or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

how to "feel" the free ski?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey, two more days of skiing, and I'm pretty sure I still have a problem I'd like to fix, so I thought I'd ask for advice here.

On easy terrain (for me, a "Level 4" skier, that means greens and light blues on western terrain, and greens and all blues in Ontario), my skis are parallel. However, as soon as the slope becomes a hair more steep, my free ski seems to sort of wander. It's not actually getting stuck on the wedge edge, but there's clearly (in video footage) a wedge shape occasionally during the turns.

This is completely unconscious. That is, I'm not doing it deliberately to slow down, because the wedge edge isn't biting. I just can't seem to "feel" that free ski. To be completely honest, I don't even know if I'm still doing it! I know my turn shape has improved, and I'm definitely skidding less on the deep blues, but I'm still wondering about that free foot.

Any suggestions for practice drills or awareness exercises? Thanks all.

post #2 of 5

There's not a lot to go on, with the info you provided, such as when the inside (free) ski is in that "wedge" relationship. Does it skid along with the turning ski, just that it's flat, rather than on an edge? At what point does it start to skid? Early or late in the turn? Is the inside ski in that described positon throughout the end of the turn, or only when you try to start the new turn? And without being able to see your movement patterns, it's just a guessing game.

I can throw out a couple of reasons that the inside ski might end up in that position.

1) The turning ski is not edged enough. If you don't use enough edge on the turning ski, and it displaces sideways too much, as opposed to moving in a forward direction more, your body may not keep up with the sideways momentum, and as it slips out from under you, you have to use the inside ski as a crutch to support yourself.

2) It may be as simple as you are just not actively steering and edging the inside (free) foot as much as you should be.

3) You may be trying to finish the turn too hard with your outside ski by rotating and pressuring it, to try to get the feeling of a strong finish to the turn.

You could also try something as simple as just going a bit faster, assuming the speed doesn't make you more defensive. This will force your CM to move inside the path of the skis a bit more, making it easier to get the inside ski on it's edge. However, don't try to control your speed by displacing the outside (turning) ski, but rather by finishing the arc of the turn smoothly with both feet. Try to make sure your knees are the same distance apart as your feet are, and that you actively steer the inside foot through the turn.
post #3 of 5
Delta888, IMHO you already have all the awareness you need. Just try to rate your feeling of the free ski's edge angle zero to five, and you will get it.

It's possible that your feet are too wide apart on steeper-than-usual terrain - for the illusion of balance, e.g. That too will prevent you from putting the free ski on a higher edge. If that is so, try outrigging your hips into the turn. Don't worry, the increase in the centrifugal force will hold you upright (May the Force be with you! ). Another way to think of it is flexing your knees ONLY when unloading (transitioning) and then extending your legs TOGETHER into the next turn (to the other side of your body). Imagine that there is a fairly low (lower than your head) ceiling and your task is to always scrape it with your head.

First try that on a familiar terrain or even on a chair at home/lodge/hotel. This move is what mogul skiers use, so it will not be meaningless in the future: Flex your knees, lifting your feet to your chest - and then throw them into the other side of your body.

If none of that helps, consider seeing a bootfitter.
post #4 of 5
I suspect that the label "free" ski is being miss-interpreted. This might lead to fostering an old school movement pattern of skiing with left foot to turn right and right foot to turn left (outside foot to outside foot, or big toe to big toe). Modern skiing is better represented as: tip left tip left to go left, tip right tip right to go right.

So clearly, "free" does not mean free to do nothing! The inside ski's freedom comes from the outside ski taking on it's primary role of support and balance, as the inside foot leads the action of tipping in the direction of the turning. The inside fee foot/ski must to attend to it's primary role, that being to drive turn shape by progressivly edging throughout the turn, and play a supporting balancing role. This role is constant regardless of how much weight is actually on the inside foot (from half to none).

Both inside and outside skis each have a job to do in efficient skiing. Some refer to the outside as "stance foot" and inside as "free foot", another reference is outside as "brawn" inside as "brains". The key is that as bi-peds, we ski our best when each foot/ski is doing its specific job. Don't be just half a skier!

As for the "feel", it starts (and stays) with the foot inside the boot. Roll/tip the old outside (new inside) foot toward little toe edge (big toe up off snow) to release the old turn and lead the shaping of the new turn. This is a continously applied activity for the duration of the turn. Just switch "lead" inside foot to start a new turn and transfer stance to new outside foot.
If you want to learn to ski parallel turns with consistancy, tell your instructor that you want to learn to release, transfer and engage better in parallel turns.

[ March 05, 2003, 10:01 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Guys, thanks muchly! I suspect that I'm just not doing *any*thing with that foot now --- it's sort of along for the ride (I'm definitely thinking about the big toe of the outside foot instead of the little toe of the inside foot). Also (again, though I don't know this --- I'd have to check video again) I think I'm not releasing my edges evenly. Have to focus on extending on both legs.

However, I have to confess that I won't be thinking about ANY of this this afternoon because there's more than a foot of new snow here at Big White -- yeah, boo hoo, everyone should have such problems... It's FANTASTIC. And I sure don't get powder, but it's incredibly fun even if I don't seem to know what the hell is going on. I actually managed to do a 360 this morning, and then started skiing backwards for a bit before I could get straightened out. Also, I'm obviously an out-of-shape wimp because I'm panting after about 4 turns.

Back to it.... Here's hoping that some of the rest of you guys are getting this fantastic snow!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching