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First MA request

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Friends, an acquaintence took this vid of me last week at the top of the Sundown Bow in Vail. The snow was chunky and quite variable, but mostly soft. I found that it required a careful selection of turn placement to preserve a good rhythm. I was focusing on posture (I tend to crouch too much) with pole plant more out than forward in order to get the body in the proper position for the next turn, especially at the top of the bowl which is steep enough to require your attention (perhaps 30 degrees or so). Also working on turn shape for speed control. I was on my favs: 2014 Kastle FX84 in 176cm (I think).

Have at it.

Thanks

D1

post #2 of 22
Looks like fun.

It appears you start turn with upper body rotation. There seems to be some extraneous arm/hand movement. Your stance appears very narrow.

I would suggest opening up the stance a bit, focus on releasing the downhill (old outside ski) to start the turn.
post #3 of 22

its nice smooth skiing.

 

if i wanted to 'jazz it up', i'd say slow down the turning forces when you change directions.  In other words, its close to a quick turn with a traverse, then another quick turn with a traverse the other way.  Stretch out the time it takes to complete the turn by slowing down the turning forces

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post
 

its nice smooth skiing.

 

if i wanted to 'jazz it up', i'd say slow down the turning forces when you change directions.  In other words, its close to a quick turn with a traverse, then another quick turn with a traverse the other way.  Stretch out the time it takes to complete the turn by slowing down the turning forces

Good observation. Typically, I do just what you suggest with longer time in the fall line. But speed control on this moderately steep pitch with soft but heavy snow (and tired legs) made this approach more sensible.

post #5 of 22
Classic. Some will say 'old skool' but I like it. You are very in control and it looks great. Downside is that you do not take full advantage of your skis. For that you should but them on edge a little earlier and enjoy the ride.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

Good observation. Typically, I do just what you suggest with longer time in the fall line. But speed control on this moderately steep pitch with soft but heavy snow (and tired legs) made this approach more sensible.

Fair enough - you did what you wanted ("intent")

 

I can think of three ways one might manage steeper terrain like this:

1) as you did, quick turns with some cross hill time between

2) quick turns without the cross hill --> keeps the speed down but even more energy gets expended

3) more skidding in the bottom of the turn, holding steady speed as you move both down and across the hill.

   the more divergent the path of the skies and the path of the skier, the slower you will go, with a pivot slip being the extreme example.

   Heavy soft snow makes this trickier yet, although wide skis can help somewhat. 

 

 It might be another tool to add....

post #7 of 22

Hey, very nice smooth skiing. I'd say that the biggest area where you diverge from the standards is how much your upper body turns. I should know because that was my precise problem also. Your pole plant timing is good, but then the planted arm stays in position on the mountain and your entire body leads the turning of your skis; effectively turning around your planted pole. Your arms should be forward and pointing down the hill the entire time. Your body should be facing down the fall line most of the time with most of the turning/twisting happening at the femurs in your hips. Check out the form in this video:

 

 

 

But if you want to eliminate your upper body turning, you can't get there from where you are in one bound. You need to improve your leg rotation, separate from your hips+upper body. The classic drill to improve leg rotation/separation is pivot slips (aka braquage). Counter-intuitive as it is, this polar opposite move of carving is a fundamental skill in learning to really carve with your upper body stable in the middle. The guys in this video make it look easy, but I guarantee you that it won't be.

 

 

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkidu View Post
 

Hey, very nice smooth skiing. I'd say that the biggest area where you diverge from the standards is how much your upper body turns. I should know because that was my precise problem also. Your pole plant timing is good, but then the planted arm stays in position on the mountain and your entire body leads the turning of your skis; effectively turning around your planted pole. Your arms should be forward and pointing down the hill the entire time. Your body should be facing down the fall line most of the time with most of the turning/twisting happening at the femurs in your hips. Check out the form in this video:

 

 

 

But if you want to eliminate your upper body turning, you can't get there from where you are in one bound. You need to improve your leg rotation, separate from your hips+upper body. The classic drill to improve leg rotation/separation is pivot slips (aka braquage). Counter-intuitive as it is, this polar opposite move of carving is a fundamental skill in learning to really carve with your upper body stable in the middle. The guys in this video make it look easy, but I guarantee you that it won't be.

 

Very fair point and an issue that I am trying to work on, particularly in the steeps and moguls where my movements are untimely because of the lack of upper/lower separation. I should spend more time with pivot slips, as you say. I have done them, but only somewhat successfully. No problem with the side slip part as I can release edges with no issues. It is the transition that gets me because I always tend to engage the edges during the 180 degree crux move.

Appreciate your fb and the vids.

D1

post #9 of 22

Hi Deliberate1, 

 

Here's an outcomes-oriented perspective:

 

In skiing, every action we take has a delayed outcome. The way we balance at the top of the turn dictates how effective the bottom of our turn is. Similarly, one turn's exit determines how well we can enter the next turn. You've probably felt before that when a run starts out well it's easy to keep it going, but when one turn goes badly, it becomes hard to recover. To get you the most improvement in your skiing, I'd recommend improving the top of the turn, since it will improve all the remainder of the turn.

 

Presently you enter the top of each turn with a push away from the ski and down the hill. You're anticipating where you want to be and trying to make yourself move there. By pushing away from the ski, you get an abrupt pressure on the edge. Pressure is good since you need it to redirect your ski. However, once you've moved away from the ski, you lose that pressure, and now you have no way to keep steering that ski around; your performance suffers and most of your turn becomes a smear. You've literally put yourself inside of the turn for its entirety because of how you started the turn. 

 

So what can you do instead to get the skis to turn, and to manage your speed? The turning part is easy. Your friend, gravity, wants to pull you down the hill. Once your skis are tipped on an edge, without any pushing, your skis will turn around the arc. Any pushing or pulling of that outside ski just interferes with the turning effort since it disrupts that pressure. (I know, this will be too fast - we'll get to speed control later. For now, stay with me on how we can get effective turning to happen.)

 

There are two good ways you can help the ski design and gravity to turn you: 

First, you can help put the skis onto the edge, not by pushing in, but by balancing over the outside ski. If you pretend you're a marionette and there are strings attached at your hips and shoulders, think about "lifting" or "lightening" the inside shoulder strings so that you balance on that outside ski. It will feel like you're balancing up the hill at the start of each turn. You absolutely can only develop your balance on the greens and then bring it into steeper pitches. 

 

Some exercises to balance early on the ski include thousand steps; if you can do thousand steps from the top of the turn, you're balancing early on the outside edge

Hopping through the entire turn; same idea - if you move your body down the hill, you won't successfully hop

Skating into your turns: John Gillies explains it here: 

 

 

 

Second, you can increase your edge angle and encourage stronger natural balance by creating some separation. When you have a bit of natural lead change (not forced) and your hips face more outside the turn, it's much easier to allow your body to angulate or bend over the outside leg. When your shoulders and hips point in the same direction of your tips, it's very hard to let your upper body bend much over the outside leg. Here's my favourite instructor teaching skiers how to introduce separation into their skiing: 

 

 

Both separation and angulation are required for effective edging, which provides grip. (As you improve your ability to balance on edge, you'll be able to use your joints to start aiding more in the tipping effort and to power the turn; but let's get the big balance issue sorted out first.)

 

The above sounds easy, but our brain gets in the way of good turns. When skiers think they need to turn and try to make turning happen, 95% start pushing themselves into the turn, twisting their legs around, or otherwise get all out of balance, ultimately wrecking their turns. What's more effective is to think about your job as balancing over the ski, and maintaining the pressure by managing the inside half of your body. If you get separation, angulation, and tipping, your skis will go on their sides, your balance will create pressure against the ski, and the skis will arc you across the hill.

 

So all the above is a good intro to arcing turns. But as you mentioned, you're on steeper terrain and you don't want to go that fast (which is completely reasonable!). Good skiers manage speed through the top of the turn by feathering or surfing it before you get on edge, and then carving the bottom to accelerate. Your ski will not decelerate while it's on the edge, and yet you need to use your edges to maintain speed and redirect your momentum into the new arc. So your goal is to bleed speed at the top of the turn by feathering, surfing, or drifting the top of the turn, and then gradually putting on the gas again by tipping the skis onto edge. Think of a drift turn in a car - you'll allow your skis to surf sideways a bit, then carve through the end.

 

But all of this must be done by setting your balance up over the new outside leg, rather than by pushing yourself into the turn. In doing so, you'll steer the top into the right shape, bleed off some speed, then arc the bottom half (or third) and carry your mass across the hill, which sets you up for an awesome new arc.  

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

Very fair point and an issue that I am trying to work on, particularly in the steeps and moguls where my movements are untimely because of the lack of upper/lower separation. I should spend more time with pivot slips, as you say. I have done them, but only somewhat successfully. No problem with the side slip part as I can release edges with no issues. It is the transition that gets me because I always tend to engage the edges during the 180 degree crux move.

Appreciate your fb and the vids.

D1


That's still my challenge also; really getting to a flat ski and rotating the femurs before establishing an edge. I find that if I visualize doing it on the lift up, the just do it, I end up performing better than when I'm trying to think about doing it while in motion. If that makes any sense. All the best!

post #11 of 22

Hey D1.  What I see is very similar to what was pointed out to me in my skiing by a trainer recently.

 

You're making a concerted effort to let the skis finish their turning while moving your body downhill first.  This is a great focus.  However you are doing it with your pole plant and thus your upper body.  What I have been coached to do is to tip the feet first while the skis are still completing their turn.

 

This will create the same movement pattern of "skis go this way, but body goes that way (downhill)" but will start it with the feet rather than with an arm and upper body movement.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
....

Very fair point and an issue that I am trying to work on, particularly in the steeps and moguls where my movements are untimely because of the lack of upper/lower separation. I should spend more time with pivot slips, as you say. I have done them, but only somewhat successfully. No problem with the side slip part as I can release edges with no issues. It is the transition that gets me because I always tend to engage the edges during the 180 degree crux move.

Appreciate your fb and the vids.

D1

 

For failed pivot slips, try pulling your downhill foot back uphill under you as you turn the skis to point them in the other direction.  

That foot most likely needs to end up higher on the hill relative to your hips than you think.  

post #13 of 22

@deliberate1, here's a set of screen shots that identify how you end and start your turns

on this terrain.

 

At the end of a turn you coast across the hill for a while with body square to skis, knees slightly bent.  

 

Then you swing your downhill shoulder, arm, hand, and pole forward in the direction

your skis are pointing.  This rotates your shoulders uphill.  You are winding up for

an upper body twist.

 

Next you swing your arm back as you plant the pole.

This action twists (unwinds) your shoulders to face downhill, before your skis turn.

It also helps you lean your body downhill.

The upper body's unwinding will drag the skis around behind it.

The upper body's lean will tip the skis onto their new edges.

 

Here you go, around the corner.  Your body is long and straight

and turning to face in the other direction; it is dragging the skis around.

Also, as a unit it is tipping the skis.  Your extra weight on the inside 

ski is turning it faster than the outside ski; you can see the tips diverge.

 

As the skis come around, you continue to lean.

You are now leaning uphill, still square to the skis. 

 

And now you bend your knees and you are ready 

for your traverse between turns.

 

This works.  You are skiing this terrain smoothly.  It looks like you are having a good time.

 

Yes, there are several things you could change, and folks have started pointing them out upthread.

Picking out what to work on first is the issue.  

What is your objective?  How would you like to ski this terrain differently?


Edited by LiquidFeet - 3/13/16 at 9:37am
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

For failed pivot slips, try pulling your downhill foot back uphill under you as you turn the skis to point them in the other direction.  

That foot most likely needs to end up higher on the hill relative to your hips than you think.  

Appreciate that. When you refer to the "downhill foot," is that, for example, the left foot ("new" downhill ski) in a clockwise rotation, and right in a counter-clockwise move, or vice versa?

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 

 

So your goal is to bleed speed at the top of the turn by feathering, surfing, or drifting the top of the turn, and then gradually putting on the gas again by tipping the skis onto edge. Think of a drift turn in a car - you'll allow your skis to surf sideways a bit, then carve through the end.

 

But all of this must be done by setting your balance up over the new outside leg, rather than by pushing yourself into the turn. In doing so, you'll steer the top into the right shape, bleed off some speed, then arc the bottom half (or third) and carry your mass across the hill, which sets you up for an awesome new arc.  

Metaphor

 

I like that a lot! I am going to reread that many times and, hopefully, commit it to muscle memory.

Appreciate your suggestions and the vids. 

David

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

For failed pivot slips, try pulling your downhill foot back uphill under you as you turn the skis to point them in the other direction.  

That foot most likely needs to end up higher on the hill relative to your hips than you think.  

Appreciate that. When you refer to the "downhill foot," is that, for example, the left foot ("new" downhill ski) in a clockwise rotation, and right in a counter-clockwise move, or vice versa?


Whichever one is on the downhill side of you.  

When your skis are pointing to your right, the downhill foot will be your left foot.

When you pivot the skis to point left, that left foot moves "uphill" of your hips and ends up as the uphill foot after the pivot.  

If you keep it downhill of your body as you pivot the two skis, you'll have a very difficult time keeping the skis flat; they will grip and you'll travel.

The skis will create a turn instead of allowing you to travel straight down the hill.

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

 

This works.  You are skiing this terrain smoothly.  It looks like you are having a good time.

 

Yes, there are several things you could change, and folks have started pointing them out upthread.

Picking out what to work on first is the issue.  

What is your objective?  How would you like to ski this terrain differently?

LF, many thanks for your considerable efforts and the video dissection. 

You pose a question that prompts no obvious answer strictly from a technical perspective. As you and others point out, I was having a great time on this pitch. I am very pleased that the joy came through. Skiing relatively steep terrain, with a variable snow surface, under control and with ease, even if my movements did not mirror canonical skiing technique in its current iteration.

And that prompts a question that I often reflect on while reading analyses of "proper" technique. What is its ultimate purpose. Is it strictly utilitarian - a mechanical analysis designed to maximize skiing efficiency. Certainly, achieving a goal with the least amount of "work" is a holy grail common to most human-powered activities. But it can not be the sole answer because the goal of recreational skiing is pleasure, not some formulaic result subject to objective measure, as in ski racing  

Or is "proper" technique the path to skiing more difficult terrain more capably. That I can accept as a penultimate goal. I would surely derive more pleasure/satisfaction skiing moguls if I did it with greater efficiency. In my experience, elegant skiers ski with the greatest apparent physical economy. Or is technique purely a path to an esthetic norm that exists independent of any mechanical measure - albeit a variable that shifts over time. As in the words of a Brit instructor who told me (before I learned a modern carving technique clearly not demonstrated in my vid) "you ski so beautifully in that passe style." But style, by its very nature, is fickle and the product of consensus. Unlike mechanical efficiency which is judged by the laws of physics or a time clock. 

So, LF you ask what my ultimate "objective" is. Why, simply to perpetuate that childlike, unbridled joy that has stayed with me in the 50 years since I first pushed down that lever securing a cable around my little ski boot.

Best to you.

David


Edited by deliberate1 - 3/13/16 at 10:04am
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

LF, many thanks for your considerable efforts and the video dissection. 

You pose a question that prompts no obvious answer strictly from a technical perspective. As you and others point out, I was having a great time on this pitch. I am very pleased that the joy came through. Skiing relatively steep terrain, with a variable snow surface, under control and with ease, even if my movements did not mirror canonical skiing technique in its current iteration.

And that prompts a question that I often reflect on while reading analyses of "proper" technique. What is its ultimate purpose. Is it strictly utilitarian - a mechanical analysis designed to maximize skiing efficiency. Certainly, achieving a goal with the least amount of "work" is a holy grail common to most human-powered activities. But it can not be the sole answer because the goal of recreational skiing is pleasure, not some formulaic result subject to objective measure, as in ski racing  

Or is "proper" technique the path to skiing more difficult terrain more capably. That I can accept as a penultimate goal. I would surely derive more pleasure/satisfaction skiing moguls if I did it with greater efficiency. In my experience, elegant skiers ski with the greatest apparent physical economy. Or is technique purely a path to an esthetic norm that exists independent of any mechanical measure - albeit a variable that shifts over time. As in the words of a Brit instructor who told me (before I learned a modern carving technique clearly not demonstrated in my vid) "you ski so beautifully in that passe style." But style, by its very nature, is fickle and the product of consensus. Unlike mechanical efficiency which is judged by the laws of physics or a time clock. 

So, LF you ask what my ultimate "objective" is. Why, simply to perpetuate that childlike, unbridled joy that has stayed with me in the 50 years since I first pushed down that lever securing a cable around my little ski boot.

...

I would say that it is the second; good aesthetics follows from the functionality of the form. Proper technique leads to faster reaction, more stability, quicker (and seemingly effortless) adjustments. This video posted by markojp post #5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wop_Zc0x1Sc is a testament to that. I don't expect to get there, but it's something towards which to strive and to seek (and never yield ;) ).

post #19 of 22

d1, my MA was pretty much the same thing as LF was saying. That fun and active arm movement is something that could be calmed down - for functional reasons, not for form.

 

I too am only concerned with control in challenging conditions and fun.  I don't care what I look like (anymore.)

 

So to answer your question, this is about function, not form.  The more we upset our balance the more we need to regain it.  Using an upper body movement to initiate a turn puts us out of balance, as LF points out you end up leaning uphill.  By angulating at the end of the turn and tipping with your feet into the new turn direction you remain in balance and will have even more fun.

 

In my skiing the more I do this the less I need to recover and the more smooth and continuous my turns are.  

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

d1, my MA was pretty much the same thing as LF was saying. That fun and active arm movement is something that could be calmed down - for functional reasons, not for form.

 

I too am only concerned with control in challenging conditions and fun.  I don't care what I look like (anymore.)

 

So to answer your question, this is about function, not form.  The more we upset our balance the more we need to regain it.  Using an upper body movement to initiate a turn puts us out of balance, as LF points out you end up leaning uphill.  By angulating at the end of the turn and tipping with your feet into the new turn direction you remain in balance and will have even more fun.

 

In my skiing the more I do this the less I need to recover and the more smooth and continuous my turns are.  

 

Well put, SMJ. In the sport of skiing, it is widely held that form and function are one in the same. Whenever we see a divergence between form and function, it is never pretty. 

post #21 of 22

Del, when you swing your shoulders around in the direction of your turn, you flatten your skis and lose grip.  Try very intentional counter (turn your shoulders toward the outside of the turn, very early in the turn) without pushing your inside foot forward.  Make your pole tap directly down the fall line from your outside heel.  Just a tap of the pole tip, not a plant, and just a twitch of your wrist to make that pole tap.

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

Del, when you swing your shoulders around in the direction of your turn, you flatten your skis and lose grip.  Try very intentional counter (turn your shoulders toward the outside of the turn, very early in the turn) without pushing your inside foot forward.  Make your pole tap directly down the fall line from your outside heel.  Just a tap of the pole tip, not a plant, and just a twitch of your wrist to make that pole tap.

Thanks, but could you kindly expand on the suggestion to make the pole tap "from your outside heel." Unclear what you mean by that.

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