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Help with "Weightlessness"?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am a sh*tty skier, but I love it.

I have a question that will help on both fronts (skill & enjoyment). I can turn great if I am going fast and I go over a "rise" (I don't know what the word is for it, but sometimes the trail raises up in spots, much larger than moguls, more like a hard beach dune) and execute my turn just as I pass over the apex. There is almost a feeling of weightlessness in this technique which facilitates a limitless variety of turn shapes.

Now for the question: How do I "artificially create" that feeling of weightlessness when I don't have the luxury of favorable trail formations? Oh, and incidentally, the technique I just outlined is hazardous the first time down the trail, because sometimes I pass over the aforementioned "rise" ... only to find out that there is (uhhh) nothing on the other side.
post #2 of 6

Congratulations! You have discovered what is called "terrain unweighting" in ski technique jargon, and you are entering the world of pressure control. And it`s great fun! You can reproduce this without a bump or roller simply by extending your legs fairly quickly as you begin a turn. Not too quickly, just enough to feel that unweighted feeling that you are enjoying.Think "extend legs/turn feet." Or try small "jump " turns. From a flexed position at the end of a turn "push" your feet into the snow-you will take a bit of air and then pivot the feet while airborne. Remember to keep the upper body stable when extending the legs-shoulders stay forward-it`s the LEGS that extend, not the whole body.
And a tip for the future. Unweighting the skis definitely makes starting the turning process easier, but as you become more skilled, you will find that it is not necessary-fun maybe, but you wiil use less of it when you are into higher speed carving. In other words, unweighting is one of many options available to you. So have fun, and play with this.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by cdnguy
Remember to keep the upper body stable when extending the legs-shoulders stay forward-it`s the LEGS that extend, not the whole body.

Thanks for pointing out this nuance ... otherwise you'd know who I was on the mountain ... I'd be the guy alternatively jumping from side to side as if my toe warmers had burst into flames!
post #4 of 6
cdnguy makes good points about pressure management and that you have other options.

Before I knew better (became an instructor which is the best way to finally learn to ski right) I used to think unweighting was necessary to start a turn.

Now thinking back on how I used to ski, it's clear that when I had to unweight to start a turn, it was because I was out of balance.

If your fore-aft balance is off in that you are back on your skis and/or your lateral balance is off in that your center of mass is not moving into the direction of the new turn, it is likely that you'll try to "pop" your skis to get on the new edges. They won't release smoothly.

Why not take a lesson and have the instructor work on your balance and motion over your skis. You may find that you don't need the bump to start your turn.

Good luck and think snow,



When I was 15, I was a pretty good bump skier but when I got on flat, all I did was go straight fast. Sound familiar?
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks to both of you. I am planning on taking several private lessons this year. This was the first time that spring arrived in New England and rather than think: Summer's around the corner, I thought, Damn, winder is around three corners!
post #6 of 6
What you need to do now is make the terrain bump happen on different parts of the turn. Try starting your new turn after you go over the bump. Make your turn so that the bump is right in the middle of it. Start your turn just before you get to the bump. Then try to do all of those without feeling any weightlessness. Then try to get as much air as possible in all those situations (without crashing!). The point is to try to do things the unnatural way sometimes, it gives you more confidence when you get off the groomers, especially in bumps.
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