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New to shaped Skis! Some advice please!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been skiing since I was six. I consider myself to be an advanced/expert skier.

i have just purchased my first set of shaped ski's. What do I need to change in terms of technique to ski these?
post #2 of 14
I'm sure you're going hear from others as well. Take a refresher lesson.
post #3 of 14
If you're willing to take a lesson, ask the ski school to nominate an instructor who embraces the notion that the new equipment allows us to use a new approach to initiating turns.

If not, here are a couple thoughts: You want to turn the tips of the skis, not the tails. You want to start a right turn with the right ski. You want to go right on your right edges and left on your left edges.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
That is basically what I learned from race instructors when I raced. Tips to turn and use both edges.

Here is what some people have told me:

1. Keep your body centered on the ski. not as forward as I am used to.
2. Tip the skis, both of them, on edge and follow the ski thru the turn.
3. Relax on your input. No need to muscle the skis.

I may take a lesson. But, my pride may not let me at first, it took me this long to get to even buying shaped skis, so I will try and take a few runs first and see if I can handle it on my own. Not that i am against lessons, I have taken many. More for racing than anything else. My only hope is not to catch edges all over the place. I really don't know what to expect.

By the way, are we still detuning the tips and tails?
post #5 of 14
If you're already rolling onto edges to initiate turns, you'll probably get along OK with your shapes. I wouldn't detune initially. Try 'em, but carry a pocket stone. There ARE folks out there skiing shapes just like they skied straights. They're just not letting the equipment do its job for them.
post #6 of 14
Shaped skis make it easier to carve turns.
Looking at your skis from the back in cross section: _ _ goes straight; tip your skis like so / / to turn left, and like so \\ to turn right. Because of the side cut, the side of the ski will trace an arc on the snow The radius of that arc will be smaller if you tilt your skis more.

You don't need to unweight your skis to start a carved turn.
Try to cut smooth grooves in the snow with the edges of your skis.
Try to lay down railroad tracks with both skis.

Try a little input and see where it gets you befor you really crank them.

Hope this helps.
post #7 of 14
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
You want to go right on your right edges and left on your left edges.
Yeah we needed shaped skis to figure this out...sheesh

If you're an advanced expert skier then you will have no problem
post #8 of 14

When we were first introduced to shapes, the guy said just ski 'em. Boy did they suck. They washed out all over the place. Of course, we were skiing them just like we skied straight skis. When we replaced the rotary (what you were told "don't muscle") with more tipping onto edge and the up unweighting with relaxing the inside leg/moving the CM forward and towards the inside tip, we got the magic. Add in a little wider stance to go with the higher edge angles and you will have caught up to the modern age of skiing. Shaped skis are a little "chatty" compared to straight skis. If you are skiing ineffectively, they will provide more feedback than straight skis will.

There were many experts who did not take lessons and experienced the wash out and the feedback who then became convinced that shaped skis were just a fad. As the market has proven, most skiers have adapted and favored shaped skis with or without help. I'm still encountering students in my lessons who are new to shaped skis. Most have been on them for at least a few runs before they show up for a lesson. For the last couple years, 100% have said that they like the skis up front. But I've also had a 100% success rate in giving them tips that make them like the new skis even more. If you can get your skis to leave pencil thin tracks right off the bat, then skip the lessons. If not, a coach may be able to save you a couple of hours/days of fine tuning effort.
post #9 of 14
Guyski, I took last year to really revamp my skiing (racing background, lots of tipping/carving on pencil skis). The foci that I had last year were:
  1. Move my feet apart a bit. I ride with a hip-width stance, now.
  2. Do not force the turn initiation. Instead, tip the skis from the transition on, using progressive tipping movements instead of any abrupt lifting, turning, or unweighting.
  3. Be patient! Let the skis come around on their own.
  4. Start the turn with the old outside/new inside ski. This means that I tip the old outside ski down the hill first.
Others may ski just the same as on pencil skis. I have found, however, that these changes (and other that are more subtle that I continue to try) make skiing a blast, even on the gentlest terrain! When I crank it up to steeper terrain, I can ski more terrain for longer periods of time. It is far more energy efficient than any skiing I have ever done in the past.

That said, as long as you're smiling, it doesn't really matter, does it?
post #10 of 14
When I learned to ski shape skis I was fortunate enough to be helping out with a local high school team at the time that had a lot of kids also learning the same thing. The coach had a way of helping the kids make the changeover pretty easily, being there I just followed along with the drills and learned them fairly quickly myself(I also have a racing background like yourself). What I do remember helping me get a feel for them the quickest was when he had everyone do tuck turns down a slower run. I think it was just the way that it forces you to keep everything parallel allowing you to feel the skis turn as they are supposed to. After getting the sensation of how the ski wants to react to forces and pressure, it wasnt very dificult to take it to normal skiing, again on a nice cruiser. From there he was able to pick up on what everyone was missing and help out further. Some of the most common things he pointed out were people having too narrow of a stance, legs not remaining parrallel(A-Framing), Skis not remaining parallel(we no longer want to drive that inside knee like we used to).That will actually cause a scissor effect where your weight will all transfer to the inside ski and the downhill ski will wash. He suggested pulling back the inside knee until the skis were parallel, what a feeling when you reach a point of them being truly parallel, they will all of the sudden come right to life and turn, right now.
Thats about all I can remember off hand for getting started but I think if you go out and just ski them with a couple of these things in mind you will have a blast and pick them up in no time.
post #11 of 14
Guyski, I just went through the same thing last season; held onto my many pairs of cool straight skis for as long as I could, then ultimately faced some serious difficulty enjoying their shaped replacements. As an ex-racer, it was frustrating, to say the least. Also a little dangerous, on steeps and chutes.

But I hung in there, and I'm fine with it now. Although I tend to think that if you're not on the groomers much, the benefits fade away quite a bit. Nevertheless, from your perspective, the following changes will be necessary this season:

1) Much less up-and-down motion;
The new skis seem to appreciate it if you pull them up toward you during the transition from turn to turn, rather than you the skier extending and compressing aggressively during each turn.

Your center-of-mass stays fairly level with the terrain, is another way of putting it. In any case, you'll definitely be much quieter and hardly move vertically compared to what you're used to. "Unweighting" when initiating a turn is far less helpful than it had been, I think you'll find.

2) Two-footed skiing is a must;
I'm sure you've heard about this. If you throw all your weight onto your downhill ski like you're used to, I'm betting you're going to have some crossed tips and sudden out-of-control arcs from your one loaded board to deal with. Hard as it may be to allow yourself to do, you've got to start letting a great deal of your weight come down on your inside ski, to a terrifying extent (it would seem, at first)! But then the next thing you'll notice is that it works--it really works! You'll feel naughty, but at least your skis will both turn, consistently and predictably.

I've heard people say to shoot for 70/30, or even 60/40, weight distribution (outside to inside, respectively).

3) Reduced angulation at the waist and/or knee;
You know how a good skier in steep terrain, observed from the side, sort of resembled a comma? Knee and hip angulation was so pronounced during fall-line turns that you kind of curled out over your boots.

Well, stop it. Actually, you can continue to do this, but it will no longer help in any way. Better to eliminate most of your knee angles, and practice substantially less hip angle, and get used to the idea of more-or-less waterskiing around. I think of it like you "surf" these skis, keeping your upper body quite passively aligned with the angle your skis are making. It feels very, very different.

You don't have to actually be orthagonal to your skis, or keep your whole body in a straight line, but at least visualizing it helps to break you out of your old--previously useful--habits...

4) Greatly reduced counter-rotation;
If you've raced a bit, I'm sure you're accustomed to keeping your upper body heading straight down the hill, while at the same time your skis are sometimes turning across the hill. A more exaggerated version of this is steep fall-line skiing, where straight skis are often twisted close to 90-degrees to your upper body during the hard edging portion of the turn. Springing out of this position often "uncorked" the next turn. Great fun was had.

That doesn't work any more.

Or more accurately, it is dangerous with shaped skis. Their edges dig in too effectively and suddenly during steep hop turns, and you'll find yourself thrown by the sheer force of it--breaking at the waist and/or going over the handlebars quite a lot--if you don't align yourself with your skis.

So you end up with your upper body closer to facing the actual direction your skis are going moment-to-moment. You do exactly what you were taught not to do, and turn your shoulders (mostly) with your skis, following them as they turn, rather than always facing them down the hill. It's weird, I know. Sorry.


Those are a few of my thoughts on the matter, for what it's worth.

I'm sure it would be quite helpful to take a lesson, as others have noted. But since many of those others are professional ski instructors, they might be expected to suggest exactly that. If you're short on massive wads of cash, I do think you can successfully D.I.Y.

If you're an ex-racer, you probably have some experience with analyzing your ski-specific movements, and know how and why you do them. If this is the case, I don't see why you can't go out there, having researched what you need to change and why, and proceed to feel things out and make those changes yourself. It'll take a long time, a lot of missteps, and a bunch of unlearning.

But I think you're doing the right thing by asking questions ahead of time. I would suggest also doing a search for some video clips out there on the web of demo team members arcing new-style turns, to help repeatedly visualize and internalize the new movements.

If you do end up working with an instructor, or if you can arrange it on your own, I've always felt the most enlightening technique to be the use of videotape analysis. If that's an option, it's wonderfully humbling, and there's nothing like seeing yourself NOT doing the very thing you think you've got dialed in to get you fired up and determined to make the necessary changes.

Good luck; have fun,
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the great tips. Now i just need to get past the anxiety and get out there!

Nobody has mentioned pole plants. Is it the same? It would seem from the above tips that the pole plant is not as important as it used to be.
post #13 of 14
The pole plant has little to do with the actual turn, Guyski, but the reach for the pole touch can assist in beginning to move the center of mass into the turn. You want to hold the pole against your palm with all your fingers and reach toward where your body will go in the turn. The pole touch itself is with a mainly upright pole shaft and occurs with the edge change, which makes it a bit later than traditional plant-accompanies-edgeset approach. There is, of course, no preparatory edgeset unless you're on really steep and narrow terrain.
post #14 of 14
Pride and lessons... I had a chuckle with that remark. I like it because it's so honest. I can imagine you imagining being on a blue slope with a group following the instructor thorugh a snake-like formation.

Hire an L3 or examiner level pro for a half day private (ok I know it's not cheap) but they will give you so much bang for your buck... you'll learn some grat new technique and have a lot of fun skiing with an excellent skier. I have a few names if you're interested!
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