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Why Should I Learn to Ski? - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
How about if there's an easy way and a hard way. But the easy way may seem hard to learn when you are used to doing it the hard way.
That's exactly what the WC bumpers say. They say the WC style looks daunting but when you have it down it's the easiest and most efficient way to ski bumps.

I tried it last year and I can't say I disagree with them but many of the peeps who teach or practice it will tell you that any other way of skiing bumps is bad skiing. I totally disagree. I think I'm a 'better' bump skier than I was a year ago but if I saw someone bumpin' like I did pre-lessons, my reaction sure wouldn't be to say that's 'bad' skiing.

Maybe I'm just having a problem with the semantics. It just seems to me that there are a lot of ways to go about making your way down the mountain on skis. To see someone who is accomplished, doing what they want, going where they want at the speed they want and labeling that as bad skiing is a bit elitist, self serving and it's a real turn off to at least one potential student.
post #32 of 59
Bumpfreaq, lots of good comments from everyone above, & your own viewpoint is valid.

I look at it this way. I'm having fun at a great sport. It has potential for serious injury, people even die. Skills are a great preventitive measure. When someone teaches skills, they often point out the things that are no-no's because of high potential for causing serious injury. The more I want to do, the more I look to develop the skills to do it all safely rather than willy nilly or survival only. Skill base is a good thing. Technique is a bit different, it's a choice of styles in doing something. I wouldn't make a good or bad of it. It is about educated or experienced choice as I see it.
post #33 of 59
I do drills every day. I was doing drills when I was skiing w/you bumpfreaq!

There are drills....then there are drills. There are lessons.....and there are lessons.

Why not do a drill on a stretch of terrain that you otherwise would just cruise along on? You don't have to stop/slow or change anything....just keep going....do the drill and continue skiing. Skiing the Windows itself is a drill. You have to change your normal skiing (even for you) to ski both bumps and trees at once that are open at one point and tight at another, in a place you have never been. Talk about helping your skiing.

Hit the course. Don't even look at the timer. Just try to figure out how to get around the poles and make it feel right. That will change your skiing.

Turn your poles upside down for a run on a groomer. That in itself would be quite the eye opener. I changed a persons entire upper body position by asking her to just change her grip on the ski pole. I was skiing in a group with VSP and he was speechless at the result.

Like I said.....there are drills....and there are drills.

BF, if you are going to take lessons, at your level, you need to be pointed to the right person who is really on their game. Otherwise, it could be a complete waste of your time. Choose carefully.
post #34 of 59
Thread Starter 
Thanks UL, good post. Poles upside down eh?
post #35 of 59
I think it's worth mentioning that lessons don't have to be (nor should they be) a collection of lots of drills. Drills have their uses, but often there are better ways to achieve a given outcome.

I tend to avoid drills as much as possible, particularly in higher level lessons, for a few reasons - including the fact that a lesson full of drills really isn't a good way of delivering an enjoyable experience for a student. In my experience drills are most effective in developing gross movement patterns - in other words developing new skills, rather than refining existing ones. If you ski with a fairly modern technique without any major bad habits to unlearn, then there's no need for you to be taking lessons with tons of drills, so don't let an aversion to them hold you back from trying formal instruction.
post #36 of 59
Don't do it.

More fun, less worries.
post #37 of 59
I really think you should not. Then you don't have to bother others with that question, because you are the only one that can answer it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
I mean, I'm having so much fun with whatever it is that I'm doing now.





Ok, here it is.


I've been skiing (or something) for about seventeen years now. I've always had a blast. Skiing made winter into a boon to look forward to all year instead of a bane to endure. I ski in control, I ski fast and I ski with a huge grin on my face. I have no interest in racing or otherwise quantifying the 'success' of my skiing.

Last year I had my first lesson. It was a positive experience and I'm going to do it again this year. But here's (one of) the thing(s): I don't have the time or the money to ski half as much as I'd like to. When I do get out on the slopes I want to enjoy myself. Practicing technique and doing drills makes for somewhat less than 100% of the potential enjoyment.

I suspect I'm one of those people who are good at skiing bad. So what's wrong with that?

disclaimer: much of the above is heart felt, some of it is there for the sake of argument.
post #38 of 59
bumpfreag,

This is an interesting statement from an earlier post.

Quote:
I am starting to accept my limitations and just enjoy what I got.
How many skiers share this opinion of themselves? Maybe the limitation is lack of technique that a good instructor can develop in a skier. Doing the same thing over and over (but maybe using more or doing it harder) gets the same results. Don't be afraid to change, it may allow you or the person I quoted to be a better skier than you ever thought you could be. Food for thought.

RW
post #39 of 59
I can't speak for why anyone ELSE should 'learn to ski.' From your posts I assume you mean attempt to move from an already advanced level to more of an expert level. For me the drive comes from my enjoyment of skiing as a social experience and from my personality as a goal oriented individual.

I want to be able to ski with whoever, and keep up. I don't ever want to be a drag and I want to be in for the full experience. There is a very liberating thing to finding a part of the mountain with good company, maybe new to some of you or even all of you, and then making your turns down it and then living it up later. It's a good deal, you know?

At alpine meadows every time I ride the lift I look up at a pitch we call Idiots. Part of me says you would have to be an idiot to ski it (although some say the name comes from having to be an idiot to walk all the way up there). The other part says, "I want to be able to ski that and feel like I belong." I'll let you know when I get there. Hopefully my skills will get there before my body starts to flip me the bird for that sort of activity.

-Adam
post #40 of 59
Idiots is a delight.
post #41 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Skiing is like sex; the more you know and the better you are at it, the better it gets and the more you enjoy it.
This reminds me of something I heard one of those World Series of Poker players saying:
"Poker is like sex. Everybody thinks they're good at it. They're not."

On a serious note,
Quote:
I am starting to accept my limitations and just enjoy what I got.
The limitations quote above is both right and wrong. I think it's good and extremely helpful to accept where you are. I don't think you should "just enjoy what I got". I believe there's more possible for anyone than where they are right now.
post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Skiing is like sex; the more you know and the better you are at it, the better it gets and the more you enjoy it.
Except with skiing, it's better if you leave your clothes ON.
post #43 of 59
I passed this thread by earlier (on Tues I think), as I thought mmckimson , therusty, uncle louie and canuck had it covered. My point had been made by; if you like where your are and the ride is fun, groove on. Later, on that day I skipped responding, I had an 18yo boy self-taught, fast-riding, jimmy-legging, straight-legged, aft-pressured, snowboarder who liked to go fast, but ate it on turns on steeper hills. I took this thread topic to heart, as an inspiration to make the session a fun ride. We rode, we rode fast... his choice, from outta the gate. We didn't do drills, we did explore different movements that would minimize the "eating snow turns". My goal that morning, and yesterday and today, has been to do it all different. I'm having a hard time of it, some of my content/delivery isn't 100% fresh, but my results have been good, and I'm trying.
The point of all that being, Nick, my 18yo, got better, he left me with a couple new moves and a lot of practice ahead of him. He was still biting it though. He may have gotten better faster with drills, then again he may have gotten bored and exasperated. I chose to make sure he got to ride and felt a new movement pattern, with some dissection of the "stuff" on the lift.
If you do find the desire to seek a pro to coach, be up front about your desires and expectations. Tell him/her: "I don't want to do drills, I want to get better at (whatever), but I want to ski while learning." If the response is, "it can't be done," find another coach.
If I had to play the same hand again... I'd play it the same way.
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Davis View Post
I passed this thread by earlier (on Tues I think), as I thought mmckimson and therusty had it covered. My point had been made by; if you like where your are and the ride is fun, groove on. Later, on that day I skipped responding, I had an 18yo boy self-taught, fast-riding, jimmy-legging, straight-legged, aft-pressured, snowboarder who liked to go fast, but ate it on turns on steeper hills. I took this thread topic to heart, as an inspiration to make the session a fun ride. We rode, we rode fast... his choice, from outta the gate. We didn't do drills, we did explore different movements that would minimize the "eating snow turns". My goal that morning, and yesterday and today, has been to do it all different. I'm having a hard time of it, some of my content/delivery isn't 100% fresh, but my results have been good, and I'm trying.
The point of all that being, Nick, my 18yo, got better, he left me with a couple new moves and a lot of practice ahead of him. He was still biting it though. He may have gotten better faster with drills, then again he may have gotten bored and exasperated. I chose to make sure he got to ride and felt a new movement pattern, with some dissection of the "stuff" on the lift.
If you do find the desire to seek a pro to coach, be up front about your desires and expectations. Tell him/her: "I don't want to do drills, I want to get better at (whatever), but I want to ski while learning." If the response is, "it can't be done," find another coach.
If I had to play the same hand again... I'd play it the same way.
Bryan, Sounds like you found the right balance, so what if he is still biting it in turns, if we are afraid or pissed off when we fall we won't learn anyway. You gave him some stuff to work with its now up to him to implement it. Slowly over time some of that will sink in and he will gain more skills and the ability to ride stronger terrain with skill.
post #45 of 59
Bryan,
Sounds like you played it right. Remember, a lot of what you did with him will sink in later.
JF
post #46 of 59

you answered your own quesiton

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
I mean, I'm having so much fun with whatever it is that I'm doing now.

Last year I had my first lesson.
My question to you is: Why did you take that first lesson, if you are already skiing well?

IOW: What in your own opinion was lacking your skiing?

If you think there was a reason to take a lesson, then you have answered your own question.
post #47 of 59
Thread Starter 
Thanks again to all that have taken the time to contribute to this thread. I'm especially glad that it's lead to a bit of a new direction in the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippy View Post
My question to you is: Why did you take that first lesson, if you are already skiing well?
Hmmm, two answers here. First I took a bump clinic last year because I saw peeps skiing bumps in a style that I couldn't hope to emulate without some (a whole bunch of) coaching.

As far as skiing the flats, the answer is a tad more complicated. I guess it boils down to... I started taking lessons on pure faith that they would open new doors of skiing enjoyment for me.

It seems to me that EpicSki is a very technique-centric site. Before I joined up here I rarely ever gave a thought about skiing in the most efficient way or of getting the most out of my skis. A few thousand hours of reading this forum got me to thinking there must be an unknown higher level of skiing enjoyment for me to discover. Before I joined EpicSki I was perfectly happy with my skiing but now I wonder what it is that I'm missing. I mean there are quite a few peeps here that don't even consider it skiing if your technique isn't up to snuff.

Maybe the reason I took that first lesson was to regain that unabated joy. The joy that I used to have before I considered whether I was doing it 'right' or not.

Quote:
If you think there was a reason to take a lesson, then you have answered your own question.
I guess I know the reason but I still don't know if it was valid or not. I haven't found the door to unknown levels of enjoyment, but I haven't given up looking.


As far as direct answers to my title question, I think abertsch came the closest to my own mind set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abertsch
I want to be able to ski with whoever, and keep up. I don't ever want to be a drag and I want to be in for the full experience. There is a very liberating thing to finding a part of the mountain with good company, maybe new to some of you or even all of you, and then making your turns down it and then living it up later. It's a good deal, you know?
I have a couple of friends that I often ski Mary Jane with. When we ski bump runs sometimes one of them is out in the lead and sometimes I am but when we go OB to some tight trees in variable snow I'm too often skiing to survive rather than ripping it. They're always waiting for me at the road. Same thing to a lesser extent when we do The Cirque (steepish runs).

In the past I would just figure that I need a bunch more experience in those conditions and I'll be fine, but EpicSki has made me wonder if what I really need is better grounding in 'proper' technique.
post #48 of 59
Hey Bump,
I know you can ski and I know you can cook. If I may draw an analogy between the two, do you cook the same way you did when you started? Was the Chili you made last winter seasoned the same way you seasoned your first batch of Chili? Do you make every batch the same or do you explore new combinations?

Adding and refining skiing skills should allow you to play around with new and different combinations, and maybe enjoy conditions that currently aren't so much fun.

As far as lessons go. Maybe you don't need formal lessons if you can pick the brain of folks you respect.

Last winter at Boyne, TC gave Kneale and I grief for talking instead of skiing. Reality was that I was taking the opportunity to pick Kneales brain. You can do the same. It may be a better value to ask for 1 tip and then go play with it for a few hours, or days. In my case I went home and bought new boots.
post #49 of 59
Thread Starter 
Good to hear from you KAZOOSKI. Interesting analogy. Truth is, like my skiing, my cooking was well developed before I endeavored to do any formal learning. I think it was earlier in this thread that I said one of the reasons I love skiing so much is that it's something that just comes natural to me. Same with cooking, I've just always been able to do it well enough to satisfy myself and plenty of others.

I like your idea of picking the brain of respected others and certainly I've been doing plenty of that. In cooking it's easy to read a recipe and say, for instance, "Wow, those three flavors in combination look really interesting but I don't know about the recipe as a whole. I think I'll take those flavors and make my own dish out of them." Seems it's less practical to do that with skiing.
post #50 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
I have a couple of friends that I often ski Mary Jane with. When we ski bump runs sometimes one of them is out in the lead and sometimes I am but when we go OB to some tight trees in variable snow I'm too often skiing to survive rather than ripping it. They're always waiting for me at the road. Same thing to a lesser extent when we do The Cirque (steepish runs).

In the past I would just figure that I need a bunch more experience in those conditions and I'll be fine, but EpicSki has made me wonder if what I really need is better grounding in 'proper' technique.
Bump, That is an interesting observation.When I read this and your other posts I assume you are pretty good at bumps and and can rip with your friends with them. So you must have spent alot of time playing in the bumps, hence the name. All that time has made you good at it, confident at bumps. How much time have you put in in trees, tracked up crud, steeps etc ?

Maybe your confidence isn't there to rip that stuff because you have not spent as much time in it compared to bumps and you go in with friends who maybe have spent more time in lets call it the way off piste as compared to off piste meaning not groomed. I have found spending time skiing woods and glades has made bump skiing as whole lot easier, you don't pay nearly as high a price for mistakes in the bumps as you do for ones in the trees.

Try to think of trees as just bumps with poles in the top of the bump. Work on taking the lines you would in a bump run at slightly slower speeds ( looking 2-3 turns ahead) and build from there. It really sounds like you have the skills just not trusting your ability.
post #51 of 59
Thread Starter 
Thanks Snowbowler, I'll mosdef work on getting more experience in the trees and steeps (and the bumps and the flats) this year
post #52 of 59

pros have coaches, so

hi bump,
like you, i skied for 20+ years without taking lessons. I learned at Alpine Valley MI!!, now i teach there, and i wish i had taken lessons much much sooner.

Why?

I had bad habits that, while, NOT limiting me in michigan, were very limiting out west. and very ingrained

i learned technique, mechanics, movement analysis, physics, and technical terms that let me understand at a higher level

mabye the hangup is not so much the lessons, but admitting to yourself you want to take a lesson i too was "anti lesson" for a long long time. in hindsight, too long.

if you can get over to Copper, take the Bumpbusters clinic with Karpy. The lesson + lift ticket is not much more than a one day ticket. you'll be glad you did
post #53 of 59
Thread Starter 
Hey docbrad, thanks for the input.

Please tell me how long it's been since you started down the path of learning technique, mechanics, movement analysis, physics, and technical terms. When you free ski now do you have these things in mind or have they become so second nature that you aren't aware of them at all? I would welcome response to these questions from anyone else also.

I've heard good things about Karpy and Bumpbusters. For now I'm down with the Mogullogic crew.

I don't think this is what you're getting at, but I'd like to clarify; I've never been anti-lesson. I've recommended lessons to lots of peeps. Just haven't been interested in taking them myself until recently.
post #54 of 59
hey bump,
i've been teaching about 6 years now but skiing almost 30. for most of that time i just went fast, hit jumps and bumps and muscled my way through.

where i teach our previous Ski School director was a big influence. very very good technical skier, but also able to demonstrate at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. also very good at movement analysis: what is present, what is missing, what causes it, and what exercises to fix it. that has had a big impact.

i'm very much still learning. so most of the time freeskiing is freesking, and sometimes its less free and more thinking and evaluating. a few things have become second nature but most still require conscious effort.

i think the best skiers ski keep learning and improving. freesking
and mileage get you a long way. but lessons can have their place too.

if i get out Winter park i'll look you up,
brad
post #55 of 59
Hi Bump,
As an instructor there are 2 concepts I've been taught that keep floating to the top and seem to fit your most recent questions.
First, instead of trying to take away or eliminate, a "bad" habit, provide something new that works better.

The other is that it takes doing something correctly 2-3,000 times for it to become ingrained to the point that you can do it without thinking about it. A fellow instructor claims that doing "it" incorrectly one time means you have to start counting over again.

As I think about your questions, I suspect that you may be looking for additional tools as much as looking to replace existing tools. In some cases the new tool may be more about understanding concepts of ski technique as opposed to replacing habits.

Either way it's a challenging journey to be enjoyed.
post #56 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KAZOOSKI View Post
2-3,000 times.



Whoa, I'm hoping 35 is in that range.

I think my biggest stumbling block here may be the prospect of making thousands of turns while my head is filled with edge angles, weight shifts, knee angles, posture, hip angle, foot pressure, leg extension, direction of CoM and stuff.

I'm way happy when my head is filled with, ya know..... Earth, Wind and Fire

Good post though, it is appreciated.
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post



Whoa, I'm hoping 35 is in that range.

I think my biggest stumbling block here may be the prospect of making thousands of turns while my head is filled with edge angles, weight shifts, knee angles, posture, hip angle, foot pressure, leg extension, direction of CoM and stuff.

I'm way happy when my head is filled with, ya know..... Earth, Wind and Fire

Good post though, it is appreciated.
My thoughts exactly Chris. I also think this has been my train of thought when purchasing skis. I've always liked skis that you didn't have to think how to ski. In other words, I always liked skis with big sweet spots and damp. Not skis that required you to be on top and driving all the time.

I don't have a need to ski any better than I do right now. I'm very happy where I'm at this point in life and no real need to seek out any help. At the other end of the spectrum, I realize there are many out there who are never satisfied with their skiing. Always seeking out something to improve their overall skiing experience. I don't find fault with this, I just don't understand why they feel a need to.

It's so much more fun to just rip around every run, be it moguls, cruisers, steeps, powder runs or chutes without trying to think about what you are going to need to do with your movements and edges to survive the run. jmho
post #58 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
That's exactly what the WC bumpers say. They say the WC style looks daunting but when you have it down it's the easiest and most efficient way to ski bumps.

I tried it last year and I can't say I disagree with them but many of the peeps who teach or practice it will tell you that any other way of skiing bumps is bad skiing. I totally disagree. I think I'm a 'better' bump skier than I was a year ago but if I saw someone bumpin' like I did pre-lessons, my reaction sure wouldn't be to say that's 'bad' skiing.

Maybe I'm just having a problem with the semantics. It just seems to me that there are a lot of ways to go about making your way down the mountain on skis. To see someone who is accomplished, doing what they want, going where they want at the speed they want and labeling that as bad skiing is a bit elitist, self serving and it's a real turn off to at least one potential student.
Interesting stuff there bumpfreaq. On the bold part I would agree with you that labeling something "bad" sounds like a judgment and that's not helpful or inspiring. Possibly the problem is the English language, where our qualitative descriptions have multiple meanings. "Bad" and "poor" can mean "inefficient" or they can be a judgment. "Inefficient" in the context of sports performance isn't such a great term either. No one's real happy with it. Some people just think you're blowing smoke and will say "You mean 'I suck' ".

On a general note though, when people improve they get more access to the mountain and can go places they never thought they would. When people get better and do something they thought they couldn't it's a positive thing.

You really see this in kids. I remember last year I had two sisters in a group in mid December and then didn't see them all year because they went into another program. On the last day of the season, and the very last run, I ran into them with their mom. Everyone was sitting around picnicing waiting for the chairlift to stop. You can tell just by the way they dealt with their equipment - their relationship with their helmets, that they were different. On snow they had way more confidence and seemed to own where they were. They knew the trails and where to go. Perhaps no where else in their life to they have this type of command of their environment.

Maybe I'm just a freak, but usually when I go skiing I'm trying to learn something. If I went skiing with TyroneShoelaces for example, I'd try and get him to show me how to drop small cliffs. (uh..like real small!) I think a lot more people are like this than they realize. Kids in terrain parks learning tricks from their friends are 'taking lessons' in effect. The ones who get really good usually are probably making 'lessons' that are quite structured and comprehensive.
Of course then there's powder and it's just time to go!!
post #59 of 59
Quote:
It's so much more fun to just rip around every run, be it moguls, cruisers, steeps, powder runs or chutes without trying to think about what you are going to need to do with your movements and edges to survive the run.
Everyone's take on this is going to be a little bit different.

I think almost everyone wants skiing to be "fun" and not "work" (in some sense). At very high levels in sports, getting to a point where you don't have to think about mechanics and technique is often a major goal. But it's hard to get there without spending a lot of time doing just that up front.

To me, it's not fun to be just "surviving" runs. I can certainly pick and sideslip my way down just about anything that doesn't involve cliffs, but I wouldn't call it a fun experience. If I want to be able to ski comfortably on more terrain than I currently can, or in more difficult conditions, I need to work at improving my skills. Or I could only ski on terrain where I can "rip", but right now that would be pretty limiting IMO. If I could "rip" on challenging double-blacks without thinking about it, it might be a different story.

It's not necessarily "fun" to do drills and focused practice to improve my skiing, but I also don't spend all my time doing that. In the end, it's rewarding when I do feel like I'm actually getting better, and I'm able to ski runs that gave me serious technical problems and/or scared the crap out of me at some earlier point.

From experience with other athletic endeavors, I also know how painfully frustrating it can be if you're working really hard but feel like you're not getting anywhere. "Plateau" sounds a lot nicer than "smashing your head against a brick wall for six months". That sort of experience can easily lead to burnout, or giving up on really trying to improve. Good coaching helps. Patience helps, but can be hard to find when you really need it.

If you're totally happy with how you ski, and you're not interested in skiing on more difficult terrain than what you're comfortable on now, then it doesn't make sense for you to put effort into getting better. I'm not, and I'm not sure when I will be. Maybe a bit of a character flaw. It doesn't mean that I don't have fun skiing, or relax and take it easy sometimes -- just that I'm unlikely to get complacent and stop trying to improve for very long.

The point about "wrong" or "bad" or "inefficient" skiing is instructive. It's all relative. Even if you can qualitatively say that technique X is more mechanically efficient or effective than technique Y, someone that is perfectly happy with technique Y and doesn't feel limited by it is not doing anything "wrong".
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