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Some notes from yesterdays skiing...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
         So i am not really a beginner, but more of an intermediate with horrible style and fundamental skills.  As i have mentioned before this is my first year skiing in 9 years and I really have enjoyed myself. I want to ski better and am looking into taking lessons next year, but have been browsing the forum reading about things like carving and whatnot. So i took a few simple things from reading this forum and applied them to my skiing yesterday.

 The first thing i tried to employ all day was keeping my hands in front of me. Wow, what a difference. Just by trying to remember to do this it automatically seems to make you keep your weight more forward. All my years of skiing and if i could have been doing this all that time i would have been much better off!

The second thing that i did which majorly changed everything for me was trying to keep my head and upper body pointing down the fall line. This opens a whole new can of worms! I have watched many point of view videos from head cams on this site, and i really could not believe how steady and straight forward the camera always seems to stay, even when the skier was doing amazing crazy skiing. I never believed it could be like this. Until yesterday trying to do this. It was like all the sudden i was watching one of those videos. I don't know how to explain it but it was almost like the entire feel of the skiing changed. It required me to do a little more twisting of the lower body (don't know if this is good or bad) instead of turning the whole body for every turn.

With these two things put together i could feel the change, and all though not comfortable with all this just yet i can feel how some simple fundamentals can really change how you ski.

I also tried to do a little carving which did not work out as well as i had hoped. Right now i probably ski a hybrid of carving and twisting.  I do twist my skis, but i also feel like i get on the edges when doing so, but its surely not pure carving. While i didn't get the hang of it yesterday i did feel some of what carving is about here and there. I guess in the few instances that i did get it somewhat right it felt almost as if i was slingshot into the turn. Like as if i started the turn with a twist, but all the sudden there was this feeling of centrifugal force flinging me along a perfect radius turn. I don't know how to explain it. I also felt as if it was the first time i have actually felt my skis flex in a turn. Very interesting.

All in all, all this makes me want to do is go out and get some real private professional lesson next year. I can only imagine the ways my skiing will improve with a little guidance!

Well, thanks for listening to my story!

post #2 of 16
 I'm no instructor, but I've been skiing a long time, and when people ask me for advice I tell them two things: Keep your hands out in front of you, and face down the fall line.  That's exactly what you did and it made a big difference.  Keep doing it!

Glad you had such a great breakthrough.
post #3 of 16

The thing that you mention: 

It required me to do a little more twisting of the lower body (don't know if this is good or bad) instead of turning the whole body for every turn

What you described is the need for separation of upper body from lower body. Longer, larger radius turns will have you pointing your upper body inside at the top of the turn and outside at the bottom of the turn just as you experienced, just to a lesser degree than the quicker, short radius turns where you can virtually keep your chest pointing at one spot down the fall line.

As you get more comfortable with your new body and hand positions, you can work on controlling your turns by adjusting the amount of tipping of the ski that you do. I know you are excited to arc carved turns. I'd suggest that you work on the two major changes in your skiing until they are natural to you, then move on to carving. You will likely skid less, so that your tails are closer to following the track of your tips, automatically as your technique has changed radically.

I don't recall, but are you on 9 year old (or older) skis now?

Keep up the good work.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes, my skis are probably about 10 years old. They are shaped skis, but not as shaped as the newer ones with the really large tip and tails. They are also 190's. The are probably right for my height and weight ( 5'11" 270lbs... on a diet now and plan on entering next ski season at 235)  but id imagine the newer shaped skis in like a 178 or so would probably make things a little easier.
post #5 of 16
That was an AH HA day.  Very cool, that was a break through day.

Next time out with your new bag of tricks try making entire runs without traversing.  Use the end of one turn as the initiation for the next, combined with what you discovered yesterday it will making more skills come together for you.

Go get it with a smile.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Unfortunatly i think i am done for this year. Went 3 times and thats all the budget allowed for this year. I will be saving money over the sumer for a better season next year with hopefully 10-12 outings, including a trip to VT.
post #7 of 16
Congrats OP and thank you for you sharing.

Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

Keep your [...] face down the fall line.  [...]

Could you guys explain this please? I don't get it. Fall line = the slope angle?
post #8 of 16
 Masters Racer above explained the upper body position which describes in detail the act of facing down the fall line. Fall line = most direct path gravity would take you if you fell ! Facing down the fall line means that the eyes, and in turn the face and the chest should strive to face downhill while one is skiing, I think Chris Davenport said it somewhere "Aim your chest downhill" and Klaus Mair says it this way "Face the danger". In practice, for us beginners/intermediates the goal should be that generally our upper body should be pointing at a 45 deg angle downhill if skis are facing totally across the hill, and be right on top and aligned with our skis when the skis are pointed in the fall-line, that is downhill. Helps keep us forward and maintains control and balance. Facing across the hill or some variant of that sort usually means our Center of Mass is not over our downhill ski (outside ski as they call it now I think) and makes it difficult to ski. Note, it is the key to learning how to ski, no ifs and buts. Backseat skiing and all those other ills are all related to not facing the danger!
Trust that helps. 
post #9 of 16
 Thank you very much.

I am sure this will help others as well.

Also read one should keep elbows/ hands forward (past the spine).
Edited by refill - 3/2/10 at 2:58pm
post #10 of 16
Hands in front pretty much all the time, the way to think about it is, you should be able to see both gloves in the lower quadrant of your field of vision through your goggles while you are looking AHEAD and NOT down at your skis. That helps keep the hips forward over your toes, which is the essence of keeping your weight forward. Though one thing to note, the other dimensions which follow are when the skis are turning away from the fall-line, i.e. more across the hill than downhill, then it is important that your downhill shoulder is normally below your uphill shoulder, and your downhill hand is "downhill and forward" and your uphill hand is kind of slightly forward and at the very least crosses over your uphill ski. This is the beginning of getting to what is called "Angulation". The ideal position to strive for is the hips have crossed over your skis into the hill, and your rear end is kind of sticking into the hill and your shoulders are LEVEL with the slope, i.e. parallel to the inclination of the slope, with the hands as described above and of course the chest etc pointing down the fall-line, at the very least around 45deg downhill if your skis are pointing all the way across the hill, the end result is your upper body is leaning into the "danger" while your lower body is leaning into the slope. The point being, your downhill shoulder is over your downhill ski, and your chest is kind of turned "away" from the direction of current turn and pointing to direction of where you will be at the midpoint of your "next" turn. The upper body by inclination AWAY from the hill and turned towards mid-point of next turn effectively assists if not forces your centre of mass over your downhill ski, which is precisely where it should be. From one beginner to another dude!
post #11 of 16
 I could picture everything while reading it: very clearly expressed.
post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

 Fall line = most direct path gravity would take you if you fell ! 

Not trying to confuse the situation but, the Fall Line is the rout water would take if expelled from the top of the hill, the most direct rout at that point; hence MastersRacer's analogy, chest squared in the direction of intended travel = Fall Line.

Though if you were to fall, most likely you would toss & tumble down the fall line.
post #13 of 16
Touche Jag..or a ball or the human form..!
post #14 of 16
Two additional things I have learnt (though the execution of it in all circumstances leaves much to be desired, especially icy steeps mogulled up !)
1. a good way to ensure one is forward on the downhill ski is to push one's shin pretty hard into the upper tongue of the boot, this is effectively flexing the ankle, definitely results in three key things:
(a) one can ski more upright from the waist up, more graceful and less tiring
(b) edge grip definitely enhanced, i.e. the edge engagement happens much more naturally, this is almost immediately felt.
(c) the flexing allows easier changes to the downhill leg in transition when it becomes the new uphill leg, since because of flexing its easier to relax it as weight flows to the old uphill leg, which is becoming the new downhill leg. Helps one to use the forces of the old turn to "rebound" into the new turn, kind of seamless transition. You have to try it to get the feeling.

Contrast this with the perennial beginner/intermediate problem of jamming, i.e. extending the downhill leg hard as a protective measure when the going gets steep, if you test both, you will feel the difference right away. Note the flexing gets pretty tiring after a while but immeasurably better than "jam-job" on the downhill leg. When at full extension in the jam-job, relaxing the downhill leg is no easy thing to achieve, since its kind of "locked-on" holding you up.

2. One of the best known PSIA instructors is a dude called Martin Rogan, he has put out a series of articles on How To's, and he makes a great observation, which I am modifying slightly to adapt to my beginner understanding : if one thinks of one's skis rotating from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock under us through 12 o'clock (naturally), i.e. 180 deg one side of the hill to the other side - full turns, then the upper body should rotate between 1:30 o'clock and 10:30 o'clock.
Edited by dustyfog - 3/3/10 at 1:01am
post #15 of 16

I know exactly what you're talking about re: jamming.  That was my mode when I first attempted black diamonds, jam from leg to leg, most unsightly.  I'll still jam-job on a steep if I lose balance.  You can picture it; up hill arm flailing behind me, down hill ski 90 degrees to the fall line skidding down the slope to a stop or crash.  Catch my breath and try again.

For me, on steeps, I have to overcome that initial twang of fear because: 1) It's steep, it looks scary.  2) The quick acceleration downhill is unnerving.  Most times I ski down just fine, but some times I'll lose it and have to pull the eject handle. 

post #16 of 16
Same here bugs, same here...especially when conditions get dicey, i.e. icy patches, in a cut up steep..take a look (this was days before I finally got the hang of flexing forward hard in the steeps but still goes haywire when the bumps show up since timing that turn through the troughs - not yet going over bigger moguls on steeps, dont like that sensation of hanging up there in space!). the slamma-jamma jam job is clearly visible, cant shake it yet ! and boy do i try!

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