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Best exercises

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Almost everyone has an exercise they swear by. For some it's thousand steps, for others it's shuffle turns, etc. etc. What's your favorite exercise and why?

My favorite is skiing on one ski because if you have any confusion about how to pronate or supinate the foot or you would like to hone in on any "noise" in your skiing, this exercise will clarify it. Of course, this is for levels 8-9 skiers, and unless I'm scheduled to clinic instructors, I mostly use this as a personal exercise.

This exercise saved my bacon last spring when I kicked off a ski on the way down Run of the Century and it straight-lined most of the run.

When I coached juniors, skiing on one ski was their favorite task. I used it as a reward for a good day's work.
post #2 of 22

This one has the potential for some very interesting responses.

I’d have to say one of my favorite exercises/goals (and I use that term intentionally) is simply flattening/edging both skis simultaneously. For humans as bipedal animals, this is not necessarily an easy or comfortable movement. With beginners I use it to introduce side slipping (and this is something I try to do in every beginners class-for a variety of reasons). As students progress it becomes a mechanism to get the focus down on the skis as we release the edges and guide them into the turn with our feet and legs. With many advanced skiers who still use a pronounced weight transfer it becomes a tool to calm the transfer (the old big toe, little toe, big toe pattern) and start developing a positive movement pattern. It’s great for bumps, powder and many other situations.

Perhaps it is not a single exercise but it is a favorite focus.
post #3 of 22
Nolo hi: As a matter of fact I do use the 1000 steps turn, to develop many of our common movement patterns including dynamic balance, foot to foot, edge control & pressure control along with keeping the hands and CM moving ahead of the feet. If my coaches can't show clean, crisp, and fluid movements, I'm able to spot the weaknesses using this exercise. It also gets them out of the "Park & Ride", mode. Here in New Hampshire our narrow trails don't allow for any major errors while doing this exercise.

The other exercise I use for upper level skiers is the "Pain in the S Turn". It helps point out weaknesses in short radius turn mechanics, while traveling along the path of a giant slalom track.

Finally, I also use the Wedge Turn with all skiers, but especially upper level coaches. I frequently see upper level skiers not being able to perform the turn correctly. It also allows me to observe their weaknesses at a slow speed, so I can better determine those exercises for upper level improvement.

Thanks for the great thread.

: whtmt :
post #4 of 22
"On this wide, gentle, secluded terrain here we'll just do 6 or 7 kinda whatever wedge type turns, OK?. Oh yeah, by the way, how about we do them with our eyes closed? Hold on, there is a method to my madness. I'll call you down, one at a time, and yell when you should open your eyes and/or stop. Just make the turns as gentle and gliding as you feel comfortable, instead of heavily braking. Control your speed by turning. No right or wrong way, just whatever works for you. The wedge turn is just a vehicle here, safe and very tactile. The TASK is to pay attention to how many different things your body, feet and skis are telling you. Trust your body and your feet, pay attention and record whatever your skis tell you. Who's first after I go down? Yell LOUD if I need to stop."

When they are all down I'll ask each one what they were most aware of? And, what different things did their feet or skis tell them?
I ask them if they were aware of more feedback than normal? And why?, guiding all through discission to recognition that this level of feedback is always avaliable, but pushed into the background by our dominant sense of sight. I them ask them all if they thought they would learn and ski better if they always skied with that level of awareness? If instructors I ask if they thought their students would learn better if they had such awareness? We then go do some easy skiing, looking for safe terrain and moments to close our eyes for just second to bring that high level of feedback into the forground, then re-open our eyes and hang on to the awareness, using it to guide whatever adjustments we feel like making. After a run or two of this I ask what feedback they found useful, and what adjustments they made, and how that changed the feedback?

Throughout remainder of class/clinic I remind them to tune into their skis and I prompt questions with "So, what were your skis telling you?" before I will offer what I saw. I'm trying to create a process of ongoing awareness of cause/effect. One that will make them more independant, and use me for calibration of what their self-awareness tells them is happening, not as their only, or primary, feedback.

This has more impact than most people might imagine. Though some appear to prefer to be "given" the answer vs. wanting to find it. I still wonder why more people are not willing to fully comittment to taking responsibility for their ongoing learning?
But I love seeing the ah-ha's and wow's of potential realized, so I keep planting the seeds. The ones that grow and flourish make the effort all worth while.

[ November 11, 2002, 08:36 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #5 of 22
I like skiing on one ski as an exercise but with a hip replacement on the right side I'm somewhat marginal for more that light blue groomers on that side. However, as a variation, I like "goofy" turns where each successive turn is made exclusively 1 footed on the inside ski. Arcmeister can do these with as much style as anyone I've seen!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Is that the one called the Charleston? Those are fun. What do they do for a person's skiing?

Another exercise (planned epiphany) I like is to make a turn from a dead stop. See whether you can get it going with the feet and skis or if you need to add impetus higher up the body. This exercise is diagnostic, and may be the first time someone consciously experiences a dysfunctional habit of creating turns from shoulder rotation, or stemming the uphill ski, etc.
post #7 of 22
For my own personal skiing I have two that I always work; skating with an emphasis on moving forwar onto the little toe edge, and one ski turns. I rearely shuffle anywhere, I'm always skating and focusing on the transfer and the edges. One ski I through in anytime, and wherever I can.

With my students I would have to say two also. Skating from day one. with beginers and lower level skiers it's simply moveing from from one ski to the other, smothly and positively, with more advanced skiers the focus is on moving to the little toe edge with a positive weight transfer and that roll over onto the big toe edge with a smooth extention. The other would be forward side slip from a hard edge traverse, and back again. Students seem to get a lot of mileagee from these.
post #8 of 22
Some really good ones are already taken but I was happy to see one of my favorites was still kicking around. PIVOT SLIPS.

I like pivot slips in a corridor. These help people learn to release from the ski's, and seperate the upper and lowerbody as they turn with leg rotation. Gives a great awareness of edge release and engagement. Promotes pressure mangement control, you can do it with a flex release or an extend release. Focus on the tips releasing and continuly moving like a clock. NO TAIL PUSHING allowed as you will leave the corridor. Promotes a balanced stance over the whole foot.

Straight runs would be another favorite! any variation of straight run. It is always funny how people think they can do it and MOST can not!!! Very humbling but you are able to coach them to improve quickly and apply it to thier skiing a very big A AH! for many.

Great question Nolo, hope more people will respond so I can print this out and put it in my coat!
post #9 of 22
I agree, pivot slips are cool.

I like an exercise where you pick up the new inside ski at the start of a turn and touch the inside edge of the tip to the snow. It doesn't need a whole lot of explanation, I just ask them to do that one thing, and then demonstrate a few turns.

One simple maneuver gets the skier to do maybe half a dozen things at once--it gets them to initiate the turn by releasing the old outside ski, gets them to move their center of gravity into the center of the turn, gets them on the new outside ski early, keeps them forward, gets their knees to roll into the turn, gets them in balance.
post #10 of 22
The best exercise is hard when you don't know who it is for so I will give one for instructor types and one for student types.

This is the one that most perfectionists hate or have the most trouble with is the "Walking speed open parallel turns on something completely flat".

Rules: no wedging, stepping, opening or closing of the feet. Perfect parallel turns Constant speed, no "visual litter"!!

So many that try absolutely fail at this. The discipline required is 100 times as hard as hop turns. When you take away the forces of a turn you begin to see there are only a few things left that work I.e. individual leg steering progressive edging and turn shape and of curse perfect balance is required.

My favorite exercise with students is a balance exercise that I have used for a while that allows someone to feel usually for the first time what it can feel like to ski from a balanced place. Moving balance

start with a shallow traverse, carving works best. Traverse into an uphill traverse. the intention here is to get the skis to go up hill enough so that when they stall they will begin to reverse carve back from whence they came. Let’s call this "the carved falling leaf"

The out come of this is that usually when the human body slides down hill going forward we end up leaning backwards while in motion. If you reverse this, the opposite will occur. When sliding backwards have the person be aware of their position and how it changed from when they stopped, to when they started going backwards. You will find that when they are going backwards they will be standing in an almost perfect position.

Repeat 10 or 20 times to burn the feeling of where they are when they are going backwards. (Both sides) Usually I repeat until there is relaxedness about it. Then tell them to take the feeling of where they were when they were going backwards and make it happen when they are going forward. Now they have something to work from. You have just given them a real memory of movement to compare, where they are, to where they want to be. It never fails!!

With a bit of coaching usually learning this position while in motion will give them the perspective that they could not imagine by telling them to just lean forward or carry the tray or what ever their friends tell them.

Safety!!! Be aware of traffic no one from above will expect the sudden change in direction do it in a less crowded place. Second you may have to remind them not to look down at the snow. They will end up with their hands dragging in the snow and you will learn what the term "victim of gravity" really means.
post #11 of 22
For those that don't fully understand (me), could someone explain the pivot slip in a little more detail and what it is intended to focus the student on.
post #12 of 22
Originally posted by nolo:
[QB]Is that the one called the Charleston? Those are fun. What do they do for a person's skiing?QB]
As a personal favorite for my own skiing, my mission with this ex has been to get my skill level on my little toe edges up to the same level I’m at on my big toe edges to serve my specific goal of improving my SR dynamic turns.

The classic Charleston (kind of a kick out of outside ski, landing on little toe edge of inside ski) while much fun, and valuable, might be considered the initial level of an exercise line. One progressing to smoother transitions with early release, transfer, and engagement from little toe to little toe while outside foot is carried low, but off the snow from the point of its little toe release.

Goal is to manage shaping of the entire arc, evolving from skidded to carved, on each little toe edge. When they can be linked with some rhythm and flow, it is time to gradually re-introduce weighting, initially delayed, of outside ski,

As weight distribution transitions thru 50-50 and outside ski reasserts dominant balance role, maintain intensity of lead inside ski, even as it dynamically lightens.

Lateral balance transfer will become more dynamically progressive, and less physically deliberate, creating a smooth flow from arc2arc.

Inside ski will now have active lead role vs. traditional “complimentary” : role.

Your short turns will rock!

post #13 of 22
Nolo, I was going to try to find the time to respond to your question about the value of "goofy footed" turns but it looks like Roger has given you a much more extensive answer that I would have ever been able to provide.

While I think Roger's description covers this I would reiterate that the feeling I carry away from this into "normal skiing" is one of more active retraction of the old outside/new inside leg for more active participation both in turn initiation and completion. In some ways this offers something more in terms of the rhythms involved than one footed skiing which emphasizes this for only half of the turns.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
It is indeed the best exercise for short turns ever invented.
post #15 of 22
Good stuff. Nolo, I'm going to steal your "turn from a dead stop" exercise for myself, thank you very much.

One exercise I like to do with any turning skier is the whisker turn. Where both poles, held up-side-down are extended out to the sides while skiing. The goal is to keep both tips scratching the snow all the time. If the outside pole lifts off the snow, the skier is likely over-rotating the uppper body or banking excessively. It's a fun feedback exercise if you are creative enough. I like doing it at high speeds myself, sometimes.

When I'm feeling lazy or things aren't going well on a given day (for myself), I'll also find a flat spot and do some ballet skiing... One footed 360's, tip rolls and step-overs. I don't know a lot but for some reason it puts me back into "fun mode" and my skiing usually fires right up. I've taken instructors and shown them the easy stuff and they seem to enjoy it while at the same time I'm tricking them into doing things like leg rotation and balance exercises. Gotta goof off every once in awhile!!!

I think I'm going to print this thread and pirate a bunch of this stuff for myself. Thanks guys and gals!!!

Spag :
post #16 of 22
I'm not an instructor (at least not anymore...), but the White Pass turn (turn with your outside leg in the air) has always been one of my favorites. They work great for passing the time as you're cruising something easy. Just pick one leg up and start turning. Simple, easy to explain, and safe. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] And hard to do. : I've never been able to do more then two in a row (usually if I get one, I'm pretty happy : ), but I find just practicing it gets me skiing the tough stuff better.

An aside on the White Pass turn... Was watching the World Cup last year, and I watched a slalom racer (I forget her name) make three straight turns on her right leg before she got her left leg back down. Two of those turns were to the right. I was absolutely in awe. Slamming into slalom gates while balancing on one leg at 30-some mph fits my definition of "impressive".
post #17 of 22
I like patience turns (are those pivot slips?), side slips, garlands, falling leafs (leaves?) - anything focused on releasing the edges and flattening out the skis. I can't do 360's though - a proprioception thing?

Also - trying to turn on just the outside edge of the inside ski - at least see how far I can get without losing balance.

Also #2 (can I have 3 faves?) - Pole boxes, I think they're called - keeping tips of poles on snow throughout the turn. Jay Evans at Vail first introduced me to this, and he was so great, I'd have jumped a cliff for him. My session with him ~4 years ago was also my first introduction to two-footed skiing, active inside ski, etc., which was a great leap for me.

I'd love to see some of the others that have been mentioned in our "curriculum" for the Academy. Turning from a dead stop sounds like a useful survival skill - I can think of times I needed that! Hopefully we won't see the ones we hate from Lisamarie's thread [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #18 of 22
Woops - guess this thread is more for instructors, and LM's for the non-professionals? Sorry! Oh well
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

It certainly wasn't my intention to make this a professionals-only thread. I was thinking of things that anyone does to tune up and refine skills, whether their own or others.
post #20 of 22
One of my favorites has to do with getting people to feel their edges and what they do. I guess they're called railroad turns (but only using one foot at a time to edge). I'm amazed at the number of people who've been skiing for years and will say "wow! I've never felt that before.

On -very- flat terrain head straight with feet about shoulder width apart. Then just roll one ski on edge and wait. When you want to go back the other way, flatten the edged ski and roll the other one on edge. I tell people they should play with this in normal skiing on real flat trails or when on those flat sections going to the lift.
post #21 of 22
I tried your one footed skiing exercise this morning. I was surprised to find that my left leg is much better at this than my right leg (considering my left leg is the one with the reconstructed ACL). The only explanation I can come up with is that I've focused so much on balance work with the injured leg it's actually better than the uninjured one (as far as balance is concerned, anyway). Another odd result is that when I ski on both skis but try to put almost all the pressure on the inside ski, I have to fight the tendency for my weight to shift back. Not sure why I'm doing that. I'll probably do some balance work on both legs and see if it feels different later.

Anyway - good thread. Gives me a list of things to experiment with on days conditions aren't suited to just having fun.

The thing I personally like to focus on is when I'm on a long cat track is skating and/or just getting my skis to carve perfectly so they increase my speed on the flat by flexing the ski and edging. I guess it's not really an exercise- it's just focusing on finding the 'sweet spot' on my skis. It somehow helps me to feel like my skis are part of my body vs. just equipment.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am goofy footed too. My left leg seems to have better wiring in addition to greater strength. My right arm performs quite a bit better than my left.

I think by learning how to drive a turn on the outside edge, you become more familiar with the feeling of an actively contributing inside ski in all turns. This creates substantially greater power and instantly improves turn dynamics.
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