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Individual Style

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My brother and I have both been skiing since 1961 and skied together all the time when we were kids. We haven't skied together very much during the last few years though. We DID ski together on the day after Thanksgiving. We've both moved to contemporary equipment and managed to modify our technique accordingly. When we were together on the hill he remarked, "In spite of the new skis and modernized technique, you still look like YOU when you ski!" I thought about it for a moment and then replied, "And I can spot you from 200 yards away just by the way YOU ski!" I don't know what it means exactly, but I think it's sorta cool!
post #2 of 26
Originally posted by Tominator:
... Klatoo Barada Nikto ...
So, the Earth stood still for you, too?

Tom / PM

PS - Let everybody else try to figure out what we are talking about.

PS#2 - You may have misspelled what Michael R. said.
post #3 of 26
A classic! A fine parody in "Army of Darkess" as well.
post #4 of 26
Originally posted by Tominator:
"In spite of the new skis and modernized technique, you still look like YOU when you ski!" I thought about it for a moment and then replied, "And I can spot you from 200 yards away just by the way YOU ski!" I don't know what it means exactly, but I think it's sorta cool!
It is kinda cool! There are 600+ Ski Pros on my home mountain, Snowmass. I can’t say that I could sit on the chair and name every one of them at a distance. But I can say that I can pick out quite a few and know who they are just by the way they stand on and turn their skis. There was a time when our ski school was smaller and we could pick everyone out. But we are rather large these days and we just don’t see everyone as frequently as we did ten or so years ago. It’s funny because my students will tell me that we all look the same when we ski.

Contemporary skiing seems to be the buzz word this year, and I’m glad to see it. I don’t think that we should be told “no, this is the way to do it, and this is the way it should look.” Of coarse there’s still a right way and a wrong way. And you should strive to do it right. But as long as you’re doing it right, there’s nothing wrong with throwing your own gig in there for a little pizzas!

So what does contemporary skiing mean to you? -------------------------------------------------------------Wigs
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
PMan - OK, I'll bite: How would you spell it?

Joel - Please tell me more about, "Army of Darkness!"

Wigs - "So what does contemporary skiing mean to you?" OK, I'm willing to open myself up to constructive criticism from Bob B. & Rusty G. To me it means 3 things:
1. Feet athletically apart.
2. Weight more evenly distributed on both skis.
3. Finding a more subtle way of intitiating a turn instead pronounced unweighting, and then finding a way to finish the turn without an overly vigorous edge-set with the outside ski.
In between, what you do with all the parts of your body except your feet, is where the 'individual-style' thing comes in most prominently.
Inflamatory addendum: Cross-over, cross-under ... whatever! That's an effect, not a cause (though I still maintain that they're different - if not in substance, then at least in look and feel.)

OK, fire away!
post #6 of 26

Could you explain what you mean by "feet athletically apart"? In fact, would anyone give me a definition of a good skiing stance?

(I think the actor was Michael Rennie.)
post #7 of 26
It is interesting how easy it is to ID someone by their individual style. I think I could name everyone on our ski staff by only watching a few turns yet we're all doing or trying to do the same thing.

With regard to stance I think Nolo brings up a interesting question and one that is involved in a lot of controversy within the ski community right now. IMHO stance is dependant upon the task or tactic at hand. If I'm skiing powder or mogels I'm usually going to chose a very narrow stance while if I'm racing GS or skiing very steep terrain I'll chose to widen my stance for that situation. As a general guideline I look for a stance that positions feet about hip with apart. Think of as if someone picked you up by your armpits, your legs would hang directly from your hips in a natural position. This offers a great starting point for most situations. None of this is new, what I do think is new and could be looked as a part of contemporary skiing is the relationship of both skis and how both skis are working in concert with one another much more so then was required on our older traditional equipment. It's easy to transition from straight skis to shapes. Yet to really appriciate the changes requires us to expand some of the skills we already have. Often less is more.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oops - Double post. See below ...

[ December 09, 2002, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: Tominator ]
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Could you explain what you mean by "Feet athletically apart?" OK, well it's mainly resisting the 'old' habit of locking the boots and knees together. Whatever feels comfortable and balanced and allows for independent leg action. (Uh oh, potential bone of contention?) I guess it would be 'hip-width'.

Michael Rennie - Yup, I believe that's correct!

[ December 09, 2002, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: Tominator ]
post #10 of 26
Tominator, 'Army of Darkness' is a cult classic tongue in cheek "horror/sci-fi" type of silliness. Quite funny. klatu nikto barata(sp?) was the magical phrase that kept the Necronomicon inert and prevented the undead from rising and killing all the live people. Of course he couldn't remember the correct pronunciation and garbled it with the expected results. Worth a look if you find that genre entertaining. I definately got some good chuckles out of it.
post #11 of 26
skitime, I like this a lot:

"Think of as if someone picked you up by your armpits, your legs would hang directly from your hips in a natural position."

I'd like it better if you said, now have your gargantuan friend set you down. Do you have some flexion at the ankle, knee, hip, and spine when standing comfortably? Are the shoulders rounded, upright, or relaxed?

I'd call an athletic stance one that gives you the greatest freedom of movement. It's pro-active.
post #12 of 26
Hey PMan, you're from the area. Is that ball field still behind the White House?

As for stance. I feel feet at hip width is too wide for me. I feel awkward and unsteady. I never skied in that leg locked Stien Ericson style. I always fell when the terrain got tough or I crossed my tips then fell.

See Nolo, You got me started. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #13 of 26
I've skied with my brother when I was young, and he hated the fact that I was actually moving ahead in my form and technique. I was able to ski with him last year for the first time in many, and he DIDN'T recognize me... He gave me the best compliment he could, "You ski like a ski instructor!" Guess you have to take the compliments where you can!
post #14 of 26
I don't want to derail the thread, so I'll make this quick:

1) Tominator: The spelling of the first word seems to be, "Klaatu", not the phonetically equivalent "Klatoo". This is from: and a couple of other sites.

2) Nolo: Michael R is indeed Michael Rennie. BTW, Sam Jaffe also had a significant role in this movie.

3) SpringHlCrz: Nope, there is no ball field behind the White House any more.

Glad to see a lot of other science fiction nuts here as well.

Back to your regularly scheduled intergalactic programming...

Tom / PM

[ December 09, 2002, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #15 of 26
Hijack the starship, carry 7000 gysies passed the sun. Our babes will wonder naked through the cities of the universe. Come on now, Free minds, free bodies, Free dop.... er never mind.
P. Kantner

We've hijacked this thread any who. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm abandoning this thread to go think up another new tag line!
post #17 of 26
nolo- I really like the "picked up by the armpits idea!

I was going to say aligned, however, if pressed I'm not sure how I would describe aligned!
post #18 of 26
There is some good stuff in this thread. When I was asked what contemporary skiing meant to me I said, “Being able to do it all.” SprgHlCrz said that a narrower stance in the powder was better for, I’m assuming him. I checked out the profile and saw steel worker, so again I’m assuming a guy. Not to piss off you gals out there, but the odds are SprgHlCrz is a guy. He also said that a wider stance might be the ticket in a race course. I also go along with this and so do most of the racers that I see on the world cup tour.

Again IMHO, I think it means to be able to do it all. To ski with our feet together if we have to. To open the stance up when we have to. Skid some turns and then make some railroad track turns. To have counter. Not to have counter. To be able to make all radius turns from larger to very small proficiently. To be able to ski corduroy, bumps powder efficiently. To do it all.

I think that there’s too many of us pros that have gotten lock into the railroad track syndrome, and that’s all they do. And some it seems, that’s all they know. But to be an effective ski pro and teacher, one must possess all the skills and tools to do it all. There’s nothing wrong with doing railroad track turns. I really enjoy them. But I also like to shake it up a bit and do some Ott turns that we saw him do in that perpetual video not to long ago. : ------------------Wigs :
post #19 of 26
"And I can spot you from 200 yards away just by the way YOU ski!" I don't know what it means exactly, but I think it's sorta cool!
This is very interesting. I think we become finely attuned to someone's proportions and also how they move. You learn to recognize someone way down the street also. I remember playing team sports in high school I'd almost never know anyones jersey number but you know- almost instantly, who they are when you're playing with them. In fact there's never any reason to learn someone's jersey number when they're on your own team except to talk to someone who's watching. It takes too much time to look for a number and think about it then just learning what they look like. The opposing team- yeah it's useful so you can communicate to your team mate but even then I think you quickly start using proportions and movement for identification.

Contemporary skiing to me usualy involves not using force to bend the ski. The ski bends as the result of being in the turn and the skier handling the forces created as opposed to the skier forcing a bend in the ski. Of course one can still ski by forcing a ski to bend - particurlary with long shape skis, but that's a choice. Contemporary skiing also involves much more diagonal movement into the new turn and less vertical movement up away from the skis (unweighting). There's still some up but it's less and it's coupled with the forward movement.
post #20 of 26
Wigs- You confused my post with skitime's but I agree that different situations demand different stance. Anybody try to ski moguls in a wide stance and find one ski in the trough and the other on the side or top of the bump? Well, that's me most of the time.

As for individual style; I think you can also tell when a person learned to ski, or made their breakthrough, by their style. I ski in an open stance. Not real wide, but wide enough to insure independent leg movement. Even though I first skied in the mid-'60s, I made my breakthrough when ski racing was emphasizing independent leg motion. I also pressure the turning ski and the other comes along for the ride.

My ski buddy made his breakthrough during the 'Stein Erikson' legs together, skis together style but still edging and pressuring one ski. He skis bumps much better than me.

The new technique with shaped skis (correct me if I'm wrong) is to keep the stance open but also edge and slightly pressure the outside edge of the uphill ski thus carving both skis. This is also the prevalent racing style.

One of the chief complaints of us newer instructors in the PSIA center line approach is that it seems to eliminate that individual style that defines the skier. Instead, many feel that we are expected to create cookie cutter skiers using a single approach even if it does not fit the student. I know now that at the level we newbies teach, our job is to begin the student on basic skills that all skiers need to achieve before they can even begin to define their own style.

Yes Wigs, I'm a 'guy' but you would be suprised how many women work in the mills right beside us burly, virle, (also handsome), male steelworkers. In the '70s, the Companies entered a consent decree forced by the Justice Dept. that eliminated many discriminatory practices including sex discrimination. Women now have their own caucus in the Union; Women of Steel. Me, being the left wing, commie, pinko, hippie freak that I am, wholeheartily agree with this.

Tominator, Sorry I got carried away with the Sci-Fi stuff. Just having fun. If you want to change your tag line back, I'll cease and desist.
post #21 of 26
Help me please. I read in the straight skis thread that in contemporary skiing are we more equally weighting the skis. That doesn't sound like "slight pressure to carve the inside ski," as SprHICrz advises. It sounds like we have almost as much weight on the inside as on the outside.

I've got to call a halt and ask about that. Am I understanding "more equal weighting" right?
post #22 of 26
Weighting, schmeighting. We'd be much better off if we didn't know about or think about weighting, just let weighting take care of itself, as when you turn some weight shifts naturally to the outside of the turn but as you neutralize it comes back.

I also realize that we had to learn to totally weight the outside ski when they were straight and stiff in order to bend the weighted one even minimally.

But I would think it best if the new learners were never told about wheight shift or even where the weight is supposed to be, side to side, because once you mention it they will get all hung up about it.

Wigs, today the owners and instructors of our ski area gave a surprise party for my cousin-in-law Franz Bindreiter for being an instructor there for 40 consecutive years, with a big cake, pizza, lots of beer and a bottle of Shlivvy (Slivovic) and a plaque with a 40-year-old picture of him making a reverse shoulder turn which would be the envy of any Stein admirer.

I would call him, and those of us long timers, complete skiers rather than just contemporary skier since we, as you mentioned, can ski it all rather than just railroad turns.

>>> But I also like to shake it up a bit and do some Ott turns that we saw him do in that perpetual video not to long ago.<<<

You mean this one? It will be a year next month and I'm still not tired [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #23 of 26
Originally posted by SprgHlCrz:

One of the chief complaints of us newer instructors in the PSIA center line approach is that it seems to eliminate that individual style that defines the skier. Instead, many feel that we are expected to create cookie cutter skiers using a single approach even if it does not fit the student.
SprgHlCrz-could you explain this conclusion.

The value of the Centerline was (and still is because although not formalized, good instructors still use it) that it let you vary your approach based on the needs and mechanics of the individual skier. If you needed to be biased to the edge pressure side -go there, Centerline acknowledged that, if you needed to go to the rotary side Centerline said go there. It never dictated an approach.

How much exploration have you done of the "Stepping Stone" approach promulgated in the new manuals?
post #24 of 26


In your inimitable way you have said exactly what I have been trying to get across to folks.
post #25 of 26

Sorry about the confusion.

I have seen in a number of posts the reference to Stein. I think that there would be many out there that would be surprised to know that Stein’s now famous reverse shoulder legs locked style was something he did for the camera only. When he is skiing around with his friends, he skis just like the rest of us. Well, maybe a little better. Stein comes to Snowmass every year at the end of the season and visits his friends and countryman that came here with him when Snowmass was first opened. He was the director here, and there are still some of his Norwegian buddies here teaching. Ya sure you betcha! It’s a great party. They go out on the first morning and setup a race coarse. While deciding where to put the gates, they are sipping on a little Aclavite. I know that this is probably the wrong spelling for the liquor, but maybe someone can help me on this. Anyway-------They all take their turn through the gates and party on. Stein still wins on occasion. The climax the event is the gathering at one of our local watering holes where the winner of the race is crowned and little gifts are given by Stein to his good Norwegian buddies. They practice their Swahili and it’s a good time for all. I gotta say, Stein can still turn-um pretty good for a 70+ and maybe 80+ kinda guy. He won’t say. And so can some of the others that came out here with him in the early days.

And Ott, I like the idea of complete skiers rather than just contemporary skier! -----------Wigs
post #26 of 26
S&G, since this thread seems to be running down I'll reply here concerning my misunderstanding of centerline.

As stated I'm an aging fart and have seen the evolution of various techniques in skiing. Four years back, when I became a ski instructor, I still skied on old, straight skis. There were a few of us old style skiers and a lot of youngsters that had never taken formal lessons. Our Tech Director and staff really emphasized open stance carved turns edging both skis for our skiing. Wide stance was really emphasized and, I suspect, exaggerated so we would begin to adopt the newer technique. Then they began to beat the basics into our feeble brains that would enable us to begin to show the 'never ever' and 'hardly ever' the basic skills that would lead to good technique. It was this repetitive insistence on wide stance and basic turns coupled with only a brief mention of centerline that lead a few to believe what we were being shown was all there was to centerline.

As to 'stepping stones' and the new manual, I have not read it. In fact, I do not own the new manual. For reason you can find in my few other posts, this is only my second year teaching. I have a lot to learn and I am open to any and all feedback. I try to keep my enormous ego out of this profession so if anybody out there thinks I'm way off base, please tell me.

Wigs, interesting stuff, I think it's funny that a whole generation of skiers tried to copy a style that was only meant for show.

Nolo, I'm waiting for an answer too. I'll check other threads.
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