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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My 8th day on skis (3rd winter), I had 3 amazing breakthroughs:

1.) I had always tried to put ALL my weight on the stance ski, as instructed by Harold Harb's book, but I found that some weight was always on the free foot. It was hard to pull it back. Then I reread the book and realized I had neglected one part of the procedure: LIFT THE OLD STANCE SKI ONCE IT'S FLATTENED to FORCE all of my weight on the new stance ski.

Bingo! Once I did that, the CONFIDENCE I had with my short radius turns told me to go to the steep Blue trails that I had avoided.

2.) Now I'm doing a steep blue. I stop at one point and almost panic at the sight of the sheer drop. I look back and realize there's no walking back, I gotta do it. But I was very afraid to point my skis downward.

I told myself, "Just do what you've been doing on the greens and the easier blues. You can do this." Okay, I start off, but I'm shocked at the SPEEEEEEED that I get at.

It's then I realize (geesh, couldn't I have realized this fact on a green trail?) that I have never really COMPLETED my turns, or as they say "committed" to my turns. I realize that what I had avoided doing (finishing a turn) was now the only way I was going to slow down!

But I was so afraid to commit to a turn, despite being assured in a text book that if I'm carving the skis will stop. My fear was this: When I'm turning, say, left, I'm now facing the side of the slope with trees! So at the speed I'd normally be doing, I didn't have the faith that I would slow down there or stop there without an ugly incident, so I would quickly turn the opposite direction. Then I would encounter the same problem on the other side of the slope, but on the green trails and small blues it didn't present a real problem for me. I'd just turn around; I didn't have to finish my turns completely. I could still manage my speed.

But here, on this steep trail? YIKES!!! My speed was DOUBLE what I had ever experienced. In a true, "Please God!" moment I swallowed hard and just TRIED to have faith that if I committed to the turn the skis would slow me down. I remember reading that turning up the hill would slow you down. So now I'm perpendicular to the hill and facing trees! I'm thinking, "YIKES, PLEASE continue to turn as the book promised."

Guess what? You probably already know, THEY TURNED! I could not believe the amount that the speed decreases in THAT LAST SECOND of a turn!

Now I was like a 5 year old who just learned to do a magic trick. I LOVED facing the sides of the slope and completing my turns!

TALK ABOUT CONFIDENCE! I ZIPPED, zipped, ZIPPPED down that hill! I very easily doubled my speed and I was IN CONTROL!

3. Breakthrough 3 is related to #2. When I hit some ice patches or unexpected moguls, the unexpected speed they caused didn't panic me. I just said, "Wait it out, in a second you'll be able to edge that stance ski good and commit to a turn and slow down."

I say thanks to that book by Harold Harb and thanks to the Epic skiers here who I've learned from.

I had SUCH a great breakthrough that I'm treating myself this week. I am playing hooky with this new snow we've had and I'm going to do a black diamond trail!


I feel that after my last day on skis I can really call myself a skier.

At 40 I feel like a 20 year old!


post #2 of 5
Congrats on your breakthrough. Realizing -- through experience and not just a textbook -- that you can use the uphill parts of the mountain to slow you down is (IMHO) an important breakthrough. I'd suggest looking for little sidehills, mini natural quarter / half-pipes and really playing with the skiing-uphill-to-slow-down experience. There are little "ups" everywhere on a mountain once you start looking for them.
post #3 of 5
Contrats Jim, it sounds like you had quite a breakthrough as it pertains to both confidence and committing yourself to the turn. Those are both important factors for continued improvement.

I have my crystal ball out though, and I see your next breakthough in your near future. You'll soon discover that you don't have to FORCE your weight anywhere. It'll shift to the outside leg on it's own in varying amounts as you precede throughout the turn. :
post #4 of 5

way to go Jim

Now the real playing starts...definitely look for new parts of the mountain to explore and new and varied terrain. that stuff that used to scare you, now looks more inviting, yes?

Welcome to the addiction of skiing. theres no turning back now!

For some real fun, on easy terrain, try some railroad tracks across the slope until the arc of the skis bring you very predictably up the hill at the end of the arc. Start each run at a slightly steeper angle (as you get comfy doing these) and tip the skis more and more on edge to arc them across and up the slope again. (watch for traffic, though) Be sure that both skis are carving by tipping them equally to the inside of the arc and not letting them slip.

This will demonstrate to you just how your skis help you turn. Now you have a partner to dance with! (actually two partners...)

Go from carved traverses across the hill to linking a few regular old skidded turns with your carved traverses. Slowly let more controlled skidding in to the traverse part to shape your turns as they get smaller and quicker. Keep everything ROUND.....Increase the steepness to your comfort level. (you can even try these RR tracks traverses on the steep stuff.You just need more edge angle.....)

Its important to know that these pure carves are not the way we usually ski (unless we are doing it on purpose). They do however, represent pure edging which is a very important feeling to experience. Just as sliding your skis sideways represents (little or) no edging. the combination of the two is what we use to ski. As you get more comfortable at speed, you can begin to work them into your skiing here and there. Hold on to your helmet, though, as they are meant for larger radius turns and generating speed!

your next breakthrough, as Coach13 states, really isnt that far off!

At the end of each playing segment (ie, ski run)
Be sure to yell "WAHOOO"

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the feedback. I'll remember it when I'm hitting the slopes!
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