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Learning carry-over between groomed and off-piste - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
SLOW DOWN TO 1MPH ON NEARLY FLAT TERRAIN. ...
ah yeah

Had a buddy turn up to ski with me - he is YOUNG, MALE, skied most of his life & likes to ski FAST....
He didn't ski for the last 5 years or so - so shaped skis are a new entity as of the previous season for him..
We did some warm up runs on my fav warm up area & then headed to my lesson...
Instructor was TRYING to get him to CONCENTRATE on learning how to use his newish skis...
In order to do this instructor TRIED to get him to slow down... NO WAY...
In the end to make his point instructor told him to ski in his tracks & skied SLOW controlled turns on flatish part of the hill...
Youngster just couldn't stay in them at all... - swore that it was NOT possible to turn like that unless you were an instructor - to which my instructor points to me trotting along bringing up the rear - in the tracks [img]redface.gif[/img] seemed to get the message across - but I don't think this guy has the patience yet to work on his skiing in that manner....
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
This is for any skiers who think that skiing on the groomers hides a lot of weakness that shows up in the steeps. SLOW DOWN TO 1MPH ON NEARLY FLAT TERRAIN.
From recent personal experience, I emphatically agree. I used to think that the railroad tracks exercise at very slow speed was an isolated oddity, with relatively little relationship to "real" skiing. That's partly because I was horrible at that exercise, and partly because it was always (pre-Academy) introduced as kind of an oddity to me. Since my experience at the Academy, I've been using this exercise as a real measure of my ability to ski on all four edges. I find that as my success in this exercise improves, my feeling of stability and competence in skiing on all four edges in all conditions increases. So, if you're ever in Steamboat and see someone being real anal in practicing railroad tracks down Fawn, stop me and say hi.

cheers,
stmbtres
post #33 of 54
I totally agree that if you can't ski well on a groomer, you're not going to learn to do it right off the groomers. And I think with the exception of skiing more two-footed, someone with no mental blocks should be able to completely transfer their skills on a groomer to crud. However just because you're having a problem in crud, doesn't mean the solution involves work on a groomer.

When we did video analysis at Steeps Camp, we noticed than when snow conditions get to thick, wet crud, I picked up my left leg when it's the inside ski. (That's the leg I had surgery on.) So my coach took us over to the groomer to try a drill of skiing on one leg and then only on the inside leg. He was surprised to find that I have no problem with this. So we concluded that since it's not really technique, it's not a weak leg, it's a mental thing - the season I skied without an ACL, my knee would collapse if I skied in thick crud - so my habit became to pick it up. I thought I had broken the habit, but when conditions get ugly - it comes back. Work on the groomers does nothing to help, since I never show this habit there. I just have to replicate the situation where I have the problem and focus on doing it right.

I suspect that other people have mental blocks - whether it's from fear of not being able to initiate a turn because they've gotten "stuck" or taken a hard fall in tough conditions before, or fear of hitting something hidden under the snow, fear of hitting trees or rocks, or whatever it is holding them back. And no amount of work on a groomer is going to help their off-piste skiing with that. You can certainly go and practice on a groomer and then psyche yourself up to saying "I'm going to do exactly the same thing." But I think a certain amount of skill in the crud just comes from experience in the crud.

So anyway, my point is that while "If you can't ski a groomer, you won't be able to ski ungroomed" is true, it's also true that if you're having problems with crud, work on a groomer is not necessarily the solution. (Probably a good thing to rule out first, though!)

[ March 03, 2003, 07:21 AM: Message edited by: altagirl ]
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by milesb:
Hey Tom, thanks for putting in many words what I was trying to say in a few!
Hey back! They didn't give me that "Merriam" or "Webster" (or was it "Darwin") for nothing! Besides, if I don't keep the ol' verbosity in shape, they might take it away (the award, that is).

Besides, there might be someone else out there that needs it spelled out as minutely as I do ... I just haven't met them yet.



Tom / PM
post #35 of 54
re: 1 mph RR turns on the flats

I couldn't agree more about the utility of this exercise to remove that last vestage of skidding, become familiar with equal weighting, equal edge angles, etc.

In my case, I was so confident of my ability to precisely control my skis so long as they were skidding at least a bit, it was very scary at first for me to have them locked into two separate tracks -- even at 1 mph. I think that subconsiously I had visions of reverting back to my first spread-eagle and tip-crossing nose planting days on skis. This exercise is a real eye-opener.

Tom / PM

PS - IMHO, deeply sidecut skis help in this exercise. You don't test your patience so badly waiting for something interesting to happen, ie, like a turn. Also they are more responsive to small changes in edge angle, so if your skis are diverging or coming together, you can correct more easily.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Si:
Hi Vera,

...As Bob Peters says to me all the time (hope you don't mind me quoting you Bob) "the longer I ski the more I am convinced that it just takes miles - lots of miles). Well, the longer I ski the more I am shifting over to this line of thought.

[img]tongue.gif[/img]

I don't mind you quoting me, but it should be added I'm in the process of changing my mind a bit.

I do think miles and miles are necessary to develop that almost-unconscious feel for snow... particularly in crud skiing. The more of it you do, the more your body anticipates and adjusts for inconsistent snow conditions. Much of that can't be "taught", it just has to be developed through experience.

However...

It's also *very* possible to use those miles to develop movements that could end up holding you back. The old "practicing bad habits" problem. I think personally I've been in that mode to some extent for several years and the results show in how I make hard snow turns.

As you know, Si, I've been skiing a lot the last couple of seasons with a former World Cup racer from Jackson. From him, I'm gradually learning some of the things that are keeping me from making good turns on groomed snow. Slowly but surely, he's changing the way I ski on groomers. Interestingly, I can tell that a side benefit is that I'm feeling even more comfortable in crud.

Bottom line, while there's really no substitute for lots of miles, it's critical that your turns are as efficient as possible while you're putting in all those miles. I could have benefitted greatly by some more intense smooth-snow training five or ten or twenty years ago.

Bob
post #37 of 54
1 MILE AN HOUR ON FLAT TERRAIN?????
Hmmm. I just may end up with quite a few ski partners if people heed that advice! :}
Quote:
It's also *very* possible to use those miles to develop movements that could end up holding you back. The old "practicing bad habits" problem.
ABSOFREAKIN'LUTELY!!! This is the problem I see with people who ONLY ski challenging terrain. They begin to believe that their defensive habits are an actual skiing technique.

IMHO, Weems has the teaching technique down for this type of stuff. Teach a few skills on an easy slope, that he intends to have us use on more challenging one. Then, ski the more challenging conditions with the AWARENESS of, as opposed to the VALUE JUDGEMENT about the fact that you may not be skiing in optimal form. Then, go back to the easier stuff, and work on the technique some more.

But on the other hand
Quote:
When we did video analysis at Steeps Camp, we noticed than when snow conditions get to thick, wet crud, I picked up my left leg when it's the inside ski. (That's the leg I had surgery on.) So my coach took us over to the groomer to try a drill of skiing on one leg and then only on the inside leg. He was surprised to find that I have no problem with this. So we concluded that since it's not really technique, it's not a weak leg, it's a mental thing - the season I skied without an ACL, my knee would collapse if I skied in thick crud - so my habit became to pick it up. I thought I had broken the habit, but when conditions get ugly - it comes back. Work on the groomers does nothing to help, since I never show this habit there. I just have to replicate the situation where I have the problem and focus on doing it right.
BRILLIANT OBSERVATION!
Sometimes an injury that has been completely healed, still has some "trust issues" associated with it. Until you actually believe the leg is okay, you can talk yourself into believing that it is not functional.
This also gets into 2 issues of the physiology of conditioning. Balance and skill need to be constantly challenged, in order to make improvments. So if the skills are only practiced on easy terrain, they are not being enhanced. You also get into the concept of training specificty. While doing a skill on groomed terrain is certainly necessary, and sets the ground work, there are other biomechanical actions that come into play on the ungroomed.

This weekend at Sugarbush I spent a bit of time skiing with Mrs. Oboe. She actually has the potential to be quite an excellent skier, but she has some condifidence issues. We spent some time on this amazingly flat green slope, that also probably has the absolute slowest lift in NE for the short distance it takes you.
I was trying to think of ways to tweak up the skill set to build her confidence. But the trail was so short and flat, that even if you pointed the skis straight down without turning, you would feel like you were well within your safety zone. Add that to the fact that once you finished this tiny trail, it would take forever to get back up again.

As I suspected, when we went over to the blue terrain, it did not seem as though the confidence had carried over. Oboe can correct me if I'm wrong.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
posted by milesb:

4. I like to ski every bump and rough area I can find on the groomers. I like to pretend that the slope is much steeper than it is, using alot more flexing and extending than is necessary. So what if it looks dorky. I'm all about dorky.
Gee, milesb, I have seen you ski, and you are the least dorky of anyone. Sigh. I'd like to ski like you!

I came looking in this thread because I think I'm ready for something OTHER than groomers. I got a taste of powder in Utah, and I LIKED IT, even though it feels foreign. I think it's because I need to tighten up my technique and skills a lot more.

That's the general idea, is it not, of this thread? It's tough to get better when your home hill is nothing but crud. Am I doomed?
post #39 of 54
Bonni, you didn't catch me doing some of my goofy shit!
post #40 of 54
Si, I have to agree with Arc here for your skiing. I think working technically on groomers could do a lot for your skiing. What would prevent that is maybe your own belief it won't help you, and also maybe not having someone there like Arc to give you feedback.

For instance, that turn entry we were trying to get in crud of "two f-16's diving into a turn simultaneously" can certainly be practiced on the groomed. On the groomed you really need to be quite disciplined and not lie to yourself when you don't get it because you don't have the penalty feedback of the crud when you blow it. If you really can do it at slow speed on the groomed then doing it in the crud is a pretty short transition- mainly having to do with trusting the movement and adjusting to different for/aft balance inputs.

Yes, I pretty much learned to ski on groomers and basically continually ski on them since that's what I have. I do believe gates help a lot in the process though.
post #41 of 54
Yep Tog - gates are good....
That is why I asked to go back there more even though the race course scares me stupid...
I KNOW that when I focus on what I am asked I ski better there... just because I have that focus I think...

Now if we can just cure me of the speed fear bit while there....any hints?
post #42 of 54
Interesting topic so far. I agree that slow turn drills are key in evaluating the foundations of your technique. A few years ago I was introduced to slow drills and at first I thought "these are stupid, I must ski better than this" but over time it changed my skiing drastically, and always was a benchmark for self evaluating my technique. Now I try to get people to do drills with me while traversing flats etc, but they don't always catch on. Most of the time people are astonished with how simple the movements really are in order to get that 2 footed carve to happen, and wonder what they are doing the rest of the time...

Disski, fear of speed in the course is a problem that almost everyone has. Even when I am 'looking for speed' there is a certain amount of fear that resides in me. Nowadays it is pretty much overwhelmed by exhilaration so I don't notice it. What you need to do is expand your comfort zone. One thing that helped me get accustomed to speed was straightlining things. Start small, be ready to toss them sideways or make turns if you need to, but increase your speed and acceleration threshhold. Make sure it is very empty, etc. and don't ski outside of your ability- just try to expand it. What I find about racing and speed is that part of what makes speed in the course daunting is the rapidity of the gates approaching. Often you aren't going at a speed that you find scary, you just find it scary in that situation.

As such, a lot of what needs to happen is a mental shift in the way you approach the course. Don't let the course happen to you, you need to happen to the course. You are always the one going to the gates, not the other way around. What helps with this is a good focus 1-2 gates ahead. It looks like you have a whole lot more room and things are much slower when you look for where your turn needs to end rather than start. The gates also change to something in the way of your destination rather than destinations in themselves.

Also, the better your technique gets, the more speed seems natural in the course. The higher your degree of precision the less it will feel like you are out goat-roping. Every time you find that next level it feels like the speed you were going was just cruising.

So, commit to the course. Commit your body to the turn. Be okay with the idea of falling. If you are in a closed racecourse, going to your hip and lifting up your skis usually means you can slide to a pleasant stop without endangering your knees. If you become okay with the idea of taking falls, it tends not to happen much anymore. Studies of NASCAR crashes show that the crashes happen not because someone lost control while attacking and passing, rather that someone was worried that they were going to be passed.

On my team, we sum it up in one word: Attacktics.
post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:
Disski, fear of speed in the course is a problem that almost everyone has. .


no not fear of speed in the course fear of the course in fact - fear of the slope it is on initially...

You might want to check my profile I'm a chronic fear merchant for a simple reason - EXPERIENCE!

Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:
What you need to do is expand your comfort zone..
Oh you mean like when my instructors had me ski down the slope NEXT to it...
Then have a look from the chair & decide the gradient was only a LITTLE steeper on the course side of the trees...
Then ski down the slope when the gates were NOT set & late in the day so it was NOT icy...
Then ski it early in the day...
Then ski down the sides when the gates where set...
Then ski down the sides turning at the gates on the side we were skiing...
Then just side slipping the course...
etc etc etc

Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:
One thing that helped me get accustomed to speed was straightlining things. .
NOT I STILL don't straightline anything - I will ski most stuff if they let me be on an edge - forget the flat ski bit - uh uh - no way ....

Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:
What I find about racing and speed is that part of what makes speed in the course daunting is the rapidity of the gates approaching. ..
Ummm no I LIKE the gates - they are why I want to go back.....

Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:

Be okay with the idea of falling. ...
well that was BETTER when they put up the fences - but normally - nah falling may mean a splat on a tree trunk - I'll stay on my feet thanks

[ March 05, 2003, 03:01 AM: Message edited by: disski ]
post #44 of 54
Thread Starter 
This is a quote I received which was contained in an email from a fellow bear in reference to this thread:

"It was drilled into me so much way back when that your upper body should be upright and pointed down the hill and "quiet", that I basically developed that turn and then quit looking for something else."

I have been accused of being an off-piste junkie and I'm not going to try and deny that. In fact this quote really explains why - I find so much challenge and joy in trying to develop "this" turn to a higher level that I just seem to always enjoy working on it the most. That's not to say that I don't understand the value of developing the movement and angulation skills that produce a good carve (and working on this when the off-piste just ain't worth it - i.e. can't afford a full tune each day and new skis once a week). If I ever were to achieve the improvement of this turn in the off piste that I hope for and am getting enough ski days then I will definitely focus much more on further development along the lines so many people have advocated for in this thread.

In relation to the original topic of this thread, though, I still think that the quite upper body, retract and turn from the feet kind of skiing I am talking about is best developed by spending a great deal of time in the off-piste (of course after having developed a strong set of basic skiing movements mostly on the groomed through the beginner and intermediate stages of skiing). Wonderful skiers that I skied with at the Academy, especially Arc and Tog carry over their skills from the groomed to the off-piste and ski it amazingly well, especially given the little time they spend there. The same is true of another friend who was a trainer of instructors in Europe and raced at the Euro-Cup level. However, they don't exhibit quite the same type of simple, quiet and efficient turn that I am striving (dreaming) for in the off-piste (even though they do certainly turn effectively there!). That turn, I think, requires a lot of time in varying soft snow conditions. There are only a few people I know (they happen to be world class freeskiers) who seem to be able to demonstrate this quietly efficient syle in the off-piste and the movements, angulation, and power of the racer on the groomed.

I don't think this point of view need imply strong disagreement with the value of working on the groomed to develop high level skiing movements. I am certainly more motivated by this discussion to think about working in the gates on the local 200 foot hill (Mt. Brighton, that rennovated garbage dump of Aspen Extreme fame). Perhaps if this durable winter we've had continues into mid or late March when I return from my last trip out West next week I'll even try to start on this supplementary path this year!
post #45 of 54
disski,
I'd recommend NOT focusing on the gates! Instead, focus on where you are going to turn- see the path you are going to take around the gates. Use the location ot the gate to calculate a turn arc in your mind that takes you around it. "Fear of gates" probably affects almost everyone who skis them to some degree. Concentrating on the gate is focusing on the problem, while concentrating on the path you will take is focusing on the solution.

It's just like skiing in the trees. If you look at the trees you'll head right for them and have to turn at the last second (if you don't hit it). Instead, look at the white space between them where you are going to turn. I'm constantly amazed when skiing tight trees how this simple act of refocusing can make skiing trees so much easier. People think it's so obvious and dumb to "look between the trees" but chances are if they're having a lot of trouble they're back to staring at the trees.

I think there is a similarity with skiing slow and skiing gates. In skiing gates you begin to actually notice what you are doing in a turn. It may only be one or two turns, but you begin to remember a sequence of events. In skiing slowly it really drags everything out so you notice everything.

Si, you're going out west AGAIN? See, that's why you don't want to work on groomers!

[ March 05, 2003, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #46 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tog:

Si, you're going out west AGAIN? See, that's why you don't want to work on groomers!
Tog, I think you ought to just move west yourself. I don't think it would take you much time at all to develop that quiet flowing style for the off-piste and steeps and hang with some of the big time freeskiers out there. I think you've definitely got what it takes.
post #47 of 54
Hehehe

Disski, I understand where you are at. Everyone has a threshold- you just need to work on expanding it in the ways you see fit.

I still stand by my insistance on straightlining. Would you straightline your driveway? How about the easiest run at the mountain? This is what I am talking about. Don't take the racecourse, or the most dificult run at the mountain, and go "well... here goes..." because you will end up hurting yourself eventually. Most people are ok straighlining a traverse. You can go point to point- "I'll go until that tree and then make a turn" Give yourself lots of room for error. At some point during the day, usually in the middle of your turn, you are pointing your skis straight down the hill. All I'm saying is extend it.

However, you are at a different place in your racing career than I though. Your instructors have the right idea getting you accustomed to the slope etc. Racing for me is 100% confidence. If I don't have that nothing else matters. You seem to know that is where a lot of your problem with racing is.

Do things that make you confident about your skiing. I like doing drills before I get in the course so I know exactly how my fundamentals are that day.

I hope something in there helps.
post #48 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Tog:
disski,
I'd recommend NOT focusing on the gates! Instead, focus on where you are going to turn- see the path you are going to take around the gates. Use the location ot the gate to calculate a turn arc in your mind that takes you around it. !
that is exactly what we do... I have been taught to 'see' where I want to ski & go there...

My biggest problem atm is that the 'path' I want to take through those gates is faster than the path I am happy to take on that hill - so at a certain point I will deliberately ski speed off... that point moves down hill slowly - but is replicated at any particular time - so much so that my instrcutor will be able to ski down behind & run through at that point - because he KNOWS I will just pull out & uphill then...

He tells me I am skiing very close to the gates on my strong turn side - so close he can barely see light between them & me - but I have NO IDEA - I'm looking DOWN there - not anywhere near those gates

As I said - when they put a fence between me & the trees I was MUCH happier... but I just am not happy to go that fast when there is nothing between us...

OK - so I'm a BIG chicken - what else is new....

Guess what - one of this seasons goals is to JUST damn well ski down the line I want - not shed speed... ah well I can dream
post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by sanchez:

I still stand by my insistance on straightlining. Would you straightline your driveway? How about the easiest run at the mountain? This is what I am talking about. Don't take the racecourse, or the most dificult run at the mountain, and go "well... here goes..." because you will end up hurting yourself eventually. Most people are ok straighlining a traverse.
.
No - I do NOT straightline traverses & cattracks - I edge-roll them....

I HATE having skis flat...

to make me learn to jump a 1' drop they had to LET me have a slight edge - or I wouldn't ski up to it...
Ok a bit better now - I do jump & land flat on slightly larger stuff ... but I still am nearly always edge-rolling anything flatish...

It was one of the break throughs my instructor made when we first skied together - he thought to ask WHY I would NOT ski over a lip on a hill- that had a nice uphill the other side of the small dip - yet I would do LONG FASTISH(for me) turns VERY happily...

"Oh - that's easy I'm on an edge & feel more controlled" I piped up...
he went 'Ok we learn to use the edges for traverses then you will be happy'....
THAT made such a huge difference to how comfortable I felt on my skis... THEN i would let go & try things... because now I didn't have to "huck 'em round" I could just 'turn up hill a bit'..... I had much finer control of my direction

Racing career - NONE & no aspirations for one....
Hence I was just backing up the comment that SKIING GATES (not racing) is VERY good for your skiing in general....
post #50 of 54
Si, thanks for your comments. Yeah that wouldn't be a bad thing to do but....

disski,

If you keep getting too fast in the course you need to take a "higher line" in the top (steeper) section. By higher line I mean you begin your turn higher up on the rise line.(A "line" which is the same as the fall line, it just points up the slope from the pole around which you turn) Begin the turns higher up on this line and the turn should finish right under the gate and you're already headed across the slope. As you get farther down the course you can start lowering your line as the slope flattens out. Ski the course in a wedge first maintaining the high line and then ski it normally. Slowly adjust to a faster line instead of just "going for it" in the begining.
post #51 of 54
Yeah TOG - that is pretty much the problem...

I think it mostly stems from the fact that I tend to 'see' the path my instructor would take... & he is ex-junior national team....
Won instructors race at exams skiing on a busted leg...
He tends to go FAST...

He seems not worried by my antics - but then knows me well... he says one day I will just keep going the whole way down... as it is we just keep doing it...

When they have set the odd 'turny' course i do seem to do much better....

I have noticed that when skiing with my other instructor in same course I tend to ski differently - I ski the lines I would expect from HIM I think... & I have not seem him RACE...
Then again - he is trying to teach me park tricks & flat ski skiing... so I tend to be more ready to 'skid' turns a bit with him & carve less...
(but it is still a BIG problem for me that I dislike a flat ski)

All gets back to the simple fact that I need to BELIEVE I can ski much more than I do atm

Oh well - I do improve ...

& getting back to the original YES the race course DOES improve my skiing...
post #52 of 54
Back to the groomer issue....

Well how about doing falling leaf on gentle terrain to get used to a flat ski? It's really quite fun once you get it.
post #53 of 54
I love the Falling Leaf.
post #54 of 54
Yeah we do that stuff - doesn't stop the FEAR of not being on an edge though....

Thye told me at the end of the 2000 season they would be happy for me to make NO progress in my technical skills if I could adjust my brain....
I think that still holds....

They say I will adjust in time .... MORE MILEAGE!
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