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Questions and comments from a (still) beginner

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I’ve managed very few skiing days this season so far, so maybe I’m up to a total of 20 days in my life, since I was first on skis last year. But I got two days this weekend, and I hope you all don’t mind a few comments and some questions from a (still) beginner. Maybe a beginner’s perspective might help some of you in your teaching of us “dorks”. Last Friday was a great day, and here are the friends I made.
I made friends with my new boots. They have broken in, they don’t hurt, and now I feel much more balanced, in control, and in touch with the skis. When the unexpected happens, I don’t fall.
I made friends with my new skis. I tried something that is probably old hat to all of you, but nobody told me. I’ve been trying to get forward on the new outside ski, and pressure the front cuff of the boot and the front of the ski more. This has been hard, because I never felt I could “catch up” with the skis. Finally I realized that rather than trying to move my 170lb body forward, why not try moving the 10 lb ski backward. So I pulled back on the new outside ski at the start of the turn, lightened and tipped the new inside ski, edged the new outside ski, and bingo, turn! No skid, great stability, decent speed, happy quadriceps, big smile. Now, I assume there’s one of two reactions of experts to this. First, pulling back that ski has a technical name, and it’s a good thing. Second, ditto and it’s a bad thing. Comments? Help? Worked for me, but I don’t want to practice a bad habit. My only self-assessment of the day was that on a choppy intermediate run I was faster and more stable than 2/3 of the other skiers there.
I made friends with my age (51; no I don’t feel 51; yes I’m in better shape than at 30). On the lift someone asked if it was weird to start skiing at age 50, and didn’t it seem like it was too late. I responded with a story I heard a week ago. A 50-year old businessman was walking the streets and heard an old jazz musician playing the sax. He was so taken that he asked the man if he could teach him how to play like that. The musician responded “Sure”. The businessman said “How long will it take?”. The musician responded “Ten years”. The business man’s jaw dropped and he said “But it ten years I’ll be 60!!”. To which the musician responded: “And how old will you be in ten years if I don’t teach you?”.
Finally, that evening I made friends with a glass of single malt and my hot tub.

Sunday. Icy snow in the face, fogged-in virtual white-out conditions. Couldn’t see, couldn’t ski worth s**t, nothing felt right, crappy dangerous driving, and I lost my windshield to a maniac trucker kicking up rocks. But it was the best skiing day of my life because I watched my 5-year old (disabled) son come down the “magic carpet” slope in front of his teacher (miracle worker head of ski school – thanks, Dirk), with no hands holding him, with a smile a mile wide on his face. At the bottom (if one can call it that on a 1% grade) we asked “Do you want to go up one more time?”. His faced twisted up in anger and he screamed “NO!!!….FIVE MORE TIMES!!”. His first lesson, and this a kid who couldn’t walk until he was 3, and still needs braces. Now, that’s an epic ski day.
post #2 of 5
Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone....

You have discovered there is more than one way to do things. You are also aware that lessons to help with the correct stuff is important.

Pulling back flexes the ankle, driving your knees forward. Good, okay....however, sometimes you just want "contact" not forward pressure. The newer "shaped" skiis use more lateral movement than forward pressure. The biomechanics of the foot/body reaction enters here, so be careful with what happens to the toes during the "pull back".

This "pull back" that you have done puts the body into a more athletic balanced stance, so you would feel more comfortable in turns and at higher speeds.

Ten years??? Nah. Get some good lessons over a several day period.

What's your goal? If it is to have fun, sounds like you're there already! Keep turning them and getting mileage.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 12, 2002 11:21 AM: Message edited 1 time, by KeeTov ]</font>
post #3 of 5
Congrats SB
Sounds like 2 great days.

you now know what a good turn feels like (and they will not all feel right). The first time it's a breakthrough, then the next time is's "how did I do that?" and as you practice more and more it will be 1 out of 100 turns, then 2 out of 100, ...1 out of 10, ...5 of 10, soon it will be 9 of 10.. and about 1000 "good" turns later it will be part of your muscle memory. Keep up the good work.
post #4 of 5
That does sound like an epic weekend, Bill.

Pulling back the (currently, at the end of a turn) inside ski, so that as it becomes the outside ski, you are standing properly balanced over it, is a wonderful thing! But, as KeeTov said, don't pull it back so hard that you forcefully pressure the front of the boot, but enough that you have good contact with it, and can maintain a fairly constant amount of contact through the turn. Doing this, you'll always be in balance and can adjust the amount of pressure at will. The skis will then be able to do exactly what you ask of them.

That's great to hear your kid is having fun skiing.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
It's interesting to hear those comments. Thanks. It matches my experience, that although I pulled back in order to change the point at which I was pressuring the ski, I felt the result more in terms of overall stability and balance. And the idea that "how do I do that again" is where I am now is right on, because the next day I just flailed away uselessly. I think for now I can get that good turn style going in good conditions, but I'm very much thrown by the bad - not difficult snow, which isn't a problem any more so much - but by poor visibility and lots of traffic. Sunday was really a zoo, and far too many flailing kids and adults were appearing suddenly out of the fog for me ever to feel comfortable. The code changed that day from yielding to those in front to yielding to any idiot approaching from 360 degrees around you. Hopeless.

Thanks again.
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