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Making the most of practice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Preparing to head out to Copper for what will probably be my last week of skiing for the season. This year has been a little on the slow side for me in terms of the number of days out on the boards. Was thinking about the Bear's gathering in Tahoe and getting to ski with some Bears at Copper this week, along some comments posted about who skis better and who can keep up with who. Skiing with Pierre, Lars, JW, et al made me realize just how sloppy my skiing has become. Part of it is adapting to new equipment having just changed over to new boots and new skis; going from skinny straights to mid-fats. Watching Lars and Pierre in particular and the grace and ease in which they attacked the difficult terrain and conditions we hit at Tahoe was eye-opening. The difficult part to me is that I've been skiing almost as long, if not longer, than these guys, with 40+ years under my belt. The big differences are that Lars and Pierre both work hard to continually improve their skiing and they ski probably three times as much as I do in a season. The first part is something that I can change; I can work a lot harder to improve the quality of my skiing. The second part is more difficult without making some lifestyle changes that aren't going to happen in my household.

Last summer was the first time in many, many years that I could spend a significant amount of time on my golf game. I doubled the number of rounds I played, easily doubled my number of practice sessions. Finished the year taking 3 strokes off my handicap, and posted personal bests for scores. So, I know that the best answer to improving on the ski hill is to get out there more often. But, if the best one can hope for is 15 days of skiing per season (which is still better than the "average" skier), what advice, tips, practice drills, etc would you offer?
post #2 of 9
Hi Tag,
I wish I could have seen the group ski at Tahoe. Unfortunatly (or fortunatly) I was in Utah enjoying 18-24" of powder.

First of all read Bob B's post about practice http://www.epic-ski.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000064.html

I get maybe 20 days a year now but for the past 37 years it was probably more like 10-15 like you. Take lessons (privates are more productive I find) or make up your own groups if you have friends that ski at the same level as you. (private with 3 or 4 buddies) If you go on multi day trips take one early in the trip and then you have a chance to practice.

Make the most of your warmups and easy groomed runs. Instead of just skiing down to get down to the lift, work on basics. Railroad turns, edge control, one leg skiing (outside edge), try to do pure carves at slow speeds(a real good carve scrubs almost no speed) think about how the ankles feel, how the edges feel what movements you are doing to retain balance. wiggle your toes up inside your boots.. All these things build ingrained skills instead of things you have to think about while skiing harder stuff and make for better all around skiing.
post #3 of 9

Good post. Thanks. I'd echo DCHAN (and add that one-legged skiing DOES help and is fun, too). I will be in the Copper area early April and am narrowing down my own lesson plan. I'll take a private, or group if I can find a group that focuses on moguls.
Anyway, I found the skiing on one ski really exposed the laziness (weakness) of my left leg; and that working that leg resulted in a sense, at least, of stronger, more dynamic skiing when I got back to both skis on snow. I'm sure you're a much stronger skier than I so I won't say too much other than this particular drill was work but had noticeable effects; namely, my skiing became, at least temporarily, more "organic," in that I somewhat moved "out of the box," (in this case, my head and pre-conceived notions of what skiing should feel like) and found the increased "aggressiveness" resulted in a feeling of going at the hill, as compared to having the hill come at me. I'm sure that's kind of vague and sorry I can't make it clearer.
Please let me know more of your experience at Copper, specifically any lesson(s) you take. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by ryan (edited March 08, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 9
Inline skating in the off season has helped me tremendously. Centered athletic stance, weight shift, balance, ankle movements, carved turns, upper body position and all that good stuff are improved through inline skating.
All the movements are very similar to skiing and it helps me visualize skiing in the long hot summers.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Arby (edited March 08, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 9
Another vote for 1 legged skiing.I first discovered that this year,with Todd {Gravity} actually. My first impulse, which I thankfully supressed,was to call him a bunch of choice expletives. But then I realized how much I was learning from that exercise. Many years ago, I was hit by a car, and as a result have some subtle leg inbalances. This can often make my turn shape and rhythm a bit uneven. You become really aware of these inbalances during that exercise. It probably won'tfigure out right away what you to do to adjust for the discrepancies,but the awareness of them will eventually heighten your instincts, and you will figure it out.
Ryan,I know just what you mean about feeling that the hill is attacking you. I felt that whenI was trying to ski Red trails in Italy; like I had no choice in which way I was going. Its perhaps presumtous to say this to people who are so much more advanced than I am, but recently I found that there was one missing link in my skiing, and that was the lateral movement of bringing my feet a bit closer together during the turn. As a result of NOT doing this, my legs would end up WAY too far apart at the end of the turn, making me feel as if I was going to be thrown down onto the hill. But the motion of gliding my feet a bit closer in, made me feel as if the mountain was a strong and sexy dancing partner, as opposed to an evil attacker.
This is probably not the problem for most of you, but maybe there is a different sort of "missing link"?
Tag, I can relate to the idea that work, family and financial obligations can limit the amount of constructive practice time available in any season. After Whistler, I will have hopefully skied 25 days, which was probably more than I could afford on any level. What I have found helpful, is the time spent on this board. From your posts, it seems that you have a decent kinesthetic sense. As you read about different ski techniques, try to imagine what they would feel like on skis. Visual yourself skiing in that manner.
Hope this helps!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #6 of 9
Great point Arby,
Selecting off season sports that have some crossover to skiing will always help...
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
My point in asking comes from another golf analogy. If I'm heading to the course and have only a limited time to practice or to warm up before playing, I have some very specific drills I like to do to get the most of my practice time, such as working some full swings to get the hands positioned right at the top of the backswing or some chipping drills to work the short game. Do you carry with you any specific drills that help you get quickly into a rhythm or help you get centered or act as a quick tune up to 'wake' you up? For example at my last lesson, my instructor asked me to try pushing my downhill hand forward and down when I turn. Feels awkward, but it forces the shoulders to square up properly and helps set the correct angulation for the carve. So I use that as a quick drill to get me focused sometimes.
post #8 of 9
Tag, Ohh, more specfic exercises for warm ups.. That's different.

I do railroad tracks to get the feel of the outside edges, one leg skiing, drag both poles through whole turn (pretend you are dragging two shoe boxes along side you with your poles) and flexing ankles together up and down while carving turns almost like pushing your feet forward then pulling them back under yourself.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
dchan, actually was looking for thoughts on both things one might do when you are trying to get warmed up or just trying to snap out of some sloppy skiing and what drills, etc the Bears think are especially effective and would be useful when you don't get a lot of time on the slopes. Thanks, everyone for the ideas so far. Enjoyed the link to Bob's comments too
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