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What to do with me?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We're on a 40-degree slope, slightly bumped up. I'm a level 7 skier ("8" at the Aspen site [img]tongue.gif[/img] ) exploring the world of short turns. When you say "okay, let's see whatcha got?" I invariably side-slip a bit before offering a half-assed pole plant which pierces the air and doesn't really get downhill far enough. My slip pivot gets my non-stance ski in the air (lifted, not lightened)and I seem to have some difficulty staying countered, CM tending to swing around with the skis.
I am usually on the verge of saying "chuck this" and reverting to bombing the dang hill GS style but I REALLY want to understand the finer tunes.
Am I a familiar sight to you instructors?
Where to start?

[ November 13, 2002, 11:36 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #2 of 16
I know just the run for you to practice this on come end of January:

High Rustler, 42 degrees of bliss

However, I am not a certified instuctor so I will not give any advice.

[ November 13, 2002, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: AltaSkier ]
post #3 of 16
What kind of skis are we on for this short turn cyber venture? :
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Let's say Salomon X-Scream 9's (185, 103-66-93).
post #5 of 16
Hey, what happened to those all-white skis of yours?
post #6 of 16
On any slope an edge change requires a movement producing an angular change of lower leg shafts equal to the slope angle plus any additional edge angle for lateral balancing due to momentum, before the skis flatten and release. This release point is leg shafts perpendicular to the slope, not vertical as we would otherwise perceive based upon volume of ski miles on flatter terrain. so on steeps leg shafts travel further thru an arc before edge release is achieved and skis can be re-directed.

On steeps an assertive movement is required to get skis flat (leg shafts perpendicular to slope) for an edge release to allow you to re-direct your skis as much as your chosen line requires. Especially critical for that first, zero momentum turn. Start turn one by extending out and away, diagonally, perpendicular to slope, off uphill ski so that CM moves downhill over feet to flatten skis, and allow you to re-direct them into the falline and start turning.

Once you get some momentum, start your next turn by relaxing that stance foot and leg to start release (of both edge and CM), and extend new outside leg only as CM passes thru that plane "perpendicular" to slope, not before. Extending too soon hangs you uphill against edges and inhibits release until you pole vault up and over the top of them. In bumps, it helps to ski the feet on their line moving the body down the falline across the feet. This works better than trying to move feet uphill and/or out around to the side of the body against the terrain..

Practice skiing faster, high edge, arcs on terrain only as steep as you are comfortable being aggressive. Make very quick, high angle to high angle edge changes by using an aggressive release movement triggered from the feet along with a rapid flexion of legs to laterally release the CM more horizontally or parallel to slope angle. You should feel the down and across sensation you will have flexing and releasing on the steeps. Additionally this will help you get a feel for your leg shafts rapidly tipping over through larger angle arcs to effect an edge release/change.

As you transition to steeper terrain (with out moguls), let go of the carve and re-direct skis more to control speed (enough to stay comfortable) but keeping aggressive with down and across edge release. Work in terrain increments that allow you to maintain accuracy in your movements. If you get defensive, or start thrashing, back off the terrain and get the accuracy back.

Smilage, smilage, smilage.
post #7 of 16
Making short turns at the top of High Rustler won't be a problem. The narrow width of the trail up there will provide plenty of motivation!

Seriously though, I'd rather first work on short turns on something easier before putting someone in the position you describe. That said, we're up there now and we need to help your skier get down safely without scaring him so much that he never comes back. Although the type of ski may be a factor, any ski can steered into short radius turns.

The first turn is the toughest. Our skier needs to develop confidence that he/she can turn the ski in a short enough turn to enable him to ski a slow enough line. We don't want to spend too much time in the fall line. One way to do his would be to make one turn at a time, starting down at about a 45 degree angle to the slope and making a short, skiddy "J" turn to a stop. The bumps will make good places to start and stop. In order to encourage the use of leg rotation I would ask the skier to progressively turn the tips of the skis, right tip right to go right, left tip left to go left. Depending upon how wide the slope is, we might do this several times in one direction before going the other way. I want our skier to start in a fairly flexed stance on top of a bump and extend in the ankles, knees, and hips as he proceeds downhill into the turn to keep both skis in contact with the snow through the turn. The turn will end in the flexed position on top of another bump as the skis begin pointing enough uphill to come to a stop. In other words we're going to use the terrain and the skier's line to control speed.

If the run is wide enough, we could traverse across the bumps a few times to develop flexing and extending in the lower body to absorb the bumps and keep the skis on the snow in the troughs. The bumps will provide good places to turn once we're ready to link some turns. Because I want the skier's upper body to face more or less down the hill rather than following the skis to finish the turn facing across or up the hill, I'll ask him to focus on making a pole touch down the hill in the direction of the new turn, and to look ahead down the slope several turns in the direction of travel. The downhill pole touch will also encourage starting the turn in the fairly flexed position.

As confidence builds, we may turn less out of the fall line, reduce skidding, and ski a somewhat faster line. I'm not looking for perfection, I want the guest to have a good experience and begin to develop the skills for this terrain. What I want to hear is "That was fun - lets do it again!"

post #8 of 16
Originally posted by AltaSkier:
I know just the run for you to practice this on come end of January:

High Rustler, 42 degrees of bliss

However, I am not a certified instuctor so I will not give any advice.
Love the run but either clear the road or STOP!
post #9 of 16
I invariably side-slip a bit before offering a half-assed pole plant which pierces the air and doesn't really get downhill far enough.

You've diagnosed one of the problems right there. You need to make a very committed pole reach down the hill and allow gravity to take your body down the hill. Reaching down will keep weight on the downhill ski before the release, giving you a more secure position, and then help to release the edges. (Let's face it- reaching down is scary). I think you'll find that if you commit with that pole reach (which means you have to face downhill) you'll find you have the skills you need to make the turn.
Do Arcmeister's drills on less steep terrain to get the feeling of release, changing edges and moving the body into the new turn.

[ November 13, 2002, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #10 of 16
Ryan, after all the good things said, let me tell you that a 40 degree slope is neither the place to learn short swing nor to BOMB the hill GS style.

As a level 7, the game is called the Survivalist

post #11 of 16
I want you all to know that skiing Climax at Mammoth was HIS idea. :
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback.

Ott, for purposes of generating discussion, the scenario is not entirely autobiographical - for one, that's not a hill I'd big-turn on. My short turn lessons have so far taken place on very moderate terrain, employing dynamic anticipation, skiing a flat ski, working on keeping CM down the hill while turning the skis under me. Drills that were "safe," mostly mundane, and very necessary before moving to a truly steep slope, as the one described. And I've made considerable progress.
Some of what I presented - the tendency to sideslip, the twisting of the torso - are things I experienced while approaching steeper terrain. While hardly elegant, I now feel safe and confident getting down such a slope (due in no small part to following milesb's suggestion to ski the area he mentioned, and his subsequent assistance re the appropriate technique, helpful hints, etc.)
And what I keep in mind now IS the committment to that first turn, keeping out over the fronts of the skis - it slows everything down - and keeping my hands UP and not letting them fall behind. It's rough but it's definitely coming and is pretty much what I'll be working on this season.
And the steeps have become much more inviting, rather than only intimidating.
Arc, Jim and Todd, thank you very much for the considered responses. Much appreciated!
[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ November 14, 2002, 06:55 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #13 of 16
I see. You hadn't mentioned that you learned shortswings on milder terrain.

Actually, once you know how, short turns and skiing in general is easier and more effortless on steeper terrain than the flatter one. You can let gravity and resistance work for you instead of having to supplement gravity with body motions as you do on the flats.

Keep at it. A moment after it clicks you wonder why you couldn't do that before [img]smile.gif[/img] .

The problem of starting the first turn has nothing to do with your skiing, it's all in your head.

post #14 of 16
Ryan, remember that I told and showed you what works for ME, and I'm afraid I may have oversimplified it. Because I'm not able to identify the cause of the problems you were having, being a layman.
But I know that if I'm on a slope that is sufficiently steep and exposed, I will exhibit the same symptoms you described. Because I am SCARED! :
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
miles, i think at some point it IS "simple," as in there ARE certain, fairly specific things one must do to get it working; and that gets to ott's remark about it eventually "clicking." right now, the main "problem" is simply lack of reps, which allow one to gradually get used to the pitch, get technique from head into body, etc., and slowly (or suddenly) begin to get it.
as far as Climax, if we get the same conditions we had last may, hey, i'm there. (you CAN be scared AND have fun.)

speaking of steep and mammoth...

[ November 14, 2002, 08:38 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #16 of 16
I believe we skied Hangman's in our lesson we had at Mammoth. (Or maybe it was Wipeout shoots) Paranoid flats was even steeper I think. I love that whole area there, it's a lot like the Alps. Traversing across that big bowl you feel very small.

I found the trail map here:
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