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post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I've been skiing on and off for a while now (I feel like I can rate myself a 6/7), I feel comfortable on almost all black runs, light/moderate moguls (especially in spring conditions), and have a ton of fun doing it. I cringe every time I see myself skiing on video though and I really want to address my issues to make myself a proficient technical skier (and a pretty one at that hah).

 

The problems I feel I have and don't know how to address well:

 

-Lack of adequete upper and lower body separation.

-Back of the skis skidding in my turns. 

-Lack of angulation

-My arms looking like I'm doing the running man while skiing.

-Dragging my uphill pole on the snow 

 

A lot of these might be a consequence of dropping my inside shoulder or pivoting my upper body to turn?

 

Things I've tried (and maybe should keep trying):

 

- Going on big groomers and really feeling the start of my turns with the outside ski being angled.

- Skiing with poles held flat in front of me to focus on separating my upper lower body angle.

 

This video is from a particularly warm day so the conditions were not the most conducive to holding high edge angles and speed, but I think it makes my issues that much more visible.

 

I'm willing to put in the time and effort to get better, but I feel like I've been stuck here for a long time. Also any recommendations for good folks to get lessons from in the NE array would be great.

 

post #2 of 18

Have you had your alignment checked? You seem to be having a hard time balancing against your right leg on your left turns.

post #3 of 18

If you like a holistic approach, maybe this will resonate:

 

   you are braking to turn instead of turning to brake*

 

where by brake* i mean speed control

post #4 of 18


Let me give it a try.  There's some good stuff in your skiing -- you should feel good about that.

 

One of the things we've been discussing in MA of our own skiing at Snowmass is whether the turn starts bottom up or top down.  Top down turners often move the head into the new turn, with the result that the hip moves out and the predominant turning mechanism is upper body rotation.  It looks to me that this is what is happening in your turns as well.

 

Secondly, you have a significant amount of flex (dorsiflexion) in your ankle while the knee and most importantly the hip tend to be relatively open.  The result is that you are forward on the ski and the skis bend in front of the binding.  This results in the tail of the ski washing out in the shaping phase of the turn, which is accentuated as you push your feet away from you.

 

To make some changes in your skiing, I think you are going to need to slow your skiing down quite considerably.  First I'd work on pivot slips to get the sensation of turning the legs under a stable upper body.  You can also use the side slip portion of the pivot slip to see where you are on the ski:  if you are slipping forward on the slope, then you are forward on the ski, backward slipping you are aft, and if you are coming straight down the fall line you'll be pretty much centered.  

 

Take this sensation of initiating the turn by turning the legs under you into your groomer skiing.  Tip the old outside ski from the ankle to release the edge while steering both skis under you.  Find a flatfish green slope to do this and keep the speed down.  You want to focus on getting the mechanics right and not on letting physics overcome inefficient mechanics.

 

You also might try lifting the inside ski in your turn.  Notice what is happening to the tip.  If it is pointed down, you are most likely forward on the ski.  If the tip is up, you are aft.  If the ski is parallel with the slope, you are most like centered, and that is what you should be looking for.,

 

Best of luck,

 

Mike

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Have you had your alignment checked? You seem to be having a hard time balancing against your right leg on your left turns.

I haven't no, will bring this up next time I'm at the shop.

 

Mike, thanks for the feedback! Will give the pivot slips and inside leg raising a go!

 

This is exactly the type of feedback I was hoping for. Toning it down and focusing on quality movements is something I think I've known I should be doing and just get carried away and avoiding. Any other ideas for drills/movements to practice would be fantastic. I plan on getting out tomorrow for another day of this.

 

Thanks again!

post #6 of 18

SM, 

 

Which mountain do you ski at? 

 

Pete

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Catskills usually, but I'll lurk around PA a little as well because I have friends in that area.

post #8 of 18
To work on keeping your hands in view, find a light stick maybe 30 inches long and a couple large rubberbands. Use th bands to hold the stick across your wrists in front and make pole touches on some shallow terrain.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

To work on keeping your hands in view, find a light stick maybe 30 inches long and a couple large rubberbands. Use th bands to hold the stick across your wrists in front and make pole touches on some shallow terrain

So you mean to use the stick while also using my poles?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post
 

If you like a holistic approach, maybe this will resonate:

 

   you are braking to turn instead of turning to brake*

 

where by brake* i mean speed control

Along this line of holistic concept.....I  look at your  intent and to me, it is all about going down the hill with your movements geared to keep you below mach 2.  When I ski, I just happen to end up at the end of the hill because it is the hill that supplies my velocity .  My intent is to develop circular travel with those incredible tools attached to my feet.  Try viewing some of JF Beaulieu's YouTube Vids.  Especially this one on Motor Patterns and this one on Separation Thru the Arc.

 

In the Motor Patterns one, pay attention to the part about how edging happens by actively shortening the inside leg as the turn develops

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingmonkey View Post
 

So I've been skiing on and off for a while now (I feel like I can rate myself a 6/7), I feel comfortable on almost all black runs, light/moderate moguls (especially in spring conditions), and have a ton of fun doing it. I cringe every time I see myself skiing on video though and I really want to address my issues to make myself a proficient technical skier (and a pretty one at that hah).

 

The problems I feel I have and don't know how to address well:

 

-Lack of adequete upper and lower body separation.

-Back of the skis skidding in my turns. 

-Lack of angulation

-My arms looking like I'm doing the running man while skiing.

-Dragging my uphill pole on the snow 

 

A lot of these might be a consequence of dropping my inside shoulder or pivoting my upper body to turn?

 

Things I've tried (and maybe should keep trying):

 

- Going on big groomers and really feeling the start of my turns with the outside ski being angled.

- Skiing with poles held flat in front of me to focus on separating my upper lower body angle.

 

This video is from a particularly warm day so the conditions were not the most conducive to holding high edge angles and speed, but I think it makes my issues that much more visible.

 

I'm willing to put in the time and effort to get better, but I feel like I've been stuck here for a long time. Also any recommendations for good folks to get lessons from in the NE array would be great.

 


Skiingmonkey, you have provided a long list of things to fix.  This list is a familiar; it applies to lots of skiers on the hill.  After watching your video, I'd say it's pretty accurate.  You also say you're willing to put in the time and effort to get better but you've been stuck for a long time. 

 

Deeply embedded habits get replaced slowly, and often working on one at a time is the most productive strategy.  You need to do deliberate practice on one thing, day after day, every run, every turn, until that one thing is sometimes happening without you thinking about it.  This will not happen in one day, and probably not in five days.  Once you notice you are doing the new thing without thinking about it, you can "bundle" another new thing with it.  We all tend to be able to think consciously about only one new movement pattern at a time.  Bundling two together works pretty well if the first can happen without conscious attention.  As you progress, your list will change, as some of those items will probably disappear on their own.  Work on replacing one thing after another until your skiing makes you happy.

 

But your list is long.  There is no blueprint that identifies how to best move forward.  Your turns would satisfy many on the hill.  They get you down the trails safely and at the speed you desire, right?  So the big deal is to figure out where to start, and what approaches will work best.  Different approaches work for different people; it can't be predicted easily what will work.  Multiple lessons over time with a seasoned instructor who reads you well can do the trick.  Finding that instructor can take time, but once you're there you can really move forward.  

 

In the meantime, I've got a question for you.  What makes you unsatisfied with your skiing?  Are there trails you wish to ski that you avoid now, that leave you feeling like you are in out of control?  Are there certain types of snow that you have to avoid?  Do you seek more pleasant sensations as you make your turns?  The more detailed you can be with what leaves you unsatisfied, the more effective folks can be in helping you to isolate where to start on that list.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 


Skiingmonkey, you have provided a long list of things to fix.  This list is a familiar; it applies to lots of skiers on the hill.  After watching your video, I'd say it's pretty accurate.  You also say you're willing to put in the time and effort to get better but you've been stuck for a long time. 

 

Deeply embedded habits get replaced slowly, and often working on one at a time is the most productive strategy.  You need to do deliberate practice on one thing, day after day, every run, every turn, until that one thing is sometimes happening without you thinking about it.  At that point you can "bundle" another new thing with it.  We all tend to be able to think consciously about only one new movement pattern at a time.  Bundling two together works pretty well if the first can happen without conscious attention.  As you progress, your list will change, as some of those items will probably disappear on their own.  Work on replacing one thing after another until your skiing makes you happy.

 

But your list is long.  There is no blueprint that identifies how to best move forward.  Your turns would satisfy many on the hill.  They get you down the trails safely and at the speed you desire, right?  So the big deal is to figure out where to start, and what approaches will work best.  Different approaches work for different people; it can't be predicted easily what will work.  Multiple lessons over time with a seasoned instructor who reads you well can do the trick.  Finding that instructor can take time, but once you're there you can really move forward.  

 

In the meantime, I've got a question for you.  What makes you unsatisfied with your skiing?  Are there trails you wish to ski that you avoid now?  Are there conditions that leave you feeling out of control?  Do you want to ski the glades and bumps?   Do you want to ski with more speed than you do now, or do you seek more pleasant sensations as you make your turns?  The more detailed you can be with what leaves you unsatisfied, the more effective folks can be in helping you to isolate where to start on that list.

 

Thanks for the response! I don't really want to ski faster, and to the point of the other poster above, my goal typically isn't to ski quickly. I think two/three things comes to mind for what I really want out of my skiing besides the technical proficiency I outlined above:

 

1) glades/bumps would be great and I think practicing pivot slips and the sort will help with my other issues.

2) turn sensation, specifically that high g turn that pops you out and into the next turn is something I've been chasing for a while. I can nail a couple turns this way once in a while but it's not consistent. It's the feeling of the ski releasing a lot of its energy and you transition between edges almost throwing you in the air. 

 

I guess in order of what I intend to tackle and how I intend on doing it:

 

1) Fore/Aft weight with pivot slips. 

2) Outside hand to knee drills to really feel my turns starting with my feet/knees lower body on easy/moderate terrain

3) Inside leg raises to accentuate the above.

 

Maybe focus on these for sometime till I get the turning style I like. I feel like it'd address the two goals from above well as a consequence too.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingmonkey View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 


Skiingmonkey, you have provided a long list of things to fix.  This list is a familiar; it applies to lots of skiers on the hill.  After watching your video, I'd say it's pretty accurate.  You also say you're willing to put in the time and effort to get better but you've been stuck for a long time. 

 

Deeply embedded habits get replaced slowly, and often working on one at a time is the most productive strategy.  You need to do deliberate practice on one thing, day after day, every run, every turn, until that one thing is sometimes happening without you thinking about it.  At that point you can "bundle" another new thing with it.  We all tend to be able to think consciously about only one new movement pattern at a time.  Bundling two together works pretty well if the first can happen without conscious attention.  As you progress, your list will change, as some of those items will probably disappear on their own.  Work on replacing one thing after another until your skiing makes you happy.

 

But your list is long.  There is no blueprint that identifies how to best move forward.  Your turns would satisfy many on the hill.  They get you down the trails safely and at the speed you desire, right?  So the big deal is to figure out where to start, and what approaches will work best.  Different approaches work for different people; it can't be predicted easily what will work.  Multiple lessons over time with a seasoned instructor who reads you well can do the trick.  Finding that instructor can take time, but once you're there you can really move forward.  

 

In the meantime, I've got a question for you.  What makes you unsatisfied with your skiing?  Are there trails you wish to ski that you avoid now?  Are there conditions that leave you feeling out of control?  Do you want to ski the glades and bumps?   Do you want to ski with more speed than you do now, or do you seek more pleasant sensations as you make your turns?  The more detailed you can be with what leaves you unsatisfied, the more effective folks can be in helping you to isolate where to start on that list.

 

Thanks for the response! I don't really want to ski faster, and to the point of the other poster above, my goal typically isn't to ski quickly. I think two/three things comes to mind for what I really want out of my skiing besides the technical proficiency I outlined above:

 

1) glades/bumps would be great and I think practicing pivot slips and the sort will help with my other issues.

2) turn sensation, specifically that high g turn that pops you out and into the next turn is something I've been chasing for a while. I can nail a couple turns this way once in a while but it's not consistent. It's the feeling of the ski releasing a lot of its energy and you transition between edges almost throwing you in the air. 

 

I guess in order of what I intend to tackle and how I intend on doing it:

 

1) Fore/Aft weight with pivot slips. 

2) Outside hand to knee drills to really feel my turns starting with my feet/knees lower body on easy/moderate terrain

3) Inside leg raises to accentuate the above.

 

Maybe focus on these for sometime till I get the turning style I like. I feel like it'd address the two goals from above well as a consequence too.


1. Pivot slips are successful when you can get straight down the hill without traveling leftie-rightie.  This is difficult; you are right to link pivot slips with fore-aft issues.  

The clue that I like best has to do with what you do with the downhill foot.  Start by sideslipping downhill with skis pointed, say, left.  To do the pivot, begin by sliding your downhill foot -- from downhill of your body -- to UPHILL of your body.  As you do this you'll be pivoting it to point in the other direction.  That foot does not move in a curve as you do this; it moves in a straight line, backwards relative to your body, uphill, staying under its hip.  That foot pivots as you slide it uphill/backwards -- to point its ski to the right.  You need to have that ski flat to do the pivot, of course.  

 

This backwards-uphill-straight-line movement of that foot may seem odd, but think about it.  As you side-slip with skis pointed across the hill, your body's mass is between the two skis.  One ski is downhill and one ski is uphill of your center of mass.  This has to switch with the pivot.  People who travel leftie-rightie tend to keep both feet downhill of their body as they pivot the skis;  they stay aft, they pivot the skis and the skis turn and move them across the hill, and the pivot slip fails.

 

2.  Boot-touch is a good drill.  Also called pat-the-dog.  Outside hand goes down to top of boot.  Inside hand goes up.  Another drilll that combines upper body/lower body separation with angulation is the Schlopy.  The video that I always reference is not gone.  Darn.

 

3.  Inside leg raises are fine, but you can do better.  Just raise the tail of the new inside ski as you start a turn; keep its tip pressed to the snow.  Tip that tail-lifted ski to its little toe edge as you start and continue the new turn.  It's very hard to do this drill with your center of mass over the tails of your skis, or uphill of both skis, or both.  If you are aft and leaning uphill at the end of a turn, which you are, that new inside ski's tail is loaded with your weight.  It just won't lift.  Lifting it requires that you keep your weight so you can lift the tail and press the tips down onto the snow.  The earlier you can do this in a new turn, the better.  

 

These three will help you get "weight" over your outside ski and off the tails, and help you keep your upper body pointing more downhill as your feet/legs turn underneath.  All helpful in advancing your skiing.  

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 


1. Pivot slips are successful when you can get straight down the hill without traveling leftie-rightie.  This is difficult; you are right to link pivot slips with fore-aft issues.  

The clue that I like best has to do with what you do with the downhill foot.  Start by sideslipping downhill with skis pointed, say, left.  To do the pivot, begin by sliding your downhill foot -- from downhill of your body -- to UPHILL of your body.  As you do this you'll be pivoting it to point in the other direction.  That foot does not move in a curve as you do this; it moves in a straight line, backwards relative to your body, uphill, staying under its hip.  That foot pivots as you slide it uphill/backwards -- to point its ski to the right.  You need to have that ski flat to do the pivot, of course.  

 

This backwards-uphill-straight-line movement of that foot may seem odd, but think about it.  As you side-slip with skis pointed across the hill, your body's mass is between the two skis.  One ski is downhill and one ski is uphill of your center of mass.  This has to switch with the pivot.  People who travel leftie-rightie tend to keep both feet downhill of their body as they pivot the skis;  they stay aft, they pivot the skis and the skis turn and move them across the hill, and the pivot slip fails.

 

2.  Boot-touch is a good drill.  Also called pat-the-dog.  Outside hand goes down to top of boot.  Inside hand goes up.  Another drilll that combines upper body/lower body separation with angulation is the Schlopy.  The video that I always reference is not gone.  Darn.

 

3.  Inside leg raises are fine, but you can do better.  Just raise the tail of the new inside ski as you start a turn; keep its tip pressed to the snow.  Tip that tail-lifted ski to its little toe edge as you start and continue the new turn.  It's very hard to do this drill with your center of mass over the tails of your skis, or uphill of both skis, or both.  If you are aft and leaning uphill at the end of a turn, which you are, that new inside ski's tail is loaded with your weight.  It just won't lift.  Lifting it requires that you keep your weight so you can lift the tail and press the tips down onto the snow.  The earlier you can do this in a new turn, the better.  

 

These three will help you get "weight" over your outside ski and off the tails, and help you keep your upper body pointing more downhill as your feet/legs turn underneath.  All helpful in advancing your skiing.  

 

Thanks! Will try these out, I appreciate the clarification and tips!

post #15 of 18

Skiing always starts with the feet.  Sometimes it is necessary to first neutralize bad habits.

 

Look at your video at :05.  Your feet are too far apart and the inside should not be out in front.  We'll get to this later.

Look at :06.  Angulation is OK.

:06, :07 & :08.  Your body center of mass is over your heels instead of being centered or over your toes.

:09.  You have way too much weight on the inside ski allowing the outside ski to diverge.

:11.  See how your pole swing habit is pulling your shoulder around in the direction of the turn?  Your body should be countered...turned toward the outside of the turn...all the way through the turn.  The pole tap should not involve any arm movement, just a twitch of the wrist.

 

So...what to do first?  Take your upper body out of the skiing.  On an easier slope, either hide your poles under a tree or give them to a buddy and ski with your hands on your hips, thumbs forward.  Or, hold both poles in front of you, hands at the ends of the poles, palms upward.  Don't make any movements with your upper body at this time.  Just balance.  Do not swing your arms at all.

Your feet--Stand tall, balanced on the balls of your feet.  Hinge forward at the ankles.  Don't squat down from the knees--that's tiring.  Make easy round parallel turns just using your feet.  Bring your body out over the front of the outside ski in each turn, easy, balanced, do it very early in the turn, maybe even before you start the turn with your feet.  Keep both feet walking-width apart just as your body has been balancing itself since you were a year old.  Keep both toes even, not one foot pushed out in front.  Balance on the ball of the outside foot, the inside ski just barely skimming the snow, almost no weight on it.  Roll the inside ankle inside your boot so your big toe edge of the ski is lifted off the snow.  Just the inside edge lifted.  Make many turns just doing this.  It should feel easy and natural. 

 

Add the upper body movement where you get your zipper pull turned to the outside of the turn very early in the turn as one of the first movements.  Turn from the hips up, do not shove the inside foot forward.  Get your zipper pull out over the logo on your outside ski, out forward of the toe binding.  Keep the same position of your feet and the same movement of your feet.  You're still just balancing with your body, just now you're positioning your center of mass over the front of your outside ski.  Many many turns doing these movements.  Again, it should feel easy, natural, balanced on the ball of your outside foot.  Add lifting just the tail of your inside ski an inch off the snow as a drill.

 

Hand position--imagine walking across the slickest icy patch, where does your body put your hands for balance?  A bit up and a bit out to the sides.  This is exactly the correct hand position for skiing.  Your natural balancing position.  Add this to what you've been doing before this.  As you counter in the turns, your hips, shoulders, arms rotate to the outside of the turn, right for a left turn, etc.  Do not swing your arms either around nor reach forward nor up & down.  For the pole tap, just twitch your wrist so the pole touches the snow surface, then turn the other way.  Turn your feet one way and turn your body the other way.  Keep your feet close together and toes (or ski tips) as even as you can, not one shoved forward.

 

As you make these movements many times on an easy hill, it should come together.  Find a slope that is just a bit steeper and repeat, repeat, repeat.  Find another slope that is a bit steeper still.  Many more repetitions.  If it all falls apart, start from the beginning, just with the feet, upper body doing nothing but balancing.

post #16 of 18
I told this to someone I met on the hill (she asked, I would never offer anything unsolicited) and I think it would help you too. You are traveling down the slope with your body facing downhill, and going from braking and braking to control your speed. If you make a more complete turn, bring your skis more across the hill (and the direction of your body is facing too, but to a less degree), you would slow naturally slow down and wouldn't have to rely on braking to control your speed. At the same time holding your hands in front as if you are holding a cafeteria tray, keep both hands visible.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

As an update, I had my buddy follow me as I did the boot touch drill. Things I noticed:

 

- As soon as I leaned down and touched my boot, my skis felt like they were on rails and hooked in and started to turn and pick up speed.

- I felt like the harder I worked my downhill ski the more I got back as a  "pop" when transitioning from edge to edge. 

- I felt like I was dropping my hip a lot more than what appears in the video.

 

I spent a bit of time doing pivot slips as well and they started to feel good and I moved on

 

Things I noticed I didn't like

 

- As soon as I picked my poles up I could quite get the same feeling until I started punching my hands forward as I started the turn. This brought me a bit lower and gave me a very similar feeling to the boot touch drill.

 

- Speed is critical to getting higher edge angles and moving from edge to edge faster, but that was no surprise.

 

- I tried skiing with my hands on my hips and felt like I regressed back to all of my initially bad habits with the tails washing out and my butt too far back over the ski.

 

- In watching the video the first couple turns seem to have me skid into the turn a touch and then get the skis on an edge, but this might be in part due to the very warm/slushy conditions we've been having.

 

- My right turns have significantly more up and down motion than my left turns even though my right leg, at least in my head, is dominant. 

 

- I also noticed these skis seem to be mounted quite a bit forward of the center boot mark, which may or may not be influencing this.

 

 

Could you guys comment on my performance of the drill from this clip and some ideas for moving forward to getting even more comfortable with higher edge angles and slowly incorporating poles back into it?

 

Thanks, everyone has been a tremendous help here!

 

 


Edited by skiingmonkey - 2/28/16 at 7:25pm
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingmonkey View Post
 

 

 

Could you guys comment on my performance of the drill from this clip and some ideas for moving forward to getting even more comfortable with higher edge angles and slowly incorporating poles back into it?

 

 

The boot touch drill is meant to force you into lateral angles, i.e. hip angulation. In the video your hip angulation is very small, try to reach further down by bending sideways over the outside hip joint, without bending forward.

Also I have found that a lot of people doing the drill gets into static skiing where you immediately reach for the boot and then park and ride in that position for the rest of the turn. Try to be very gradual so that you don't reach the bottom position until quite late in the turn.

There is more but that should give you something to work on.

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