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Beginner in Park/Freestlye?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Riighht.

All you freestyle/park skiers out there, how did you start off?
I just got a pair of twin-tips and I'm sort of looking to start off in the park. I'm an adept all-mountain skier.

I was just wondering, do you learn stuff yourself, or do you go to ski camps and so on?
I tend to just go with buddies around the same ability and try and teach each other tricks.
Is it better to go to some beginner freestyle camps?
post #2 of 27
hey, i just did a season and i would say i was a beginner at freestyle when i started and have progressed a bit since. I like yourself bought myself a pair of twin tips and went out with a couple of mates of similar ability to try and learn some stuff. We started off by using natural jumps and then progressed to the park, basically you learn by crashing and watching each other and working stuff out. After a couple of weeks we booked ourselves a lesson with an instructor to try and progress a bit and it definitely helped but you really only need to know the basics and then go out and practice it. The key to success though is the people around you pushing each other
post #3 of 27
I started on the path to becoming a "park rat" a few seasons ago. I have never taken a serious lesson. In short, I taught myself everything. Like moorsj said, natural jumps are a great place to start (rollers are ideal). When you feel confident, you can progress to the smaller hits in the park, gradually working your way up bigger and bigger. For the record, I do not own a pair of twintips (YET) but I am already fairly good at sliding rails. A word of caution, be sure you are 110% confident on large hits before you try a gap jump. Not only is it dangerous if you come up short, but you need to be able to stabilize yourself in the air. Once you get good at them, they are great fun! try this website if you have any more questions: www.niftytricks.com.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've got a bit of a problem. If I pop too far/high I tend to lose my balance a bit and landing on the back seat. How to I keep my balance? I guess it has a lot to do with confidence.
post #5 of 27
Practice. Air-balance takes repetition and practice...
post #6 of 27
Also, spot a jump before you hit it... If you can estimate how long you will be in the air, that will help. I find that when I get significantly more air than expected, I botch landings. On the other hand, if I knew I was going to get *about* that much air, the landing would be easier..


Another thing that helped me was to do something in the air... like a small split and bring it back together before landing... Something about doing something with the legs helped me gain balance better. Worth a shot...
post #7 of 27
One more thing... sorry to post so far after... I had the same issues with landing in the back seat when I started... my friend told me to pop forward instead of popping straight up... long story short... popping forward caused me to pretty much half front flip... Unconsciious for 15 mins.. going in and out for the next hour or so... severe concussion, they said at the hospital...

That was last season, this season I started small and worked my way up.. lots of practice and landing in the back seat and pretty soon I could land small jumps in balance. Medium size jumps I still land a little out of balance though.
post #8 of 27

Backseat solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJDaveX View Post
I've got a bit of a problem. If I pop too far/high I tend to lose my balance a bit and landing on the back seat. How to I keep my balance? I guess it has a lot to do with confidence.
: The solution to getting backseat is very simple. Now I'm no scientists, but from what I've seen and learned, you get backseat because 1. When you take off the lip of the jump, you let yourself get pushed back by gravity or 2. You center of gravity (COG) is to high and off center. To correct getting pushed back by the takeoff, when you pop, throw your hands foreward (but not too much, or you'll eat it big time). That helps you get just a little frontseat so you can land it clean. If your COG is too high, do a grab in midair. Not only does is keep your COG low and centered, but it also looks cooler: than an ungrabbed straight-air.

PS: The COG problem is also an issue on rails.
post #9 of 27
Mmm. I'm still not exactly sure about this. I'm also beginning to get into freestyle, and I'm quite interested in getting into the park. For me, it seems that the trickest thing is sliding on a rail; exactly what kind of mindset should I approach the rail? I know I want to slide across it.
post #10 of 27
Freeski! On jumps put your hands forward to avoid landing in the backseat. Start on boxes, it's easier. If there are none then just find a nice short rail that's flat and commit to it. Don't slow right before the rail or you won't have enough speed. Basically ski towards the rail straight. Don't try to approach at an angle. Right before the rail hop up and rotate 90 degrees, hopefully landing on the rail. Remember to keep a wider stance to help with balancing and lean forward. The most common thing is to fall back on your uphill ski onto the rail. You'll probably do this a ton of times though before you get the hang of it. When you are approaching the end of the rail pop back up and rotate 90 and ski away. Or fall off at the end like I did my first time. It's fun when you get the hang of it. Good luck!
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I tried skiing rail a few times before getting the hang of it.

Try putting your hand on your ski which is going down the rail first. This stops you from leaning back... make sure you try to SLIDE on it, not hockey stop.

Try boxes too, they are fun...
post #12 of 27

Freesyle Ski Clinic

Anyone know of any freestyle ski clinics?
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
Anyone know of any freestyle ski clinics?
Killington has one... If a resort doesn't specify that they do have one just ask and they might be able to set you up with a lesson with someone who knowa what they're doing and could teach you a few things.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
Anyone know of any freestyle ski clinics?
Okemo offers intro and advanced park/pipe clinics. Feel free to PM me for details.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
Anyone know of any freestyle ski clinics?
If you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to get good at park and freestyle skiing and have a couple thousand dollars lying around, Whistler has a freestyle camp and there is another private one that I have heard great things about. Visit this website for more info: www.campofchampions.com or http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/gro...cier/index.htm. All great camps, but all super expensive. Might be worth it though .
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Anything at Whistler is worth it.
I had a park lesson for a day and at the end of the day I knew so much more and felt more confident as well.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJDaveX View Post
Anything at Whistler is worth it.
I had a park lesson for a day and at the end of the day I knew so much more and felt more confident as well.
That must have been fun. Was that camp really as great as their ads make it out to be? What did they teach you? Rails, tricks, whatever you wanted to know?
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAYClovis View Post
Mmm. I'm still not exactly sure about this. I'm also beginning to get into freestyle, and I'm quite interested in getting into the park. For me, it seems that the trickest thing is sliding on a rail; exactly what kind of mindset should I approach the rail? I know I want to slide across it.
I started trying to learn boxes and rails this season. Never quite made it to rails, but my approach was:
  1. Do lots and lots of boxes forwards. Just being comfortable on your skis on the box is a good first step.
  2. On an easier box (no gap between the ramp and the box) try pushing your tails out the side just as you're cresting the ramp. Start slowly, and crouch to keep your weight low. Increase your speed as you get more comfortable. The fist few times you won't get very far, but before you know it you'll be going fast enough to get across the whole box sideways. This approach worked way better for me than approaching the box at full speed right off the bat and wiping out pretty spectacularly.
  3. Once you can do the box sideways, move on to rails. This is where I'm stuck. Any tips would be much appreciated.
My main issue with rails is that they've much, much more slippery than the boxes I'm comfortable on. As soon as my skis hit them they just fly out from under me. I also have trouble on slicker boxes... the boxes I learned on seem to have more "grab" than a lot of other ones I've tried. Does anyone have any tips for working on this?
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelv View Post
[*]Once you can do the box sideways, move on to rails. This is where I'm stuck. Any tips would be much appreciated. [/list]My main issue with rails is that they've much, much more slippery than the boxes I'm comfortable on. As soon as my skis hit them they just fly out from under me. I also have trouble on slicker boxes... the boxes I learned on seem to have more "grab" than a lot of other ones I've tried. Does anyone have any tips for working on this?
rachelv,

You've given great advice for learning to slide boxes! Learning to slide rails is a lot like learning to slide boxes, although rails tend to be less likely to be of the "ride-on" variety (in other words, there's probably going to be a gap). Rails are also much less forgiving of a flawed stance, which is usually why the feet go flying as you've described.

My advice would be this:
  • Continue to practice on as many different boxes as you can. The more confident you become on boxes, the easier the transition to rails becomes.
  • Make a conscious effort to keep your body low & stacked (shoulders over hips over knees over feet) on the sliding surface
  • Always look towards the end of the feature...this helps to keep you balanced and moving towards the end of the feature. Some people say it helps to actually point the downhill hand towards the end as well.
  • Speed, speed, speed! The faster you approach a feature, the less time you'll actually spend on it.
Looking towards the end of the feature is so helpful, IMO, I'll include a few pictures that show me clearly looking where I want to end up.





post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelv View Post
I started trying to learn boxes and rails this season. Never quite made it to rails, but my approach was:
  1. Do lots and lots of boxes forwards. Just being comfortable on your skis on the box is a good first step.
  2. On an easier box (no gap between the ramp and the box) try pushing your tails out the side just as you're cresting the ramp. Start slowly, and crouch to keep your weight low. Increase your speed as you get more comfortable. The fist few times you won't get very far, but before you know it you'll be going fast enough to get across the whole box sideways. This approach worked way better for me than approaching the box at full speed right off the bat and wiping out pretty spectacularly.
  3. Once you can do the box sideways, move on to rails. This is where I'm stuck. Any tips would be much appreciated.
My main issue with rails is that they've much, much more slippery than the boxes I'm comfortable on. As soon as my skis hit them they just fly out from under me. I also have trouble on slicker boxes... the boxes I learned on seem to have more "grab" than a lot of other ones I've tried. Does anyone have any tips for working on this?
If the rails are feeling more slippery try leaning forward more until you get comfortable with them. Just keep trying on the rails and eventually you will get it. Faster is normally easier too. It seems for boxes your technique was to slide 90 degrees onto the box to do it sideways. Try not to slide as that will become a problem later. Facing straight towards the rail jump 90 just before you hit the rail. Just a little pop it needed. Then keep your skis farther apart than normal to balance and slide it. Always look towards the end of the rail/box at where you want to go. It makes a difference. Think about that as you're approaching the rail. After you slide it jump back 90 degrees or just flop off sideways assuming there isn't much of a drop. The biggest thing is to get comfortable with it. After that you'll do fine.
post #21 of 27
Thanks for the replies -- I am definitely not at the point where I'm actually jumping 90 degrees onto the boxes. I am also not that comfortable with speed. I guess I just need more time to practice on boxes before I move on to rails. I figured that was probably the case, but thought I might be doing something obvious wrong.

iskitoofast4u - we will definitely be trying one of Okemo's freestyle clinics next year -- I didn't realize they offered those. Cool pics, too. Here's a much less impressive one of me on my first box:



Maybe after next season I can offer up something that compares to yours.
post #22 of 27

Practice, practice, practice

rachelv,

Not bad! A few things to keep in mind:
  • Rome wasn't built in a day! It took me nearly 3 seasons of practice on smaller features to get to the point where I felt confident enough to hit the rails and boxes in those pictures.
  • It may not seem like the cool thing to do, but as with anything in the park - start small and gradually work your way up. With the variety of features available today, there's simply no reason to scare the bejeezus out of yourself on something too difficult.
  • As for spinning 90 onto the feature, you can practice that almost anywhere. Get yourself to the point where you can spin your skis 90 degrees on flat ground, then take that to a small box...practice it until you own it, then move on to the next feature.
  • You'll invariably hear someone say, "That's not skiing!" When they do, just smile - then go rock across the box

By the way, I would definitely recommend a freeride clinic, either at Okemo or elsewhere. It will do wonders for your confidence!
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelv View Post
Thanks for the replies -- I am definitely not at the point where I'm actually jumping 90 degrees onto the boxes. I am also not that comfortable with speed. I guess I just need more time to practice on boxes before I move on to rails. I figured that was probably the case, but thought I might be doing something obvious wrong.

iskitoofast4u - we will definitely be trying one of Okemo's freestyle clinics next year -- I didn't realize they offered those. Cool pics, too. Here's a much less impressive one of me on my first box:



Maybe after next season I can offer up something that compares to yours.
Don't say you can't spin 90. Try it and you'll be surprised. It's not too ahrd to do that on a first day even if you fall afterwards. Also you look backseat in the last image, try holding your poles forward while in the air or leaning forward.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yeah, you do look backseat in the last image, mind you, many newschool skiers use their tail for landings (they've got longer tails with center-mounted bindings, plus twintips).

You look good there, try going a bit more horizontal, you look sort of 3/4 of the way to 90 degrees.

I'll tell you what, you look a bit like your doing a tailpress there.

Also, if you want, try initiating the 90 degree spin with your upper body. As you reach the lip o the kicker/jump, just move your torso slightly from right-left/left-right (whichever you prefer). Just slightly, not too big or too much force. This is usually used in bigger spins, but it might work here.

If it doesn't work for you, nevermind then. I'm not a ski instructor, barely an advanced skier, I'm only 14, lol. I've been shredding all-mountain fore a while now, but I didn't start the park 'till sort of March, but since then I've gotten in around 30 days, improved a lot in the terrain park.

I'll admit, it was scary getting on my first rail. Try keeping a low stance. It may seem scary, but maybe try to touch your downhill leg, on the knee or below. This will stop the skis slipping out underneath you, keeping you going at the same speed. It does seem scary, but stops you leaning uphill (like a hockey stop) at which point your skis will go too fast and you wil fall backwards.


Quote:
Speed, speed, speed! The faster you approach a feature, the less time you'll actually spend on it.
Hell yeah. Boxes, not so much, I like spending my time. Rails, yes.
I love love love skiing switch really fast. I often ski down groomers switch the whole way. Soo much adrenaline lol.

BTW iskitoofast4u that thing you're on looks DOPE. I wanna hit it now lol. I saw it on some video over at NS. Are you a freestyle instructor over at Okemo? My home mountain won't invest in freestyle instructors, a lot of self teaching involved there. Also, the table-tops are ridiculous now, high knuckle which is deadly if you hit it, and too shallow landings. The terrain park was dope a couple years back, now they get dope rails and stuff but have jumps with low lips & high knuckles + too flat a landing, making it dangerous for advanceed skiers but safer for the kiddies/parents who dont ski newschool.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJDaveX View Post
BTW iskitoofast4u that thing you're on looks DOPE. I wanna hit it now lol. I saw it on some video over at NS. Are you a freestyle instructor over at Okemo?
It's dope but also very intimidating, at least at first. Because it was basically sitting on flat ground, an early exit to either side meant a good 8+ foot fall to flat.

I'm not a freestyle instructor per se at Okemo, although I can and do teach freestyle lessons when needed or asked.
post #26 of 27

I've had the same problem landing backseat, I found that if you really strengthen your legs, that will help. Try things like XC-skiing and just leg workouts like squats. Maybe try not even poping on a jump, then slowly poping more and more

post #27 of 27

Welcome to EpicSki!  The OP (Original Poster) is not likely to still be reading this thread . . . it's from 2007.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twintipz View Post

I've had the same problem landing backseat, I found that if you really strengthen your legs, that will help. Try things like XC-skiing and just leg workouts like squats. Maybe try not even poping on a jump, then slowly poping more and more

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