or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › My first day this season - help me learn what I can do more right
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My first day this season - help me learn what I can do more right

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just had my first day this season.

Accordingly, I started out on the beginner hill, then moved up to a real green, and so and so forth. I concentrated on staying forward (that is, centered) and on improving my two-footed skiing.

I focused on trying to initiate my turns by edging the inside ski, and when it worked this was incredibly successful. It turns out that whenever I end up using only the outside ski I am far less stable when I strike uneven snow. However, using primarily the outside ski makes it far easier to control my speed through skidding. I actually suspect that on the shaped skis, putting all my weight on the downhill ski is overdoing it; it skids too easily to be worthwhile.

I did run into a couple issues with my turns, however. The first was that I could not turn very much before skidding. I strongly suspect that the fact that I was on rental skis was largely responsible for this fact. WA-WA is infamous for not waxing and not tuning their rental gear. I suspect most ski areas are. I'm getting new skis very soon, so hopefully this will improve. In the meantime, it made it harder for me to judge how hard I could make my turns.

My other problem was with starting each new turn. I found that once I got into a rhythm, initiating my turns with the inside ski was much easier; however, I also found that it could be difficult. If I was too slow and just tipped the skis, the edge had an irritating tendency to catch and make me stumble and resort to the outside foot. I tried letting my body move over the skis and down the fall-line with each new turn and had a great deal more success with this method. The problem was that I needed more speed and less-rounded turns for this to work; I couldn't turn very far across the hill. It also felt a lot like I was hurling myself over the skis in order to do this, which was interesting. That seems right, though - letting yourself go certainly isn't going to be easy at first, and no doubt it will feel more natural as I practice.

Anyway, advice on my turn initiation and linking is appreciated - and I did actively try to flex and extend, and found it made it much easer to link turns - skidded, one footed turns. It felt like unweighting, almost. What am I doing wrong here?

All told, I was very pleased with my skiing today. Yes, it is still far from perfect (I'm pretty clueless about poles; I really could use some good instruction in general) but it was the best I've ever done, I believe. My own boots certainly helped. The feeling was incredible; I was able to control my speed more effectively than before, but even when skiing fast, I was in control and having an exhilirating time. I learned that control has an amazing ability to vanquish fear. Without fear, I can ski better than ever before. It's quite a release.

I do have one more thing to think about - the steep stuff. I still found my skis running away on a particularly steep portion, and found myself back to using my outside foot in turns. Eventually, I fell at the bottom of this steep section, but because I knew I was back and was trying to recover, it wasn't too bad. So, what can I do to avoid falling behind my skis?

I also have made an observation, and wonder what other Bears think: It is not possible to ski with both feet when you are in the back seat. The level of control just isn't there.

So finally, I find myself skiing faster, but safer, and it feels incredible.

I think I want to race...
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 10
Have a lesson or 2
post #4 of 10
Hi Grolby,

Bob Barnes had a great post quite a while ago (>year?) talking about initiating the turn with the inside ski using rotary movements instead of just tipping the ski. I can't find it via the search function, but I printed it and will quote the key parts here:

"Rather than trying to tip the skis immediately to a new strong edge angle, ...begin the turn by RELEASING the edges, ALLOWING the skis to turn downhill, aided by the pull of gravity and active steering movements of your ski tips into the turn (using your feet and legs, not your arms, shoulders, torso or hips). Re-engage the edges smoothly and progressively, resisting the forces that will combine to pull you out of the turn only when they occur.... Clearly, you can't turn the OUTSIDE tip into the turn without moving the inside tip out of its way. So practice turning the left tip to the left to go left, allowing the right tip to follow. 'Left tip left to go left, right tip right to go right'

"Do NOT push the tails the other way, twisting the skis into a skid. Try 'uphill christies' - 'J-shaped' turns from a straight run downhill, back uphill as far as you can go. Think 'left tip left to go left'.... As you go through the turn, check the alignment of your upper body. If you turn your feet and legs (and ONLY your feet and legs), you left hand will lead your right hand slightly through a left turn. If your right (downhill) hand comes forward in a left turn, you have rotated your upper body.

"Then try tightening up the arc of those J-turns. You will have to be more active with the 'left tip left to go left' thing - still not twisting the tails out. You may even find the tips diverging somewhat as you practice this move, but with mileage you will learn to be very active with that inside ski, while the outside ski chases it through the turn and remains parallel. The tracks will not be quite as clean as the longer arcs- there will be some skidding/brushing, but there still must be NO TAIL PUSHING.

"Finally, on steeper terrain (say, steepish blue), try linking these tight uphill christies together. Steer each one as far back up the hill as you can until you almost stall out, then release the edges, steer the tips downhill ('right tip right to go right'), and roll them into an uphill arc the other way.

"...Steering and edging activity must both originate from the inside ski, foot, and leg of the new turn, focusing on movements that steer the tips INto the turn, rather than pushing the tails OUT."
(End of Bob's notes)

For me the key to this drill is to focus on releasing the edges (let them go flat), and actively steering the inside ski up the hill (exaggerate it by opening the leg at the knee/hip, keeping my pelvis/torso aimed downhill). I have not done this under an instructor's observation, just trying to apply Bob's directions, so I can't speak to my correct application of it. But it feels so powerful and strong!

Good luck! Meanwhile I need to figure out the search thingy so I can refer to previous posts. [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #5 of 10
Hi Grolby. Sounds like you had a good day of skiing. If you are catching your inside ski edge, or it's resisting turning you probably need to practice just tipping some by itself. Try sideslipping on a steeper section of a green run. this is skis across the hill with a flater ski that allows the ski to slip sideways stright down the hill. Try tipping both skis into the hill using just your feet and ankles to stop your slide. Go back and forth between sliding and tipping to stop sliding. Isolate the moves to the feet and lower legs, by keeping the upper body as quite as you can. Keep the upper body facing just slightly downhill from sqaure to the skis. Keep your uphill leg shorter but try to keep it just slightly ahead of the downhill foot. Try to feel the movement coming from only the feet. Work the feet. Flatten to slide, and tip into the hill to stop. practice this facing both directions.

When you've done this enough to really feel the feet tipping, it's time to take this movement into your turns. Traverse at 45 degrees down a green run, and then relax your uphill leg and start tipping just like you did before, only slower, like slow motion. The inside leg will get a little shorter when you relax it. As the inside leg gets shorter, try keeping the inside foot back with a concious effort of pulling it back under your body. This should set up a simple parallel turn with the initiation coming from tipping and relaxing inside leg. It should feel like both skis are pulling you into the turn from the tips. Keeping the inside foot back and more even allows the entire uphill edge to be engaged. This leads to the ability to shape the turn, by using your edges. If your turn is really skidded and not round, it might mean that you are twisting your feet instead of tipping to start the turn. Play with this and really focus on the relax, tip and keep inside foot back. Your feet won't be even, but they shouldn't be more than maybe 1/2 a foot length apart, or less.

You asked before if your cross country skiing could help your balance in alpine earlier. Well here's a good time to think about it and try applying it. The balanceing you do when you are just sliding forward in your CC gear, ankles flexed, knees over the toes, and the hips over the ankles. Try to be in this relaxed position during the turn. Then add in your motion you spoke of, extending to start the turn, and flexing down even more to finish. The finish of one turn should leave your in a position to flex and start the next. It's that ready position we use in all sports, just not as exagerated. Good luck and have fun. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much. I guess you gotta do some drills sometimes, huh? The sideslipping sounds like a good idea, and so does the tipping. One can lead to the other pretty well. Thanks for the advice!

I have been working on my stance. Right now it feels very forward, probably because I'm not used to it. I don't think I actually am forward because I feel back if I move back. With any luck I can improve on all the things mentioned above and get used to this idea of skiing balanced! Thanks everyone.
post #7 of 10
Well, start and stop sideslipping does get you releasing the edge and then gettng it back. All by simply tipping the feet. Add some forward movement and a partial turn to this start and stop sidesliping and you have garlands. Release into a turn, then tip and turn back into the hill before you reach the falline. Garlands are the begginnig and end of a turn with no middle. Then think of the beggining as the end, and the end as the beggining. One needs to become the other for skiing to become smooth and flowing.

Yeah, sometimes execises are the quickest way to isolate new movements. don't bore yourself with them though. They serve a purpose, but exercises aren't skiing.

Grolby, take a lesson. a good instructor would help get you there quicker.
post #8 of 10
Hi Grolby,

My wife's progress took off when she stopped using ski area rental equipment and bought her own skis and boots. The boots were especially important, but having properly tuned skis were important too. If you are going to have to wait to buy your own skis, rent good equipment from a good ski shop. And take lessons. And have fun!
post #9 of 10
Hi Grolby! First let me say that for someone who has just begun to ski, you are extremely intuitive as to what the proper biomechanics are. KUDOS! You have been getting some superb advice in this thread. At the risk of confusing you, I would like to add some input.
You mentioned that you felt like your skis were running away on athe steep portions. How is your alignment? If you are in the backseat. Your skis will be out in front of you, and you will indeed have the skis leading you down the hill. The trick is to get the skis to follow you. Stay foward, and make sure that you hands are out in front of you.

Practice the dynamics of simultaneous edging. Imagine that you are rolling your feet across the face of a clock, going from 11:00 to 1:00. I even do this dorky thing of humming The Syncopated Clock while I do this.

Another thing I discovered this weekend. Stance width nowadays are generally a bit wider. But personally, I have a tendency to let my feet get wider apart than what is considered functional. This is when I may catch an edge.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well. A few things. First, I am getting skis tomorrow, and skiing the day after. It seems I've agreed (or offered, I'm not sure which) to ski a few runs with someone. (Yes, she is attractive and female; no I am not 'getting lucky' ). This particular person is a boarder who likes the terrain park, so I guess I'm going to be spending some time there. I'll try not to get killed. I'll also try and take an opportunity to do some of the drills written above. But all advice has been noted; I will do some drills, but mostly I will ski . And be careful to avoid getting hurt in the pipe : .

Oh, and thanks for the kind words Lisamarie. I've been doing my homework, I guess.


[ January 14, 2003, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: Grolby ]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › My first day this season - help me learn what I can do more right