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erect body position

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just finished a fun week up at the tremblant ski school. I was in a level 8-9 class. The instructor felt my body position was too erect and asked me to exaggerate the position by "sucking snow", meaning bending at the waist.

I felt like I was at a 90 degree angle but he said my mind was playing tricks and I was actually in a much better position. Problem was that I couldn't really ski in that position. Or at least I couldn't ski the way I used to, which he said was pretty good but for my body position. So my skiing progressively worsened as the week wore on.

I'm sure he's correct and I've gotten the same criticism from others. On the other hand, I ended up with this body position 10 years ago by taking the advice in Lito's book to heart: "Stand tall!"

post #2 of 16
Frugal, I'm glad you brought this up. I get many of the same mixed messages from different instructors. But as a Pilates instructor, I am much happier when I'm standing tall. I do my best when a teacher tells me to ski in the same posture I would use if I were teaching any fitness class. But if somebody tries to pull me too far foward, I feel as if I'm slouching. This could be an illusion, but it still messes up my technique.
The best advice I got was from a teacher at Sugarloaf who told me that for normal, recreational skiing standing tall is the most functional posture.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 16
Excellent reply Bob, yes slouching forward. One of the more
difficult things to evolve is to consistently in a dynamic
way keep ones upper body forward enough that one
can leverage off that mass with the lower body. As terrain
gets steeper, one needs to keep perpendicular to the slope,
instead of gravity vertical, in order to be able to apply lower
body forces into the slope at the most effective (perpendicular)
angle against the leading mass of the quiet upper body.

By purposely leaning the body more forward than is proper one
can get to know what that feels like and automatically through
ones own balance feedback and natural muscel awareness start to
figure out how to put that to use. As one becomes compentant
in a more forward position, one can start playing with
transitioning to that more upright position Bob relates as
more relaxing and which a more advanced skier can maintain at.
Though at an instants awareness of unbalance, they can immediately
get more forward again without losing to the backseat. -dave
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[This message has been edited by SSSdave (edited March 08, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 16

Just a few thoughts to add to the very good responses you have already recieved.

1. Anything we do that is truly different then what we had been doing will feel weird at first, so I would encourage you to continue to play with the range of flex.

2. Stance is a very personal thing with a wide range of effective and effecient moving positions based on our own body type. As was mentioned motion is the key! As we ski we need to continue to flex and extending our legs through our ankles and knees while allowing our spine and hips to move with them to accomidate terrain.

3. I would be curious as to what else was described, and what YOU feel in your skiing. As stance has a dramatic effect on the blending skills like rotary, edge, and pressure mangement.

post #5 of 16
I attended an alignment session hosted by Warren Witherell this past fall.

I think what he said was something like this:" Perfect alignment for the individual, allows that person to be in a neutral relaxed stance with all the weight of the body being born by the skeleton therefore the muscles are relaxed, and you are standing on a perfectly flat ski."

I think that's home base, the point from which we like to be in perfect balance or the point we are always striving to acheive while skiing.Its a very momentary state while making turns, but before a run its where you are suppose to be.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
>>What else did they tell you at Mt. Tremblant?

>> I would be curious as to what else was described, and what YOU feel in your skiing.

Our instructor had us all ski down to him. Halfway down, he told the class I looked pretty good. Then he noticed that at the end of my turn, as I unweight, I move too far back. I really couldn't sense this (at this point I'm about to execute the crossover move described in Lito's book). So we started with the exaggerated body position, then went to bowing forward and across the skis through the turn.

I'm used to raising my heel slightly and then the "phantom edge" thingie when unweighting. The problem I had with "sucking snow" was that I could barely unweight my ski (at home, try to bend 90 degrees at the waist and lift your leg).

Anyhow, after 3.5 days of playing with it in ski school, in the afternoon of the last day, I came to "feel" that I was indeed moving back, then forward and accross instead of simply forward and accross. I also started to adopt a stance that was more upright than "sucking snow" but closer to my receiving serve tennis stance. But I didn't have enough time to put it all back together. hopefully, this weekend...

What are the issues with Lito's stuff? I was a plateaued intermediate until I picked up Lito's book at a used bookstore for $1. I guess I've been using it as my bible but I do notice that instructors usually don't teach some of things in the book.

best regards,
post #7 of 16

If you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh, how tall are you and what is your equipment (especially boots). The reason I ask is because I find it interesting that your instructor put so much emphasis on bending at the waist, but mentioned nothing about additional flex in the knees/ankles or even adjustments to boot cuffs.
post #8 of 16

One thing to check. If you don't feel like you are actually moving back at the point of initiation, just that you are back, and need to catch up, that can be caused by excessive lead of the uphill (old inside) foot. The problem is that if that foot is leading too much, when you move your weight to it, you are instantly standing too far back on the ski that is now the outside (or turning) foot. If this is the case, try making harder contact with your shin on the front of the boot as you move through the turn (on you inside foot).
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
If you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh, how tall are you and what is your equipment (especially boots).
I weigh 180 pounds, I'm 6 ft tall, I have a pair of 7 year old lang boots.

If you don't feel like you are actually moving back at the point of initiation...
thanks...I'm forward through the turn, but I'm actively moving back at the end when I unweight. An interesting shift in instruction was that he didn't want us to ski off the shins.

best regards,
post #10 of 16
I have read and studied Lito's book (I have a first edition of his book) and video at length. He teaches a great deal of things that have helped me along the way but I have found now that they just become more skills for my blend of movements and are not the end all as I once thought. His teachings in my opinion are a great stepping stone from the "rut" but when you begin to master his teachings there will be so much more to build on top of what you know as you are finding out.
One big change for me this year was learning to use a greater "range of extension" to adapt to a greater amount of terrain. This meant standing taller sometimes, "avalement" or "swallow" bumps sometimes as far as the knees up to the chest or farther if you have the flexiblity.
Move to balance and use your whole range of extension/compression.
post #11 of 16
FS, If you have Lito's tape and especially the later ones, check the stance of the other skiers such as Harald Harb and Jerry Berg. They are much better models.

Bob B, It seems like the longer I ski and as I age balance becomes the most important part of skiing for me. How can you tackle more difficult terrain and movements if you are not in balance? I really like your comparisons of stance to other sports. When you watch these people --shortstops, tennis players, etc. they are constantly moving (even if it is subtle) and adjusting their balance. I think the key to good skiing is being in balance through alignment, stance, and the ability to continue that balance while moving.
post #12 of 16
Frugal_skier you said,
...I'm forward through the turn, but I'm actively moving back at the end when I unweight. An interesting shift in instruction was that he didn't want us to ski off the shins.

From what you describe (and considering your weight and equipment) it seems that you simply developed a bad habit of actively moving back at the end of the turn. Many skiers have this reaction especially if they attempt to slow down or check their speed as they start facing the fall line and initiating the new turn. Understandably, your instructor is trying to break this movement by asking you to actively bend at the waist. Personally, I am against too much bending at the waist, but it is really hard to second guess a professional, even more so when he has seen you ski and we have not.

However, if bending at the waist is awkward, try to actively pull the outside leg (soon to be the new inside leg) under you by using your hamstrings and bending the knees. This will prevent your CM from falling behind. However, don't let the inside leg (soon to be the new outside leg) too far forward from the outside leg. In fact, you want to make sure that there is minimal stagger between your legs - especially if you have shaped skis. Am I making this too confusing?

As for not skiing off the shins, this only reflects the new technology: with shaped skis you need much less pressure on the boot tongues to initiate turns and keep proper snow contact through a carve. Still, some pressure on the boot tongues is desireable at all times.

Good luck!
post #13 of 16
I love all the advise that Bob Barnes is giving. It's all right on target. I just wanted to add a small bit of information. To really learn how to be centered on your skies take up roller blading during the off season.
To really roller blade you have to remain centered all the time. If your to upright you wind up on your kister. If your to hunched over your doing a face plant. Blading is a great tool. It'll make you a better skier.
post #14 of 16

Thanks for the comments on what you felt and do. Not seeing is an interesting thing for me but this is my take on the situation. You talked of unweighting the heel of your old outside ski to start the turn. This can be a very good exercise to do but can very much depend on when and how you lift it as to the result. I try not to think it terms of weighting or unweighting at all and just allow my weight to be pulled to the outside by itself. Often as we try to move our weight from ski to ski we move to verticle or we move to the new outside ski instead of moving from it. In skiing we should always be trying to move away from our equipment not to it. I want you to stand up in your skiing stance and try to make your big toe higher than your little toe now stand against a desk or table and do the same thing as you try to move the object with your thigh allowing the hip to move. Notice how the other leg rolls to the big toe. On snow find some very flat terrain and get into a wedge and do the same thing. Just concentrate on flattening the old outside ski you should move sideways across the hill, then go the other way then add some steering of the inside tip. In doing this pressure will build against the outside ski versus you moving weight to it. Now take it into skiing you should feel that you are moving away from your skis and that your body will be ahead of them not drifting back. I would continue to stay in the tennis stance and not 90 degree bent. Someone mentioned pulling the old inside leg back the start of the turn this could aid you as well so give it a shot. Best of luck and keep playing with a range of motion. Hope this is some help.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for spending the time thinking/writing about this.

we MUST reach forward with the arms and upper body more than we would without ski equipment, to compensate for the knee bend and maintain balance.
I'm with you...I think that was the point of the bowing accross my skis as I move through the turn. I notice that my hands are moving forward and, towards the end of the turn, are now moving a little towards each other.

When this error happens, the next move is typically an abrupt "UP" movement to unweight the skis and move them sideways to initiate the next turn.
yes, I'd say you've nailed it. There is an abrupt up movement. At that point, I move forward, executing the crossover...but I'm definitely too far back at the starting point. I'll try the 1000 steps as that's something I've done before and it helped with learning the crossover.

Shake out that piggy bank and see if you can find enough coins to buy your frugal self a ski lesson!
Although I'm frugal, I typically take a group lesson after every five days of skiing. Perhaps it's time for a private. I feel like I'm at the edge of a breakthrough since I can now feel the problem. Let me try the tips you and the instuctor gave me and play a bit. After another 4 days of skiing, I'll try to find someone at windham or hunter that teaches carving/racing.

Also, next week, I'm skiing with a friend who is a true level 9 skier. He's going to take a look and has also offered to videotape me so I can get a look at the problem.

thanks again!

post #16 of 16
Frugal- If you do spring for a private at Windham see if Mermer Blakeslee is available and at Hunter give Ron Hawkes a try. If they are not available see who they may recomend.
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