EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Advice for an intermediate who is winding up shoulders in turns
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Advice for an intermediate who is winding up shoulders in turns

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My wife is skiing pretty well as a low intermediate these days, but she has gotten into the habit of starting turns with her lower body, then following through with the upper body and shoulders in sort of a wind up motion:

http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308/harmony.mov

I see a lot of intermediates doing this, and pointed it out to her. And then she asked how to correct it and of course I had no advice.... :

I'm not sure she's at the stage where it's time to work on a steady upper body that stays pointed down the fall line, but that's the most logical thing that came to my mind. I didn't mention it though -- the last thing I need to do is put the wrong idea in her head!

Anyway, I'd like to give her something to think about, before she takes lessons next season, so what is the right advice? Seems like this would be a typical thing for instructors to address with intermediate skiers, as I see it all the time.

thanks,
Craig
post #2 of 15
Actually, she's beginning the turns with the upper body. Watch the hands and shoulders as she starts each turn.

Her movements are typical for skiers who have learned to step harder on the left ski to start a right turn and harder on the right ski to start a left turn. In the interim, she has learned to steer the basically weightless inside ski as part of the process, but I'll bet if you asked carefully, you could elicit from her a description of turning that would include pushing the outside ski around.

I'd go some place easy and suggest she try starting turns by flattening the new inside ski. As a progression, I'd ask her to start feeling the outside edge of the inside ski earlier and earlier in the turn--not standing on it, but actively feeling its engagement in the snow. She may find the outside ski then comes around more naturally and more effectively (more on edge).
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Good catch Kneale, there is indeed an initial lead with the shoulders. Thanks for the suggestions.
post #4 of 15
Along with what Kneale said, what about the trick of holding the poles together in front and perpendicular to the fall line. (i.e., cross the poles, holding the tip of the right pole in the left hand, and vise-versa for the left) . Just maintain that perpendicular position with the hands/shoulders.
post #5 of 15
Holding the poles out front as described helps keep the hands out front. It rarely helps stop someone from twisting the torso to start turns. It also makes the upper body ridgid when it should be more relaxed. Same for balancing poles across the wrists, except that that one helps them make more subtle movements.

The real problem when you see someone twisting the torso to start turns is they are not letting the ski turn them. Instead, they are turning the ski, forcing it around. Again, a very common result of learning to turn by pushing out the tail of an outside ski and stepping harder on it.
post #6 of 15
"Face the bases."

Whichever direction the bases of the skis flash as the skis are put on edge, that's the way the hips/core/belly button/torso should face.

I start this exercise as stationary, on the flats. Slowly tip both skis on edge while coordinating the upper body to face the bases. Slowly tip back to flat, at which point the upper body will be neutral, facing the direction of the skis. Of course, continue practicing several times for both sides. The higher the skis go on edge, the more upper body "counter" you should strive for. Less countering with lower edge angles.

Then practice on very gentle, almost flat green terrain while gliding straight down the fall line. Then gradually incorporate into your own skiing.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Holding the poles out front as described helps keep the hands out front. It rarely helps stop someone from twisting the torso to start turns. It also makes the upper body ridgid when it should be more relaxed. Same for balancing poles across the wrists, except that that one helps them make more subtle movements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

The real problem when you see someone twisting the torso to start turns is they are not letting the ski turn them. Instead, they are turning the ski, forcing it around. Again, a very common result of learning to turn by pushing out the tail of an outside ski and stepping harder on it.



That's why you are the teaching professional! Good analysis Kneale! I forgot to mention about balancing the poles on an open wrist. This technique did help me overcome twisties, although, I forget and fall back into old habits in the steeps :!
post #8 of 15
Without even watching a vid, KB is right on with sholder rotation being a symptom of not releasing the edge of the old turn, before starting another.

RW
post #9 of 15
An excersice that I like to use on skiers who are turning with their shoulders or upper body is Patience Turns! They can quickly get a feel for how the skies almost turn themselves if you are patient with them.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Holding the poles out front as described helps keep the hands out front. It rarely helps stop someone from twisting the torso to start turns. It also makes the upper body ridgid when it should be more relaxed. Same for balancing poles across the wrists, except that that one helps them make more subtle movements.
I disagree. If taught correctly, it can be used to keep the upper body quiet. The trick is to teach them that the arm length shouldn't change as the poles are held to the downhill. The instructor should ski downhill from the student and have them look directly at the instructor and focus on keeping the shoulders, hands and poles aligned. I use this technique very effectively to get people to stop turning with the torso. This will help build a strong inside half
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
Without even watching a vid, KB is right on with sholder rotation being a symptom of not releasing the edge of the old turn, before starting another.

RW
That really rings a bell with me, as I know my wife isn't making complete turns, or doing anything to finish one turn and change weighting before starting the next turn. She can make many quick turns in succession, which she uses surprisingly well to stay in control on steep sections, but there isn't a good start/finish in between turns. Now it's clear to me that she is using her upper body to power out of one incomplete turn in order to start the next.

Thanks for the comments guys, it's all been helpful!
post #12 of 15
Kneale is dead on, in my opinion, sksier219 (as usual!). Upper body rotation defines your wife's turns in that video, and it causes a few problematic effects. Because she starts her turns by twisting her shoulders into the turn, she literally throws herself into a spin. Gentle though it may be, she has to stop that upper body spin before she can turn the other way, which requires a solid edge set at the end of the turn. Unfortunately, the same rotation move also pulls her hips out over her skis, making that edge set difficult.

The key is to increase her ability to turn her skis with her legs, instead of her upper body. There are many approaches to developing this skill--a good lesson would surely help. While it is a very popular drill, I am not personally a fan of the pole exercises described above. At best, they will minimize or eliminate the problematic upper body rotation, but they do little to develop the leg movements that must replace that rotation. She may figure that out on her own, but I would prefer activities that develop the new movements, over those that simply eliminate the "bad" movements. Quite likely, if she learns to turn her skis with her legs, she'll feel no need to rotate her upper body, and the problem will be solved!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

PS--a general plea to anyone with a video camera--with all due respect, please fill the frame with the skier. Zoom in! It's hard to do M.A. on what looks like a flea in the middle of the screen!
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't know about anyone else, but the video quality degrades significantly when I zoom in on moving objects with my digital camera (ie, it's a photo camera that also has a movie capability). At 1X the quality is surprisingly good, but at the max 4X (optical zoom) it's horrible, and it varies therein. I have been remembering to stay as far zoomed out as possible when doing video of moving skiers, otherwise they are very distorted. I have a feeling the camera's sensor has a slower response time than a real video camera, or perhaps it's just not dealing with the contrast of the skier on the snow too well.
post #14 of 15
Bob, one issue that I see is that excessive upper body movement carries over...once someone learns an ineffective technique, they will continue to do so. Un-learning the ineffective technique early is easier than un-learning it later. I've also found that quiet upper body drills on easy terrain will sometimes cause a skier to use their lower body more efficiently. I would look at that drill as one of several in a progression with Ms. Skier219...not as the entire lesson.

The last time I used this particular drill I had 3 students, with varying degrees of over-rotation and outside ski dominance. One of the students had a "light-bulb" moment from this drill - the other 2 didn't get much improvement. By focusing on facing the fall line, she unconsciously began making better transitions between her turns. For the other 2, I went back to knee/toe movements.

I'm curious as to what you would use as drills in a progression with her - I'm always looking for more tricks for the bag!
post #15 of 15
Another vote here saying that the upper body rotation is not the problem but a symptom of the real problem...not knowing how to turn using her feet.

Sometimes the improper movements need to be neutralized while the proper movements are learned. Finding a way to neutralize the upper body rotation while learning to ski with the feet is very useful, then learn proper upper body movements that accentuate proper foot & ankle movements. Skiing always starts with the feet.
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 › Advice for an intermediate who is winding up shoulders in turns