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how to pivot???

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have recently taken up skiing and have taken 14 lessons along with 19 days of skiing this year. I have made really nice progress, but am having a lot of trouble mastering bumps and black terrain. One of my instructors keeps telling me to "pivot" on my skis. He tells me to just let one of my legs "collapse" and a nice pivot on the opposite ski will occur. I feel very unstable and feel very vulnerable to knee injury when i do this "collapse" move. I am able to carve and adjsut the arc of my carve on groomed runs, but i can't seem to shorten my turns or "pivot" in the bumps. I just keep picking up more and more speed until I crash. Any advice on how to bleed the speed and or pivot would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 16
first you are talking about to different thing "collapsing" and "pivoting". Collapsing come after pivoting IMO. You can ski bumps slowly pivoting, but collapsing alone doesnt help you so..... Lets talk about pivoting. You going to have to learn this kinda of on your own to get good enough to use in bumps. The instructor probably should be trying these drill instead of saying "pivot" when you have no clue what that means.

First like I said you need to get a on a flat ski a ski that is actually sliding sideways and not carving. Sideslips of varying speed on varying pitches are good way to start. Once you cna sideslip a shallow green run with out catching edge you have pretty much master the basic of that skill.(remember go both ways ie left ski down the hill right ski down the hill)

Next step to get some fore and aft pressure changes going on. Techy term for this is falling leaf. This mean you still are side slipping side ways but now you are making direction changes.

Ok now we are going to actaully get that pivoting thinging. On a harder green run makes turn with the flattest ski possiable also as short as possiable, making sure your turns are complete. try to stay in the same cadence. As you get better at this make the turns with less side to side travel and all going straight down the hill untill you can do pivot slips. Pivots slips are complete turns(turns is use very loosely here) that are moving you body and ski straight down the fall line while you ski "pivot" under you.
post #3 of 16
thumper80, it sounds like you had a bad teacher. Go get another one and next time make sure to ask for the highest qualified instructor they have available and ask for verification of their cert level or other qualification that would make them the best mogul teacher they have for you.

How to ski bumps has been covered on this forum many times. Do a search. Otherwise, its hard to teach this stuff from the beginning without being on the snow with you.

good luck
post #4 of 16
Shortening the inside leg is a great move for achieving high edge angles when you are carving turns. It's not a great move for skiing moguls because it moves your body to the inside of the turn and in moguls where you want to stay more on top of the skis. Carved turns are also faster than skidded (pivoted) turns, and in moguls your focus should be on speed control.

Pivoting is turning your skis by turning your legs inside the hip socket. The best way to learn this is by skiing on flat skis (no edging) on gentle terrain. Try turning the skis by pressing your feet into the sides of the boots while keeping your upper body facing downhill. Then take that same feeling into the bumps.
post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by thumper80 View Post
One of my instructors keeps telling me to "pivot" on my skis. He tells me to just let one of my legs "collapse" and a nice pivot on the opposite ski will occur.
Try to get your money back. And make sure you tell someone about his line of teaching. Is this teacher PSIA certified?
post #6 of 16
You want to learn to pivot? Put two pieces of 8.5X11 paper down on a hard floor (vinyl tile/hardwood/linoleum/etc.), stand in the middle of them and turn your feet back and forth. You want your heels to move right while your toes move left. You may find you need to start out by standing slightly on your heels and swinging your toes or standing slightly on your toes and swinging your heels. By playing with where your weight is along your feet, you can learn to stand in the middle so both ends move. That's pivoting. Now take it onto the snow. Obviously, you need mostly flat skis to pivot. You need mostly even weight centered on your feet. Practice first on a slight bump where you can stand without the tips or tails in the snow.

Next, like Bushwhacker says, you need to master sideslipping until you can sideslip on very shallow terrain.

Then you can put the two together like this animation by Bob Barnes.

post #7 of 16
Find an old "Dick Clark" era video of Chubby Checker doing "The Twist" .... practice as Kneale indicated .... but ... er .... consider "isolating" some of the upper body movement patterns on the slope.

post #8 of 16
The way I learned it 40 years ago was to use a very small bump, and I mean very small. Use a pole plan and practice the pivot at the top of the small bump.

Once again, I am not an instructor, but when I pivot in the bumps it is common to drop, almost an unweighting motion.

I see people go into the bumps to practice who might be better served by finding terrain that is better suited to learning. It can be hard to find real small bumps these days, since everything gets so groomed.

My suggestion is 'old school', but so is pivoting.

One more point; you need to be centered when you practice on a small bump. It's tough to pivot in the back seat. Do it slowly.
post #9 of 16

skiing skills take time!

...$.01 from a somewhat advancing skier;-),
Maintaining a relaxed, balanced stance with the three major joints(ankles, knees, hips) relaxed will help in digesting(or maybe spit out;-) any advice heard along the way. Keep your hips a part of your upperbody...and aligned with shoulders. As mentioned...any steering comes from the feet without the Chubby Checker moves. While searching throughout the threads, you'll notice the frequent reminders to maintaining a dynamically active(but Quiet) upperbody....balance-wise! Important as many intermediate skiers' balance problems occur from one keeping their upper body in a static position.
post #10 of 16
Nice responses to your question. I was also confused about this issue of pivoting vs weight shift in bumps. The second Breakthrough on Skis DVD by Lito Tejada-Flores has some great sequences that show how subtle pivoting at the start of the bump turn allows you to initiate the turn easily. I'm not the most experienced, but it appears to me that staying in balance over the skis and extending the legs into the trough around the bump are the keys to being able to finish the turn strongly and control speed.

Lito also explains the principle of active vs passive (collapsing the leg) weight shift in his book.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

speed control

Forst, thank you all so much for your advice. there are a few consistent themes throughout the posts, on which i will focus. so is this how i control my speed in the bumps? it seems that with minimal edge grip and a narrow fall line i will still be picking up more and more speed. so nowthat i have a good idea on how to pivot and/or how to practice pivoting, I was wondering how to control the speed in bumps. thanks a lot, you all give great advice!!
post #12 of 16
If you take your fully-developed pivot slip skills from intermediate terrain to steeper bumpless terrain, you can add the skill of using the edges to slow prior to flattening and pivoting. Once that's working for you, try it in the bumps.
post #13 of 16

Pivot slips by the book

I'm sorry but there are a lot of progressions that will help to build a solid pivot.
I'm studying for my level IIII and the study guide has a clear path to a successful outcome. I will use some of theirs and some of mine.
1.) Side slippping in a corridor is an excercise that promotes , hip countered movements. Praticed 1st on moderately steep and smooth terrain. Intermediate student corridor is alittle wider (12 feet+), more advanced/ expert should be alittle more the one ski length wide. The goal is to slip vertically within the boundaries without skidding foward or backwards. This is a difficult excercise to perform when first tried. The student must continually balance themselves over the entire length of the skis to keep them sliding vertically and stay within the corridor.
2.) Picking a distant object directly down the fall line as a target ands using the hip countering movements is essential to a well executed slip in the corridor.
3.) Try both sides for we have a strong and a weak side, because of our body semmetry is not exactly the same and we compensate sometimes very finely and othertimes more grossly.
4.) The guide books says "You must twist the torso firmly toward the fall line,streatching the latissimus dorsi muscle and a good range of motion of the hips (made more available by slight flexion by knee and ankle joints)"
5.) The guide book goes on buy saying " To Maintain a strong upper body with the hips positioned fairly high over the feet and keeping the spine fairly erect as to not create a weak stance by putting too much weight in the back seat, remember to keep the hips toward the fall line and have the uphill hip, knee and foot about a half a boot length ahead of the downhill compliments.Very important is to maintain contact between the shin and the tongue of the boots while feeling the bottoms of the ball , arch and heel ( whole foot) of both feet, creating that centered stance.
6.) Hockey and linked Hockey stops are part of the progressions used to
get to Pivot slips. They help with Edging and Pressure and also by learng to actively turn the inside leg and foot to keep from displacing into a christie also promoting an open countered stance of the hips. Linked hockey stops adds a change in direction by extending the legs and pointing or twisting knees and ankles towards the new direction The manual says to " Use th legs and the feet to turn both skis into the fall line. Pivot the skis until they point straight down the the fall line. Guide in the fall line for a moment , then use the legs and the feet to actively turn or pivot out of the fall line to complete the turn."
7. Pivot Slips, next we add a some rotary, steering or guiding by turning both legs and feet at the same time, a balanced stance is essential to stay within the desired corridor. The movement used is a flexing directly over the skis, allow them to slip and move down the fall line and weight should be about equal between both feet.
The pivot slip in my book uses all the center line movements as outlined by PSIA. Balance, Rotary, Edgeing and Pressure. I have even seen guys/gals do it at 40 mph on one ski and not just once.
So go play with it.
happy holidays!
post #14 of 16

I was wondering how to control the speed in bumps. thanks a lot, you all give great advice!!
Great advice above. I think your instructor was either trying to teach you retraction turns or possibly a counter rotated turn (Chubby Checker and the twist). The side slipping and pivot slip exercises above are great for learning how to flatten your skis and rotate your legs.

To control speed, make rounder turns or even ski up the side of a bump, turn over it and up the side of the next one (skis slow up when you try to ski uphill on them).

post #15 of 16
The key to controlling your speed in bumps is to KEEP YOUR SKIIS ON THE SNOW. Don't let them get airborne. So absorb the bumps and extend down the backside. The extending part is the the part to think more about. Its easy and natural to absorb a big bump when it comes up at you, because that feels like a shock absorber taking out the impact on your body. But its not quite as natural to force yourself to DRIVE your feet down the backside of the bump with an extension move. That takes a focused effort. Particularly, if you can engage your edges and start to turn while you are making that extension move, that is where you can control you speed sooner and more smoothly. If you do not extend, you will be airborne or very weightless and basically flying down through space towards the next bump where suddenly you will be faced with trying to absorb and slow down at the same time on the top of the next bump. You can slow yourself down by engaging your edges as you extend down the back of the last bump so that when you get to the next bump you aren't flying mach schnell. This almost makes the absorption of that bump that much easier since you fall like a rock on it. Which it turn makes it easier to absorb it and extend down the next one, etc..

When you get it right you'll feel like Neo on the Matrix who can effortlessly bat off bullets as if they are in slow motion. If you don't control yourself as I just described, then the bumps will be flying towards you like a stream of bullets and you'll just be doing everything you can to absorb them all and not kill yourself.

People have suggested pivot slips. This is a good exercise. after you do a bunch of those on a groomer, go to bumps and side slip down the back side of each bump. When you land on the next bump, pivot on the top of the bump and slide slip down the back of the next one on the opposite edges. Pivot back and forth, just like with pivot slips..except the slipping part is always down the backside of a bump. After you got that down, do it with a lot of extending as you slip down the backside of each bump and when you land on the top of the next one, flex to absorb it, then slide down the back of that, extending your legs as you go, etc.. That is the rtyhmn. Speed it up a bit, point a bit more down the fall line and you'll be skiing the bumps man.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by thumper80 View Post
I was wondering how to control the speed in bumps. thanks a lot, you all give great advice!!
Controlling speed in bumps is so easy that nearly everybody misses it.

The real key in controlling speed is how quickly you pivot your skis into the fall line during the top part of the turn. Slowing down the pivot allows you to let round turns develop as Ron White suggests. You do not need quick feet. The quicker you pivot and move your feet in the top part of the turn, the faster you will go. The slower you pivot and move your feet in the top part of the turn, the slower you will go. Its that simple.

I have no trouble controlling speed in bumps made of solid clear ice after a freezing rain with that simple formula.

Slow mo the top of the turn and keep your skis on the ice.
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