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Drills for Skiing on One Ski on Outside Edge?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am a good Eastern skier, former Masters racer (USSA), but still struggle with skiing on one ski on the outside edge. I think my skiing overall would benefit from perfecting this technique, especially when my downhill ski jumps a bit on steep choppy ice and I have to ride it out on the uphill ski. Any suggestions or drills for developing this skill? Thanks.
post #2 of 7

Try skiing with most, but not all of your weight set on one ski (e.g. 80-20/90-10/95-5/99-1 - but keeping the same weight no matter which way your turning. From there, White Pass turns (lifting the old inside ski as the turn finishes, changing edges only the new inside ski then start lifting that ski off the snow after passing through the fall line) ought to be easier. After that, traditional one ski lifted all the time (or off) drills become easier.

Most of the one ski drills focus on the transition versus the situation you describe, but any of these drills that teach an unnatural weight distribution can help improve emergency weight transfer situations. With all one ski drills, you can get your weight to the inside by cheating (e.g. tilting, pivoting) or you can do it by moving your CM across the ski. If you cheat, it won't feel easy. If you don't cheat, the drill is very easy. If you don't know how to move your CM across the ski, one ski drills won't teach you how.

Things that will help:
- make sure to finish turns into a countered position
- continue to flex and extend the lifted leg
- make sure the lifted ski is either level or tip down
- don't lift the ski too high, more is not better
- if you can only turn by leaning into it or throwing a pole plant to pivot around, then stop, put the other ski on the ground and slowly back away (from the drill).
post #3 of 7
It's an unfamiliar pressure. Start by sidestepping uphill on an intermediate slope. Then do some uphill christie turns and step uphill out of them. Then go to some more gentle terrain and fan uphill christies (do them from gradually more downhill traverses) on the outside edge of the inside ski. Like Rusty, I prefer allowing the "unweighted" ski to just skim along on the snow. Two things about these outside edge uphill christies: Keep shin contact on your boot tongue and angulate at the hip to maintain the edge so your torso remains relatively upright. DO NOT LEAN FROM THE TOP DOWN TO EDGE. Still on the shallow terrain, do the uphill turn from out of the fall line, but don't turn so far and then gently roll that ski over onto its inside edge for a more normal turn. Then go back onto the outside edge. Be sensitive to your center of mass moving back and forth across the weighted ski with the torso remaining upright. Turn back and forth across the gentle terrain's fall line without getting way across the slope until the movements become more natural.

Whenever I'm feeling way off my game or out of sorts with my skiing, I like to use this one-ski drill with the unweighted ski skimming the snow in both directions. It gets me back on top of my skis.
post #4 of 7

I have been spending a fair bit of time every morning of my skiing day making one ski turns on the beginner run. No poles and one ski left at the bottom of chair. The first day I struggled with smooth transitions because I could not feel the tongue of my boot as I move over the ski to the little toe side. The next day I grabbed my old boots which I have pretty dialed in and noticed that these boots were more upright than my new ones, which made me stand taller and offered good tongue pressure at the top of the turn. I was suddenly able to make much more effortless turns. Point being... check your alignment both fore/aft and laterally to find the optimum.

I should say that my goal in these one footed turns has not been to make short turns simply going from edged ski to edged ski, rather the goal has been to make round turns while being patient at the top of the turn so as not to over pivot the entry and not to lock on an edge, but move with the ski to steer the ski into the arc. It is quite easy to go make edge to edge turns, but the gradual guiding is more challenging, and doing it without poles as a crutch adds even more challenge.

The benefit is after I have made a few runs on each foot then click into both and free ski, I can feel a more dialed in transition and notice an easier commitment to the right trajectory with my CoM.

-Make sure your boots are snugged up.
-Think about pressing the fifth met into the sole vs. rolling or inverting the ankle.
-Experiment with your delta angle to find nirvana
-practice without the opposite ski on and without poles to isolate the movements necessary.

good luck and keep practicing!
post #5 of 7
Hi TJazz. There's definately a progression that guides a skier to being able to balance and turn on the inside ski. One ski skiing comes later in the progression. Learn inside foot skiing first, and do it in stages. The progression I use to teach high level one foot skiing is too extensive to do justice in a single post, but if you go my website (link at bottom of this post) you can find access to a roadmap to where you're trying to get.

One foot skiing is a valuable skill, but it's not the end of the learning line. Even more complex balance skills follow one foot skiing. Mixing in fore/aft with your one foot turns. Being able to change fore/aft and lateral balance states at will,,, at any moment during a turn. All these skills make your skiing all the stronger, and your confidence to push your performance limits all the greater.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Gentlemen, thank you for the insightful and expert guidance. I'll take the coaching to the hill with me today! Tom
post #7 of 7
I would suggest some upward focus in the foot. Meaning keeping the foot up into the top of the boot and reach for the sky with the toes will help you flex the ankle and that is the primary ingredient to accomplishing anything that requires dicipline.
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