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Single best tip you ever received?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
JohnH and I got to talking on a lift ride yesterday about what tips work for each of us and how, sometimes it's the weird, esoteric piece of instruction or mental image that just brings everything together and "clicks" for us. It's like hearing 100 tips on how to do something, but then hearing one little piece of advice that seems a bit "out there" at first, but WORKS.

For me, it was this: You should feel like your skis are turning from slightly behind you.

This little tidbit changed the way I turn and got me to angulate my hips forward and to the side instead of just to the side. I've heard "get forward" and a hundred other tips time and time again, but continued to drop my hip to the side for the turn. The mental image of the skis coming through the turn from slightly behind me just seemed to work for me.

What about you? Do you have any esoteric tips that drastically improved how you ski?
post #2 of 27
Even at a fairly high level of skiing an old dog can learn new tricks
There are a ton of tips that helped but in my last trip, I was told to stop thinking about weight distribution, (I am skiing centered fore/aft), and to lead with my inside (downhill) thigh (yes thigh). This will "open the door" for your other leg and allow better angulation (I can now almost make darcside turns). The weight distribution will take care of its self. As I make faster harder turns the weight will move to the outside turning ski. I'm now quicker in edge changes, less up motion to switch edges and can vary my turn sizes GS, to SL and super short turns darcside turns at whim what fun... Even more fun when someone trying to stay on my tail.
post #3 of 27
"Get out of the way, I can't stop!!!!!" That was a tip that I really appreciated. Also, Get off the brake and step on the gas helped get me out of my usual backseat position and into my sometimes usual frontseat position. Made a world of difference.
post #4 of 27
Start everything with your feet, become aware of what your feet are doing worked for me.
post #5 of 27
Late last season I was given a tip. Tried it on a heavy powder day, and had the best run of the season. This season I have been remembering and working on it more and more. The tip is to tighten up your abs (abdominals). It doesn't seem like much but it has been making all the difference in the world for having increased control, better balance, control of intended trajectory, relaxing of quads, etc, etc. This last weekend 3 different friends reinforced this to me on chairlift rides. Two said to do lots of situps or crunches for ski conditioning. One said "It gives your legs something to push against". I respect his word but can't quite feel it. I can feel a great deal of control over winding up in the back seat though. I have never heard this tip from an instructor. Be sure to remember to breathe normally, the tightened abs don't have to be too tight. I'd like some feedback on this one, please, especially from an instructor. Thanks.
post #6 of 27
Sorry not an instructor but I think I have some insight.
Think of your Abs as a reference tool. if you relax your Abs and then pole plant/touch the information will not be transfered to the rest of your body well. the touch reference kind of dies there. If your Abs are tightened up a bit, any bumps, touches etc.. transfer through your whole body. These make it easier for your body to get a reference point and feel for the terrain under you.
In your case, in powder, when you plant your pole and there is no feedback you have nothing to go on. If your middle section is where your center of mass is (it should be) that will be your grounding point. by keeping that area tightened up a little, you have a firmer reference point. Lyle put it this way. "when you are going to wade into water, you put your toe in first. If you don't like it you can pull back and look for another place. The same with skiing. If your center of mass is grounded you can reach out and test the water. If you don't like what you feel, you can pull back and re-evaluate that turn. If you don't have a firm reference point (in this case your center of mass) you will most likely lead with that and you will be committed to the turn or movement like it or not"
Hope that helps.

The other experiment he did with us was to stand on a steep hill sideways and try to stand on the outside(uphill edge) only do not touch pole or downhill ski to the hill. and balance. Almost impossible to balance. Now just touch with one pole even lightly and all of a sudden it's easy to stand there even with very little pole pressure. A reference point. If the Abs are relaxed, there would be too much movement for this pole touch to be effective. If you tighten up the Abs just a little the reference point of the pole touch is much more effective.

Instructors, feel free to correct any errors in the body mechanics of this.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited January 29, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 27
I would start with the feet since that is where the "rubber hits the road" and it is a good start, But I would counter with a quote from my last instructor. "The beginner skis with his head (neck up) the intermediate skis with his body(Waist up), the advanced skier skis with his lower body (feet to waist) and the expert skis with his whole body. (top of head to soles of his feet).
post #8 of 27
Right, Pierre, never ever look at your skis while you ski, look where you intend to go.
It surprises me how many very advanced skiers still look down to see what their skis are doing.

post #9 of 27
Pierre, don't ski with your eyes closed

Best tip I ever got was after YEARS of being told I was a couple inches too far back, and to get forward more, everyone had always told me to pressure the balls of my feet. As it turned out, that just made me open my ankle joint and would push me back. Finally, someone told me to relax my ankle and try to lift the front of my foot. BINGO! all of the sudden I could ski.
post #10 of 27
How about "point'em downhill". A tip usually given to women but it conveys the need to project a quiet upper body down the fall line in the direction you are skiing. Much the same as Ott's "look where you intend to go".

It is amazing how many excellent skiers get confused when they get into powder because they can't see their feet anymore.
post #11 of 27
"Roll your knees in the direction you want to turn." Started me carving, rather than skiding turns.
post #12 of 27
I have the exact same "best tip" as JohnH. Occasionally, I still find myself pressing the balls of my feet and unless the upper body leans forward aggressively, I find myself too far back.

Besides, as "dchan" mentioned in another post, it is far easier to follow the terrain by flexing ankles and knees, rather than attempting to stay on the balls of your feet and constantly adjusting your upper body.

I don't really see instructors pushing this concept, but it could be only my perception.
post #13 of 27
Thanks, dchan.
Your analysis both reinforced my "best tip" and encouraged me to keep exploring the concept.
post #14 of 27
Constant contact on the front of the boot. Specifically, (while your boots are fastened), lift your toes up to flex your ankles. Feel how much contact pressure is between your shin and the tongue of the boot. Slightly, relax your forefoot, but keep that contact on the shin/tongue.

Always ski with that much contact. It is not forward... It is centered!
And the only way to keep that contact, it to always be moving your joints (ankle, knee, hip, and spine).

thank you Carol Levine,
post #15 of 27
Best tip I ever received -- I was told to get my bindings canted. Unbelievable difference. I had never thought that skiing greens could be fun, but now that I can finally (sort of) do railroad tracks at will, everything is fun. All because of two little pieces of plastic underneath my bindings. Mike C., if you're reading this, I thank you every time I get on my skis... I wish I still lived in Virginia to glean your knowledge.
post #16 of 27
"Pour water out of your downhill ear"
"ski like a banana"
"make sure you can see your hands"

Tipping your head downhill gets your shoulders over your hips and gives your body a curve like a banana keeping you over your edge.

Hands out front helps keep you in a forward, aggressive stance ready for the next turn.
post #17 of 27
I like the "pick your toes up" to flex the ankle. I've been trying to get my kids to "squash tomatoes under their toes" and it doesn't seem to have the same meaning to them that it does to me. "Pick your toes up" sounds like the exact opposite but should produce exactly the desired result.

Best tip I ever got? About $5.00...
post #18 of 27
Feel the love from the mountain.
post #19 of 27
Best tip? Pull my feet behind me.

I've always been told to get forward, quit skiing sitting back, get out of the back seat. Well, I heard it all and I just couldn't get it to work consistently. It IS harder moving the center of mass (the Mrs. says that it's located between my ears) and easier to move the feet. Just a quick pull back of the feet, and I'm no longer out of position when I crest over a mogul, or beginning a turn, or any other time I get back.

Next best? Make a very early weight shift. Shift to the new outside (now uphill) ski before starting any part of the turn.

Third best? Pressure on either the little toe edge of the ski along with the early weight shift, pull my feet back behind me, and then pressure the big toe edge. This keeps my attention on what's happening at the soles of my feet and keeps pressure forward as well as on the edge.
post #20 of 27
Stand on your whole foot and flex the ski not the boot!
post #21 of 27

You're right about the thinking too much. And yes, I'm someone who's come to skiing "late." And I HAVE found the immediate benefit of skiing behind a superior skier and letting the body figure out how to emulate. Rather than thinking about it too much, there is much to be said for the revelations that can come from just "getting after" the hill. A certain helpful aggression can follow, and gravity begins that crossover from nemesis to ally.
post #22 of 27
"The soul of expert skiing is in the flow". From Lito.
post #23 of 27
I got that tip pull feet back too. I only wish I got it about 4 years ago as I was trying to fix my backseat problem. By the time I took my last lesson where I heard this tip I had fixed my backseat problem. The tip the toe down was the best part of my last lesson. I just learned to do it from my knee/thigh instead of the foot this time.
post #24 of 27
I also had a similar tip to pulling back the feet. Specifically, pull back the inside foot. The reason is that when you go to start the new turn, if you pull it back, you start the turn balanced properly on, what is now, your outside (turning) foot. Too many people let that inside ski "lead" too much. So much so, that if you take a snapshot of them at the very end of a turn, they are on the back of the boot cuff with their calf. Then, as soon as they make that weight shift onto that ski to start the new turn, they immediately start from the back seat, and spend the whole turn catching up (if they ever get there).
post #25 of 27
Oh yeah. I got that one too. except Lyle's way of explaining it was keep the toe pieces more even. Then proceeded to talk about pulling the downhill/turning ski back so I feel the cuff contact (not pressure) at 10:00 and 2:00 Boy what a difference.
It's always good to hear how others have it explained. More options to help someone make it click.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
dchan said "It's always good to hear how others have it explained. More options to help someone make it click."

This is EXACTLY why I posted this topic. I am hoping not to have to wait a few seasons for that one tidbit of info or mental image that creates the connection in my brain. So far, the tips have been GREAT! Thanks everyone, keep 'em coming!
post #27 of 27
Don't muscle your turns,give in to gravity.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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