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Hip Orientation

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have been skiing for a while, fairly decent.  Can get down most anything on the mountain, but may not be pretty on the more extreme stuff.  I have never had lessons, just was taught by my dad.  Everything I have always been taught was to keep your hips and upper body facing down the fall line.

 

My wife and I went to Whistler this past winter and she took a half day lesson.  She is probably a level 3, leaning to ski parallel and link turns.  The instructor told her to keep her hips and upper body facing the same direction as the skis.

 

Have I been doing it wrong all this time?  Or is this a teaching technique?

post #2 of 16

Hey Jimithing,

 

The upper body should face the direction of momentum (eg: legs turn and the upper body follows). In short turns there is a large steering angle so the hips and shoulders always appear to be facing down the hill. In big turns... less so.

 

My guess is the instructors assessment was that your wife was actively countering to create the turn (too much counter will limit mobility). Telling her to face the direction of the skis was his/her methodology to correct the issue. An exaggeration perhaps.

 

The opposite occurs in the majority of students so you wouldn't hear this from instructors very often.

post #3 of 16

I agree with skinerd. However, skiing so called "squared" to the skis facing the direction of where skis are pointing is what is being taught in many places. Facing the outside of the turn, upper body counter, has been considered and still is being considered "old school" by many. You said you were thaught by your father and he maybe learned to ski prior to shaped skis and new school square stance so that might explain why he thaught you upper body counter.


Edited by tdk6 - 5/18/2009 at 09:12 pm GMT
post #4 of 16

Jimithing,

Without knowing the context of the advice it is hard to speculate about what another instructor was trying to accomplish by telling her to ski with a less countered stance.I would be quick to point out that there are no universal absolutes in skiing and far too many technical tidbits get thrown out there and taken out of their original context. With that in mind we need to be careful about commenting on advice.Maybe if we had more information about what give your wife trouble we could help her better.

 

So what follows here is pure speculation on my part...

...Every ski maneuver has an appropriate blend of skills and an appropriate level of dynamic movements. At the level three stage these maneuvers are typically done at slow speeds and without a lot of dynamic movement. They also don't include a lot of upper / lower body seperation. Some counter occurs as a fuction of the skis turning under the relatively stable body but if we are creating excessive amounts of counter the quality and precision of the maneuver suffers. Especially if we are doing so to adhere to an arbitrary rule about facing downhill all the time. Allowing it to happen verses forcing it to happen.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/18/2009 at 07:57 pm GMT
post #5 of 16

As JASP notes, there are no absolutes.  That applies regardless of the level of skiing skill involved.

 

Be aware that the instructor may not have told your wife to do one thing in all circumstances.  That may have been her interpretation of what was said.

 

I'd say you generally want your torso headed toward where you intend to go next.

post #6 of 16

I agree with the posts so far that there are no absolutes in skiing. There may even be the odd occasion where rotation of the upper body could be a useful tool. I also agree with tdk6 that there are various discrepancies in technique from region to region and instructor to instructor. Also, because modern skis have more self steering properties then straight skis, and therefore require less turning with the legs, the trend is towards a slightly more "square" position... Having said all that, turning with the lower body (which results in "counter rotation" or facing to the outside of the turn) still rules for the vast majority of turn situations. Without some separation balancing on the edges is difficult indeed.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the feedback.  I figured it had to be something along the lines of something I had just never picked up on with no formal instruction.

 

Never thought I would referred to as "old school".  I feel old now.  My dad is defenitely old school.  He still argues with techs at the rental shop about ski lengths.  He insists on skiing 210's.

post #8 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimithing View Post

Thanks for all of the feedback.  I figured it had to be something along the lines of something I had just never picked up on with no formal instruction.

 

Never thought I would referred to as "old school".  I feel old now.  My dad is defenitely old school.  He still argues with techs at the rental shop about ski lengths.  He insists on skiing 210's.

Ha, I told you he was old school . Good news for your dad is that now longer skis are getting popular again. Just look at those twin tip wide long boards reaching for the gondols ceiling on your way up early morning or at the even longer but skinny narrow SG and DH skiis that are getting popular as well at certain racing oriented mountains. Also, dont worrie about what is considered old or new school. Thats a never ending story. Counter is used to different degree depending on intention. I find that when I ski on steep slopes and need to controll my speed by cutting across the slope and diverging from the fall line quite a lot I square up to my skis at the end of the turn more than if I stay closer to the fall line. In bumps if I ski zipper line my body is facing completly down hill but sometimes I can even turn my back downhill and face uphill with my upper body in order to start a turn with a lot of counter, upside down position. Typical if speed is very high.

 

 

post #9 of 16

Jimithing,

To return to your original question for a moment, we're talking about level three maneuvers not bumps or steeps. So even though TDK makes a good point about how he varies his technique to match his intent, that doesn't speak directly to the objective of performing level three skiing.

 

As mentioned earlier our movements need to be appropriate to the task. A slow, medium radius turn that would happen at that level would require our movements to show these same qualities and dynamics. From past conversations I know TDK subscribes to an active weight shift to the outside ski which might require moving the torso that direction. As he knows I do not subscribe to the idea of actively shifting our weight to the outside ski. Centrifugal force will make that happen without us adding anything to the mix. In either case the range of movement involved is small and not very dynamic. The amount of counter would also tend to be small since the path of the body and the path of the skis would not be very different. Said another way, even though the chest is facing the the direction the body will be moving to, that direction is very close to the direction the skis will be moving to. From an observers point of view, the two might even appear to be the same place and the body would appear to be square, or at the very least squarer to the skis.

So you dad was right about your chest and pelvis facing towards where they are heading but in this particular situation that would be the same direction the skis are moving towards. Hope this helps you understand your dad's and the instructor's advice a little better...


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/19/2009 at 11:24 pm GMT
post #10 of 16

justanotherskipro, my comments were not targetted at the OPs whife at level 3 skiing, simply at why dad in question had been teaching his son to use upper body counter. I do not know the level of the OP or the dad or the way the ski school teaches or what kind of teacher was teaching so I was just trying to outline different approaches that apply to skiing in genera.

 

I toatlly agree with you that when an adult student comes for her first lesson there might be need for squaring up the body and start working on unlearning movements that she thinks she needs that she doesent. I usually try to take away all movements and then add them as they are needed. No need for counter if student has insufficient and poor for aft balance.

post #11 of 16

The last part of what you wrote is what I was writing about TDK. Unlearning movements is a phrase that a lot of students take to mean adopting a static stance. Much like the advice to alway face down the hill often produces too much counter, especially if it originates in the upper body. Which as far as I'm concerned is the root of many tactical errors we see out on the hill.

 

The level of skiing I chose to comment about was done purposely to do two things.

  • Provide a bit of clarity about how Jimithing's dad and the instructor just might be on the same page
  • Define the scope of the discussion so we can have a more meaningful discussion of that situation

 

As always I find a lot of good advice in what you write. In this case though I see a need to choose a specific situation and limit the discussion to that situation.  Why? Well IMO Jimithing is looking for relevence and commonality in these two seemingly opposite opinions in that specific situation. My explanation was an attempt to show that commonality in both tidbits of advice. Niether opinion he shared excludes the other and again IMO these opinions are very much about defining intented outcome and then performing movements that will produce the intended outcome. When any movement is done to excess, it quickly becomes a negative movement in that it often inhibits our ability to create that outcome. So it may not be that she needs to eliminate the movement as much as refine it. Beyond that, how the concept applies to higher levels of skiing needs to happen after Jimithing and his wife understand the purpose of this ski movement.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/20/2009 at 04:35 pm GMT
post #12 of 16
Uhm well the position of the hips are a result of the correct alpine stance. The hip position should not be mentioned a lot at all, so tell your instructor to go back to PSIA and study some more.
post #13 of 16
A lot of instruction has to do with the students intent and wishes.  What makes sense to me is that jimithing's wife's intent was to gain much more control over speed and therefore increase her confidence.  If that was the intent she conveyed to the instructor then the instructor's guidance makes good sense.   Less counter and anticipation would encourage finishing turns further across the fall line and shaping the top part of the turns rounder. Both of these techniques go straight to speed control and being able to relax a lot more at level 3.
post #14 of 16
Jimithing, given that your wife is a level 3 skier, I will venture that she was using too much "rotary" (upper body movements, shoulders turning into the hill  ect.) to help turn her skis and that she was not using "counter" or "counter rotation" in her skiing. Very common in skiers at this level. In this context, quieting down unwanted upper body movements, learning to stand over her skis and follow them through the turn finish may have been good advice. This would be a step in the right direction to unlearning negative movements and a good place from which to build in effective counter and or skiing into counter from in the future. I'm guessing that there was probably more said about why he asked her to do this and what she could replace the unwanted movements with as well. However I'm just speculating here. At any rate, I wouldn't be too alarmed nor would I try to apply what your wife remembers this instructor said to her to your own skiing. Though it wouldn't hurt to explore a little skiing more square to your skis just to see and feel the outcome.
Edited by RicB - 11/1/09 at 6:57am
post #15 of 16
A good 'squared stance' is a good starting point for any skier to learn just about anything. If you stand square to your skis, you can get down an easy hill with simply tipping. Then as you progress you add elements such as a slight counter, a little angulation. All of these things are variable depending on terrain and speed.

Telling someone to stand square to their skis is often a nice way to say 'you are out of balance and twisted, let's get back to basics.'
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

A good 'squared stance' is a good starting point for any skier to learn just about anything. If you stand square to your skis, you can get down an easy hill with simply tipping. Then as you progress you add elements such as a slight counter, a little angulation. All of these things are variable depending on terrain and speed.

Telling someone to stand square to their skis is often a nice way to say 'you are out of balance and twisted, let's get back to basics.'


Yep. 

It also has some benefits that I hope we will eventually explore in the 4 quesitons thread. 
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