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Any converted 'old-school' skiers out there?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've been skiing most of my life, and I consider myself a strong 8/9. My Dad brought me up keeping my legs together, 'old school' style. So weather it's carving up the groomers or doing bumps, I like to keep my legs tight.

I know that modern technique calls for say 8-12 inch spacing, and I know that it's probably more stable. But I can't bring myself to separating them, as I feel that it looks better to be old school, and if I may be so bold, requires more skill.

I was curious to hear from any Old School skiers about the conversion to modern technique. (Just for context, I'm in my mid-30's. Lived on the east coast until recently - now in Denver.)

Is there anyone who still thinks old school is cool? (sorry for the rhyme... I couldn't help it.)
post #2 of 30
I think there are probably a lot of us that are converted from old school. All I can tell you is that modernizing my skiing has taken me to levels I didn't know I could reach, and I'm still trying for more.
post #3 of 30
Broohaha,

I am not an instructor, just and old school crank. There are many here who can explain the advantages of modern technique far better than I, but I do speak from experience.

I am 50 and skied like you for many years. Back in the 80's, before the advent of "shaped skis" I changed to a wider stance. It was not all that easy to change. At first, it felt very awkward, ungainly perhaps. I fell. I wondered if it was worth it. It was definately worth it. skiing a wider stance, once you are used to it, feels much more natural and balanced. You are better positioned to react to terrain and snow. One caveat, while still skiing on skinny skis I would revert to legs together skiing in powder and crud.
post #4 of 30
This is always a fun topic for me to discuss. The Old School, legs together technique evolved based on the equipment existing at the time. Over the history of our sport there have been several evolutions. Take a look at skiing in the 40s and 50s - it's amazing what people were doing in leather boots with free heels. I start off conversations on the topic with a question like "do you ride your horse and buggy to work each day?". Answer is 99.999% a big NO. So, if technology advances in transportation, it also has advanced in skiing.

As far as requiring more skill to ski Old School, I actually think it's more a case of different application of skills rather than more or less. The amount of physical work did seem to be higher in the 70s and 80s, but that's because the equipment necessitated that work. Now, the design of skis, boots and bindings has alleviated a good amount of the work needed to get a similar effect. If someone just stopped there at the plateau of just doing the same, I'd agree, skiing the older style does look better, requires more "skill" and seems cooler. However, as the last post states, an individual can apply the basic skills of skiing to the newer equipment and attain a higher level of performance, aided by the newer equipment.

Skiing modern equipment with 1981 style doesn't make one a modern skier. Movement patterns have changed in response to the equipment changes and the performance level attainable is higher and higher as a result.

Doing something different requires change. Simple statement, but a loaded one. Change isn't trying something new, not liking it and reverting back to a comfort level, but actually altering what is happening. This takes repetition and time.

You can stay with a pair of 203 cm slalom skis that look like toothpicks and work like crazy, or you can put aside the horse and buggy and move up to the unleaded gasoline-powered, rack and pinion steering, anti lock brake mode of transportation and learn to adapt the an ever-changing world. I think I look way cooler skiing on my 160's, slicing through snow of all kinds with modern movement patterns than I would on the pair of Fischer World Cup 203 cm slalom skis from 1993 that are in my garage.
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broohaha View Post
Is there anyone who still thinks old school is cool? (sorry for the rhyme... I couldn't help it.)
Plake does...that's all that matters. :
post #6 of 30
Funny, skiing with a narrow stance to me has always looked rediculous.
post #7 of 30

Define Narrow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broohaha View Post
I know that modern technique calls for say 8-12 inch spacing, and I know that it's probably more stable. But I can't bring myself to separating them, as I feel that it looks better to be old school, and if I may be so bold, requires more skill.
The idea that modern technique calls for a pre-determined amount of spacing between the legs and that this spacing does not change is a huge misconception in ski teaching. When shaped skis first emerged and instruction started it's very slow change to adapt to the new skis, everyone was talking about how your stance needed to be wide. Many out there still preach that a wide stance is best, and will have you skiing like you are holding an empty beer keg between your knees. Luckily this attitude is not current, or the "cutting edge" of instruction. The new discussion of stance usually revolves around functionality - meaning anytime you dictate the width of your stance it is no longer functional. So if you force your stance to be too wide or narrow it isn't functional and results in a loss of balance (which will lead to many other issues).

I dug up this image (assume a skier near the apex of the turn where the red and blue represents the skier's legs) for you to oberserve the two components that go into a skier's stance; vertical and horizontal separation. As long as those components are functional for the turn being made, they can essentially be any distance.



Here is the larger version of the above diagram (very crude drawing; click to view the larger version):



Below is an image from a slightly different angle that should show this in practice. Notice that the horizontal component of the stance is not very wide, but that the vertical separation is quite significant (inside ski is near my knee), thus the track laid on the snow is quite wide. The important part of modern skiing is the vertical component of a skier's stance (always changing) and less about the horizontal component.



Later

GREG
post #8 of 30
I once skied with my legs very very close. I did untill 3 years ago, but I still got some stuff from back then.. Anyhow, I like the new way of skiing much more than the old - much more stable and comfortable. I think the old way looks cool still but in europe we call it "gay style"
post #9 of 30
Broo,

I cried after I was told to split my legs farther apart. It took many years to rid my self of my legs being too close together for "functional" performance on modern gear. For fun 2 seasons ago we tried skiing with our legs locked together for a couple of runs. You can still ski elegantly this way, but it does get a little annoying when the tips or the tails climb over each other. But as my good buddies Epic and Schan have stated, there are whole new levels of performance out there once you get those legs unstuck.
post #10 of 30
If there was not some merit to "Old Style" everyone would water ski on two skis. Four wheel ATVs would be more fun and more versatile than Dirt Bikes and tricycles would be as popular as bicycles.
I agree with the points that when skis are at steep angles they naturally become seperated more. There are also times when some seperation is need for balance and there may be times at speed when you need to maximize your stability and need some width.
A close stance demands better balance. You can't muscle your way around a turn with a narrow stance and you can't be as quick or as smooth with skis a foot apart. It may allow you to go more places but it may not be as much fun getting there. If the goal is merely to go as fast or as steep as possible then that's an entirely different issue.
When pilots talk about airplanes they say if a plane looks good it almost certainly is good. I think the fact that many peope think Old Style looks better is a point worth noting.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
I think the fact that many peope think Old Style looks better is a point worth noting.
For the purpose of what result?

FWIW, most people I ski with get a good chuckle out of the "over-lapping tips and tails / no sepration (vertical or horizontal)" crowd.

:
post #12 of 30
"For the purpose of" noting the form and function are closely related and that the original poster said, " I feel that it looks better to be old school".

I doubt that I'm skiing in the same league as you, but it's interesting to note that when I stand in the Tram line at Big Sky about half crowd is on old style rather than modern (wider) skis. I suspect their technique may be "old style" too, but I don't get much opportunity to evaluate their technique becasue they disappear in a blurr as soon as we get off the Tram.
post #13 of 30
Hmm, what do these things have in common:
Woodgrain TV consoles
Aries-K car
Laser video discs
Sonic TV remote control (clicker)
Betamax VCR
Men's platform shoes
Skiing with your skis close together.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Hmm, what do these things have in common:
Woodgrain TV consoles
Aries-K car
Laser video discs
Sonic TV remote control (clicker)
Betamax VCR
Men's platform shoes
Skiing with your skis close together.
I'm too young to have owned any of them?
post #15 of 30
They're all really cool?
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
"For the purpose of" noting the form and function are closely related and that the original poster said, " I feel that it looks better to be old school".
So, to you what is more important: functionality or looking good in your own mind? I guess it depends where your skiing priorities lie, but from a technique standpoint there is a "right" and a "wrong" way. The only factor that makes it applicable to your own skiing is whether you choose to acknowledge the change that has occurred or choose to ignore it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
I doubt that I'm skiing in the same league as you, but it's interesting to note that when I stand in the Tram line at Big Sky about half crowd is on old style rather than modern (wider) skis. I suspect their technique may be "old style" too, but I don't get much opportunity to evaluate their technique becasue they disappear in a blurr as soon as we get off the Tram.
Many skiers are still old school for several reasons: Some do not recognize that the change has occurred, some don't care, some think that when they rip Z-turns down the fall line with their legs locked together that they are still the best skiers on the mountain, and others have just never learned. I will admit, watching the general population of skiers you get to see a collective sh!t show of poor skiing in action. For the majority of the untrained population the resultant scene is not their fault, and they probably do not care to do it right - they are just out having some fun. Should you be comparing yourself to this group of skiers when you evaluate your technique or should you choose a different group?

Other groups might include: a collection of L3+ instructors and coaches, a group of racers, a gang of weathered ski bums who hang out on TGR, and a group of high level "students of the sport" the likes of cgeib, Max_501, etc, or just grab the top 5% or less of skiers on the mountain... If interested, the question you would want to ask (especially with the top X% of skiers) is "what are they doing differently from what I am doing and why are they doing it?"

When comparing yourself to other skiers in terms of technique, the general population of the tram/lift line is a poor place to start because even on a powder day at someplace like Snowbird the tram is still only about 60% what I would consider "good" skiers.

Later

GREG
post #17 of 30
I've been skiing 30-plus years. That being said, I never did get the knees locked together under the old school and now the new school still thinks I ski with my legs too close together, especially the "A frame" I am told I get. Frankly, it's something I don't let ruin my day. I get down the hill.
post #18 of 30
I always skied with my feet at whatever width they needed to be so I could get the right angles and pushes with my skis on the ground. I never took any lessons that told me how wide to put my feet. As far as I can recall, I switch width according to what I'm doing. Closer to gether in deep powder, farther apart at very high speeds, closer in bumps (unless I'm blasting over them at high speed), etc.
post #19 of 30
Didn't this wider stance stuff come in with Jean Claude Killy? I remember being very influenced when I was a kid by a book called "How to Ski the New French Way" that prescribed a wider stance and turning with "avalament" (how's that for a word that isn't used much these days?).
post #20 of 30
As I understand it, avalement is a retraction or contraction move. All great modern skiers use it.

Stance width has to do with balance & function, not necessarily good technique.

Leg locked skiing is not the same as a narrow stance.


I consider myself an old school skier with modern technique. (I still like to make turns).

Thanks,

JF
post #21 of 30
Y'all know I'm watching this thread closely.
post #22 of 30

Old School - New School

I learned to ski in the late 60's. I started racing almost immediately and never really got stuck with the feet together way of skiing. Independent leg action, one ski racing etc. The problem I've had with the new technique is skiing on 2 ski's. that has taken some real work on my part. I don't think I will ever really do it like "new technique gurus" want, just too many years the other way. Still do it some and don't have any real problems with ski's apart but sometimes ski that way sometimes don't, depends on terrain, type turns doing, snow,trees etc. etc.
post #23 of 30
I resumed skiing about 5 years ago after a 16-year hiatus, still using the same sticks I hung on the wall when I had to quit because I got caught up in the oil bust of 1985. I learned when Killy was the trendsetter, and never really mastered the Stein-style stuff. I usually ski with about a 6-10 inch spread, although I can get my feet together on easier groomed runs and in the bumps.

I plan on new boots this year and I'll start demoing skis at some point after that. My dilemma is that I'll be learning the new techniques on the demos, and after seeing the wide range of opinions here on what widths and sidecuts work best, I'm not sure how the different configurations will affect my learning process. I'm not even sure I'll be able to fully adapt, with the deeply entrenched habits I'll have to unlearn.

The only thing I know for sure is that I want one ski that will do groomers and bumps well. I can't afford skis for a very wide variety of conditions so I'll get what will work in the conditions that I'll be seeing 90% of the time. The other 10% I'll just make do with whatever happens to be on my feet at the time.
post #24 of 30
Thread Starter 
Wow, I had no idea this would merit this kind of response. Truth be told, I'm been out of the skiing scene for a handful of years (kid factor), and didn't know that locked legs were mocked.

Thanks for the 'constructive' responses - I look forward to using the forums to get some more tips on technique. I'm probably being a bit naive, but I feel that I'll be able to take on the newer techniques fairly quickly with the right information. I just upgraded my gear this year, upon moving out to Denver and hope to get 30 days in...

Richie Rich, you forgot parachute pants. Myspace pages may be added to that list faster than you think....
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broohaha View Post
Wow, I had no idea this would merit this kind of response. Truth be told, I'm been out of the skiing scene for a handful of years (kid factor), and didn't know that locked legs were mocked.
I don't think you should take people's comments about an "old school" narrow stance as mocking it. It's more a function of what works best given the technological advances of current ski equipment.

With 44 years of skiing experience, I was trained in the "old school" techniques and had to learn to change... try it, you'll like it!

Mike
post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 
Mike, I was actually just referring to a couple posts. I'm guessing people's view on the subject has a lot of it has to do with when you started skiing. (Did you grow up seeing the advanced skiers with their legs together?) Having said that, I know I have a lot to learn.

I definitely look forward this season.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broohaha View Post
I'm guessing people's view on the subject has a lot of it has to do with when you started skiing. (Did you grow up seeing the advanced skiers with their legs together?)
I would guess that it has to do with the fact that you have not been skiing much lately. When you get out on the slopes and see what the best skiers are doing you'll begin to loose that old mental picture. I started in '63 and the glued together look seems pretty odd to me now. I remember it used to look really cool.
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broohaha View Post
Mike, I was actually just referring to a couple posts. I'm guessing people's view on the subject has a lot of it has to do with when you started skiing. (Did you grow up seeing the advanced skiers with their legs together?) Having said that, I know I have a lot to learn.

I definitely look forward this season.
Some people definitely do mock what is different from current convention. They will either change with convention or be mocked in time also. Generally mocking others results from insecurity. : psychology rant off:

That said, what used to seem very comfortable and natural does stand out from the norm today. You’ll see feet locked or very close together in zipper line/ competition mogul skiing, or deep snow skiing without snowshoes ( ) but not so much elsewhere. Pull out an old pair of 205 straight sticks and they still work just like they did “back in the day”. I used to do that at least a few times a year for a while, but I have to admit I haven’t for 2 or 3 seasons now.

Try the same thing with a shapely contemporary ski and as others have mentioned, it creates compromises. My first pair of shaped slaloms (which I switched to kicking and screaming) in the late 90’s had the tip protectors shaved completely off the inside, and about ¼” of the side edge of the ski along with it. My feet were pretty close together, but not locked. However, the skis were so quick from edge to edge that it was easy to shave the outside ski right along the edge of the inside ski. (Really points out a lazy inside half and one footed skiing.)

So, I learned … simultaneous transition, engage high in the arc, allow enough room for the skis to function, and be patient (milliseconds). Then vavoom – things take off from there.
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
Some people definitely do mock what is different from current convention. They will either change with convention or be mocked in time also. Generally mocking others results from insecurity. : psychology rant off:

That said, what used to seem very comfortable and natural does stand out from the norm today. You’ll see feet locked or very close together in zipper line/ competition mogul skiing, or deep snow skiing without snowshoes ( ) but not so much elsewhere. Pull out an old pair of 205 straight sticks and they still work just like they did “back in the day”. I used to do that at least a few times a year for a while, but I have to admit I haven’t for 2 or 3 seasons now.

Try the same thing with a shapely contemporary ski and as others have mentioned, it creates compromises. My first pair of shaped slaloms (which I switched to kicking and screaming) in the late 90’s had the tip protectors shaved completely off the inside, and about ¼” of the side edge of the ski along with it. My feet were pretty close together, but not locked. However, the skis were so quick from edge to edge that it was easy to shave the outside ski right along the edge of the inside ski. (Really points out a lazy inside half and one footed skiing.)

So, I learned … simultaneous transition, engage high in the arc, allow enough room for the skis to function, and be patient (milliseconds). Then vavoom – things take off from there.

BROOHAHA, Medmarkco, says it pretty well. With your new ski's open it up a little and let the ski's do their thing, you will be pleasantly suprized. NO more tip clanging or crossing. Zoom Zoom Zoom! The one thing I've done, which works for me, is to be versatile and not lock myself in to one style or doctrine. Example, in powder and moguls I ski with my ski's closer together but thats my choice and I am sure would be condemned by some technique gurus. As Sibhusky said, works for me. Any way welcome back to skiing and enjoy the awesome changes in gear.
post #30 of 30
That's true Pete. One thing though. Going from old school to newer technique was helpful in learning to use a range of movements depending on terrain or texture. No fixed position of any kind is the answer.
Some of that old school so deeply ingrained it is going to have to be taken apart and retooled but some of it is going to be a natural and effective go to move in moguls , crud and powder for example.
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