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Had 1st lesson - questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I had my first ever lesson yesterday (level 5) and have a few questions. The instructor (PSIA 2) had me work on the "picture frame" drill, hand position, finishing turns, and extension/flexion.

 

My questions are in reference to the extension/flexion. I was taught to gradually rise starting at the top of the turn and then flex at the bottom of the turn - sorry don't know the terminology for parts of the turn. I thought that I've read that up-unweighting was no longer the ideal way to initiate turns. Before I groove this move, I'm looking for confirmation that this is indeed what I should be doing at my lowly level. Will this type of turning hamper me down the road?

 

Also, when I try to flex both legs I feel like my butt is going in the backseat. Is this a technique issue, just need to practice, or perhaps my ~20 year old boots are too stiff?

 

Overall it was an awesome lesson, the guy had me skiing some trails I thought were way over my ability level - course the snow was soft.

 

Thanks

Ben

post #2 of 12

The instructor was right.  He wasn't teaching you up-unweighting he was teaching you good pressure control movements.  The extension at the top of the turn should have been more of a diagnol extension into the new turn instead of an outdated pop stlye up unweighting movement. 

 

When flexing at the end of the turn, concentrate more on bending the ankles and less on bending the knees.  Knee bending without ankle flexion can drop your hips behind your feet and put you in the backseat.

post #3 of 12

Extending quickly while in transition or just at the end of transition can result in the 'Pop' mentioned above and thus unweighting.  This probably isn't what was intended. 

 

A slower extension (progressive) that begins when the new edges are just starting to engage will help keep pressure on those edges, keep them firmly engaged and allow the skier's body to maintain approximately the same height above the snow even though they are gradually inclining toward the inside of the new turn.

 

Flexing progressively into turn finish while also releasing the old edges allows the skis to maintain a given radius (tipping less while the relative surface angle increases) and reduces pressure under them.  It also allows the skier's body to maintain approximately the same height above the snow even though they are now reducing their state of inclination (coming laterally back to being over their skis).

 

.ma

post #4 of 12

Just to add to your feeling back on your skis when you bend flex (bend your knees) will happen if the only joint you bend is your knee.  This will happen even if you are standing out of ski boots and bend just the knee.  Think of folding like an accordian, (pulling/folding your feet up under your hips), and keeping an even pressure across your entire foot ball to heel.  Feel the even pressure across  your foot or recheck you flexion by moving folding ankles, knees and waist to feel this even pressure.  Practice when you're not moving so you fold down while feeling the pressure equally on your entire foot.  Hope this helps.  When you get used to where you are balanced over you foot area you will flex more naturally to maintain this pressure and balance point.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for excellent replies! It seemed like he wanted me to gradually extend during top half, then gradually flex during the bottom half. Since I was feeling the highest load at the bottom (braking action), it felt better to keep the outside leg somewhat extended and firm.

Although we did not discuss turn transition, I tend to flex the new inside leg during transition and continue to flex/tip through-out the turn. So during the extension phase (top half) should I gradually extend just the new outside leg?

I think you all are right about me flexing at the knee and not the ankle. I've got a good visual on the acordian analogy.

Wish it wasn't calling for rain today so I could practice.

 

Thanks again for the help..

post #6 of 12

Yep, if you play with beginning your flex in your ankles, I suspect you will find a different feel in your feet and upward through your body.  You may even feel where your feet are in your boots, how you use them, where the pressure begins and ends, how much pressure & when,  where your body is over your feet/skis. Fun feelings with experimentation. Play with it a bit and enjoy.

post #7 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wayers View Post

 

I had my first ever lesson yesterday (level 5) and have a few questions. The instructor (PSIA 2) had me work on the "picture frame" drill, hand position, finishing turns, and extension/flexion.

 

My questions are in reference to the extension/flexion. I was taught to gradually rise starting at the top of the turn and then flex at the bottom of the turn - sorry don't know the terminology for parts of the turn. I thought that I've read that up-unweighting was no longer the ideal way to initiate turns. Before I groove this move, I'm looking for confirmation that this is indeed what I should be doing at my lowly level. Will this type of turning hamper me down the road?

 

Also, when I try to flex both legs I feel like my butt is going in the backseat. Is this a technique issue, just need to practice, or perhaps my ~20 year old boots are too stiff?

 

Overall it was an awesome lesson, the guy had me skiing some trails I thought were way over my ability level - course the snow was soft.

 

Thanks

Ben


 Gradually rise starting at the top of the turn? Why? Flex at the bottom of the turn, again........why?

 

I think I understand why the instructor cannot pass his/her level III exam. Of course the possibility exists that this is not what the instuctor said or intended and that it is merely what you thought was intended.

 

I urge everyone who takes a lesson to ask about the efficacy of every drill. What is the instructor trying to accomplish. Don't take anything at face value........why, why, why? 

 

Here is the real issue. Now you come to me and I ask you about the lessons you have taken in the past and you say that your understanding is a need to gradually rise.

 

I in turn cringe.

 

We in turn spend the next six hours trying to change both your understanding and your movements.

post #8 of 12

You're making a lot of assumtions in your post RG. The OP asked about our thoughts on gradually rising through the first half of the turn and then gradually flexng through the bottom half of the turn. How about addressing the question and helping the OP's understanding?

post #9 of 12

Wayers, flexing and extending the way you are describing is not a bad thing, in fact quite the opposite, this will put you in a posture of long and strong in the middle of the turn, as well as keeping you moving throughout the turn. Though extending and flexing is often thought of as pressure control management only, it is fundamental to our fore/aft balancing movements, as well as allowing effective blending in of edging (tipping) and steering movements.

 

So keep practicing your deliberate continuous extending in the first half of the turn and then the flexing through the bottom half of the turn, for this is a good place to build from. As this feels more natural you can then work it into your thought of long leg/short leg (outside leg long, inside leg short), or you can play with changing the timing and duration of the movements as well by maintaining the long outside leg throughout more of the turn, and then flexing to release the pressure and edge and tipping both feet and skis in the direction of the new turn you want to make. The new movements you were taught will allow tipping (edging the skis) movements to be integrated into your skiing more effectively.

 

Bottom line is that we need these movements in our skiing. Once we have them we can then change them up to create different outcomes as we stay balanced. Keep the accordian thing in mind, as that is a great mental image to play with from a fore/aft balancing perspective. Your directional moves into the turn will be enhanced as well as lateral balance too.

 

While “rise” might not be my word of choice to describe extending into the turn, it obviously got the point across to you. What the instructor was really asking you to do was to first lengthen your legs and then shorten them, continuously throughout the turn. A good place to work from for a level 5 skier IMHO.

post #10 of 12
Quote:

perhaps my ~20 year old boots are too stiff?

Perhaps.  The flex characteristics of boots have changed as knowledge has increased over the years, plus maybe the plastic has hardened.  You might try loosening the cuff buckles a bit to see if you can get more flex while retaining control, or maybe adding elastic Booster Straps www.skimetrix.com/freeride.html (the two-layer version) plus loosening the cuff buckles a bit.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Really good stuff! I suspect the instructor was trying to get me to be more dynamic - I probably looked like a statue throughout the entire turn. I figured the flexing at the end of the turns would help me to finish the turn - make is sharper to get my skies pointing back up the hill.

When I tried to "finish" my turns, I ended up close to the side of the trail, with the skis angled up the hill - I really, really, don't like finishing turns on narrow trails. LOL When I watch really good skiers, I really don't see this finish (skies pointing back up the hill). I guess I need to work on a more consistant shape to the turns so I can finish them before running out of room.

In my future lessons I'll be sure to ask what we are trying to accomplish with each drill/movement.

Thanks again

 

post #12 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post

 

You're making a lot of assumtions in your post RG. The OP asked about our thoughts on gradually rising through the first half of the turn and then gradually flexng through the bottom half of the turn. How about addressing the question and helping the OP's understanding?

Be glad to
 

 

I'll do so by quoting our ski school director, an examiner, and former national demo team member. He frequently states, "the only time a skier needs an up move is on a lift".

 

I too agree students are done a dis-service if they are given the impression leaving a lesson that a "gradual rise" followed by a "gradual flex" is required in every turn.

 

 

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