Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Re: Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Postby Basil j » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:13 pm

Totally agree. Geoffda is spot on. The more I am on my skis the more I realize that I have to unlearn before I can learn. It is tough going skiing and staying on the greens and easy blues while the rest of the ""pack"" are ripping the bumps & steeps and you want to go along, but I have now realized that until the basic movements are solid in muscle memory, I tend to go back to "What you know". That will get me nowhere near where " I want to be". Next 2 days out will focused on 1 & 2 footed releases and consistent tipping. Leading with Inside foot & inside hand is becoming very natural, but I am afraid that it is sometimes inside foot steering and not tipping. Don't know if I can feel the difference yet. If I could get some dam video, I could do a self appraisal and post for some advice. I'll try again this weekend. None of my buddies wanted to take their gloves off and video tape me in 5D weather. go figure. This weekend should be in the 30's.
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Re: Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Postby BigE » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:06 pm

Another agreement here, from someone that thought they knew what they were doing..... It's back to the beginning.

happy new year everyone!
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Re: Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Postby gaku » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:08 am

Third! :) It took me a while to fully understand what you were saying, Geof, but now I do. You're spot on with everything. It's simply more efficient to start from scratch than work on everything when the basic technique is flawed.

There's finally enough snow for the new season to begin; I'm heading up tomorrow. If I'm lucky, I'll get a few videoes up with the recommended one/two-footed releases, but I can't promise anything. Any other drills you would recommend, or should I just focus on those throughout the day?

I'm also curious about equipment. Do you think I should get a new GS ski (outgrown my current pair) -- or won't it have anything to say in terms making progress? Basically, will it be sufficient with a SL pair for all the different turns / PMTS movements learned?

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Re: Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Postby geoffda » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:00 pm

A slalom ski is ideal for developing balance and movements at slow speeds, which is where you want to start. GS skis require a higher level of balance and movement subtlety (as well as speed). If you don't understand exactly what you should be doing on a GS ski, it is too easy to ingrain the undesirable movements and park and ride skiing. If you are serious about improving your skiing, stay off the GS ski until you can demonstrate a very high level of skiing on a slalom ski.

Quoting Max_501 here, but the best approach is to start with Anyone Can Be An Expert Skier and do the full progression. Then Expert Skier 2, then Essentials. Build one footed balance and basic release, transfer, engagement first, then refine movements. As basic as some of this might seem, it is well worth doing. You will likely be surprised as to how difficult these basic movements are when you have to do them relying solely on balance. Even if you can already do all of these drills, the repetition will make you a stronger skier and if you follow the progression, it will give you understanding and insight into how skiing works. I can't emphasize enough how beneficial it can be to start with the most basic of basics-- regardless of what level of skier you might be.
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Re: Free Skiing - Technical Advice

Postby gaku » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:12 am

Time for an update, fellow skicomrades. So the season is rushing headlessly to a close here in norway, tomorrow will be my last day of skiing unless I take a week or two on Folgefonna (norwegian glacier) this summer, so I thought this would be as good a time as any for the annual skiing assessment.

This season has been a complete game changer for me. From starting dismally with no snow until early January, the rest of the season has been my best yet. Even when I skied competetively, I never had progress like this - wrong boots, too much gates. I've gone from understanding the concepts theoretically, to understanding them holistically, how the different essentials compliment each other (when done right, or how one essential hinder another, if done inadequately), and how that affects overall skiing. I've gone from only being able to carve firm, medium groomers, to carve shallow, medium and steep terrain in soft, bumpy, firm and icy conditions. 30 ski days with diligent practice has delivered quantuum leaps in my skiing. The key breakthroughs have been flexing, upper/lower body coordination and an assured one-footed balance both on LTE and BTE. As you said Geof, boot touch drills are my friend -- I don't think any other drill helped as much in sensing the necessary CB in a turn, or flexion/extension/pressure and edge angle management. No wonder I never tipped past the engagement phase before when I didn't have the CB to get the weight over on the stance foot, as that is pivotal for confident inside ski tipping and flexion to occur.

GEAR epiphanies:

Boots: I've hadde the same boots sine my 15th birthday. 2 sizes too big. While I've known how important boots are for proper transfer of energy and ski connection, I've never felt what that mens before this season, the difference in the engagement phase is astounding, subtle movements produce the same tipping in a fraction of the time as lager movement does in looser boots. Also, the snugness allows for controlled ankle articulation and lateral boot pressure. With this in mind, it's no wonder I felt the need to be big toe dominant, lock the stance ankle forward for tip pressure (no heel hold in a luxury-luxury fit boot), or extend out of turns (104 mm last (100 if in the appropriate size) for a 92 mm foot give no ankle stability for flexion out of turn on the LTE).

Skis and lifter: On one occasion this season I had to ski my jr wc racetiger GS skis and old boots. It made me realise first-hand how much skis could negatively affect how people ski. I was astounded by how much the ski (and lack of a ski plate lifter) could make an otherwise simple movement like tipping on edge mindbogglingly hard - all that ski wanted was to stay flat. The lightness of the ski relative to the Elans also gave a very different sense of ski tip engagement - the grip felt less stable, but more forgiving hitting ruts.

Movement epiphanies:

Easier with one footed release at soft snow and ruts (less likely for skis to diverge, more focus on free foot management, and no uneven tug on the skis at different times in the arc). Also, even more important to have solid CB/ weight over stance ski for pressure to arrive where you want it, and flexing to decrease pressure ahead of bigger ruts.

A good homebase position adds the right muscle tension through the body for correct skiing.

Establishing balance over stance foot and CB early! is crucial for the inside body to development angles. Don't be late with the CB, it will only be more difficult to correct the longer you wait after the tipping starts and the body starts to lean in. Without it you're almost doomed to extend at release and wedge turns.+

CA increases tail grip, counter rotation and avoids skidding. CA is the most important at the end of turns, as this is when the rotation of the femur is the biggest and the turn radius cranks up - ironically, this is when it's the easiest to lose. In tandem with CB, correct, progressive CA allows you to feel what 'stacked' skiing feels like, with proper skeletal alignment. A truly great feeling.

Phantom move is ingenius because of the way it integrates all the essentials. In particular it teaches hip awareness by lifting the foot, the hamstring tug of a foot pullback, and free foot tipping / stance foot balance, which are easily forgotten if the ski stays on the snow.

External cues that worked for me this season:

-Bellybutton toward the stance boot (activates the right muscles progressively to the turn radius)
- Lift inside foot, crunch to lift inside shoulder
- Pole tap downhill, inside pole level with boots.
- Arms as if midway in hugging someone, while pulling abdomen in and 'lifting' the tailbone (critical in uneven terrain for upper body stability).
- ski tip down, ski tail up, free foot pulled back to stance boot
-Lift, pull back and tilt free foot
-long/short, even leg shafts at transition
-Legs toward chest
- lateral boot pressure(internal), free foot leading tipping (external)

For these cues I have a mental image I can use to efficiently correct when something's gone wrong. My SMIM this season has been flexing and UB coordination. I identified my lack of progressive tipping to lack of CB, and my skis divergenging to lack of flexing, which messed up the intiation. Focusing on flexing has helped with progressive tipping at end of turns, as well as managing pressure and saying in balance. I'm a bit sad that I still have no footage for this season, I'll have to come up with something to avoid that for next season.
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