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Skating

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Can someone describe how to skate or point me to a description or a video? I've asked this in lessons several times when the instructor asks "what do you want to learn today" and each time I have gotten a twenty second demonstration (not nearly enough..).
post #2 of 13
Here's a video of cross country skate skiing.  With alpine skis the movements are essentially the same, except your heels don't come up in the bindings.



Hope this gives you an idea of the movements.  It is the same as pushing off while on skates, both ice and roller.

Here's the move on Alpine Skis.


This adds in skating through a turn.  But you should get the idea.
post #3 of 13
Skating is a very good learning tool for most of us. I teach it before I teach any other sliding with both skis  because it has so much nice skiing  movement  for a simple task . The task is simple but the movements needed to do them well are fundamentals of good skiing and to put it all together isn't as simple as walking but it's the alpine equivalent.
It's good to be clear with your instructor if you have something you want to learn like skating. I ask my people what they wish to learn or gain from instruction and this would be a good time for you to do just that. It would be good for the whole class if in groups anyway.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmpph View Post

Can someone describe how to skate or point me to a description or a video? I've asked this in lessons several times when the instructor asks "what do you want to learn today" and each time I have gotten a twenty second demonstration (not nearly enough..).

what happens when you try?
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post

Here's a video of cross country skate skiing.  With alpine skis the movements are essentially the same, except your heels don't come up in the bindings.


Hope this gives you an idea of the movements.  It is the same as pushing off while on skates, both ice and roller.

Here's the move on Alpine Skis.


This adds in skating through a turn.  But you should get the idea.

 


Note the heels only come up when picking the ski up---good skating is done off the heels, not the toes.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmpph View Post

Can someone describe how to skate or point me to a description or a video? I've asked this in lessons several times when the instructor asks "what do you want to learn today" and each time I have gotten a twenty second demonstration (not nearly enough..).

It sounds like you've tried skating and had some difficulty, which is very common.  It does take a while the get the hang of it, but sometimes the problems are more with your equipment than with your movements.

It can be awkward to skate in some rental equipment.  If you're in rental boots that are too big, your feet can swim around in the boot making it difficult to hold an edge to push off of and also to balance on it.  If you feel your feet have any sort of "wiggle room" in any direction, try to swap for snugger fitting boots.  Tell the rental folks in what way the boot was too big -- too long, too wide in the forefoot, wide in the ankle, big air gap over the instep, etc.  It's very common for rental boots to be too big or just the wrong fit, especially if they hand you a pair of boots based on your street shoe size without checking how they fit when you stand in them.

Alignment can also be an issue in rental gear.  If in snug-fitting boots on very flat terrain you can't ski straight on one flat ski (with the other lifted just off the snow and dragging both poles very lightly in the snow for safety) or can't traverse across the hill on your big toe (inside/uphill) edge (with the uphill ski lifted just off the snow and poles ready again if needed) after a few tries, then it will be difficult to skate because the rental gear isn't aligned in the right way to allow your skeleton to balance naturally on the gear.  (It may make you stand a little bow-legged or knock-kneed, i.e. "unaligned.")   A better rental outlet with a variety of boots may be able to find you a boot that matches your alignment better if the needed tweak is small.  If you find a rental boot that you balance well in, remember it and the rental outlet's name for your next trip.

One thing you may have noticed in the videos above is that the skaters were patient in their movements.  It's much harder to learn to skate if you rush the movements.  This is where alignment and a well-fitting boot come in.  The better you can balance on one ski -- that's what you do in skating -- the more patient you can afford to be and the more the skis will do all of the work.

Learning to skate takes some persistence, but it's sure easier than poling all the way to the lift line or through the flats.  Good Luck!
post #7 of 13
Sharpedges has very good info about the boot fit.  If the boots are too big, take them back and get a smaller shell size.  Half sizes are made by thicker or thinner padding in the boot.

Start by skating with just one foot.  Going across a gentle hill, let the uphill ski just ride on the snow and make the skating push-away movement with the downhill ski, feeling how the inside edge of the ski engages the snow.  Coast along as far as you can, then bring the downhill foot close to your other leg and make another skating movement.  Try this both ways across the hill.  After a bit of this, go to a gentle downslope and skate using both feet.  Glide as far as you can, bring the foot in close, than engage the inside edge and push away.  When you're starting a new stroke, it might feel like bringing the foot close engages the outside edge of the ski for just a moment before the ski is pushed away and the inside edge engages the snow.  That's good.  The usual beginner mistake is to keep the feet too far apart when starting the stride.  Bring it in close, engage it on the snow, and stride.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses. To clarify, I am not on rental gear. I was fitted by a guy in a store, the fit probably isn't that great because I was really money conscious (barely have enough money to pay for my education next semester) and that was before I discovered this forum (or any forum about skiing) so I did not really know what to look for. The guy was very adamant about sizing, he told me over and over for about half hour that a particular boot was too big for me until I agreed to go with a smaller boot. That was probably a good choice. I do not know about other stuff and not totally sure whether he knew about it or not (the ski's were several times cheaper than the boots, so I guess I followed that recommendation ok, even though I had not known about that then).

I tried emulating the videos today and found that I couldn't do it nearly the way it's on there. In the videos, it looks like the part behind the heel of the ski that's being used to push off lands just next to the ski already on the snow. In my version, the ski lands on the other ski and that's a disaster.

What happens when I try? If the slope is at all downward, I can make myself go faster and push off. I need to try it at 0 degrees, I don't think I did that today. Going up gentle slopes, like from the lift to some actual slope, I get nowhere, just basically stand in one spot.

SoftSnowGuy, I will try that the next time I go skiing (hopefully tomorrow [minor edit: after seeing that rollback testing video and the weather here tomorrow, snow, I am not sure I want to go. Driving over an hour in the snow with "all weather" tires and no chains is not a terrible amount of fun; guess I will decide tomorrow]).
Edited by hmpph - 12/18/09 at 8:38pm
post #9 of 13
This may sound obvious, but how are you on ice skates? Can you glide along at a slow cadence, with very long gliding strides? Say, 15 or 20 feet on each stride, with the other foot off the ice, consistently, in comfortable balance? If you can't do this, it's not surprising that you're having trouble doing it on skis, given the additional awkwardness and weight of alpine ski gear. If you have easy access to a place to skate, I suggest a couple sessions of practice there, until you really get the hang of camping out on one foot at a time, committing ALL your weight to that foot, and only switching to the other when you feel like it (not because you lose your balance). Then go back to your skis and try again. Hope this helps.
post #10 of 13
I learned to skate with nordic skate skis and this is still one of my most favorite sports.  The motion on alpine skis is similar.  When learning to skate, my instructor always had me lightly touch my heels together when switching from one ski to another.  It provides a bit of swing momentum in bringing that next ski forward for the glide.  Also as sharpedges said, being able to balance on one ski and let it glide is really important.  Your weight is back more on your heels when skating; I think a lot of alpine skiers make the mistake of trying to keep the weight more towards their toes.
post #11 of 13
One way to practice skating is by herringbone climbing uphill.    Has anyone shown you how to herringbone?

Quote:
I tried emulating the videos today and found that I couldn't do it nearly the way it's on there. In the videos, it looks like the part behind the heel of the ski that's being used to push off lands just next to the ski already on the snow. In my version, the ski lands on the other ski and that's a disaster.

It's not a push.   

Think of it as climbing stairs instead: the long leg (what you call pushing leg)  on the lower step  is simply supporting the weight as it's being transferred forward to onto the short leg (gliding) that's being put on the upper step.

The short leg, in becoming the -next- long leg, is what does the work (along with your core).


From your quote it sounds like you're making a big V out of your skis.   That's OK but don't forget to step *forward* onto the next "stairstep" as you bring the ski down.    From your quote, it sounds like you're bringing both feet together on the _same_  "stairstep". 
Edited by comprex - 12/21/09 at 3:53am
post #12 of 13
I have good luck with my little guys with the following. 

"Walk like a gorilla"

Lean forward - arms hanging down - then "walk" like king kong or a splay footed T-Rex.  Swing your arms slowly from side to side while transferring weight from one foot to the other.

Make the "ooh ooh  - ahhh -ahhh noises too.  It helps.
post #13 of 13
Effective skating relies on your center of mass (COM) being put into motion in the direction of travel.  I often use a progression of skating that I take people through to develop their ability to move in the direction of travel.

I begin the progression by asking my student to skate on flat terrain, demonstrating that the COM must be moved along the length of the ski that is being stepped on to.  Because the terrain is flat, there is not a large commitment of the COM required to skate with a bit of a glide.

Once the student has flat terrain "mastered," I will seek out a slight uphill grade and ask them to skate up hill and create a slight glide on the new ski as they skate.  In order to accomplish this, the student must be committed to moving the COM in the direction of travel in order to create enough momentum to glide. 

After they get the hang of skating up hill with a glide, we then turn and skate down a gentle grade using the same committed movement of the COM.

It is often when the student moves the COM too vertically and not in the direction of travel that they step on the "push off" ski or the ski that they are stepping from.  Hope this helps.

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