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Keeping skis together

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi, I am new here.
I would say I am a level 6 skier, proficient in blue and a lot of the single black diamond trails. A problem I have been facing recently is that I find it difficult to keep my skis together all the time. Not only do I have a wider stance than I would wish for, my skis are not completely parallel on turns especially on steeps and bumps. To me, it seems like the the uphill ski trails a bit behind the leading ski (downhill ski) during turn initiation. Additionally, it seems like my skis frail around too much in bumpy terrain.

On a different note, I have noticed that the more I try to carve (engage the edges), the more I have the tendency to lean back. To my understanding, most of the weight should be on the ball of the feet. When my skis are relatively flat during turns, I naturally keep my weight more forward (I have older skis circa 1998, perhaps this is why?)

Thank you in advance
post #2 of 19
I would suggest you demo some new skis and take a couple of lessons. Also, can I assume the boots are as old or older? If you are planning to get back onto the game, you may want to consider new gear which will help. Sounds like you are skiing in a very old style that may not be very effective with shaped skis. Regarding your weight over the ski: the weight should be stacked over the arch of your foot (weight distributed evenly) with a nice neutral upright body postition.
post #3 of 19
Shoenberg,

Welcome to Epic. Don Mclean wrote:
Quote:
A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How those straight skis used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those stiff boards dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But february made me shiver
With every turn that I'd deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more schlep.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about the brand new ride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the straight ski died.
Back in the day of the straight ski, anyone who could ski with their feet locked together was seen as an expert skier. But it was hard to ski that way and it took years of skiing to get there. But in 1998, the shaped ski revolution was beginning. By 2001, you could not find a straight ski in retail shops. The reason: shaped skis make skiing so much easier. It was possible to carve on 1998 skis, but it's much easier to do it on just about any ski made after 2001. You'll also find that the new skis work better with your feet apart instead of locked together. The bad news is that skis will give you a lot of feedback if you leave them relatively flat during turns or start to sit back. The good news is that feedback can help you get carving quicker. Many people switched over to shaped skis and started skiing better without any help (you basically tip the skis on edge more and turn with your feet less). Some people sped up the adaptation process by getting help (i.e. lessons). Your vertical may vary.
post #4 of 19
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.
I understand the need to get new skis and will probably buy a pair after the season is over when skis are cheaper. However, my skis, although around 7~8 years old, are still shaped-skis (Salomon Xfree7), albeit narrower at the top and relatively straighter compared to the newest models. Would I have to employ different techniques once I get newer skis? ie. would I still apply pressure to the downhill ski to turn?

In any case, the difficulty of keeping skis completely parallel (if not together), I think, comes from lack of confidence on turn initiation. In addition, the tendency for my skis to frail in bumpy terrain is an issue that, I think, will persist even after getting new equipment. I am also curious as to why I have the tendency to lean back the more I try to engage the edges on my current skis. Indeed, some of these issues may be resolved with new equipment, but I believe the answers to such questions will help me become a better overall skier and help me enjoy the rest of the season. :
post #6 of 19
Sounds like your skis are behaving differently because you are manipulating them differently. Instead of focussing your attention only on the outside ski of the turn (the one that becomes your downhill ski at the end of the turn), you should be applying some edging and a slight pressure to the inside ski of the turn at the same time. I like to think about contact between my shins and the cuffs of my boots aimed sort of at 10 o'clock (if 12 o'clock is the ski tips) in left turns and 2 o'clock during right turns. I try to feel both cuffs through the turn, along with the edges of both feet.
post #7 of 19
Shoenberg,

The short version of the technique difference between old skis and current skis is "turn the feet less, tip the feet more". If you are pressuring the downhill ski to turn, that's going to be one thing to work on changing. With modern technique, the ability to apply pressure to either ski at any point in a turn is useful skill, but applying pressure to the downhill ski to start a turn is not the most efficient means of getting a turn started. If you are applying pressure by bending your legs, I'd bet that you are also bending at the hips in order to maintain balance. This will cause you to shift your weight backwards onto your heels. In any case, getting caught in the backseat is a common problem for intermediate to advanced skiers. Without enough pressure on the front part of the skis, they will easily get knocked around in challenging conditions. To get out of the back seat, you need to move the upper body with the skis as they accelerate as well as increase the use of your ankles to initiate movement and maintain balance. But this is easier said than done. It's pointless to recommend a specific focus for you to work on without seeing your skiing. If you can't get video posted for us to look at, you might want to try looking at other movement analysis (MA) threads to find someone whose skiing looks like yours and see what was recommend for them.

Although you can improve your technique with the gear you have, it will be like learning to paint fine art with heavy gloves on. You're going to learn at a much slower pace. When I first took a clinic on shaped skis to learn how to teach people to ski them I was amazed at how much better I could work my own skis after wards. You might find that renting a pair of current skis and taking a lesson on them will be the fastest way to improve your own skiing for the rest of this season. An inexpensive alternative is to go to a resort "demo day" where you can try out new skis for free. You should do this anyway to try out new skis before you buy.
post #8 of 19
Shoenberg, I too have wider than optimal ski separation. In fact I do a good A frame impersonation. Having just skied with Little Bear at ESA I learned why my uphill ski does not follow my new downhill ski in a lot of turns. It seems that it has to do with the "unatural and inefficient" width of my skis and the mechanics of the ski not getting on edge at the same time as the other. I have fought with this for a couple years and as of yet have not totally figured out how to get my stance "right". There is a lot of discussion here re stance and many talk about a functional stance. Mine aint functional! Just seeing my video makes me cringe. So you are not alone and hopefully we will both find a way to better skiing and turn dynamics with improved stance. I have had the boot guys work on my boots and my skis are new, so that is not the only answer, however the previous replys are from knowledgeable skiers and instructors and should be taken to heart.
post #9 of 19
Get your boots checked for alignment.
post #10 of 19
There sure is a lot of dancing around the issue here! The answer you are looking for is really quite simple.

The width of a stance is directly relative to the degree of balance and support the outside ski is providing. The better the b/s, the more controllable the width of the stance. You can make it narrower or wider, as you see fit. If the outside ski is breaking away from you, and does not provide the necessary support, then the stance naturally widens to provide the support it feels is necessary.

And please do not limit yourself to a single stance width- you will find that every situation may result in a variable width.

This also pertains to your question regarding the directional control of the inside ski. Once again the degree of balance and support will allow for greater control of the the inside ski.

Without a doubt, some of the comments made previously can contribute. Correct alignment and a good tune can help, but it still all comes down to the same thing- balance and support.
post #11 of 19
Ski from your center (CoM) making balanced movements to adjust for the task at hand.
post #12 of 19
shoenburg3,

Quote:
A problem I have been facing recently is that I find it difficult to keep my skis together all the time.
To keep the skis together all of the time, you must place them botton to botton, one a little over the other and press them together as you slide the higher one down. Then the brakes will lock in holding them together.

Quote:
In any case, the difficulty of keeping skis completely parallel (if not together), I think, comes from lack of confidence on turn initiation. In addition, the tendency for my skis to frail in bumpy terrain is an issue that, I think, will persist even after getting new equipment. I am also curious as to why I have the tendency to lean back the more I try to engage the edges on my current skis. Indeed, some of these issues may be resolved with new equipment, but I believe the answers to such questions will help me become a better overall skier and help me enjoy the rest of the season. :
I suggest taking a lesson and buying new equipment so you can enjoy the rest of the season more. There are several issues here, one is stance and the ability of balance on skis, and the other is what your mental image of good skiing is. Find the best qualified instructor at the area you ski and he(or she) can help you through a series of lessons (ouch! that wasn't so bad was it?).

RW
post #13 of 19
I'm one who always gets the equipment right first, then looks to technique. If the equipment isn't right, compensatory movements can make things work, but never work right.

I suggest finding a very good bootfitter and get your alignment checked. Part of your too-wide stance might be due to misalignment forcing you to reach out to find your ski edges. If you have equally old boots, modern boots that fit just right may do much more for your skiing than modern skis. Good boots, properly aligned, work wonders. Alignment means that the center of the knee is directly above the center of the foot. Many of us need wedges, known as cants, to tip the feet one way or another to counteract bow legs or knock knees. One degree makes a difference.

In this region, the best ski and boot sales are in September.

When your equipment is right, then look to correct technique to improve your skiing. The skis flailing around in bumpy terrain is probably due to having your feet ahead of your hips and also failing to flex to absorb the bumps. Get your feet behind your hips, then allow your knees to flex to absorb the bumps.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
I'm one who always gets the equipment right first, then looks to technique. If the equipment isn't right, compensatory movements can make things work, but never work right.

... Get your feet behind your hips, then allow your knees to flex to absorb the bumps.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!!!!

I sure hope your equipment works, because if your legs work in the way you described above, you either have trailing link legs (trailing link landing gear) or you have had dog's legs transplanted in place of your legs!

This is the biggest load of BUNK I have heard in ages! You may want to invest in a book on physiology before attempting any further certs....
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro View Post
There sure is a lot of dancing around the issue here! The answer you are looking for is really quite simple.

The width of a stance is directly relative to the degree of balance and support the outside ski is providing. The better the b/s, the more controllable the width of the stance. You can make it narrower or wider, as you see fit. If the outside ski is breaking away from you, and does not provide the necessary support, then the stance naturally widens to provide the support it feels is necessary.

And please do not limit yourself to a single stance width- you will find that every situation may result in a variable width.

This also pertains to your question regarding the directional control of the inside ski. Once again the degree of balance and support will allow for greater control of the the inside ski.

Without a doubt, some of the comments made previously can contribute. Correct alignment and a good tune can help, but it still all comes down to the same thing- balance and support.
Thank God There is 1 person who knows what they are talking about.


As for this:

"To keep the skis together all of the time, you must place them botton to botton, one a little over the other and press them together as you slide the higher one down. Then the brakes will lock in holding them together."


PSIA and your mountain, I believe it's Wyndham, must be very proud of the type of help you offer.
post #16 of 19
Get yourself a copy of the original Breakthrough on Skis video. Deals specifically with the issues that you describe. Best investment that you'll ever make. Still available through Lito's website, breakthroughonskis.com.
post #17 of 19
volklskier1,

Quote:
PSIA and your mountain, I believe it's Wyndham, must be very proud of the type of help you offer.
Thankyou!

My quote supports this quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro
There sure is a lot of dancing around the issue here! The answer you are looking for is really quite simple.

The width of a stance is directly relative to the degree of balance and support the outside ski is providing. The better the b/s, the more controllable the width of the stance. You can make it narrower or wider, as you see fit. If the outside ski is breaking away from you, and does not provide the necessary support, then the stance naturally widens to provide the support it feels is necessary.

And please do not limit yourself to a single stance width- you will find that every situation may result in a variable width.

This also pertains to your question regarding the directional control of the inside ski. Once again the degree of balance and support will allow for greater control of the the inside ski.

Without a doubt, some of the comments made previously can contribute. Correct alignment and a good tune can help, but it still all comes down to the same thing- balance and support.
RW
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Some very helpful advice here.
In skiing in the new technique, what kind of weight shifting/pressure change (if any) would be involved?

On a different note, I think have a "reluctant" right side. My right turns are always less confident and shapely than my left ones. This weakness extends to not only my skiing but also in other sports. For example, in the past, as a goalkeeper in soccer matches, I felt a lot more "secure" and confident in diving to my left. Even doing tight turns on a bike make me realize that my left turns are somehow tighter and steadier. Any suggestions on fixing this weakness?

Thanks
post #19 of 19
Having a stronger side and a weaker side is normal. The time honored approach for working on weaker turn in skiing is repetition: do garlands on your weak side.
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