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MA request

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My attempt here was to work on my short turns.

Skis: Fischer
Slope: Intermediate Groomed
Conditions, about 4 in of tracked out powder on top of the groomed run.


post #2 of 9

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post #3 of 9


Nice shape to the turns, and they get better and better as the vid goes on. AS you gain a little more speed, you start to balance better over the outside ski and I like the way you turn with both legs.

What I would like to see is more activity with your lower body and a more stable upper body. It may help to look more down the hill and then feel your legs turning under you. A little more long leg/short leg will increase the lower body activity and help you balance more over the outside ski. I told a young lady today to just dance the lollipop while doing short turns, she did, and wow, they were great.

post #4 of 9

I hope you're not disappointed when I say that these are nice Christy turns. The Christy (tips closer than the tails) is very slight and appearing only very briefly on most turns because you turn in to parallel above the fall line (that's good!). You have wonderful steering control of your skis because the steering happens gradually through the whole turn. This allows for great rhythm and speed control. Your weight is pretty much centered over your skis and you keep your hands in front of you. This level of skiing can get you safely around most mountains.

My guess is that you're ready to move to the next level of performance, not that you need to. My bet is that steeper slopes present a control challenge and that the steeper you go, the quicker you get tired. If you want to explore what's on the next level here are some observations and suggestions.

Do you have custom footbeds? Like many women, you are skiing in an A frame position (there's a lot less space between the legs from the knees to the hips than from the feet to the knees). I'm not a bootfitter, but you're right leg looks a little out of whack. If you haven't had your alignment checked, I recommend a visit to a bootfitter.

I like that you have a quiet upper body (very little bend at the hips). We want to keep that. Your core is mostly centered and pretty much stays solidly in place. I'd like to see it just a tad more forward and I'd like to see it move forward and back some during your turns. Your knees have ok flex, but they have very little range of movement. The only ankle movement I see is when you inadvertently get some tip lead, the trailing ankle does flex. At the next level of performance, for a reference position we're going to see a tiny bit more ankle flex to bring your hips that tad more forward that I wanted. That will put the hips in position to move diagonally forward into the new turn starting during the transition. Bending the new inside knee and raising the toes of the new inside foot will "pull" that forward movement into the new turn. After that, you'll naturally come back to a centered position in time to make another forward move for the next turn. With this new ankle movement you're going to have better balance to handle faster speeds.

You're going to need to be able to handle faster speeds because right now, you're only feeling the ski carve at the very end of your turns. Right now your legs are doing most of the work to control speed. Being more efficient requires getting the ski to carve through more of the turn. Carving skis mean faster skis. But this does not mean that you have to go faster down the hill. I want you to go faster across the hill, then finish your turns with the skis traveling in a greater uphill direction. This will let gravity and the ski design do more of the speed control work for you. So you're going to trade consistent speed control throughout the whole turn for speeding up at the fall line, then slowing down as you travel back up hill (at least relatively and maybe literally) at the end of the turn.

As you get faster speeds, you're going to need to get more separation between the upper and lower body. In general I see your feet, hips and shoulders all pointed in the same direction all the time. At the next level of performance, we're going to have the hips and shoulders facing more downhill than directly in line with the skis (we call this counter). There's another aspect to upper lower body separation we call angulation. That's when a line from the center of your hips to your chin is more vertical than a line drawn from the center of your hips to in between the feet. 180 degrees would mean both lines are lined up the same. In your turns I see about 170 degrees. We call this banking. Banking works, but it does not give us a lot of margin for error and it does not help us create higher edge angles. For the steepness of the slope you're on and at the speed your going, I'd like to see a number in the low 160s. The left turn at 1 minute 10 seconds is closest to what I'm looking for. You can think about this as getting your feet more out from underneath you/away from the body or you can think about this as tipping your boots on edge more. Either way, as you go faster, you'll need more (e.g. below 160 as the next level for you)!

My guess is that someone taught you to get your hands forward and to raise your hands up when powder skiing. I see your elbows in front of your hips and your hands above your belly button. In concert with bending your ankles more to get your hips forward, I'd like to see you bring your elbows back a little closer to your hips and lower your hands to belly button level. But do this without sitting back! If you bend your ankles more, you'll be able to do it. You want to just barely be able to see your hands out of the bottom corners of your eyes.

I see you occasionally raising your right hand high to shoulder level (but not your left). This is an ok move to accomplish unweighting for powder skiing, but should not be necessary for 4 inches of snow and modern gear. You don't raise your left hand so we know you don't have to do this because of the conditions or your gear. So I'm thinking either you're just waving to the camera or this is another sign that your boots needs a little adjustment

The other thing is that we use the downhill hand high to unweight for the next turn, then pole touch. You're pole touching, then raising the hand and not pole touching until you are in the fall line. This isn't hurting you, but your pole swings are not helping as much as they could be. For the shape of these turns, I'd like to see you touching your poles to the snow a little earlier in the turn and see you reaching a little more towards the tips of your skis and at least a foot further down the hill than where you are touching the poles. In these turns, your pole touch is behind the boot toes and maybe 6-10 inches away from the boots.

Drills for you (but please don't do them in 4" of fresh - just go out and enjoy that snow!):

1000 shuffles - Shuffle your feet back and forth constantly all the way throughout every turn, especially during the transition

Whack a mole- Those moles are clever little guys. If you get too close before your pole touch, they'll get away. To whack them with your pole you need to reach way down the hill and in front of you. Start your pole swing movement before you change edges with your elbow starting next to your hip and then extending the elbow out so that you can touch the pole 3 feet below your ski tips. But imagine there's a bungy cord between your elbow and your new inside hip that is pulling your hip across the skis.

Smiley turns- Start in a shallow traverse and turn uphill only by tipping your boots into the hill (roll your ankles!) until you come to a stop (be careful about oncoming traffic!). Gradually make your starting angle steeper and make a bigger "smile" track (i.e. finishing almost as high as when you start). Your skis should make pencil thin tracks in the snow. If not, then you are turning your feet instead of tipping them.

Sheena, your skiing is at a magic level where you are just as likely to get a breakthrough through mileage as you are to be stuck on a plateau. Any one tip could bring an aha moment. There are many different possible paths to the next level of performance but there does not have to be a pressing need for change because the level of control you have should be a lot of fun already.
post #5 of 9
Sheena I am going to agree with Ron here. You have obviously taken lessons and it shows. You do a nice job of guiding the feet and staying with the skis. You also do a fair job with the poles. Something that is lacking in many skiers.

You do exhibit some upper body rotation as evidenced by the inside hand moving backwarks. I supsect this is how you tighten your turns.

Your skiing is very typical for a lot of ski instructors that have concentrated too much on movement patterns and not enough on overall skiing. You exhibit plenty of ability for correct movement but lack what I call "the fun factor". Your skiing lacks imagination, fun, liveliness and overall spirit and as such you are skiing below your technical ability. You definitely have a flowing pattern to your skiing but it lacks real dynamic movement. I see the rotation as a substitute for real dynamic movement, a symptom as such and not a fatal flaw.

The best advice I could give, in a few words would be to act 13 years old again. You need to ski with some people who want to see you really have some fun on those boards.

I would try to break up your routine and put you into situations where you are safe but quite balance challenged. Ski backwards, do some 360's, ski on one foot, ski with your boots locked, ski in the back seat, ski in the front seat. Once you are awake and have an awareness of intent, I would take that into moving your whole body with deliberate intent right where your desires want you to go. I would start out on very easy terrain with carved turns that do not go very far out of the fall line and gradually ramp things up. The frog in the heating pot of water is you want a similar approach.

If we look at Weem's sports diamond I would be moving you away from the power corner and into the other three corners.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the feed back.

Rusty - its funny you mention about my right boot, because I was having some pain on that day. Didn't realize it would affect my skiing so much.

I have been stuck on a plateau for what seems like forever now, so hopefully that breakthrough moment is coming soon!
post #7 of 9
She was killing it on the groomers today. More smiles, More speed, More angles. Epic MA delivers.
post #8 of 9

Stop the video at 39 seconds. Do you see how your feet are ahead of your body? You want the feet under the body, which means that they feel like your feet are behind you. They aren't really behind you when they're in the right position, but they feel like they are. One of the best ski coaches I've skied with wrote something like, "the two halves of the ski have different jobs...the front half turns you and controls you, and the back half takes you straight and fast." If you get the front half of the ski working better for you by getting your feet under your body, you'll be immediately skiing better more easily. Pull your feet back behind you so you can feel your ankle press against the tongue of the boot all the time.

Have fun on skis! Play with all of Pierre's ski tricks. Do theRusty's Smiley turns where you carve a clean, sharp smile into the snow. Do it at first on easy slopes by rolling the ankles as he says, with more effort on the inside ankle (right ankle on right turns, etc.), 'cuz those are the weaker muscles--if you lead with the weaker muscles, the stronger ones have no problem following. If you lead with the stronger muscles (like trying to press the big toe side into the snow) the weaker side can't keep up and you sometimes get the A-frame legs you show. After you get good at the smileys, do the same thing, but allow your hips to come across the skis to the inside, more and more, until your hips are really low to the snow, with your body bent a bit at the hips and upper body upright (almost out over the skis) for balance. On a steeper pitch, especially in a smooth gully, make smiles with dimples where you carve the smile into the snow and go so far uphill at the end that you make a 270° turn and go back downhill and do it again.

After this, work on turning your hips and shoulders toward the outside ski very early in the turn. Try to get your parka zipper pull tab out over your outside toe. Play with this drill--and it's tough, it's exactly the opposite of what we always do. On a very easy slope, without poles, bend your body to the outside of the turn. Touch your outside boot with the outside hand...right hand to the right boot during a left turn with your left shoulder and arm (in this left turn) very high. As with every drill, do these a lot...lots more so they become somewhat automatic. You only need a bit of this movement in good skiing, and more of it for sharper turns, but do get the feel of what the flexible body tilting to the outside can do to greatly improve your skiing.

Above all, goof around. Have fun.
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
She was killing it on the groomers today. More smiles, More speed, More angles. Epic MA delivers.
Let's get some video of "it" being killed please.
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