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How to break a stem habit?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My cousin still stems! She has modern skis and boots, but has never gotten rid of that old stem turn habit.

Any suggestions on how I can work with her to get rid of that stem habit will be appreciated. She's about 45, moderately fit, only skis 5-10 days a year. Needless to say, she only skis smooth blue runs.

I realize that it is indeed an habit, deeply ingrained, and that this is going to be a challenge. Ah, the good old days -- when they taught us techniques that we had to un-learn in order to progress.
post #2 of 4

Yes, there are folks out there that still stem. Most of them that I have observed over the years make there turn and then traverse across the hill a ways before making there new turn, and most of the time, this was done in blue terrain.

What is a stem turn? Mechanically it's a two phase procedure. A rotary push off. The skier pushes the new outside ski out and into a turning position, and then pushes off, or transfers there weight from the old outside ski over to the new outside ski. Then the skier steers the outside ski through a rather tight turn, leaving the old outside ski back to get hung up on it's inside edge. This is why the skier must traverse across the hill a ways, to get the what is now the inside ski off it's lock up edge before performing the next stem turn. What a hassle!!!

How can the skier avoid all this hassle? He or she can start by making LARGE radius turns by gently tipping BOTH ankles over into the new turn at the same time. ( A one phase procedure )This will give us a free and gliding inside ski, and not one that's hung up on it's edge. This also gets the CM moving in the new direction of travel before the skis early, a good thing!

Most folks that stem are not a big fan of the fall-line. They are trying to get there skis through that part of the turn as fast as possible. They are trying to slow down before they start. Let them go!!! Use your turn shape at the end of the turn to control the speed, and then dive into the next turn with a big WAHOOO. When the skier learns that the fall-line isn't such a bad thing, that it's your friend, and that they can control the speed at the end of the turn, the stem will disappear, IMHO. ------------Wigs
post #3 of 4
Ken, the advice you got from the previous posters will help you work on your cousin's stem habit, BUT, at the risk of getting chastised by everybody, I'm going to suggest something.

About your cousin: does she make nice rounded turns on those blue runs and only the tails of her skis seperate? How many hours a day does she ski on her once or twice a month outings? Is she willing to spend many, many hours practicing instead of just mosying down the hill? Is she athletic enough and brave enough to ski faster and commit to start a turn without the preceived security of having a fall-back out on the stemmed ski? And so on...

I am putting this forward because as a very occasional skier, it is not a sin for her to stem, especially if it doesn't endager her. I say if many of the things I mentioned above apply, leave her alone.

On the other hand, if she skis as Wigs mentioned, by all means work with her. The previous discussions that Bob linked you to have lots of good advice, if you ignore the nay-sayers

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm glad some one else is old enough to understand what a stem turn is.

As I see it, my cousin's problem with stemming is that it limits her skiing options. The step-stem that she makes is a killer on any and all bumps, fresh stuff, crud, and groomer divots. If I can get her skiing on her edges, it'll open a new world of skiing for her.

I will have to ask her how much she wants to change, of course. I'll visually check her boot alignment, and make sure she doesn't waste the cost of a 1 hour group lesson. I know that'll be no help.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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