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Movement Analysis and Comparison Request

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hello Again!

I posted an MA request here about a year ago and received good feedback and advice.
To summarize the previous thread, I learned to ski January 2008 at the age of 40 and fell in love with the sport. I was encouraged to try out as an instructor for the 2008/2009 season, which prompted me to really step up my training efforts and continued skiing through the summer of 2008 at Mt. Hood. I was fortunate enough to have great coaching, primarily from John Nelson and Rick Lyons.
I am posting now to provide an update for my training over the past year and to once again ask for opinions. This is a lot of information, but I tried to summarize a year of training.
The 2008/2009 season started late December for our mountain as I believe it did for most others. I took a training clinic for candidate instructors and was lucky to have been chosen as one of the new instructors at conclusion of that clinic. I received more training and eventually started giving lessons on my own to beginning skiers. After a while I was given level 4-6 lessons, including some privates. I was pleased to get several requests from skiers I had previously provided instruction. In all I gave about 60 hours of lessons during the season.
I talked to other instructors often, watched tons of video, read many books including the Alpine Technical Manual, Core Concepts Manual, and Children’s Technical Manual. I prepared for certification tests and took my Level I at the end of March and was pleased to pass. I took the Level II in the middle of April and was STOKED to have passed! I was also fortunate enough to have been awarded “Alpine Rookie of the Year” by my ski school!!

Everything that happened made me just want to push harder and fortunately my wife agreed to travel with me several weekends this summer to Timberline (about a 3.5 hour drive each way). I met another instructor that is highly motivated and we agreed to be training partners with goals of being better instructors, skiers, and to pass our Level III Certification in April 2010. We both bought summer passes and put in quality time working toward our goals. I still have a long way to go, but I have grown so much in the past year, especially in my understanding of MA, teaching, and biomechanics of skiing.
I have many people to thank, including the continual coaching from Rick Lyons, John May, Scott Vanderflute, Tony Fardell, and PSIA-NW Clinicians.  I was also lucky enough to get to clinic with Michael Rogan for two days! A special thank you goes out to Rick Schellmann for creating high quality instructional videos and being there to answer questions I had throughout the year. I attribute much of my success to following the training provided from Rick’s videos and detailed messages when I needed help. If you are trying to improve your skiing and haven’t tried them, you are missing out.
I have focused on so many things over the past year in my training, I won’t write most of it, but I will say some of the main focuses on snow have been (in no particular order):
-          Progressive Movements
-          Different Turn Radius/Shapes/Types (e.g. SRT, MRT, LRT, Swing, Hops, Bumps)
-          Balance Drills
-          Hips Over Feet
-          Good Hand Position and Movement (elbows in front of rib cage)
-          Flexion/Extension
-          Retraction
Here are some new videos (one was posted last year for comparison). Other videos are in the original thread. The videos are listed by the number of months I had skied at the time. The best “before” videos are probably Four Months (for bumps) and Eight Months (for MRT/LRT).  The best “after” video is Nineteen Months as it is my current progression.
I am hoping for the following feedback:
1.       What changes, if any do you see?
2.       What do you want to see?
3.       What are the top things I should focus on?
4.       Do I have a chance of a Cert III by April 2010?
Three Months
Info: This is my first ever ski video footage. Watch at your own risk, I know I did!
Info: Best BEFORE video for Bumps comparison. The first few scenes are all you should need to watch.
Info: Best BEFORE video for MRT/LRT comparison. Start watching about 1 minute 30 seconds in.
Fourteen Months
Info: No need to analyze this one. Once I saw this video, I knew I needed some changes and I’ve made a lot since this video, but here it is anyway. My focus on MRT/LRT was to really flex and I was getting ILF 90+ degrees.  Bumps in this video were huge and it was a very steep pitch. In the SRT first clip, my first 6 turns are what I have been working toward. My SRT fell apart after 6 turns, but they are much more consistent now!
Info: This is my current progression, sorry for the poor video quality. Several Cert III Tasks shown here. Both rear and single side bump shots are current progression. Front shot, my focus was to NOT absorb. These bumps were WAY gnarlier than those shown in Four Months video. Focus on MRT was to ski a narrow corridor with fast pace; it was on a 23 degree pitch in slush. Followed by very slow MRT turns to show contrast. I feel my MRT are better than what is shown in this particular MRT task, but it’s all I have for now. Rear Free Ski Shot…IGNORE (failed experiment). Hop turns, varying pace, height of jump, and tempo compared to coach.
post #2 of 40

Nice  skiing in the  last video  which  is the only one I watched.  This is good level  II skiing to me but needs  to become a bit more dynamic  and  crisp  for  level  III  pass.  Work on  your  turn  transitions and hop turns.  Your  parallel turns  in the video show a bit of a push off and slight  down-stem.   Maybe  focus more on beginning your movement  across  your  skis to change edges a  bit sooner than the corresponding  extension.  Changing  the timing of these  two movements (extension & crossover)  will facilitate  a more fluid  transition IMO.

Hop turns, your buddie's hop turns were level III whereas yours are  not  quite there  yet.  Move your  pivot  point rearward  a  bit to  bring  the pivot point  under  your  feet and try  to  keep the skis more parallel to  the  snow  surface.

You have  some  great things going  and obviously some good  coaching influence!  You may be ready to pass the  skiing portion of  the test before  long!  
post #3 of 40


I agree with Bud. Overall this is incredible progress since never ever on Jan 2008.


Here's what I see in the last clip:

Stance in the bumps (freeze at 1:51): butt behind the heels, upper body bent forward at the waist - ah a - you're cheating!
Bump run: Nice stable upper body, great absorption, good extension. Now does the pony know more than one trick? Can you use your edges more and scarve your tuns instead of shmear them? Can you take different tracks through the bumps (e.g. straighter, or across the ruts versus just following the rut)? Can you ramp up the speed?

MRT/free ski: Ah, you can use your edges! Oooooh. Someone has been well coached. Good angulation (hips, hands and shoulders relatively level). Good pressure management (snow spray coming from in front of the toe pieces, but snow spray starts after the fall line). Good balance (freeze at 2:28 most of the weight is centered between the toe piece and heel piece, no jerky body movements, but same issue as bumps with upper body hinged forward at the waist - note the nose in front of the toes). Good edging (edge change happens above the fall line, there is a distinct roll onto the new edges, almost simultaneous edge change, but there is a slight wedge at turn initiation). Good rotary movements (C shaped turns, good blend of tipping with turning, but the hips turn too much with the femurs resulting in not much counter at turn completion). Can you see your head "bob" slightly as you ski?


What I want to see:
No sneaky mini wedges! Simultaneous edge change!
Taller stance - no bending forward at the waist.
Turning into a countered position so that the hips and shoulders are facing to the inside of the next turn before edge change.
Snow spray starting above the fall line.

Level head.

Suggestions to focus on:
Steering into a countered position at the end of each turn.
Moving diagonally forward from the hips/belly button into the new turn.

Suggested drills:
Picture frame - hold poles in the middle of the pole so that the pole frame an object at the bottom of the trail - keep the object in between the frames at all times

Bamboo over the shoulders - ditch your poles, hold a piece of bamboo across your shoulders, keep the boo level to the pitch of the slope for medium radius turns, keep the boo pointed at the sides of the trail for short radius turns

Hop to shape - at the end of a turn, hop in the air, change edges in the air, land on the new edges and carve the turn finish

Cowboy turns - make turns with your feet more than shoulder width apart - focus on moving your center of mass across the new inside ski

White Pass turns - initiate turns with the new outside ski off the snow (only on the new inside ski), setting the outside ski down after passing through the fall line - focus on constantly changing leg length for both legs even when one is lifted. Long leg - short leg vs both legs having the same flex.

Can you pass level 3? With this skiing - no. With this rate of change, yes (for the skiing portion of level 3). But the better you get, the harder it is to get better. If you are teaching with as much enthusiasm and effort as you have been learning to ski, it is also possible to pass the teaching portion as well (especially if you have other teaching experience). But it is extremely rare for someone to be able to pass level 3 in 2 years. Most "quick" level 3 candidates that fail, fail because they don't have enough teaching experience. Knowing how to teach is not enough to pass. You must be able to do it and most level 3 candidates can't demonstrate doing it well enough without several years of ski teaching experience. Exam situations are always a bit contrived (i.e. not real). There are plenty of candidates that can do it for real, but not well enough for almost real. You're real teaching needs to be stronger so that it shows through in the exam. It's hard to have enough time to teach enough and ski enough and study enough to "get there" in 2 years.

Do you know what it's like to try to learn something and be totally incompetent at it? Your gift of ability is a major hindrance to super effective teaching. Have you experienced the "extreme" ends of student age and ability? Can you look at a student do 2 turns and describe what each body component is doing when for each turn and describe the effective and ineffective visual cues for each skiing skill that the student is doing as well as deduce emotional and fitness status? Do you have a large bag of tricks and the experience improvising variations on each trick? Do you know the strengths and weakness of each trick, when to use them and when not to? At level 3 you need to be able to work with students at any level, diagnose what they are doing and why, design a plan for improving their skiing, execute that plan and at the same time keep them safe while they are also having fun. Don't under estimate the difficulty in passing the teaching portion of level 3 and don't under estimate the joy you'll get from becoming a more effective ski teacher.


post #4 of 40
Oh the devil is in the details...
Skiing is a moving experience. The stability you gained by refining your movements is now the foundation for expanding your dynamic range in all three skill pools. In other words it's time to think about keeping all parts of your body actively involved in your balancing activities instead of limiting their movements and allowing some part of your body to get static. Not to mention by letting the hips camp in the back seat, you are severely limiting your access to all three skills pools. Bud and Rusty wrote a lot of good stuff about how to get the hips actively involved in your turns and transitions. What I want to add is that it takes a shift in objectives and attitude to get that to happen. Explore an ever increasing range of motion and balance in all of your skiing. Tip til your hip touches the snow. Extend until you can't, flex until you can't. All the while notice how every part of your body is actively involved in the activities. At some point the ability to match DIRT to the outcome will become obvious.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 9/24/09 at 7:38am
post #5 of 40
(Rewritten for calrity)
The devil is in the details...
The hips camping in the back seat can happen for a variety of reasons but I suspect that in your case it's a lack of experience and mileage. You haven't developed the mental attitude to trust yourself enough to allow your body to move into the new turn When you finally allow your body to follow it's path down the hill, the balancing will become much easier and you will also have access to a lot more options through the transition and initiation phases. Said another way, at present the aft stance contributes to a limited range of motion and tactical options.Correcting this has been covered quite well by Bud anf Rusty so I won't repeat their advice.

What I would add is the idea that somewhere between level two and three certs you will discover an ever increasing need for a wider and more dynamic range of movements. For that to happen the trust that will allow you to project your body into the turn will be essential. As you will discover in many cases this faith comes from experience and mileage.

An additional idea here is that to perform at higher levels your movements need to be deliberate and disciplined as well. Something most skiers mistake for using a smaller range of motion. In fact it's usually the opposite. All it means is to have a reason for every movement and purpose to your maneuvers. If you can do that the test is pretty easy....
post #6 of 40
Andrew has made fantastic progress in a very short time on skis.  Imagine, Epic Instructors, less than 2 years on skis and already nipping at the heels of PSIA Level III.  He's done it though a dedicated drive to build his skills, driven by an intense passion for the sport. 

As he mentioned, he's been using my Building Blocks DVD Instructional Series as part of his training regime, and this season I recognized his impressive accomplishments on The Your Ski Coach Podium Page.  Here's a link to his page:  www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/Andrew_R.html

Andrew has his sites lined up on obtaining his Level III certification this coming season.  Don't bet against him.

Here are some comments on your last video, Andrew:

First the bumps clips.  Excellent rotational separation of the upper and lower body.  It creates an anticipated postion that auto pulls your skis nicely into the turn. Your flexion/extension is excellent, and you keep your CM flowing very smoothly down the falline on a stable horizontal plane.  My suggestion would be trying to assume a more athletic stance (found in  Basic Balance & Basic Edging DVD's) bringing your hips up over feet more, and shoulders back some over your hips.  Of course you will drop your hips back to flex and absorb a mogul,,, just be careful not to get stuck back there between moguls.  Return to athletic stance in the troughs.

Carved turns: 
You usually have a nice clean roll onto edge, with a subtle and clean carve initiation.  Very nice.  And you're getting that inside hip lead counter creation you and I discussed last season.  Overall, the fundamentals of your carving are coming along nicely.  The thing that needs first attention is trying to get better early fore pressure.  Drive your inside hip forward a little more strongly as you come out of your transition, and get that new outside leg more extended, and sooner.  Through the top of the turn you should feel like your feet are chasing your body down the slope, and the front of your skis are powerfully engaging and cranking the start of your turn.  This will give you the sharp turn shape you need to generate big G forces, and lay into even bigger edge angles. 

Steered turns:  
I see two types going on here.  At 3:00 you're skiing more square, and entering your turns with a very subtle entry, devoid of any significant pivot.  That's exactly what a body following skis approach provides, clean turn entries, and it looks pretty nice.  Later, about 3:45, you introduce more rotatonal separation that has you in an anticipated position at the end of your turns.  That anticipation pulls your skis into the turn with a pre engagement pivot/push.  Again, that's what rotational separation produces.  It takes advanced skills to enter new turns from an anticipated position with no pivot/push.  In demonstrating both approaches, you show the performance contrast very nicely.

Your one ski turns are coming along great!!  Continue to improve by changing turn shapes, moving to more challenging terrain, and introducing fore/aft balance variations.  You'll find them in the Building Blocks Advanced Balance DVD.  Once you get all that dialled in, move on to carving, and repeat the same learning sequence.

Finally, Hop Turns;
Good flexion extension,,, very powerful.  But take a look at both you and your buddy, and notice a difference.  Where's your pivot point, and where's your buddies pivot point?  Your buddy hops up and pivots his skis from his feet.  His tails pivot one way, and his tips the other in equal amounts.  Now look at yours.  You're pivoting about your tips.  Your tails move left and right, but your tips remain more stationary.   It's because you're more fore than your friend.  Move your balance point back to a more centered location, then when you hop both tips and tails will lift the same amount, and you'll be able to pivot tips and tails equally.  This drill has different versions, pivoing tips, tails and center being 3 of them.  Learning to do all  3 well is an important part of becoming highly skilled at hop turns.  

Great progress, again, Andrew!  Keep at it! 

post #7 of 40
 One small point which hasn't been mentioned which regards your one ski skiing. Your one ski turns will become easier with more dynamic movement and your dynamic movement will improve by utilizing a pole swing and touch. 
Great progress on your part which is an inspiration to any skier wishing to improve their abilities and enjoyment.
post #8 of 40

A comment on the mogul skiing:
 keep the hands in front, the left especially tends to wing back after contact ("card dealing")
 when the bumps get big and fast, you absolutely need that balance forward

Carved turns  - looks very nice and smooth, but maybe not so dynamic. other than the path dictated by the sidecut, not much is changing as you come back across the hill

even slushy snow looks pretty good in september

post #9 of 40
One ski skiing is a great exercise to do daily, every time you ski.  It is relatively easy to ski short turns with a pole plant on one ski.  Try to challenge yourself by skiing without poles, then leave one ski at the bottom of the lift and ski with one ski no poles.  Now to make it even more challenging ski round medium turns with a steered entry rather than any big pivot or an edge to edge carve.  You will find having your fore/aft alignment dialed in will really make this task much easier.  You will also find it is critical to extend accurately forward and across your ski.  If the boot has too much forward lean it will be difficult to get the resistance from the front of the boot necessary to pressure the fore body of the ski.  This is a good time to experiment with delta angle shims to find your sweet spot.

One ski skiing builds leg strength, balance, and accurate trajectory of your hips which helps develop smooth turn transitions consequently paying big dividends for your dynamic parallel turn transitions which are a little weak in the last video.
Edited by bud heishman - 9/24/09 at 10:12pm
post #10 of 40
Extremly rapid progress. Good all mountain skills. Nice skiing. Fascinating story and very nicely captured, edited and presented video.

IMO an important area of improvement would be more dynamic movement of hips and legs. Now Andrews stance is quite static and forced wide. Legs are stiff. When he comes out of a turn he keeps his outside leg extended and stiff untill he is well into the next turn. This might work on a groomer but not in bumps and even on a groomer proper use of legs will boost performance. Now much of the flexing is done by bending at the waist. In the moguls the side view reveals that flexion and extention its not only back pedalling but braking at the waist.

I think we have not watched the last video of Andrew and Im very much looking forward to following his progress here at epic. Good job Andrew and Rick.
post #11 of 40

Fantastic progress Andrew! Almost impossible to believe that you first put on skis at the age of 40!

IMHO tdk6 is accurate; solid technique, but quite stiff and static. Especially in the ankles.

It would be nice to see you relax more, ski less "like a ski instructor" and more like someone having fun on the mountain. At the moment you look a bit like the stereotype of the instructor: rather wooden, trying too hard to keep the hands in the perfect position. Watch some old Franz Klammer videos!

But it is great to see someone attack our sport with such passion having discovered it relatively late in life.

Edited by Martin Bell - 10/2/09 at 1:54pm
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hello Again Everyone.

Shortly after I made my post here, our daughter was born two months prematurely and life has not been the same since!  I apologize for not responding before now, but I read and re-read the thoughtful posts that were made and took many comments to heart, which helped get the hard work started toward my Level III Certification this season.

I liked "bud heishman's" honesty about where I was at and he was right on.  I was told in an evaluation at the beginning of the season, I have good turns but for L3 they are BORING...the guy said, "INSPIRE ME"!  Well, I worked on turning up the volume knob.  I also worked on my one ski skiing and I now LOVE doing it because it helps my skiing so much and it's just plain fun.  After one ski skiing, when you put down both skis...WOW, you are balanced and centered and you can just rock it.  I got my pole swing/touch going with one ski skiing also and it was very helpful, which "gcarlson" recommended.  One day I was skiing with a couple of instructors on a blue run at my mountain in pretty soft conditions, which happened to be right under the chair.  I was on my right ski and hit a pile of something, my ski buried but I kept moving forward.  I was able to step onto my left ski and ski down a few turns to a controlled stop.  I got a bunch of cheers from the chair.  One of the other instructors grabbed my ski and skied toward me.  He asked the people on the chair if he should give it back, they replied "no" so he skied to the bottom of the run with it!  I HAD to ski down all the way, but it was fun.  One ski skiing rocks for helping all sorts of things and I will definitely keep doing it on a regular basis.

I REALLY liked "therusty's" feedback, very detailed, very specific on exactly what I was asking for.  It was also a fun read with the obvious good wit he put into the composition.  He told me exactly what he saw, what he wanted to see, and how to work on getting there...NICE!  I really got a lot out of his post and put a LOT of his advice into action with the drills he recommened.  He too was correct, I would not have passed my Level III based on that skiing, but I worked hard on improving over the season.  He also talked about focusing on the teaching aspect, which I did this season.  I put in over 200 hours of instruction (I am part-time with a 4 month season) with adults and kids from 3 to 73 in groups, privates, and clinics.  I was also asked to be one of four clinicians to work with the other instructors on tasks I had learned.  I also worked with a few of the other instructors where we took turns teaching one another all season.  I also worked with one of our Divisional Clinic Leaders (DCL) 2-3 hours every other week where he invited me to his computer and we watched video after video of other skiers and did Movement Analysis on them.  We used the teaching cycle to provide appropriate "mock" feedback/lessons.  We worked on ski-snow interaction, biomechanics, and making sure to name a body part, a movement of that body part and at what point in the turn to really "clean" up our teaching.  I was drilled to boil it all down to no more than 60 seconds (30 seconds was the goal) and state what I saw, what I wanted to see, why I wanted to make the change, and how I was going to get there.  My teaching came a very long way this season.  "therusty" asked if I know what it's like to be totally incompetent at something and the answer is normally no.  Funny enough, when I first tried skiing, I HATED it.  The second and third time I went I HATED it and wasn't going to go back, but that all changed because a ski instructor took pity on me and gave me a free tip at random.  It changed everything for me obviously.  I do know what you are saying though "therusty".

"Justanotherskipro" has been active in posting on my threads, which I appreciate.  He said I needed to be more dynamic...yep!  As he said, I did find between Cert II and Cert III, I needed a wider range and more dynamic movements.

"Docbrad66" said I was card dealing that left arm...yeppers!  I haven't worked that one all the way out, but its on the list for sure.  I will have to post a more recent video soon and show you the difference in my carving.  I think it is way more dynamic now, hopefully you will also.

"Tdk6" said I was breaking at the waist at times and he and "Martin Bell" thought I was a bit rigid.  I worked on being more upright almost to a fault this season...haha.  I went overboard the other way, but eventually got it reeled back into more equal flexion through the ankles, knees, hips, and spine, especially in my carving turns.  I feel like I am "moving" a lot more and better now.  I know I still have that ski instructor "look", but am working on developing my own style now.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, "Rick" my main man on these forums has continued to encourage me and be available to answer questions I had throughout my training and progressions.  Not only did he give me great advice here, his Building Blocks DVDs have helped me IMMENSELY!!!  If you want to improve, I strongly encourage you to do what I did and BUY THEM NOW!  Watch them and DO the tasks.  Then watch and do them all again.  It is a very good approach which is easy to understand, even if you don't know anything about ski...like I started out.  I knew having a goal of getting a Cert III only 2 years after learning to ski was a monumental task.  What I like about Rick is he has been one of my biggest fans and believers.  He stated in this thread, "Andrew has his sites lined up on obtaining his Level III certification this coming season.  Don't bet against him."  I thought I had it within me, but Rick had more confidence in me than I had in myself!

Well, Rick was right.  After taking my Level III Certification test on April 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, I got my results the last day.  I PASSED...WOOHOO!!!!!  I passed teaching and skiing and got my shiny new gold pin! I am now PSIA Level III Certified! As stoked as I was to earn my pin, I look at it as my license to really start learning to ski and teach now.  The more I have learned, the more I realize I don't know.  My respect for these guys that have been in the industry all these years has really grown.  I have SOOOO much to learn still and I am going to just turn up the volume knob more now.  I have my sites set on becoming a DCL one day.  May that be in 2 years when I first become eligible or later, this skiing and ski teaching stuff is definitely for me!

There are so many people that have helped me along the way, provided encouragement, and enthusiasm.  PSIA-NW is a great organization with many great people and AWESOME clinicians!  A special thank you goes out to Rick Lyons, John May, John Nelson, and Rick Schnellmann for all the incredible training.  Also to Scott Vanderflute,Tony Fardell, Irv Sonker, and Richard Mario for their encouragement.  Sorry if I missed anyone.

So, thank you everyone for your comments.  While I don't participate as much as a lot of you on these forums, I do read it a lot and recommened it to friends.  This is an incredible resource here and I appreciate all the assistance I have received now and in the future.  Perhaps now I can start contributing to other skiers becoming better in some small way as I continue my learning.

Thank you again!
Edited by Aareses - 4/19/10 at 10:44am
post #13 of 40
Congratulations Aareses!

Thanks for sharing your EpicSki success story! Now it's your turn to start spreading the love.
post #14 of 40
Way to leave me out for taunting from the lift incessantly     Great Job Andrew!
post #15 of 40
Well Done Andrew!    You ARE the MAN!   I tip my hat to you at your accomplishment!  Way to GO!  Wear that gold pin very proudly!
post #16 of 40
Can you post your most recent video?
post #17 of 40

Congrats Andrew for you girl. My whife used to work as a nurse with prematures so I know a bit about what goes on and hopefully your girl is ok. Did you know that also Teemu Selänne was a premature.

Well done with your L3. Congrats. You have been working hard and its paying off. I took the liberty of making some frame captures from your last video in your OP. Im not affiliated with psia or even on your continent but let me bring to your attention stuff that I see in your skiing. First of all, I think you have done a great job of learning how to ski and become a ski instructor. Im not familiar with the different tasks so I cannot comment but I think you did a very good job hopping your turns and skiing one legged. Im not bothered at all if someone looks like he skis like an instructor. On the contrary. That should be a compliment. Motionless is not the same as stiffness or not being dynamic. Or lets say stiffness is not necessarily a bad thing eather. IMO it all boils down to the basic movements. We need to have them figured out so that we can work and improve on them. After that you develop your own style. If you are tall or phat or old or young or stiff or you have only one leg is all part of your individuality and it sets limitations but it also opens up opportunities.

If I look at the following capture of you I see good form and solid technique.

Looking good. Skis are tipped on edge, functional stance, parallel shins, upper body facing down the hill with levelled shoulders and your hips nicely inside the turn and away from over your skis. However, this is only one capture and in order to really see what is going on we need to look at the whole progression.

Here we go. Let me start by saying that in the photo above you show good and solid form. Its all there. You are tipping your skis on edge and you are letting them engage their edges and decamber and turn. You balance over your outside ski. Your are forward oriented and your arms are nicely out and forward and levelled. You are lifting your inside arm up and pressing your outside arm down. Your shoulders are levelled and you are pointing your ski poles slightly outward and back.

Now we come to the interesting part. How did you get there and what happens next? In the photo you are passing through apex. This means that its ok to be square to your skis. At transition you tip your skis onto their new edges and you move your hips and torso into the turn and waiting turn forces to start to build up in the high C part of the turn. You are slightly anticipated at transition and now your lower body is catching up with your torso and passing square at apex. From here on you keep your upper body facing down hill towards the outside of the turn while your skis turn beneth you across the slope. Not in an ultimate manner but the movement should be there. Slightly facing outwards. Upper body counter. In such long turns you do not need to be facing down the hill completley separating your skis and your upper body with a 90deg phase shift but a clear outside orientation should be in your upper body. You should also let your hips move further into the turn and bend sideways at the hip for proper angulation. It does not disturb me that you are not angulating at apex since its from here on that angulation is important. You make it look a bit lazy but good skiers can look lazy as long as skis track correctly in snow. Upper and lower body perform own tasks in harmony. This is what is called proper upper/lower body separation. Independence but still connected and supporting each other. So is this what happened? Lets take a look.

First at how you got there. Here is the transition from previous turn that is leading up to the frame I captured above at apex.Aareses002.jpg

Hmmmm..... This is actually a very good montage of comparing max flexion with max extention. Your range of extending and flexin is right here in this montage. In the right frame at the end of the turn you are max flexed and in the left frame at the start of the new turn you are max extended. During the turn you compress down from the left frame to the right frame. If you want to do it elegantly and dynamically you do it gradually compressing equally and smoothly through out the whole turn. However, this might not be necessary and most sertainly is not required. What you should do is the complete opposite. So at apex you are looking good but here you are not. The ammount of extention you have in your leg at apex is ok but you are flexing/extending in the worng direction. At apex you might look ok but here you dont. There is a lot of talk about ILE being an valid and proven technique but this is not ILE. It is up-unweighting due to leg extention. The outside leg is extending into transition. That is the que for up-extention. And you are also opening up your waist joint. Making yourself taller. Hips are moving forwards. Its an overall extention involving both legs and upper body. If this is what you want to do its fine but there are other options when skiing turns like this and with modern skis.

Ok, what happened after. Lets take a look.

Comming through apex into the low C revels that the hint of counter right after apex is quickly lost and replaced with upper body squareing up. In the first frame A is still looking good but in the second frame we can see that what should have been leading up to proper upper body counter has been lost. Insted A is squaring up, hips are rotating outwards even though there is still need for edge hold to keep a clean line and serve for an efficiant and elegant turn finish. Angulation, counter, reversed flexion/extention cycle and proper outside ski relese would be something for A to work on.

Here are some frames from here and there in the video.

1. Transition. Full extention. Wide stance. A-frame. Both skis on BTE. If A took a closer stance the A-frame would pritty much go away. To me it also looks like A is stemming up with his left leg. Or wedging. If A was going 80km/h and had a helmet on things would be different but since this is showing off basic turning skills at instructor demo level and slow speeds it turns up as bad form.

2. In the bump threads we have been discussing line selection this whole winter. What we see here in this frame is what skiing the rut and sliding down the faces of the bumps leads to. The skier sliding sideways down the bump and anticipating the impact with the rut by leaning back and extending his legs as much as possible in the direction of the forces that will build up. Choose different line for smoother absorbtion. The urge to keep his outside leg as straight as possible (to keep his hips forward I believe) has led to being unable to flex the outside ski properly and efficiently at impact. In bumps both legs work simultaniously and as one.  

3. High C. Full extention. Not very efficient but what is interesting in this photo is the assymetry in left and right turns. As left turns are much better. Compare to frame 1.

4. The turns were hopped nicely but check out As left leg. Compare to coach leg and stance. This is only on As right hops.

5 and 6. These I captured to show the assymetry in As skiing. In frame 5 legs are nicely together but in frame 6 they are not. I have not been reading through all the feedback in this thread so I might be repeting what others have said. I dont know.

One more thing. Why are you not wearing a helmet?


post #18 of 40
Thread Starter 
TDK, thanks for the MA.  Just verifying you are aware the last video posted was taken approximately 9 months ago, in my 26 month journey as a skier.  Much of my skiing has changed a lot since that video.

In the first skiing segment with the majority of the photos, I intentionally was not countering.  I was showing a contrasting turn.  The A-Frame was however not intentional...hehe!  I have subsequently worked on releasing both edges at initiation, while simultaneously and progressively extending all joints toward the direction of travel.

#1 - Nailed it yep.

#2 - The bump line in the video was only one line. If I would not have followed the rut, I would have been skiing on the groomed.  Unfortunately there is typically only one line right there and you MUST follow it or get spit out.  That was a really big challenge for me at first, but I got it worked out. I needed speed control down the back side of the bump, which was why I was "scarving" down it.  For sure this could be better though, something I have worked on this season.  You caught the worst picture in that segment!

#3 - That is interesting.  I had not noticed that before.  I will watch for it in future videos.  Thanks!

#4 - Without watching the video again, was it on all my right hops or just a few?

#5 & #6 - Good eye.  I believe that was actually caused by the bump being lower on the left side, so I put the skis sideways more on my right turns for speed control before the next bump and down the bump after the big bump.  This could however be an issue on right vs. left turns, let's look at my new video when I post it.

You were very detailed in your MA and there is a TON of great information there.  The use of imagery is awesome and it shows your passion by going the extra mile. You have a pretty good eye.  You also delivered the information in an easy to understand format, while being complimentary on what was being done well.  All good things.  Just because I was asked to do it a lot for my MA and was something that helped me a lot, I am going to put back a challenge to you.  In your future MA, see if you can deliver the same information in a smaller package, with fewer words.  Still keeping in the size smaller, add "WHY" you want to see the suggested change.  As-in, why will it make a difference.

In the future if I am giving out MA, you can keep me honest on that as well.  Well done though!  I have watched your MA get better and better as I have read these forums.

I almost always wear a helmet, but it was really hot and not many were there.

I have some video from a few months ago I will edit up and try to post within a few days.  Sometime later today, I will post some pictures of my progression over the past two years.

Again, thanks TDK!!!
Edited by Aareses - 4/20/10 at 12:42pm
post #19 of 40
Andrew, thanks for taking the time and commenting so quickly. My approach was to involve you in a discussion to see if you could figure out stuff for your self. The reason for this is that I think its a better method and there are also stuff that Im not aware of so I get more information that I can give a more accurat feedback once its my turn again. Its also not always possible to say what is right and what is wrong. Im a bit past that phase in this forum. I much rather see that people are aware of the facts and that there are options. And why we did stuff a certain way. Or why we still do them the same way and why its required and why its unnecessary. And I try to be positive and bring out tons of good stuff first. Then constructive feedback on issues to work on small scale.

Good that you caugth up on the assymetry and that it was new to you. In your jumping its only on your hops to your right that your outside foot goes out wide. Same in the bumps. Every turn. Same on the groomer. I dont know if you have gotten alignment suggestions allready but thats something that you are going to be handed sooner or later. Maybe that is true but its also a technique question. Now that you are aware of it try to make it right.

I know that its difficult skiing properly in such crappy bump conditions. The bump run is not very steep, snow is slushy, rutt down the zipper line etc. So your alternatives were limited. And yes, I caught the worst frame. But the devil is in the details. It brought out the assymetry in your skiing. That could be valuable information.

I think that your up-extention at your turn transitions is a leftover from learning to turn as you started out. At your level you should be able to ski with reversed flex/extention cycle. Or lets say that you should be able to carve turns by tipping. Up-extention is needed for initiating skidded turns. Like your hop turns. Hop turns are at the other end of the spectrum. At one end you have rr-trax carved turns and at the other end you have hop turns. There is a lot of skiing going on inbetween.

All in all I think you are a skiing miracle. I have only one student through out the years that was able to develop as quickly as you did. You are more versatile though. She would not have been able to hop her turns like that. That is the problem with people lerning to ski with modern carving skis. Since they only tip to turn they have no ide how to unweight and get the com to move vertically. Something we need do if we want to ski the whole mountain.
post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 

The following are images taken from videos of my progression over the past two years.  I caputerd screen shots of the approximately the same spot in each turn.  The number of months/years I had been skiing when the video was shot will be shown above each picture.

Three Months

Andrew Ski (March 2008).jpg

Four Months
Andrew Ski (April 2008).jpg

Eight Months
Andrew Ski (August 2008).jpg

One Year
Andrew Ski (February 2009).jpg

Fourteen Months
Andrew Ski (March 2009).jpg

Eighteen Months
Andrew Ski (August 2009).jpg

Two Years
Andrew Ski (February 2010).jpg

There have been significant changes in my skiing over the past two years, but I have a LONG way to go still.

I should be able to post new video within a few days.
post #21 of 40
Nice followup. At three months there is only inclination and no angulation. Edge angles are low. In your two year photo you show great edge angles with lots of angulation. Very nice. Impressive development. Get the new video up for show. I cannot wait.
post #22 of 40
 Aareses, a great big congratulations to you!!!!   

That is a very rare accomplishment for someone with only a couple years of skiing under their belt.  I'm very proud of you.  Your dedicated pursuit of excellence is a vivid demonstration of what can be accomplished with a concentrated focus on skill building.  It's a model for all learning skiers to follow and be inspired by.  I recognized your drive to learn from the moment we began working together.  It was because of what I saw in you I said what I did earlier in this thread about "not betting against you", even though I'm sure attaining level 3 in such a quick time seemed a very remote possibility to most here.

This thread was Aareses's attempt to thank the people here at Epic who have helped him achieve this goal.  It was not a brag thread.  I know this, because I also know he has held back other elements of his accomplishments.  He's a class act.  Well, I'm not going to hold them back, I'm going to brag for him.  Not only did Aareses attain his level 3 pin this season, he also served as a trainer for his ski school, and next season he has accepted a TRAINING DIRECTOR appointment at his ski school.  Just when you thought you couldn't be more impressed, aye?  Look for big things down the road from this young pro.  I can see him making a valuable impact on the organization, as well as the thousands of students the benefits of that impact will touch.  
post #23 of 40
 Way cool!! I am impressed, Aareses. May you inspire many others.
post #24 of 40

It only goes to show how important it is to have a good coach and be prepared to work hard. Good work Rick.

post #25 of 40
Thread Starter 

Below is the link to the video I just compiled.  It was taken exactly two years after I learned to ski.  I have made improvements since then, but it is my latest video taken.  Everything but the bump skiing is reflective of where I was at then.  The bumps that day were very icy in the troughs and the cameraman was new to taking video.  From a full day of video, there were only 11 usable minutes!  There were a lot of good runs on other terrain not captured...a real bummer.

So, without further ado, here was my progression as of three months ago on the video that was actually usable.  The video is available in up to 1080p HD, which is why I did not embed.


post #26 of 40

I've got to say that from my perspective as a novice, that what you've achieved in 2 years is an inspiration!  The videos are great... and give me real pointers as to where I want to be (maybe in 5 years not 2!).  Having only started this year, I still do not understand all the 'tech' talk...but I recognise great skiing when I see it!

No intention of going to PSIA levels (or whatever they do here in Austria)....but I sure as hell want to able to ski like you! Even if I am older
post #27 of 40
Aareses, a great big congratulations to you!!!!   

Quote: Rick
Not only did Aareses attain his level 3 pin this season, he also served as a trainer for his ski school, and next season he has accepted a TRAINING DIRECTOR appointment at his ski school.  Just when you thought you couldn't be more impressed, aye? 
This is really impressive! Just imagine pick up a new sport and be a high level professional in a mere 2 years time!
post #28 of 40

Andrew, great skiing in the video . You set a very good example for others here and proves what Ricks buildingblocks together with hard work can do for a skier.

A side note.... Can you see that there is no difference in short turns and long turns in your technique. Also, boost your bump skiing with proper line selection. It will all come in time.

post #29 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

A side note.... Can you see that there is no difference in short turns and long turns in your technique.


I am not demoing short turns on-piste in this video.  The only shot my short turns that came out is not my video.  It is somewhere on YouTube posted by the guy shooting the video and it wasn't good quality.  I am out of town now supporting the Technical Team Tryouts and attending TD training, so I will have to look later if you really want to see it.  I can assure you my SRT are different from my MRT/LRT!
post #30 of 40
Sorry, I see now that those were medium radius turns on the video. But Im pritty sure that if you carve even tighter turns you would use the same movements. Note, carve. Not skidd. Not short turns as in down the fall line bump skiing short turns. My bad for not being more specific. In this posting I will refer to short turns as SL type carved turns on a r=11m ski.

If you turn short, medium and long radius turns on a SL ski its not the same as turning short radius turns on a SL ski, medium radius turns on a all mountain ski and long radius turns on a GS ski. Every ski has its sweet spot and you should be skiing close to that sweet spot if you want to use the ski to its full potential. You need to do a lot of work in order to get the ski turning properly. In a technical sence you will have to change your strategy for how to turn quicker. You will not have time extending into transition like you are doing in your demos in the videos. Im not ranting you or trying to find blanks in your technique just trying to give you some information you might benefit from. This information might be totally irrelevant for your psia certification.
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