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MA request for short radius video...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,
I was hoping for some feedback on my skiing! This video was taken about 6 weeks ago at sunpeaks, it's on the lower half of a bumps run and the terrain is slightly moguled. I am working towards by CSIA level 3 at the moment, will be doing the course at the end of April and I'm heading back to sun peaks later today so would love to hear what you think I should be focusing on, any drills you think would be helpful for me.
post #2 of 10
Before offering any advice I'd love to hear what your trainers are saying. While you're doing that, how about sharing what you have been working on and where do you see your skiing. As a cert candidate, it's very important for you to know exactly what you're strengths and weaknesses are.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi skipro,
A lot of the feedback that I get is that I tend to be well balanced on my skis with a good rhythm to my turns. In terms of what I should be working on, trainers have pointed out that my turn to the right is stronger than my turn to the left (skiers right and left), explanations have been that I rotate slightly on my turn to the left and also that I initiate my turn to the left later.
In terms of where I see my own skiing...I don't know where to start! I think about a different thing every run I do and as a result tend not to really consolidate anything. From the bottom up, I try to get more movement in my feet, thinking about pushing my toes down at the start of the turn to engage the front of my skis, I try to keep my ankles soft but not too flexed so i stay fairly upright and centered in my boots, knees I want to keep flexed and able to react and absorb as necessary, I am currently working on getting more knee flex in my downhill leg in phase 3 of the turn, waist I know I need a more rounded back so I stay centered when I think about more knee flex at the end of the turn, arms I am working on my left pole plant as I have a tendency to plant my pole and then let my hand drop back instead of driving it forwards...this is why I think I rotate on my turn to the left.
More generally speaking I would like to be more dynamic with my skiing, getting more impulse from my skis and engaging my new edges earlier in the turn as well as becoming more comfortable with speed.
post #4 of 10
 Hi Sparky.  First I'll describe what you're doing, then discuss it.  

The start of your turns are strongly pivoted.  The pivot takes you all the way to the falline before any significant pressure is developed, then a very skiddy end of the turn follows.  Your upper body is pretty square to your skis through the transition, and the pivot is powered by a blocking pole plant, subtle upper body rotation, and foot twisting.  You unweight your skis to allow the pivot to happen with a subtle up move. Your weight is slightly aft as you go through the bottom half of the turn.  

If pivoting is your objective, then developing your upper/lower body separation skills will help you to eliminate the rotation and execute it more efficiently.  It's called anticipation.  Many drills can help you do that, such as hop drills,,, pivot slips,,, poles held in front facing down the falline,,, hands on hips keeping upper half facing downhill.  

Learning to eliminate the up move and let the energy of the skis do the pre pivot unweighting work will require developing more energy in your turns.  To do that you will need to learn to feather onto a cleaner edge immediately after your pivot, thus finishing the turn with less skid and more ski bend.  This will result in more speed, and more pop out of your skis as you release during the transition.  When done properly, the up move can be replaced by rebound and retraction.  

For the fore/aft issue, just work on becoming acutely aware of where pressure is located at the base of your foot.  You don't need to push down on your toes to get fore balanced.  In fact, that can do just the opposite, by opening your ankle and pushing your calf into the back of your boot cuff.  Instead learn how flexing your ankle and extending your knee is all you have to do to move pressure at the base of your foot fore and aft.  Practice skiing in various states of fore/aft, using those joint flexions and extensions to manage what state you assume.  Also practice moving from one state to another during the course of a single turn.  

If pivoting is not the goal, and you want to do clean entry carving or steering, keeping a body square to skis stance as you are now will serve you well, but you're still going to have to get rid of the pivot.  If that's a problem, let me know and I can provide some ideas on how to fix it.  I can't tell for sure by watching your video if well refined arc to arc, or clean entry steering, is in your bag of tricks or not.  

I've used quite a few technical terms in this post.  If any left you wondering, have a wander through my glossary.  It should explain most of what I've been talking about.  http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/Glossary.html
post #5 of 10
Wow! Do you really think about all of that when you ski?
Rick pointed out your pivot and I see it as well. I would add that your skis tend to pivot around the tips and you occasionally push your feet out to an edge set, followed by a rotary push off move. Subtle and very refined but it's still there. It actually corresponds nicely with the big pivot initiation you're using through the first half of the turn since you need to arrest all that angular momentum by the end of the turn. You stated that getting the feet moving more is a goal. I see that in your movements which is the good news. The bad news is that in doing so the hips and core get left behind when you start pushing down with your toes. Not very far but just enough to give you that sensation of needing more tip pressure. The solution you use is to pivot a bit more with the feet. Which allows the hips to catch up without actually moving them into the turn. Add the edge set and it all ties together nicely.

More dynamic turns might involve rethinking the strong rotary and the long unweighted phase Rick mentioned. If for no other reason than the late edge sets would require a whole lot more strength and the snow would probably sheer away because of the higher forces involved. So that tactic may not work so well as you ramp up the speed and intensity. What do you suppose would happen if you went for a strong middle third of the turn instead of the strong last third? Set yourself up to be working the ski strongly by the start of the middle third of the turn and by the start of the last third you can concentrate more on transitioning into the new turn both with the feet and the core. Obviously this means a more refined first third as well since your not trying to redirect the ski so strongly into the fall line. Go for showing the bottoms of your skis to the trees on the side of the run and getting off off that high edge before the last third of the turn begins. No that you need the skis to be flat to the snow by then, just remember that as the skis turn across the hill naturally fall away from the skis and thus the edge angle naturally increases.
Rick has plenty of drills to help you accomplish this style of turns but the most important part is to not spend so much time floating and redirecting. It sound funny to say to be more dynamic you need to be less dynamic in that first third of th eturn.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Great feedback! Thank you so much, will be on the snow tomorrow so have lots to try. Am planning on taking more video so I will post later to see if there is any improvement and possibly have some questions! Will also try and get some video of me doing different types of skiing such as carving and intermediate parallel.
Thanks again!
post #7 of 10
I really need to proof read my stuff more. I would like to re post and expand on the idea I so woefully mentioned in this sentence. 
"No that you need the skis to be flat to the snow by then, just remember that as the skis turn across the hill naturally fall away from the skis and thus the edge angle naturally increases".

Here's what it originally looked like...

Not that you need the skis to be flat to the snow by then (the beginning of the last third of the turn), just remember that as the skis turn across the hill, the hill naturally falls away from the skis and thus without allowing our stance to move downhill, the edge angle naturally increases".
This doesn't really fully describe what I was trying to say though. A stance aligned along a vertical axis (like the trees) would create an edge angle equal to the slope angle when we are facing across the hill. Since the tip and tail are level our fore / aft  stance can be aligned along the vertical axis and an axis perpendicular to the snow. When we're facing downhill a vertical stance would mean we would be aft of a perpendicular stance in the fore aft plane but perpendicular in the lateral plane. As we turn this phenomenon means our effective stance in both planes are constantly shifting. Turning across the slope without allowing the hips and body to continue to move down the hill (we're maintaining a more vertical stance) thus increases the effective edge angle.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/7/10 at 9:08am
post #8 of 10
So let's talk about the finish of the turn and the transition to the next turn. We're trying to get to a neutral stance in the lateral plane, which is closer to a stance perpendicular to the slope, not a vertical stance. Not allowing the body to move across the skis enough to produce this neutral stance means we're staying too vertical and thereby not reducing the edge angle enough to release the old turn without signifigantly reducing the edge pressure. In a worse case scenario, this may include leaning into the hill at the end of the turn. Which is where adding the strong up move and the big rotary move becomes the next best option because the skis are on too high an edge angle to release without reducing the pressure.  
As an alternative try allowing the body to migrate towards the middle of the next turn throughout the second half of the turn instead of just in the last few feet of the turn. This will help you release the skis without the big up move and will allow you to re-engage the ski edges earlier since you're not floating on disengaged skis through the initiation phase. It also means that the skis don't need to pivot all the way to the fall line. So a smaller and more refined rotary move can occur (or it can be avoided all together if you wish).

Once you master the strong middle phase, you can vary it by moving it earlier, or later in the turn but it's usually easier to do after learning to do the strong middle phase. I hope this advice is congruent with your trainer's advice but if you have to choose, listen to them since they are who will be administering your Cert tests.
Good luck and ski well,
Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/7/10 at 9:24am
post #9 of 10
my turn to the right is stronger than my turn to the left
Too bad you're so far from Calgary...could a trip there be in your plans?  What you describe could be a result of boot & leg misalignment.  http://www.lous.ca/services.html  Lou's in Calgary is very good.  I don't know if a Vancouver shop can do as well.

Instead of pushing your toes down to engage the tips, try pulling your feet back.  Pushing the toes down tends to push one into the back seat.

The rounded back is a CSIA thing, so that's just one thing you've gotta do.  It won't help your skiing but will help you pass the test.

About soft ankles--ankle flex comes from getting your balance in the right place over your skis.  Try stiffening your boots a bit and see if that helps or hurts your skiing as long as you keep balanced properly over the fronts of your skis.  Contrary to what we're told, ankle flex isn't something we do; it is an indicator that other body parts are moving correctly.

More knee flex--would it work for you to think about flexing more evenly and continuously throughout the turn rather than trying for more flex in just phase 3 of the turn?  The result would be the same, or maybe better with smoother flexing.

Engaging the edges earlier in the turn is a result of (a) switching the majority of the pressure to your new outside ski sooner, (b) extending forward diagonally into the new turn (downhill) and not extending upward.  On a smooth steep pitch try pulling both feet strongly back when the skis are light at the turn transition (ditto for bumps, but practice on the smooth).  Get your feet behind you so your body is leading downhill, get your new inside ski light, and you'll have the inside edge of your outside ski engaged in the snow before you reach the fall line, and that ski will be working for you pulling you around your turn.

For the lazy arms...try minimizing your pole plant motion.  Try just a twitch of the wrist to tap the pole on the snow with as little arm movement as possible.  This will minimize the snow pulling the arm back and help you get it forward.  Drill by countering your body so the inside hand ends up over your ski tips and the outside hand ends up just behind your feet.  We're not moving the arms as much as we're counter-rotating the body so the arms end up in the right position.  The next pole plant is a tap just downhill from the feet, then counter-rotate and get the arms into position during the next turn.  A big arm motion tends to get the body out of position, as you've found, so rather than different big arm movements, minimize all arm movements.  The balancing pole plant in bumps requires more time but minimize it as well.  Don't plant and ski around your pole.
post #10 of 10
I like that post SSG. I would add that the active weight shift from flexing the new inside leg gets misunderstood to mean a strong extension of the new outside leg. There's a few circumstances where that works but overall just flexing the inside ski is usually enough. We disagree about always pulling the feet back but developing the ability to allow the body and feet to move along their paths to develop that body downhill of the feet stance needs to start somewhere.
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