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Help me improve my skiing

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Here's a very recent clip of me skiing - it's the first time I've seen myself. Please provide me some tips - you can write what you like, but maybe since you know a lot, you could summarize the top 3 things that would help make me a better skiier as a 5 day/yearer

post #2 of 24
 Hi Joska74,


     The most obvious problem you have is, your fore/aft balance is off---you are sitting back.  This can be caused by a number of things, from fear of steepness to poor boot fit.  What is your normal street shoe size and what size boots do you ski in?


miketsc
post #3 of 24
You vid cannot be viewed. Is it just me?
post #4 of 24
Joska,
Do you see how little the ankles move and how much your knees and hips move. After doing what Mike suggests, the next step is to assess how you move on the new set up. If your knees and hips continue to move without a lot of ankle movement, then it's a habitual movement pattern that is the cause. Do you water ski? Do you have any physical reason for the lack of ankle movement? I know you are new here so I hope to explain that any reasonable advice involves more information from you.

IMO the five days a year you ski might not be when to address changing how you flex and extend your legs. Off the snow training would be. Then once you get on the snow a corrective clinic makes more sense because you'll get a lot more bang for your buck. Don't get me wrong, a lesson would help but if you have other issues the lesson would only help you compensate for those issues. Finding the root cause for your movements and correcting that is the long term course of action I am recommending. To do that you need to share a bit more about yourself and your skiing.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 7/7/2009 at 05:51 pm GMT
Edited by justanotherskipro - 7/7/2009 at 05:53 pm GMT
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
The boots I've got are 15 years old, so I think they're the right size, although they're not A1 for comfort. They're certainly not of the customized variety you get now. My street shoe size is 10 1/2, I'm not sure of the boots, they have markings of 355/28,5 and L=322mm (bindings). I must say in general I don't like to blame the equipment

What I notice, aside from the lack of ankle movement, is how exaggerated the knee movement is, to the point where I'm quite knock-kneed on some of those turns. I don't water ski, and my ankles have sustained soccer injuries, none serious and certainly none more than many good skiiers, so my guess is it's habitual. Does the ankle movement involves a balancing / feeling I haven't got yet? When I'm traversing, and I attempt to roll both my ankles down the slope to initiate the turn, I tend to overbalance and fall down the slope, or alternatively trip over the front.

Regarding fore/aft, one of my very early instructors when I started 17 years ago talked about jumping through the trapdoor to initiate a turn. So I think I got into this exaggerated habit of lurching forward into the turns (I'm not doing it here), but I find it helps on steeps/moguls. Then at a clinic in 2000 I was told to constantly feel the calf in the back of my boot, something I don't do naturally, but was working on in this video, perhaps to the point of levering/balancing off of the back of the boot. I do notice that it helps finish off the turns, but it's not habitual, and I think I'd be able to correct that if that meant I wasn't in the back seat so much
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Then at a clinic in 2000 I was told to constantly feel the calf in the back of my boot, something I don't do naturally
 

I think maybe you mis-understood this part.
JF
post #7 of 24
Freeze the clip at 8 seconds. This is a good position. Move it to 9 seconds and see that you're sitting back. Your back seat skiing is a result not a cause. Tip your skis more and turn your feet less. Then you'll be much better able to stay with your skis.
post #8 of 24
Generally, 10.5 in a 28.5 means the boot is too big.  I'd go smaller, but a decent bootfitter could tell you for sure.  Some of your technique is likely due to the too large boots.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Tip your skis more and turn your feet less
What do you mean by this? Use my big toes to work the front of the ski or tip skis on edges by moving ankles laterally?
post #10 of 24
Tipping skis = ski cross section viewed from the back _ _ becomes /  / or _ _ becomes \ \  .
Turning skis = skis viewed from above | | becomes / / or \ \ .

You can turn the skis without tipping them or you can tip them and let them turn themselves, but you already know that.

I would recommend you try to ride the edges for a while without sliding them, make railroad tracks, control your speed with line instead of braking, or forget about controlling your speed (on a nearly empty slope of course; you don't want to be involved in a high-speed collision with another skier) .
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
 I understand - I tried some rail road tracks last time, but found the balance difficult and gave up, maybe I was striving for too much edge angle to start with. What is the easiest point of the turn/traverse to be edging (e.g. initiation, completion), and what it the hardest? Should I start from easiest and work from there?
post #12 of 24
Joska,

You are getting extremely bad advice here.  You are definatley not sitting back.  From the video you appear to be skiing in Australia?

Beleive it or not, there is extremely good ski pros down under.  The true ski pros that ski year round have very limited options for skiing in the northern hemisphere summers, hence they tend to congregate in Australia....the only other options are NZ or Chile or Argentina, but Aus is usually the first choice due to exchange rates (hey you want to take some earnings home) and due to language issues (must speak spanish for Chile/Arg) and less work there....


So my advice is take a lesson in Aus, you wont regret it.  Understand the "Virtual bump" and you will understand why the "sitting back" ideas presented here are so wrong. Do a search, lots of threads on it.

Having said that, to improve you need to develop more edging skills.  To start you need to get your mass up and forward and turn intiation. Focus on brining the hips up and forward during the transitions, then work (ie drive the kneeds forcefully and deliberatley into each turn).  I know the "up and forward" comments may sound contradictory to what I wrote above....but phases of the turn is key...I am focusing on turn intiation....the 9 second comment was at turn completion...total opposite...and dead wrong.

Ways to improve...definatley need to develop more edging skills....it is easiest to develop edge at the end of the turn...BUT a turn that starts well is a turn that ends well...start by moving up and forward with the hips at the transition/turn start...then gradually...I will say it again...G R A D U A L L Y work the knees into the hill while keeping your shoulders level, you will start to develop edge by mid turn, and by the bottom third you should be carving.  (of course in reality, there is more happening then just working the knees into the hill, but this mental focus tends to work well).  

Give it a go, take another vid, and repost.

Good luck.
 
post #13 of 24
Bad Advice? Here on Epic? I'm shocked.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joska74 View Post

The boots I've got are 15 years old, so I think they're the right size, although they're not A1 for comfort. They're certainly not of the customized variety you get now. My street shoe size is 10 1/2, I'm not sure of the boots, they have markings of 355/28,5 and L=322mm (bindings). I must say in general I don't like to blame the equipment

What I notice, aside from the lack of ankle movement, is how exaggerated the knee movement is, to the point where I'm quite knock-kneed on some of those turns. I don't water ski, and my ankles have sustained soccer injuries, none serious and certainly none more than many good skiiers, so my guess is it's habitual. Does the ankle movement involves a balancing / feeling I haven't got yet? When I'm traversing, and I attempt to roll both my ankles down the slope to initiate the turn, I tend to overbalance and fall down the slope, or alternatively trip over the front.

Regarding fore/aft, one of my very early instructors when I started 17 years ago talked about jumping through the trapdoor to initiate a turn. So I think I got into this exaggerated habit of lurching forward into the turns (I'm not doing it here), but I find it helps on steeps/moguls. Then at a clinic in 2000 I was told to constantly feel the calf in the back of my boot, something I don't do naturally, but was working on in this video, perhaps to the point of levering/balancing off of the back of the boot. I do notice that it helps finish off the turns, but it's not habitual, and I think I'd be able to correct that if that meant I wasn't in the back seat so much






 

The heel thrust and tail push to an edge is what I see here. Why, An Aft stance and the hips dropping backwards as the legs flex. Instead of feeling the back of the boot all the time, maybe it's time to find a cuff neutral stance. Don't pressure the front, or back of the boot cuff. Once you are able to balance in the middle of the boot, you will be balanced over the center of the ski. I suspect the advice you got back in 2000 was targeted at getting you to stop levering forward against the front of the boot tongue. From a cuff neutral stance you can move forward and backwards at will to create specific outcomes but levering against the boot cuff in one direction all the time restricts your movement and tactical options.

As I mentioned earlier the fact that you only get five days of skiing in every year severely limits how much time you could devote to making changes. Try jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and running stairs. All of these exercises involve flexing and extending the ankles and knees more than the hips. When you return to the snow you will have a better awareness of where a "neutral stance" is and how being balanced on the skis allows you to create any turn you wish.

SD's ideas of getting the hips up and forward speaks directly to how much you flex at the hips and knees.He's suggesting that you also extend them more. Although I would wait on adding the drive the knees forward part until you can make a turn in a neutral stance. It will give you a baseline reference point. From there you can experiment with driving the knees forward, or dropping the hips back, or any other movement you might choose to try. I suspect you will discover that to get the skis to do what you want them to do, you don't need to go to the extremes of being so far aft, or forward. A whole range of useful movements exist between those extremes. As far as where to start, IMO until you have a more centered stance you will find tipping and balancing to be a challenge.
Ski well and above all else have fun...
post #15 of 24
Hi again,

Are you in rear entry Salomon boots?

In a modern boot most folks with size 10 feet fit into a size 26 or 27 mondo boot(boot sole 305 to 315mm ).  If your boot is too big, your feet will migrate front to back in diferent segments of each turn---this will mess up your fore/aft balance and edging control.  Check out some of the posts by Bob Barnes on fore/aft position.  Read the Wiki on how to size boots. 
post #16 of 24

Jaska,

I also see you back a bit, more specifically at the end of your turns.  One of the visual cues is the way the snow sprays out from the backs of your skis as you are coming down the run.  You do come forward as you initiate a new turn, which is a good thing (SD, is that what you saw?).  That is something to build on to get you in a better forward stance throughout the turn.

 

You've got some general movement as you ski (this is also very good), but really no movement in your ankles.  As you come through the turn, your knees flex a lot, with the result that your hips drop low and back.  With this in mind, I'm interested in your boot setup as well.  Even if they might be generally a good fit for your feet, are they too stiff for you to flex forward with your ankles?  This isn't blaming equipment, but there might be adjustments you can make with what you've got to get better results.  Is there a bolt in the back of the boot that locks the hinge?  Try taking that out to get more ankle movement.  How are your upper buckles set up?  Try having the top buckle & power strap nice and snug, and the second buckle a bit looser to promote more ankle movement.

After you've nailed the fore/aft balance,  we can talk about the hint of rotation...

Final note for the person who took the video:  pretty good job, only lost you for a few turns behind the rise.  The video clip shows a good number of turns, from the front, in profile, and from the back, which makes it a lot easier to give meaningful feedback.


 

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joska74 View Post


What do you mean by this? Use my big toes to work the front of the ski or tip skis on edges by moving ankles laterally?
 

The latter, but try to tip from the soles of your feet to your knees vs just the ankles.
Quote:
I tried some rail road tracks last time, but found the balance difficult and gave up,
Bingo! If you edge just enough to let the skis engage, then you will get turning force to keep you in balance and then let you edge a little more. The faster you are going when you start, the farther you take this process onto higher edge angles until the turn starts slowing you down.

Quote:
What is the easiest point of the turn/traverse to be edging (e.g. initiation, completion), and what it the hardest? Should I start from easiest and work from there?
You should be edging all the time except for the fraction of a second when changing from one edge to the other (that is unless you want to flat slide on purpose - like going straight downhill or flat spinning 360s). Edging is easiest when the direction of travel is aligned with the line of the edge and hardest when the direction of travel is perpendicular to and on the downhill side of the edge (which is usually followed by a loud whomp).

Learn how to do railroad tracks on a very flat slope with very low edge angles and low speeds and progressively work up from there and the biggest problem you will have is finding more days per year to go skiing.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
  From the video you appear to be skiing in Australia?
Yes, it's Thredbo, Australia - where else can you ski amongst the gums? 

Quote:
 

Are you in rear entry Salomon boots?
No, my boots aren't rear entry, though they're Salamon (evolution performance 8.0)


I'll work on moving the hips up and forward at transition. I'm confident I can sort out the fore/aft relatively easily, but the edging will be more challenging, but you've certainly given my things to work on. 

I understand they're conflicting ideas out there, but what I'm after is a middle of the road approach, which I think I've gotten here. I must say that if I saw someone skiing like me, I'd think they were a bit cautious and perhaps weren't very dynamic, so I'll work at getting forward at the right times. Lapping up all the advice here - a bit like Marely. Can't wait to get out there again. 
post #19 of 24

joska74,

 

Not bad skiing for 5x a year.  To echo some of the other posts, three items that I feel may improve your skiing.

A longer (taller) and more neutral position over the skis.

Flex first from the ankle rather than the knee and hip.

Start to release your edges toward the end of the turn sooner rather than pushing your outside ski away from you (abstem).

RW

post #20 of 24
Welcome to Epic Joska74. You're pretty brave to have your first post on Epic being a critique of your skiing!  This bunch can be brutally honest!!  :D.  But if you're truly looking for improvement, that's exactly what you want!

I see that you mentioned that your boots are 15 years old.  How old are your skis?  This could make a difference as to what advice to give you with improving your skiing!   As Ron said, you need to stand up a little straighter and flex your ankles more.  You want your thighs to be a little more vertical.   Try pulling your toes up inside of your boots.  This will help get your ankles flexed forward as well as give you a little more pressure from your shins on the tongue of the boot.  (SHIN TONGUE).  Right now, your upper quads in your legs are supporting all of the weight.  Let your shins help out!   I would also like to see you roll to your edges a little more than you are.  I see a bit of washout at the end of your turns.  There's a lot of snow spraying in the first part of the video, but that looks steeper than the rest.  My overall impression though is nice skiing for a guy who only skis 5 times a year.  Your upper body particularly seems to be doing pretty much all of the right stuff.

Regards!

~Anne~

Edited by Snowmiser - 7/10/2009 at 02:17 am GMT
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joska74 View Post

 I understand - I tried some rail road tracks last time, but found the balance difficult and gave up, maybe I was striving for too much edge angle to start with. What is the easiest point of the turn/traverse to be edging (e.g. initiation, completion), and what it the hardest? Should I start from easiest and work from there?

If you are serious about getting better, get to a boot fitter for an evaluation.  From what you are describing and what I'm seeing (knock kneed skiing) it seems like you may be undercanted.  Skiing is a balance sport and until you can balance perfectly in your boots, you will never be successful.  Railroad track turns should not present a balance problem, so the fact that you cannot do them is a large red flag that points to your boots.  Try standing with your skis perpendicular to the hill.  Tip your skis on edge by moving your knees into the hill as far as you can go.  Do your edge angles (or leg angles) match perfectly?  Are both knees moved in as far as they can go?  If you answer no to either of those questions, you should see a boot fitter.  Make sure you try this facing both directions on the slope. 

Also, when standing on your skis on a level surface, flex down as far as you can by dropping your butt.  You should be able to flex to the point that your butt is parallel to the snow.  If you can go beyond parallel (or you can't get to parallel) you have forward lean issues (either too much or not enough) that can be addressed by a boot fitter.  These issues will also limit your ability to balance perfectly. 

If money is an issue (and boot fitters aren't cheap), get a copy of Warren Witherell's "The Athletic Skier".  He has an exhaustive section on boot canting and he explains how to adjust your canting yourself with strips of tape on the binding so you can find what works best for you before modifying the boot.  The book is fairly old, but everything in it is still rellevant today (except for the pictures of straight skis :) ).

The railroad track progression starts from a gentle down hill traverse.  Start by tipping your inside (uphill) ski progressively on edge--your outside (dowhill ski) should follow and your edge angles should be the same as you turn back up the hill.  As your edge angles increase, you will turn back up the hill.  Ride the turn to a stop and repeat.  It is very important that you balance on your outside ski when doing these turns, so make sure that you lighten (or even lift) your inside ski as you are tipping it to ensure you transfer your balance to the outside ski.

After each turn, examine your tracks.  They should be the same width apart.  If they are diverging, focus on keeping tension in your legs to keep your stance from widening as the turn develops.  Repeat this drill several times in both directions.  Once you are comfortable from a traverse, you can "fan" out and start with your skis more directly pointed down the fall line until you are comfortable making a full turn.  Then try linking turns.  Do this drill on very gentle terrain to start.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post


If money is an issue (and boot fitters aren't cheap), get a copy of Warren Witherell's "The Athletic Skier".  He has an exhaustive section on boot canting and he explains how to adjust your canting yourself with strips of tape on the binding so you can find what works best for you before modifying the boot.  The book is fairly old, but everything in it is still rellevant today (except for the pictures of straight skis :) ).
 

Caution.  Witherell changed his views on under-binding canting strips after his books were published.  There is much wisdom in his books, but seek a newer source of info on canting if you must go the DIY route.  Boot fitters aren't cheap -- their services typically cost about 1 to a few days lift ticket equivalent.  The euphoria from skiing in balance in well-aligned gear is worth giving up a few days if you have to make that economic trade-off.  (The experience from skiing in poorly but expensively aligned gear is a tour through hell, so pick your boot fitter very carefully.  If you have no other source of info, ask local racers for advice on boot fitters.  One sign of a superb boot fitter is that they will take you out on snow to finish up the alignment process and tweak the alignment while you're skiing before locking in the changes with canting plates or boot planing.)
post #23 of 24

short and sweet:
      ski with the front half of the skis, not the back half....

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joska74 View Post

Here's a very recent clip of me skiing - it's the first time I've seen myself. Please provide me some tips - you can write what you like, but maybe since you know a lot, you could summarize the top 3 things that would help make me a better skiier as a 5 day/yearer

Hi Joska74,

You have alot of good  things going on in your skiing.  I like the fluidity with which you are linking your turns and the weight shift movements. As pointed out by others  there are some fore/aft issues which you can experiment with  without spending  any money.
Get yourself some bontex insole shims from a shop and cut them up to make small shims to fit between your boots and bindings and experiment with changing your delta angle.  Also have your dorsiflexion checked and have your ramp angle and forward lean checked to match your ankle flexion needs. (see a pro for this)  You can read more info on this a www.snowind.com under boot fitting.

1)Also those Evolutions are holding  you back, upgrade! That boot offers very little support from the rear spoiler allowing you to get back and stuck.  A higher performance soft race boot would benefit you greatly.

2)Have your alignment assessed by a reputable pro alignment specialist.  

Once  you eliminate the fore/aft alignment and boot performance issues you want to work on changing your flexion extension movements from the vertical plane (where you are lowering your hips over your heels) to a more lateral movement by keeping your legs longer and flexing at the hips more.  In other words as the hips move to the inside of the turn the torso counterbalances out over the feet creating more of a folding movement laterally.  

This advice is very simplistic but focuses on what I would do with you.  You have great potential to become a great skier!  Good luck and hope to see you at an ESA camp one day!
 
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