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one foot skiing - suggestions?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi folks!

My friends all love to ski on one foot. I want to too, but just can't seem to get it together. I can consistently lift one ski off the ground and turn on it when it's the outside ski, but very rarely can edge it when it would be considered the "new inside". So standing on the right foot I can turn left, but not right. Petrified of catching the edge and tumbling to the ground.

background: step 7 (strong rhythmic parallel on intermediates)

Any suggestions? tips? things to avoid? things to try doing?

post #2 of 11
Metaphor, have you ever had you alignment checked? It could be a boot thing.

It could also be that you need to develop comfort tipping the skis without trying to turn them. That's the key. If you're not twisting them, you're not going to be "catching the edge".
post #3 of 11
4 words
Get to know neutral!!
post #4 of 11
Spend some time doing traverses and steping uphill, parallel to your downhill ski. Do some stepping downhill too. Start on moderate slopes and then do them on steeper ones. Then do some traverses on shallow terrain where you pick up the downhill ski. Try to keep on the uphill edge of the uphill ski as you glide across the hill. Make these traverses progressively steeper until you're traversing out of the fall line on the outside edge of what becomes the uphill ski.

You don't really have to pick up the unweighted ski, just take the weight off it.

Finally, try making tracer turns. These are where you turn left on the left ski, but leave the right ski just touching the snow. Then turn right on the left ski, again with the right edge of the right ski just touching the snow, "tracing" the marks the left ski make. Start on shallow slopes and gradually take them to steeper ones.

Tracer turns get your hips on the outside of the inside ski and are a great exercise when you're feeling out of sorts. Whenever I feel "off" my game, I use tracers as a way to get back into position. I'll make a dozen turns on the left foot and then make another dozen on the right.
post #5 of 11
Things that I see holding people back from one ski skiing are, staying back on their heels, creating edge angles by moving the hips and upper body into the turn first, and not getting pressure forward to the front of the foot early in the turn. Let the movements originate in the foot and ankle, and keep them in the lower joints, the ankle, knee, and hip.

So straighten or lengthen the leg and move your hip forward as you start the turn, simultaneously pressuring either the big toe ball or the little toe ball of the forefoot as you tip the foot in the direction of the turn. You can practice this standing stationary before trying it while moving. Up and forward onto one side of the foot or the other and tip in this direction, and then flex down.

Smooth flexing of the ankle, knee and hip as you tip and steer the ski through the middle and bottom of the turn is really important. Remember to mimic the movements you are making with your stance leg with the foot and leg that is lifted.

The main control over lateral movement and balance needs to come from the hip, so the stance leg hip will need to be much more active in separating the lower body from the upper body as you maintain balance over the stance foot and ski.

Keep trying, you'll get it going.
post #6 of 11

One ski skiing is great for reinforcing efficient movement patterns, but it's not so good for developing them. The danger here is that if you may end up practising inefficient movements. This is especially true if you have alignment issues, as Steve has pointed out. Once you have alignment problems ruled out, it's most efficient to have a skilled eye check your practice out to make sure you're not cheating on the development exercises.

You may need to work on other drills to develop some needed movements before you are ready to master one ski skiing. Many advanced intermediates ski with their weight over or behind their heels through most of their turns. Mosh's suggestion about getting to know neutral is a good place to start. From there, becoming more familiar with how movement of the body core can enable greater ski tipping could also be quite helpful. There are many drills like thousand steps (stepping from one foot to the other constantly throughout a turn), thousand shuffles (shuffling the feet back and forth instead of stepping), tapping the ski tip (first the uphill ski, then the downhill ski), skating to start turns, lifting and tipping the inside ski to start a turn, medium and short radius turns without poles, etc. that don't appear to be related to helping you turn on your inside ski, but can be part of the road to get there.

Once you are on the right road, there are drills that can get you closer to one ski skiing. Rick's tracer turns are good. The drill that got me started was 99% weight on one foot. This way I alternated between one easy turn (weight on the outside foot) and one hard turn (weight on the inside foot). White Pass turns (lift the old inside ski at the end of a turn before changing edges on the new inside ski in the new turn, then set the foot back down [as the new outside ski] either after the edge change, in or after the fall line) also take some of the "pressure" off of one ski skiing because you only need to be on one ski during the critical edge change part of turn initiation.

At the end of the day, it's all about the movements that RicB is describing. If they were easy to do, we would not need the drills. If the drills were easy to do correctly, then there would be no need for instructors.
post #7 of 11
Proper fore/aft and lateral alignment sure optimizes your chances of success!

but what do I know....
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
Proper fore/aft and lateral alignment sure optimizes your chances of success!

but what do I know....
An awful lot more about alignment than the vast majority of skiers and ski instructors...

Most here know what I think: get the alignment right first, then work on the movements.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks for the great suggestions, guys!

On this last ski trip my friends (instructors) and I discovered that my boot just doesn't have any flex and the alignment is off. I'll be getting a new pair in the next week.

Take care!
post #10 of 11
One footed skiing is a process well worth pursuing. The generally lessor skill set of the inside foot on the little toe edge is a major inhibitor to the advancement of many skiers, at all levels.

Most skiers who appear to have an expert skill set are only such on their big toe edges, and something less skilled on the little toe side. So take a stepping stones approach to building that skill set rather than going for the end product all at once and being unsuccessfull.

Do all these on one foot only, then same exercise on the other foot.

Start with one footed sideslipping on little toe edge only. Try to get the edging movements focused down in the foot, not higher up in the body.

Add forward motion. First just traverse on one foot on little toe edge.
Then add a release into a forward sideslip, then re-ingage to traverse, and repeat untill you can transition smoothly and progressively.

Round the forward sideslip into a narrow track guided uphill arc.

On easy terrain, fan the arc into more rounded turns by starting at progressively steeper angles down the falline and completing more of a turn to stop until you can start across the falline on big toe edge and release through an edge change and complete the turn on little toe edge.

Link one foot turns on shallow terrain close to the falline, then make them rounder. Do both as guided-drifted and also as more carved turns. Progress to terrain with more pitch as skill developes.

Everything you do in skiing will get better as the skill set of your inside foot gets better, including the skill set of your outside foot that can then stop compensating for a weak inside foot/leg.

It is a huge transformation in one's skiing when you go from the outside foot/leg bulldozing the inside out of the way,
to the whole body skiing in sync as the inside half leads as if saying "lets go this way!"
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi folks,

Quick update - ever since getting my boots adjusted (toe blown out, toe box widened, heel splint, lift - to both boots) I've found lots of the advanced drills really start coming together. Last week we worked on a perfect combination of skills:
- leading with the inside ski
- thousand step turns
- white pass turns
- tracer turns

Holy cow - my one foot skiing really started coming together! I can now make it down a green run on just my right foot most of the time. Granted, I feel myself in the backseat, have brutal flex issues, and my arms are way out to the sides... but it's a start! Next steps: start with more flexion; get forward; bring the arms in and forward... then repeat on the left foot

Thanks for all your help!
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