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How to ski backwards?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok here is my issues. Last season we put our daughter in ski school. She did well with her instructor, who was in front of here, but backwards.

My darling daughter wanted to ski with me (who just graduated to the blue slopes). I went down the bunny hill with her in front, holding on to my poles...what a disaster Didn't go well because I'm short and couldn't get enough distance behind her, so skis were crossing. She really wants to ski with me next year and I her.

So for next season I figure maybe I better learn how to ski backwards. She responded very well to her instructor in that stance.

It would just kill me to not be able to ski with her. The sad reality is that in two years she will be teaching me how to do things

Any tips on how I should approach skiing backwards? Where do I start?
post #2 of 27
Skiing switch is done on twins, very fast, pretty much parrellel, and by teenagers.
Skiing backwards with your kid is done on a low angle slope in a snowplow, tips out, tails together. Simply weight one ski and let it drift backwards in a short arc across the fall line. When you've come perpendicular to the fall line weight the uphill ski and it will bring you back across in an opposite arc. Keep eyes on kid and encourage him/her to follow your turns. Kid will giggle and laugh at you going backwards. Look over your shoulder from time to time and pay attention to your weighting/unweighting and feel your skis because falling down while attempting to look like a professional instructor is very embarrassing. Practice makes perfect.
post #3 of 27
Wedging ,yes?
You ski backwards the same way you ski frontwards in a wedge. Maybe you and your girl try skiing that way together . It's a good drill for a beginners and it's easy for a kid to control themselves and get a feel of what it should feel like to ski the other way around. Try it first on easy terrain with a safe runout to a stop to build confidence. You'll both learn something.

If you ski in front of her backwards put your hands in front and play patty cake as she learns to keep a space between you. Get her to follow you into turns As soon as she gets confidant enough to follow you without your skiing backwards do so and play follow the leader. Use a low edge wedge and emphasize turns to control speed and for an out when you need to. You turn out of the fall line to slow not brake and it's best not to get her into a habit of braking in a wedge to stop .
post #4 of 27
wedging backwards

make a reverse wedge, bend you joints, and just press the way you want to go like an old school pizza wedge. You an even teach this to your daughter who will have a blast at it.

you dont need thsi but its fun to talk about.
skiing switch get some twin tips, weight the back of your boots and look over your outside shoulder switching for each turns. you will be using full body rotation cause femur in the socket leg steering doesnt work so well backwards.

or you could..

Pick up a copy of Anomaly and watch Marc Andre rip powder backwards. Then go to snowbird to find out he is learning how to monoski in powder and ask him what you should do and he'll tell you roughly the above in weird acent.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
Skiing switch is done on twins, very fast, pretty much parrellel, and by teenagers.
Who you calling a teenager. Almost any newer ski can be skied switch. I go switch on race skis no problem on the groom. The fast part I'll leave to the teenagers.:
post #6 of 27
Don't ski backwards. First, you will still be learning and trying to ski backwards in front of her. If you aren't good at this skill, don't subject your daughter to it. Second, next year she will be older and won't need someone to ski backwards with her. Backward skiing will be obsolete, for these purposes.

How old is she?

When the boy was learning I skied with him between my legs. This turned out to be a bad idea. Some how he fell and I actually ran over him. He was fine and very lucky. At the time my edges were serrated.

You can use a strap system which allows you to control speed from behind. I have seen it work well, but not that often.

Best aid of all was the Magic Carpet, without me as the instructor. That's where the confidence came together.
post #7 of 27
Backward skiing is a really good way for beginners to understand the stance and forward body position for skiing. Their impulses are to sit down or break at the waist. Skiing backwards is a worthy skill for a young skier and also for the fella who just started skiing blues.

As far as a beginner skiing in front of a newbee that is a bit scary. Maybe try this next to each other for some fun but with a safe runout.
post #8 of 27
If you feel the need to do this, go out onto the beginner hill as soon as the lifts open and there is no traffic and the place is well groomed.

Critical issues will be "sensitive receptors" aka, other warm bodies around you. At 8:00 opening the bunny slope is usually deserted.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
Skiing switch is done on twins, very fast, pretty much parrellel, and by teenagers....

Who knew that 53 is considered being a teen ager? Whoohooo
post #10 of 27
I teach a lot of beginners (kids and adults) how to ski backwards. It's easy. If you can walk up a hill in herringbone/duck feet, you can ski backwards, just by relaxing the grip of the skis a bit. It's just a backwards wedge, after all.
post #11 of 27
Alliegator,

Leave the backward skiing to the pros as paul jones states. Sence you want to ski with your daughtor, stay on slopes the two of you can ski comfortably forward. As noted in a post above, don't ski in such a way where there is breaking by using a snowplow.

I am very carefull when skiing with children that I use the nice gliding turn shape to control speed. It is too easy to overface them with terrain for their weding technique, and their wedge turn turns into a breaking wedge (wide wedge, high edge) and a very painfull turn.

She won't get better by skiing harder terrain, but will get better by mastering easy terrain where shi can follow you as you ski forward.

RW
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
Don't ski backwards. First, you will still be learning and trying to ski backwards in front of her. If you aren't good at this skill, don't subject your daughter to it. Second, next year she will be older and won't need someone to ski backwards with her. Backward skiing will be obsolete, for these purposes.

How old is she?

When the boy was learning I skied with him between my legs. This turned out to be a bad idea. Some how he fell and I actually ran over him. He was fine and very lucky. At the time my edges were serrated.

You can use a strap system which allows you to control speed from behind. I have seen it work well, but not that often.
Best aid of all was the Magic Carpet, without me as the instructor. That's where the confidence came together.
I have to throw my hat in with Paul and Ron with this one. If your not proficient in skiing backwards, do NOT do it anywhere in the vicinity of your child. Or if your not very comfortable on skis, don't ski with him/her between you legs, either. I've carted several kids off the hill who had a parent (once it was an instructor) fall on them. One of them was pretty serious.
Use the strap system if they're not ready to ski on thier own.
post #13 of 27
I also agree with Paul, Ron and 2T. Although skiing backwards with a student/client can be very useful, attempting to control your child while you are having trouble controlling yourself is not recommended.

How old is your daughter? It sounds like she may be young enough that she doesn't have adequate motor control to ski independently, since she was apparently in some contact with the instructor and then hanging on to your poles when you attempted to ski with her.

Some children have sufficient motor control to ski down a small, very easy slope at 3, but it's more common, despite parents' expectations, for this level of control not to appear until 5 or 6.

Reins have been mentioned. They may be useful, but they can also form dependencies. An edgy-wedgy may also help, but, for the same reason, should only be used minimally.

The goal, if your daughter is up to it, is independent gliding and steering, and it may be best to allow an instructor to get her to that point. If she has sufficient muscular development and control, it won't take more than a day or two. Then you can ski with her, but the runs must be well within her comfort zone and her ability.

Can she maintain a small wedge by herself while gliding down a very small slope?

A large wedge is not required; you want to use steering for speed control.

If she can maintain a small wedge, can she steer a little by pointing her toes even slightly in a chosen direction as she's gliding?

If she can steer even a little, steering skill will develop rapidly. If she can't, you must stay on slopes where speed control is not an issue. I realize that this is extremely limiting, but her comfort is extremely important if you want her to do it again. She's gotta have fun. Do not allow your hopes and expectations to overwhelm her. When you're skiing with her, you're there for her, not yourself.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
The goal, if your daughter is up to it, is independent gliding and steering, and it may be best to allow an instructor to get her to that point. If she has sufficient muscular development and control, it won't take more than a day or two. Then you can ski with her, but the runs must be well within her comfort zone and her ability.
Right on the money jh!


Alliegator,

Quote:
Do not allow your hopes and expectations to overwhelm her. When you're skiing with her, you're there for her, not yourself.
Never forget this very important point.

Enjoy watching her grow and learn!

RW
post #15 of 27
I am once again not qualified in this area, BUT my experience is worth consideration. The Magic Carpet really works well. Try to find a slope that is almost flat so the girl can go straight down and not get speed. If she falls it will be a minor one. I mean real flat - safe to go straight with auto stop.

Don't push her. Let some one else, like an instructor.

Take lots of breaks, but keep going back. Remember, lots of approval and praise, and don't forget the reward. We still get the reward in our family.

There's more
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. Maybe I will just wait until she can turn and stop on her own. IF I were to ski with her it will only be on the bunny slopes. Luckily we get up early before most people are even having their first cup of coffee. In addition we are going again at a dead time of the year, so very few people on the slopes. In her eyes though, going down the bunny slopes is skiing with mommy. There is a magic carpet at Deer Valley and that is where she did part of her instruction, but she got bored I think, so they had her on the lift and down the bunny slope.

If I do this, I will practice on my own at first but I have a feeling next year she is going to be coming out like a champ. Last season she was 3.5yr and knew how to make a pizza wedge and fries...even knows that wedge is to stop and fries is faster. She has great balance but her little legs just weren't strong enough to stop on her own in the wedge. I'm figuring next year she will be 4.5yr and have more strength.

Thanks for everyones honesty. I still would like to upgrade my skills. At some point I'm just going to have to do it and bite the bullet, as with everything...maybe take some licks :
post #17 of 27
Let's see if others with much more credential will agree with me. From Alliegator's last post, I observed a couple things worth pointing out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
There is a magic carpet at Deer Valley and that is where she did part of her instruction, but she got bored I think, so they had her on the lift and down the bunny slope.
She should not have been brought over to the bunny slope until she can comfortably turn and somewhat able to stop. Regardless of age, one does not leave the magic carpet until he/she can link turns and manage to control his/her stop. A 3.5 yo does not normally get tired of the magic carpet (especially with one session) if the instructor is able to hold her interest. Taking such a young kid onto a lift to ski the bunny slope before she's ready is just idiotic and irresponsible, IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
She has great balance but her little legs just weren't strong enough to stop on her own in the wedge. I'm figuring next year she will be 4.5yr and have more strength.
With today's equipment and techniques, it requires hardly any strength to turn. To extend this to stopping, you turn until you can go no more. This is the right way to stop versus breaking from a wedge (as some already pointed out). For a 3.5 yo, the problem lies more at the ability to follow instructions or else to apply the technique accordingly. But, there are many drills an instructor can do to stimulate/trick the child into doing the right things. But, if it does happen, it will probably take a few 1-hour lessons.
post #18 of 27
chanwmr,

I agree with your post 100%

RW
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok..this was supposed to be about ME skiing backwards and not whether or not the resort did a good job teaching my child, which in my eyes they did. Although, I appreciate everyones advice.

Thanks Mr. Crab, BushwackerinPA and GarryZ for the tips. I think I will try them out solo. Maybe I will see Mr. Crab or Bushwackerin out on the slopes in January!
post #20 of 27
I'm sorry that my "tips" weren't of use to you! Never mind.

Now I can tell you that most of us (the overpaid ski instructors) were never taught to ski backwards, but found ourselves with a bunch of kids and simply had to ski backwards, and so we just did it. No one taught us. We just adapted.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Sorry Ant, thank you as well I didn't mean to leave you out.

Exactly what you said about being forced to/adapting to skiing backwards is kinda how I figured people got started. It's not like when I was first taught how to ski they said "oh and here is how you ski backwards." I'd like to learn to ski this way...just in case.

So you are saying as you face uphill, my tips will be wedged together facing that same direction upill? Which is opposite as the other have said. Am I correct?

I will have to try both ways next season and see which way is easiest for me. I appeciate all the advice. Hopefully next season I can report back and say I was successful!
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
Sorry Ant, thank you as well I didn't mean to leave you out.

Exactly what you said about being forced to/adapting to skiing backwards is kinda how I figured people got started. It's not like when I was first taught how to ski they said "oh and here is how you ski backwards." I'd like to learn to ski this way...just in case.

So you are saying as you face uphill, my tips will be wedged together facing that same direction upill? Which is opposite as the other have said. Am I correct?

I will have to try both ways next season and see which way is easiest for me. I appeciate all the advice. Hopefully next season I can report back and say I was successful!
Please post video of this backwards skiing in a reverse snowplow when you attempt it, I just can't envision it...
well, without laughing.
post #23 of 27
no, what I'm sure she meant is that your tips will be apart, and your tails together. If you walk uphill in an herringbone (or what lots of kids' instructors describe as a "duck walk"), then bring the tips slightly together until you begin to slide backwards. But, if you want your child to mirror your skiing, please don't use the backwards wedge for braking, but make turns while skiing switch (backwards).

And 2-turn, I believe Alliegator is a relative beginner, and the sarcasm is uncalled for here. Try tgr, I'm sure you'll be jonged to your heart's content over there.
post #24 of 27
Have one lead foot and practice. After awhile you get used to it.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
no, what I'm sure she meant is that your tips will be apart, and your tails together.
Yes.
Skiing backwards in this way is not terribly difficult, once you practice it a little. However, if you're new to it, and trying to help a 4-year-old whose control is also a bit sketchy, things can go seriously bad in an astonishing number of ways. If, for example, she gets away from you a little bit and manages to steer into one of your ski tips, she can pull your ski out from under you in a way that will cause severe damage to your knee. Not recommended! Instructors can generally move faster than their students, even in reverse, but you may not have the same advantage.

One low risk way you can help her and spend time with her is to take your skis off. Then you can walk backwards in front of her and assure her that you will catch her if she needs it. You can get her to follow you through gentle turns. You can take a turn around far enough so that she comes to a stop. You have full mobility and control, and she can get close to you without running into your skis.

This should all be taking place on a very flat slope and at very low speeds. It's safer for you to do it without your skis. Many ski areas have a dedicated area for small children, and you'll often see instructors working without their skis.

Once she gets good enough at this so that she can glide and turn to a stop without hanging on, you can consider putting your skis back on and skiing next to her - with both of you facing forward. Then both of you will really be skiing!
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post
Ok..this was supposed to be about ME skiing backwards and not whether or not the resort did a good job teaching my child, which in my eyes they did. Although, I appreciate everyones advice.
Sorry to upset you about what you said. What you stated about the lesson stood out, and I was merely pointing out what many (if not all) good instructors/coaches would consider as abnormal and unacceptable. What I did have a problem with is being tactful. (the story of my life)

I'll be blunt. What most of the others have put in a much nicer way is don't ignor the root problem. Learn to ski backwards if you must and here are a few pointers. But, have you and your daughter work on the fundalmentals and everyone will better off.

Please take notice that skiing is a long journey no matter the progression. We parents all want our children to make us proud but at times we lose sight of the thing called progression.
post #27 of 27
Alliegator,
If you're interested in having another option to be skiing with your daughter, this approach worked really well for me during my kids' first years on skis.

Consider getting a pair of snow blades. Gathering that you're a relatively new groomer skier, these are perfect tools to allow you to ski with your child side-by-side (once she's ready to be skiing on her own). These short skis can give you the feeling of going pretty fast without actually skiing fast, especially if you are making a lot of small and quick turns. They also can be used as a carving learning aid (arguably) if you do things right.
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