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Left foot weaker?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

This season I have a problem (well actually I have a lot of problems but I have one in particular that is bothering me ;) - looking for suggestions ). I believe it existed last season as well but I feel like it has gotten worse. I am aware of what angulation and counter are (roughly, anyway), to start off. So anyway, the problem I have is that when I am turning right (such that most of my weight is on my left foot), I feel far far less in control and am able to slow down far less effectively than when I am turning left. I saw someone post something similar earlier and people advised said person that maybe he is not putting enough weight on the proper foot but this problem exists even if I am able to lift my right foot (when turning right) such that there is no weight on it and all weight is on my left foot. This happens even on green slopes (and is worse on blues, I have not skied blacks this season), if I am turning left I can easily do a hockey-stop like action but it is far harder if I am turning right. What drills can I do/what can I work on to get rid of this?

 

Another problem I have is that I am a skier who is afraid of snow.. I mostly ski in PA on the east coast (Ski Liberty mostly) and I feel much less in control if I run into a patch that has more snow than usual (maybe a couple inches). So if I run into a patch that has a bit more snow and then I will of course run right out of it (because they tend to be brief), I feel far less in control as I am in that patch (most of my falls are just in such patches or times when I cannot turn as I am in said patch and get too much speed to make a future turn/panic/fall seconds later). What can I do about this?

 

And last is a question: I have seen good skiers on slopes much stepper than I would dare to go going far slower than I can and even on blues to maintain the same speed as many people, I have to be doing fairly wide zig zags where as the good skiers are almost turning in place and yet still slowing down (I can see they're throwing a lot of snow with the back of their ski's, starting from about the end of the boot). How are they slowing down so much without zig zags bigger than maybe a meter/what can I do to learn this?

post #2 of 10

There could be a number of reasons for this.

 

Are you right handed?  The reason I ask this is that most people feel less comfortable using their "off" hand or foot.  In your case, if you are right handed that would be your left foot.   When I need a quick stop, I normally turn left so I'm on my "comfortable" right foot.  (I practice right hard stops to counteract this tendency.)

 

Did you have a boot fitter fit your boots?  Most people have differences in their feet which will affect how you ski.  This could be size, flexibility, injury, etc.  (i.e. if your left foot is smaller the left boot may not fit as well and you can't control the left ski as well.)

 

Without seeing you ski, an instructor cannot offer substantial help with specific exercises that could help you.  Though there will be a number of people that will attempt to diagnose your problems.  However, take any of those ideas with a very large grain of salt.

 

Your fear of snow texture changes gives me some ideas of what may be going on.  However, I'm not going to speculate on the limited information from your post.  I don't want to give you suggestions for improvement based upon a wrong diagnosis.  I want you to succeed and have fun skiing.  Not take an erroneous suggestion and end up hating the sport.

 

Your best bet will be to take a lesson or get an instructor friend to go out with you.  Tell the instructor what you are having problems with.  Let the instructor see you ski.   Then work with that instructor to make improvements.  (Even instructors take lessons.  We call them clinics. wink.gif )

post #3 of 10

Alignment issuerolleyes.gif

 

Hitting patches of loose snow sideways will pitch you off balance.  Learning to turn your skis with them traveling more forward the way the tips are pointing vs, skidding sideways will offer you a much smoother ride through variable snow.  Slice rather than skid.  As T Square suggests, a lesson will help get you on the right path.  Don't count on the instructor knowing much about alignment issues though.  Alignment issues need to be addressed by a competent boot fitter who specializes in this area.

 

good luck

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have seen a boot fitter (and gotten a boot recommended but not sold by said fitter and then he adjusted the boot) who was recommended by multiple people here on epicski and is also on the recommended bootfitter's list available somewhere here and so I do not think it's an alignment issue.

 

I am right handed yes, so I am not totally surprised that I am stronger in the right foot, I was somewhat surprised how much stronger this was but I may have rushed it a little bit - I posted after only going once this season and when I went a second time, this issue receded to the way it was last year - still weaker on one foot but not nearly as much (I didn't really work on drills to address this particular issue, I mostly worked on balance drills like turning with one leg or skiing on straight on very very easy greens with one leg or stepping up the hill while skiing in a traverse). Still, I wouldn't mind hearing what kind of drills could address this specific issue if there are any.

 

>Your fear of snow texture changes gives me some ideas of what may be going on.  However, I'm not going to speculate on the limited information from your post.  I don't want to give you suggestions for improvement based upon a wrong diagnosis.  I want you to succeed and have fun skiing.  Not take an erroneous suggestion and end up hating the sport.

 

Although I am not very good at it, skiing is still one of my very favorite things. I was able to get out 12 times last year while working full time (during winter break, that is as I am a college student) and hopefully will be able to get out more this year since I am not working full time. So I do not think any suggestion will really be scaring me off and thus please throw some at me.

 

>Learning to turn your skis with them traveling more forward the way the tips are pointing vs, skidding sideways will offer you a much smoother ride through variable snow.

 

Ok, so less slipping and more carving (or carving like - that's probably the best I can really do) if I see a patch like that - I will try it.

 

>Your best bet will be to take a lesson or get an instructor friend to go out with you.  Tell the instructor what you are having problems with.  Let the instructor see you ski.   Then work with that instructor to make improvements

 

I have taken many a one hour group lesson (there are no lessons longer than that here except privates, at least as far as I can see) and I continue taking them but they haven't really addressed these issues. I really just want to hear from the experts here their thoughts on the matter.

post #5 of 10

You may want to visit a Physical Therapist to assess your functional symmetry and strength issues.  There may be physiological issues which need addressed?

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Alright I am going to update this thread and ask a new question to see if anyone feels like answering.

 

First, I've sorted the left/right foot issue mostly. Left leg is still weaker but basically I can only feel it in that my muscles on my left leg feel more tired at the end, probably some issues still with that from technique causing excessive use of left leg to absorb speed or whatnot.

 

Anyway, I am still having trouble cutting my speed using round turns. Round turns = high speed. I've tried pressuring the front of the ski more in the weighted foot, tried phantom edging and it's helping (I still need practice), I am slowing down more but if anyone knows more drills such that I can extract more bending/higher edge angles from my ski to try, please give me some suggestions!

post #7 of 10

First, a basic concept.  Turn shape does not control speed.  Line controls speed.  You use turns and their shape to pick the lines you want to use to control your speed.

 

Yes, round turns can be fast.  But they can be slower if you pick a slower line to end up on.  (There are other factors, such as turn radius, but I'm sticking with the easiest to comprehend for beginners.)

 

The following is a concept I use with all my students.  (This was discussed elsewhere on EpicSki.  My thanks to the people that first came up with it.) 

  • Draw a line down the hill that a ball will roll down if you just let it go.  This is called the fall line.  I prefer to refer to it as the "Go Line."  If you put your skis on the Go Line you will go down the hill as fast as gravity will take you. 
  • Perpendicular to the Go Line (90 degrees across the fall line) is what I call the "Slow Line."  If you put your skis on the Slow Line when you are stopped, you won't go anywhere.  (Provided you are edged properly.) 
  • In between the Go Line and Slow Line are a multitude of lines that are a mix of Go and Slow.
  • If you are moving and you pick an uphill line, that's an even slower line.  wink.gif

 

When you turn, you are picking a variety of lines that will either speed you up or slow you down. 

  • If you choose more go lines than slow lines, you will go faster. 
  • If you choose more slow lines than go lines you will slow down. 
  • If you make short tight turns you will go from slow line to slow line quickly.  (You spend much less time in go lines.)
  • If you make wide long radius turns you will spend more time in go lines and rip across the hill.  (You spend more time in go lines.)
  • If you stay close to the Go Line during your run you will pick up speed. 
  • If you stay close to the Slow Line and only pass quickly through the Go Line you will slow down or maintain a slower progression down the hill.

 

So, if your purpose is to make round turns and go slower, round them out more and spend more time in the slow lines.  (You may hear this referred to as "completing" your turns.)  You can even round them to the point where you go uphill a bit and really pick slow lines.

 

Remember that the speed you pick up when your skis are in the Go Line can easily be bled off by staying in the Slow Line.

 

For a drill.  First lower the terrain you are on.  (Practice on easy terrain before turning up the gravity.)  Make a round turn and keep turning as your speed drops and drops and drops.  Don't start another turn until you have lost almost all your momentum.  It will feel like you just "have" to make a turn or you will stop.  Practice this for awhile and see if it helps you control speed. when you ski.

 

You can also try a round turn until you actually stop.  Then make a round turn in the other direction until you stop.  It may give you the feeling of how to effectively control speed.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response!

 

When I said round turns = high speed, I meant when I am doing round turns, I am reaching a high speed (but I have seen people do these round turns and control their speed effectively). Yes, I can prolong the turn such that I am perpendicular to the hill but then I end up taking up the entire slope. I can do that forever but I would rather improve my skiing such that I do not have to - so I am asking for advice as to how to do this. I can also pivot my skis more and also slow down much faster but I also do not want to do that. I am not skiing terrain so steep that I need to be doing linked short turns (which I am not even close to being able to do) to control my speed, I have seen people effectively control their speed on the runs I am talking about and still be carving the entire time. While I have been able to control my speed more effectively while carving (or mostly carving, there is probably some slipping but not too much) each time I come. So the short story is that I am able to control my speed fine if I force my skis or take up the entire slope but I am not able to do it as effectively when I am carving round turns and looking for advice to change that. Maybe I posted this in the wrong place, I am not a total beginner (more like a mid-intermediate) - I have about 30 days skiing so far.

post #9 of 10

Try tipping your inside ski more on edge during your turn.  (I'm assuming you are balanced properly on your skis.)  The inside ski helps shape your turn.  If you tip it more your turn radius will reduce.

post #10 of 10

Carving complete short-radius turns is hard.  A lot harder than carving a long-radius turn.  Don't feel discouraged if it takes a while to get the hang of it.

 

You have to bend the skis quite a bit, which, as T-Square mentioned, requires tipping them further into the turn (so there is more room for them to be bent, essentially).  The skis also need to be stiff enough and have sharp enough edges to grip the snow when bent like that.  And you do need a *little* bit of speed, so there's enough centrifugal force to hold you up during the turn, or you won't be able to tip them enough without falling over.

 

Other things that will help shorten the turn:

 

1) Putting more weight on the front half of the ski (especially the inside part of the front half relative to the direction of the turn).  This will make the ski's 'shovel' (the front part where it gets wider again) bite into the snow and force it to bend more.  Sort of a 'press your shins diagonally in the direction you're turning' move.  You want to close your ankle joint (move your knees closer to your toes).

 

2) Rotating your feet/legs in the direction of the turn (once the skis are tipped up on the edges and carving).  If you do it right, your skis will stay locked into the carve, but bend more and reduce the turn radius.  If the skis break out of the carve and skid, you need more edge or less rotation.

 

3) Better upper/lower body separation.  You want the skis to turn back and forth under your body while your torso faces pretty much straight down the hill (or in the overall direction of travel).  This helps with longer turns, too, but it REALLY helps with short turns.  Pivot slips are a good drill to practice this.

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