or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Ski or ME

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
In sorting through the recent "Lifting is Learning" thread an intriguing thought comes to mind.

Do you view your skis as tools you use like a hammer or saw with a very conscious thought process focused on the inputs necessary to make the skis do your bidding?

On the other hand, are they simply an extension of your body? You ebb and flow with the mountain with little thought of your skis.

Should we be focused on the movements, the mountain or the tools? Are we doing all of these? Does it vary with skill level or learning state?

A simple analogy from my other profession. Is a golf club a tool with which we "hit" a ball or is it simply an extension of my swinging arms (keeping it very simple here) and the ball simply gets in the way of my swing?
post #2 of 8
Palmer hit the golf ball...Snead swung the club!

I forget who tells the tale or to whom it's attributed but someone around the RM division has a quote about allowing the mountain to teach the skier.
post #3 of 8
I am lucky enough to spend signifigantly more time skiing than walking each day during the winter season. Once into the season I need but to intend to go somewhere, or do this or that with my skis. When I choose to observe, I am aware that this is achomplished thru my feet but with a total body commitment to support the intent. The more I allow this process to flo, the less I try to cause specifics, the smoother I ski. Yet for me, part of the adventure is in exploring the range of allowing and causing, learning, and un-learnin, and re-learning to clearer levels of detail, then just let go to a soft focus and groove with gravity.

Chevy Chase was the ball... nnnnnnnnn.....

[ November 03, 2003, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #4 of 8
The ski AND me--

A hammer is a tool for pounding
A saw is a tool for cutting

Isn't a ski a tool for turning?

Have you ever watched a child when they first try to hit a nail? Their challenge is eye/hand coordination, along with holding onto an object with a large moment of inertia. Or watched while a child come to grips with the concept that serrated teeth cut most when the saw is being pushed forward and down?

A skilled carpenter doen't think too much about how to grasp a hammer or a saw, or the arc he wants to swing the hammer, or the the angle at which he puts the saw's blade; practice and experience have made these actions and choices intuitive. Practice and experience with skis makes technique and tactics intuitive. Perhaps skis, maybe being less obvious in their most effective use, require more instruction and training--like a surgeon needs more training to cut with a scapel than a carpenter does to cut with a saw...

Any tool needs the skill of a craftsman to get the most out of it. So yes, the ski is a tool, but it's the skill and experience of the skier that matters...
post #5 of 8
I believe unconcious competence is the highest level of any discipline and is the answer. No teller, no doer. The book the Inner Game of skiing describes this. But you can replace skiing in the title with any endeavor you participate in. You have practiced to the point that you don't have to think about what you are doing you just do it. You do it subconciously and automatically with proper form and technique. You are intense and focused but relaxed and flowing.

There is unconcious competence: You are good at what you are doing at are not thinking aboutit.

There is unconcious incompetence: Yyou suck and don't know it!

There is concious incompetence: You suck and you know it!

There is concious competence: You are good but have to constantly think about it!

I submit that unconcious competence is that effortless feeling of bliss that keeps us all coming back to the mountain!

At the top of your game, it all just happens. This is relatable to almost every endeavor we undertake.

Golf, tennis, skiing, Jazz improvisation, bowling, painting, horseshoes, you name it.

I play trumpet alot. Do I think when improvising? I am going to play a G now followed by an Eb and then a an F. No, I try to get in a zone where I just play what I feel and my horn becomes part of my brain. It becomes connected directly to my ideas thru my fingers.

Same thing with skiing. Ski what you feel! Break it down. Get to that place where it just happens. You don't think; Ok, now I'll weight my left ski about half way & make a 12m turn to right for 7 feet and then shift my weight to the other ski for an equal amount of time. No, you just let it flow down the mountain. This is the place I think we are all trying to get to. The better you get the more often this happens to us.

What makes the difference between the days we just have the unconcious competence and the days we don't? Practice! We call it "Woodsheeding" in music. And practice correctly!
Otherwise, you get really good at doing it wrong!

Well, this is more philisophical than you guys are probably used to from me.

Over & out!

A Man

[ November 05, 2003, 07:31 AM: Message edited by: Atomicman ]
post #6 of 8
While most high level skiers forget about their skis not unlike the hockey player forgets about his skates while playing, they are reminded that they are using these tools when there is something wrong, a burr deflecting the tip, wrong wax for the snow, etc.

The skiers who are still involved/thinking/blaming the skis when turns go awry should give closer scrutiny to their boots since they are the first link to the skis and snow on the hill.

Often the whole chain of movements are directed by wrong fitting boots, too stiff, too forward/upright shafts, etc. Those boots can inhibit the correct movements a ski requires to make a correct turn.

Thanks, Mike, a good thread.


Edited for spelling.

[ November 05, 2003, 07:14 AM: Message edited by: Ott Gangl ]
post #7 of 8
Depends on how new the skis are.

[ November 05, 2003, 08:37 AM: Message edited by: Lucky ]
post #8 of 8
I think of my skis in both ways that you have mentioned. On one hand i know how to make the skis work. I try to "get to know them" so to speak, so i learn what they are capable of, so i can get the most out of a particular pair of skis. Once i am comfortable on these skis, they become an extension of my body. I still know what makes the ski work, but i trust it, just as you trust your feet when youre walking on pavement. The ski acts like an extension of your body and just feels "natural." I try not to think of the ski as something seperate from myself at this point. The skier relies on their skis too much to not have a close "relationship" with them. You can feel the tip, tail and entire edge, as well as how the ski flexes in different situations. You get to the point where you can predict how the ski will react on a certain terrain several turns ahead of time - even if there is a terrain change.

Out of all of my pairs of skis, i would say that i know my Xscreams the best, immediately followed by my retail SLX. I have had two pairs of Xscreams over the past 4 seasons, and i just know the ski really well. Since my SLX is my free ski most of the time, i have gotten to know it pretty well, like the kinds of terrain it hates to ski, exactly how it reacts on that terrain and how i have to ski them when i am on different terrains. To the naked eye you may not notice a difference in how i look when i am on them in less than ideal conditions, but there is a definite difference in the input. Even sitting here right now i know what both of those skis feel like when im on them... and i havent skied in months...


New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching