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Am I really supposed to be doing this?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

I am a beginning skier (this is my first season and I ski in Utah).

My friend grew up skiing in Oregon and was on his high school's ski team. He has been giving me advice and helping me along as I learn.

He tells me it is absolutely essential to keep my shoulders, and whole upper body for that matter, square down the fall line. So even when I am traversing the the whole side of the mountain, I should tweak my upper body all the way to face down the hill?

I ask because I have been looking at some videos where the skier doesn't seem to follow this method.

Thanks
post #2 of 15
There are moments on a traverse when we take a "coffee break" and break the rule.

97.7% of the time, especially in the "formative stage" as well in racing, your friend is quite correct.

The down side of a "coffee break" on skis ... on traverse or a cruise across a flat is when you "stop skiing" ..... and screw the pooch.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eysikal
He tells me it is absolutely essential to keep my shoulders, and whole upper body for that matter, square down the fall line. So even when I am traversing the the whole side of the mountain, I should tweak my upper body all the way to face down the hill?

I ask because I have been looking at some videos where the skier doesn't seem to follow this method.

Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
97.7% of the time, especially in the "formative stage" as well in racing, your friend is quite correct
What? If you're making large radius turns, are you facing straight down the fall line? I sure don't -- I'm looking where I'm going. It's only in short-radius turns that my torso remains travelling straight down the fall line. The larger the arc, the less "wind up" between my torso and legs I'm allowing.
post #4 of 15
It only makes sense to face the torso fully downhill continuously if you are making relatively short linked turns. If you are traversing between turns or making one of those typical Utah traverses half way across a rocky face to get to an open slope, your shoulders should be square with your skis for both comfort and stability. A torso facing downhill will cause the skis to turn that way if you release the edges. On some slope situations, a slight misstep could cause a partial edge release that might result in a disasterous turn.
post #5 of 15
Sorry, missed the Utah part. Here in the east, big long sweeping traverses are .. what the hell is a big long sweeping traverse?
post #6 of 15
Ideally, the shoulders should be as parallel to the skis as possible without falling on the back - long turns or short. We vary the radius of the turn by changing the angle of the edges to the surface, not by turning the shoulders into the turn.

Examples - http://www.youcanski.com/photo/vogl_1a_lg.jpg for SL and http://www.youcanski.com/photo/schoenfelder_lg.jpg the bottom sequence for GS

Circumstances may dictate reduction of this counterrotation. Example - http://www.youcanski.com/photo/schoenfelder_lg.jpg top sequence, but even there the skier is trying to get his shoulders to look down the slope
post #7 of 15
Sorry, missed the Utah part. Here in the east a long traverse is done ... what the hell is a long traverse?

Still in GS to "long sweepers" down the fall line the mass, projection and focus are still down the fall line. Winding up for a turn reminds me more of the old Austrian techniques ... ouch ... much wasted motion, more of a checking/recovery action.
post #8 of 15
a) there is no 100% correct "do this all the time" rule with skiing
b) upper body should be "quiet" -- this means not turning or twisting while skiing
c) your upper body needs to move in the direction you're going at the same rate as you skis, and you're generally going downhill. if you take long traverses and let your body square up, then it can be very hard to initiate the next turn (you know that you're making this mistake if both your body and your skis are pointed straight at the trees and you feel "stuck" going in one direction/awkward turning the other way

what strikes me ... if you question your friend then seek an intructor who's authority you trust.
post #9 of 15
Just stand naturally, so you feel balanced and secure on your feet. Making the upper body assume weird positions will make you stiff and awkward.

Countering the upper body down the hill is old school, dating from when we had long skis that resisted turning. Doing it now in all but short turns will cause the tails to break out of the turn and wash.

Since you're asking the question here now, I think you already know your friend's advice was bogus!
post #10 of 15
Keep your back to the mountain
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye
a) if you take long traverses and let your body square up, then it can be very hard to initiate the next turn
Actually, if your torso is square with the skis (matches the natural uphill lead) and if you have some contact between your shins and the cuffs of your boots, all you need to do to begin a turn is equalize the weight on your skis and slightly reduce the edging used to maintain the traverse.
post #12 of 15
I know in SL i definatly keep my torso going down the fall line, and let my legs do the work. As for the top of the turn i think about it as going off of a diving board with my upper body, and letting my feet and legs follow. On traverses I just ski comfortably , and usually maintain a quiet upperbody ...untill i get lazy.
-JMK
post #13 of 15
I know in SL i definatly keep my torso going down the fall line, and let my legs do the work. As for the top of the turn i think about it as going off of a diving board with my upper body, and letting my feet and legs follow. On traverses I just ski comfortably , and usually maintain a quiet upperbody ...untill i get lazy.
*see the movie in my sig*
-JMK
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eysikal
My friend grew up skiing in Oregon and was on his high school's ski team. He has been giving me advice and helping me along as I learn.

He tells me it is absolutely essential to keep my shoulders, and whole upper body for that matter, square down the fall line. So even when I am traversing the the whole side of the mountain, I should tweak my upper body all the way to face down the hill?
Ahh, facing down the hill. It reminds me of the opening to Star Wars, "A long time ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...."

So is your friend a ski teacher? When we skied on really long skis, we used to have to face down the hill more to allow our body to wind up and un-wind to rotate the skis. We really don't have to do that anymore. The general rule of thumb is as already been stated, the bigger the turn, the more the body aligns with the skis, the shorter the turn, the more the body aligns down the hill.

L

PS FYI, I teach skiing at Alta on the weekends.....
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
The general rule of thumb is as already been stated, the bigger the turn, the more the body aligns with the skis, the shorter the turn, the more the body aligns down the hill.
As I tell people all the time, focus where you WANT to go, not where you are going or where you have been. When you focus though, it should be like driving a car around a corner, you don't stare at the ultimate goal, but your focus is inside the headlights. Furthermore, when driving, your shoulders don't plant themselves against the seat but move with your head and eyes (with little kids I tell them imagine your eyes are on your shoulders). Basically, the tighter you turn, the more you look into the turn (as mentioned above.

Rotational movements are still part of effective skiing (lack of rotational movement is still a rotational movement), however, people often don't think about the rotational movements of both the upper and lower body. With proper shoulder countering (and balance obviously) it can be very difficult for the hip to be properly alligned to turn (such as when there is a dramatic tip lead).
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