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Thread: Waist Steering and Tai Chi

  1. #51
    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
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    May 2011
    City Above The Clouds, Colorado
    Quote Originally Posted by TommyK View Post
    Rick, when I carve dynamically on the downhill ski,
    there is a "cross under" where I relax and the skis
    go under me and to the other side (inside leg extension
    and relaxation ?).

    Sounds like you're using retraction in those turns.

    When I make a WaistSteering turn, the same thing
    happens, but I'm more "over" the skis, instead of
    being uphill from them.

    Yeah, makes sense, Tommy. More erect and square when WaistSteering, generally on a lower edge angle because the WaistSteering is sharpening the arc. So just not having to move as much laterally, but still some because anytime a turn is happening body mass must be moved inside to oppose the centrifugal forces pushing us to the outside.

    This video is Ligety making some turns in Aug. 2014.
    He is obviously intending to travel up and down,
    but look at how smooth and easy it is:
    He's doing ILE (inside leg extension there). There's a video out in which he talks about that being his new transition type focus. Easy to see him working on it in this clip, by how early his old inside leg starts to extend, and how extended it becomes prior to reaching edge angle neutral (skis tipped off edge and back to flat)
    Last edited by Coach Rick; October 24th, 2014 at 04:39 PM.
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  2. #52
    Looking for a house mtguide1's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Livingston, MT
    TK, the Liggety connection is important to breaking thru organizational dogma that opposes just about anything new...until someone starts winning races with it. Remember a book from 1967, "Skiing the NEW French Way" ? Showing prominent racers using a technique tends to validate that technique.
    "If you are lucky enough to be on the mountain.....You are lucky enough"

  3. #53
    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
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    May 2011
    City Above The Clouds, Colorado
    Tommy, in regards to the transition again. When I watch Master Fu do his slow motion demo of WaistSteering in your video above, it's clear to see how he manually pulls himself from the old inside foot/ski to the new inside foot/ski prior to starting the new turn. Does that part of the demo correlate to skiing? Just trying to get the prescribed mechanism straight in my head.
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  4. #54
    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
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    City Above The Clouds, Colorado
    Ah, just noticed MG, you're right. I've been addressing him as Tommy. I should be calling him TK. It's kind of a Village tradition thing, TK, welcome to the family.
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  5. #55
    Rick, you are right about the WS turns
    generally having a lower edge angle;
    but I can also lay it out so that my
    inside hip touches the snow.

    The video of Master Fu is definitely
    the old way of WaistSteering, where
    the turn starts with counter, then
    rotates into the turn. Your observation
    of Master Fu "shifting weight" is a
    critical part of the internal martial arts.
    Each of the sister arts emphasizes this
    skill; and I think it is transfers perfectly
    with ski racing. I think most people cannot
    really tell you which ski they are biasing
    because they lack the single-foot rooting
    skills developed in Wudang Chuan.

    MG, I know about that French book, but
    haven't read it. I know that Killy had a huge
    influence on modern technique back in the
    last 60s. I liken what I am working toward
    with Dick Fosbury's revolutionary change
    in the track and filed High Jump. Before
    Fosbury, everyone used the Western roll.
    When Fosbury changed the technique
    (or style), people called him nuts. Within
    a few years, The Fosbury Flop became
    the norm, and still holds the vast majority
    of the high jumps records.

    I wrote a book on called
    "The Internal Athletics" where I describe
    how these Wudang martial arts hold keys
    to modern athletics that still go unknown.
    I purposely did not finish the last part
    of the book where I talk about the synthesis
    with ski racing.

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by mtguide1 View Post
    Is anyone here in town playing with this. I followed a thread off a You Tube video to a guy's website. Interesting, I think, the video and text on the website was as clear as mud.
    Hi everyone,

    First post here. Sorry to bring this thread up from the dead, but I feel very strongly that there is some value to the idea of "waist steering". So I thought I would take the time to share my story.

    I've been playing with this for several years now. I think I first read about waist steering somewhere during the winter of 2009 or 2010. I can't say I'm doing it "right" because I've never been formerly trained in it and I haven't really followed it since I first read about it, but my implementation of it has taken my skiing to another level.

    I've been able to develop some simple movement patterns that work really well in all conditions and I able to teach these patterns easily to my students. (I work as a race coach at my local hill introducing Jr racers to the sport and teaching them to be stronger skiers.) The reason I'm posting this is that I'm so tired of hearing the words "strong outside ski". Well yeah, that makes sense, but what about a strong inside ski? I've learned that if you nail the inside ski, you'll nail the outside ski (and if you don't, you still have the inside ski.)

    My initial motivation to was to develop really strong double carving skills. But after years and years of skiing with a lot of "counter", having a lot of inside tip lead and pulling the outside foot back, I was stuck. I had no real skill with my inside ski other than to slide it into a pretty place, grab a little edge and then start standing on it as the new outside ski. (Which is pretty much what most people do. IMO) After two seasons of getting nowhere I thought "there must be something on the internet that might help me." I'm a thinker, a tinkerer, all I needed was something to point me in the right direction.

    A few hours into my search I found an article on MSR about "waist steering". Honeastly, I wasn't blown away at first, but it was a little different than my previous PSIA training. (Which I always took with a grain of salt. Egos, egos and more egos, the ski industry is full of egos. They start at the lowest levels and just get bigger as you go up. It's sickening really.) But that night as I lay in bed I kept thinking about the idea of pulling the outside around the inside and the simple "cowboy" move. I couldn't sleep and my mind kept thinking about how this might just be the idea that solves my problem. Especially the idea of pulling the outside around the inside...
    Last edited by ohiomoto; March 3rd, 2017 at 01:40 AM.

  7. #57
    "The outside around the inside." This idea resonated with me because I had always used my inside to bring power to my outside. All of that tip lead, counter and outside hip extension made my outside ski very powerful, but at the expense of the inside ski. I was using those moves to move my CM forward on my outside ski. But now I had an idea. What if I drive the outside ski/leg forward around the inside ski/leg? If I can do that my CM will move forward on my inside ski. Is this the idea I needed? What will happen to the outside ski? Have I been skiing "backwards" all these years?

    I wake up early the next day. I'm self employed and too tired to work because I was up all night thinking about "waist steering". So I go skiing instead!

    Within hours I have this stuff working pretty well. My inside ski tracks are fairly clean in the middle of the turn, but still a but fuzzy in the transitions. Moving my outside half is allowing me to move my CM forward over the inside ski and I'm driving it like I never have before. Way better than my attempts to pull the inside ski back and under me. I'm moving my hips now and they are moving downhill in a very powerful way. Racers want to move downhill, not pull "uphill". (I never race and only run gates a few days each season, but I love carving and carrying energy from turn to turn.) As my pelvic girdle rotates, it's bringing my CM with it. My mind is thinking of my inside foot/hip as a fulcrum point that's moving down the hill and my outside is being pulled into an orbit around it. That sleepless night was worth it. I'm onto something with my skiing now and I'm loving it.

    I'll spend the next two seasons working on my "fulcrum turn" driving the outside foot through the turn, tipping my inside foot and knee like a "cowboy" and screwing the inside ski down. I'm having fun and dragging my knuckles around. I'm learning that most of my previous skills, edging, skidded turns, long leg/short leg, outside hip extension, etc., they all still apply. And, they all work better now because I'm more balanced over my inside ski. If you really pull from the waist, rather than just advancing the outside foot, you'll open up the hip flexor (extension) and move forward on the outside ski while also moving the CM forward over the inside ski. This is a good thing. A very, very good thing.

    Waist steering "for the win" then right??

    Well, for all the fun I was having, I was also developing a very lazy inside shoulder and arm. I'm almost getting stuck on the inside as I hang on to the outside drive too long and screw this inside down as hard as I can. I'm getting carried away. Nobody can finish a turn like me which is cool and all (I said skiing is full of egos!) but I've hit "the law of diminishing returns". Taking a good thing too far isn't always a good thing and I still never addressed that fuzzy inside ski at the top of each turn...
    Last edited by ohiomoto; March 3rd, 2017 at 06:41 AM.

  8. #58
    So I've used TK's ideas to get me to this point. I'm now in a place a lot of really good skiers are. I can double carve pretty strong now, but it's not perfect or without faults.

    I have an "old timer" friend who has been a PSIA Examiner (Central Division) for years. We like to talk and share ideas. We don't ski together, but we do watch each other as we work on our craft (our hill is small so we watch from the lift). He understands what I'm doing. He's playing with it himself. One day he says he has something to show me. We go off to the side and we work on wedge turns for a while.

    He shows me a movement pattern that ties the transition together. It's basically an early rotation of the hips towards the new inside ski. It moves the CM forward onto the new inside ski so that you are centered or balanced on it before you actually commit to it. You're establishing your "fulcrum" before you really pressure it or pull the outside half around.

    Is this waist steering? Not exactly the way I originally thought of it, but you are pulling your waist around, you are setting up a strong balance on the inside ski. At the same time the outside hip opens and establishes a strong balance on the outside ski. We are moving the CM into a place that will be balanced over both skies before we actually commit to the new edges. And this works effectively for all types of turns, skidded, carved, bumps, steeps, long and short. I think this is where waist steering starts and then you can continue to use it throughout the turn as needed.

    So I spend the next few seasons getting better and better at this transition. My transitions are now laser sharp, fast and consistent. I own them when I'm skiing a lot and am pretty darn good when I haven't been on skis in a while.

    My basic sequence is simple.

    1) Rotate towards the new turn for balance. The kids call this "belly button for balance" because we turn our belly button towards the inside of the new turn. This rotates our hips over the new inside ski and opens or extends the outside hip at the same time thus moving it forward. (Sometimes I just allow some counter late in my old turn to set this up, however you like to look at/do it, it's your turn.) You could try to pull both feet back, but I think this little bit of rotation is much more efficient and keeps everything moving downhill.

    2) Do the cowboy (cowgirl for you ladies out there). Tip the inside knee/foot into the new turn with pressure to engage it early. DO NOT LIFT THE INSIDE SKI the outside ski will engage at the same time if you do the early rotation correctly. When done right, it's very powerful, clean and fast. I often lift my outside ski when I do this for fun or for practice in both skidded and carved turns. Once you've established the proper balance with move above, you might find that OUTSIDE ski lifts are easier than inside ski lifts.

    3) Drive the outside or screw it down. Maintain the balance and power on the inside ski, the fulcrum, by pulling the outside hip and ski around as needed. When done right, you can really leverage the inside boot and ski while keeping the CM from falling behind the inside ski. Advancing the outside boot and ski is "okay" if you advance the hip with it. Advancing the outside hip by pulling the with the waist is "better" as it creates hip extension that makes the outside half even more powerful. This complements the power you have on the inside ski. That's real waist steering. (One of my Jr racers calls this the "rabbit's foot". I have no idea why, but it works for her so I'm good with it. Good coaching is about finding the right sentences or words to effect change. Not having to be "right" all the time.)

    4) Drive this turn into any shape you want and get ready for to repeat the process on the next turn. You can tip the inside knee, shorten the inside leg, lengthen the outside leg, put more pressure on either ski, retraction or extension turns, wide stance (great for laying it over without booting out) narrow stance, etc. Hell, you can even foot steer a skidded turn using all of these same moves. Just keep the fulcrum point on the inside ski and the CM moving around it.

    Oh yeah, I prefer to keep a higher inside hand and shoulder along with a little UPPER BODY COUNTER. My separation point is around my sternum so I can rotate my hips while keeping stable shoulders. It's fun to tip inside some too, but at 6'3" tall, I tend to get stuck in there.
    Last edited by ohiomoto; March 3rd, 2017 at 07:16 AM.

  9. #59
    Hopefully this will help someone. or the expert coach. For me the real beauty of the idea is the way we can control our CM with very simple and repeatable movement patterns. That's idea I got when I first read about waist steering. That's the idea I ran with and that's what I think waist steering really is.

    And I'm not claiming I've invented anything. It think ski instruction has skirted around these ideas over the years with ideas like "projection", "anticipation", "pulling the inside foot back", "ski into and out of counter", etc. I even think I read something about a fulcrum turn in some old ski book form the 50s or 60s.

    I also think that most great skiers do all this stuff naturally already. Maybe not the focus on the inside ski (and yes, I do believe it should stay on the ground anytime the outside ski is on the ground), but I think the best skiers know what to do with their CM. Guys like me, we need to learn it, but know one ever could truly explain it to me. I think this is where waist steering movements could benefit the sport.

    I think Tommy deserves credit for getting others to think about skiing in a different light. It's really good stuff, but it's not wrapped up in a shiny PSIA wrapper complete with good looking and great skiing D-TEAM members (who are really good ambassadors of the sport). I find it to be logical or at least my interpretation of it.

    And like I said earlier, I'm really tired of hearing about the outside ski. We need to shift our focus...
    Last edited by ohiomoto; March 3rd, 2017 at 07:26 AM.

  10. #60
    I believe that we should focus on skiing from OUTSIDE EDGE of the INSIDE SKI to the OUTSIDE EDGE of the INSIDE SKI.*** It's not as hard as we think and I believe it's the strongest and most versatile way to ski. If you can get the outside edge of the inside ski working, the inside edge of the outside ski will be there every time and using all four edges all the time is better than using two. We just need to change the way we are thinking about the problem of skiing we've had it backwards all these years. Keep an open mind and go out there and experiment for yourself. especially you coaches and instructors out there.

    *** Especially you racers out there. Control the line of the inside ski. Shin gates with confidence and more powerful skiing. And flushes are easy, "outside edge to outside edge" transfers happen so much faster and you'll be able graze your inside knee on every gate. You wouldn't believe how much easier and faster it is.

    Last edited by ohiomoto; March 3rd, 2017 at 07:28 AM.


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