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just blabbin'

post #1 of 8
Stay STOKED and enjoy the snow!

Yeah, we have had several "balance" thoughts. The more "natural" your skiing is to everyday movement(balance) the less "muscling" of the skiis.

I'm lucky enough to ski with a 75 year old guy that is "up there" also. I think the only time his arms are not "in position" is when he is waving to his friends as he zooms by.

Does he ski like an "instructor"? Yes! Can he have fun and do weird stuff? Yes.

We keep on hitting on balance. Baby, if you got it, you got it!!!
post #2 of 8
I don't know about how long you can keep improving your strength, but I've been skiing since the mid-1940's and teaching skiing since 1970, and I'm a better skier today than I was this date last year, when I was better than I'd been to that point, etc., etc.

As you note, it's not about how strong you are, it's about how you apply that strength.
post #3 of 8
I got a big lesson in balance vs strength when I blew out my ACL 2 seasons ago. I blew it out at the bottom of the first run of the day, but kept skiing until around 2:00 (at Keystone). I didn't know I blew out my ACL, but I knew that my knee hurt, and when I fired up my right quad hard, it hurt like he!!. But what I found was that I was able to adjust my stance and stay in balance, and I didn't have to fire up my quads so hard, and my knee didn't hurt. Since then, I've been able to ski in much better balance without having to use nearly as much strength. This is a lesson I'll probably be able to take with me into my later years of skiing when I'm old and feeble, but still ripping the steeps because I'm balanced. (I hope).
post #4 of 8
IHTS, truer words have never been spoken so beautifully! [img]smile.gif[/img]

Kneale said: "Its not about how strong you are, its about how you apply that strength".

Exactly! The fitness certifications that train instructors to coach for sport specific conditioning are of the same philosophy. The training module is described as a pyramid. At the base is Balance, next strength, thhen power at the top.
The theory is that without balance as the foundation, any strength or power training will only be minimumly functional for sport.

You can't fire a cannon from a canoe!
post #5 of 8
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie:
You can't fire a cannon from a canoe!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I hate to disagree with you, but you can fire a cannon from a canoe. In fact, last summer I was at the "battle of the canoes" championships on the Liffey, when Finbar O'Hagan won the competition by firing a small cannon from his canoe, and set a new speed record for travelling backwards on water.

But seriously, I hope I am able to still be improving my skiing when I grow up.
Keep on enjoying it, whatever age you are, and whatever age you feel!

post #6 of 8
I thought it was FitzWilliam O'Hagan, not Finbar. Isn't Finny the smaller, skinnier one? The guy lighting the fuse was a chunky guy who resembled Chris Farley. The trick was having him alone in the canoe, and with the the cannon and its discharged energy upon firing, how the fork to keep it keelside down.
post #7 of 8
I started skiing at age 35 and have been skiing for 17 years. I'll be a mature 54 soon. At this point in my life, my body's still able, but it takes me longer to recover after many days of skiing. Fortunately, I can still say at the end of the season that my skiing is better than the year before! And yes the revolution in ski equipment has helped me improve to higher levels fairly rapidly.

Yes, I do have a internal measuring stick. But, it only measures MY ability. A good run, has nothing to do with speed and everything to do with quality of my turns. Am I keeping my shoulders square down the fall line, is my upper body quiet, do I set my edges well, am I completing my turns, can I feel my lower body unwind into the next turn, ect. Of course all of this self critique is subconscious

I'm also finding that the older I get, the smoother my skiing becomes. Less wasted motion, more balance and edge control.

Like Ihaveasecret, our local ski area has a older, great ski instructor. He's so smooooooth in his skiing. No matter the terrain or snow conditions, he seems to easily glide down the mountain, , maintaining a constant speed. Definitely a skill level to strive toward!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

just blabbin'

One thing the youngsters got in epic proportion are heavy doses of agility and muscles. As one gets older, he can no longer rely as heavily on these props to support his skiing. He must seek balance.

How old can we continue to improve physically? By that I mean, how long can we continue to increase strength and agility? 30? 40? 50? More?

Like it or not, at some point we all gotta admit that things are going a little backwards. We can slow it down, but aging is inevitable. Happens to everyone.

My first recommendation is to stop working as soon as possible and devote your life to the pursuit of truth in skiing. "Because if you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do".

What....? Ok.

As we age, we are all prone to think of the days when we were "young and foolish". We just don't do the things we used to. Because we've grown smarter? Or do we just instinctively "know" that our bodies are just not up to the challenge of certain manueveres? Agility is directly linked to the subject's level of committment. Committment can be described as the steadfast belief that you can DO what you are trying to do. If an instructor asks you to try something and, deep down inside, you just plain don't believe you can do it, your chances are obviously not good. Committment = faith in your ability.

So how can you train your mind this thoroughly and deeply without resorting to a trip to India to burn some incense and hang with the Maharishi?


Like it or not, at least some of you have to admit that you keep a little mental scorecard as you watch your skiing buddies and fellow slope sliding warriors. "I'm better than that guy, she's better than me... c'mon, admit it... you DO that! We have Level this and level that, but the real rating system is the one described above. And many of the criteria don't really match what the skill-based, logical doctrines speak of.

A skier might be considered "better" than his buddy by virtue of being the fastest down the South Puckered Poo Chutes. Didn't matter that his turns weren't "completed" or that he didn't angulate as much as he should have on the 4th turn from the top... he got down first. He won.

True, not everyone looks at skiing in this competitive way. Most probably don't. There are many other reasons to ski besides being the first back to the lift.

But, it is our innate human drive that compels every one of us to imagine skiing that steep chute over there, or tackling those steep icy moguls. Whatever challenges lie just a little out of reach to way out of reach, we think of them. We are always seeking challenge, or at least imagining ourselves in the challenge. And yes, that drive weakens with age. There we find a crossroad, where our level of committment decreases and our agility and muscle power begin to decline. More and more we only imagine the challenge instead of doing it. This is where balance must step in.

When you learn to balance throughout a turn, you can maintain or even continue to increase your level of committment as you grow older. In the presence of balance, you need not rely so much on agility and muscle strength to prop up technical shortcomings.

I skied the other day with one of Canada's top instructors. In CSIA lingo, Level IV is top dog... or is that god? This guy TEACHES the Level IV's.

I am lucky to be able to ski with him quite often. He hasn't reached old fart status yet, not even close, but he's close to 10 years my senior. I've always thought his skiing was little "boring". Same speed, same turns, all the time. Like the stereotypical ski instructor "clone". Smooooooooth.

The other day was a little different. We visiting one of the neighboring areas where the terrain is very much different from my home hill. Hair-raising steep is available in quantity, and there was lots of new snow, choppy and challenging. FUN! We skied the steep stuff all morning. Pretty tough stuff.

He still looked like the "stereotypical" ski instructor clone. Smooooooth.

The rest of us took that difficult skiing and (while we are kind of "OK" in our own right) made that difficult skiing look... well, difficult.

Why the difference? Balance. Our mentor this day was in "perfect" balance throughout every turn. In short, that means he was in control of every part of every turn. Darn close anyway. No "pop" of restrained pressure to throw him from one turn midway into the next. No "freefall" between turns. Just a regulated steering effort that directed the skis both INTO and out of the turn.

I emphasize "into" because most of us focus only on steering the skis out of the turn, not into it. In every turn, there is a period of "out-of-controlness". If we are in control, we are in balance. To build trust in your ability to ski, whatever skill level you're building from, you must minimize that portion of your turn that is "out of control".

The guru's teaching to us that day? "Ski softly".

By managing pressure throughout the arc, you can achieve and maintain balance, because by managing pressure, you reduce the portion of the turn that is out of control.

Sure, it's fun to store up that pressure under your edges and let it fire you from turn to turn. POP,POP,POP! But remember, you's gettin' older and unless you improve your technical skills and balance, the agility and muscle that lets you get away with such daring moves will one day begin to let you down.

OK, my mind is still going, but I've subjected you guys to enough punishment. If you read this far, thanks! See, we are having our first major dump in a long while and I am STOKED. Couldn't sleep, so tried to write myself to dreamland. I think it's working. Oooooh, we gonna have fun tomorrow!
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