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Tips for Intermediates over 35, 45, 55, or older - A Ski Instruction thread - Page 3

post #61 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 
  • What helps the most to go from intermediate to advanced?  
    In terms of trails skied: Powder!
    In terms of technique: Converting edge control from stop control to go control.

 

2 questions:

1) @TheRusty :  Can you elaborate on "stop control" vs. "go control"?  

 

2) I see many people mentioned about the importance of "fitness".  What about "athletic" ? I tend to think, in order to pick up this sport and advance at a decent pace, you have to be both "fit" and "athletic".  Is this not true?

I consider myself as fit, but not athletic (I pick up new sport slow).  Hence I progress slow.  

 

2 comments: 

1) Mileage: quality vs quantity.  I think mileage is important, but more important is the quality of the mileage (at least to me). Because of my fear for speed and steep, as part of the "desensitization" process, I need to expose myself more to steeper terrains and go at a faster speed.  The more often I can ski on those terrains at decent speed (with good control), the more I can be used to speed and steep.  After eliminating this fear part, I believe my mind can be free, and be opening to try out new techniques / tricks (like edging).

 

2) Fear.  Fear is learned.  It is true that as I age, my fear of things exponentially grow.  Again, unless I can let go of that mental baggage, I doubt I can progress much.  

 

Enjoyed reading this discussion thread, I can very much relate to many of the issues / challenges you mentioned.  Now I know that I am not alone.

post #62 of 92

moderator note: Some posts have been temporarily hidden and then restored after moderator review. Can we all please just get along?

post #63 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 
  • What helps the most to go from intermediate to advanced?  
    In terms of trails skied: Powder!
    In terms of technique: Converting edge control from stop control to go control.

 

2 questions:

1) @TheRusty :  Can you elaborate on "stop control" vs. "go control"?  

 

2) I see many people mentioned about the importance of "fitness".  What about "athletic" ? I tend to think, in order to pick up this sport and advance at a decent pace, you have to be both "fit" and "athletic".  Is this not true?

 

:) I was trying not to be wordy. Please remember you put the quarter in my slot.

 

Intermediates tend to skid to control speed. Their main focus in controlling their skis orientation is to slow down. Advanced skiers use turn shape to control speed more than intermediates do and use edge angle to control skidding more than twisting of the feet, Intermediates tend to skid all the end of their turns. Advanced skiers can manage skidding throughout the whole turn. One of my common mantras to intermediate skiers is that we are trying to go fast across the hill vs down the hill. Once you can do that, a lot of possibilities are  opened up. One of the natural things for intermediates is a "speed limit" caused by the inherent instability of skidding skis. As skis begin to carve more (not necessarily totally), stability increases and the speed limit gets raised. Going faster does not necessarily make you a better skier, but it is an inherent result in letting the skis turn you vs you turning the skis. When you're turning the skis (for speed control) you end up doing too much work to be learn/handle more difficult terrain. When you put all of this together it adds up to "go control".

 

I assume by "athletic" you mean natural athletic skill. The key factor in your question is "decent pace". Certainly people with greater natural athletic skill can progress quicker given the same level of effort. But this is not something you can control. You either have it or you don't. I don't have it. I've had a few people accuse me of being an athletic golfer for my level of skill versus my years of experience. But I still have pathetic days for every good day and I have cheated because I've put a huge amount of effort into the sport. It kills me to see people who play 5 days/year and kick my ass. I got over 250 days on the course last summer. That's like 25 dog years? My rate of progress is not at a decent pace. I've had some very kind people tell me I'm good enough to compete. I'm not learning golf at a fast enough pace to get to that level because of age and lack of natural ability. I was able to step my skiing game up after age 40 to get my level 3 certification but I watched a lot of my peers get there faster and with less investment in coaching. So to answer your question, "decent pace" is a matter of personal perspective. If I, as a total klutz, can learn golf after age 40 and get to an advanced level before needing Depends, normal intermediates from ages 35-55 can certainly get to an advanced level (as defined by marznc) with a reasonable amount of effort.

post #64 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

:) I was trying not to be wordy. Please remember you put the quarter in my slot.

 

Intermediates tend to skid to control speed. Their main focus in controlling their skis orientation is to slow down. Advanced skiers use turn shape to control speed more than intermediates do and use edge angle to control skidding more than twisting of the feet, Intermediates tend to skid all the end of their turns. Advanced skiers can manage skidding throughout the whole turn. One of my common mantras to intermediate skiers is that we are trying to go fast across the hill vs down the hill. Once you can do that, a lot of possibilities are  opened up. One of the natural things for intermediates is a "speed limit" caused by the inherent instability of skidding skis. As skis begin to carve more (not necessarily totally), stability increases and the speed limit gets raised. Going faster does not necessarily make you a better skier, but it is an inherent result in letting the skis turn you vs you turning the skis. When you're turning the skis (for speed control) you end up doing too much work to be learn/handle more difficult terrain. When you put all of this together it adds up to "go control".

 

Here's a useful Bob Barnes article regarding this :

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/perfect-turns-by-bob-barnes

post #65 of 92
1) @TheRusty : Can you elaborate on "stop control" vs. "go control"? The first is defensive. The second is offensive.

One of the big inhibitors of advanced skiing is speed control through braking maneuvers rather than through turn completion. Braking is defensive. Linking completed round turns is offensive.
post #66 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Ask and ye shall receive.

 

For my first 23 season of ski teaching I taught mostly 60 and 90 minute lessons. Some of the most satisfying lessons where what I called "lightbulb" moments when intermediate skiers could see and feel the path to more advanced skiing. The joy was infectious. But in that short of a lesson I could only start them on their journey. For most, I never knew if they actually got to the destination eventually. Last year I taught several all day multiple day lessons. I had several guests actually make it from intermediate to advanced over a 5-6 day period. That population was small enough that I hesitate to generalize .

 

 

I didn't "actually" make it from intermediate to advanced over a 5-6 day period. But my breakthrough definitely came as a result of one such multi-day clinic. 

 

There were many small "light bulb moment" during the multi-day clinic. But it took another season of putting those new skills into various terrains that the true breakthrough came. Imperceptibly, "difficult" terrain that used to tax my knees & quads (e.g. small to medium size bumps) or my nerve (steep) became less and less taxing. Until they became "easy" terrain that I casually cruise all day long without much of a thought. 

 

Basically, in about a season and a half, I improved significantly, from an aspiring upper intermediate to a confident "advanced" skier who is comfortable to randomly explore most of the terrain in any mountain (who now no longer aspire to be significantly better ;))

post #67 of 92

I huge breakthrough between Intermediate and Advanced skiing has to do with the turn completion concept Kneale.

 

An Intermediate skier definitely thinks they're completing their turns when they skid, skid, turn, turn until they get the nerve up to start the next turn.  When an instructor says "finish your turn" they think "I am!"

 

The breakthrough comes when you release the edges, start the body moving into the next turn, but continue to turn the skis in the direction of the old turn.  This is completing a turn.

 

Skidding to a near stop is certainly completing a turn in a way, isn't it?

post #68 of 92
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
  • What helps the most to go from intermediate to advanced?  
    In terms of trails skied: Powder!
    In terms of technique: Converting edge control from stop control to go control.

 

On that "stop control" thing vs "go control" .....

 

One of the things that slows progress in skiing skills is trying to brake with every turn.  Linked hockey stops is the perfect example.  That's "stop control."  Brake to the left, then brake to the right.  

 

There's a better, more effective way to keep yourself from reaching terminal velocity at the bottom of a run.  It's turning uphill, or almost uphill, with every turn.  One mental image that I use is to make an Almost-U-Turn (as in a car) with every turn.  This is what's called "completing your turns."

 

On flattish terrain with soft grippable snow, one can do the Almost-U-Turn thing by simply turning the legs and skis to point directly across the hill.  If the skis have enough of an edge angle to grip and go the direction they are pointing, you've got your slow-down covered, and you haven't done any braking.  This low-pitch slow hero-snow technique is the easy version of "go control."  

 

But on steeper terrain, and/or on snow that's icy, doing the Almost-U-Turn thing involves a bit of precision in how the turn is started.  If it's not started well, then there won't be any grip at the end no matter how much edge angle you've got, and the hockey-stop slide will happen.  The skier, despite good intentions, will end up doing the braking thing, with the likelihood of skidding downhill out of control with each turn.  So "go control" on blue/black groomers, or on hard snow, can be a technical challenge (I'm avoiding discussing powder and spring slush here).  A general rule is that if one pivots the skis fast at the start of the turn, or if one keeps the upper body uphill of the skis as they begin the new turn, there's not going to be much grip as the skis point the other direction.  They will probably not head across the slope, no matter how much edge angle you've got.  They'll skid downhill, so no "go control."  Whoops.

 

Some other things need to be in place for that bottom-of-turn go-control to happen when the speed and pitch and iciness increase.  This is where it gets complicated, and fun to teach and to learn.  One quick lesson won't be enough, but the gains from working through this one are worth the work.  Victory is sweet.

post #69 of 92

Continuing on the turn completion concept.   

 

I'm sure most people have heard the term "transition."  The moment, or period of time between one turn and the next turn.

 

As an intermediate you finish the turn and then start the transition.  It's already too late at that point and the new turn starts with a pivot/rotation, usually powered by an upper body movement.  This starts the next turn off poorly.

 

The transition begins before the turn's completion.  You start to release the edges, start the Center of Mass (COM - core, hips, upper body) movements into the new turn before the old turn is over.  It takes a little time.  Patience.

 

Not sure I explained this well though, maybe someone else can better.

post #70 of 92

Well, these things are often a matter of mind games. For example, we may technically not start a phase before another etc, rather than putting our mind to it a bit before the actual execution. Mind-to-body time offset is an issue and sometimes is only addressed by actually telling the student to start something earlier, only in hope of him/her eventually doing it when he/she actually should.

post #71 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

 

You've already got a good start on understanding the common roadblocks to advancement. Two more I'll add are out of tune gear and lack of an ability to "read" terrain and snow conditions. Intermediates who want to move up need to get personally involved in taking care of their edges and most need to wax their skis more often. Advanced skiers accurately visualize their line of travel (vs just go there for intermediates) and anticipate subtle terrain variations that knock intermediate skiers off balance.

 

 

I absolutely concur with Rusty's point about being able to read terrain. It's an often overlooked aspect of advanced and expert skiing. I think the reason it is overlooked is because in order to become an advanced or even expert skier, the ability to read terrain subtleties has to be so ingrained that you don't think about it. So when an expert skier is trying to convey key points to an up and coming skier, terrain reading is something we almost skip over, because it's not something we need to think about, its something we just kind of.... do. The thing is, the key to terrain reading isn't just the macro vision of large bumps and things like that, but the micro vision of what the different surfaces of each bump are like and what they are going to do to your skis. 

 

The best example I can think of is when I was skiing with my wife, who is a novice, after she took a snowboarding lesson. As she tried to get up, she would struggle because her board wouldn't be across the fall line, so it would start to slide sideways any time she tried to get up. I pointed this out and she said, "Up the hill is that way. Down the hill is that way. My board is perpendicular to that." I pointed out that we were on a bit of a side slope where she was sitting (just a couple degrees), so the fall line was actually diagonal to the axis of the trail (the misnomered "double" fall line). She lined the board up like I said, and stood up. She went about 10 feet, and sat down again. Lined the board up the same way, but started sliding again. Frustration started to set in, and I pointed out that the pitch was subtly different here, so the fall line had changed, and she needed to put her board at a different angle. Exasperated, she asked "How do you see all this?" I shrugged and said "years of practice." Just to note, I purposely stay out of "instructor mode" when I'm on the hill with my wife. Had I been instructing her, I would have given a much better explanation. 

 

Learn to see the mountain. Both the large trends, like the overall pitch of the trail, the direction of the trail, those kinds of things... as well as the much smaller variations in the snow from spot to spot. 

post #72 of 92
Ironically terrain based teaching features do this even down at the first experience level. Sadly we often get away from tactical decision making activities and only focus on technique and turn production. Where we turn is often just as important as how we turn. As an instructor returning to line and terrain choices a few times a day helps ingrain the idea that choosing where to ski is an ongoing thing. Or should I say choosing what part of each run to ski rather than simply choosing a run is an ongoing thing.
post #73 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

I absolutely concur with Rusty's point about being able to read terrain. It's an often overlooked aspect of advanced and expert skiing. I think the reason it is overlooked is because in order to become an advanced or even expert skier, the ability to read terrain subtleties has to be so ingrained that you don't think about it. So when an expert skier is trying to convey key points to an up and coming skier, terrain reading is something we almost skip over, because it's not something we need to think about, its something we just kind of.... do. The thing is, the key to terrain reading isn't just the macro vision of large bumps and things like that, but the micro vision of what the different surfaces of each bump are like and what they are going to do to your skis. 

 

The best example I can think of is when I was skiing with my wife, who is a novice, after she took a snowboarding lesson. As she tried to get up, she would struggle because her board wouldn't be across the fall line, so it would start to slide sideways any time she tried to get up. I pointed this out and she said, "Up the hill is that way. Down the hill is that way. My board is perpendicular to that." I pointed out that we were on a bit of a side slope where she was sitting (just a couple degrees), so the fall line was actually diagonal to the axis of the trail (the misnomered "double" fall line). She lined the board up like I said, and stood up. She went about 10 feet, and sat down again. Lined the board up the same way, but started sliding again. Frustration started to set in, and I pointed out that the pitch was subtly different here, so the fall line had changed, and she needed to put her board at a different angle. Exasperated, she asked "How do you see all this?" I shrugged and said "years of practice." Just to note, I purposely stay out of "instructor mode" when I'm on the hill with my wife. Had I been instructing her, I would have given a much better explanation. 

 

Learn to see the mountain. Both the large trends, like the overall pitch of the trail, the direction of the trail, those kinds of things... as well as the much smaller variations in the snow from spot to spot. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Ironically terrain based teaching features do this even down at the first experience level. Sadly we often get away from tactical decision making activities and only focus on technique and turn production. Where we turn is often just as important as how we turn. As an instructor returning to line and terrain choices a few times a day helps ingrain the idea that choosing where to ski is an ongoing thing. Or should I say choosing what part of each run to ski rather than simply choosing a run is an ongoing thing.


I like these ideas!      I actually teach in a SS that has terrain based learning and I love it.   The idea that folks try to put on skis  on a slope without lining them up perpendicular to the fall line shows how little these newer skiers understand the terrain and how it can help or hinder their travel down the mountain.   Often when I have  students who encounter an area on the slope which may be steeper than the rest of the slope I demonstrate how to flatten the slope by skiing tactically.  Learning moguls is another area where using the   shape of the mogul to turn can  make things easier or harder.  Prejumping a rise in the slope or adjusting your stance at transitions from flat to steep are all  was in which we apply tactics to negotiating the slope.  Racing in ruts we make decisions to step in and ride the rut or maybe ski a high line staying above the rut.   This discussion will make me more aware of how I coach the tactical side of skiing.  I think JASP is right in that  we often focus on the how to the exclusion of the where.   YM

post #74 of 92
Thread Starter 

The ideas from instructors about the importance of tactics when it comes to skiing harder terrain that make intermediates nervous reminds me of a different type of "tactics" that I learned from more than one instructor.  I'm thinking about how to make use of easier terrain to practice specific skills.  Pretty important for people who ski mostly on groomed trails in the flatlands and only get one or two trips to big mountains per season.

 

At Snowbasin, my experience included using the features built at the base to help beginners.  I was taking a semi-private lesson with a couple of friends (Levels 7/8 of 9).  None of us had skied on one leg much before.  One friend have never tried it.  By the end of the 2-hour lesson, the instructor had us all going over the humps on one ski.  Also demonstrated during the lesson how to use the sides of a groomers like the sides of a half-pipe.

 

My home mountain, Massanutten, is tiny.  All groomed trails except one short section that ends up large bumps when there is enough snow.  Good for 10-15 turns in the bumps.  Working with my coach, not only did I learn skills relevant to skiing bumps in general, I learned how to use the terrain available at Mnut to practice.  Have gotten tips about how to use terrain for practice from the other Level 3+ instructors at Mnut in recent years.  Before working with instructors as an older intermediate (>50), I enjoyed skiing the groomers, avoided the bump run, and was not aware of how much I could learn at Mnut that would help skiing ungroomed terrain at Alta.

post #75 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
I imagine there are adult intermediates over 35 who wonder what it takes to become an advanced skier.  I can relate best to adults who are hoping to improve their skiing after age 35, or 45, or even 55.  That's because my transition came after 55, and at 60 I don’t think I’m done improving.  But I’ll save my thoughts on what made a significant difference until later.
 
Interested in collecting tips related to improving ski technique from instructors who have taught older intermediates, or from intermediates who became advanced skiers at an older age.  
 
  • What helps the most to go from intermediate to advanced?  
  • What difference does the region someone skis in make?  
  • Does it matter how often an older intermediate can get on the slopes?
  • Other advice?
 
Also looking for questions from older intermediates who aspire to improve in the near future in order to enjoy skiing even more for decades to come.
 
For the purposes of this discussion, by “advanced” I mean a skier who is comfortable not only on any groomer at any mountain at speed, but also enjoys more complex terrain such as bumps, trees, powder, or steeps.  Put another way, an advanced skier is happy in 6+ inches of fresh snow, as opposed to nervous.  Advanced skiers are usually happier if they can ski more than half the time off groomers, aka off-piste, assuming such terrain exists with decent snow.
 
Not that it matters, but I am not an instructor.
 
Note: Let’s keep the discussion friendly and helpful to those intermediates who may be unfamiliar with ski technique terminology.  There are many more lurkers than people who post questions.

 

What helps an intermediate, any age, move from intermediate to advanced as defined above?  

The answer varies, of course.  But I'm going to stick my neck out and offer a general answer.

 

Getting the upper body downhill of the feet between turns is the biggie.  That can be the game changer for a skier.  

There are numerous dysfunctional habits and states of mind that can block this from happening.  Often these things need to be gotten out of the way first.

These "habits and states of mind" do not necessarily need to be dealt with in any particular order so no generalizations there....  

 

Once the skier is able to get that body downhill of the feet between turns, there will be a top of the turn to mess around with.

That top-of-turn is important.  It's the very short window of opportunity for getting the skis engaged before the pressure mounts.

That early engagement enables the skier to maintain grip at the bottom of the turn.  

 

Once the skier can maintain grip through the entire turn, the opportunity to shape the turn different ways opens up.  So much more can be done.

post #76 of 92

Excellent post LF.  The only thing I'll add an alternative approach to is the concept of "early engagement."

 

Bob Barnes coaches not to strive for that.

 

The top of the turn as you say is key.  Once a skier learns how to shape the top of the turn, to add roundness to it, to not rush the skis into the new turn.  Once they get that feeling of completed turn shape with new edges engagement everything changes.

 

It's just the timing of when the new edges engage and how quickly the pressure on the downhill ski builds up.  Barnes says not to get too much too early, to be patient and build it so there is still some extension available to shape the end of the turn.

post #77 of 92

@LiquidFeet: "Getting the upper body downhill of the feet between turns is the biggie." 

​Do you mean: isolate the upper and lower body?  Upper body remains static,  "rotate" with your lower part (from hip) when turning?  

(I am a visual learner, trying to visualize what you trying to say here...)

post #78 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post

@LiquidFeet
: "Getting the upper body downhill of the feet between turns is the biggie." 
​Do you mean: isolate the upper and lower body?  Upper body remains static,  "rotate" with your lower part (from hip) when turning?  
(I am a visual learner, trying to visualize what you trying to say here...)

I think what he's referring to is the importance of keeping your weight down the hill. If your leaning back into the hill then turning is going to be very difficult and you're more likely to turn into the hill and crash instead of keep going.

But your correct, in that your upper body is ideally going to want to be static while you turn the leg from the hips.
post #79 of 92
Thank you everyone for your input, it's been good reading all of it. I can relate to this, 39 years old and have skied on and off for 30+ years, but I wouldn't consider myself advanced, at least not in some areas, like powder (not done much), and moguls have always been challenging (poor technique). I'm really looking forward to this coming season, and I'm trying to figure out some angles to improve my game. I won't be able to do a huge amount of days, but will have the season pass for Mammoth and Big Bear in SoCal.

I've found that skiing with someone that's better than yourself really helps, you can always ask for some pointers and they'll push you. It has to of course be reasonable, but skiing when it's challenging is something I look forward to and appreciate.

The first time I had a chance to strap on some spikes on the boots and hike up a ridge with a sort of falling isn't really an option scenario, was a big step forward, and something totally new to me. It felt like the whole skiing experience was elevated.

I'm seriously considering doing a morning/afternoon lesson just to get some assistance in analyzing my overall technique and maybe try to lose some old habits. I'm not sure how this works, and I'm guessing you just ask around or look on the resort's website?

I believe I could be a more accomplished skier by learning how to ski moguls, since that is an area that I find challenging, and is very reliant on technique.

Core strength. I find myself sometimes hanging on the poles at the bottom after a hard run.

Those are some areas that I'd like to look at to be more of a solid advanced skier.
post #80 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

@LiquidFeet: "Getting the upper body downhill of the feet between turns is the biggie." 

​Do you mean: isolate the upper and lower body?  Upper body remains static,  "rotate" with your lower part (from hip) when turning?  

(I am a visual learner, trying to visualize what you trying to say here...)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingFish View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post

@LiquidFeet
: "Getting the upper body downhill of the feet between turns is the biggie." 
​Do you mean: isolate the upper and lower body?  Upper body remains static,  "rotate" with your lower part (from hip) when turning?  
(I am a visual learner, trying to visualize what you trying to say here...)

I think what he's referring to is the importance of keeping your weight down the hill. If your leaning back into the hill then turning is going to be very difficult and you're more likely to turn into the hill and crash instead of keep going.

But your correct, in that your upper body is ideally going to want to be static while you turn the leg from the hips.

 

 

Actually, Liquidfeet is a she, and I believe she refers to the moment in transition when the feet are uphill of the body.

post #81 of 92
The x moment Barnes talks about. The direction of momentum of the body and the momentum of the feet as their seperate paths converge, cross and then diverge. They are of course connected but the feet scribe a wider and rounder path and this creates the crossing over / under "x moment". If either the feet or the torso lag behind it effects where and when that x moment occurs. Timing is everything...
post #82 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

The x moment Barnes talks about. The momentum of the body and the momentum of the feet as their seperate paths converge, cross and then diverge. They are of course connected but the feet scribe a wider and rounder path and this creates the crossing over / under "x moment". If either the feet or the torao lag behind it effects where and when that x moment occurs. Timing is everything...


Here's Bob's video covering the x move:

 

 

 

Feet (base of support) in red — center of mass (the body, roughly) in blue

post #83 of 92
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swedeskier View Post

Thank you everyone for your input, it's been good reading all of it. I can relate to this, 39 years old and have skied on and off for 30+ years, but I wouldn't consider myself advanced, at least not in some areas, like powder (not done much), and moguls have always been challenging (poor technique). I'm really looking forward to this coming season, and I'm trying to figure out some angles to improve my game. I won't be able to do a huge amount of days, but will have the season pass for Mammoth and Big Bear in SoCal.

I've found that skiing with someone that's better than yourself really helps, you can always ask for some pointers and they'll push you. It has to of course be reasonable, but skiing when it's challenging is something I look forward to and appreciate.

The first time I had a chance to strap on some spikes on the boots and hike up a ridge with a sort of falling isn't really an option scenario, was a big step forward, and something totally new to me. It felt like the whole skiing experience was elevated.

I'm seriously considering doing a morning/afternoon lesson just to get some assistance in analyzing my overall technique and maybe try to lose some old habits. I'm not sure how this works, and I'm guessing you just ask around or look on the resort's website?

I believe I could be a more accomplished skier by learning how to ski moguls, since that is an area that I find challenging, and is very reliant on technique.

Core strength. I find myself sometimes hanging on the poles at the bottom after a hard run.

Those are some areas that I'd like to look at to be more of a solid advanced skier.


Sounds like you are figuring it out.  For me, finding a ski buddy who was both a much better skier and patient enough to be willing to go at my pace on steeper ungroomed terrain made a huge difference for my trips out west.  There were times when I would ask him to wait so that I had a personal sweeper.  Then I was more willing to ski offensively and string together 8-10 turns instead of just 3-4 turns before stopping.

 

I started learning to ski bumps in order to ski trees.  Mostly because my ski buddies liked trees.  So I learned that there is powder in the trees a few days after a storm.  Once I got good enough, I have more fun in powder, and found that I also like trees and bumps.  Ironically, I also have more fun on groomers in the Mid-Atlantic because I know how to practice to prepare from trip out west.

 

As for lessons, I started with a private lesson at Bridger.  Mostly because it's a lot cheaper than Big Sky.  I got a recommendation for Level 3 instructors from an EpicSki instructor.  Ask around in the Mammoth or Big Bear threads for instructor suggestions.  Note that lessons at Big Bear could be a better deal once you hook up with an good instructor.

post #84 of 92

Rather than get too bogged down in the math, imagine the feet swinging like a pendulum and the torso swinging like a metronome. Obviously if both are doing that simultaneously the whole model gets pretty complex fairly quickly. But that is exactly what we do on skis and through the genius of our inner expert we coordinate these movements very easily. With practice we can refine them and raise our game to match our inner expert's game. Moving us from intermediate thinkers and skiers to advanced thinkers and skiers. A line we use all time is that we are in the process of learning to think and act like an expert. When we slow down that process with negative and self limiting thoughts and emotions we need to recognize that and act to counter act those performance robbing things...

post #85 of 92

Rollerblades made the single biggest impact and positive change in my skiing.  I was 48 at the time.

 

Had a little (beginner slope angle) hill on a side street next to my house.  I spent the entire summer skating uphill - adding strength, wind, muscle and balance under stress (!) - and running slalom turns rolling downhill.  Each run was fifty, sixty yards long.  I skated in sweatpants three or four times a week for thirty to forty minutes.  Was very easy on the knees and hips, especially compared to running.  Used elbow and knee pads and gloves.  Used my ski poles with plastic cups covering the tips.  Read Lito's "Breakthrough" book and went through all his recommended "feels" and drills, every session.   

 

Learned 75% of balance, stance, upper and lower body separation, independent and dynamic foot action needed for skiing in one summer.  Learned to move my feet independently of torso to make turns.  Short runs and lots of reps. Got stronger.  And it was cheap!!  No lift tickets, no weather problems, no bad snow, didn't wear out any on-slope gear.  It was a lot of fun, too, because my son would skateboard or roller blade with me.   Great times. 

 

I was a completely different skier that winter.  Exponential ROI on both rollerblades and exercise time.  Best personal improvement in a sport I've ever experienced. 

 

Try it. 

post #86 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by doski View Post
 

Rollerblades made the single biggest impact and positive change in my skiing.  I was 48 at the time.

 

Had a little (beginner slope angle) hill on a side street next to my house.  I spent the entire summer skating uphill - adding strength, wind, muscle and balance under stress (!) - and running slalom turns rolling downhill.  Each run was fifty, sixty yards long.  I skated in sweatpants three or four times a week for thirty to forty minutes.  Was very easy on the knees and hips, especially compared to running.  Used elbow and knee pads and gloves.  Used my ski poles with plastic cups covering the tips.  Read Lito's "Breakthrough" book and went through all his recommended "feels" and drills, every session.   

 

Learned 75% of balance, stance, upper and lower body separation, independent and dynamic foot action needed for skiing in one summer.  Learned to move my feet independently of torso to make turns.  Short runs and lots of reps. Got stronger.  And it was cheap!!  No lift tickets, no weather problems, no bad snow, didn't wear out any on-slope gear.  It was a lot of fun, too, because my son would skateboard or roller blade with me.   Great times. 

 

I was a completely different skier that winter.  Exponential ROI on both rollerblades and exercise time.  Best personal improvement in a sport I've ever experienced. 

 

Try it. 

 

Welcome to EpicSki @doski ... thanks for the tips!

post #87 of 92

Would add to SMJ's concept of learning the "top of the turn" - standing and balancing on the outside (uphill) edge of the outside (uphill) ski - before the next turn starts - is a mini breakthrough that can really open up a skier to new possibilities of control and fun.  The feeling of moving, almost in a skating stride, to the uphill, littletoe edge and then rolling it slowly over to the inside, big toe edge, to start the next turn brings loads of confidence.

post #88 of 92

1--appropriate equipment.  Boots that are good enough and well fitted.  "Comfy" boots probably don't fit well and are sloppy after a couple of days skiing.  Boots that fit well are like an exoskeleton...support and you forget you have them on.  Big box store boots probably don't fit well and wouldn't ski well even if they did fit.  Skis suitable for the snow and the skier.  Wide rocker skis are no one's first choice for hardpack, and certainly not the best for any groomers.  Soft beginner skis don't have the backbone for anyone to improve very far.  Fairly narrow skis are again being marketed--everyone has a closet full of fat skis--and still the best for snow you ski on vs. snow you ski in.

 

2--good stance.  Feet walking width apart just like our bodies have been balancing us since we were a year old.  The poster who fell over when trying one ski may have had the habit of too wide a stance.  Hands out & up in a natural balancing position just like your body would put them there when walking across the slickest ice.  Comfortably balanced on the balls of the feet just like almost every other athletic activity.

 

3--reasonable level of fitness.  While strength and flexibility decline with age, being moderately fit for your age is a big help.  Learn retraction (absorption) turns.  Use them for every turn; handle the forces of the turn with more angulation, not deeper bent knees.  Extension turns stress weak quads and arthritic old knees.  Avoid extension turns except when necessary to jump over some little kid that just went splat! in front of you.

 

4--lack of deeply ingrained bad habits.  Rotation where the shoulders are twisted to turn.  Wide stance and linked slideslips as turns (which I refused to learn in an instructors clinic years ago).  Backseat skiing.  Huge arm swings.  Either a friend with a video camera or a good instructor can be a help to neutralize these.  It takes practice to neutralize these bad habits before new good habits can take hold.  Holding both poles across the body, palms up, one hand on the shafts next to the grips, the other hand on the shafts next to the baskets is one drill to neutralize some bad habits.

 

5--understanding of what good ski movements are.  A few can learn from books or videos.  A good instructor is a huge help.  A poor instructor is worse than just a waste of money.  (I've been with older Level 3 instructors who are teaching what they were taught years ago--time and technique march on, these guys are stuck in the past.  We might need periodic recertification.)  I like what doski says.

 

6--practice, practice, practice.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  Practice on slopes where one can be successful.  Don't try to learn mogul skiing on steep, big, icy moguls.  Find some small friendly moguls where you can get them done right, then find some a bit less friendly and get those done right.  Don't try to learn powder skiing on a steep treed slope.  Find a very moderate slope that isn't scary.


Edited by SoftSnowGuy - 10/3/16 at 3:13pm
post #89 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666 View Post

OK. Let consider an intermediate at 45. We can discuss all day on all the relatively obvious things that one who has commitment is going to do to the best ability they can afford: Lessons $, coaching $, ski program $, club racing $, mentor (beer), fitness/trainor/diet $$ (time/focus), equipment acquisition/maintenance/boot fitting $$$, Some basic education of ski based anatomy, movement, bio-mechanics, equipment engineering/ski maintenance and physics (just not to the backlashing degree of impairment that of which some go into here). Travel/gas $$$

Other less tangible aspects of commitment: Negotiations with significant other. Lying to significant other. Winning negotiations with significant other. Not having a GF who will put up with it (or a dog). Hours upon hours of back stiffening driving before and after long, cold, icy, bone crunching days. Again, no one to rub your back (or lick your face) upon arrival home. Negotiations with your employer. Lying to your employer. Winning those negotiations. A highway/road worthy car or a driver named James. Risk of injury. Fear of injury. Injury. Sore muscles. Driving with sore muscles. Skiing on sore muscles. Not having sex with your ex GF who has absolutely no understanding about life and skiing on sore muscles.  The most important resources and, for some, the most difficult, one could ever obtain and maintain is motivation and attitude. 

There are a lot of costs to skiing. Living, eating and breathing the blood, sweat and tears? ... priceless.  
Skiing doesnt ave to be expensive. I set myself up for around 1500. Thats tarting with nothing and includes 2 season passes.
post #90 of 92
I think the biggest obstacle that holds intermediate skiers up is not allowing the body to lean down the fall line at the end of the turn to transition to the new turn. That was my ah-ha moment. Once I was comfortable with that everything kind of fell in place.
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