EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Steep, Deep, Back Seat Problems:HELP
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Steep, Deep, Back Seat Problems:HELP

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I perceive myself as a better than average skier and seek the steeper and deeper runs at all times. At times it seems I end up in the back seat more than I'd like to. I can envision it now, shins sore at the end of the day, top of toes pushing against the boot, not all the time, but occasionally. Drives me crazy! Are there suggestions, exercises, anything to help me keep ahead of my skis in such situations, instead of behind? PLEASE HELP?
post #2 of 17
It sounds like you may be skiing terrain beyond your current capability and therefore you are tentative / defensive. Try skiing on terrain that is more within your limits and where you have no fear. As you ski these runs concentrate on putting forward pressure on your boot. You need to drive the ski not be driven. You should have no problem doing this on runs that are not over your head. As you develop confidence and control move to increasingly more difficult terrain and do the same thing. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 17
I can recommend a good steep and deep instructor at Baker if you'd like.
post #4 of 17

Caveat, I am not and have never been a ski instructor.

You are fighting human nature, and possibly short skis and/or wrong binding position for your body. The steeper it gets the more you naturally want to lean into the mountain, which is exactly the opposite of what you need to do to keep your edges biting. On very steep terrain concentrate on reaching way downhill for your pole plant. When you are balanced correctly gravity does all the work on the steeps, but you need to overcome your natural fear and lead with your face, and most importantly always keep your hands forward. Up to a point it is acutally physically easier to ski steeper slopes than flat ones when you do it right. Same with deep snow where keeping your weight forward conflicts with the natural fear of going over on your face.

Longer softer flexing skis, particularly with softer tips will make this easier in both situations. If you ram a stiff ski into a mogal it will throw you in the back seat. Skiing bumps you need to constantly keep moving your weight forward to remount the center of your skis. On the steeps and in deep snow once you get comfortable on your skis you should be able to relax in the middle of them, which will seem like being forward.

Ever notice that 90% of the time you fall down it's backwards? It is more of a state of mind than a body position. You have to be pushing mentally and physically forward all the time. You need to concentate on keeping the weight on the front of your skis. Those who hesitate are lost!

This feeds one of my feelings that most people are on skis that are too short. A longer ski soaks up snow and terrain transitions much better. It is hard not to feel like you are always about to go over on your face, particularly in deep snow, if you are on short skis. On a powder day a large portion of the skiers (the bad ones) are only using the back half of their boards. If you concentrate on using the front of your skis (much easier to do on longer skis) the rest should take care of itself.
post #5 of 17
Dude,

it's your butt!!!!!

when your head charges forward, your butt moves even farther backward, for a net loss!

work on charging forward with with your hips (and associated parts) and you'll stay ahead of your skis!
post #6 of 17
I'm a little concerned that we might not have all of the story here. Lifting the toes and closing the ankles are two common techniques for getting your skis to plane through deep powder without resorting to back seat driving. If sore toes and shins are your only problems, simply get skis with more float for your weight (i.e. longer and/or wider). If you truly have a bad backseat problem in deep powder, you'd be complaining about sore quads. Consider HM's offer. An in person opinion from a pro can cut through a lot of guesswork.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mxp View Post
Dude,

it's your butt!!!!!

when your head charges forward, your butt moves even farther backward, for a net loss!

work on charging forward with with your hips (and associated parts) and you'll stay ahead of your skis!
Good and simple!
post #8 of 17
You're probably a bit backseated even on less challenging terrain, but without the tension that causes your soreness.

If you want to "feel" being forward, try skating up a gentle grade and focus your attention on the relationship between your hips and the foot you're pushing with. Then try to maintain that same relation ship with the ski that's carrying your weight wherever you're skiing.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
I'm a little concerned that we might not have all of the story here. Lifting the toes and closing the ankles are two common techniques for getting your skis to plane through deep powder without resorting to back seat driving. If sore toes and shins are your only problems, simply get skis with more float for your weight (i.e. longer and/or wider). If you truly have a bad backseat problem in deep powder, you'd be complaining about sore quads. Consider HM's offer. An in person opinion from a pro can cut through a lot of guesswork.
therusty, maybe, however, even though I am 51, my thighs rarely get sore skiing, primarily because I begin working out (hard) at the gym twice per day (most days - 7/days/week) from September 1st (this year I didn't begin until Sept. 12) until the first day I ski, which means I may have two more months of hard fitness training. And for others too, I really do ski more aggresive than most I see, if I am afraid I hide it well, but it also seems like I may have a tendency to r-e-a-c-h my pole plants to keep on top of my skiis and as a consequence, that may push my rear even further back to compensate? The hips not pushed forward as far as they should be may be a problem too - if I have an obvious weakness in fitness, it seems to have always been my lower back - I always "work it" but seems to be a "weak link" although I try and do between 200-400 situps/day and lower back excercises as well. Could that be a determining factor? And yes Harry, I have been on Epic now long enough to know you are from here, know you were at Baker the other day, and respect your opinion, and would like the name of that instructor. Thanks!
post #10 of 17

A few more thoughts on equipment

Equipment cannot make up for improper technique, but there may be some things that are leading to your problem.

Skis: The stiffer the tails the quicker and more severly the skis will punish you for getting your weight back. If possible try some different skis for powder and steeps and see if they make a difference.

Bindings: Many of the newer bindings can be moved to different positions on the ski. If yours fall into that category then try a slightly more forward position and see if it makes a difference.

Boots: Over the last 10 years boots have become more upright and more adjustable. My Kryptons came out of the box with 13 degrees of forward lean, but included wedges to change that to 15 or 19 degrees (what I use). Some boots can go as far as 23 degrees. Check to see if you can increase the forward lean on yours and experiment a little. More lean helps keep you forward and makes it easier to pull yourself up to the center of your skis when you do get back. If you cannot increase the boot lean try loosening the power strap or top buckle a little to let you get forward with less resistence from your boots.

Technique: The best tip I found is hand location. They should stay in front of you and down the fall line. Watch out for a great start to a turn followed by skiing past your pole and letting your hand drift back, which leads to shoulder back, which leads to hip back, which leads to accelerating on your tails down the fall line. IMO the secret to skiing is in your hands and quick pole plants. If you can't see both hands then your weight is probably too far back. You say you reach to plant but your butt moves back, but where is your other hand while this is happening?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Very good points mudfoot. There are times when my passive hand has trailed behind me moving my body to the side and back away from the fall line, I am conscience of it and try not to let it happen, but at times it does.
I thought in fact, opposed to your comments, that if my boots were more upright, as opposed to more forward leaning, it may help engage my ankles more and therefore assist in staying forward? It seems as there may be more than one thought regarding this? Thanks for your response.
post #12 of 17
Mtbakersnow: A lot of boot adjustments are counterintuitive (i.e. heel lifts actually make you keep your weight farther back), but my personal experience is that an upright boot does not work well for agressive skiing, although there are others that will certainly disagree. One of the biggest problems for me is that if your weight shifts back it is harder to correct it in an upright boot because you have less leverage. I am certainly no expert, but the idea of engaging your ankle more by setting your boot upright doesn't make sense to me. If you increase the froward lean then your ankle/boot is already engaged, the only danger I see is getting your boot locked so far forward that you cannot straighten your leg between turns to relax the muscle, which leads to quick fatique.

Modern shape skis do not require you to throw your weight on the front to make them turn like in the old days of long straight skis, so boots have evolved to being straighter up. Forward lean is not always a good thing, it depends on your body type, strength, etc., but if you can increase your boot lean without too much trouble it would probably be worth experimenting for a day or two. I have a personal style of hanging on the front of my boots, so I like a softer more leaning boot. My point was that a stiff boot, rear binding mount, or stiff ski could be working against you, and skiing is hard enough without fighting your equipment, so don't overlook some simple adjustments. Backseat driving is the most common problem in skiing. You can get away with it on groomed slopes, but steep or adverse snow conditions expose the problem (and punish you accordingly) very quickly. Like they say, "you paid for the whole ski, so you might as well use it."

Good luck, it sounds like you are on your way to becoming better skier this season.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakersnow View Post
therusty, maybe, however, even though I am 51, my thighs rarely get sore skiing, primarily because I begin working out (hard) at the gym twice per day (most days - 7/days/week) from September 1st (this year I didn't begin until Sept. 12) until the first day I ski, which means I may have two more months of hard fitness training. And for others too, I really do ski more aggresive than most I see, if I am afraid I hide it well, but it also seems like I may have a tendency to r-e-a-c-h my pole plants to keep on top of my skiis and as a consequence, that may push my rear even further back to compensate? The hips not pushed forward as far as they should be may be a problem too - if I have an obvious weakness in fitness, it seems to have always been my lower back - I always "work it" but seems to be a "weak link" although I try and do between 200-400 situps/day and lower back excercises as well. Could that be a determining factor? And yes Harry, I have been on Epic now long enough to know you are from here, know you were at Baker the other day, and respect your opinion, and would like the name of that instructor. Thanks!
I'm 49, so I'm not that far behind you. I ask the questions because your sore areas are where they would be if you were trying real hard (maybe too hard) to be in the front seat. If you were in the backseat real bad, you would not be getting enough forward pressure on your boots to make your shins sore (unless you had a wicked alignment problem). Obviously, seeing your skiing in person would take a lot of the guesswork out of the picture.

I've yet to find a skier with quads strong enough to ski deep powder all day in the back seat. In my little corner of PA, on our rare powder days (and even rarer when we don't have to work on the pow day), it's hysterical watching the expert runs because only a small handful of people can do laps. We see new arrivals taking a run in the backseat and start making bets how long they'll last. 3-5 runs (2400-5000 vert) is about the max we ever see. Most are 1-2 runs and done. See how long you can do a wall sit exercise (my record is 2 and 1/2 minutes), then imagine stringing those back to back to back. George Bush said it best: "Wouldn't be prudent".

If your shoulders come forward when you make the pole touch, you're probably sticking the butt out to compensate. This will reduce shin contact on the front of the boot. Maybe the constant reduction of contact/regain contact cycle is what's causing the soreness. That kind of bending at the waist is also stressful on the back. If you're doing old fashioned sit ups, that's harder on the back than doing "crunches". You might want to consider switching. 200-400 sit ups a day is a great way to keep your core in shape as long as you're not damaging your back while you're doing it. Having a weak back could be causing a cascade of other issues (I've been there and done that).

As others have noted, the odds are you do have a backseat problem. But my suspicion is that there is something else going on that is the major contributor to your toe and shin soreness.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mudfoot,
I will be experimenting some this winter for sure. In the past I guess I have taken every ski moment, (and loved them all), and charged full steam ahead, this year I hope to add a good amount of thoughtful introspection into the process, don't get me wrong, hopefully with a good mix of charging full steam ahead too. I am always hopeful to be a better skier, lord knows it is constantly in my thoughts ... and at my age, I'm thinking there is no doubt that is a very good thing! Take care.
post #15 of 17
FWIW,,


I think therusty is correct here....why do you think you are in the backseat? What is the real problem you are noticing? If it is shin and toe soreness doens't sound like a back seat issue...
post #16 of 17

The best way I ensure I do not get in the backseat

is to simply keep my big toes hard on the base of my boots at all times
and if I do fall, normally at the end of a turn on a steep slope its because
I have let go that toe pressure. I have found with mid fat skis they like
a combination of big toe and downward heel pressure.
post #17 of 17
Here's a list of tech articles by our Lou Rosenburg that has a couple of items you might find useful about binding position, ski boot angles, and backseat skiing.

I find it easier to use big muscles in the hamstrings to pull the feet back under the hips rather than to try to accomplish the same thing with small muscles in the feet or ankles. I want my feet and ankles loose for fine-tuning balance adjustments. When you're light between turns, pull both feet back. While you're skiing, pull the inside foot back all the time. Forget about inside tip lead...that's a guaranteed way to get into the back seat and serves no purpose having that foot out there.

Try to keep your zipper facing your outside ski, and make this twist from the hips. Try to get this countered position as soon as possible when starting a new turn. If your hands are complicit in wrapping your body around toward the hill (rotation--bad), for a drill try skiing with your elbows glued to your sides and hands out wide. Keep your inner hand higher and forward vs. your outside hand. When you get this drill working, relax your arms, but keep your hands wider than your elbows and maintain that forward/high inside arm.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Steep, Deep, Back Seat Problems:HELP