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Initiating turns

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I ski mostly in Oregon at a local resort that is at a fairly low elevation. The snow is generally pretty heavy. I am skiing on K2 ModX 188. I am 5'8'', 175 lbs.. I acknowledge that my skis are probably too long.

I have difficulty initiating first turns in heavy snow before I pick up momentum. If I have speed, I don't have problems. I can initiate slow turns on packed with ease. I can ski through anything at high speeds with good control and a high level of confidence. On the steeper slopes with deep crud or heavy powder, I can blow by other skiers that are slowly initiating more turns. I enjoy the stability of the ModX at high speeds in crud. But, I do envy the skills of skiers that can initiate good turns at any speed and conditions.

I am an advanced skier. I do not ski as much as most of the other members so my skills are inconsistant. I am open to any suggestions that could help me. Thanks
post #2 of 13
If you are skiing Hoodoo,Will.Pass,Ski Bowl,ect. I wouldn't worry about your slow turns in the Concrete. Almost any snow condition will be easy for you. The only advise I can give you is get your skis away from your body(high angulation & complete the turn) that way the boards will do most of the work at lower speeds. :
post #3 of 13
Maybe your problem (other than too long, and probably therefore too stiff, a ski) is a lack of patience at turn entry. Ie. if you are expecting the ski to turn a bunch at the beginning, which it should not do, maybe you're trying to hurry it a bit. Try going to the groomed and making some turns where you do your initiation movement gently and allow the skis to carry you into and through the midpoint of the turn.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks. My preference for my first day would have been to warm-up on groomed runs for most of the morning. Unfortunately, Willamette Pass doesn't have the staff or equipment to keep up on grooming.

The freezing level went way up in elevation Wednesday night which made the snow on the lower runs very heavy. They didn't open the backside. It usually has much better snow.

I just consider skiing in these types of conditions as workouts for when I get the opportunity to ski in the Rockies.
post #5 of 13

Sounds like you have too much ski. Even experts would have to use some exagerated movements (up unweighing, strong pivot, etc) to initiate a turn at slow speeds (in heavy snow) on a 188 Mod X ski.

So my advice is to use more up-down movements when going slowly in crud. Sounds like strange advice for modern, shaped skis, but you have a huge disadvantage in the length you selected.
post #6 of 13
I'm 5'4" with 174cm Mod X. They turn great. I almost went to 181's for a bit more speed, but these seem to handle speed fine. On the other hand I don't go 200 mph like some of your guys here. having not been able to ski many times a year pulls you back in the confidence catagory. Your 188's are probably great for speed. Maybe 181's might be good.

Friday night I was being checked out for a possible teaching job on the hill. The guy rode teles. One run we started off together. I did a few usual quick turns and then a few carves then noticed he was way down the hill with those long sweeping carves that teles do. I had to turn on the steam just to keep him in sight! Add to this that he skis everyday, 22 yrs younger, and me out of shape and overweight left me eating his snow. He laughed like crazy. I got the job. A friend of mine runs 181 Mod X's. He's thinking of droping down to 174's. he's the same height as I am. He likes to carve a lot, but he says he gets worn out sometimes.

Good suggestion of not trying to rush your turns, but in this case my friend doesn't seem to rush his. It could be heavy snow which takes it out of you.
post #7 of 13
I know your situation very well. I am 5'10" 170 and bought the 188 Mod X last year as I let a ski shop boost my ego last year against my own will. It is a great ski and I ski it fine, but I decided to buy the same ski in a 181 this year and plan on selling mine to a buddy or maybe keeping them for the Rockies.

Besides the similar ski situation, I'm pretty sure I know your style well. I guess my opinion depends on how heavy the snow actually is. If it's Sierra cement, I don't know that there is a major problem, but if it's just moist heavier than usual fresh snow than I think I know you well from my own experience. I'm a bit technical in general in the way I think about skiing as physics in motion and the forces that make skis turn rather than just doing it and not caring how they turn (not always the best philosophy for 2 sports like skiing and golf which can cause a paralysis by analysis syndrome if you're not careful).

Back to the point, I'm guessing that if you are blowing by everyone in control in most conditions (except moguls) then you probably carve pretty well and understand how to tip the skis and let the forces pushing on the skis do most of the turning as compared to oversteering the skis. But going slowly you do not turn nearly as smoothly as you would like and prefer to let the skis run straight for a tad on the groomed and most other conditions (except bumps), and then start the deal where you are most comfortable, i.e. moderate to fast speeds. I would also guess that if you can't make controlled short radius turns at any speed you prefer, mainly referring to slow speeds, then you probably struggle in the moguls a bit.

Before I go on, am I close so far??
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yep, pretty accurate description. I got a chuckle from the accuracy of your perception.

I actually can make quick turns on packed. I was pleasantly surprised how quick these skis were. When I bought these last year I gave it a lot of consideration. It was my first shaped ski and I just couldn't give up the length. I was looking to the future of my skiing. As I get older, I figured I would be doing less bump skiing and enjoying more gentle terrain with my family. But the transition to the shaped ski has been so awsome, I have a greater passion for all terrain skiing than I ever have. I have got to say that I have never had so much fun on groomed runs as I did riding my edges on the long runs at Sun Valley last year. And I had a fantastic day in the powder at Brighton (no control problems at all, even at slow speeds).

I think the things that throw me off in the bumps are: I don't visualize far enough ahead and my foot speed may be too slow. I have a very difficult time staying on top of these skis in the tight bumps. I am working on my foot speed in my conditining workouts.

I skied at Snow Basin last year with my wife's cousin. He was the Jr Natl's Freestyle champion in 1982. It was great skiing with someone who's style barely changed between terrain (bumps, crud, packed). He was skiing on Vokl 198s. I tried to get some help from him but I don't think he gives the activity as much thought as the members of this forum.

I tried to get the information I was looking for by setting up an anology that I could describe. I was a swimmer as a youth. My swimming is very efficient. I see other people swimming laps and I am amazed that they can swim as far as they do. I can spend about the same amount of energy swimming 100 laps as some people would use swimming 20. I keep thinking that I am using a lot of energy on inefficienct movements or tension in skiing.

As I finished that last sentence, I realized that I am ready for some more lessons. What do I look for in a qualified instructor?

PS. I am sitting here writing about skiing because I am recovering from the flu.
post #9 of 13
May I respectfully suggest an alternative? You live and ski west of the Rockies, and you need a ski with good float and that can go through crud and cement, as well as turn easy and be stable at speed. First idea: yes, the length is too much. Second idea: The ski you may really need should be somewhat wider, perhaps a tad more flexible, and of course shorter. Consider the K2 Mod 7/8 [this year called Axis], which just happens to fit that description. They are about 4 mm wider at tip and tail, but the waist is the same as the Mod X [this year called the Axis X]. I have skied the Mod 7/8 and found it the most confidence boosting ski I've ever used. About the only place I wish I had a shorter ski was in the trees. Therefore, I have acquired the EXACT SAME SKI in a shorter length - down from 174 to 167. The 174 cm skis are for sale, with or without bindings at a really good price: $199 US plus shipping without bindings, $325 US plus shipping with bindings left on. The bindings are Look P7 [this year called P10] in 3-10 DIN. The skis are in really good shape, the bindings look new. Used less than a season only in good snow. If interested, e-mail me: bgreene@law66.com
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks oboe. I actually considered it. But there is no way I could those past my wife. I didn't even dare speak of the offer. I bought a pair of Salomon 1080s (161) earlier this year. The idea of having a set in-between sizes is very attractive. I rationalized that I needed the 1080s to teach our 3.5 year old twins. The twin tips are necessary for skiing backwards. That excuse was accepted but with a great deal of scrutiny. Acceptance doesn't imply agreement. She ended up with a new laptop computer.

Between biking and skiing, I need a better income producing vehicle.
post #11 of 13
Hi dirty down,
Noticed a couple items in your posts. First, skiing heavy snow can't just be to get ready for the rockies. It's the greatest skill builder and can be so much fun. If you can make northwest snow feel smooth and easy, your on your way. Anybody can ski the light stuff.
As far as technique, sounds like you may be getting a little overrotated, which would cause you to have less built up turning force in your short turn movements. It could work all right in the longer, faster turns, but trying to bring the speed down in a shorter turn requires more anticipation, so when you release your old outside ski, the unwinding of the lower body aids in creating a shorter turn entry. See if that makes since.

As far as finding a good coach. Take a real clear look at your objectives, and look for someone whose focus works with your objective. For instance, if you want to ski the heavy crud well, make sure you find someone who enjoys making that situation feel clean. At the upper end, some instructors definitely have things they do better than others. Once you have a clear objective and some options, it's all about skiing with a guy for a couple hours and seeing if the learning partnership comes together. learning takes two, and you should be able to recognize if the connection is there fairly quickly.
Also, there are more choices now then there has been for awhile. with different teaching philosophies being used and small independent companies working with their distinct focus, you have alot of options. Besides just area schools, you may want to check out some of the other offerings. I'm particularly fond of All Mountain Professionals, based out of lake tahoe. (could be personal reasons) Check out the web site, www.allmountainskipros.com and maybe we can ski together. (by the way, you asked the question, so this wasn't to out of line as a pitch.)
Anyway, good work blazing in the slop, sometimes that's the most fun.


PS all the ski length comments are valid, but a 188 can make fine short swing turns in heavy snow. Although I weigh about 15 pounds less and love the 181mod x pro. adios
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Interesting comments about over-rotation. I felt a little sore just underneath my ribs the next day. I was suprised because I do an abundant of twisting core exercises. After lunch I switched to my Salomon 1080s and was practicing on-snow 180s. Those movements probably contributed to my soreness. And I think you are probably correct.
post #13 of 13
dirtydown, I feel your pain! [I mean about getting it past the wife]. I am more than fortunate - I have a wifey who is not only good looking and intelligent, for some reason [no joke] she really wants me to have what I want. Sometimes, I end up feeling real, real guilty accepting such generosity [img]redface.gif[/img] . . . but I get over it.
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