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Left turns

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I apologize for not having pictures or video, but I am hoping I can get some info on a problem in my skiing.

I rate myself as an advanced skier and my right turns feel very good. The problem occurs with left turns. I feel like I am banking or inclining much more than on right turns. I tend to drag and put some weight on the left pole when turning left and tend to rotate my right hand toward the left side. The postition of my hips does not feel the same as on right turns. I do have a rotated (towards the right) right foot that tends to put my weight on the inside of the right foot. I have had my boot soles planed and this has helped some, but I still don't feel symmetrical when compared to right turns.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 18

If you get an answer to this that works for you, then you will have truly lived up to your log in name. A video clip would make it much easier to do more than guess as to the true source of your issues.
post #3 of 18
None of us is symmetrical, Lucky. All of us favor one side more than the other to some degree. The really athletic notice this less than the rest of us, but it occurs for everyone. Awareness and practice can allow us to perform more similarily from side to side, but it really takes coaching to work on effectively. As Rusty says, a video would help. But your best bet for a solution is to get an experienced coach. A LII or LIII instructor with multiple years of experience would have the "eye" to discern what's contributing to the feelings you have and the training to suggest ways to improve.
post #4 of 18

You like to stand on your left foot. Like Kneale said practice and mileage will tend to solve the problem. An exercise to work on this is lifting the inside ski off the snow. I'm sure that you will find that its much easier to lift your right foot than your left.

post #5 of 18
I would be willing to hazard a guess that you are left footed too, although, you might not be. Typically, people will have a stronger and a weaker leg, as well as a leg they feel more stable on. Most often this is the same, which is why I guessed your left footed (but with a turned in right foot your case may be slightly diferent). The idea of picking up your inside ski could work to help this short coming in your skiing, be it percieved (meaning a confidence issue) or physical (mening it really does have to do with the turning in of the foot). You may also want to try some railroad turns on mild terrain, eliminating the rotational movements. Doing these slowly will also almost elinimate angulation in the hip as well, as with the slow speeds its hard to maintain balance if you are generating angles through the hip, try to focus on generating angles with the ankles and knees (more ankles than knees though).

However, depending on much your foot turns out (it sounds from your description of the right foot turning right), there may not be any easy solution. If your foot turns out a fair amount, it may be next to impossible to generate the necessary edge angles (you physically might not be able to have the skis tip at matching angles). If this is the case (and it's basically impossible to know without seeing you ski), you might want to develop your one footed skiing, so you will be able to rely on your inside ski/inside edge when turning right (I had great success with this with a stroke survivor who couldn't control her leg, having used this focus she was able to start using her problematic leg to control the turn, instead of trying to make it generate the turn).

You might find some of these ideas helpful, but as said above, you probably are best off working with a higher level Instructor, particularly one who might have some experience with "unorthodox" methods or adaptive techniques. Sometimes with physical limitations, the answers aren't what is the conventional thinking, but what works the most effective for you.

Good luck with it, and I'm sure with the right eye/coaching you'll figure it out, but never forget the most important thing on the snow is to have fun.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Manus, you are correct. I am left footed and right handed. I really appreciate everyones tips and solutions and apologize again for not having pictures or video at this time. My area just closed so I will have to wait until next season before submitting anything. I was looking for something to think about in the off-season an everyone has given me info to think about.

If I am sitting in a chair my left knee is aligned over my left foot, but my right knee is aligned inside my right foot. Canting and footbeds have helped, but I'm sure it's not just an alignment issue. I can make turns in either direction on one ski and it is only slightly harder on the right foot. I love steep terrain and ski it pretty well so I don't think fear/hestitation is a factor. I can do rr turns and don't feel a LOT of difference there. I notice the differences the most on steeper terrain because I catch myself leaning or dragging the left pole on left turns. Skiing without poles helps this somewhat. I can't figure out why I bring my right arm around/across on left turns which tends to close my hips. I know some of the drills for this, but I'm curious as to why I doing it. I am a level 2 instructor.

Thanks for all the suggestions and tips.
post #7 of 18
could the movements of the right arm be from trying to "push" the right ski forward? I'm just trying to picture in my head a diverging parallel (never liked that term, but I think everyone knows what I mean) turn with the body going with the inside ski (kinda like if you get caught in the back seat on the inside ski and it starts to run away, you have to make a move to get the outside foot to catch up and to bring the weight forward), I would think that bringing the right arm around might be an instinctive move to try to pull the right ski forward or set it to a higher edge. And I wonder if as you turn to the left, your left ski (inside) is engaging the edge before the right ski.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Now you are making me think and I think you are on to something. I'm going to have to pick a quiet time and do some visualization. I also notice that in my turns to the left that I seem to be bracing (which puts me into the hill) against my right leg. I don't notice this on right turns.
post #9 of 18

The hand thing probably has a simple explaination. Starting with the idea that every thing we do skiing is necessary for the turn that we are making and knowing that the left turn is weak the logical conclusion is that the crossing of the hand is a rotary move to assist the turn. This ties in with your being a ski instructor. You have been trained to eliminate rotary of the body but that weak turn still needs a little help so the outside hand moves in the direction of the turn. I see this a lot in developing instructors often both hands sometimes only one.

One last comment, I would tend to think that alignment is a very strong possibility as the root cause of the problem. Your weak turn involves an admittedly misaligned ride foot and you said that alignment work has helped. The 80/20 rule says that 80% of the benefit of alignment comes from the last 20% of correction so it could be that you just haven't gone far enough. Technique can't overcome misalignment. The compensating moves made necessary by the misalignment almost always compromise efficient technique.

post #10 of 18
interesting thread - i too am a Level II instructor, and my left turn does
not feel as good/solid as my right.

somethings i have done (in addition to footbeds):
force myself to do left turn hockey stops to left
ski on my weak leg (the weak one for me is my left)

i've also worked a lot on pivot slips and found when my ski tips
point left, body down the fall line, my left foot wants to twist back
to the fall line. my point is that the pivot slip may be an additional diagnostic
under well controlled conditions. based on my findings i've added streches
as well as visits to the chiropractor.

the physical therapy people at work seemed to make a distinction between
non-symetry (more serious) and "lack of ease/dexterity", which (most likely) reflects practice and preference, as opposed to alignment. so, some of there advice was "work more on your weaker side"

post #11 of 18
Sounds like the same situation I used to have.(only on my right turns) Everyone kept giving me drills that didn't work. The problem was that my right leg is significantly shorter and I was aligned with my knee out on my left and inside on my right. Lifting my right foot and matching the alignment of my left to my right(making it inside) pretty much did the trick.
When I was out there last weekend I was experimenting with neutral alignment. When I was skiing with Bill W. at Crystal I noticed if I wasn't concentrating on my right turns it felt like it used to. I need to explore it further but won't get to until next season (I use my rondennay boots at summer camp). Another thing, Harald mentioned that some people can't pronate their ankle inside the boot and that a strip of high density foam under the inside half of the bootboard allows the movement needed. I know that my left ankle is stiff from arthritis from an old injury, I think I'm going to explore this as well.
Did you get out Sunday? I went up to Baker Saturday but my rental car didn't have decent traction tires and it was snowing heavy, greasy snow at about mile 46 or 47. I turned around about mile 51 and chickened out.(a 4WD pickup went off in front of me on the way down, I was under 5 mph after I saw that)
post #12 of 18
Ummm - I had heaps of trouble with a "hip" problem that made me appear to have a "foot" problem but turns out to probably be a leg length discrepancy problem(as diagnosed by my instructor but denied by everone else) that caused a hip/leg/foot problem.....

If you look at my right foot it turns in markedly when I lie with my legs supported by a table (ie legs are quite straight but foor has huge turn) .... the left does too - but a bit less so....
Both feet have weird instability - because they never get to walk straight - they have needed to walk strangely to be able to walk....

New orthotics - my friend did not recognise me when I walked into he work place - my stance is not the same....

Check it all out with GOOD physios & podiatrists & sports med people.... BTW - I got rid of the hip problem by lots of work - but it already feels much simpler to walk with orthotics so I am hoping skiing will be that much simpler as well
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
All good stuff, thanks everyone. Slatz, I did go up Sun. after returning from Oregon. The conditions were good (snowed most of the day) but my ribs hurt so bad I couldn't ski very aggressively. I am finally starting to heal. Hope we can make some turns together next time.
post #14 of 18
The problem occurs with left turns. I feel like I am banking or inclining much more than on right turns. I tend to drag and put some weight on the left pole when turning left and tend to rotate my right hand toward the left side. The postition of my hips does not feel the same as on right turns. I do have a rotated (towards the right) right foot that tends to put my weight on the inside of the right foot
Lucky,it sounds like you may still have an allignment issue with your right foot. If you are canted too much to the inside of it, you are unable to flatten your skis equally between turns and are compensating by using body roataion and banking which is throwing off your lateral balance hence the pole drag.

Try rolling your left foot to the little toe side as you start your left turn and see if there is any difference in your symetry. Also, maybe get your allignment (and canting) checked again. The wear on your boot soles may be a sign your canting is not perfect.

Good luck!
post #15 of 18
Before you do anything, Lucky, I would check if there's a length discrepancy. At ESA one of the students (perhaps more, but this is the one I know about) learned he had quite a length difference, which Bud corrected with some boot magic, and gave the fellow a whole new and improved foundation, which naturally made skiing movements a ton easier for him.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks nolo I will check it out.
post #17 of 18
That was a big part of my problem. (length difference) Pierre's too if I remember correctly.
post #18 of 18

When I first began teaching I noticed that pretty much everyone had a strong side which initially I wrote off as being RIGHT FOOTED OR LEFT FOOTED just like we are right or left handed.

Upon further learning and scrutiny I discovered that skiers tended to trust putting weight on one foot more than the other.

Then years later I discovered the real cause of the problem.....ALIGNMENT ISSUES.
Plain and simple. When you are misaligned your body will naturally compensate to make a turn though not always pretty. A trained eye can detect this after only a few turns. It's like touching a hot burner....if you know that when you make the move good technique suggests and you get burned (ie: ski rails, or washes) you learn not to go there and consiquently adjust your movements (ie: bank, rotate hips, tip a knee in, make a "hi mom" turn, etc.) to compensate.

Take away the impedaments and progress will happen!! I PROMISE YOU!
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