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The most common problem that holds skiers back?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I say that it is skiing in the backseat. Doing so makes it impossible for good technique to work, necessitating a strong rotary movement (upper body, most likely) to break the skis loose to make them come around. But what do I know? :
post #2 of 51
Here are my TWO views on it. (since you asked)

First human response to falling down hill.

They pull back. They will fall into the hill while attempting a traverse or lean too much on the uphill ski in steep terrain. This is the first beginers mistake and one of the paradox of skiing that you have to NOT lean away from that feeling of falling down the hill but GO with it. Or position your body into the fall line. (these same issues are discovered again in the STEEP, lets say 50degree steep and an experienced skier that does not ski the steep often, for that matter at 50 degree steep you got to get off the tails just to stand up and out from the hill!)

Second, momentum / balance. Sking is dynamic therfore it is constantly changing. As the ski moves through the material (snow, ice, sand, water, sierra cement, sun crust or whatever.)
there are changes which the body CM must adjust to. In some cases as the ski speeds up we do not GO with it. We are left behind and if no adjustment is made we are ultimatly thrown out the back door.
Some will say equipment like too stiff a boot yada yada yada, but movement and balance adjustment to that movement is the root.



Now the question of a BALANCED MIND well that is another subject!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 10, 2001 01:13 PM: Message edited 3 times, by Dr.GO ]</font>
post #3 of 51

You're right. All to often do I see people sitting way to far back on their skis. One way to solve this problem is softer boots, BUT, softer boots aren't going to help anyone if they don't have proper stance/balance first. I alway use the analogy: If you were playing basket ball and you're teammate passed you the ball, how are you going to catch it? Try it some time, then stop and look at how your body is positioned. Hands out infront, knees slightly bent, feet shoulder width apart, on the balls of your feet, head up and looking forward, etc... One thing that many many people neglect is hand positioning. This will make all the difference in the world. Don't keep them at your sides. Get them up and out in front of you. This will also help get your ass off the tails of your skis. Don't think that I mean your arms should be straight out in front of you. No, they should be up and out but at a comfortable position. Maybe shoulder width apart, maybe more, maybe less. Every one has a different center of gravity.

post #4 of 51
Cera F: That's called the athletic ready position.
post #5 of 51
I gotta say alignment issues. Very few people have straight legs,ie the second toe lines up with the center of the patella. In other word, most people are knock kneed or bowlegged. The problem is these people cannot ride a flat ski. It inhibits finding the little toe edge or the big toe edge. So, the result is the knock kneed person is always riding the big toe edge and is not able to get rid of a wedge entry. And the bowlegged person rides the little toe edge and frequently catches the outside edge. All of this can be corrected by a competent alignment specialist.

A lot of the back seat problems are caused by rear entry boots. The boot act as a cst and prohibits proper ankle articulation. Another boot problem is too much forward lean. Also a knock kneed person fitted to a rotary boot and a bowlegged person fitted to a lateral boot. These boot prblems can be solved by a competent boot specialist. If a person knows that they are knock kneed or bowlegged (and most people have a good idea), seek out a highly competent boot specialist. Most ski shops do not have that caliber of fitters.
post #6 of 51
I would agree that skiing in the back seat is the one of the common problems holding skiers back. Another is the lack of confidence to release the old outside ski (PMTS capitalized on this issue). Another one is using equipment that is too advanced (skis too stiff or too long, boots too stiff).

But the most common problem, without a doubt, is lack of on-snow time. With many skiers doing less than a week of skiing per year, they will forever remain average (even if they get 1-2 days of instruction per year). Let's face it, we have to practice what we learn until it becomes second nature. Knowing about technique or understanding what we do wrong is not enough.
post #7 of 51
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
Cera F: That's called the athletic ready position.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


It is also called the Lara Croft syndrome!

Geeeezzzz, would I like to get BEHIND the wheel of that one!
post #8 of 51

Fear of Falling, Fear of Failing, Fear of Loss of Face, Fear of Inadequate Performance,
a multitude of fears that we can think of.

It seems we are all talking about SYMPTOMS, not causes. Why do people lean back, why do they not use and appreciate all the great technique we show them??
Technique is relatively easy to convey. It is far, far more difficult to cultivate an environment in which a student is eager to learn, willing to 'give it a go', where 'failure' does not exist, where the student sees possibilities not problems.
We have all witnessed this scenario:

Student: "wow, that is STEEP!"
Instructor: "nah, it's not really steep, you
can handle it!"

Think of this: Fear of falling is definitely in play. The instructor has created an expectation of performance (you can handle it). A double whammy, the poor student has had his/her reasonable fear of a new steeper
slope dismissed, and, his/her fear of failing
exacerbated, and the possibility of adequate performance (in the student's eyes), impossible. The result? Learning paralysis, loss of trust in the instructor, loss of the joy of skiing on the part of the student. Loss of the student as a client to the instructor/ski school.

I like to think, and remind myself very often: "We are not teaching skiing, we are teaching PEOPLE".
post #9 of 51
"Yes it is steep. You have refined your movements to a very high degree. I will go down two turns first and coach you down, one turn at a time. With my help, I know you can master this slope" What have I done here? First, I have displayed confidence in the student. I am not going to run off and leave the student. Let's solve this problem one step at a time. I am here to help. With my help, the student will master the run.

What does this dialog display? I care about the student's safety. I have confidence in the students ability. I am in this with the student and we will see through together. And lastly, I care for the student. I have built a relationship with the student to gain the student's trust. It is my contention that instrucors must build trust with students in order to have success. The days of "Do it my way" are over, if we want to be successful.
post #10 of 51
Fear and Genetics.
post #11 of 51
Skiswift and Rick, AWESOME comments! At The Loaf, instructors will take students up to stepper terrain, but prior to skiing the trail, they remind them of what skills they already have that can help them get down.

BTW, the fear of losing face can be a good deal worse then the fear of falling on your face!
post #12 of 51

What I am going to say is veery "old school" and I hope that I don't get beat up too badly.

One of the greatest fears is falling forward so, students naturally gravitate to the "back seat". One of the things that I DEMONSTRATE ......... and tell them NOT to try ......... I lean totally forward with all of the pressure on the front of my boots and extended the poles out from my sides. You can place all your weight on the front of those boots and NOT come out of the bindings and get VERY far forward (and down)....

I am very clear that this is a demonstration of how the equipment works...... so that they won't be afraid of forward pressure and come SPROOOOINGING out, catapulted into a nice face plant...... because that is the root of that fear.

This is one that you have to try. Maybe some of the more seasoned pros can give you some reasons why NOT to do this. Yes, I do still have some fear that someday I won't be clicked in right and will end up eating "snow and crow" in front of a class.... but, so good so far.

The other, perhaps the most common problem is that they attempt to turn with lean and shoulder and rotation instead of edging and pressure.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 07, 2001 04:57 PM: Message edited 1 time, by yuki ]</font>
post #13 of 51
Lisamarie- a great motto by which I teach (one of many!) :
Teach new skills on old terrain!!
The response to steeper terrain is often gender specific-women are far more comfortable in expressing trepidation, men tend to macho it out, which is a real barrier to learning. Women are such fun to teach! A generalisation, I know, but I am sticking with it. And, it is MY generalisation based on teaching 1000s of people of all sexes!
post #14 of 51
I like what Tom B says. Well, the others say good stuff too.

I think he really nailed it. "Lack of snow time". I mean, ya can't get better if you don't practice...

Then I'd vote for lousy instruction, or lack there of.
post #15 of 51
Rick I would agree with alignment being important, However I would have to say that the alignment that you speak of is "old School". Sorry i just had to get that off my chest.

The comments about fear and balance are probably the most important. The two are so interdependent on oneanother. Being in proper skiing balance requires learning and understanding.

By the way all this pro pmts stuff smacks of a cult. Skiing is skiing, Harold does not ski any different than good skiers in PSIA. The only difference is his patience level. He could not wait till PSIA decided to make him King. Much like osama bin ladden. Maybe we should call harold "osama bin harb"?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 07, 2001 08:11 PM: Message edited 1 time, by mosh ]</font>
post #16 of 51
Without getting into the specifics of alignment, etc. would you say that a major problem is boots, bindings and skis that are simply inappropriate to the specific person?
post #17 of 51
Oh. I forgot balance. What holds skiers back is that they never learn to balance.

If they learn/train to balance, they have much more confidence in tougher terrain.

I know in my case, practicing balance has made the biggest difference.
post #18 of 51
Excellent point about balance, SCSA! For me, it made a definite difference, having tried to learn once, about 13 years ago. I was a total fitness maniac at the time, but with no balance skills. Did not last a day!

But looking at all the excellent points that everybody has been making, I wonder how much all these factors are interelated. Someone may be in the backseat because they have fear, but that fear can be made worse by the fact that they are either out of alignment, have no balance skills, are using the wrong equipment or have not spent enough time on the snow practicing. Add, in some, but not all cases, poor instruction, and you may have some problems.
post #19 of 51

I think we're starting to define (or confirm) how skiing should/shouldn't be taught, aren't we?

1) We know traversing is dead end, so is the wedge.

2) We know balance is important - probably the most important.

3) We know what the primary movements are.

4) We know how humans learn.

5) We know alignment can help (although I will add I'm not near as bullish on it as I once was. I'm thinking skills and balance training are way more important).

So, then you just work backwards from here, right?
post #20 of 51
Thread Starter 
Yuki, I'm not sure if it's old school. If you can't get a student out of the backseat, it's NOSCHOOL! Besides, that exercise should give them an idea of what it is going to feel like when they ski something STEEP. Gee, I sound like Dr. Go, don't I? [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #21 of 51
Simple, lack of financial resources.
post #22 of 51
The most common problem that holds skiers back...

...is thinking of turns as a way to control speed!

Most of the problems identified above can be directly connected to skiing with a defensive attitude, thinking of turns as a means to "stop going this way," instead of as a way to "GO that way." Why do you turn in a car?

The "back seat" is, after all, the correct place to be for balance when the brakes are on!

INTENT governs movements. Many times when we see students who appear out of balance, or who have "difficulty" releasing the edges and turning the tips downhill to start a turn, the problem is NOT technical. It is NOT due to lack of skill. It is due to an intent that is not appropriate for good turns. Change the intent--and the technique changes instantly and effortlessly.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #23 of 51
Bob, this is exactly the issue I see in tennis: intent. When I am playing well, it is because I WANT the ball, which in turn makes my feet move and makes my body go forward, which enables the proper technique. When I am not playing well, I play as if I am scared of the ball, and I let it hit me. My feet stop, I lean back, and I take the punishment rather than administer it.

I see the same analogy holds for skiing. I love it.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 08, 2001 04:07 PM: Message edited 1 time, by segbrown ]</font>
post #24 of 51
Thread Starter 
Change the intent--and the technique changes instantly and effortlessly.

Is it really that simple?
post #25 of 51
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by milesb:
Change the intent--and the technique changes instantly and effortlessly.

Is it really that simple?

I think it might be. Certainly I remember when I got over my fear of going "downhill" (putting on the brakes), I became a much better skier.

My friends who have never gotten over the hump of WANTING to go down the hill, never improved -- they're forever intermediate.
post #26 of 51
SCSA hit it. The major hold back in skiing is the lack of balance development. End of story!
post #27 of 51
I like the analogy between the driver of a car and the driver of a pair of boards (or one board) and the intent to GO.

I also think that controlling how you drive around a corner is important, and that we should take care that we not mislead ourselves that velocity is what it's all about. I want to let off on the gas a bit as I enter the curve and put some pressure on the gas as I come out. The objective is to hold the line.

I am reminded of a teaching: if you don't know where you're going, any road'll get you there. If my only objective is to get down the hill as fast as possible, I should do a straight run in a tuck.
post #28 of 51
just to throw my two cents in;
I agree, balance issues are number 1.

Some great ideas on this post, I especially love the one below, although I'm with milesb on his response as well.

"Change the intent--and the technique changes instantly and effortlessly."BB

"Is it really that simple?"milesb

The words make a clean point, but I'm afraid there is still work to be done. With the youth coming back to skiing and and bringing fat skis and fearlessness, I'm afraid I still see good skiers out of balance, and still mostly back. Even straightlining (not putting on the brakes or wanting to slow down, by any means), some of these skiers are back. There intent is speed and going somewhere, but there refinement is not there yet. They still need solid skills and practice. Anyway, I hate taking issue with Bob, because he's so solid and persuasive, but I have to do it again. Even so, I agree that INTENT is the first step, just not the only one (instantly?).

post #29 of 51
A guess from a totally self taught skier:

Initiating turns by twisting the shoulders, arms, and torso then as a result of that initiating movement, steering the outside ski while supporting the torso twisting with the comfortable and stable stance of two balanced spread stemmed skis. In other words they don't initiate turns dynamically with their whole body.

I try and get self learning novice skiers to keep their arms out front, head straight ahead, without all that upper torso twisting and with a mental awareness similar to walking and hop jumping. That lets all their natural abilities to walk and jump come into play. -dave
post #30 of 51
for me, it is my fore/aft balance. I ski too far forward on my skis. I had some boot fit, equipment issues addressed yesterday that may solve my struggle.
I never knew or measured, but marker bindings tilt me forward. The tail piece is about 4mm higher than the toe. when I stand on the skis and pressure the front of the boot, my knee is over the tip of the boot. I overflex the boots. I am too far forward.
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