Releasing on steeps

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Releasing on steeps

Postby Robert0325 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:31 am

I don’t know if anyone can help. When I’m on steeps I have a problem with weight transfer when turning left. I always feel that I’m going to fall down the hill so I end up stemming the uphill ski.
I’ve tried one footed releases (focusing on a super phantom move approach) and that just seems really scary. I’m ok lifting the old stance foot, but can’t bring myself to tip to the little toe edge. Feels like I’m going to fall straight down the hill.
Two footed release (focusing on the weighted release approach in ACBAES2) I get on better with this as feels more gradual and am having some success, but still struggle on left turns when it’s really steep.
As I’ve said earlier, it’s really only a problem with left turns, which made me wonder if alignment was an issue, so I had Jasper at Portes Du Ski check my Alignment, which only required very minor tweaks and he fitted me with proper foot beds. Obviously I won’t get chance to try again on steeps until the new ski season, but wondered if there are any drills that I could focus on at our local indoor ski slope to help with my fear of left turns on steeps?
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Jeet » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:58 am

Sorry dude, this is not answering your question. It would be great if you could make it to the snow center in Hemel. Keen to skii with other PMTS followers.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby h.harb » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:42 pm

Use the Super Phantom on the deck.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Robert0325 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:21 am

Thanks Harald. What about the release on steeps, 2 footed or 1 footed?
I'll be practising on indoor snow until the new season starts.

Jeet - difficult for me to get Hemel but will be sure to let you know if I do
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Jeet » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:18 am

No worries. I am always there if you decide to come down one day :)

Jeet
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Max_501 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:52 am

Robert0325 wrote:Thanks Harald. What about the release on steeps, 2 footed or 1 footed?
I'll be practising on indoor snow until the new season starts.


See this page -

Off piste - technique and tactics
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby h.harb » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:57 pm

Max as usual finds the gems. I like to see them even if I wrote them, they surprise me.

What skiers don't realize is that just going from one footed in the turn to two footed during the release, or vice-versa, are expert movements. It takes practice, but it also develops your overall skills. Don't try to categorize these skills like one footed in powder or a weight release, as isolated methods or certain snow or terrain, they can be used in the same run, anywhere. Sure, I have separated them out in my books and videos, to identify different approaches, but they are not different techniques, they are more like variations of leg flexing and extending.

Versatility with any of these combinations is important in off piste skiing. You should use different releases by adjusting which leg you flex more and which leg you flex first. Be prepared to try one variation to the other, during a groomed run. Use the different releases in skiing any run, but bottom line is; they can be mixed into any run. I see to much, "either/or, stuff" or "which is better for me, being digested or suggested or relied upon.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Robert0325 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:17 am

That's great feedback and answers some other question I had on releasing.
This fear though on steeps that I'm going to fall straight down the fall line if I make a proper release (particularly left turns) any thoughts on that? I tell myself it's irrasional but none the less it's there and I end up steaming to bring the skis around. I'm thinking more flexing would help.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Max_501 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:06 am

Robert0325 wrote:That's great feedback and answers some other question I had on releasing.
This fear though on steeps that I'm going to fall straight down the fall line if I make a proper release (particularly left turns) any thoughts on that? I tell myself it's irrasional but none the less it's there and I end up steaming to bring the skis around. I'm thinking more flexing would help.


If you post video we might be able to identify the issue, but without seeing you ski its just guessing. The key to building a solid release for all mountain skiing is perfecting the PMTS movements on green slopes before progressing to blue slopes. Then mastering the movements on blue before moving to black.

Most skiers move to advanced runs before they have mastered the PMTS movements and then default to rotary movements.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Robert0325 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:57 am

OK. I will try and get some video
thanks for your help
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby rwd » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:28 am

Robert, you don't have to wait until ski season. Dryland exercises ( see SkierSynergy), and slantboard training (see HSS) can be performed in front of a mirror for self analysis (compare your movements to Jay and Harald) or take video and post them here. Also, inline skate/Harbcarver training are great ways to improve, especially with video analysis.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby h.harb » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:47 pm

You Tube has all the dry land slant board on it.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby Robert0325 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:31 pm

Yep I made one 4 years ago when I first discovered pmts on youtube and bought your essentials book which had all the slant board details. Use it regularly along with a teeter board.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby rwd » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:54 am

Robert0325 wrote:Yep I made one 4 years ago when I first discovered pmts on youtube and bought your essentials book which had all the slant board details. Use it regularly along with a teeter board.


I'm curious; when you do the releasing exercises on the slantboard can you identify a difference between releasing to the right and to the left? I would think flexing and holding counter through the release might be areas to look at.
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Re: Releasing on steeps

Postby geoffda » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:33 pm

Robert0325 wrote:I don’t know if anyone can help. When I’m on steeps I have a problem with weight transfer when turning left. I always feel that I’m going to fall down the hill so I end up stemming the uphill ski.
I’ve tried one footed releases (focusing on a super phantom move approach) and that just seems really scary. I’m ok lifting the old stance foot, but can’t bring myself to tip to the little toe edge. Feels like I’m going to fall straight down the hill.
Two footed release (focusing on the weighted release approach in ACBAES2) I get on better with this as feels more gradual and am having some success, but still struggle on left turns when it’s really steep.
As I’ve said earlier, it’s really only a problem with left turns, which made me wonder if alignment was an issue, so I had Jasper at Portes Du Ski check my Alignment, which only required very minor tweaks and he fitted me with proper foot beds. Obviously I won’t get chance to try again on steeps until the new ski season, but wondered if there are any drills that I could focus on at our local indoor ski slope to help with my fear of left turns on steeps?


From a technical perspective, skiing steeps (black and beyond) is more difficult because the angles involved are greater. Adding steepness is the equivalent of tipping your ski further up on edge on a correspondingly less steep slope. This means that skiing the steeps requires more range of motion on all of your movements. Just to get the skis to flatten requires more tipping and flexion, while more counter-balance will be required to stay upright, more counter-acting will be required to support turn quickness, etc. So if you are looking for drills to practice indoors, you don't need different drills, just try to exaggerate the range of motion whenever possible.

On snow, Harald suggested the OFR because if you can force yourself to do that, you will not be able to stem. Whether you take his advice or stay with the TFR which may be more comfortable for you, focus on slowing down the transition. Regardless of how much you can flex, at some point it will get steep enough that you won't be able to flex enough to flatten the ski while it is perpendicular to the slope (at least not without insane amounts of speed). So the trick is to be able to control the release by slowing it down which allows the tips to drop towards the fall line. Eventually, they will move far enough towards the fall line that the angle of the slope relative to the skis will have lessened enough to enable you to flatten the skis and continue tipping into engagement. The trick is to develop the ability to delay engagement such that you can make it happen at any point in the top of the arc, up to and and including the fall line. Practicing slow OFRs and/or TFRs (and WRs!) starting stationary will help you develop this skill and give you the basis for control in the steeps.

That said, skiing steep terrain with PMTS technique is especially challenging because of the psychological component that gets added to the mix. Releasing requires you to let go of the mountain, while stemming allows you to hang on. Releasing feels dangerous, while stemming feels safe (though you can hang on very effectively with the LTE of the old free foot while releasing the old stance foot). Pretty much everyone has a steepness threshold at which point they start to get unnerved. If you are going to ski with PMTS movements past that point, you have to have belief. 1) You have to believe the movements will work. 2) You have to believe that you can execute the movements properly. 3) You have to be willing to force yourself to do 2. It is mind over matter, and it isn't easy. You have to want it and you have to be willing to commit.

The best way to approach steeps (assuming you are a rock solid PMTS skier on blue terrain) is gradually. Ideally, you want to seek out short, open pitches, with good run outs. What you want to do is put yourself in a position where your movements will be challenged, but that the consequences are low enough that you can both deal with the fear and afford to make mistakes. If you don't have a short pitch, look for places where you might be able to traverse into a steep pitch lower down. If that isn't an option, then pick the shortest pitch you can find and do what you have to do in order to get down low enough to a point where you feel comfortable practicing. Alternatively, hike up part way from the bottom.

Whichever type of pitch you choose, once you have finished the pitch, ski two or three blue runs continuing your focus on release movements, then repeat. As you gain confidence, keep moving the start of your practice zone higher and higher until you ski the entire pitch with good movements. Do not skip the blue practice runs in between sessions. Regardless of what kind of pitch you choose for practice, your skiing will degenerate and you will want to ensure that any bad movements that came out on the steeps don't creep back in to your skiing generally. You must be able to demonstrate your expected level of skiing on the blue runs between sessions. If you find your skiing is degenerating, that is probably a sign that you aren't yet ready to be on the steeps. In any event, limit your practice on the steeps to just a few sessions per day in the beginning. Force yourself to adhere to this limit until you are able to ski your full test pitch with PMTS movements. While your goal is to work up to skiing steep terrain, nobody's skiing gets better in difficult terrain. If you want to become an expert skier, spend most of your time in terrain where you can demonstrate expert movements. Even once you have begun to develop mastery of steeper terrain, be sure to spend plenty of time continuing to refine your movements on easier terrain.

As far as your left turns go, more than likely it is just your weak side. We all have one and when it comes to steeps, the weak side will define your threshold. You can make your weak side stronger by focusing on it during free skiing and giving that side extra work during drills (garlands would be a great choice). Also, we have a tendency to start our first turn towards the strong side. If you want to improve turns to the left, commit to making most of your first turns in that direction when starting on easier terrain. Once you get on steeper terrain, however, make your first turn to the strong side if you have the choice.
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