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Starting out the new season

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

This time of year we often see readers asking for activities to improve their skiing. In some cases these questions are seeking global advice but in most cases they're about a specific issue. It's sometimes hard to convince these folks that very often these specific issues come down to improving their fundamental balancing skills. So in an effort to start out the season well, I'm hoping to offer and solicit from our other pros, some global tips that will help our readers develop and refine their fundamental skill of balancing upon their skis. Especially as they get back on the snow for the first few days of the new season.


Perhaps the best way to start this is to point out that for the first few days just standing up on the skis and finding a balanced stance is a big enough task. So what I do is just work on reaquainting myself with how it feels to balance on the skis. No formal drills, no high end performances, I just play around. After a week of that it's time to start some specific technical training but it needs to start with a strong focus on fundamentals. I realize that not everyone has the luxury of a lot of snow time but I'm hoping we can share some off snow "teaching for transfer" type activities along with ideas of what to do and what to avoid when you get back on the snow for the first few days of the new season.


Schancey once told me that he raises his game more in the summer than during the winter and that for him that process starts with inline skates. Diagonal striding for fitness is a good place to start. Although the best activity I learned from him was to start making parallel skate turns across flat terrain and work up to making those same turns uphill. It's important to also add that doing this sporadically doesn't do much good. You need to do this every few days. Kent Rhycal told me his regimine included a weighted backpack to help him work on strength while making these same uphill turns.


On the snow this progression is also a pretty good plan. Skating moves followed by round turns on these same shallow slopes. Slow line fast stuff. I know it sound a lot like a beginner progresion but if you think about it aren't we all starting over and just like a beginner we need to find balance before we can move onto more difficult tasks.

post #2 of 17

Good topic, and interesting points that are relevant to my issues.


In my Level II exam last March I was told that I needed to work on skating and stepping moves, and in general skating is one of my weak areas. I can certainly skate well enough, get from place to place on the flats and uphill, but from the Examiner's point of view my skating technique was flawed.


I have surmised that skating moves are closely related to changing edges early in a turn and thus to good speed control.


So my plan is to spend a lot of time early season working on skating and stepping moves.

post #3 of 17

In the summer I use a balance board. I do exercises do go from back to balanced to forward (fore/aft balance) and from side to balanced to side (lateral/tipping balance).  I start with two feet on the board, then do the exercises one footed. This summer I'm working on doing the exercises with my eyes closed.


On snow, I've found that shuffling the skis back and forth through the turns is the quickest way to find a balanced stance.

post #4 of 17

I'm currently doing P90X!  It's a pretty intense workout that incorporates everything that you will need to be in prime skiing shape for the season.  Like TheRusty, I also use a balance board.  I use the Indo Board.  Balance boards really do help you get a grip on figuring our your balance point.  I'm also swimming a lot which helps my endurance and my breathing.  I can't wait for the snow to fly!  I start dry land training next weak.  Yea!!!!

post #5 of 17

I'm tapering off of my bike and mixing in some Fallout: New Vegas. In a week or two I will start walking around in the woods with various firearms. I think I might hit the weights a little too.

post #6 of 17

Summer for me has been cycling for leg strength and stamina (linear) and Stand Up Paddling for core strength (rotational).   Personally I can't do the gym thing routinely, I need to have fun working out or it is not worth it to me.  I guess if I was being paid millions with my skiing career I would certainly find the money enough motivation to learn to love the gym, but having fun is my first priority since I am not getting rich!


I also find myself using visualization every Summer/Fall to revisit and anchor movements I want to improve or change.  I have had great results using visualization to ingrain new movements and sensations as I can go over and over them in my mind and slow them down, speed them up, work on them through different phases of the turn, move backward and forward in my mind like a video to hone in on the exact sensations and movements.  In past years I honestly felt I skied better the first days back on snow than I did the lasts days of the previous season!


Looking at "balancing" we can use visualization to take an inventory of our sensations and how we were balancing throughout our turns last season.  Upon this review taking note, where in the phases of our turns, we felt our balance most challenged.  Then ask ourselves how we could possibly move differently to remain in balance throughout this phase.  Using visualization we can edit the movie any way we would like, then replay it over and over until we can actually feel the move we want to make.  note: make sure your balancing challenges are not caused by poor alignment before beating your head against a wall trying to change your technique!


Currently, I have been visualizing releasing my downhill edge earlier in the finish/initiation phase to create more fluidity through the edge change.  I want to get my speed control through a round turn shape rather than any inkling of an edge set (ski the slow line fast).  So.... this is where I have a sharp, vivid moving picture in my mind of "the move" which I replay over and over.  I want my turn finish to continue even as I begin to release my edge angle (twist n tip) twist left n tip right, and twist right n tip left.  But that's another story...

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

I think you hit on something Bud. Imagination and mental rehearsal are indeed very powerful tools. I recall a study where pro basketball players did virtual workouts and they didn't lose much as far as in shooting percent. Although I wonder if you can replace running lines and footwork drills with mental rehearsals. This summer I was asked to play tennis by a relative newbie to the sport. Not having touched my racket since having surgery on my shoulder five years ago I found myself unable to get to the ball fast enough to settle in to the shot properly. Needless to say I was very disappointed with my poor perform ace. Not that I had spent any time playing tennis in my mind. I'm like you when it comes to summer. I can play outside all day but put me in a gym and ten minutes later I'm looking at my watch and hoping it would run faster. Not to mention I make most of my money in the summer, so finding time for a year round training regimine is difficult. That's why I find blading so helpful. I'm outside playing, even when I'm making all of those uphill parallel turns. I supplement that with the bike as well but to be honest the skates are a lot more effective.


What prompted me to start this thread was an idea that I remembered from a sports psychologist who a few years back was working with several pro sports teams. While he advocated mental rehearsal he also advocated practicing your sport every few days. According to his research a layoff greater than 72 hours produced a drop in accuracy and coordination of complex movements among the athletes they studied.

post #8 of 17

I also think inline skating is great. I practice both fore/aft, lateral and strength on them. Unfortunately we are starting to have ice on the ground now and no snow for another month or so.


One very intersting thing on inlines is practicing steering excercises standing still or moving very slowly. It is quite a different feeling to do it on inlines compared to doing it in shoes, because there is no fore/aft friction. What makes inlines turn anyway? since the wheels are inline I suppose it is some kind of steering?


Regarding the mental thing. I saw an interview with Jon Olsson on Swedish television. He said that although he spends most days skiing, he emulates skiing in his mind almost all woken time. That's comitment.

post #9 of 17

Ted Newgent said that its important to take time off from whatever sport or hobby you are into. In his case hunting and guitar playing. This way when he gets back to eather one he craivs and hungers for it. That was his advice. I tend to agree with him. Im not sure if its a good thing at the absolute top level but I find that when skiing season is over it has been so intence that time off is a good thing. First in spring its a relief. Then during summer you dont think about it much but as the days get shorter and the air temperature drops I get this tingle. And thats a good thing. Im all for splitting sports into winter and summer sports. Soccer, bicing, running, climbing, surfing, windsurfing, tennis, rowing, inline scating, scateboard, streetball, beachball, waterskiing, swimming etc. in the summer. Skiing in the winter. Going to the gym and spinning etc. can be used all year long as much as needed or to fill in the gaps between summer and winter sports. I dont like when sports turn into year arround hobbies. The guys playing soccer for instance play outside year arround on a heated field next to our skiing hill in the winter. Ice hockey is being played year arround down in some bunker even in the hottest summer.

post #10 of 17

A few years ago I went directly from only sailing to skiing. I will never do that again. It took a long time to get into suffcient shape.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Actually The taper on the wheels and tipping the skate creates an arced contact patch. Just line on a bike.

post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

A few years ago I went directly from only sailing to skiing. I will never do that again. It took a long time to get into suffcient shape.

Sailing or windsurfing?

post #13 of 17

I only have about 6 weeks off snow in between seasons, but I still find it takes a little time to get back into it at the start of a new season. At the moment I am going to the gym 3 times a week, plus a yoga session or two. Things I am focusing on are core and leg strength, plus a bit of general conditioning stuff, using the bosu and swiss balls a lot. Favourite exercises are lunge bicep curls onto the bosu, and squats on the swiss ball.


In terms of visualisation, I find it hard to not to think about skiing, so I am almost constantly visualising parts of my skiing, though I tend to visualise tricks better than I do turns.

post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Sailing or windsurfing?

Sailing as a helmsman, -not so physical. I saw that you are into windsurfing.

post #15 of 17

the real question for me is how am I going to maintain summer bike shape over the winter season.......

post #16 of 17


Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

the real question for me is how am I going to maintain summer bike shape over the winter season.......

GS is pretty much the most lactic producing sport around so maybe you could push it a bit

edit: Sorry, but after you ripped my post in the other thread apart I could'nt resist smile.gif

post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post


GS is pretty much the most lactic producing sport around so maybe you could push it a bit

edit: Sorry, but after you ripped my post in the other thread apart I could'nt resist smile.gif

go back and explain better then, cause i am actually agreeing with TDK6 which takes a miracle. 

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