Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet snow

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Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet snow

Postby Jwthe2nd » Fri Apr 28, 2023 8:24 pm

Is this possible?
Thanks.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby jbotti » Sat Apr 29, 2023 7:13 am

No, you need speed. Its more dangerous to try and ski it super slow.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby Jwthe2nd » Sat Apr 29, 2023 9:04 pm

Thanks, I suspected that.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby jbotti » Sun Apr 30, 2023 7:25 am

This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn and its just not in slush, but in any more difficult conditions off piste (like crud and windbuff). Bottom line is that you have to ski all these conditions faster. And because the first turn may come with challenges, the natural mental tendency is to immediately slow everything down, which just makes every thing much more difficult. Momentum is your friend and it enables you to blast through stuff and not get bogged down in transition. And mentally it can be very challenging to ski faster when skiing slow isn't going well. The only caveat is that you must be able to ski faster and cut turns quickly at speed. In essence you need a really strong, solid "bullet proof" SRT. Without that, you are taking risks that you probably should not be taking.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby Jwthe2nd » Sun Apr 30, 2023 8:11 pm

Thank you jbotti for the clarifcation. I have been experimenting to see how slowly I can go before getting bogged down. If the timing to get upsidedown early is successful, the turn works well. I am not trying this in ultra thick stuff, just thick enough to safely learn. One more week before Lake Louise closes. A very warm 21 degrees C today and yesterday made for some fine grained sticky slush runs.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby blackthorn » Tue May 02, 2023 7:40 pm

Certainly, momentum is one's friend.
I find that starting from a standstill when one's skis are facing across the fall line that it is the first turn that is the most difficult. If this is completed successfully then things rapidly improve once some momentum is gained.
As a converted old school skier I have really tried to eliminate any up movements in these circumstances but find it difficult especially in confines spaces - rocks, narrow steep runs etc.
In these circumstances I have tried with some success, I think, to simultaneously flex at the hips and push my ski forwards using my knees, then release and topple, then do a strong pullback. My question - is this a PMTS movement? - any other suggestions?
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby jbotti » Wed May 03, 2023 8:46 am

Flexing at the hips is another way of saying bending at the waist. In PMTS we want to flex at the knees and not bend at the waist. Not really sure what" pushing skis forward using my knees" means. What muscles are you using? If you are pulling your feet back and that is causing more knee flexion and that position is causing tip pressure, yes that's very PMTS.

Suggestions: flex at the knees, not at the waist and use aggressive free foot (or both feet) pullback at the top of every arc. It is a lot harder to pull ones feet back when bent over at the waist because your COM is too far forward and from this position if you pulled back to the max in range of motion you would likely fall forward over your skis. Hence its a very limiting movement (bending at the waist especially to the degree one needs to in order to get forward pressure on the tips). Extension is often a substitute for foot pullback and it creates a bad cycle of standing, bending at the waist, not being able to fully pull the feet back hence our balance is aft, even more aft coming out of the arc, hence the need to extend again as an attempt to get the weight forward, thus starting the cycle all over again.

The drill cure, is to work on short radius brushed carved turns on groomed terrain, where every release is a flex move followed immediately by foot pull back. There is only one cure for chronic extension and it is deep flexion to release every arc. Like sit down and get you knees at right angles (yes massive exaggeration of the flex move) as you release every arc and do it for 2 full ski seasons. Obviously, that's not the final product. Once one is no longer extending, moderate flexion in many arcs is all that is needed but you need to teach your body to exaggerate the movement and really know when you are flexing vs extending in every arc and this is the way to be able to tell and to retrain your movement pattern. Its much easier to learn how to flex a little less than to learn how to stop extending (or you wouldn't still be extending).
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby jbotti » Wed May 03, 2023 8:55 am

On extension and eliminating it, skiing with the pole tips touching the ground (100% of the time) is also a sure fire cure. But it must be done properly. Most people think they are doing it, but at the moment of truth (when releasing the skis) the poles come off the snow momentarily and the skier often doesn't notice so they think they are doing the drill properly. And doing it this incorrect way, is really an absolute waste of time and energy. But done correctly, its a very effective drill. I never developed an engrained up move so I never had to unlearn one. But I have had some extension past the release in some of my arcs (especially on one side). The pole drill done properly really helps. For eliminating release extension, learning and engraining going lower (deep flexion to release every arc) is key.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby Jjmdane » Thu May 04, 2023 10:53 am

I would take exception to the statement that flexing at the hip is the same as bending at the waist, they are very different movements. Bending at the waist causes the back angle to move forward and down, pushing the rear back, while flexing at the hip socket gets one lower in the same relative balance position. Just stand up straight and bend at the waist and the only way to keep your butt from moving back is to use an exaggeration forward movement with your upper body. Next stand straight and sink down by flexing at the hip socket, you can sink down right over your feet, or in another application, over your skis. I use this exercise when coaching and instructing on skis, esp. in bumps and uneven terrain. Understanding the difference between the two flex points can make a lot difference for my racers and rec skiers because when you flex at the waist socket you bend your knees without disrupting your balance point.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby jbotti » Thu May 04, 2023 11:05 am

In PMTS we don't talk about hip flexing for a reason, as it a secondary movement vs a primary one. Flexing the knees is the primary movement and avoiding extension is the focus. It does not really matter what the hips are doing, if the legs are extended, its problematic in PMTS whether the hips are "flexed" or not.

I have been working with Harald for 20 years now and we have never once discussed "flexing at the hips", nor is it in any of the PMTS literature. We try to keep people from reinventing the wheel here, and our wheel does not involve hip flexing.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby blackthorn » Fri May 12, 2023 10:02 pm

Thanks jbotti for your helpful comments. I am using some quadriceps contraction to produce a little knee extension. At the same time I am flexing at the hips using my other hip flexors. The combined effect is a lift in the ski tips and unweighting of the skis and my centre of mass moves down and backwards a bit. I am not using lumbar flexion ie bending forwards at the waist.
I am not wishing to go down a rabbit hole with all this and have only been trying it as a technique for the first turn from a traverse position in heavy snow.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby h.harb » Tue Jun 13, 2023 9:07 pm

Any discussion about instructing racers or recreational skiers by attempting techniques to change anything to alter, move or just change hips fore/aft, laterally, or tilting one side more than the other is a fool's pursuit. First of all fore-aft balance is a misconception. Fore/aft balance due to relative hip position in a fore/aft sense to the front or along the skis' length isn't effective or doesn't apply for the proper development of fore/aft balance. All the best skiers and racers have a diagonal component or a transverse angle of their hips to their skis which is the relationship created with counter-acting. If counteracting isn't part of the development of your fore/aft skiing then your butt will be hanging over the back of your skis rather than inside the arc, which restricts and totally negates angle development.

Secondly, people have little or no control or feedback about what the hips do or how they respond when on skis, This is obvious if you have worked with athletes in physical training and preparation, let alone with recreational skiing and skiers. Even learning how to activate hip muscles is a challenge in dryland; gaining some activation requires specific exercises and training. Even if the athlete developed hip flexibility and activation learning in dryland, focusing on this rather than the movements that create a transition on snow is absolutely detrimental to the more important actions and movements that a skier can actually learn and control.

The other aspect of this discussion, one that is totally missed is the complete dependence on boot setup. If it's incorrect either from the forward lean, ramp inside the boot, or binding delta, any attempts to change a skier's position is an absolute waste of time without this complete and thorough analysis. This involves the understanding of limb length proportions to apply the proper boot and binding setup. The equipment will force the final position over the skis no matter what external coaching you try to convey or apply. The equipment either works or puts the skier in a permanently incorrect adaptive situation.

Even if you try to alter a stance you may see as incorrect and the skier can make some adjustments either through exercise or slow skiing practice, it won't last. It can never become permanent or corrected due to the physical properties of how the equipment places the hips, and torso for balance. If the equipment is set correctly the skier doesn't need to think about where their hip is or how they move it. This is all achieved with correct foot use and lower body applications that change ski angles. This is achieved by eccentric contractions, bending, and tipping at transition. The hips follow the correct movements generated from the lower body and are enhanced by the two upper body "Essentials". All a SKIER needs to know, WHEN THE SET-UP IS CORRECT is how to move to achieve fore/aft balance that is done at the feet, not by hinging at the hips.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby blackthorn » Sat Jun 24, 2023 9:00 pm

Thanks very much HH.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby blackthorn » Sat Jun 24, 2023 9:00 pm

Thanks very much HH.
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Re: Skiing (turning) at a slower speed through heavy wet sno

Postby h.harb » Thu Aug 24, 2023 12:58 pm

Skiing correctly with the right movements and components is difficult enough. However, after reading this thread I'm perplexed as to why some skiers want to make it even more difficult. Some of the reasons I sense from having worked with thousands of skiers are, that people rely on their sensations or feeling when skiing. Another reason is that they interpret the observation of skiing movements incorrectly. Often, even if they are feeling something is working it can fool you into believing it's heading you in the right direction. Using your own feelings as a learning method without expert feedback is just not an effective learning process. The comments here about using hip flexing as an approach to releasing is a perfect example. This focus will only serve to add compensatory movements that will head you down a rabbit hole that will be even more difficult later to pull you out. Why? Because it undoes counter-acting at release. Holding counteracting is a crucial part of becoming an expert skier. The best skiers bring the legs up with and by bending at the knee joint, that's called retraction. The hips should stay counteracted from the previously used movements that achieved CA from the arc of the turn. The tipping and bending of the inside leg prepare the leg and establish hip angles for that side of the body, with these movements (and CA) the hips are set for the perfect release. Do not bend, flex or lower you hips, focus on staying centered and balanced.

I point that out because hip flexing is detrimental and that focus isn't necessary if the turn is built properly. The idea is not well conceived, and those who are advocating it have not thought it out and definitely don't understand the pitfalls. I've worked very hard with a number of skiers in our camps to undo this tendency. If I didn't comment on this I would be delinquent in my goal of keeping skiing accurate with biomechanics understanding. Plus I'd be letting people go down the wrong path. If you are offended rather than looking at this as a learning opportunity, please reconsider and study, learn, and then use how PMTS literature instructs you to achieve traditions by outside leg bending and retraction.

I've worked with, skied with, and coached some of the best skiers in the world. On our Harb Ski Systems staff, we have a Ph.D. in biomechanics and numerous Engineers with multiple backgrounds and high-level skiing skills. We have contributors with Ph. D.s in education as well as coaches with degrees in computer science. We meet numerous times through the season, we compare notes, observe skiing for further refinements, and practice these refinements so we can always produce the simplest most efficient way of learning, teaching, and skiing. We also participate in a three-day coach's training every season to flush out everything we see through the season that needs refinement. This is an elite group of professionals with complete understanding and teaching capabilities. This is the reason why PMTS keeps evolving and will never stand still. Traditional ski instruction remains the same. The only minor changes they have made have been to clip little snippets from PMTS that I've written about in my books and produced in my videos. Try not to rely on and traditional teaching methods or justifications, as they are convoluted and getting more so as skiing evolves.
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