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text analysis request

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 


This forum is great.  Getting help with your own questions or just reading the threads.  Thanks for the help.

I am back from my annual trip where the goal was to get better off the piste.  As two of you told me before I went it was all about balance.  I was skiing as I had been taught 25+ years ago with feet together, leaning forward on the balls of my feet, and leaning against the outward and downward forces.

Since I went alone, I have no movies to be analyzed.  So I ask that you assess my interpretation of what I learned. 

Fore/aft balance.  I was leaning on my boot tongues by leaning my upper body forward, which put my weight on the balls of my feet.  I.e. I was closing the angle between my foot and shin and my hip/waist but not my knee.  

n  To stay in balance I had to bend the ankle, knee, and hip/waist the same way you would do a very shallow flat footed squat.  Even pressure from toe to heel came more easily on my good turning side than my bad side.  On the bad side I have to think about bringing my outside ski under me (forward) to get even weight distribution – toe to heel.

Lateral balance.  

n  First was skiing with my feet apart the same distance as my hips.  I was surprised at how easy this was to do without thinking about it. 

n  Then the “angulation”, starting from the bottom up.  I have heard to tip skis you bend your ankles.  With ski boots on I cannot bend my ankles laterally, the boots prevent it.  I cannot bend my knees laterally because knees don’t do that but hips do bend laterally.  So to tip the skis and stay in a balanced position you have to move your hips to the inside and laterally bend your hip/waist to move your chest in the direction of your skis.  When your knees are bent, which is almost always, it seems like you can bend them to increase tipping the ski but I think it is really the ability to lower them because of the laterally bending ability of the hip or just leaning in.

Things I felt that helped to start and maintain a carved turn. 

n  First was moving to a more erect position prior to turn initiation followed by closing the ankle, knee, and hip angles during initiation. 

n  Second was leading with the inside ski, moving it forward and tip it first. 

n  Third was lowering the knees more than I would do without thinking about it. 

n  And last was increasing lateral angulation which seemed to aid in getting the edges to carve, putting my weight more over the skis.

Other things I discovered

n  (Shoulders and torso to point slightly downhill of where the skis are pointed.)  In a turn on my bad side I would fail to switch resulting in my outside/downhill shoulder leading.  Tapping both poles on the snow to the outside of the turn when the skis are pointed downhill was an exercise that helped.  So did short quick turns keeping the torso pointed downhill all the time.

n  A thousand steps is very hard and so is skiing on one ski when it is the inside ski.

post #2 of 3

Hi Steve,

Sounds like you were really working and concentrating hard on improving your skiing on your trip.  That earns a big thumbs up from me.  Here are a few comments on what you said.


Fore/aft balance:

Fore balance/pressure has it's place and it's uses, but it's not a balance state to park in all the time.  At the start of a turn, when an aggressive turn start is needed or desired, loading the front of the skis by moving your balance point fore, and pressuring the tongue of the boot with the shin can be very effective.  But there are negatives with it too.  It diminishes the foots ability to balance the body, and it taxes your muscles more.  Center balanced, with weight equally distributed across ball and heel provides the most efficient balance state.  Find that state and experience how relaxing skiing can be. 



Long is strong.  When you can, hips over feet, shoulders and head over hips.  Stand tall to let the body relax and perform.  Non functional, over flexion at the waist happens when knees are flexed too much.  The body gets all hunched up, and the muscles get taxed more than is needed.



You spoke about getting tall between turns.  When going for non pivoted, arc to arc type turns, thats a fine choice.  Very easy to feel the edge engage the new turn when legs are long.  The legs function very precisely in that state. 


Inside foot forward:

NO,NO,NO.  Don't start your turn by pushing your inside foot forward.  That makes it very easy to get your scissored that way, which can cause all types of bad stuff, like getting back and inside.  Rather, focus on driving your inside hip forward and into the turn.  The inside foot will then come along as much as it needs to, producing the proper amount of inside tip/foot lead. 


Lateral balance:

lateral flexion at the waist is one method of balancing laterally, but there are others that are more effective.  Your range of motion when flexing laterally at the waist is very limited, therefore so too is the amount it can relocate your Center of Mass and affect your lateral state of balance.  Better to counter your pelvis toward the outside of the turn and flex forward at the waist.  Much bigger range of motion in the waist doing that, and so you have much greater affect on your lateral balance state.  The bigger the edge angles you go for, the more important this becomes.  The inside hip lead I suggested above will also produce the counter you need to do this.  Don't drop the outside hip back to produce the counter.  Bad stuff happens with that too. 


When knee angulation is needed, rotate your femurs toward the inside of the turn and flex your knees.  Walla, knee angulation.  It provides the most bang for the buck in the lateral balance department, but only use it when needed, as it's a weak position.  Works good at the beginning of a turn to get the skis engaged and carving, or in slower type turns, or when on long radius skis.  But stick with hip angulation when you can as your go-to lateral angulation tool. 


Things you learned:

Those drills you described that you had trouble with are upper end drills.  I have a DVD training program I've produced that can help you get there. 




Edited by Rick - 2/15/2009 at 10:30 pm
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Rick - thanks for all the info.  I think the equal distro of my weight fore and aft is very effective.  The leading with the inside ski still requires thought so I can change that without a problem.  I have heard counter used a lot but am not sure how it fits with the rest.  Standing on the floor I can see how it frees you get more angulation.  Do I still keep my shoulders slightly inside/downhill for the start of the carve? Again, thanks.

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