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Humbling Experience

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I suppose this may be related to the carving thread. I think I'm a good skier, not great in the bumps, maybe don't ski the expert terrain like a true expert but competent nonetheless. Anyways, this weekend my 7 year old who skis in the season long program at Sugarloaf wanted me to try the one ski drill with him. So we left one ski at the bottom of the lift. I never was in racing programs when younger and had never tried this before. Like the title says- completely humbling- could barely make turns, especially when the one ski was the "inside" ski. This was on basically the bunny hill too. Who out there does this drill? Is it worth practicing regularly (my son told me I need to)? Can't get much worse I suppose. I've seen kids coming down the GS course like this and have a whole new appreciation for that skill level.

[ March 10, 2003, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: Timber ]
post #2 of 17
Timber, sorry I missed you at the Loaf this wekend. Glorious, eh?
I took class with an instructor named Denny, who had us do turns, first lifting the tail of the inside ski, then the tail of the outside. That might be an easier way to start.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know that drill. Somehow though with the ski completely off, it seemed completely different and difficult to balance.
post #4 of 17
That is a great drill and yes it is related to the carving thread. I practice it on the green slopes as well or flat sections on the way to the lift but I cheat and leave both skis on. Simply pick one clean up off of the snow and ride both the inside and outside edges of the other. You can then alternate skis easier or quit when you want to, or have to. With a little practice it really does become easier and can be a lot of fun on milder terrain. It will improve not only your downhill or turning ski's carve but, probably more importantly, your inside ski's turn and carve.
post #5 of 17
Great exercises and you are right they are tough.

I was teaching a student this weekend that was an ex-racer. One of his problems was not enough inside half strength. My exercise for him was to start his turn, and as he entered the fall line, to lift his outside ski and try to complete his turn on his inside ski.

I was also skiing most of the week with my family, including my 8 (now 9, birthday was on Friday!) year old neice and 7 1/2 year old nephew. They were ripping all over the hill but mostly on blues. so while I was leading them around the hill, I was trying to do as much of it on one ski.

Keep at it Timber, It will only make you a better skier!
post #6 of 17
>...Anyways, this weekend my 7 year old who skis in the season long program at Sugarloaf wanted me to try the one ski drill with him...

My kid (now 10) has been doing the same thing for the last couple of years, mostly to show off to her friends, I think.

If you don't want to partake, I've found that the best way out is to offer to carry everybody's unused (single) skis, since, of course, they might get stolen if left at the bottom of the hill. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] You once again have a function and will be tolerated skiing along with the youngsters.

Tom / PM
post #7 of 17
My favorite version is to ski only on the inside ski (i.e. slightly lift the outside ski on every turn). Then transition to doing the first half of the turn with the inside ski and then complete the turn with the outside ski.

I've heard that the drill of skiing with only one ski i.e. taking one ski off (while a great balance drill) isn't necessarily that useful for your skiing because it causes you to tighten up a lot of muscles in order to hold the unused leg up and out of the way (your hip flexors and torso shift into a position that is different than when you ski with two legs).

[ March 10, 2003, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: altagirl ]
post #8 of 17
Since my experience in the EpicSki Academy this year, I routinely practice this drill. I don't actually take off a ski, and that allows me to see if I'm properly shadowing the movements of my on-snow ski with those of my off-snow ski (i.e. edging both feet the same and avoiding javelin turns). The good news is that, if you're like me, you can improve at this drill with practice. The much better news is that it really does seem to improve my feel for engaging the outside edge of the inside ski throughout the turn. Of course, just when I become full of myself for my success in this drill on gentle pitches, I see my son and his freestyle teammates skiing fall line bumps with one ski removed!

A slightly gentler variant of this drill that we practiced at the Academy had us turning past the fall line on the inside edge of the outside ski, and then releasing to the outside edge of that same ski from the "beginning" of the next turn to the fall line. Then, we'd switch skis at the fall line and repeat the process. (Did I get that sequence right, Arcmeister?) That way, we'd alternate skis each turn, rather than linking all our turns on a single ski.

Edit: I just read what altagirl wrote while I was writing this message, and it's the same exercise. Start the turn on the inside ski and finish it on outside ski. The only difference between my description and her's was that you had a reasonable chance of understanding her's [img]smile.gif[/img] .


[ March 10, 2003, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: stmbtres ]
post #9 of 17
Yes Stmbtres,

Same learning toy as Altagirl's.

On outside ski roll to big toe arcing out of falline,
flex and roll it over to little toe arcing into falline,
at falline, switch feet and repeat.

Continue to explore the path.....

[ March 10, 2003, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #10 of 17
Timber, some things that may help. First, just practice when your are at home or standing on the street corner waiting for the light standing on one foot. (Those that live in cities have an advantage here) Yeah, this sounds obvious and dumb but you'd be surprised how many people have great difficulty doing this. Anyway, it's good training for all those little muscles etc...(lisamarie?)
So onsnow- Don't lift the ski way off the snow- a good inch is enough to prove you're doing it. Try lifting it with your toes instead of your hip. That is feel the toes lifting up into the top of the boot. Keep your pant legs touching- don't cram them tightly but don't allow space between the legs. Keep the lifted ski/foot next to the other one and steer and "edge" the lifted ski as if you were skiing with it.

The big thing is to "drive the boot" That is feel pressure on the tongue going from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock (left to right turn) You do this while rolling the foot from big toe to little toe.

Oh yeah- drag the pole. That is after planting the pole, let it drag in the snow lightly (not digging up a corn field here). This greatly helps with balance. (Kind of like disski's balance excercises while allowing one finger to occasionally touch a wall/post)

You can also practice with two skis on, just putting all the weight on one ski in both directions. When you get good at that then lift one into the air.
post #11 of 17
One footed skiing is used a lot in Australia and NZ. I was very concerned about it being in the US Level 2 exam, as it is in the Australian level 2.
In our Level 2 exam prep at Keystone, our Kiwi trainer made us do a lot of it, as he reckoned we should prep up to level 2 standard! Apparently US safety laws (or colorado laws) precluded him from actually removing our ski.

I have heard tales of one footed moguls being a task in teh Australian level 3, dunno if it's true or not.
post #12 of 17
I love this drill, although I still can't do it proficiently. Two things that I find that help:

a) Traverse on the uphill edge of your uphill ski. You have to commit to the inside (i.e., uphill) edge or you'll just be riding a flat ski. Done correctly, you will slowly carve a turn uphill. It's a nice way to practice a turn finish without having to worry about the turn initiation.

b) Start a turn on both skis and lift your outside ski as soon as possible. Then just keep making your "lift point" earlier and earlier. If you can get your outside ski airborne before you reach the fall line, you're doing great.

Keep at this one -- it isn't easy, but it works wonders for quieting down over-pivoted turn initiations.
post #13 of 17
Yeah, great drill. (I just graduated myself and started using it on easy blue runs ) What seems to work for me is swinging the free (dangling in the air) foot / ski: when making the turn to the outside - I swing the free foot outside; when making a more "traditional" turn, I do something resembling the javelin, sometimes even crossing the free ski over the ski being exercised. These swings shift the body CM with reference to the ski so that the supporting ski has to turn; it simply has no other choice.

And yes, forward pressure - but only at the initiation of the turn.

I can't get the guts to leave one ski at the bottom of the mountain [img]redface.gif[/img]
post #14 of 17
I haven't done this drill in a few years with one ski off, but I prefer it that way. I have broken poles by getting one caught on the edge of my 'up' ski and snapped it in half.

That said, I used to do this in race training, and now none of my coaches do it as a drill anymore. I think it is definently good for your balance and ski feel, etc. (one variant I like are Royal Christies- make each turn on the inside edge with the outside ski in the air, alternating legs each turn)

What I find the one ski off drill is good for is making sure you get/stay forward in your transitions. You can't turn your inside ski from the backseat.

I have heard of Eric Schlopy spending a week doing slalom on one ski. I can't remember exactly if I have done that, but I think I have (it was one or two runs of a whole day of one ski a fewr years ago if at all). It is actually quite fun (in a masochistic way) if you have gotten the hang of the one ski drill.
post #15 of 17

Actually some of us older skiers think of Royal Christies as skiing on one ski with the one that is in the air, behind you and perpendicular to the ground. This would be a good exercise as well however it takes much more skill than the exercise explained above.
post #16 of 17
Here's a way to practice it, that was mentioned above, I believe.

Start out facing down the fall line. We'll pretend you are on the left side of the trail. Lift the inside (right) ski, and finish, what would be, the bottom half of a right turn. Staying on the left ski, start the left turn. Place the right ski back on the snow and lift the left ski as you are facing down the fall line. Stay on the right ski as you finish the left turn, then start the right turn only on the right foot. Place the left foot on the snow and lift the right foot when you are facing down the fall line. Repeat as often as possible.

Another thing to try to do as you do this, is that when you lift one ski, only lift the tail. If you can keep the tip in contact with the snow, you will have your weight centered properly over your feet throughout the turn.

Here's the kicker. This is all about movement of the CM into the new turn. This move is all but impossible if you do not get your CM across that (downhill) foot that is on the snow, because you will be stuck on your uphill edge if you don't.
post #17 of 17
Our trainer had us doing it the length of Schoolmarm at Keystone, one leg the entire descent. Other leg the next descent. Not meant to put the up leg on the ground for the entire time.
We played with doing it in a flexed down position, and then experimented with being in an extended position. Oddly, it worked in both.
Turns on the outside edge were a bit of a leap of faith, like White Pass turns, but it all worked (lots of sound effects though!).
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