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Early season MA request

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Back in October, in a thread about modernizing technique, TheRusty said

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
If you'd like some specific advice, the best thing to do is to get out early season and get video'd, then share it with us.
So I did.

I'm a little hesitant to share this video --

-- first, it isn't very good since my camera doesnt (usefully) zoom in video mode. I'm not sure how much you can actually see. (I cropped the scenery from the edges of the frame to make the file sizes smaller - the original has more pretty trees around the edges.)

-- second, it was my first day on snow this year, and first day on new skis, and I didn't quite have my A game going yet.

But just looking at them, I see a couple of things in my technique I'm not crazy about, so here they are. Maybe someone else can see something I can't.

These were taken 8 Dec 2006 at Killington.
These are two runs on what used to be called the Glades ("North Ridge" now, I guess.). It's got good snow, little or no bumps, and is not very steep (15 degrees, maybe 20).

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6965216836534286935&hl=en

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...94662257&hl=en

This one was taken on the Cascade headwall. Snow is fairly hard hardpack up top with some loose snow lower. The top is large rollers (sort of moguls that are stretched out sideways) and farily steep, it levels out and turns to ordinary moguls before I get to the cameraman.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...46934417&hl=en

As for the "what are you trying to accomplish" question:

I'm making a conscious effort to modernize my skiing. I mostly set my style in the late 1980's. More specifically, in the first two I was trying to make fully carved turns, tho somewhat exaggerated because the hill wasn't steep enough to actually need to turn much. In the headwall clip, I was just trying to get the feel back before the pitch was over.
post #2 of 19
I’ll start this thread out so that all the people that know way better than I can correct me if I am wrong.

I know where you are coming from and Bravo for braving your vids to the Bears. If you can take the criticism and you can learn from what they offer it is a great thing. I have much to thank the Bears for their offerings to me.

I see your feet changing widths apart a lot. I think you need to consciously think about keeping them a little wider than you on average had them in the 3 vids. This will help with balance both side to side and front to back.

I see you rapidly changing the direction of the ski. As in a fast twisting motion to get them in the direction you want to go and THEN trying to set the edge. Instead think of this in a relaxed way. It takes time to get it to happen. Think of rolling the ski to an angle (setting the edge) THEN ride it through, then flatten out the ski (taking the edge off) and relax, then roll the ski back onto angle. Again keeping the feet slightly wider gives you balance and room for the body to do this. Find a nice easy slope and begin there, take your time, you are going to feel and probably look like a smuck the first few times. But it will come and you will go AHHH ! that’s what he meant.

I see you looking pretty rigid, this is causing you to loose balance and recover. Before you start a run, glide along and wiggle and jiggle your whole body until you feel loose (smuck time) then begin to make turns. Think of letting your skis ride/flow/glide across the terrain as it lays in front of you and gently angling your skis to make the rest of your body go where you want. If you are loose and relaxed it will come easy, if you are rigid it will feel like you are fighting it to happen.

One of the things that I see a little of ( I was so bad for this myself) is the angle of your shoulders. I know it feel so good to ride out the angulation while making a turn with your whole body (like on a motorcycle) but….. try to think of keeping your shoulders flat, while the bottom half of your body makes the angles. As you turn right think of bending the other way at the waist and almost crunching your left side towards downhill. This will keep your shoulders level. This is another smuck moment. Exaggerate this, find an easy slope and as you make a right turn try to lean way to the left with your upper body. You really do want to lean towards downhill trust me.

One last thing that really helped me is to think of getting your skeleton and bones to line up just so (this isn’t easy to do, but when you get it you will know). When this happens skiing stops being a activity of using a lot of muscle and energy and turns into a symphony of easy because your body becomes a pillar of strength and it does the work for you. You can ride out fast high G turn with very little effort.

Enjoy the rest of the great info that is to come. Try to get some clearer video so the detail can be better seen. Oh and take a few lessons, they are money well spent.
post #3 of 19
Those straight ski habits are a pain to break.

You say that you are trying to carve the whole turn. Along those lines, you want to be able to change edges without pushing the tails uphill, set an edge at the top of the arc and ride it through the arc. This also requires that you let go of the old turn before starting the new one, which means that the outside foot has to release and actively lead the turn as the new inside foot. Doing so requires using the feet to change edges and releasing that outside ski. Right now your feet appear to be waiting for your shoulders to go first. Those two things are more than enough to concentrate on at first. I probably wouldn't worry about anything else until you feel that you have that working well, unless you aren't setup well in your boots. Then I would go do that first instead.

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Marmot. I think your stance width is fine. Go with your instinct on that one, like your post below mine says.

Doing a forum search on the topics of the inside foot and releasing should yield a wealth of good material. Ultimately, this should yield a rounder turn without the kink that is currently appearing from the late edge set. Patience in waiting for the turn to develop properly is a must have, otherwise it's a constant fight to not rush the feet around.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Marmot -

Thanks for looking at my videos.

I was going to wait for a couple of posts before replying, but I'm not that patient.

Let me react to your comments more or less in order, but first a general comment - I think a big part of my problem is not so much that I can't ski better, but that I don't ski better (a lot of the time) because of deeply ingrained bad habits.

Now I'm sorta wishing I'd left out the headwall clip - I know I'm skiing pretty badly in that one. (It was my first non-trivial run of the year. I was also having problems telling where the snow was cause of the lousy visibility.)

Stance width - this is a genuine puzzlement for me. My feet "want" to be close together. It feels weird to me to separate them, and I'm not sure how far they should go. It's also the one aspect of modern technique that I'm tempted to argue against, but I've promised myself to fully commit to modernity (at least for a trial period), so I won't.

Excessive pivoting - this is the biggest thing I'm trying to drive out of my skiing. I know I was doing a lot of it in the headwall clip; that's why I said I wasn't looking my best. I thought I mostly avoided it in the glades clips. One of the biggest exceptions was right by the camera, though.

Rigidity - I think that was mostly a first day thing, but who knows.

Angulation - it's not as automatic as it should be - if I don't think about it, it doesn't happen. I think I had pretty nicely squared off shoulders in some of the glades turns. Others I forgot and was just banked. Or do you think I should have more angulation than (to pick an example) the frame six seconds into the first clip?

Skeletal stacking - I didn't think I had a problem with this. Was there something specific you saw?

There is something else I see, but it may not be obvious with the crummy video -- the bottom of my turn skids out sometimes, especially when I turn to the right. For example, in the 2nd clip, my first right turn and all of the left turns are ok, but the second and third right turns skid out. (I can't really tell what is going on once I pass the camera.)

I also can't tell if the skid happens first and the rest is a recovery, or if I'm doing it "subconsciously on purpose" to tighten up the turn. I do know I'm not doing it "on purpose on purpose."

I guess I'll have to take my good camera next time -- the problem is I have to baby it, unlike the one I used here.

I just went back and looked at the headwall clip again. I guess it is not as completely atypical as I'd like. Some of the bad things there are definitely not how I would usually ski. But the pivoted turn initiation is definitely my default fall-back mechanism. That aspect of that run is what I would do on challenging terrain whenever I wasn't thinking about it. It's the biggest bad habit (or more kindly, "obsolete technique") I'm trying to unlearn.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl View Post
Right now your feet appear to be waiting for your shoulders to go first.
That's probably because I was thinking about angulation. Sigh...
You are right that I wasn't paying attention to my feet on those runs. I couldn't actually tell you when / how I released the old edge.


You said "Along those lines, you want to be able to change edges without pushing the tails uphill..." Was I doing that, or is this a statement of general principle? (I didn't think I was - I thought it was only at the bottom of the turns that I sometimes had a problem.)
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Stance width - this is a genuine puzzlement for me. My feet "want" to be close together. It feels weird to me to separate them, and I'm not sure how far they should go. It's also the one aspect of modern technique that I'm tempted to argue against, but I've promised myself to fully commit to modernity (at least for a trial period), so I won't.
The idea behing getting them wide is to break the habit of being close, once you get the idea and feel the feet will find their happy spot, but being really close is of no use unless in powder or bumps.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Rigidity - I think that was mostly a first day thing, but who knows.
I only mentioned this as this a bad habit of mine in trying to keep my upper body quiet, and my tendancies to look wild when skiing. I tend to get tense in my control to stop this. But I ski best when I am loose and in the zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Angulation - it's not as automatic as it should be - if I don't think about it, it doesn't happen. I think I had pretty nicely squared off shoulders in some of the glades turns. Others I forgot and was just banked. Or do you think I should have more angulation than (to pick an example) the frame six seconds into the first clip?.
for sure some of your turns the shoulders were okay. Again this is one thing that greatly improved my overall skiing as it helps align the body, and creates consistent style, plus it greatly helps with balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Skeletal stacking - I didn't think I had a problem with this. Was there something specific you saw?
do some browsing of you tube and google video of good skiers. Look at their form. You will see a differance to yours. This is where this comment came from. Again I had this problem and still do somedays. When you line up right skiing becomes oh so easy. When it happens you will know it. Boots and gear alignment play a big part in this. We can make every effort to be right, but if the boots and equip. won't let us there is nothing you can do but fight it or only be close.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
I guess I'll have to take my good camera next time -- the problem is I have to baby it, unlike the one I used here.
yes do that and do it often. The Bears are always happy to assist. the better the quality, the better the MA. I wouldn't worry too much about a vid cam. Put the strap on it and around your neck. Put it in your jacket and forget about it. As long as you are not hucking cliffs and going ape $hit it should be fine.
post #7 of 19
mdf: You said you know about your pivoting - I suggest that you were entering the turn sorta correctly but the hips were swinging to the outside in the fall line causing the skidding. The headwall vid is good as it tells us where you are coming from.

My suggestions: Open your stance so you can strive for early edge engagement. A narrow stance promotes banking in the belly of the turn, angulation will be easier with an open stance. Try it at home with a wall to support you. Your feet, placed a hip width apart, may not feel that unusual. With an open stance on the slopes, and shaped skis, drive your knees forward to the tips of the skis until you can feel the inside edge of the ouside ski (forward of the binding) engage the snow. When it happens you'll know it.

Secondly, after your pole plant, you tend to move your upper body "up and over" the pole. Instead, as your pole touches the snow, try driving that hand forward and allow your upper body to follow in that forward direction. This movement into the new turn may also help you with early edge engagement.

When you do round out your turn shape, you will find the opportunity exists for better speed control.

If your right turns are different than your left turns, it may be time for orthodics in your boots. For the time being, try climbing stairs starting with your opposite foot so your legs might develop evenly.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Was I doing that, or is this a statement of general principle? (I didn't think I was - I thought it was only at the bottom of the turns that I sometimes had a problem.)
Yes. In the video you posted you are often pivoting the tails up the hill to start the turn. Up is in context to the turn though, so to be more precise you are pivoting the ski such that the tail is outside the arc of the tip. The wash out at the bottom of the turn is symptomatic of the movements taking place from edge change to the fall line.

It comes from trying to rush the skis through the fall line. Review the video and look for how often you have both feet pointed straight down the fall line in the middle of the turn. It seems to me that in most cases you already have the feet pointed to the inside of the turn by this point.

Learning to carve the top of the turn is not something that will just instantly click with any one pointer or two so set your expectations appropriately. It takes a while to overcome habit and not stem or rush that portion. Again, I don't think there is anything wrong with your stance that is preventing you from carving the top of the turn.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Onyxji -
Ok, now I see the pivot. It is much more pronounced in the second clip than the first. It's amazing how hard it is to look at yourself and really see what is going on. I had to watch the clip about ten times before I saw it.
Thx.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
It's amazing how hard it is to look at yourself and really see what is going on.
It really is, especially if you aren't studying MA a lot. It's pretty easy to pick up a style and say two or three skiers look the same, but it takes some study of video in slow motion to really see what the skiing mechanics are. Once you get a feel for that, it gets a lot easier with a starting point of things to look for when you see another skier that falls into that pattern.

Check out this link since you are a supporter.
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=14780
post #11 of 19
Your pivot is a symptom of straight skiitis.

You are entering turns by making an "up" rather than by changing edges. When you go "up" instead of into the new turn, you reduce weight on the skis and they tend to realign with the way your body is facing (down the hill), even if it's your intention to roll onto edges and use them to produce the turn. That's why the tips swing toward downhill and the tails swing toward uphill at the starts of your turns. Then, when you begin to employ your edges, you end up overpowering them, giving you the washout you see at the ends of some turns. If you put your new edges to work at the start of the new turn, and if your pressure is correct in your boots, you should feel the tips drawing you into the turn and carrying you through the turn.

I'd suggest you find a L3 instructor and work on improving turn entry.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Kneale -
Interesting... I knew I had an up move on steeper hills or in the bumps, but I thought it was a less important issue. But it appears to all be part of the same ball of wax. (I also didn't realize I was still going up on easier pitches).

I'm going to camp in Feb at JH again this year. As I've said elsewhere, it is really just four days of group lessons. (In fact it was camp last year that got me started, by making me realize that there was something to fix. There was one other older guy in my group, and the two of us joked we needed lessons on how to unlearn to ski.)

I may try to squeeze in an extra lesson between now and then. I hadn't been planning to, but...
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

more video and some self-analysis

Generally, I think the analysis is pretty accurate.
I went out on Dec 17 (to Sunday River, Maine). Since there was a chance of rain, I didn't take the good camera. (So I have the waterproof camera's poor video again).

This time I mostly just skiied, only thinking a little about form.

One surprise - if I don't think about it, my stance width looks pretty reasonable. I have about one boot width open space between my feet.

This is probably saying what everyone else said in different words, but I would summarize my situation as follows: I don't have a short-radius carved turn. When I want to make a short turn, or tighten up an already-in-progress long radius turn, I kick my hips (and therefore my tails) out instead of digging in my tips.

Conditions were blue runs, mostly not very steep (but steeper than the 8 Dec runs) with spring conditions (in December!) -- lots of loose granular, small-to-medium soft bumps in some places.

This clip is straight down the fall doing short radius turns.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...23878087&hl=en

This one is mostly long(ish) radius turns, with a tighter turn w/ tail skid near the end.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...87665933&hl=en

And this one has some smallish bumps (a foot or two high, probably) and some fallen skiers to choose a route around.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...13768679&hl=en

As I said, I don't think this contradicts what was said before, but it does clarify things for me. Kneale's turn initiation diagnosis is (I think) the crux that everything else hangs on.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Reading the ESA Stowe threads kicked something loose mentally, so I went back and re-read the archived "perfect turn" stuff. It sunk in a lot more this time.

Even more important than variable-radius carves, I need to work on that "third way" -- steering with the tips, without pushing out the tails.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to practice before too long.
post #15 of 19
MDF,

Stand taller and try not to hinge so much in the waist. Then try all the other suggestions in this post and you should feel improvement.------Wigs
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wigs -
Bending at the waist is another thing I knew about but thought I had under control.

I've been thinking about root causes... and I think the most fundamental issue is that I don't shift my weight fore and aft. I move laterally, but keep the front-back axis centered (or even slightly back sometimes).

I need to learn a new movement pattern that shifts foreward.
Sound reasonable?

It is 90% me, but 10% of what is happeneing may be that my boots may be a little too upright. I'm going to go put them on in the basement (w/ skis) and check later.
post #17 of 19
mdf, did not read through any of the replies below so there might be some great advice there and maybe Im repeting things that has been said but here we go:

Good rhythm and speed in the first two videos. You can ski those easy slopes like a walk in the park but in the third video clip bad habbits, lack of skill and fear seems leaps in to you system.

One thing that is very easy to fix is the turn radius. You try to rush through the fall line and put your skis in a prominent skidding mode insted of trying to even out the skidding through out the whole turn. Start the sidding phase way before the fall line and keep it consistent. Your speed will increase as you go through the fall line but dont let that scare you, just be patient and wait for your skis to come out of the fall line and your speed will also slow down. Now you sort of lock yourselfe into a backseat angulated waist bent skidding stance and wait for that next turn to switch into.

Try to work more with your leggs. I was playing tennis today and had to mentally put me into a "super tennis player mode" mobilizing my whole body... I had to look at the ball and bend my knees and time my stepps and involve my left arm and drop the racquett head and shift my gripp and turn my shoulder and follow through and put spinn on the ball and step through and hurry back into position..... This is what you should do more of when you ski. You should try to ski and not just let stuff happen. It feels a bit stupid at first because we usually never express things with our body and dooing it feels uncomfortable at first but look at WC skiers, great mogul skiers or why not cross country skiers as well, lots of hard work and dynamic flow. Work more with your leggs and try to find moguls and other terrain objects to help you unweight and retract.

I mentioned fear earlier. Fear or lets say hesitation steps into the pickture when you are way over your head on a steep crappy slope. Since you do your regular nice skiing with your skis in a closed position you should try to do it on steeps as well. Setting the stance wide only hurts your skiing. Try them close together, it will force you to use your regular technique and develop your balance.

Those few things if you can incorporate them into your skiing you will be looking much much better .
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Wigs -
Bending at the waist is another thing I knew about but thought I had under control.

I've been thinking about root causes... and I think the most fundamental issue is that I don't shift my weight fore and aft. I move laterally, but keep the front-back axis centered (or even slightly back sometimes).

I need to learn a new movement pattern that shifts foreward.
Sound reasonable?

It is 90% me, but 10% of what is happeneing may be that my boots may be a little too upright. I'm going to go put them on in the basement (w/ skis) and check later.
While you're at it, if you have a deck of cards laying around, start with just a few and put them under the toes of the boot while standing on a flat surface. You should notice that the more card you put under your toes, the more your hips come forward. You may want to visit a boot fitter and have a lift put under your toes. Just a thought.------Wigs
post #19 of 19
mdf

You have received a lot of advice here and I will add my 2 cents. Here is what a CSIA instructor is likely to say about your skiing.

Good intermediate skiing. Able to get down a variety of terrain in control with linked turns. You are well on your way.

While I don't disagree with the advice offered, I have a slightly different take on what you need to do to strengthen your skiing. I believe you need to learn to turn your feet independent of your upper body. We call this skill pivoting up here in the great white north. Pivoting really means turning the femurs in the hip sockets without involving the upper body. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the role of pivoting in skiing; indeed some of the suggestions offered to you reflect a common bias against it. I believe that there is even a suggestion that there is too much "pivoting" in your skiing, but what I think is meant is that there is too much early skidding, and lack of edge engagement. I would argue that this is actually due to lack of good pivoting skills.

Think of how a car turns to the right. First the wheels turn to the right. For a brief second the wheels point to the right but the body of the car points straight ahead. THEN the body of the car responds and IS TURNED to the right by the wheels which still point further to the right than the body. Throughout the turn the wheels lead the way, always pointing further to the right than the body. Think of your skis as the wheels, and your upper body (from then pelvic bones up to your shoulders ) as the body of the car. To steer, turn your wheels (skis) by turnning your legs below your hips; let your upper body follow rather than lead.

Now of course the car analogy is not perfect. In skiing we don't steer our skiis just by turning them. We also, in combination with the turning effort TIP them as well. Sometimes we might choose just to tip the skis, as in higher performance skiing, and carving. So does this mean that when we tip the skis we don't pivot? Not at all. The most important point of the car analogy is that the upper body isn't involved in making the skis turn in the same way as the lower body. The legs are turned independently of the upper body. If we chose to simply tip the skis rather than turn them, the tipping effort we make is biomechanically the same as if we turn them; that is you are rotating your femers in the hip sockets. So whether turning, or tipping and turning, or just tipping, it's the legs that do it.

In your skiing, there is a marked tendency to turn and tip your skis with the whole body. We call this a lack of upper/lower body separation.This is more pronounced on the steeper run but is also evident elsewhere. One of the biggest consequences of this is that you put yourself out of balance. If you had a glass coffee table and a bee landed on it would you use a hammer or a fly swatter to kill it? You could certainly kill it with the hammer but you would destroy table too! The fly swatter will do the job nicely. Accomplish the task without the unfortunate side effects! In skiing, the muscular action of the lower body, like the fly swatter, provides just enough action to do the job.

One other point. Far more skilled instructors that I have pointed out that this important skill does generally need to be taught and learned. Most folks do not pick it up out of the air. That is why the hills are quite crowded with skiers who ski without upper/lower body separation.

So for my money, working on this is a very worthwhile project for you. And it won't become a habit for a while either, but with a few lessons and a big effort on your part learning to use your legs independently of the upper body will make a HUGE difference in your skiing. Good luck.

cdnguy
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