely worth while learning as they will provide understanding to this very simple process and further improve it by tweaking balance and body position.  They will also add terms to describe what is happening, but at this point is being able to do it so that you understand the terms.

 

Enjoy.

post #10 of 11
I was thinking of responding with a shorter version of this:

http://www.epicski.com/t/133360/pervasive-problems-solutions/30#post_1856377
post #11 of 11

dante, some ski areas don't to a good job of teaching their instructors how to teach.  You found that.  That instructor should have found the words to get the meaning across to you, clearly and simply.  Don't tell someone only what they're doing wrong, tell them how to do it right.

 

So...Rent boots that are the smallest possible size without discomfort buckled as tightly as possible without discomfort.  Thin socks are better than thick socks unless you just need to take up room with skinny feet in rental boots.  Start on a very easy slope.  Don't challenge your self on both technique and terrain.  Feet walking-width apart.  Stand on the balls of both feet.  Always on the balls of your feet, just like almost every other athletic endeavor except maybe clog dancing and water skiing.  Stand tall with just slight flex in your knees, hips, waist, spine.  Arms & hands out in the automatic balancing position you'd find them in when walking on an icy surface.  Nothing artificial. 

 

Start sliding along this very easy slope with your skis parallel.  Move so you're almost totally on the ball of your left foot, and smoothly turn both feet a bit to the right.  You'll turn right.  Make it better.  Slightly rotate your upper body to the left, to the outside of the turn, for this right turn.  Keep both feet side-by-side, don't shove the inside foot forward.  You'll turn right even better.  As you cross the hill, keep doing it until you come to a stop.  Aim down this easy hill, do it again, same direction.  Stand on the ball of your left foot to turn right.  Rotate both feet right to turn right.  Counter-rotate your body left to turn right.  Come to a stop, aim down hill, do it again.  And again.  Ready for right turns?  Guess what?  Stand on the ball of your right foot (left ski remains lightly on the snow), turn your feet to the left as you counter-turn your body to the right.  You're turning left.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

Make the turns even more powerful.  As you lighten the inside ski on the snow (by standing on the ball of the outside foot), also roll the ankle of the inside foot to raise the big toe edge of that inside ski off the snow just a bit.  Nothing extreme, and not lifting that ski off the snow.  Just balance above your feet as you do all these movements.  You're skiing parallel.  Repeat many times on the beginner hill.  Start on a slightly steeper slope and keep doing what you're doing.  Nothing different on steeper stuff, just more of the same. 

 

What can you do wrong?--sit back on your heels.  Bad dog.  Lean toward the hill for that false sense of security.  Bad dog.  Twist your upper body around the way you want to turn.  Noooooo.  Either glue your arms to your sides or flail them around.  NO!  Step one ski out in a wedge then match it with the other--puke.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Pre-parallel To Parallel - Help With Gaining Mileage and "Going Back to Basics"