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Help for heel-side turns?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I finally got back on a board this weekend after 10 years of skiing only. I quickly remembered what frustrated me so much about boarding, as a skier...

Years-n-years of "face the fall line" has been drilled into my muscle memory, causing me to over rotate and skid all my heel-side turns, no matter how much I try to carve.

Does anyone have any excercises I can practice to help me get over this??

I've tried pointing my front arm down the hill and facing the side of the trail instead of the bottom, but none of that upper body work seems to be making it to the areas below my hips.

HELP?!!
post #2 of 14
Volkgirl -- Welcome to Epic (and especially welcome to the "new" snowboard forum!). Here's a few drills/pointers to help with heel-side carves:

1) Imagine your board has a hole drilled through the tip and tail. Attached to these holes are strings. Now imagine these strings are tied to your hands. This is designed to keep your upper body parallel to the board, no matter what direction the board is facing.

2) Try initiating heel-side turns by pushing your highbacks away from your calves (basically, closing your ankles).

3) Get low -- bend those knees, keeping your rear end over the heel-side edge (in a vertical plane).

Remember to allow the board to do the work, i.e., be patient. Once you've got it up on edge, let the board finish the turn. Once you get the gist of a carve, begin playing around with weight distribution fore and aft, degree of knee bend, etc.
post #3 of 14
What are your stance angles, forward lean and overall gear setup? In general you want to keep your upper body, and hips, more or less aligned with your stance angles, which may or may not cause your upper body and hips to be aligned with your board's nose and tail.

Vlad had a drill utilizing hold a ski pole held horizontally, palms down, which he posted a couple weeks ago. My wife and I both tried this. She was overrating and skidding onto her toesides, and found that this drill helped her a lot. I liked both this drill and using two poles as well. I mentioned this here http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=39375

and you can find the original discussion in the ski instruction forum.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook
What are your stance angles, forward lean and overall gear setup? In general you want to keep your upper body, and hips, more or less aligned with your stance angles, which may or may not cause your upper body and hips to be aligned with your board's nose and tail.
Regular foot, 30 degree front, 15 degree rear, standard width. I tried the 0 degree thing, but I just can't skate that way. Rossi step in bindings, Original Sin boots, don't know forward lean. Board may be too short @ 140cm (I'm 190lbs) - maybe this is part of the problem, too?

I remember reading vlad's pole thing a couple weeks ago....thanks for reminding me about it. We're done for the season here, but I'm printing everything out to do summer exercises and to try for next year.
post #5 of 14
Volklgirl,

I also have the Rossi SIS system. If you have the highbacks (the rental systems have the highback built into the boot), there's a trick to setting the heel piece of the bindings up a little cockeyed to give you a slightly snugger fit. Set it up so that the front side of the heel cup is slightly more clockwise off center (i.e. the heel cups are pointed more to the back of the board than the rest of the binding). This will also give you better support when you pressure the nose of the board.

Although skiers feel a lot more comfortable with a high front foot stance angle, you should be able to back down to 15 degree on the front. That will give you a little more front foot power for your heel sides. With this set up you should at least take the back foot to 5, but I suggest trying MINUS 12 (duck foot stance). Duck foot is a preference thing, some like it, some hate it. But you can use it to help rid you of over rotating your shoulders in your neutral stance. It took me a couple of attempts before I was ready to switch to duck foot as my regular stance. Whether you choose to or not, I think it can help you get used to riding sideways (almost every day I'm on both skis and board).

Adjusting the highback forward lean is a traditional means of impacting heel side turn performance. However, I'm betting that you are not ready for this yet. You can try increasing the lean. If you do it too much, your legs will burn after only a few minutes and your toe sides will start sucking.

For practice exercises, the pole exercise is good. I've also used bamboo to drag one end in the snow kind of like an outrigger. You have to be careful with bamboo on the lift and in crowds, but the sensory feedback of dragging it in the snow works wonders. On your heel side, drag the back end of the bamboo behind your back heel. On your toe side, drag the front end of the bamboo behind your front heel (that's a little trickier). A simpler exercise with bamboo is to just hold it level in front of you as you ride (i.e. to the side of the board) and always keep the boo level with the slope and parallel to the board. Finally I suggest riding holding your hands in front of you and then graduating to holding your hands behind your back. Holding your hands over the nose and tail of the board is great for advanced riding, but when you get started it's easy to over rotate the front hand to the left side of the board. With your shoulder and hips all ginked up like that, there's nothing there for heel side turns.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
...With this set up you should at least take the back foot to 5, but I suggest trying MINUS 12 (duck foot stance). Duck foot is a preference thing, some like it, some hate it. But you can use it to help rid you of over rotating your shoulders in your neutral stance. It took me a couple of attempts before I was ready to switch to duck foot as my regular stance. Whether you choose to or not, I think it can help you get used to riding sideways (almost every day I'm on both skis and board).
Ahh, the bomber guys would love this. I do agree that it can help you get lined up with your stance angles.

Also, VolklGirl had mentioned trouble skating at lower angles. If you're having trouble skating, or getting tired standing in the liftline, look at your hips and rotate them until they're lined up with binding angles, rather than facing more forward. Often you'll feel an immediate relaxation as your skeleton starts taking more of your weight.
post #7 of 14
Well, the Bomber guys wouldn't be caught dead in soft boots.

I missed the "having trouble skating at low angles". Try skating with your back foot on the heel side of the board and either back toes pointed just behind the front heel or pointed backwards starting from the back heel just behind the front heel.
post #8 of 14

Help on the way

Rusty's comment about "jacking up" your binidings is right on. I used to sport those binders about 11 years ago and performance levels increased as I minimized the space between the boot and the binder. There tended to be alot of play in those set ups. Quicker response to foot/leg action can only help you experience the desired board performance.

As far as the skating problem, try pushing off your rear foot on the heelside edge of the board. I use both toe and heel pushing depending on the slope, but probably (with 15 front and -12 back angles now) spend a majority of time skating from the heel edge side.

As far as the can't stop skidding issue, it is important to even out your alignment, but that's not the complete solution. You need to make sure that your feet and legs are doing the job that will get the board to perform the way you want. I'd recommend that you practice twisting the board with your feet and legs to start to develop use of the torsional properties of your board. Twisting the board lets you engage the new edge, while the old edge is still hooked up along the tail of the board. The twisting moves encourage more edging, rather than pivot. It sounds like you need more edging power or control and a lot less pivot to get back to carving the heel sider. So twist the hell out of your board, just like wringing out the water from a towel.

On another note, Volklgirl could be the best name ever
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for the tips, guys!

I've tried skating behind the board and I almost always ended up stepping on the board and falling on my a**. However, I have all summer to try skating around the living room and experimenting with stance angles.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jibster
I'd recommend that you practice twisting the board with your feet and legs to start to develop use of the torsional properties of your board. Twisting the board lets you engage the new edge, while the old edge is still hooked up along the tail of the board.
Jibster, you started out well and then detoured into "twisting."

Boards do have torsional flex; boards that are really bad for carving have more, those better for all-around riding have less. I saw the old twisting discussion on here and on reflection still can't say I've seen anyone from, say, Marc Frank Montoya to Mark Fawcett intentionally twisting the board for any reason. Edging while going off a kicker or pipe wall may as a byproduct cause some torsional flex, but it is not intentional. VolklGirl, let's just say the jury is still out on twisting.

VolklGirl, you also said you're riding a 140? At 190 I'd definitely move up a lot in length, subjec to still finding a waist that fits your feet. You may in fact be suffering an excess of torsional flex with the 140.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Vlad...Help me out please!

Vlad,

Can you please re-post your pole progression for me? I had a hard time visualizing my positioning on the board when I read it on the ski forum.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...highlight=pole
Thanks! Kris
post #12 of 14

Bamboo to you too

Kris,

It looks like Vlad is on an extended Timeout. The basic concept is to hold the pole so that it is parallel to the snow surface at all times.

I like to use a bamboo pole instead of a ski pole. If you have a regular resort that you ride at, it should be pretty easy to spot a stick of boo that you can borrow for a few runs (or else ask a patroller). Be extra careful when handling boo on the hill and on the lift. It's so easy to be safe with it that you can get sloppy.

Start by just carrying the boo with an overhand grip on the front hand and an underhand grip in back. This will accentuate any fore/aft tilt of the pole throughout the turn. The reason bamboo is really cool is the the outrigger moves. The idea is to drag the end of the bamboo in the snow. On a heel side, drag the back of the boo behind the back foot on the toe side of the board. For toe side turns, drag the boo even or just ahead of the front foot on the heel side of the board. This will seem really weird at first, but you should quickly start ripping your carves. The last boo exercise is to keep the boo level to the pitch of the slope throughout the turn with both hands in an underhanded grip. Make it tougher by finishing your turns going uphill, you will need to move the boo from right to left in addition to just raising and lowering the front and back hands.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Rusty,

Cool, thanks for the clarification on that technique...it gave me the visual I was looking for.
post #14 of 14
Hello volklgirl,

I was once in the same boat. Learning to carve in the forward stance. (I switched to duck a few years back).

In my case, I found that I was leaning slightly too far back and pressuring the back leg a bit too much and not "leading" with my front leg enough (closely related to or maybe even IS hip articulation).That last part is really hard to explain but when it clicks for you, you'll see what I mean.
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