Nope Not Too Weak
Originally Posted by brucen32
Thanks for all of the responses. I am trying to integrate all of the different responses. John, in response to your question - as I am skiing down greens and blues I often see these petite women or even kids just gliding effortlessly down the hill, their upper body essentially stay still, facing down hill and their legs swaying from side to side. They don't appear to be completing their turns and yet they are in complete control. This is what I want. I have read all of the stuff by Harold Harb and it sounds great but it never works for me because it begins with small motions of the ankles and they don't allow me to make the gross hip and knee motions that appear to to be required for successful carving. It may work for some, but hasn't for me. My first feeling of "carve" (I was skidding all along before) came when I read the techniques promoted by Al Hobart (www.shapeski.com
). Since then I have tried to progress using his advice, but it hasn't been easy because of the sudden increase in speed and leg strength required when the skis truly start to carve and leave a single line in the snow. I'm working on it though. Maybe I'm just to weak? I'm 5'11 and 170 lbs by the way.
Thank you for your reply. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, very busy at the slopes lately. With the lesson plan this is a length post. Feel free to email me any questions and I can provide a few simple exercises, like Patience Turns, if you wish.
Let me first dispel the myth of strength; none required to make beautiful turns. Some of the better skiers I have worked with a.k.a. PSIA demonstration team, were not weight lifters by any means. You already dispelled that myth with your comment of petite women (careful not PC) etc.
Next, gliding effortlessly facing downhill under control; were they skidding turns (I highly recommend all my students learn to ski & pivot their skis) or actually tipped up on the edge of their skis to carve the turn? You did not mention what their feet were doing; only they were facing downhill and looking effortless.
A couple of simple ways to control your speed would be a skid of the skis (using skid as a braking action and not what your goal is but useful at times) or using your skis (both) edges and turning and guiding your tips around your turn and across the fall line (cross the fall line with skis (both) tips controls speed and shape (round) of turn) before your release both edges to start (initiate) the next turn. I have students turn around the turn until they “stall” the turn so they feel and understand what a full round turn shape feels like.
Here is a simple lesson plan done with a “wedge”. Clarification: Stand with your skis parallel, now bring each tip towards the other, changing the distance between the tips by about 1-1.50” total. This is a true “steering” wedge; not a braking wedge everyone relates to. This rather simple lesson plan is contemporary skiing movements and that is what we talk about today; movements in skiing to create a result.
Introduce “Skiing into the Future Stance”
1) From the small gliding wedge position, with little or no edging, traverse across the hill with upper body facing forward and slightly down the hill.
a) This should result in a traverse that crosses the hill and skids slightly down the hill at the same time.
b) Repeat the process in the opposite direction.
c) Stand in the center of ski boots using skeleton and muscles for balance as opposed to leaning against the equipment.
2) When desired position is accomplished link turns with that slipping wedge traverse in between each turn.
a) After each turn reduce the length of the traverse until turns have little or no traverse between turns.
Enhanced Inside Ski Usage
3) On moderate terrain start in the same wedge traverse stance.
a) Cross the hill and turn the tips of the skis up the hill until turning to a stop.
b) As skis start to turn up the hill separate the tips by moving the inside ski (or uphill ski) away from the outside ski (or downhill ski).
c) Maintain the separating motion from the beginning of the turn until the skis come to a stop pointing slightly up the hill.
d) Do in both directions.
4) After accomplishing in both directions start straight down the hill and turn out of the fall line with a gliding wedge turn.
a) As the skis start to turn separate the tips as in the previous activity and continue turning to a stop.
b) Do in both directions until the skis move easily apart and return to a parallel position.
5) Now have link turns and then separate the tips after each turn by moving the inside ski away from the outside ski and towards the center of each turn.
6)From a small gliding wedge traverse, across the hill, gradually and repeatedly tip the downhill ski toward uphill and onto an increased edge then back towards downhill and onto a flattened ski.
a) The movements for this activity originate in the foot and lower leg.
b) The lower leg should slowly tip back and forth from edged ski to flat ski.
c) Do this in both directions.
7) From the same gliding wedge traverse reduce the number of times that the skis are tipped to two or three times. On the last tip to the downhill side hold the tipped lower leg in the tipped position with tensioned muscles until a long slow turn develops.
a) It is important to maintain a centered position between both skis.
8) When you can turn smoothly to both directions link turns using this tipping motion.
Combine the Tipping and Twisting
9) Start each turn using tipping to flatten the skis and twisting of both feet to guide the skis into the turn.
a) As the linked turns progress separate the tips by using the movements learned earlier.
10) As you progresses separate the tips of the skis earlier in the turn.
a) During each run the separation should happen earlier and earlier.
11) Practice and make as many runs as possible experiencing varying turn shapes at varying speeds.