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back seat driver

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
i have trouble keeping my weight forward when i ski. ive read that you should feel the front of your boots against your shins because you should lean foward that much.

when i ski, especially when i get tired, i lean back during turns. i feel like im leaning back up the hill to get more out of my edges. when i turn on blacks, and steep blues, they arent carved turns, they are more like a controlled semi-stop with a direction change. plus on harder terrain, when i look down at my skis, they are alot farther apart than they feel.

any tips to keep me from leaning back, making better, more fluid turns, and keeping my skis together?

I know its alot to tackle in one post, but I've never had a lesson, and i plan on going everyweekend this year. I'd just like a few bits of advise to think about on the lifts up.
post #2 of 17
When you take lesson, you need to start working on full commitment to the fall line ..... or ... "skiing into the future" ....

Best at this point to get off the blacks ... on to the blues ... and (Gawd I hate this term) .. but ... "master" .. the idea of this within your comfort zone. Then you will see how it applies to the blacks ... it'll be a no-brainer.

post #3 of 17
here's one thing thats helped me over the years:

Instead of thinking about keeping my knees and shins forward into the front of the boot, I think about keeping my feet back. it accomplishes the same thing but for some reason I can implement that much easier. Not sure if this is accepted PSIA or whatever teaching method they do around here, but if it works what the hell. Good luck
post #4 of 17
scmentz,

Welcome to Epic,

To get a more balanced position over the skis, instead of leaning forward, flex your ankle so the top of the foot is pulled upward. This gives your shin light contact to the tongue of the boot. If your boots are a little too big for you what happens is that your foot moves forward of the hinge area of the boot and flexing the ankle becomes impossible to maintain. Be shure your heel is back into the heel pocket. Having the boot buckled snugly is also important. The buckle that is below the top one is the one that keeps your heel in place.

If your position is too far back, your legs get tired quickly, espicially the quads. To not tire so quickly, first get a balance position over the skis and don't lean in through the turn. That causes an imbalance to the side where being too far back causes an imbalance to the rear. The imbalance to the side (lateral balance) causes too much weight moving onto the inside ski and that is why your feet are farther apart than you would like.

I agree that a lesson or two is a good idea for you. Just getting balanced over your skis will make a big difference in your technique, how much longer you can ski without getting tired, and what types of slopes you can ski in control.

I know I'm not giving you too much in specific except the ankle flex in the boot, but without seeing you ski, that is a good place for you to start. Look for a qualified instructor and book a lesson. Give the instructor the same information as you are giveing in your post and don't hesitate to ask questions.

Good luck!
RW
post #5 of 17
oh BTW - keeping your skis together is old school. You no longer should be doing that, except maybe in the bumps.
post #6 of 17
sc,

My good friend "Tony Knows" how to ski. That's a little saying to help you remember to keep your toes, knees and nose in a vertical line (aka Toe, Knee, Nose = Tony Knows!). I will start a lot of my back seat students with a traverse drill. Traverse across the hill and try lifting your uphill ski two inches off the snow and holding it in the air. See if you can hold the ski level off the snow. When you can do this, try tapping the ski top on the snow while you traverse. When you've got that down, try the same steps with your downhill ski. When you've got that down, hold the downhill ski tip on the snow surface and tip it while you make a turn out of the traverse.

If you have trouble doing the traverse drill (e.g. can't keep either ski lifted after a half hour of trying and not getting better), you might consider getting your boot alignment checked. Alignment trouble can make staying centered a very difficult thing to do.
post #7 of 17
Make sure your boots fit properly, poor fitting boots could be a contributing factor.
post #8 of 17
A tip that I use to get skiers out of the back seat is to tighten their gluteous maximus (butt cheek) muscles. It moves you hips forward and over your feet for better balance.
post #9 of 17
First get your equipment right. If you have heel lifts in your boots, throw them out. A pad on the tongue holds the heel down better. If your boot cuff pushes you too far forward, try to adjust it for a more upright stance. If there is a removable spoiler in the back of the cuff to push you forward, remove that. You might even need to shim up the toe pieces of your bindings or grind down your boot's bootboard (under the liner) for less forward tilt. The forward tilt makes the lower leg bones tilt forward, knees are bent for balance, and your butt is way back causing the back seat position. If your bindings are adjustable fore & aft, move them 10mm to 15mm forward of the mark on the ski.

Use your hamstring muscles to pull your feet back under and behind your hips. These are stronger muscles than those in your feet or ankles and do the job better. When your feet are light at the turn transition, pull both feet back hard. Constantly pull your inside foot back all the time through the turn. If your accustomed to skiing with considerable tip lead of the inside ski, stop it! That puts you into the back seat.

A natural walking-width stance works very well. A stance much wider than that makes it very hard to lighten the inside ski to put more weight on the outside ski for better edge grip and for tighter turns. A bowlegged skier who hasn't been aligned needs a wide stance. A knock kneed skier who hasn't been aligned needs a narrow stance.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
If your accustomed to skiing with considerable tip lead of the inside ski, stop it! That puts you into the back seat.

Maybe thats my biggest problem. I do realize that when i turn my inside ski is about 8-10 inches in front of my outside ski. is that too much?

Thanks for all the help guys, as for the equipment, i rent from ski market, and get all sorts of dirty looks because my boots and skis include orange, yellow, green, and black; a color combination that should be illegal.

this weekend im demoing.
post #11 of 17
Take a look at your basic stance. It should be centered over your feet. You should have some flex at all of your joints, starting at your ankles and moving up. It resembles the position you might take gaurding someone in basketball or waiting to return a serve in tennis. The ankle flex seems to be key for a lot of my students. When you bend the ankles your weight moves forward. When you bend your knees your butt comes down and back. Try moving your hips forward into the turn by standing tall and extending your legs (long leg/short leg). I also like to look at the hand position. If your hands get "lazy" and are passively held by your butt, you will ussually sag into the back seat. Hold them up so that they can be seen in your periferal vision. Pole plants from the proper position really help in setting up the turn. Poles also really confuse some people. Lastly don't try and work on everything at once. Pick one element and focus on that. If your serious about it move off of the blacks. A lot of people lean back and into the hill because they are intimidated by the fall line. It's hard to learn when you're scared.

If nothing else works put a thumbtack in the back of your boot liner. You will stop leaning back.
post #12 of 17
scmentz, do you own your own boots? If not, I would expect that to contribute to your challenges on-snow. Keeping your various joints aligned (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) so that none are dramatically ahead or behind of the others is useful to check, as well.

Getting "live" coaching is likely your best bet to get a more rapid fix; there are a lot of things that cause skiers to get their weight back...
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiDork View Post
oh BTW - keeping your skis together is old school. You no longer should be doing that, except maybe in the bumps.
Why not? Just because it's "old school"? If it works, it works.

I have much, much more balance and control and confidence with a narrow stance. Why should I widen it? Just because that's "new" school?
post #14 of 17
You've set yourself on the right track by identifying that you want to work on keeping forward, and if you can recognize when you drop into the back seat, that's a big plus too.

Several good suggestions have been offered for what to do to achieve the forward stance you're looking for. What I think will really help is to take a lesson (or two or three if you can) so you'll have someone to watch you & remind you for a couple of hours. If you can get some reinforcement and mileage to the point that being forward is your comfortable and familiar position, you'll find that you'll stay there even when you're a bit tired.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiDork View Post
here's one thing thats helped me over the years:

Instead of thinking about keeping my knees and shins forward into the front of the boot, I think about keeping my feet back. it accomplishes the same thing but for some reason I can implement that much easier. Not sure if this is accepted PSIA or whatever teaching method they do around here, but if it works what the hell. Good luck
Boom, nailed it... I started thinking this way last season instead of the "stay out of the backseat"/"Pressure the boot tongue" advice I'd hear so often. When I'm in the right position, I almost 'feel' as if my feet are behind me, although they're not of course. It's all in how an individual processes information and then implements the movements, for me bringing my feet back underneath accomplishes the same thing as getting the hips forward for others...
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmiser View Post
A tip that I use to get skiers out of the back seat is to tighten their gluteous maximus (butt cheek) muscles. It moves you hips forward and over your feet for better balance.
Not a bad idea to demonstrate good balance while stopped, but I don't think I'd use this trick with students while skiing. Many skiers can ski easier slopes fine, but once they pick up speed or steepness they get tense and go into the backseat. For these skiers, frequently the only thing they need to get balanced is to relax. Clenching muscles has the exact opposite effect of what you really want.

Here's a cool little experiment you can do while sitting in front of your computer. Concentrate on the feeling in your feet. Think about the muscles in the toes. Then clench your fists for about ten seconds, really hard. While clenching them, really concentrate on the muscles in your feet. Once you've really got that sensation, relax your hands completely. Let it sink in for about ten seconds, then think about the feelings in your feet again.

Next time you see a beginner/intermediate skiing with tense, quick full-body movement, take a look at their hands. Chances are they'll be using the death grip on their ski poles. A skier like that won't get good balance until they get fluid body movements, which won't occur until they relax.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
When you can do this, try tapping the ski top on the snow while you traverse.
Wow. I do not think I'm nearly flexible enough to do this drill.

-Adam
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