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How do YOU start?

post #1 of 32
Alaska- Good question. I find it tough as I am eager to just let it rip and get back to the sensations I had last year. BUT I try and start slow. Ski slow, Do straight runs at the top and bottom of the hill focusing on ankle use balance stance etc.. Do 1 ski skiing really helps me get dialed in along with pure carve turns, pivot slips. The key for me is balance and eye focus and I find I need to ski slow in order to hone that up before I let myself go and start creating bad habbits and movements.

Early season trails often have many flat sections so I try and do something constructive on those and just enjoy the area with pitch. Also try not to be to hard on oneself! Just enjoy the first few days don't over think it.
post #2 of 32
I take a clinic with someone from the PSIA Demo Team. If something weird's going on, I trust them to give me a swift kick in the rear.
post #3 of 32
I'm with Slatz on this. I start the first run by doing linked wedge turns. I find my balance fore and aft, attempting to find the sweet spot. I try to concentrate on where the pressure is on the bottom of my foot, and in the boot cuff. I take it slow the first run. I'm not worried about skiing fast and getting to the bottom, I know I've the entire season to rip. But, since I haven't skied in 7 months I want to get the proper sensations back and get the good habits going.

Here is a drill I can't wait to try Slow Start, Fast Finish . There is a disclaimer embeded in the article advising folks "not to try this at home". I've always wanted to try skiing with velcro for bindings. I have demo bindings on my skis and I'm sure I can (try to) do what Andreas Schifferer does albiet slower.

It won't be long now,

post #4 of 32
I just go out on the first run and ski it. Try to find my balance on something other than level ground. On the second run I pay more attention to my stance and usually find that I’m leaning into the hill. That’s the biggest thing I have to correct on those first couple of runs. What I do to get a better stance is the same drill I do with my students, drag the poles, and making sure that the outside pole is touching the snow. That usually fixes the leaning. --------Wigs
post #5 of 32
Last season my first turn made me fall. After that, I was in the zone and hit a small mogul field on the first run of the season, at whistler.
post #6 of 32
I've tried a little of everything over the years. From just going for it (and discovering just how poorly I can ski) to doing various balance, edging, etc. exercises to get dialed in.

I have always considered the first runs of a season an ideal opportunity to expose the weakest link in my skill chain. By tuning into what needs the most attention to get back up to speed gives a purpose to the first few runs that has a positive impact on rest of season.

Bad habits are most easilly changed when they are the rustiest.
I never understood people who wanted to "get their form back" before taking an early season lesson. Why reinforce bad habits so you can more strongly use them to resist change?

Last season, on a hunch, I decided to ski the first 1/2 day on a pair of 133cm Elan PSX short carving skis. I had new boots I wanted to get a feel for and thought they might help the process.

I just focused on what I was doing with my feet and kept working toward an intent to make clean turns, have some flow, and identify and release excess tension wherever I found it lurking. Being on these little skis really encouraged me to find a centered stance and use effecient movements, starting from my feet (anything starting in my upper body set off balance alarms). As I dialed it up a little each run, the skis tendancy to over-react to the use of force vs. finesse really encouraged me to be keenly aware of what was enough, and what was too much, and to what order of movements was efficient (or not). With each successive run I enjoyed huge gains in both fore/aft and lateral balance, improved feel for foot driven edging movements, and smoother flow from turn-to-turn. When I put on my regular skis what was really striking was my comfort level for hi-end lateral movements (enabled by centered fore/aft balance). I was able to cleanly make agressive edge-to-edge transitions that were many ski days ahead of results of any of my previous season launch programs.

I already have those little suckers tuned and ready to launch another season. I think someone could use snowblade/skiboards for this purpose with equal, or maybe even better, results.

[ November 01, 2002, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #7 of 32
As much as I'd like to just say I go out and ski the first few runs for pleasure, over 20 years of instructing have made me too analytical.

So trying hard to keep from getting "too instructor" in the first runs, here is what I focus on: 1) Where do I feel the weight distribution on my feet, am I centered and balanced. 2) Am I moving "where I want to go" not "where I was" 3) Am I driving the tips into and through the turn and not pushing the tails 4) Am I moving my inside thigh in to get a better edge angle and not "A" framing 5) Do I initiate the next turn by releasing and tipping the skis downhill-where does the tipping begin? and 6)Focus on disciplined hands.

Thats enough to keep me busy for awhile and it also means I (as usual) failed at not being "too instructor".
post #8 of 32

Your post rings very true for me. I have definitely come to believe that to get going I need to "identify and release excess tension wherever I find it lurking" and "find a centered stance and use effecient movements, starting from my feet (anything starting in upper body set off balance alarms)" as you have said.

My greatest revelation in this respect however was not from a first day on short skis. Two years ago I was at Copper (for an early ski camp you attended as well) about 8 months post hip replacement (too early to ski but I'm nothing if not compulsive). I came a day early to see if I could actually make a turn to the left. My first indications were that I could not. Much to my disappointment any movement I tried to make for a turn to the right produced much more force on the new right hip than it was able to handle. I thought I was going to have to pack it up and go home.

Then I ran into Bob Barnes after my first run (I new him only from the internet) who invited me to join him and a few other instructors for a few runs. I said I would try but it might not work. When they took off from the top of the lift I was forced (motivated by the opportunity to ski with Bob and friends) to immediately reduce/eliminate the "muscle" from my skiing (which produced great pain and brought out the weakness in my new hip) from my skiing and start skiing more from my feet. With new found balance I was able to re-discover an inside weighted turn to the left and was able to keep them in sight for 5 or 6 runs that morning (they graciously stopped a couple times on the way down to let me catch up).

In this case it wasn't a pair of sensistive short skis giving me the feedback but rather a weak and painful new hip. Either way it made me think back and realize that I probably wasted I lot of time in my first few days of each season getting rid of the "muscle" and finding more balanced efficiency.
post #9 of 32
10000 hop turns
post #10 of 32
Actually, I start with a very intense awareness and childlike delight.

The sound of the lifts, the launch in the chair, the cold air, the click of the bindings, the first push off, the establishment of rhythm. Above all the sudden awarness of gratitude that I can do this again one more time, one more season and realize that it's been like fifty years of this that has sustatined me and rejuvenated me each season.

And then I do GS shapes and search for fluidity with the snow and the mountain.

And then I smile.
post #11 of 32
Hey Weems,

That's great stuff. Maybe you and the Good Rev. Oboe can get together and do the opening invocation for the Academy? [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 

How do YOU start?

Every season I have this period of time when I relearn to trust my skis and relax on the slopes. The basics are usually back by the end of the first run, while the rest comes more slowly. I suppose that everyone experiences this to some degree.

Now here's the kicker- sometimes I develop bad habits during that "warm-up" period that stay with me until I notice them, or as more often the case, someone points them out to me. On the upside, things I actively pay attention to during this same period are more ingrained for the season. It almost seems like I start the season with little more than the knowledge that I can ski- a proverbial blank slate.

So, how does you start the season off? Do you just cruise run after run until you feel at home again, or do you drill first to try to reinforce good habits? What are your primary focuses?

The first person who says 10,000 vertical feet of hop turns dies.
post #13 of 32
I usually do a few wedge turns. Next I do a drill I call "rock and roll", make aseries of turns on the tip, then on the tail. After that I concentrate on using both(the whole ski)
That's about all I can stand so I cut loose after that.
post #14 of 32
I start out every day with a "school" run or two. Basics along with a "body inventory: correct hands, are the shoulders where they should be? etc.

I hope that this sets the pattern for the rest of the day, kinda like tuning the autopilot.

The head of the SS did this every morning, alone, as his quiet exercise. This was religion to the old Austrian. I have tried to do the same.

Another Austrian line boss has been seen doing the same thing at the hill. Perhaps they used to insist on this?
post #15 of 32
I start my season with loading ALL of my gear and change of clothes into my car one month before it snows. Next, I get to Killington during opening week.

Until my first turn, I am nervous...do I remember what to do, how to do turns. I relax a little by walking with my skiis on, shuffling in place, and balancing on one ski at a time.

Balancing while doing wedge turns get me started, then I move upward through different shape turns and fore/aft balance movements. When I get to the flats, do one leg straight skiing for balance. On the steps, do falling leaf with skiing forward into a turn.

All of that is ideal. This year, after a few turns at Killington, the slope was covered with moguls! No groomed slope around to "warm-up".

So, I played with fore/aft balance. Played with riding over several moguls before turning. Played with turning on different sections of the moguls, again with fore/aft balance. What impressed me is that from the very first turn, I was always external (soft eyes [img]tongue.gif[/img] ). So with a smile on my face, I had plenty of fun all day.

Oh, how do I get started? I remember to always have FUN!!! Leaving for another two days at Killington. Should have 10 days in before Thanksgiving!!! [img]smile.gif[/img] [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #16 of 32
After feeling delighted at the sight of snow, the crunch underfoot, the smell of the air...
...I am amazed anew at how long the fronts of my skis have become! argh. they won't behave!

After slithering through some turns and getting disgusted, I do my Swiss instructor's exercises. Some 1000 steps. Bouncing through the turns. Jumping through the turns. Flicking the ankles into the hill through some turns. Some tentative javelin turns. Undo the ski boots and do some slow skiing.

That usually fixes those darned skis, they shrink back to normal size and we can go enjoy some skiing.
post #17 of 32
Contrary to Weems, I start with a smile- anticipating the enjoyment to come!

But I will strongly support his idea of hop turns. I know it sounds silly, but unless you've been doing a whole lot of skating over the summer, your weakest skill will probably be steering/twisting/guiding.

There are plenty of opportunities to develop edge/ pressuring skills in outdoor summer activities, but precious few that simulate the turning movements. Therefore, I've seen countless numbers of instructors tipping and falling their first day back out!(me included) The "park and arc" is fun, but can be hazardous to your health on the first day!

Though these movements are so subtle in our current thought process, they still exist, and must be acknowledged.

Personally, I start at 50% intensity, and gradually build up from there. By day 3, I'm ready to RIP!!!!!

It's snowing here in Colorado, and that day won't be long away!

: : :
post #18 of 32
I do skate a lot in summer
so I spend the first run going VERY slowly trying to shed the skating tip lead(inside ski arrrgh) so I don't fall over!

Then remembering to have skiing weight not skating.
post #19 of 32
This is all very humorous to me. I don't know where you all make your first runs of the season. Around here in New Hampshire it's invariably on a pretty limited piece of real estate in marginal conditions. With every season pass holder, seemingly, on the slope simultaneously, or on the lift, it gets quite crowded. The rule of the day is "go fast and go straight, and avoid being run down by the one behind you". I would like to say that I begin by making linked wedge turns and finding a balanced stance while freshening my skills in some moderate fashion and I may even have attempted this but, after the first few crazies have marked my skis, I am apt to succumb to the general madness and let my exhuberence carry me headlong with the rest of the throng.
post #20 of 32
Welcome, Arcadie!

Yes, much of what you will read on this site is humourous. But you will get much more than a few good laughs out of this site as well! Ask/post what you will, and be prepared for the response(s)!

You will find a most passionate group of skiers hanging out in this place!

Welcome aboard! :
post #21 of 32
Hey, Arcadie. Glad to see you made it!
post #22 of 32
Ahhh, back on snow. To laugh. The sensations of the skis gliding freely down a slope. The adolesence of my balance. The brisk air on the skin. Active exploration. Feel. Sense. Breath deep. Giggle. The permission to make mistakes, to be rusty, to have a blast. To enjoy the unfamiliarity in familiar surroundings. To reconnect to my body and suuroundings as long lost friends.

To be re-introduced to that which is pure joy. How was the skiing? Better than ever.
post #23 of 32
Its good to be among skiers!
post #24 of 32
Wear your ski boots for two days before you hit the slope.
post #25 of 32
Yes, wearing one's boots is a good way to avoid the dreaded first day foot cramp.
an even better way to do this is to wear them while ironing! true. And stand on a thick bit of foam while you do it. this will have you mimicking the movements of skiing, subtle weight shifts all over the sole of the feet. And it's easier on your boot soles...and your house floor.
post #26 of 32
I tried your advice, but when I put the foam inside my boots, there wasn't enough room for my feet. I was also confused with this "do the ironing". Me man. Me no understand.

But seriously,
My first run will be a blue, taken very slowly to start off with, big wide turns, wedges, etc, hopefully by the bottom I will be turning a bit more fluidly.
I always try to get my first run in alone, before my friends arrive, as many of them just seem to be able to go well from the start.

post #27 of 32
Hi Y'all,

I like Weems and S&G's responses. A lot depends on how I beat myself over the summer. Wearing the equipment (boots) at home before going up is a great start. Put's the whole system into a nice frame of mind - so to speak. On the mountain I simply ski. For me it's a lot about feel. I don't get too analytical, (or at least try not to) at first. Assumng I've been stretching etal, prior to getting on the slopes I let my body tell me what I need to work on. Then after a couple of runs, or the next day, depending on when I'm ready to put myself into personal school, I start to work on specific areas. Typically over the years I have been working on aggression vs. intimidation in the steeps and off piste. That's pretty hard to find in early season, SOOOO, I usually end up playing a lot! The body seems to adjust nicely.

And, as Arcadie so aptly mentioned - (1) don't take it too seriously, and (b) what the environmental conditions dictate oft times overides ones intentions.
post #28 of 32
I was too impatient to wait around for there to be any terrain that I could warm up on, and hiked to the top of Alta and skied it for the first run of the year. It wasn't pretty (especially with all the rocks I hit...) but by the time I got about halfway down I was feeling like I remembered what I was doing. I can't wait for it to snow enough that I can get back on my normal skis! A couple feet of powder on skinny skis felt pretty strange.
post #29 of 32
Originally posted by Alaska Mike:
So, how does you start the season off? Do you just cruise run after run until you feel at home again, or do you drill first to try to reinforce good habits? What are your primary focuses?

The first person who says 10,000 vertical feet of hop turns dies.
10,000 vertical feet of Pedal turns. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Naw, I just go skiing. Just like almost every day, I start off with a groomer to warm up, then I go skiing. Always seems to work for me!

Have a great season!!! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

post #30 of 32
I usually go to a resort where no one will know me, put the skis on side by each take another look around to make sure no one knows me and shove off into tommorrow. At the bottom check again to see if I know anyone. Relax. :
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