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Where did the magic go?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Last week I got some great advice about lateral weight transfer from Ric B that led to a real breakthrough for me. This week, while I skied better another old problem reared its head, though I couldn't explain it until today. I felt like I was fighting the arc of the ski all day and not getting a clean carve, especially at speed. I'm pretty sure now the problem stems from not having my weight forward enough. While I don't think I would describe myself as in the back seat all day, I certainly had a flat-footed feel.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is a good tip or check point or drill to ensure I have good stance and my weight properly forward. I'm baffled how last week I enjoyed that sweet feeling of being able to bend the ski as I wanted and riding the carve without even thinking about keeping my weight forward and this week it was such a struggle.

I should add that I've only been skiing for a few years so I'm not fighting a lifetime of bad habits and I realize that there'll be bumps on the road to becoming a good skier.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 17
Youngsman, every day isn't our best. Work back through your skiing. Start where you felt you were before and reintroduce the movements previously discussed. It takes time to bring new movements to the level of unconcious patterns or muscle memeory. When you start out a new day of skiing, go slow and revisit what you have been exploring to reestablish the patterns that felt so positive before.

One focus to help keep us forward is to be mindfull of feeling the tongue of both boots pressing against the shin throughout the turn.

The other aspect of positive hip movement is that the pelvis needs to swing around the stance leg (some counter). The inside hip needs to come forward as the turn progresses to keep the inside half strong. this will keep your balance point over the sweet spot of the outside ski.

Also try to get outside leg as long as possible in the middle of the turn. Lengthening the leg gets us more skeletal which requires less work, but it also allows us to get the hips lower to the snow which gives higher edge angles which results in different turn shapes. Let us know how it goes.

Seems like a lot to do but it really only requiers that we periodicly pay attention as we ski when we are trying to change our movement patterns. Don't try them all at once. Try them one at a time to isolate and feel the effect. Later, RicB.

P. S. Always keep it fun. Don't try too hard.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngsman
So, I guess what I'm looking for is a good tip or check point or drill to ensure I have good stance and my weight properly forward. .
Make sure that your shin is staying in contact with the front cuff of your boot. This is something that you can feel so you'll know right away and can correct.
post #4 of 17
Hey Youngster,

Not sure if this at all applies, but sometimes a change of snow conditions will have a dramatic effect on the quality of feel of a newly acquired skill. New skills are not yet refined skills, completely internalized skills, or skills that as yet readily transfer from feel good snow conditions to less friendly conditions.

A change of snow in the early stages of the development of a new skill can quickly make what felt accomplished suddenly feel quite shabby. Just part of the learning curve, nothing to sweat.

Look at it as an opportunity; challenging snow pulls out shortcomings that are hidden in hero snow and provide for the realization of new focus areas for future refinement.

And,,,,,, ditto on RicB's advice on fore/aft and pelvis movement. Very good advice.

FASTMAN
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngsman
So, I guess what I'm looking for is a good tip or check point or drill to ensure I have good stance and my weight properly forward. I'm baffled how last week I enjoyed that sweet feeling of being able to bend the ski as I wanted and riding the carve without even thinking about keeping my weight forward and this week it was such a struggle.
Leave your poles in the car. It amazes me how much psychological aid they provide. When you drop them, it will be much more apparent when you aren't in your athletic stance on the center of the ski, initiating turns by driving forward. I do this drill myself a couple times every year.

Also, if there was a drastic change in how well you could work the stuff from one week to the next, you should carefully inspect your equipment. The baffling and frustrating feeling you are having is a frequent symptom of a bent ski. Beginners rarely bend skis (or have skis that can be bent accidentally) so its unlikely, but possible. Also, make sure your edges are polished and free of burrs. Sharpness isn't critical, but it sure is nice.
-Garrett
post #6 of 17

Move the weight forward at turn initiation

Youngsman,

One key not yet covered here is the need to move weight forward AND in the direction of the turn at turn initiation. I spent all of last week working on this issue. The no pole drill mentioned by skiingman was an eye opener for me. I found it to be real annoying (especially in the bumps) at first. Strangely enough, the less annoying it got, the better I skied. It helps to use a little more counter when doing this drill. A funny thing about this drill is that being on snow blades without poles does not have the same effect.

Another easy drill was skiing with all your weight on one foot WITHOUT lifting your other foot off the snow. A hard drill we did was a skating progression where we started skating in a traverse and worked our way to skating in between turns and then to normal turns. However, this drill is not for balance challenged individuals and requires feedback from a skilled observer-nazi to make sure it's done properly.

Be careful about trying to just move your weight forward all the time. I went through a phase where I was so successful at this I had my ankles closed so much that I had no room to go farther forward when I needed to.

You should also check your top boot buckles and your strap. You want a tight fit up top so that a buddy can't stick a finger down the front of your boot when you are standing. This way you get all of the leverage possible from ankle movements and no delays between movement and results.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I’ve worked with the suggestions made in the early replies and its getting better. I think skiingman and therusty have hit on the next issue to address, which is initiating my turns by driving forward AND in the direction of the turn. As skiingman suggested, I’m going to leave my poles in the car though I’ll really really miss them. I’m hoping this will lead to a cleaner carve and easier initiation. I know I’m covering up a problem because I can’t smoothly initiate my turns until I pick up a little speed.

Can you talk about the first movement to initiate a turn? Is it the hips, the knees, the uphill little toe or is it better to not focus on any one initial movement?

Thanks again for all the help.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Can you talk about the first movement to initiate a turn?
Relax your outside leg.
post #9 of 17
Youngsman,

Just a little exercise to check where you are balanced on your skis while moving.

Throughout the arc of the turn, lift the inside ski just a little bit off the snow. If the tip naturally stays on the snow and the tail easily comes up, your fare-aft balance is about right. However, if the tip wants to come up and the tail is hard to lift, then you are too far back.

You should be able to try this at every point throughout the turn.

Note that you should not normally be lifting a ski. This just an exercise. Normally you should have some pressure on that inside foot.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
... If the tip naturally stays on the snow and the tail easily comes up, your fare-aft balance is about right. However, if the tip wants to come up and the tail is hard to lift, then you are too far back.
Thanks. Which ski are you refferring to?
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngsman
Thanks. Which ski are you refferring to?
The one you are lifting.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
The one you are lifting.
What Coach said.

You should be lifting the ski that is on the inside of the turn (left ski during a left turn, right ski during a right turn).

You should be able to start lifting (tapping works well if you are not able to balance on the one ski for very long) the inside ski as soon as you start the turn. This is actually one of the more critical points of the turn. So, just as you begin a left turn, and your left ski is still the downhill ski, you should be balanced well enough that when you lift it or tap it, the tail easily comes up.

It helps to start by trying this while doing longer, slower turns on comfortable (easy) terrain. Then work up to a bit more speed on the easy terrain, then to a slower speed on steeper terrain. Take notice of how you are balanced on the bottom of your foot (where the pressure is), as well as where your shin is pressuring the tongue of the boot. As you go to steeper terrain and faster speeds, try to maintain those same feelings.
post #13 of 17
Youngsman,

You asked about the "first movement". There are those that argue to work from the feet up. Terry Barbour talks about all of the body parts moving in harmony. Although I agree with Terry that ideally, the whole body moves in unison to start the new turn, I personally only learn through the brute force method. That is, I need to think about moving one body part and only one body part to get it to work, before I can start working on getting other body parts to move. I can't teach multiple body parts to do new moves at the same time. When I'm all done playing with moving all the parts individually, then I can work on putting the moves together into harmony. For me, this has been a painfull slow process. Your mileage may vary. (BTW - if you've heard my rendition of "Reindeer in the night" you'd know how painful my "harmony" is).

That said I don't particularly care where one starts. You can work with rolling the feet/ankles, tipping the knees, moving the hips or (gasp - blasphemy) moving the upper body into the new turn. As long as the end result (after all the practice and experiential learning) is moving the whole body into the new turn simultaneously. Having a coach to guide you through this process is very helpful because it's very easy to pick up bad habits and there are a million tricks available to help accelerate the learning process. When I teach my students I either seek to build upon their strong moves (to "pull" other movements) or attack their weakest moves (to "push" new movements) depending on gut instinct.

One of the moves that is (cough) counter intuitive is to get the inside hip leading the outside hip when initiating the hip move across the skis. Another "move" that should be natural but is not, is to keep the uphill/downhill should relationship matching the pitch of the trail.
post #14 of 17
Of course, the other thought here (that Eski teaches) is that the "first move" isn't at turn initiation, really. His and Rob's focus is on fall line to fall line, working to make the transition smooth and clean. If you work on your turns this way, you are likely to develop a clean flow down the mountain and move away from thinking of your turns as descrete sequences of "initiation-shaping-finish [transition]".
post #15 of 17
youngsman,
Don't feel rushed to jump off into the most challenging terrain at once.....
Starting off a day by reinforcing those successful movements on beginner-like trails, then take on the tougher trails/pitches when you're in-sync....:
Bob B's "Skiing the easy-line Fast..." sort of thinking...
post #16 of 17

yes - great point

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Of course, the other thought here (that Eski teaches) is that the "first move" isn't at turn initiation, really. His and Rob's focus is on fall line to fall line, working to make the transition smooth and clean. If you work on your turns this way, you are likely to develop a clean flow down the mountain and move away from thinking of your turns as descrete sequences of "initiation-shaping-finish [transition]".
The relax the outside leg Nolo said happens just after the fall line so that by the time you approach transition, your body is already down the hill from the skis ready for the next turn. If you do this "at turn transition" it's way way too late.
post #17 of 17
Youngsman, a que for moving forward at the same time as you move lateraly can be to drive your old inside hip towards your old outside ski tip. This forces a move forward onto a long leg centered over the ski and across the ski with hips. This is another way to accomplish the forward boot tongue pressure and then the rolling of the pressure to a lateral position on the cuff.

So as you relax the outside leg as you come to the end of your turn, start a sublte inside leg extention coupled with this move of the inside hip forward and towards the outside ski tip. PLay with this directed hip move standing still on the hill, then on easy terrain, and then in a more dynamic situation. Of course as with all skiing movements, they need to be fluid and progressive. If you want to move more lateraly then direct the hip inside of the ski tip, but don't neglect the strong inside half by the inside hip lifting up and forward throughout the turn. Have fun. Later, RicB.
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