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Hey, Lisamarie.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lisamrie,in your last post, you mentioned that you approach skiing from a biomechanical approach. Perhaps you can try focusing more on the external forces at play when you ski. Specifically, gravity, momentum, and centrifugal force. Think about letting gravity have it's way with you. You are going to end up at the bottom of the hill anyhow, everytime the score is going to be gravity 1, Lisamarie 0!
Think about the momentum of your center as it flows ahead of your skis at the beginning of a turn. As your skis slow down, if you let your center keep going, you will find yourself perfectly centered in the next turn.
Finally, think about how centrifugal force keeps you from falling on your butt to the inside of the turn. Let your hip fall! The centrifugal force will perfectly counter gravity, making your hip float wieghtlessly through the turn.
What I'm really getting at is that it's not so much what you do, it's what you DON'T do, namely fight these forces. Become "one" with these 3 forces and your skiing will dramatically improve. Hope that helps.
post #2 of 17
"Think about letting gravity have its way with you". Hmmm. Beautifully put! And quite perceptive. In some ways, my fitness background works against me, causing me to "muscle" my turns, rather than give in to them. Thanks!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 17
You may find more of that philosophy in "The Centered Skier", by Denise McLuggage. It's a classic. Also, "Skiing with the Whole Body", by Jack Heggie. I really do appreciate the spirit of the first post above. We intermediates need more of that, just in more detail. Thanks!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oboe, advice like I gave does require that you have the proper movement skills, which I assumed Lisamarie has, because she takes so many lessons! Otherwise, it's not that useful.
post #5 of 17
Oboe: I always knew you were a kindred spirit! You just named 2 of my favorite skiing books. You mention the Jack Heggie book. Do you have Feldenkrais background? Pilates school I am trained by uses a good deal of feldenkrais work.
BTW, Gravity, {capital G} who thus far has been my best ski instructor, is a big fan of The Centered Skier. Since you are in Vermont, you should check him out at Mount Snow!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #6 of 17
Milessb: You're right on!!
Oboe: I love Heggie's book. Does anybody know where Jack is?
Lisamarie: Hope you find the mentor you deserve.
post #7 of 17
According to his last book, Heggie is in Boulder. I have in fact found my mentor.
Thanks for the kind words.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #8 of 17
milesb, your point is well taken - that's what I meant by "more detail". However, I do believe that the thought process is useful from the very beginning.

lisamarie, thank you for that. While I admire Faldenkreis, I am not a practitioner -I just have great respect for the principle. Although I'm an attorney, that was not the start and is not the end of either my intellectual or spiritual journeys. These are subjects I'd like to discuss further. My e-mail is bgreene@law66.com. BTW, I tried some time ago to contact Jack Heggie but got no response. Altough he makes the technique look so obvious and simple, it's not so obvious or simple when you try to use it without any prior training. However, I do believe that this approach should be more widely emulated in skiing - and other pursuits.
post #9 of 17
At the Wellness center I work at in Cambridge, Ma. I am working on a workshop with a Fedenkrais practitioner. It will be a Pilates/ Feldenkrais to ski conditioning. We tried to run it this year, but the center, quite naively, scheduled it for a Saturday afternoon in January. DUH!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #10 of 17
Miles, I've been thinking about what you said, and with thought, it rings truer and truer. When I am on a trail which I consider a bit steep, I feel as if the mountain is "controling me". The same thing happens when hiking. Climbing up is fine. I can control my moves by using strength.
But on the way down, it feels like I'm "being taken against my will". So I fight. Then its a real mess!
I've always had a fear/fascination dilemna with gravity. But perhaps, by acknowledging that, as you said, "gravity will always win",
I can call a truce. And improve my skiing.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lisamarie, you talked about going a little bit faster, and how that helped your skiing. When you go faster, it increases the momentum and centrifugal forces, which makes it easier to counter gravity. Most of the motions that we perform in skiing are for but one purpose- to bring these forces into balance. And to maximize yet another force-friction. The main exception is rotary movement. Rotary movement DECREASES friction and uses muscle power instead of momentum to increase centrifugal force. It is not a "pure " movement, but it is an indispensable part of skiing, due to the sidecut of our skis. Note however, that as you go faster, your rotary movements will disrupt the balance of the external forces to a lesser degree. Thus, if you wait until the last 1/3 of a turn, when all the forces are at a maximum, you can add quite a bit of rotary movement to shorten your turn and control your speed without much interruption of your flow.

BTW. I realize that this is unsolicited advice. But this is my way of sharing what I love about skiing, and I really enjoy helping people experience this kind of skiing. Because I know you're going to love it. I apologize if it comes across as pompous.
post #12 of 17

Just remember that even if you're letting "gravity take you", you're still in control of the SPEED it takes you with!
post #13 of 17
Miles: Pompous??? YOU??? NEVER!!!!
I am thrilled and flattered that you addressed a thread specifically to me. BTW, you are another person who I believe would make an incredible ski instructor.

skiandsb:What you said about my being able to control the "speed at which gravity takes me" is something I'm trying to integrate, on more than just an intellectual level.
I notice you teach at Keystone. I had an awesome instructor there named Ken Wilson. We did alot of work on Garlands, which is a good confidence builder for me, since it makes me aware of how I can always turn my skis uphill if I feel I'm out of control. I should practice that exercise on my own.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #14 of 17
Yeah, Ken's a good instructor - glad you liked your lesson! Sorry if I sounded facetious - I just think that we forget that "letting gravity take us" is something we all do every time we ski down a hill, so we get intimidated by the idea. Obviously speed control is something we're all working on

~Michelle H.
post #15 of 17
Michelle; Facetious? Absolutely not! And you are right. I think we all deal with these issues, to some degree. Maybe women. a bit more? Sometimes its helpful to hear from a female instructor that yeah , okay , its going to happen, but you get to control how fast! Thanks!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited February 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 17
Actually, I think that we can almost try to forget the aspect of "it's going to happen whether you like it or not" and that we should try to aim for:

We WANT it to happen because we are in control of it - and it's easier to ski going WITH the pull of gravity than resisting it!

~Michelle H.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
It's important to remember that the force of gravity is toward the center of the Earth. It does more than just pull us down the hill. It slows our skis when they are going across the hill, pulls our hips to the inside of the turn, and presses our skis to the snow. On most slopes, those effects are much stronger than the downward pull. Think about how quickly your skis come to a stop when you carve even slightly uphill. If you were on skis that had no sidecut, and you pointed them downhill and fell to the side at the same time, your hips would fall the 3 feet ( or however long your legs are) to the ground before the skis went down the hill 3 feet. I don't recommend that you try this, but think about it! So it takes only a little bit of momentum and friction to make the skis come across the hill, but alot of centrifugal force to keep from falling over. And indeed, centrifugal force is what we feel the most in a turn.
We control these other forces through edging, rotation and body position. These forces add or decrease the different effects of gravity, depending upon the phase of the turn.
In the first third of the turn, we rely on our momentum to carry our center from a position uphill relative to the skis to a position downhill relative to our skis.
This is why it is so important to start a run by going as straight down the fall line as possible and then letting your skis carve across the hill. That way the center will have enough momentum to do this easily. Here we add to the effect of gravity pulling us down the hill.
In the second third of the turn, due to the sidecut of the skis, we rely on centrifugal force to keep from falling too far to the inside. Here we decrease the effect of gravity pulling our hips to the inside, while surrendering to the pull down the hill.
In the last third of the turn, we rely on friction to deflect our momentum across the hill. Here we decrease the effect of pulling down the hill, while adding to the effect of gravity holding our skis to the snow. We do this by angulating so that the upper body is closer to the skis, thus putting more weight directly downwards ( toward the center of the Earth) on them.
So, you see, when I say let gravity have it's way with you, I really mean it!
That's it for now, off for a week in Mammoth.

BTW, I'm not talking about really steep stuff here.
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