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Thread: Beginner advice - uphill/downhill, weight distribution, turning

  1. #1

    Question Beginner advice - uphill/downhill, weight distribution, turning


    First of all so sorry if my post is incredibly novice - I've been skiing about 3 years but each season I go less than a week in separate visits. I've only ever had 2 lessons and they were very basic. So unfortunately I probably have some pretty bad habits, and I know my skiing could improve tons by taking lessons, but so far this season I've only been up once. I was looking through some of the threads here and they all seem to be advanced techniques and concepts so again sorry if this sounds noob-ish.

    I was taught how to snowplow and can do that pretty well. In fact, that's how I get down most runs. I think I am using a version of the stem christie to turn instead of outright snowplow - as I can turn best by planting the downhill/outside edge while keeping the uphill/inside ski angled (tip downhill, tail uphill). After the turn I can glide perpendicular to the fall line with the downhill ski edge in and minimal weight on the uphill ski (definitely not putting the edge in). I have read over and over and have tried over and over to edge BOTH skis and to turn BOTH my knees towards the mountain, but I simply can't. The reason is because every single time I try to do that (edge both skis), the uphill ski gets caught and slides either uphill (so I do the splits) or gets caught in the downhill and I eat it. I have tried so hard to vary the weight I put on each ski and to try my best to keep them parallel, but for the life of me I cannot do it and it's making this sport way less fun.

    I want it to be fun, I want to enjoy it, but I cannot do a parallel turn worth beans. This in turn has made me scared to commit to a turn so I spend the whole run "fighting gravity" and trying despeartely to slow down with snowplow and to not lose control even with my current method of turning. This leads to pure agony in my quads and hamstrings after a few runs and the rest of the day is spent taking breaks to ease the muscle fatigue. I find that towards the end of the day when I am exhausted I relax and actually ski a bit better (meaning I am less afraid to point them down and go faster).

    But I am having tons of trouble with:
    1. Turning in general - every single site I read says the same thing about weight distribution and edging and jumping but as hard as I try to implement these, they aren't working. I need more detail, more specific advice!

    2. Feeling in control when turning and pointing down. I get afraid that I won't be able to slow down, even with snowplowing.

    3. Relaxing so that I am not exhausting myself. It is not a matter of fitness, I am a rower and I run daily, I know it's something I'm doing wrong.

    Thank you all so much for any tidbit of advice. This has been very disheartening lately, so much so that I have greatly been preferring cross country skiing.

  2. #2
    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    City Above The Clouds, Colorado
    Hi BeginnerDog, welcome to the village! Don't be surprised if you get nicknamed BG, it's kind of a tradition here. I'm glad you asked your question, as it's true that many of the discussions here end up getting a bit on the high end of the technical scale. We have quite a few coaches and instructors here, so it just goes with the territory, but all those folks are always eager to help out students who come here looking for help.

    Learning to initiate turns with both skis tipped up on the same side edges is a important step in the life of a learning skier. As you suggest, it makes skiing a lot more fun when both skis are trying to turn the same direction at the same time. Everything just works and flows so much smoother and efficiently.

    I'll give you a few tips that may help you overcome this hurtle. First, the quickest way to get this will be to find a quality instructor to help you with it on the snow. They'll be able to quickly spot the primary issues that are holding you back, and give you appropriate things to work on which will help you remedy them in short order. If you tell us where you ski we may be able to line up one of our Village coaches to help you.

    Second, have you had your alignment checked? I proper boot setup can fix alignment issues, which can in turn make a huge difference in how easy it is to advance your skiing skills. A poor boot setup can make learning good technique a much more daunting proposition than it needs to be. This is another reason to employ the services of a good instructor; they can usually spot major alignment issues that need to be addressed. Many of our Villagers have experienced that when skiing with our Village coaches, and have prospered greatly from subsequent boot fittings they've received.

    Lastly, I'll give you something to work on next time you're out on the slopes. It's called a fan progression, and is very helpful for learning to feel comfortable turning with both skis tipped up on similar edge angles. Start out by skiing in a traverse, looking down to ensure that your shins are parallel, with both ski tipped on edge an equal amount. When you see you have the edge angles right, begin gently using your legs muscles to twist your feet so you start turning uphill. Eventually you'll turn uphill and come to a stop. Make sure you've kept your skis on similar edge angles through this entire turn. Do this over and over, first traversing towards the right side of the slope, then back to the left, until turning uphill with equal edge angles feels very comfortable and normal. This should be done on a very gentle slope, that's nicely groomed. Take as long as necessary for it to start feeling good.

    Next, steepen your traverse a bit, so that you have to turn further before you come to a stop. Again, practice it in both directions, for as long as it takes for it to again feel good. Keep steepening your traverse, bit by bit, until you're starting out pointing straight down the hill on flat skis, then tipping both skis on edge and making your turn to an eventual uphill stop.

    Continue on, starting now with your skis point slightly to the left of straight down the hill, then rolling your skis onto their right side edges and making a turn back to the right, all the way to an uphill stop. Then do it back to the left. Repeat practicing both ways until it feel second nature to tip both skis up on edge together and then make a turn, maintaining parallel shins and equal edge angles all the ways through each turn.

    Finish the training progression by continuing to start by pointing your skis ever further to the left of straight down the hill (falline) before starting your turn back to the right. And then back the other way. When you've reached 45 degrees to the falline, and feel comfortable doing it, try linking a couple turns together, first to the right, then back to the left. Then link more.

    As far as how to balance, stay center balanced on your feet, with equal weight on both the balls and heels of your feet, and also with the majority of your weight on your outside ski, which can be accomplished by trying to keep your hips above your feet, not letting them lag behind, and your shoulders level to the snow all the way through each turn.
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  3. #3
    Furnished the apartment Skier Village Coach
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    BD, are you still there?


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