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Getting off the back seat

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!

From past threads and posts I can see that you generally do welcome newcomers/beginners/intermediates, so I thought I'd give it a shot and consult your collective expertise on helping me out with a typically female problem.

During my last skiing holiday in Austria (my fifth week ever on skis, in the space of 8 years) our instructor took us down some badly cut up moguls, made of heavy snow. Since I'm not terribly fit, but very enthusiastic I got very frustrated as I struggled to stay forward and fell over every other turn. I probably have a number of things to work on, but what "felled" me everytime was sitting back.
Are there any exercises, drills that you can recommend?
I have my own San Marco ski boots (no footbeds, no alignment), but rented skis (top end, don't remember, though what make they were).
I don't have particularly long legs - in other words, I'm a shorty! - and am slightly knock-kneed.
So, without having to go AWOL spending on equipment, what can I do to at least survive moguls?
Otherwise, I enjoy red runs (equivalent of American blue) and can handle black runs if they're not icy.
Enough about me.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the Wacko/SCSA threads. Am a fan of PMTS myself, and used to be quite fanatic about it, having only really studies the website lessons, but have come off that tree again. Although, I still believe the lightening and tipping of the inside foot is the best thing I ever read about and started to apply to my skiing. None of the British and German instructors ever did anything remotely similar in the classes.

Kind regards

post #2 of 34
Hi charlie,
Looks like you have been lurking around the shadows for a while. Glad to hear you decided to post again.

As always there are better instructors here than myself but I can offer this. For me being in the back seat was a symptom of not initializing my turns early and not moving down the hill. hands forward, (always in your field of view) I found will help but only seemed to be a fix to the symptom and not the underlying problems. Using your feet to work on balance (pull the feet back under yourself instead of trying to get your body to catch up) was better and easier and I found more effective. Also keeping your shins in gentle contact with the toungue of the boot was a big help for me. you should not have to "drive your knees" into the boot but just gentle pressure all the time. maybe put a dollar bill or other piece of paper money between the boot and shin sticking out to wave in the wind. Then ski. You don't want to loose that money!
post #3 of 34
When I get lazy, I sometimes find myself drifting into the back seat. (Maybe it's a remnant from those 70's Jet turns!) Just remembering to keep my shins in gentle contact with the tongues of my boots straightens me right out!

BE the skis!
post #4 of 34
Hello Charlie,

Real quick...

For me, balance training has been everything. I'd work on mastering every one of the drills in brand x's 2 video.

Not only will your bump skiing improve, your overall skiing will improve.

Best,<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited June 20, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks, so far.

My hands are not a problem, though the inside hand falls back immediately when I get into trouble - a typical reflex I guess.

My boots are a very close fit and don't offer much room. Do you think that exaggerating the "forward lean" for a little while might eventually get me more centred?

SCSA - I don't have that video, so could you possibly describe some of those balance drills you mentioned?

Kind regards

P.S. I might practice on a dry slope sometime soon. I bet a lot of you have never been on these, since most of you appear to have close access to skiing all winter - unlike my London-residencing self. (BTW, I'm German but have never skied there before!)
post #6 of 34
Depending on how stiff your boots are exaggerating the forward lean may make the symptom worse. when you hit a bump you will get thrown into the back seat more.

Here's some other threads that might help you.

Take a look and see if these help.

Dry slope? Do you mean one of those moving carpets? How do they make bumps go round and round?

By the way, invest in a good set of custom made orthotics. It's a little pricey but they will last several seasons and can be moved from one pair of boots to another. They are well worth the cost. I'm still on the pair I had made 15 years ago. I just had some new ones made for my rollerblades...<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited June 20, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 34

Welcome to the brew-ha-ha-house.

One thing about staying centered or forward. It does NOT mean hinging at the waist, or tetering on the balls of your feet. It helps a lot, to maintain a flat foot on the bottom of the boot, and relax your ankles, so that your shin sort of drops into the front of the boot. If you try to stay forward by pressuring the balls of your feet too hard, it makes it impossible to balance on that one little point, and it opens your ankle joint, pushing you back. Especially in moguls, because as your skis ride up the front of a bump, it pushes your weight back. If your ankles are loose, the skis can ride up, and your weight can stay centered because you are able to bend at the ankle.

Another thing to check will be, what is called "dorsal flexion". That means how much you can bend forward at the ankle. If you have a tight achillies tendon, it makes it impossible to flex enough. And if your boots have too much forward lean, you can never get off the back of the boot. To check it, sit in a chair with your upper legs (femur) horizontal (parallel to the floor), and your lower legs vertical (90 degrees to the floor). You should be able to lift the front of your foot off the ground (keeping your heel on the ground) enough to get 2-3 fingers (on their side) under the balls of your feet. If you can't then you need heel lifts.

Another option is to tape thumb tacks to the back of your boot cuffs. That'll keep your calves fron touching the back of the boots.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
dchan - thanks for these links.

No, a dry slope does not move but is outdoors, built on a hill and often only 100 metres long, the one I go to is 200 metres and made of a material called Dendix. It's horrible for falling on and broke my arm there 18 months ago. Didn't put me off skiing, though. Now I ski more carefully on this sort of thing.

Because the British are not blessed when it comes to snow-skiing opportunities, but as crazy as anything, they do have a lot of these artificial slopes all over the country, plus a couple of Snowdomes.

On the dry slope I go to, there are no moguls, but I'd like to know what I can do on a normal slope to improve my skiing before I go back to the bad bad bumps.


post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 

I have just done the "three finger test", and the answer is, not quite. So it looks like heel lifts would be good.

Question: What are those thumb thingies you mention? Although my English is fairly good, I still come across words and expressions I don't know, especially Americanisms, if this indeed should be one. Mind you, I find it extremely difficult to talk about skiing in German!

post #10 of 34
Ha ha ha... thumb tacks are also known as push pins. Not sure what it is in european english but if you have cork boards or bulletin boards that you stick notes on with pins, Thumb tacks are the ones with a big round flat head and a pin. With one of these in the back of your boots sitting back would be like jamming a nall or pin into your calf. I suspect JohnH was being funny...
post #11 of 34
another desperate attempt at humor gone bad. Why doesn't everyone else just conform to MY ways???? Life would be so much simpler for everyone.

**Due to the power shortage, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off indefinitely.
post #12 of 34
I don't know JohnH
I was laughing pretty hard when I saw Charlies confusion.
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 

Please keep joking! I do get most jokes, provided I understand all the vocabulary... and I did smile after the explanation.

The British English term for thumb tack is drawing pin.

I don't think my boots are too flexible, maybe rather too stiff with too little forward lean, I don't know. Am back at home now. It's 10:40pm here, so time for me to go to bed soon. But I might just check out my boots before I go off to the land of nod...

Maybe I should invest in a new pair, although these are only 2 seasons old. If I save up real hard and get myself a more lucrative job...

I'm sort of still waiting for your reply with those drills and exercises for balance...

Speaking of balance and staying centred: When I skied in Lauterbrunnen last January, our instructor made us ski down for a few turns first standing on the ball of the foot for a while and then standing mostly on the heel. After that he asked for feedback about how that felt. That was helpful. He also made us do one-footed turns, i.e. skiing with the inside leg of the turn off the snow.

Back to equipment: how much would a set of custom-made footbeds cost and do they include such things as heel-lifts? I would only need a slight heel lift I think.

Lisamarie - are you there? Do you struggle with the backseat, too, or are you one of those blessed females with extremely long legs, slight hips and no alignment needs whatsoever?

post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Another thing:

If you want to know what a dry slope is have a look at my "home mountain" at: http://www.becktonalps.co.uk/Skiing_Page.htm

I wish I could insert a photo here (from the website) but I don't know how to do that.
post #15 of 34
in the states footbeds run anywhere from 35.00 usd for cheap off the shelf ones to the sky for full fitting, boot shaving, cants custom liners... all that stuff.
For the most part I found the price to be about 99-150 USD for a footbed and custom fitting (no blowing out of shells, but liner adjustments and cuff cant adjustment)
post #16 of 34
Ah Charlie, ya got me pegged! Most definitely I suffer. Sometimes its plain old fashioned fear, but lately, I realize that next year I need to get some boot alignment work done.

Then I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill....

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #17 of 34

As much as I abhor lining that man's pockets, you really need to buy the video. That's truly my best advice. I couldn't explain the drills even if I had to.

If you ever come out to Colorado, I'd be happy to spend a day skiing with you to show them to you.

post #18 of 34
Charles (Prince?),

One thing you can think about in regaining balance is moving your -feet- back into position instead of moving your body. If you get in the back seat (leaning or sitting too far back) pull your feet back so they come under your hips. This can be quicker and also gets you to focus on the feet which is key in skiing.

John's "drawing pins" will certainly tell you when you're leaning on the back of the boot... If you want a high tech solution, take a look at the e-coach which is an adjustable pressure sensor hooked up to earphones: http://www.vist.it/html/uk/produkte.htm

I propose they go the next step and hook the thing up to a real strong battery. When you're not pressuring properly you get electrically shocked...(or maybe the instructor controls it?..heh..heh)
post #19 of 34
Welcome Charles! Nice to hear from a UK skier. I really like UK skiers. Devoted!

Quite used to the British sense of humor. To steal from a favorite LionHeart TV show (older one), Reginald Perrin would say "Squatty is Grotty"

I have taught a lot of UK folks, teaching skiing at Breckenridge. Easter break, you know . Do a lot of boot fitting too. It's so important. Get footbeds first, before doing any changes to your boots.

I strongly suggest you be careful about heel lifts, as you do not want your heels to be (much) higher than the balls of your toes. This is known as ramp angle, and too much of it... well it's hard to ski in Elton John's platform shoes!

Heel lift CAN help, as long as it does not add too much ramp angle. By grinding the top of the bootboard that is inside of most ski boots, on the heel area, you can lower ramp angle, then use the lift to help the range of motion thing. It works, but get help to do this, and you do not want to do much, it's a game of mm. Yea, I do metric, too!

Go to www.harbskisystems.com, and you will find a lot about the PMTS drills that promote balance. It's pretty darn good, but an instructor who is cert with PMTS (there are some of us here ) will help you a lot.

Biggest thing is to use your body the way it was made. Use a stance that is a lot like when you run or walk. Humans walk (ski)upright lower primates cannot "stack the bones". Bones are a lot stronger than muscle.

If you have a chance, rent some rollerblades, put on proper protective gear, and try the in-line skating drills shown on the website mentioned above. It will help your skiing and balance a lot, without resorting to "skiing on the toothbrush". Tho the pavement is pretty hard too...

Ever ski at Glenshee, in the rain, with the rocks and the sheep? LOL!

Just finished watching another episode of "Waiting for God". I really wish I could see some more Black Adder, have not seen an episode for a few years.


¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com
post #20 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your welcome, but please don't call me 'Charles', because I'm all woman!
Charlie is short for 'Charlotte' and is the middle name my mother was thinking of giving me. But I never got one! Funnily, I've read somewhere that Charlotte means "little woman", which is also the English equivalent of my real German firstname.

So long.

post #21 of 34

A really good boot alignment specialist will usually charge by the hour, plus the cost of materials. However, they usually have set prices for doing custom footbeds. In the US, they tend to run, as dchan said, about $100-$150. One thing to note though, is that you can keep them for a long time, and when you replace your boots, just move the footbeds to the new boots.

Another, less painful, way to keep you forward is to place $100 bills (I'd have said 100 pound notes, but I have a US keyboard, so I can't make the British Pound symbol) between your shins and the tongues of the boots. The objective is to go home with as much money as you came with. Of course, if you're dirt poor, the drawing pin idea may still be less painful
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 
SCSA - I didn't really want to know that. I'm just glad this isn't my real name.

JohnH - having seen some very rough video footage of myself skiing, I did think I looked a bit like an ape - yes, you may laugh - leaning my upper body forward quite a bit while going down a short slalom course. Maybe I thought If I lean downhill as much as I can, I'll be past the finish line more quickly. Unfortunately, I lost it and missed the second last gate. I can be very competitive, particularly when racing against my brother(s). Not that I actually do racing, we just did this for fun at the end of the ski week in Austria.

I shall concentrate on flexing my ankles more to find that centred stance for stability.

In-line skating: I have some skates, but no hills! Is there anything I could do on the flat to improve things? I also like to ice-skate and can go backwards and forwards doing the cross-over steps and can do a little jump.

By the way, falling over on a dry ski slope is probably not as bad as falling on the asphalt when rollerblading...

post #23 of 34

As far as what you can do on skates, work on standing on both feet shoulder width apart and just tipping the skates over and a little bit of steering. just like you would on skis. ankles bent knees over the toes hips over the feet. you really don't need much hill to really get going. a slope I consider almost walking flat on skis gets me going scary fast on my inlines. but then again I'm new to inlines. I have found the tip to turn works good on skates as long as I steer some.

Edit: comment on another post now deleted.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #24 of 34
What do some people use for birth control? Personality.
post #25 of 34
So far, Lucky, it's worked for me...whereas skiing on my heels does not.


Dante non ha mai immaginato questo cerchio dell'inferno!
post #26 of 34

After seeing some balance links posted here by lisamarie, ( www.suzannenottingham.com ) I've realized there's simple things one can do to practice balance. Right now my favorite is "subway surfing" or for you "Underground surfing"? When riding standing up in the subway car you don't hold on to anything and just try to balance. Inevitably you often end up in a fairly wide surfing pose. It ranges from very easy to impossible as the motorman slams on the brakes for some reason (spooked by a rat?) or you hit a sudden turn. I hope I don't end up flying with a hot cup of coffee...

The interesting thing I'm discovering is how much using small movements with the feet helps. When getting off balance my first reaction is to move my body away. This is slow. I'm finding if I concentrate on the feet first- flexing the foot to apply pressure in the right direction, it's much quicker.

Application to skiing? Well this year I've been skiing with my boots looser and the current "research" seems to support the trend. Not loose, but just not so tight that the foot/leg is locked up in the boot. I've often in the past had them so tight that they numb up and feel like huge lead weights. When this happens you loose the small movements in the foot. Ahhh...now I see...small movements in foot very important!

Think feet...

This is not to be confused with true subway surfing, where kids ride -on top- of the subway car on the open air elevated tracks. (The elevated part of the F line to Coney Island is popular supposedly). This is a tad dangerous but I haven't heard of anyone getting killed so far. Still, balance is best practiced -inside- the subway car. Of course a bus will work, boats etc.

Though SCSA, you should give the top of the car surfing a try. You might quickly find you're better than 97% of the kids doing it!

Lucky,- brilliant lol!
Lisakaz- penalty for illegal use of self-deprecating humor. (ie not true)<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited June 21, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 34
I did not comment on your thread initially, since we share some of the same issues. Often people will start "me tooing" , and without realizing it, they take the focus away from the person who is the original poster.

Girl to girl, there are in fact some subtle things I can help you with. Do you know about Kegels, or pelvic floor exercises? If you visualize the pelvic floor as a hammock being drawn up, that can help straighten you out and pull you foward. It will also have a wonderful affect on balance. Another thing you can do is use your breathing. If you inhale as you straighten your legs, that will also extend the spine and bring you foward. Visualize Kate Winslow on the mast head of the Titanic.

Tog, after you graduate from NYC subways, you need to come to Boston and try your surfing exercise on the Green Line Trolleys!

Then I saw my reflection on a snow covered hill....

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #28 of 34

I deleted the stripper comment. If it offended you, or you took it the wrong way, sorry. BTW, Charlene is now a doctor and she's very successful.


I'm asking you nicely to use my forum name. I'm also asking you nicely to go back and edit your post and remove my name. Finally, I'm asking you to respect my right to privacy from here on out.

And, even though I never asked, don't you think that the gentlemenly thing to do would have been for your buddy to apologize to me?

On same, why is that you hold me to standards that you often seem to ignore?

Example. Your buddy attacks my family, my wife, and my mother, and he's your hero. What's up with that?

I make a few innocent comments. You instantly call me a sexist, accuse me of harrassing people, and generally consider me to be an ahole -- even though I wish you well, go out of my way to compliment you and laugh at your jokes?

Do us both a favor and leave me alone. I don't pick on you, quit picking on me.

Thanks -<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for defending me Lisamarie, although I think it is inappropriate to spell out SCSA's real name, even though those of us who've been around for a while know it anyway. As to those pelvic floor exercises, I don't quite understand what you mean. Forgive me for going slightly off the subject of skiing and ask you, are they those exercises that are particularly recommended for women to regain strength in certain muscle groups after a pregnancy?

Maybe we should discuss this in private since we'll bore the men to death if you reply to this. Have found your website - you gave the address in some other thread. Is there something there for me?


post #30 of 34
You are correct about what pelvic floor exercises are. But lately, there has been a considerable amount of research to substantiate the concept of Kegels: Not Just for Pregnancy> The use of the pelvic floor is related to the use of your transverse abdominals, which are responsible for balance and alignment. BTW, I learned this concept from a MALE Pilates teacher trainer, and a MALE trainer of the Reebok Core Board.

I must confess, I brought this up here for a reason. I have been askes to write an article on fitness for The Professional Skier. Since a good deal of what fitness is about nowadays is core stability, and core stability involves the use of the pelvic floor, I am testing the boundaries of what non fitness professionals feel comfortable discussing.

Because if I brought up topics that people were not comfortable with, then I would be the hypocrite.

Then I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill......

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited June 22, 2001).]</FONT>
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