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Bad skiing habits

Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:10 pm

While I don't like negative threads, it's hard to talk about ski teaching without discussing bad habits. Now it's possible that some of the skiing gods out there don't have any (or think they don't), but most skiers seem to have at least one bad habit they would like to break.

For me, it's not keeping my head up and looking as far down the fall line as possible. While I've gotten better with practice, I still find the need to take my goggles and pull them down over my head so that the goggles are down under my chin and I can't look straight down. I've even gone so far as to use a neck brace to limit my ability to look at the ground.

Interestingly, this bad habit disappears in the spring when there are lots of bumps. Looking down at your ski tips while skiing a big bump line is like asking for a yard sale, so the fear of wrecking makes me look up and down the hill, not down at my feet.

Anyone else care to share?

re: Bad skiing habits

Thu Dec 09, 2004 4:00 pm

Yea I have one.... er well.. one that i'll talk about now. I drop my hands when I get tired. badly. Then my pole plants get really lazy because of it. Makes everything sloppy from the top down. I find that good control and turn placement can really start in the hands.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Thu Dec 09, 2004 4:06 pm

Ryan wrote:Yea I have one.... er well.. one that i'll talk about now. I drop my hands when I get tired. badly. Then my pole plants get really lazy because of it. Makes everything sloppy from the top down. I find that good control and turn placement can really start in the hands.


When I get tired, I tend to bend at my waist, rather than from my knees and hips.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:36 am

Admin wrote:When I get tired, I tend to bend at my waist, rather than from my knees and hips.


Take a bow :wink: ! Yeah, that was one of my worst habits years ago until I got the hands up and in front thing down pat. The bad head position is really a remnant of that past.

Once you get tired, you're body tends to seek out its' center of gravity in an effort to conserve what little energy remains. That's when the dropped hands, back seat, bending at the waist stuff starts. These are all problems that can be reduced by better physical fitness, especially in the core areas like abs.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:41 am

JimG. wrote:These are all problems that can be reduced by better physical fitness, especially in the core areas like abs.


That explains why I'm so prone to it! :lol:

re: Bad skiing habits

Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:43 pm

The bending at the waist is definitely fatigue related. When I start doing that I should retreat to the groomers for a while to recoup. But on interesting mountains and especially on powder days I don't. So I tend to make more rest stops instead.

Since my natural coordination is not that great, my more chronic bad habit is excessive upper body movement, with the occasional arm flail.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:26 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:When I start doing that I should retreat to the groomers for a while to recoup. But on interesting mountains and especially on powder days I don't.


Yea, I have a hard time packing it in too. Problem is when I push it too far like this is when I end up getting hurt. As I get a little older and healing takes a little longer I am starting to get better about this but I still catch myself all the time staying out 1 run too many.

re: Bad skiing habits

Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:23 pm

just DON'T EVER call "last run". :wink:

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:44 pm

Ryan wrote:I still catch myself all the time staying out 1 run too many.


Ryan, don't worry. I know I'm older than you and I don't even comprehend the concept of 1 run too many. There are never too many turns in a day!

re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:24 am

Ya know. You may be older I'll give you that. My problem comes in when the mind says yes and the knees say no. I've done enough damage over the years that when I get tired and they start to weaken my right knee will completely give out. It is actually sort of comical to people watching because I will be in the middle of a normal turn, just cruising along, and my knee will let go and I collapse into a heap. Fun for them, not fun for me.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:32 am

Ryan wrote:Ya know. You may be older I'll give you that. My problem comes in when the mind says yes and the knees say no. I've done enough damage over the years that when I get tired and they start to weaken my right knee will completely give out. It is actually sort of comical to people watching because I will be in the middle of a normal turn, just cruising along, and my knee will let go and I collapse into a heap. Fun for them, not fun for me.


Older is relative anyway; I've done my share of damage over the years. Broke my left leg so badly I almost lost it...I have a full length tibial fracture plate in there still with 11 bolts holding it in place. My right knee has been totally rebuilt, both the ACL and PCL.

I'd get that knee looked at. You might have a partial or total tear of your ACL...that buckling tendency is one of the main symptoms of ACL damage.

re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:46 am

That is precisely what it is. Lucky me though I got to go to a ortho named David Stone with UPMC sports medecine. He and his partner Freddie Fu are the ortho's for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins. My ACL damage is minimal and consists mostly of streatching not tearing. I also have some cartilage surface shredding but anyhow. As of now I am sopposed to work and strengthen it but I was told that ehere is no surgery that is going to leave me in better shape than I am as of now. I was basically told to go ahead and use it and if it goes, then we fix it. As of now I have extra ACL movement in it but not enough to be that bad, other than the occasional blowout.

How on Earth did you do that much damage to your leg???? That had to be a car wreck or something. I'd hate to think that you did that on skis.

Re: re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:41 am

Ryan wrote:How on Earth did you do that much damage to your leg???? That had to be a car wreck or something. I'd hate to think that you did that on skis.


February 1999, Mad River, in the woods. Cold and icy day, no fresh snow to be found. Too aggressive, poor line choice in a tree shot I'd never skied before. Hit a barely buried rock and lost a ski...that was all she wrote.

Slid down a steep tree filled ravine legs first. Slid so fast I couldn't grab a tree to stop myself. Suffice to say I came to rest with my left leg in an anatomically incorrect position. Still cringe when I think about it.

That was before I started wearing a helmet...if I had gone down head first...well, you get the picture.

re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:58 am

I have problems with my turn initiation. I hurry and force it with my inside knee and end up rushing the end of the last turn, missing my neutral position and winding up in the back seat as I'm trying to force that next turn. It makes bump skiing hell if I'm on a tough run.

Also when I jump I look at my feet at take-off wich really throws me off balance for the landing.

Both problems are improving but they still rear their ugly heads too often.

Well, I can now join the ranks of formerly injured with a broken wrist resulting from a roller-blading accident (no I wasn't wearing wrist guards). It feels good so far but we'll see after a few weeks of skiing how well it holds up.

re: Bad skiing habits

Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:22 pm

I don't do much airtime anymore, but the mechanics of taking air certainly require that you keep your head up and eyes looking down the fall line. Body position has to be straight up and down at takeoff, like a pencil, no bent knees or back seat action. I'll bet joegm could elaborate more if we can get him to chime in here.

As for rushing turn initiation, try counting out in your head a rhythmic pattern and stick to it no matter what you encounter in the way of terrain variation. Vary your turn sizes by changing the rhythm, for instance from 1,2,3,4 for longer turns to 1,2 for short radius stuff. Try pulling your goggles down under your chin to limit your ability to look down at your feet.

And one other thing...make sure you are breathing in a relaxed and regular way.
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