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A lesson for the ages.

Seek and dispense advice regarding snowsports technique at The Ski School.

A lesson for the ages.

Postby Ryan » Tue Dec 07, 2004 1:28 pm

Question for anyone.

What is the single most effective/fun/enlightening thing you have ever encountered in a lesson? Have you ever run into a tip that just turns on a lightbulb in your head and screams "why did I never see that before"?


For me personally it was the day many moons ago when someone made me make turns while constantly feeling pressure on the tongue of my boots. Yes I know how basic that is but up until that point I was WAY in the back seat with my skiing. That first day that I really truly got forward in my stance and felt what a shaped ski would do when you let it do it's own thing.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby JimG. » Tue Dec 07, 2004 2:52 pm

For me, it was the day I was told to keep my hands positioned parallel to the pitch of the slope I'm skiing on. Once I started keeping my uphill hand a bit higher than my downhill hand, my hips naturally angulated and I discovered the joys of good edge angles and carved turns.
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Re: re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Admin » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:18 pm

JimG. wrote:For me, it was the day I was told to keep my hands positioned parallel to the pitch of the slope I'm skiing on. Once I started keeping my uphill hand a bit higher than my downhill hand, my hips naturally angulated and I discovered the joys of good edge angles and carved turns.


That's one I need to work on myself.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Ryan » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:20 pm

That is a good one. When entering a turn with that in mind it seems to get everything moving in the right direction nicely and allows earlier edge engagement

I think that it is really funny that for everyone, something like this is different. There is that one thing that just hits you and it makes sense. Those funny little things that pull everything else together. The strange part to me about it is you never know what little thing that may be inconsequential to the last 15 people you told it to, all of a sudden there is that one person that it clicks for them and the take off. That may be my favorite part of teaching... watching someone have one of those "eureka" moments.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby woodi7259 » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:43 pm

I personally have never taken an official lesson on skis. :shock: When I was a little kid I was scared of the instructors and never wanted to so I learned from mom and dad. I have learned alot of stuff free online and through skiing with others. Last year I skiied with a PSIA certified tele instructor but it wasn't really a formal lesson. I think what has really helped me progress in my skiing especially in the time span of the past year is learning how to tele. It really made me focus on parts of technique I never thought about before because I had never learned. Such thing as body position, keeping faced down the fall line, poles pants, getting good pressure on the tongue of the boot and the forebody of the ski for good turning initiation. If you want a tele ski to really work for you, you have to be doing all these things. I could get by and be a pretty good skier before but now that i'm picking this stuff I can really carve and do things I just couldn't quite get on less then ideal conditions before.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby riverc0il » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:51 pm

while i haven't taken a lesson since middle school, i raced in high school and college which is a good if not better equivelent. i was an aweful racer in high school (bad skier too), then i learned about angulating the legs with my college race team... also about squaring and leveling the shoulders. so overall body posture and how it effects the turn turned me from a pretty crappy skier to an expert skier with huge development potential in almost a single week.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby hamdog » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:38 am

SNOWBOARDING TIPS:

went to Mt Hood for a summer camp 4 years ago. they told me to turn on
my heal edge and squat down like i was taking a dump (no! lower!). silly
as it sounds, it became more natural to ride in that position than what i
was doing before......and i felt more stable. what do ya know? they
knew what they were talking about. it was basically a method of teaching
to get people to bend there knees. i see to many stiff legged riders out
there now after knowing this little tidbit of info to help the "form". it really
does help too.

the other thing i learned at camp was to absorb the wall in the halfpipe
and not try to pop off to get that little extra bit of air. if you want to go
bigger, go faster, but don't ever pop off the wall (bad habit). you end up
in the middle of the pipe, and landing flat. while Danny Kass may like
this, his ankles will not......given time. just coast off the wall and launch
out of the pipe. that's all you have to do. haha. ya, that's all. first you
gotta get used to the moch 10 speed you need in superpipes. that takes
awhile. whew!
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Cannonball » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:58 am

On alpine skis I was better than average in the bumps but still had a long, LONG way to go to. When I switched to tele I figured the bumps were a lost cause and that knee surgery was a given. Then I got the "log-stepping" advice. As you approach the next mogul simply intiate your stance shift and "step" over the bump. Sounds way too easy to actually work, but it does. You end up "walking" a virtually straight line down the fall line with very little upper body movement. After two days of hammering out that technique I actually felt more confident in thet bumps than after 15 years with a fixed heel.

The absolutley most basic and most valuable piece of snowboarding instruction came on day one. Weight your front foot, NOT your back foot. Same concept is true in sking but WAY more critical in beginning snowboarding. Weighting the front foot automatically staightens out the board and brings you directly down the hill (scary but good). Weighting the back foot swings the board around parrallel to the fall-line. Usually right after this happens you hit the ground so hard that you get a chance to taste you spleen.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Ryan » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:07 am

Cannonball Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:58 am


The absolutley most basic and most valuable piece of snowboarding instruction came on day one. Weight your front foot, NOT your back foot. Same concept is true in sking but WAY more critical in beginning snowboarding. Weighting the front foot automatically staightens out the board and brings you directly down the hill (scary but good). Weighting the back foot swings the board around parrallel to the fall-line. Usually right after this happens you hit the ground so hard that you get a chance to taste you spleen


Yea... I'm not a good snowboarder. I was out last year in March and caught a toe edge by doing this and adding in some bad rotation. Next thing I know I'm sitting in front of my orthopedic surgeon because I blasted my patella into a sheet of ice.... not a good day.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Cannonball » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:18 am

Yikes!! That's the tough part about snowbaording and inuries....compared to sking there's a much lower chance of twisting something but the severe blunt trauma is what gets you!
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby JimG. » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:28 am

While I'm a skier and have no experience with tele or snowboarding, it's so interesting to see these responses and the thread that runs through all disciplines...that moment of clarity followed by a steep jump on the learning curve. It's funny because sometimes others don't see the improvement but you definitely feel it yourself. Can be real subtle.

It's great to hear this stuff from Hamdog, Woodi, and Cannonball and it's what you should expect after a good lesson, especially if you pay for it. It isn't supposed to be like going to school, and most of the time you learn the most when you aren't in a formal lesson but just sliding around having fun. An instructor who has taught me alot always told me that the instructor's job is NOT to teach skiing, it's to teach movements and body positions that are always seen in good skiing. When students do these things, they naturally ski well and they feel it.
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Re: re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Ryan » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:42 am

JimG. wrote: ...it's so interesting to see these responses and the thread that runs through all disciplines...that moment of clarity followed by a steep jump on the learning curve. It's funny because sometimes others don't see the improvement but you definitely feel it yourself. Can be real subtle.


That right there is the crux of what I wanted to talk about. That moment when the change happens. I knew all along that it hits you in skiing when everything just "clicks" but it is REALLY cool to see that it happes in other disciplines like snowboarding or tele. I can't wait for my next moment like that.
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby Jay Suds » Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:51 pm

It's been a few years since I took a lesson, and I probably could use another one since I feel like I'm skiing pretty crappy this year, but my breakthrough "ahha" moment in skiing was probably focusing on looking down the fall line, and keeping my uphill hand in front of my body ... overall, this keeps me forward in my stance and my upper body quiet.
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Re: re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby JimG. » Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:26 am

Jay Suds wrote:my breakthrough "ahha" moment in skiing was probably focusing on looking down the fall line, and keeping my uphill hand in front of my body ... overall, this keeps me forward in my stance and my upper body quiet.


Pretty much the same as what I mentioned above. Hand position is a skill that most skiers need to focus on, and most will tell you how much better they ski when their hands are in the right place.

BTW, I saw your post about BC gear in the equipment section...I bought the Garmont Adrenalins that Marc also has. I have previous AT experience, but never liked the generally soft AT boots available. The Adrenalins have removed that complaint and I use them as my everyday boots, even with alpine gear due to the option of changing the soles from the rocker AT soles to DIN compatible ones.

Also, take Marc's advice and make sure to buy skins with a tailkit!
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re: A lesson for the ages.

Postby knotty_ski » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:08 am

One of my favorites was at the PSIA First Tracks event at Hunter Mountain this past March. Instead of bending the inside knee to initiate my turns, which I tend to do much too aggressively, Eric (my facilitator) told us to use the pad of the foot directly behind the little toe on the INSIDE foot and to just push it into the snow.

That closes the gap under the edge of your ski and allows it to tip on edge and initiate the turn.

This made a big difference in my bump skiing.
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