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Lets talk speed control..

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I was working last week with 16 young ski racers between the ages of 13-18. Most of these kids grew up skiing on "mountains" that have under 800 ft of vertical, and are typically fairly flat. This was their first week on snow, and many of them are skiing on new equipment. With that said, the one consistent trend I noticed in their skiing was an inability to control their speed when the terrain got a little steeper.

I attribute this to a couple of factors:

1) Not using enough "steering"; letting the sidecut of the ski determine their turn radius, and simply riding out their turns.

2) Their lack of experience on steeper terrain, and the fact that it was their first week on snow.

3) Lack of leg strength and muscle development to steer their skis.

4) Adjusting to their new equipment.

I'd like to consider the first point. I believe that a lot of these young skiers developed the tendency to "ride" their skis from the misconception that a rollerblade or rail turn combined with a little vertical movement is all that's needed to perform a cleanly carved turn. I'm convinced that this problem affects a lot of young ski racers who want to go fast and ski as clean a turn as possible, while not realizing that they need to take a more active approach to steering their skis. Not just tipping them over and riding out the turn. I also noticed a lot of the skiers were very good at rolling on to their edges by inclination but never really completed their turns and used a minimal amount of angulation.

Some of the drills I used to try and improve their ability to steer their skis included "brockage", a drill I call "instructor turns", and "boot touch". The drills were performed on medium terrain at a very, very slow pace. The first two drills promoted a lot of steering and sliding of the skis through the turns. The boot touch drill promotes angulation, and completion of the turn.

What drills do you use and what approach do you take with competent skiers who have a problem controlling speed on steeper slopes?

Happy Holidays! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #2 of 10
Powderhoundin, I need to do some last minute XMAS shopping, but here's one quick thought:
I know you are currently doing research on ACL injury. One predisposing factor for this injury is inability to properly DEcelerate.
More later!
post #3 of 10

Were you in Quebec with the senior kids last week?

Pratt-man and I were saying the same thing about the rail-riding JD kids that were training at the hill last weekend.

One other drill to try might be good old-fashioned speiss. Get them to keep the shoulders square to the bottom of the hill. Then use speiss to do both pivoting (aka. steering with less edging) and increased mobility in the lower joints.

A "tactic" to use might be to narrow the corridor you let them ski. Either see who can get the most turns in a given distance or get them to ski in pairs without the rear skier passing the front skier. That'll force them to complete their turn to maintain speed.

Hmmm... What else? Nothing else is popping into my head (that I have time to type), but I'll let you know if I come up with anything else.

Park & Ride = Bad

Have you seen Many C. (the new Swiss NG coach) ski yet? Just tell your kids to ski like her. Crazy fast... generates speed with every turn.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey Bryan,

I was actually down in Sugarloaf with the PEI team for four days.. Some good skiers, but consistently losing control on the steeper stuff, especially the two days we skied slalom. We did do some narrow corridor skiing, and that definitely made them slow down.. One trail we skied was no more than 15 ft wide, and they took it pretty easy..

I suspect that I will run into the same type of skiing when I start working with the JDs in the new year. I did get some serious improvement over the four days with the PEI kids, they responded well to the drills, especially the "instructor turns". I think it's just a matter of reminding the kids that even though their skis will turn when you lay them on edge, that they still have to be steered.
post #5 of 10
I've got pretty much the same thing with my kids.
Lately I've been using brushes set over round to do staddle drills.
post #6 of 10
Hey Bryan and Evan... yeah, you guys hit on exactly what I've been talking to the JD kids about so far. A few of them realize that turning a ski effectively takes a tad more than 'parking and riding' but like you and Pratt-man have seen, it's not the same for all of them. I'm also seeing a fair amount of funky stances with a lot of them and I've primarily been working on proper stance and balance with them for the first few days on snow. I'd like to see this translate into more dynamic edging and steering over the next couple of weeks before we start seeing stubbies & gates (assuming we see more snow...).

I have a fair number of questions for the level 2 CSCF course this week... hopefully I get some good answers!

As for Many... yeah... she's off the hook

See you guys next weekend,

post #7 of 10
Greetings from Japan,

This is a subject that I have been gappling with for several seasons. It is the primary biggest problem I have as a level III candidate, becuase it is always concious . My feeling is that as a middle aged skier (essentially having had to relearn to ski properly in my mid 40's [I have alledgedly been skiing since my teen years!]), once I am comfortable at high speeds, everything else will fall into place.

Canuck you use the term "SPEISS" & Powderhounin' you use the term "instructor turns". Would you cater to my naivety and 'splain these terms.

thnx for this info.

BTW - Powderhoundin' your tag says it all!

Please dedicate a run or two for me to contribute my vicarious season as I am in the tropics till June!

[ December 28, 2003, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: ziggyskier ]
post #8 of 10
How do you address the mental issues, though? It does take a leap of faith to move forward when the speeds get to fast, the hill too steep, or the terrain too uneven.

Mileage is key, of course, but what else can be done to ensure the skier is turning/pressuring the skis instead of the other way around? How do you quickly step them up to dynamic turns at speed?
post #9 of 10
I agree that park and ride is a phase that takes a bit to work out of. It is also what I believe to be a necessary step in their development as skiers.

We all have to learn to ride a passive carving ski before we can add energy and all the movements of great skiing to clean carved turns. As with powderhoundin, I think playing with the other end of the continuum (short, pivot, edgeset, turns), is a way to expand horizons toward the full range of turns representing the continuum within these extremes.

Being a bit skeptical of teaching steering to much, I come at it from the All Mountain Ski Pros version of ski teaching, where we work on the releasing and tipping movements of the new light, inside ski and a strong anticipated pole plant. These points have been hammered on in the pmts vs. psia threads, (AMSP was developed concurrently with PMTS and has similarities but is based on off piste, upper end skiing) and I'm not here to debate. I blend my teaching between the ideas as psia level 3 as well. I just feel there are ways to sneak more shape and speed control into these park and ride skiers without taking them to deeply into the idea of overly active steering.

Anyway, I also agree with corridor idea. I like a groomer ridge to use a key for the release and pole plant and create a task like 10 turns in this corridor before you reach me..

Until the next time..

Cheers, Wade
post #10 of 10
Originally posted by ziggyskier:
Greetings from Japan,

Canuck you use the term "SPEISS"

Hey ziggyskier -

Speiss is an exercise to promote both vertical movement (flexion / extension of the lower body) and pivoting / steering (via upper / lower body separation).

I would describe it as follows:

1. Start with your skis across the hill, body facing down the hill. Legs are flexed as if you're completing a turn.
2. Jump by extending your legs (not by bending and extending at the waist).
3. While you're in the air and keeping your body facing down the hill, pivot your skis (in your hip sockets) across the hill in the other direction.
4. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

A solid pole plant helps. Also, children's speiss can be done by doing all of the above in just your ski boots.

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