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Little Jumps and Tricks - *Really* Getting Started

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I read the other thread and thought this one may be worth having too (I'm sure I'm not the only one closer to minor hops than debating whether to 360 or 180 !!!!)

So, I'm 36, I've never left the ground (intentionally) whilst skiing :

I've got two weeks in Whistler coming up and one goal is to, err, get some air :

So, what do I do?
post #2 of 18
Quite frankly, even after 27 years of skiing, it takes me a few days on the snow to get my "air sence". Start with little lips work on *4 point take offs and 4 point landings. For the first day or so...just work on that till you get comfortable in the air.

*4 point: skis stright (2 point) and 2 poles planted for launch and landing (the other 2 points).
post #3 of 18
The 360 is a real "Show Stopper" move and a real signature trick that I never learned Skiing two weeks ago with my friend and his two sons age 20 and 22 , I watched the younger son, pull off a neat 360 perfectly landed. His brother's tried next and it turned pretty ugly falling on his chest and shoulder from about 6 feet in the air.

Staring at age 50 and seeing how hard he fell only reinforced I'll croak without having ever done one. I saw a guy on teles jump off the cornice on Ghengis Kahn and throw a 360, I saw him later in the liftline and he looked older than me. I love to see skiers that can throw one in the bumps too.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbt
I read the other thread and thought this one may be worth having too (I'm sure I'm not the only one closer to minor hops than debating whether to 360 or 180 !!!!)

So, I'm 36, I've never left the ground (intentionally) whilst skiing :

I've got two weeks in Whistler coming up and one goal is to, err, get some air :

So, what do I do?
Take a lesson with Roger Systad or Stephen Brooks ....they both work private lessons at Whistler/Blackcomb....

They can manage to get me to jump they can get you off the ground too...
post #5 of 18
Oh & BTW - I started skiing when I was your age....
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Take a lesson with Roger Systad or Stephen Brooks ....they both work private lessons at Whistler/Blackcomb....
OK - having a couple of names is good - ta

I'm already spending a fair bit though - I'm doing the Dave Murray and my wife's got 4 lessons booked so what I wanted to do was get some basic grounding in the techniques, do some groundwork and then get some instruction at the right point.

At this point in my learning I'm expecting jumps to highlight balance issues so I made a balance board a while back (late November) and started practising balance, and recently jumps, on that. I still can't do much more than a couple of inches and still land properly in balance

What I was hoping for is some suggestions as to the kind of terrain to look for, the body positioning on approach, how to launch, timing, landing technique.

How much of the jump height should come from your legs and how much from the terrain? Should I actually start on level ground or is that pointless?

ta
post #7 of 18
I always see skiers, that look pretty good at least, launching off lips and hits and they look fluid.

I always wondered how long it would take me to start doing that.

After buying twin tips and messing around on those, I notice I am launching off of stuff even on my normal carving skis without even thinking twice.

I guess once you feel comfortable in the air you can easily add it into your normal skiing style.

This winter in the East makes it tough to learn jumps with all of the ice and hard landings. I nailed my hip the other week and I wasn't even airborne.
post #8 of 18
If you havn't been in the air before my suggestion would be to find mabey a small jump on the side of the trail, (Preferably not somthing like a double black ) and hit it going whatever speed you are comfortable with that will stilll take you over without stopping probably slower. dont pop just go off of it. then come back to the same place next run, and hit it a little harder. usually the faster you go the higher. but before you hit somthing always check the landing. if it looks bad it probably is bad. it is always harder to land balanced on thinner skis, so bring somthing mid fatish. As you get more confident go faster and then start hopping.
Land on your bindings not to the front or to the back. but preferably tails will hit first unless it is a flat landing then it should ba a on the bindings one
Position : bend the knees but dont absorb the hit pop it a little dont stand straight bend a little bit
you will get it in time (at least thats how i did it)
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbt
OK - having a couple of names is good - ta

I'm already spending a fair bit though - I'm doing the Dave Murray and my wife's got 4 lessons booked so what I wanted to do was get some basic grounding in the techniques, do some groundwork and then get some instruction at the right point.

At this point in my learning I'm expecting jumps to highlight balance issues so I made a balance board a while back (late November) and started practising balance, and recently jumps, on that. I still can't do much more than a couple of inches and still land properly in balance

What I was hoping for is some suggestions as to the kind of terrain to look for, the body positioning on approach, how to launch, timing, landing technique.

How much of the jump height should come from your legs and how much from the terrain? Should I actually start on level ground or is that pointless?

ta
If it was me... I'd
a) have a lesson with 1 of the boys before the Dave Murray - do you get there earlier than the course? ..... I think whistler only does 1/2 day lessons - but you could share one with the wife... just speak to the boys - even if it is by skiing for a while with one of you then swapping over it can be done if you want to do it....

They will get you going really well & give you stuff to work on on your own if you ask for that.... I know I have skied a lot with both...

b) go practice

c) Then do the Dave Murray....

d) Then book another 1/2 day lesson some time after when you have practiced...

Both love to jump & play on skis... both know how to make it easy & safe to start to learn.... both are FUN guys ... both have years of teaching experience... both good with nervy old women (ME!)

I did a ski improvement course at Whistler a few years ago & was searching for one of the guys with only a first name & background- wanted a lesson before the course - found him but the feedback from the private lesson desk supervisor was that I would learn more in 1 lesson from him than 1 week of ski improvement (he did not know I had already skied with him)

They really are very worth while having lessons with....
post #10 of 18
Hi lbt:

I really love air, and have been having a ball in the ether for 30-odd seasons now. Air sense has always been, luckily, very intuitive for me.

I have a few tips that work for me. I think they differ a bit from what was presented before:

1) Don't start on a jump with a steep kicker;
Anything that ramps up near 45-deg. is too steep and will throw you wildly off balance (when first learning). Seriously, if you don't know what you're doing, steep and sudden kickers will catapult you out of control in mid-air. Look for a nice gentle run-up and 30-deg. angle or less at takeoff, for starters.

2) Don't use a four-point takeoff;
I think a four-pt. takeoff is a sure way to get out of control when jumping. A pole plant at the top of the jump forces your hands behind your hips as you leave the jump. That's completely wrong, and ineffective, and unbalanced. Don't use this technique as a security blanket because of its implied "stability"; it's a bad habit that makes fearful beginner jumpers stay beginners. Instead you should...

3) Keep your hands in front of you as you leave the jump;

Related to the previous point. Your hands are key to keeping a strong and stable position in the air. Ideally, you want to control your angle in the air with them, and you can do that best when they're right in front of your center-of-mass--little adjustments to your hands tilt you this way and that while you fly.

So in preparation for the jump, your hands should be down near your hips--a little in front of them--as you reach the first part of the kicker. As you move up the kicker, you also move your hands up forcefully in a short punching motion--about 1'-2' max. This keeps your body in its proper relation to the fall line; that is, perpendicular to it. If you don't do this, your torso may angle back while traveling up the kicker.

4) Pop off the launch point;
Don't just ride off the jump; that will leave you passive to the forces of the curved kicker and will probably put you way in the back seat as you fly through the air. A disconcerting experience for any of us.

Instead, approach the kicker with knees slightly bent, loose and springy. As you travel up the kicker, extend your legs so that you "pop" slightly off the top as you leave the snow. The timing of this "pop" should be coordinated with the slight "punch" forward of your hands.

This is not something optional; it's the key to keeping your balance in the air. Leaving a jump in proper balance isn't a crapshoot, to be left up to chance. You have to be actively arranging yourself at the takeoff to NOT be thrown by the sudden angle change your skis are experiencing. If you keep aligned with your skis, you will lean back while going off the jump and that turns out bad. The "popping" motion lets your upper body miss all that drama, stay perfectly upright, and control the situation so that when you leave the snow your body is in the same attitude and angle to the snow that it was before that nasty kicker.

This is even more important because...

5) Your landing area should be as steep or steeper than the slope preceding the jump;
Flat landings are BAD. Really bad. You soon learn that the most painful faceplants accompany flat landings--all your vertical momentum is instantly stopped on a flat landing, and thus one little misalignment and you find yourself blowing up at touchdown.

Search for a jump that has a noticeably downhill landing. When you land from a few feet up, an inclined landing lets you more gradually distribute the vertical force so that the impact is less intense--like a glancing blow instead of a full-on punch to the chops.

Also please note that if your landing is as steep as (or steeper than) your takeoff slope, it's even more important that you spring off the kicker, keeping your upper body fairly perpendicular to the slope, as discussed above. If you ski off passively, and thus rotate a bit backward in the air, your problem is compounded when you come in for a landing on a steepish slope--you risk landing on your back!

So long story short, you need to be tilted forward in the air--not neutral, and certainly not backward. And that goes double if you have a reasonable incline to your landing (which you'll want, trust me).

6) Lean back just a bit right at touchdown;
It's a bummer to put a perfectly balanced jump together, only to have it blow up when you land. But often the snow is grabby, compared to the smooth, smooth air, and if you come in for a landing in perfect perpendicular position, half the time you'll find the instantaneous friction from the snow will pull you head over heels over your tips (and the other half of the time the snow will be nice and slick and you'll be fine).

So the thing to do is to plan on landing perfectly perpendicular to the slope, but have the ace up your sleeve of leaning back slightly the split second your skis touch the snow. Works like a dream--ramp up the technique when landing in powder, slushy snow, or crud, just to be safe.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I know all this is a lot to think about, and nobody expects you to take it all in at once. But those are the basics that I'm aware of, and if you study them and understand the principles involved, I'll bet your learning curve will proceed a lot faster than those of us who had to find this stuff out by trial and--OOF!--error.

It's a lot of fun; I know you'll dig the weightless feeling! You'll be begging for more; wonder if you'll ever get to that lesson...

Cheers,
-Shawn
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey Shawn that's fantastic - just the kind of things to think about - thanks for putting the time in to get it down

There's a whole lot that makes sense (I kinda figured that you needed to lean forwards up the kicker to keep perpendicular to the 'average' slope and not the ramp - but it's nice to hear it confirmed and some ideas on how to do it) and some that I really hadn't considered - especially the non-flat landing part!

Now I have to go and re-read it (a few times) and move and visualise it - thank goodness there's no-one here to watch

thanks again

David
post #12 of 18

ShawnB: great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take all keys and cell phone out of your pockets!

Ski the jump's launch and landing a few times before getting air. The landing snow is soooo important:
  • Flat terrain: it's uncomfortable coming down on this landing. Visually it is the least intimidating landing pad but the worst one for you.
  • Ramp or steep landings: they look intimidating because they are steep and you think "I have to really land in control to stick this small incline". They are the easiest because they make your transition from the air to the ground GENTLE and sweet. Go for these.
You'll notice on jumps the people that go slow and land on the flat part of the hill or jump before the landing ramp make a large sound and you can see their bodies get shaken up.

Those that land on the downhill ramp have seamless transitions. And if you do lose it on the ramp it hurts a lot less!

I sometimes take air in bump runs but that's a whole different story.

Good luck!
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Having just seen the weather forecast for Whistler next week can I just check that this technique applies to water-skiing too?
post #14 of 18

Should have an Article status?

Can I suggest that this message be put aside for all future questions regarding first time air? It's so well done! Kudos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnB
Hi lbt:

I really love air, and have been having a ball in the ether for 30-odd seasons now...

*snip*

So the thing to do is to plan on landing perfectly perpendicular to the slope, but have the ace up your sleeve of leaning back slightly the split second your skis touch the snow. Works like a dream--ramp up the technique when landing in powder, slushy snow, or crud, just to be safe.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I know all this is a lot to think about, and nobody expects you to take it all in at once. But those are the basics that I'm aware of, and if you study them and understand the principles involved, I'll bet your learning curve will proceed a lot faster than those of us who had to find this stuff out by trial and--OOF!--error.

It's a lot of fun; I know you'll dig the weightless feeling! You'll be begging for more; wonder if you'll ever get to that lesson...

Cheers,
-Shawn
post #15 of 18
Shawn's post is excellent and mentions many of the things I included in a post to another board. I'm going to include it here because it may help some people visualize the process. BTW - I've been jumping for over 30 years - pulled off my first full back scratcher when I was 12 and my first heli (360) when I was 14.

What I'll describe here is the technique I use for smaller jumps, kickers, and moguls. I haven't hucked any 25 footers lately .

The key to jumping on skis is the pre-jump timing. You can't just let the jump kick you into the air (you'll be out of control). You have to use it to put yourself in the air. To do this right you need to basically jump out of the trough of the jump (the lowest part of the front of the jump). To do this you need to crouch a bit and bend your knees right at the start, keeping your hands in front and out to the sides a bit. As your skis ride up the angle of the jump you need to basically "jump up" and let the ramp angle of the jump help get you into the air. How quickly you "jump up" out of the trough depends on the length of the ramp. Your goal is to finish jumping up at the top of the jump (don't try to jump off the very top though) Speed control is critical to your timing.

The next thing that I think most people overlook is that you really should do "something" when you're in the air. I find it much more difficult to just "straight" jump without some kind of a trick. Doing a trick forces you to really concentrate on your balance through the air. Landing the jump in balance is really critical on shorter skis since you have less ski to "save you" if your a bit too far forward or backward. Start with easy tricks (spread eagle, twister, etc.) until you're feeling comfortable in the air.
post #16 of 18
Thanks for the nice comments, all.

Noodler and Jim S's posts are right on the money, as well. I think we nailed it, guys/gals! Warm fuzzies all around.

Here's a thought: It would be nice to have a thread (or even a sticky) on how to pull off major tricks/stunts. I've kind of looked around for something like this--on TGR, etc--but the level of discussion always seems to be submarining several thousand leagues beneath the lowest common denominator. "Sick" this and "fatty" that stand in for all the crucial descriptions one might hope to rely on to visualize pulling off serious--and dangerous--air moves.

Anyone want to point me in a better direction, or alternately see if we can get a thread going here among folk able to actually articulate their thoughts in something resembling the english language?
post #17 of 18
I see a lot of park rats start jumnps with hands behind their back so they can whip them around to rotate.
post #18 of 18
Hey Guys, thanks! Shawn in particular. I started the other thread on getting air and this has been very educational to me! Off to Vail on Friday for 2 weeks, and looking for some air now!

Steve
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