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Lessons from Breck

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Back now from my wonderful week in Breckenridge...and I have a few insights to share for your comments. I look forward to any wisdom you sages care to share!

1. I tired several skis while there and, frankly, didn't find a whole lot of difference between them. I do have my favorite of the bunch (K2 Omni 5.5) as it seemed easy to wield and turn. It wasn't as "carvy" as the Dynastar Omecarve 9, but the 9 also had a wide tail that seemed to grab the snow coming out of turns. The older K2 5500 seemed tailheavy (?). The others were inconsequestial. The point of the trip was a skiing vacation to work on skills and have fun--not a ski shopping trip.

2. My greatest progress to becoming a decent carver was made on the green slopes. It was a lot of fun. I learned to tip the ski on its side before trying to turn it with my foot. Actually, tipping it on its side and pressuring it made it turn quite nicely. Cool! It was quite exhilirating to steal a peek back over my shoulder to see that nice, narrow and curving track!

3. The feeling of the carve was wonderful. But I have a long way to go. I can trust the slight lean inward and forward (tipping?) as the carve starts; the ski catches up with me and supports me through the turn. On the steeper blues I still revert back to the familiar and "safe" skidding more than carving. But I found myself doing so much better on the steeper blues--leaning foward down the hill and making the skis do what I wanted then to do. Even carving a little now and then.

4. This might be met with some disagreement; but, after watching a number of skiers I find that I like the style that is parallel with the feet close together best. It is, to me, a beautiful and effortless-looking style that really looks controlled and fun. I also found that I did better getting most of my weight on the uphill (outside) ski during a turn. I can't explain why; it just felt better and more natural to me. That is not to say that I would not be open to trying more of a spread stance with shared weight. But I just found myself wanting to get my skis closer together, my arms spread wider, and my weight shifted to the outside ski as I turned.

All in all, though, what a great trip! It's not fun being able to get to the slopes only a few precious days a year. I hope to get somewhere (Tahoe? SLC?) maybe once again this year. You guys who live within short drives of the slopes...enjoy your good fortune!

post #2 of 11
Congrats HT---that's called a "breakthrough" !!!! Keep the move fresh as possible in the brain (know you have one---been reading your posts) and next time.........

Apply a ton of pressure to that edged ski----Then watch the FUN !
post #3 of 11
Welcome back, HT!
post #4 of 11

trip to breck

ok, your didn't say how you "tipped" the ski on its edge, anyway assuming you are using your feet, ankle and knees to "tip" your ski's. Next time you hit the snow and into a turn use some hip angulation. <Make sure the hip moves laterally and not back. Start off easy and test your balance and being centered as you move into the feel of this move. For your next trip try Tahoe, lots of snow. Check Reno flights some really good deals. Weekdays best.
let me know what you want, have skied Tahoe for 30 years, am a ski instructor and ex racer. Live in Idaho now, dont come to Northwest for skiing this year, it really sucks. Rocks are still visible everywhere. Good luck Pete
post #5 of 11
Welcome to Epic Pete.
post #6 of 11
Congrats on the great sounding trip! Sounds like you had a lot of fun and learned a thing or two while there. Did you get to make it to Vail use the Uncle's day guide?

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by madmike
Congrats on the great sounding trip! Sounds like you had a lot of fun and learned a thing or two while there. Did you get to make it to Vail use the Uncle's day guide?


Unfortunately, not. I was voted down when it came to driving over to Vail. I could have gone over by myself; but, there was plenty to do at Breck. Greens and blues are greens and blues. I would have enjoyed the change of scenery, however. And the good news, there is great interest in going to Vail next trip to Colorado.

To drill down into the style thing a bit...does anyone have any "how-to's" on skiing closely parallel? I noticed some folks, for example, gently turning their way down slopes with skis and boots and knees close together and going along very much under control. When I would try the same thing, my skis didn't stay so nicely aligned with each other and my speed was much higher. Any advice?

- HT
post #8 of 11

While you are tipping you inside foot to its little to edge, try actively pulling that foot back under your body as you turn. This should help you stay solidly balanced on the outside ski, and increase the tipping action of the inside ski tightening your arc.

Keep practicing this stuff on the greens and easy blues and your legs will start to develop an awareness of each other and stay parallel through the turns. If the inside ski starts to diverge or get away, just slide it back over towards the outside ski.

Try making some turns by lifting the tail of the inside ski off the snow, tipping it to the little to edge (practice tipping different amounts) and trying to press the arch of the inside foot to the top of the outside ski boot. Whether or not you are into the whole Phantom Move PMTS thing, this drill will help you practice all of those things you mentioned. After trying that for a while, you should feel your two-footed skiing improve when you put the tail of your inside ski back on the snow. Take it or leave it, but I found it helped my turns get more solid.
post #9 of 11
Hi Tiger, welcome back.

Glad to hear you had a good time getting that carve feeling. As you're a novice carver your turns are most likely being done at low edge angles with little side to side movement of your center of mass/hips. As such, the narrower stance you seemed to prefer is a functional choice. It takes less lateral movement of the center of mass to transfer pressure from foot to foot in a narrower stance, which makes doing so easier for the novice.

As you get more skilled and comfortable with lateral CM movement you'll find that assuming a more hip width stance provides a little better balance platform. And,,,, as you begin to utilize higher edge angles you'll find that you'll need to create greater lateral foot seperation so you can tip the skis onto a high edge without losing outside ski engagement. I'll explain this further if you need me to.

Finally, as you observe other skiers, just remember one thing: beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but functionality and efficiency is universally recognized.

Oh yea, did you get to try Nastar?
post #10 of 11

There are times when two footed locked together skiing is appropriate and times when it is a "gay" (I mean the old fashioned happy definition) way to ski. In powder and bumps the benefits of having the feet close together outweight the costs. On groomed snow, keeping your feet close together requires more balance skills and robs you of the power that higher edge angles can give you.

I grew up skiing parallel with my feet locked together. I cried when they told me to break them apart. The old technique was so pretty. I still see people skiing that way every now and then. The new way does not look quite as pretty with the break in the body lines caused by angulation, but as you've discovered it feels so much better.

It does take a bit of practice to develop the edge control skills to feel the entire length of the ski enough to accurately control the relationship between the skis. Practising the falling leaf exercise can help. In general though, the higher edge angle you have relative to your speed and the more centered you are, the more the skis will "stay" where you want them to stay. When you put your feet together, you probably had a flatter ski that contributed to your troubles keeping the skis aligned. Keeping your feet shoulder width apart lets you develop higher edge angles which makes it easier to keep your skis parallel.
Be careful about what you wish for. Unlearning locking your feet together can be harder than learning how to in the first place.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the great replies and advice. And I want to make it clear that while I favor the close-together skiing style, I am not at all dogmatic about it. I quickly learned that getting any significant edge angle required a wider stance.

One piece of advice that worked well was traversing with the uphill ski about a half-boot length in front of the downhill ski. It made initiating the turn easy. Then, as soon as the turn got underway, sliding the downhill ski out in front made for an easy and balanced transfer of weight and good balance through the turn.

As for phantom edging, yes, I did try that. And found that it works nicely for getting and holding a good angle.

I also found that it helped to only work on two things at any one time (learned that from tennis)!

Rick - I didn't get to try the NASTAR course. I waited until the last afternoon, skied over to it, and there was some sort of private affair or something going on. Rather than wait around...I went off and skied!

I'd love to go again in a week or two. I think building on what I worked through at Breck could really help me along.

And many, many thanks for all the kind thoughts and advice from y'all!


- HT
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