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Ski the slow line fast!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In a discussion about speed control Bob Barnes said to think about skiing a slow line fast. At first this did not make much sense to me, but as I have skied this week and thought about this concept I am seeing the light. Speed can be viewed in two ways: 1. speed made down the fall line and 2. speed across the ground. You can ski a very fast course over the ground and yet ski a direction which takes you down the hill very slowly.

The neat thing about this approach is that in order to achieve a fast line over the ground all movements must be clean, fluid and crisp - offensive not defensive. As soon as you feel yourself slowing OVER THE GROUND you know that you are becoming defensive and "bracey". The speed of the descent is controlled by the direction of the turn.

Some people may say this is all semantics, but for a "thinker" skier like me this totally changes the way I THINK about skiing and therefore the way I ski.

Bob, THANK YOU!!! What do the rets of you think?
post #2 of 10

I agree with you. I have always been a flow sort of skier rather than a really power, bust through one. This also goes for my surfing. I just never really gave my own "ski feelings" any real thought. After getting a little confused with BBs slow line fast concept I put it out there in a lesson and it all made sense. I also found it was this flow style that gave me the actual power skiing edge. It was just not noticable on first looks inspection. The difficulty I am finding is cutting through the already defensive styles of some of my clients. For this the old "back to the green runs" policy forms the basic "reversal" of defence so that the "flow" + "technique" can be applied correctly. IMHO the biggest builder of defensive skiing is not the wedge etc but rather the pressure applied by the "family" of clients for their timid members to keep up. It does not matter what age, it can be mum keeping up with dad, younger brother or sister keeping up with siblings or family. This pressure really screws technique. The big asset of ES is the new ideas and ways of presenting things that enhance my bag of tricks as an instructor. (and the humour)


Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #3 of 10
Good job, guys! As you can see, searching for the "slow (enough) line fast" DOES make sense. That it goes strongly against the conventional wisdom (that you should turn to control speed) and involves a genuine, profound "paradigm shift," puts it perhaps beyond the reach of some skiers and instructors.

Keep playing with the idea with your clients/students/guests (whatever you like to call them). They also will achieve enormous breakthroughs as you become increasingly adept at getting the point across.

I wish you the best of success in the New Year!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 10
Is that why some skiers carve a different line on the mt. Macro-Micro terrain skier? Do some skiers glide(turn)on the flats better with this concept?
post #5 of 10

I have found that most people ski the way they think.

One of the most enlightening things I have in my bag of tricks is a question: How do you make a turn?

"Ski the slow line fast" is going to be the theme of my three 10-week classes this season. This is great stuff!

You guys might want to take a look at this article by George Twardokens in 1996:
post #6 of 10
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nolobolono:

I have found that most people ski the way they think.


As this is a little hard to ask a student maybe asking "what type of car driver are you" would serve the same purpose and give the same results.

The article that you posted is interesting. As I am playing with "carving" on the traverse groomers I find that I am catching many straight running skiers. Relevant ... maybe. The "slow line fast" concept is a little different to "a curve being faster" concept in that it deals with an approach to skiing rather than any actual travel speed. An interesting article none the less. Thanks. I can use the "curve is faster" concept in my trick bag. It will come in handy when confronted by "brainiac\techo" clients. A solidly quotable article.

post #7 of 10
It's hard to ask someone how they turn their skis? I just ask the question and wait. Sometimes I have to wait for a while, but I am usually rewarded with an opening remark like, "First I unweight the skis..." We ski the way we think we're supposed to ski.
post #8 of 10
Are you skiing while you're waiting for the answer to your question?

Most of the times I've asked that question, I've had to invite the students to make a few turns and think of ways to describe what they're doing. Then, when I've gotten a verbal response, it's often wrong or incomplete if my analysis of what they're doing to turn the skis is accurate, so we usually have to make a few more turns to pin it down for them.

However, this process does have the validity of being something the student rarely forgets.
post #9 of 10
congrats on understanding the slow line fast concept. It is a very cool way to make your way down the mountain. And actually it gives you so much time to act and react to the terrain.

Bob B.,
Maybe you should create a new "system". SLFS.
Seriously, thanks for passing on the info without taking credit for creating the concept.

Driving fast in the slow lane,
post #10 of 10
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>We ski the way we think we're supposed to ski. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

...or at least, we do our BEST to ski the way we think we're supposed to ski. Great point, Nolo! Finding out how the students think they ought to be doing it is crucial to understanding why they move the way they do.

One of my favorite tricks is to have them show me with their hands what they are trying to do with their feet. It's a good lift-ride conversation starter, if nothing else, but it tells me a ton of information. Do their hands move independently, or do they hold them together and move them as one? Are they twisting and pushing them sideways (usually), or do their hands move in the direction they're pointed? Do they turn them at all, or just move them sideways? Sometimes they just stare blankly at their hands with no idea at all how they ought to move. Every movement they make--and don't make--reveals something significant about their understanding of skiing as well as the way they actually ski!

My other favorite question, besides "how do you turn?" is "WHY do you turn?" Beyond that it is fun, what are you trying to control with your turns? The answer is almost ALWAYS "speed." And this defensive intent also shows, inevitably and clearly, in their movements. Most skiers do indeed "turn" for speed control, and their "turns" are really better described as braking movements.

Finding out the students' INTENT--what they are trying to control in the first place--and their understanding of how to accomplish that intent, technically, is vital information for any successful lesson. Instructors who fail to do this, or who act on assumptions without verifying them, set themselves and their students up for failure.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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