or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Staying centred

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Can anyone help. Give me crud or good old southern hemisphere wet heavy powder (I know, a contradiction in terms)on any slope no matter how steep and I can nail it. Give me hard pack or ice on any slope (even a green run)and I wave goodbye to my wife as she rips off down the hill and I try to find an edge in total panic. I am a good skier. Skied with Geoff Zell many years ago when he was world number 2 extreme and could keep up anywhere. He suggested I muscled my skiing rather than having a stable centred approach. He felt it was my size (6'1" - 230lbs - plenty of gym enhanced muscle)that was my problem. Can anyone of a similar build give me any ideas on how they got over the muscle approach and got their butt centred. My approach works but I am knackered by lunch time and can't keep up with my wife when it gets hard under foot.
post #2 of 18
Well... I'm not the same body type as you, but I am sort of strong and a little bit muscular.. A certain {ahem} instructor has commented that teaching me was akin to teaching a group of pro football players. So I guess if I ski like a GROUP of prop football players, then we end up with the same body type.

Anyway, I muscle my turns also. But another kiwi has told me that you do the same type of stability training that I do.
Try this: The next time you ski, visualize someone having a string on your center of gravity, pulling you down the hill. Its just an image, but it takes your mental emphahsis off your quads, and puts it on your core. Another visualization: Pretend that you are water flowing down the mountain [grasshopper]. Okay, okay, its corny, but it works!
Finally, keep in mindthe sequenceofthe kinetic chain. be sure you are iniating the moves from your ankles. If it comes from the knees,its too easy for muscle heads lkie us to overuse the quads. Make sure your edging is simultaneous, as opposed to sequential, otherwise your quads will go into overdrive to regain stability. Also as the same above mentioned instructor says, be sure you are not edging too quickly,or in a jerky manner. Allow your feet to caress the snow, and your body to surrender to gravity.
Hope this helps. {and that is NOT sarcastic!}

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 18

First things first. How sharp are those edges. You need edge grip to ski the hard pack, and the only way to have that is sharp edges.

Next, I am about your size and wieght, and ski Michigan hard pack all the time, in fact we don't get much powder. True at 230 pounds we both will accelerate faster to a higher speed more quickly, so it is very important to get as much edge on the snow as possible to maintain control. That means both the downhill inside edge and the uphill outside edge.

Second, since you are able to handle the crud and the deep stuff so well, then you already know about equal weighting of your skis. Staying centered involves a neutral and relaxed stance. Also, understand, that a single black diamond slope under good conditions, moves up a couple of notches in difficulty under icy conditions.

Third, once you have found your relaxed balance point and are skiing on skis with all edges very sharp, it is time to ski with finese. Less is more.....Less is more ! When you feel you are loosing your edge and or grip on the snow, that is a signal it is time to turn. You need to build confidence, so doing subtle step turns until you are in fact comfortable on hard pack, is a good place to begin. A step turn involves lessening the pressure on your downhill inside edge, and making a conscientous effort to "gradually" engage the up hill ski, inside edge. Once engaged, now move the down hill ski next to the newly engaged uphill ski, and tip this downhill ski towards the little toe side. Both skis should have their edges engaged, and the turn should be initiating on its own. Relax and let the turn happen. There will be some normal skidding, but you should still be in control, so get used to it. Practice, as you know will lead to proficiency.

I am assuming that you are on shaped skis. If so, you can learn more about this by visiting: harbskisystems.com.

And finally, think about the idea that you are skiing on eggs when skiing icy hard pack. If you apply too much pressure, too quickly, you are going to brake some eggs, and you don't want to do that.

Less is more, so again look at Lisamarie's remarks above.

The problem now is that you have so much to think about, so take it one step at a time.... and to you, and the rest of the "blokes" down under........

Happy Skiing !!!!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by wink (edited June 18, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by wink (edited June 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 18
Although I'm not quite as big, at 6'2", 200 (actually, I'm in the low 190's now, but was 200 for the last 8 years), I kind of know your dilemma. It's easier for us bigger folk to push that loose snow around. But when we get on hard pack, our weight woks against us, rather than for us.

I would probably bet a couple of nickles (US) that your problem is that you are turning with your tails, rather than guiding the tips of the skis. You'll commit your mass, laterally into the turn, then slide the tails around to make the turn happen. The style of skiing that you are doing works just fine for loose snow. But once you start skiing ON the snow, rather than IN the snow, your technique needs to change. The advantage to learning to guide the tips is that this technique also works in loose snow, and takes considerably less effort in soft conditions than pushing the skis around. This is why Mrs Kiwi is able to handle both conditions - she hasn't learned to muscle the loose snow around, because she doesn't have the mass to do it.

Obviously, my strongest suggestion is to find an instructor that can show you what you are doing, vs what you need to be doing, but I'll throw out one exercise you can try that may work.

Go out on a good hard-packed trail, following about 1/4 turn behind Mrs Kiwi (maybe 5 meters or so). Start out just having her make nice medium radius turns at a consistant speed. Your goal is to keep the tips of your skis pointing at the tails of her skis. Do NOT let your skis point in front of the Mrs. As long as you don't fall too far behind her, you will notice that you will stop swinging the tails of your skis around, but will be guiding them into the turns. As you start to get comfortable with this, have Mrs Kiwi start making turns that are a little less predictable, by changing the size, speed, shape of the turns. But she should try to remain smooth. Also try it on steeper slopes. You can also try it in soft snow, because it works there too.

One of the keys to being able to do this, will be to get your skis up on the new turning edges early in the turn.

post #5 of 18
Lisa Marie is close to being correct; the base of the kinetic chain are the feet. Sharp edges are mandatory. A close stance and lightened inside ski will help to get more pressure on the big toe edge of the outside ski.

Start all movements with the feet. Try this on a green slope from a narrow stance, moving down the fall line: raise the arch of your inside foot so that it is facing your outside boot. Feel your center of mass slowly tip into the center of the turn. Without any movement on your part, the outside ski will follow. The only movement on your part is the raising of the arch.

If you want more clarification on this and other primary movements, do as Wink suggested. Go to: http://www.harbskisystems.com

post #6 of 18
A book I think you would enjoy is called the Centered Skier by Denise Mccluggage.

Part of the issue may be the many years that you, like myself spent doing heavy duty strength training. Even though you are doing alot more stability training now, you tend to trust your body's strength, more than its ability to stay centered. But as others above have pointed out, the over use of strength can put you in a misaligned position.

Then I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill..

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #7 of 18
Lots of good info above. I've tried all that stuff. Depending on what kind of learner you are, one of the suggestions above should work.

Question for JohnH and others of you that rollerblade.
Will blading or skating help? As I learn more and more about how to blade I see that most of the turning on my skates is accomplished by tipping and steering. I can't just "push my tails" around. I also find I really have to stay "centered" fore and aft or I either end up on my butt or falling on my hands and knees. Any large movements cause instability so most of the balance movements are done via small adjustments in the feet.

Also JohnH would skiing (on very easy hills) with your upper boot buckles loose help. I would think you would have a hard time pushing the heels around if you didn't have the rigid support all the way up your calf. Wouldn't this force you off your tails and more centered? (reason I single you out is when we skied together, one of your buddies mentioned the boots exercise for balance correction and getting out of the back seat)
post #8 of 18
Thanks BobB
I had not thought about the risk factor. I guess it would make a big difference if there was only a slight balance problem and the skier was already a fairly good skier and was trying to fix something small. I guess we WON'T be trying that one soon.
post #9 of 18
I concurr with what Bob has laid out for you. The inline transfer is very analogous as well. Most of the people who suffer the results you describe do tend to do so as a result of that lateral/bracing/breaking movement and actively over pressuring.
As with the inline skate the movement is along the intended arc. If you push a knife down on a tomato it blows apart move the knife forward it slices!
post #10 of 18
Bob B,

It appears that we are very similar in how we describe a turn; we say it differently. And your description requires a far more subtle execusion than mine. I have found that asking a student to lift and tip the inside ski generates some concern. Raising the arch seems to work better for me.


Bob refers to "letting go." This is where most recreational skiers have problems. Letting go or releasing refers to the same thing; letting go of the old turn. This is the very first thing that starts a new turn. There are a few ways to accomplish release. I would suggest just relaxing you old outside leg to allow the ski to go flat. Then start to tip toward the little toe edge as Bob suggests.

I agree with Bob that it is going to feel really strange. Once after you have mastered what Bob has suggested, you will be skiing much longer, because what we have been suggesting is a far more efficient way to ski. I had to learn to ski efficiently to extend my skiing career. I have two trashed knees that ought to be replaced. At 66 years old,I can still ski five hours a day with students and take a couple of bump runs just for fun.

Rick H<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited June 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #11 of 18

I think you and Bob really agree more than you realize. BobB in all my reading of his stuff never said to lift the inside ski or lighten the ski but to tip it to the little toe side. If Bob has told anyone to lift the inside ski (except as a specific exercise) I sure can't remember it. Thanks for the clarification on the different terminology. Sometimes I think we get caught up in my way, their way instead of what works for the instructor/student..
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Wow.! You have no idea how much I appreciate the information. It is hard to believe, being so far away, how easily you guys have been able to analyse my problems. I almost feel violated (but in a good way). The braking thing in particular is me to a tee along with tail skiing. I am constantly looking to lock in that edge to slow me down. My ski's are fine. Volkl Vertigo G30 with very sharp edges. I am going to print off these messages and look up the texts you all have suggested. I may have to find another mountain to practice at. I ski at Treble Cone in Wanaka New Zealand which is only about 20% groomed so it will be a bit of a job finding enough flat and free space to practice. (lift accessed backcountry style terrain, what a pain - 'NOT') We should be skiing any day soon. Just need a bit more snow. Actually I remember one thing I did last year that helped a lot and that was standing tall. Until I saw myself ski on video for the first time last year I never realised how much I squated up and down during turns and stuck my butt out. This also got my feet back underneath me for better balance and much faster weight transfer. I'll keep you informed on progress and seek clarfication on any abiguity. I am bit nervous about sweet turns with no braking but should ba able to handle it. Hey Wink. I will certainly remember not to break the eggs. If anyone is going to be skiing Fernie or Big Mountain in the first week of march next year they can come and critique mt technique while I try to keep up with my wife (unless it is deep powder in which case she will be way behind.) I'll check in with a progress report as soon as it snows and I give some of this advice a go. Lisamarie. I will let you know how finally having a very functional TVA will impact also. It has fixed everything else so why not this.

Cheers guys. Must learn how to put those smiley faces on these messages to show my pleasure.
post #13 of 18

Ditto what they said.

One thing I'll throw in. Skiing with the boots unbuckled can make some people go too far forward, and the tails of the skis get so loose that they skid with little control. Plus, it's harder to maintain a good edge. If you want to try it (I do it once in a while, sometimes even with students if I think it will help), do it on an easy, uncrowded hill. If you want to take it to a slightly more challenging hill, the just buckle the boots more loosly than you normally would. Don't unbuckle them.
post #14 of 18
Bob Barnes,
Your comments in this thread have done a lot for me in understanding what to do with the inside ski. In your book, in the section on carving, you state, "To carve, I pull my inside ski tip into the turn." I've seen this interpreted by others as pulling the ski back, in previous threads. I've had problems getting my inside ski on its outside edge this past season. It seems now that the correct movement is a rotary, or twisting one, rather than a pulling one. If so then I should be able to work this out on rollerblades, as dchan suggests. Am I over interpreting what you said in this thread? By the way, as I practice this move on carpet, it appears that weighting the outside foot tends to stabilize the upper body, preventing some of the upper body rotation.
post #15 of 18
Sounds like you interpret it just right. There was a lot going on about the pull the inside foot/ski back but I think that was more about "tip/ski lead" than initiating a turn or changing the shape of the turn. Good luck on the rollerblades. I have found that If I do it right on the blades it works real good. if I goof up, instant "whohh - - - flop" I'll get it some day...
post #16 of 18
LOL dchan... yeah, and I have the grass stains to prove it... bailout on the side of the path! Works, though! Balance on in-lines is a bit tricker...

Pulling the inside foot back, mid to the end of the turn, has a very neat effect, cranks the turn tighter. Corkscrew turn.

It's late, I'm babysitting a server rebuild, and I'm hanging out... more coffeeee puuleeese...

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com
post #17 of 18
twoKiwis says:
> I ski at Treble Cone in Wanaka New Zealand which

Great spot! Only place I've ever been where the fun skiing was accessed by fixed grip double to t-bar to snowcat. Those chutes and natural half pipes are huge fun.

> Actually I remember one thing I did last year that helped a lot and
> that was standing tall. Until I saw myself ski on video for the first
> time last year I never realised how much I squated up and down during
> turns and stuck my butt out

I always fight that myself. I have to remind myself all the time to keep my chin up and not bend at the waist. I don't think that has much to do with feeling comfortable on firm conditions, though.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
GeoffD, not sure when you were there last, but the Saddle Basin area over the back now has a T bar and a double chair so there is no need for the snow cat any more. The natural half pipes are always a lot of fun. The latest trail map link below.

The front side of the field now has a 6 seater from bottom to top. The double chair got moved to the Saddle basin. The trail map does not do the basin area justice, as it is reasonably big area.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching