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Turning on one ski - balance

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Instructors and ski bums -

Your accumulated wisdom is required.

When skiing in Switzerland last month I took some classes. During one lesson our instructor played a game with us: She made us take of one ski and traverse across the slope and then make a turn. Everyone took of their left ski and started traversing to the right. Some of them managed to do the (left) turn, but not one could follow it up with a right turn.

With me, however, it was exactly the other way round. Because I'm left-footed I decided to take of my right ski. I also traversed to the right and then managed to turn left, but couldn't turn right.

So, it seemed like while my fellow skiers found it easier to transition from gliding on the uphill ski to gliding on the downhill ski, I found the other transition easier.

This really confused me. I'd like to practice this stuff some more, but don't know whether I'll have another opportunity this winter (probably not!).

Another question: how can I improve my balance (off or on the slope)? The balance on my right leg is so poor (weak ankle) that I find it hard to keep most of my weight on it. This was most evident when I used snowblades for the first time, because suddenly my left turns were much better (because of the more even weight distribution required).

Any help would be much appreciated.

Charlie : :
post #2 of 18
By the way, Charlie is now Charlie24. For some reason I couldn't log back in after having amended my profile, so I had to re-register! Doh!

post #3 of 18
I mentioned to some ice skaters once that my ankles burned when i tried to skate. They said a good practice to strengthen ankles is to walk around the house on the outside edges of your feet. Might work!

Try lifting your inside ski about half way through the turn as a drill. Also, try lifting the inside ski and crossing it over the outside ski, holding it in the air. I think this is called the javlin drill. That's the one I don't like... therefore that's the one I need to do! :
post #4 of 18
Okay, Charlie girl!!! You've mentioned in a few posts that you don't work out {am I correct?} but now I have to steer you to the Health and Fitness Forum. There are tons of things about off season balance exercise.

If you have a weak ankle, your proprioception on that side is probably shot. Start with simply standing on one leg. Make sure your toes are unclenched. When you get good at it, do it with your eyes closed. Then do it in bare feet. Then, probably with your eyes open, practice a fore/aft balance drill. Stand on one leg, and shift your weight from your toe to your heel.

Then, if you get interested, you can try out some of the balance toys we talk about in the fitness forum!
post #5 of 18
That would be a "drunken sailor" drill. Dan Egan had us do it and I practice it on all run outs now. I find that it really makes me get out of the back seat and commit to the turn. I find that you can only do it if you are in balance and to initiate the turn you have to make sure that tip of the ski is loaded, otherwise it just shoots straight down the hill. All balance fore/aft and lateral errors are impified. I can do it better on my left leg. On easy blue run I can pretty much ski short radius turn with my right foot in the air. Skiing on right leg is a little harder for me.
When working on this drill keep your eye on airborn ski tip and make sure it is not facing skyward. If it does you are back. Dragging your poles as braking/balancing aid indicates that you are not balanced laterally. (is that English? )
Another drill that works together with this one is one footed skiing but carving on your uphill ski so going right you would would be skiing on right ski and going left on left ski alternating skis as you go.

I found this to be one of those drills where you can easily judge if you are doing it right or not. If you don't get it right, you are not making that turn or you are really struggling with your skis.
post #6 of 18

First, take Lisamarie's advise on balance. You can't get any better!

Second, in your porfile it says you ice skate. Hmmmmm, how to you skate on one foot? Don't you roll your foot (pressure big/little toe)and then your knee follows?

When you get back on skiis, find a flat section and start to skate. When you are moving, instead of quickly pushing off of your weighted ski, drag it out over a longer time period. With your hips dropping to the inside of the turn, the ski will edge and turn for you. This is the "big toe" feel.

Now go back to the exercise you have already done. Traverse on the uphill ski. Do several times without worrying about the turn at the end. Look ugly if need be. Now that you're comfortable, at the end of the traverse, slowly extend(straighten your knee) and wait! This will release your edge and grgavity will bring you into the fall line...now it is a regular skating big toe turn. After a few of these, you will be able to be more active on your release and feel yourself pressuring the "little toe" side.

Enjoy. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 18
In my personal skiing I am working on one footed skiing. In some of my upper level classes this year I've used a variation of one footed skiing to help my customers improve their balance.

One footed skiing does not need to be with one ski off. It doesn't even require one ski to be completely off the snow. As a matter of fact it helps you learn one footed skiing if you rest the unweighted foot on the snow. That way you are keeping you body in its normal position while skiing on one foot. It helps you balance on one foot.

Anyway, knowing this I realized an application of one-footed skiing that any customer could do ata any time was to maintain more athn 50% of pressure on one ski all the time. For example, start by asking the accomplished skier (any PSIA level 7+) to put 60% of their weight on their right leg in a straight run. Then ask them to maintain 60% fo their weight on their right leg in a turn to the left. Then, 60% on right leg in a turn to the right (this one give them difficulty). Once they've flailed at that for a while ask them to link turns on gradual terrain with 60% of the pressure on the right leg.

OK, now that you've worn out the right leg repeat with the left leg.

That is usually about all that will fit into a 1.5 hour lesson. However, the lesson really progresses when you follow that with an hour on pole planting then go back to the one footed skiing with pole planting. Which takes about another hour or two for them to get on a basic level. However, if you get to work with them more, start doing the 60% on one foot drill on steeper terrain. Then go back to flatter terrain and increase the percentage to say, 70%. Then take it steeper. Then to 80% on flatter, etc.

Note: I have a return customer who I took through this progression over the course of about 3 days on skis - 2 one hour privates each day. The results were incredible. I have used the mildest forms of this in shorter lessons. The results were good but it really needs time to practice this to perfection.

Just some thoughs,
post #8 of 18
Nothing replaces on the snow training.

Balance is what has made the biggest difference in my skiing. And, I spend a lot of time skiing on one foot. Man, it really helps.
post #9 of 18
Hey you can't ski on 1 foot! : You'll make us all fall. :
Quit being different and conform. : Your creating a Vortex.
post #10 of 18
Most of the muscles we use to balance are relatitivly small ones on sides and front of lower leg. The one foot balance exercises suggested are great to get these stronger, and train your balance. When these get too easy cut a 12" length of a 2x6 and screw on a 12" length of 1" wood dowel rod centered from side to side. Do one foot balancing on this tilt-board, using this re-creates the kind of tippinp/balance leverage our feet incounter in skiing. When this gets too easy cut an old wooden croquet ball in half and make a wobble-board. Using these will really get some strong co-contractors and develope great balancing skills, both lateral and fore/aft. H-Harb's book, "Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier-2" has a section on dryland balancing skill drills.
post #11 of 18
in are race program kids do drills starting at an early age on one ski, and progress to skiing gates on one ski. It is not uncommon to see the youngsters 6, 7 ,8, sking at the end of day down blue runs on one ski having a ball. It just takes practice.

this year i saw my older boy 15 shred one of the coulairs at whistler on one ski. I mean linking turns and rolling. why he was on one ski,No fault of his own is another story.
I was amazed that he could ski that well on one ski, he just did not think it was a big deal.

I wish I learned to ski at 2 and a half. I will never have the feeling for snow he has.
60 days a year minimum since than
post #12 of 18
I've found the best exercise for one foot balance training is in-line skating! When I first started skating, I could'nt skate on one foot more than a couple of feet (or meters) without putting my other foot down. Now, If I'm going slightly downhill, I can skate on either foot as long as I want. It's a blast!
It has really helped my skiing also. It will develop all of the same muscles you use in skiing.

Skiing on one foot makes me nervous. If you fall to the outside, (and you will) you can screw up a knee easily. If you fall to the outside on skates, you just step over and catch youself. Stepping over on skis doesn't quite work the same, if you know what I mean. :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 15, 2002 08:51 AM: Message edited 2 times, by Arby ]</font>
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Arby - I really must pick up ice-skating and rollerblading again. Haven't done that for ages.

Unfortunately, there aren't any (real) hills in London to do downhill drills. The weird thing is, I can glide along nicely on one skate for quite a while without any trouble, even on my right foot. I think it must partially be the "speed-up" element that makes it so much harder on skis.

360dave - where does that name come from?

Does it refer to:
a) the number of days you would like to ski in a year;
b) the fact that you like spinning on snow (on-snow 360s); or
c) the fact that you do jumps with 360 degree revolutions?

Oh, to be a child again! I didn't learn to ski until I was in my mid-20s!

Thanks to everyone for all your tips so far.

post #14 of 18
Charlie - They're aren't any real hills in Indianapolis either. It doesn't take much incline to keep your momentum going. Flat land skating works just fine for balance too. On one foot, practice weaving back and forth, inside edge to outside edge. You'd be amazed at the workout your skiing muscles get.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Arby - that sounds like a good but simple exercise. I'll see whether I can re-direct the traffic off some of the East London roads! That's probably the biggest obstacle for me.

post #16 of 18
charlie It is a joke racers out of crystal mountain gave me years ago. I am the last one to want to pull a 360. ski it all but no tricks.
post #17 of 18
Sounds like a guy we named Super Kevin. This guy skied without a shirt. All the time. :
post #18 of 18
I said I didnt do tricks. I wasn't drinking and skiing
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