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Learning to parallel ski

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi, I learnt to ski in the 2009 season, I am in the southern hemisphere so our season runs from July - October. 

 

After some casual stints as a student, 1 or 2x ski per year with group lessons didn't work for me so I took up private lessons in 2009.  Currently I think I am a beginner blues, I don't fall over but I am still using the V formation.  If I try to corrct myself I can trip myself over. 

 

In 2009 I had the seasons pass so I did about 15 days of skiing.  This year I won't do much because I didn't get the pass, I plan for 2011 and do a lot more with lessons.  I also found my instructor is not working this year.

 

So .. my question is how does a person break out of the V into parallel skiing?  Does it take long?  In the past I have been told to initialise the turn with the down hill ski and then link the other ski so it's parallel.  I am not sure about parallel skiing but I can do side stepping I think that's what it is called.  You sometimes see a ski patrol skiing down fast and he/she hops to the side.  I can do right turns a bit better than the lefts, doing left turns, the up hill ski (the left) tend to not want to go parallel.  I also tend to lean a bit more backward. 

 

Also, do people do carving generally or just parallels?  Is that limited to groom terrain only?

 

 

 

Thanks in advance :)

post #2 of 24

The main challenge is trusting your skis.  You want to keep your skis, well, parallel.  You would want to be skiing across the hill, tilt the skis so that the inside (part of the skis closer to the "center" of the turn) edges of both skis are raised.  This will start the turn.  You'll learn to trust this through the turn later (carving!), but for now, you can twist your skis and skid the edges on the snow, scrubbing off speed and completing the turn. 

post #3 of 24


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayonline View Post


So .. my question is how does a person break out of the V into parallel skiing?  Does it take long?  In the past I have been told to initialise the turn with the down hill ski and then link the other ski so it's parallel.  I am not sure about parallel skiing but I can do side stepping I think that's what it is called.  You sometimes see a ski patrol skiing down fast and he/she hops to the side.  I can do right turns a bit better than the lefts, doing left turns, the up hill ski (the left) tend to not want to go parallel.  I also tend to lean a bit more backward. 

 

Do it in baby steps.  Start with the easiest part of skiing parallel; should be going straight.  If you can do that then add it to in between the turns (the traverse).  Then come out of the turn (last half of turn) parallel and hold through the traverse.  The only thing left is to add the first half of the turn.  Do this on easy terrain first.

 

As for getting your skis parallel, I'm guessing your feet might be further apart than they need to be.  Try getting them closer to under your hips.  In order to turn your ski using rotation, the ski will have to be flat.  The easiest way for that is directly under your hip.  The way to check for this is standing on level ground, use your foot to rotate your ski back and forth using your foot.  The pivot point needs to be the arch of your foot.  If you can't do that, your ski probably isn't flat.  Make sure your toes, knee, and hip are on top of each other. 

 

Once you can do it, that is the same thing you need to do to get your skis parallel.  When you are in a V, you can see that one ski is already pointing in the direction you want to go.  All you need to do is point the other ski in the same direction.  You can do this using rotation.  Get good at that coming in and out of the V to ||, straight and turning.  Be || when you are comfortable with it.  Next step is once || all the time, you roll your ankles to the side you want to turn.  You will feel your edges dig in and you will be doing more dynamic parallel turns.  If you are leaning back, this will be hard to do and control.

 

Your left ski probably is on the inside edge instead of being flat when you are doing a left hand turn.  Once you can get your skis flat (foot under hip) this will be better.  Everyone tends to have a favorite side.  One way to correct this is to do more left turns until they are as good as the right.

 

To help with being too far back (in the back seat), keep your hands forward.  If you can't see them when you are looking down hill, they are too far back.  Also make sure your shin is against the front of your boot.  DON'T look at your skis!  They aren't going to change or do anything you didn't tell them to do so you don't have to watch them.  Pick something to ski to, look at it and when you get there, look at something else.  Just as you start your turn, you should be looking ahead to your next turn.  Being forward will be a big help on your turns.  Don't bend at the waist.  Bend (flex) at the ankle.  Push your hips forward.

 

Make sure your boots fit correctly.  If they are too big, it will encourage you to be in the back seat.  If your boots fit correctly, everything you do skiing will be easier and you'll get better faster.  Boots are the most important piece of equipment after your brain.  There is plenty to read about boots in the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum at this site.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Ken

post #4 of 24

You know, I never really wedged — except the first time I skied, one day on Whaleback at 10 below in New Hampshire in 1987.  It was fifteen years before I skied again.

 

A non-PSIA method:  Find a gentle slope.  Start traveling down it (slowly).  If you want to turn right, gently lift the right ski a little bit off the snow, and tilt it toward your right little toe.  The tip stays close to the snow, the tail is a little up (how high you lift depends on how fast you're going — faster = higher). This will cause you to lean right and your left ski to edge.  You'll turn right.  Opposite moves cause you to turn left.

 

This is Harold Harb, PMTS.  People hate him, but as I say, I've paralleled since day 2.

 

Good luck!  

post #5 of 24


Find a qualified instructor.  I don't know where you live in the southern hemisphere but talk to the locals at the resort where you ski. Invest in some lessons with a competent instructor.  You will receive many suggestions on this forum but there is no substitute for quality ski lessons at your stage of skiing.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by rayonline View Post

Hi, I learnt to ski in the 2009 season, I am in the southern hemisphere so our season runs from July - October. 

 

After some casual stints as a student, 1 or 2x ski per year with group lessons didn't work for me so I took up private lessons in 2009.  Currently I think I am a beginner blues, I don't fall over but I am still using the V formation.  If I try to corrct myself I can trip myself over. 

 

In 2009 I had the seasons pass so I did about 15 days of skiing.  This year I won't do much because I didn't get the pass, I plan for 2011 and do a lot more with lessons.  I also found my instructor is not working this year.

 

So .. my question is how does a person break out of the V into parallel skiing?  Does it take long?  In the past I have been told to initialise the turn with the down hill ski and then link the other ski so it's parallel.  I am not sure about parallel skiing but I can do side stepping I think that's what it is called.  You sometimes see a ski patrol skiing down fast and he/she hops to the side.  I can do right turns a bit better than the lefts, doing left turns, the up hill ski (the left) tend to not want to go parallel.  I also tend to lean a bit more backward. 

 

Also, do people do carving generally or just parallels?  Is that limited to groom terrain only?

 

 

 

Thanks in advance :)

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that, will look for another series of private lessons at the next season when I get a seasons pass. 

 

Maybe I am just one of those.  I can take go to the top and do a "blue" run, but avoiding the steeper blue areas and I may not fall over.  However I have never mastered parallel skiing, not even in the most bunny areas.  To date I haven't been able to link them. 

post #7 of 24

The best thing you can do:

Find an instructor, or someone/who might not being one/, but is familiar with the concept of skiing and follow their advice...

Just a proper advice and few tips will help you a lot, compared to trying and do it on your own...

post #8 of 24

Look for a PMTS instructor.

 

http://pmts.org/

 

I think you are waisting time and money with your current instructor.

 

You should be skiing parallel from day one or two.

post #9 of 24

On a hardpacked groomed surface, you should be able to just tip both your skis onto their right edges to turn right and tip both your skis onto their left edges to turn left.  It's realy that simple.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

On a hardpacked groomed surface, you should be able to just tip both your skis onto their right edges to turn right and tip both your skis onto their left edges to turn left.  It's realy that simple.


Oh.  I didn't know that.  I thought parallels was just flat but parallel.  I thought tipping was carving to be done later when I am really an advanced/expert skier.

post #11 of 24

rayonline, how long are your skis?  And, do you own or rent boots?

I've got some thoughts for you, but I'd like to find out the answers to these questions first.

There are a lot of misconceptions about parallel.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayonline View Post




Oh.  I didn't know that.  I thought parallels was just flat but parallel.  I thought tipping was carving to be done later when I am really an advanced/expert skier.

Skiing with skis flat to the snow is very hard on modern skis; the side cut interacts with every little imperfection in the snow surface.  The way to make the skis behave is to tell them to either turn left or right, by being on both right or both left edges.


As to carving, different people develop at different rates.  Don't worry about it.  The thing is though, whether you are carving or not, as long as your skis are tipped at the same angle on a hard groomed (smooth) surface they will be parallel; gravity and geometry just make it that way.  Give it a try, keep your shins parallel and the skis will be at the same angle, all you have to do is tip the skis and not fall off.  You may suddenly start carving, or you may not.  Again, don't worry about it, just try it; you'll like it.  Oh, if you are used to not tipping your skis, be gradual as you learn to tip them more and more so you can learn to adapt to the new forces.

 

BTW, Skiing IS a lot easier with properly fitted boots.

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post

rayonline, how long are your skis?  And, do you own or rent boots?

I've got some thoughts for you, but I'd like to find out the answers to these questions first.

There are a lot of misconceptions about parallel.

 

I am 1.75m tall at 80kg. 

I was using Head Supershape 160.  The red ones with  a radius of 10.7. 
I rented the skis but I may buy them for the next season, getting pricey. 

 

I have my own boots and poles.  Boots are Atomic B-Tech some intermediate level boots with a custom foot bed.

post #14 of 24

Rayonline,

 

Since you mention buying, let me offer a word of caution about next year's Head Supershape model.  They will contain a new technology called KERS which stiffens up the tails significantly.  It will make for a more powerful ride with a quicker turn exit, but reportedly requires significantly more skill to handle the ski -- don't get caught in the back seat on the new model.  If you choose to buy, I recommend you buy the red and white ones (the past few years' models) like you've skied rather than next year's model which has a red and white front and a black tail. Or demo the new model before buying to judge for yourself.  (disclosure:  I'm a huge fan of the supershapes and have both the old ones and a pair of the new, stiffer ones just waiting for their first taste of snow in November!)

 

On parallel turns:  I agree with jonrpen's suggestion above (PMTS.)  It's worked very well for me and many of my ski friends.  But know that this is a minority opinion on this forum and in most sectors of the skiing public.

 

 

Quote:
Also, do people do carving generally or just parallels?  Is that limited to groom terrain only?

 

There are as many answers to this question as there are skiers.  Personally, I always try to ski with the same movements that lead to high-level carving.  If the slopes are uncrowded or ice, I'll carve.  If it's crowded or too steep and I need to put the brakes on, I'll decrease the tipping angle of my ski a bit to do a "brushed carve" i.e. an almost carve which is slower and tighter than a full-on carve.  I use those same movements in powder or bumps with only minor adjustments.  So in my mind, I'm always "carving" even if I tone it down a bit. 

 

The second half of my answer is that few skiers actually carve despite the brags you may hear at the bar over a few cold ones.  You can spot them a long way off when you're riding a chairlift because their movements look distinctly different and there aren't many of them (unless it's a race day.)  Carving is a delicious and utterly addictive sensation, so good for you if you aspire to reach this goal.  And if not, there's plenty of other fun to be had on skis so don't worry about the carving mystique (unless you're into utterly addictive sensations )

 

 

Best wishes for a rewarding skiing future!

 

Sharpedges

post #15 of 24

Rent some 140 cm skis and practice changing both edges at the same time.  

 

(More later.)

post #16 of 24

Sounds like you have the will to learn to ski, but so far your instructors have been like:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0MyMjkQ0Gc

 

when they should have been like:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDNVKVpnoS4

 

Read all of this:

 

http://www.harbskisystems.com/

 

Don't settle for crap instruction or crappy instructors. You know it when you see it. There are good teachers out there, but you will have to find them.

Find some ski racers and ask them to recommend an instructor. Look for the best skiers on your hill and ask them. Full day private lessons are the way to go, when you find a good instructor.


Edited by jonrpen - 9/9/10 at 1:54am
post #17 of 24

 

Well done guys.  Nice troll thread.  Even had me going until post #13.  Rayonline blew it with the "foot bed" comment.  Hooked weems nicely thou.

 

 

PS: Jonrpen - one of the funniest slam posts in awhile! 

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Well done guys.  Nice troll thread.  Even had me going until post #13.  Rayonline blew it with the "foot bed" comment.  Hooked weems nicely thou.

 

 

PS: Jonrpen - one of the funniest slam posts in awhile! 

Yeah.  I always expect the best of people.  Won't be the last time.
 

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Well done guys.  Nice troll thread.  Even had me going until post #13.  Rayonline blew it with the "foot bed" comment.  Hooked weems nicely thou.

 

 

PS: Jonrpen - one of the funniest slam posts in awhile! 

Not sure what you on about.  If you look at my prev threads, by advice I went to a boot fitter b/c I was told to get my own boots and hire my skis.  I was also told to get a custom foot bed and that adjustment on the side of the boot that you adjust with this tool - forget the name.  I got the boots last year when I learnt to ski.  If you look at my threads then, I took up private lessons because when I was studying back in 2000, with group sessions I couldn't learn properly and the group basically left me aside and thus I withdrawn, tried to teach  myself and then went to the cafe. 

 

I got a advanced ski b/c I was on a New Zealand forum and told to see this guy in this rental shop, I told him I was struggling to do the basic blues after getting out of greens so he said that ski would be better than the typical rentals. 

 

Think I will wait until 2011 for ski, may get a seasons pass and take up more lessons. 
 

post #20 of 24

The problem is you have been skiing with flat skis in a wedge for 10 years.  STOP IT!

 

Turn right on your right edges \ \ turn left on your left edges //.  Turn right or turn left; don't straightline. Keep your balance as you edge your skis.

 

Do this for a few days and then find an instructor to teach you about angulation and counter.

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

If  you don't believe, here I posted a qustion last year in New Zealand asking people for advance b/c I really struggled to ski.  Now I can do blues but easy blues, I pick my own paths after learning the terrain with a private instructor.  I don't use the t bars b/c I fall off them and too embarassed and with people queuing. 

 

I spent maybe 4+ weekends at the greens before I went to blues. 

 

http://snow.co.nz/forum/ski-snowboard/68/

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayonline View Post


So .. my question is how does a person break out of the V into parallel skiing?  Does it take long? 

...

Also, do people do carving generally or just parallels?  Is that limited to groom terrain only?


There are two basic ways to break out of the V into parallel skiing. The simplified version of the traditional way starts with making smaller Vs (going faster) and letting the skis naturally go to parallel through the finish of the turn. From there, you keep increasing the speed and moving the point where you are matching the skis earlier into the turn (e.g. matching the skis to parallel when the skis are pointed straight down the hill, then matching the skis to parallel before the skis are pointed straight down the hill). Once, you are matching the skis together "above the fall line", it's easy to transition to not using the V at all. With the introduction of modern skis, some ski teaching systems have introduced beginners to parallel skiing from day one without using the V. Even if you've started learning with the V, it's possible to switch learning modes to the more modern system. There are pluses and minuses to each approach. FWIW the New Zealand ski instructor organization looks like they encourage their instructors to use the traditional teaching method.

 

When I learned to ski (the traditional way) it was common for people to require at least five 10-20 day seasons in order to learn to ski parallel (it took me about 5 seasons/60 days, starting at age 8 and on what would now be considered museum quality gear). With modern gear and modern grooming less time is required. The exact time it will take for you will depend on your abilities, your gear, your coaching and the conditions on the mountain. I've had many skiers parallel skiing on green runs within the first 90 minutes. I've also worked with skiers who still weren't parallel well after their fiftieth day. It's ok if you are on either end of the spectrum, but understandably frustrating if you're on the latter end and it's not your abilities that are the limiting factor. It sounds like trying a "Direct to Parallel" instruction approach would be helpful for you. Although there are no PMTS instructors listed for New Zealand, there may be some instructors at your resort who have been trained to teach the modern alternative way to learn to ski. Try contacting "Andrew R", who works at Treble Cone. Alternatively, there are online resources they may help you through this process. Travel, although expensive, could also be a solution.

 

It's awful hard to carve if your skis are not close to parallel. Some people describe their soft snow skiing as carving, but you generally will not see the proof (pencil thin tracks indicating no skidding occurred) unless the snow is groomed. Whether you are carving or not, it's the use of the ski edges to facilitate parallel turns that introduces you to the world of advanced skiing. If you think it's fun now, you're in for a real treat. Enjoy the journey!

post #23 of 24

 

I ask people to note that the OP is not uncommon, but represents MOST of the skiers in my two local ski areas (Southern Indiana), and that instructors are responsible for his dilemma.  It is not the fault of the instructors, it is the infernal dogma that is taught.  True, the OP rarely goes fast enough to do much damage, but neither is he enjoying the sport.  Instructors need to emphasize, even enforce parallel skiing at some point in the very first lesson.  The steps are easy and mentioned above.  Kids might have have no problem leaving the plow/wedge, but it is very hard for adult skiers to do so.

 

Rayonline, yes, if you can find an instructor who agrees to get you out of the V, by all means work with him/her.  They might instruct you as follows.

 

The best method for adults is not to _start_ with the V.  So what to do now?  On flat or gently uphill ground, practice poling and skating.  Work at it, go faster!  It's outstanding balance and technique training for alpine skiing.  Then, go _back_ to a VERY gentle, short slope, where you can't get over a certain speed going straight down as *quickly* as your skis allow.  Practice just standing as you go.  Learn to do hockey stops ALWAYS when you must stop, so that you don't revert to the bad habit you were taught.  Try to steer a little.  Never worry about your stance or leg or ski position, they will find the sweet spot because it's comfortable.  Get comfortable with a gentle speed, then gradually step it up.  When you're finally comfortable with 12 mph/20kph, start turning with force.  The key is, you can only ski well if you go fast enough.  And though it seems very quick, it's not faster than you can run at top speed.  Of course, you will need to practice higher speeds than that just for safety in case you make a mistake and gain extra speed.

Once you get parallel, no matter how slowly, stay with it.  Never go back, and emphasize that to any instructor you might hire.

 

Good PSIA Instructors won't let you stay in a V over several lessons, and PMTS instructors avoid it in the first place.

 

Finally, 10.4m radius skis could be too tight a radius, rent some skis with at least 12m, preferably around 14m radius.   But only after you've done the above.

 

My 2 cents, good luck. 

post #24 of 24

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by whippersnapper View Post

 

I ask people to note that the OP is not uncommon, but represents MOST of the skiers in my two local ski areas (Southern Indiana), and that instructors are responsible for his dilemma.  It is not the fault of the instructors, it is the infernal dogma that is taught.  True, the OP rarely goes fast enough to do much damage, but neither is he enjoying the sport.  Instructors need to emphasize, even enforce parallel skiing at some point in the very first lesson.  The steps are easy and mentioned above.  Kids might have have no problem leaving the plow/wedge, but it is very hard for adult skiers to do so.

 

Rayonline, yes, if you can find an instructor who agrees to get you out of the V, by all means work with him/her.  They might instruct you as follows.

 

The best method for adults is not to _start_ with the V.  So what to do now?  On flat or gently uphill ground, practice poling and skating.  Work at it, go faster!  It's outstanding balance and technique training for alpine skiing.  Then, go _back_ to a VERY gentle, short slope, where you can't get over a certain speed going straight down as *quickly* as your skis allow.  Practice just standing as you go.  Learn to do hockey stops ALWAYS when you must stop, so that you don't revert to the bad habit you were taught.  Try to steer a little.  Never worry about your stance or leg or ski position, they will find the sweet spot because it's comfortable.  Get comfortable with a gentle speed, then gradually step it up.  When you're finally comfortable with 12 mph/20kph, start turning with force.  The key is, you can only ski well if you go fast enough.  And though it seems very quick, it's not faster than you can run at top speed.  Of course, you will need to practice higher speeds than that just for safety in case you make a mistake and gain extra speed.

Once you get parallel, no matter how slowly, stay with it.  Never go back, and emphasize that to any instructor you might hire.

 

Good PSIA Instructors won't let you stay in a V over several lessons, and PMTS instructors avoid it in the first place.

 

Finally, 10.4m radius skis could be too tight a radius, rent some skis with at least 12m, preferably around 14m radius.   But only after you've done the above.

 

My 2 cents, good luck. 

I really agree with this, and some of the stuff a few others have said in here.

The biggest problem is that people are being instructed to wedge right away.

The wedge is like a crutch IMO. You just lean on it if you know it and are scared to come off it. To many instructors just relying on this to teach people instead of teaching them how to ski. Yes, the point is to get down the hill, skiing. Not in a controlled stop the whole way down just to get them down the hill so you get paid. 

 

I never learned to Wedge. I never went to the bunny hill. I'm thankful for it. But! Not everyone can do that! 

Work hard and get good instruction to get away from it.
The wedge teach you a lot of bad things IMO.
These guys are definitely steering you in the right direction.

 

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