Ski like a Girl!

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Ski like a Girl!

Postby geoffda » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:31 pm


Continuing to work on my boot setup at A-Basin today with Harald and Diana. One of the things that I've always been in awe of is how, when skiing High Noon, Diana gets so low building angles that her legs disappear behind the rolls. Today I had some success trying to channel Diana. The alignment changes are definitely helping, though my right foot is still a little wonky. In any case, I was having a much easier time relaxing the free leg into deeper angles and continuing the tipping to get some turn finish. This was my first run where I started to ski like a girl.


Definitely skiing like a girl on this run!


Kind of a fun fun video where I'm following one of the racer kids and being forced to really finish my turns to stay behind her.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby ErikCO » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:06 pm

Thanks for the videos! I hope that, one day, I will be comfortable generating those angles! Would you be able to share your/Diana/Harold's analysis of your skiing? I would be very interested in knowing what you and they think are the problem spots.

A question I have, though, is about your transitions. It looks like on some of your transitions you are having a moderate amount vertical upper body movement; more than I am used to seeing for a release without any extension. Am I imagining that, or is it a secondary effect of something else that is going on?
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby Vailsteve » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:17 pm

Diana is just "some girl" on the mountain. Yeah right. She is an inspiration to anyone who wants to really SKI. She makes it look so easy (sigh).

Beautiful turns Geoff.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby Max_501 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:59 pm

ErikCO wrote:A question I have, though, is about your transitions. It looks like on some of your transitions you are having a moderate amount vertical upper body movement; more than I am used to seeing for a release without any extension. Am I imagining that, or is it a secondary effect of something else that is going on?


Look at the outside leg. Does it get longer or shorter? If longer, that is extension.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby HeluvaSkier » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:10 pm

ErikCO wrote:A question I have, though, is about your transitions. It looks like on some of your transitions you are having a moderate amount vertical upper body movement; more than I am used to seeing for a release without any extension.


See Max's comment above... Expert skiers who get big angles often appear to rise in transition because it is bio-mechanically impossible to stay that low to the snow even with a huge flex to release. Imagine how much flex you'd need to keep your hip within no more than 12" of the snow surface at all times... The outside leg got shorter to release... that's the movement to pay attention to.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby tigernbr » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:03 am

Vailsteve wrote:Diana is just "some girl" on the mountain. Yeah right. She is an inspiration to anyone who wants to really SKI. She makes it look so easy (sigh).

Beautiful turns Geoff.


Diana, Harald and the rest of the gang make it look much easier than it actually is. I'm planning on putting in a lot of work at the blue/dark blue camp in December and hopefully get better. I leave in 4 weeks and I can't wait!
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby SkiMoose » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:37 am

Nice skiing, I like your CA in the high C (something I'm working on a lot in my own skiing). It also looks like your outside leg flexion has improved from other videos I have seen. It's also pretty cool to compare PMTS movements to the extension and wide stance taught to racers. While the turns are longer, your skiing is much more consistent, efficient, and better looking than these skiers. PMTS works! :D
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby geoffda » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:55 pm

Thanks for the compliments Vailsteve & Ski Moose. Thanks for jumping in Max_501 and Heluva. To add to the discussion on why I'm coming up, consider that despite the deep angles, those are actually cruising turns. Since I'm on the wrong side of the half-century mark in age, I don't have the physique of Harald or Diana, and I don't spend all of my spare time in the gym like Heluva, I don't have the strength to spend all day tearing it up. I could have somewhat (see Heluva's post above) limited my hips from rising in transition, but doing so would have required *very* aggressive retraction of the old stance leg. I wasn't in the mood to expend that kind of energy, plus I was focused on a task (relaxing the free leg down to the snow), so dialing up the pace would have required me to put more focus elsewhere. I was also backing off on the CA slightly to detune the forces that I was going to get at release. I wish I had some video from the last few days at Loveland; you could see the same movements and angles cranked up for some slalom turns. On that video, you would definitely have seen more aggressive retraction of the old stance leg and lower hips. The same turn finish would have been there too, but with the quicker rhythm and stronger CA, the skis would rocket through transition.

To answer ErikCO's question about analyzing my skiing, here is what I would say: First, my five minutes of liking this skiing are over and I'm moving forward. However, this skiing represented a fairly significant milestone for me, which is being able to make fully carved turns on a Western Blue run with speed control and turn finish. Very few skiers will ever be able to accomplish that. Of the group of skiers that can actually achieve speed control, most of them get it by driving the outside knee in to briefly and heavily load the ski tip; like a hit on the brakes. So being able to do this with foot tipping represents some pretty rarefied skiing air. Adding to my excitement, I've believed for a few years now that I should have been able to ski at this level based on my movements and it was really discouraging me that I couldn't quite get there. It turned out to be a boot issue, that once solved, allowed me to immediately start doing what I felt like I should have been able to do all along. Seeing it actually happen on video was a tremendous morale boost given how hard I work on my skiing.

But as I said, my five minutes are over. In those videos, the weakest thing is foot tipping in left turns. In turns to the right, just relaxing the free leg down is enough to start my right foot rolling over. In turns to the left, this doesn't happen with the left foot. My right boot is still not quite right alignment-wise, so it may be contributing, but in any case, left turns are somewhat park and ride. However, I can tell from the past few days of working on this that as long as I am proactive with tipping the left foot, it will roll over. If I can't make this easier with an alignment change, then the solution is just to pay more attention to that foot. On turns to the right, I would like more counterbalance. I don't have strong feet, and right now what counterbalance I'm able to get on that side doesn't leave me much margin for error. Additionally, I need to develop more CB at the end of the turn so that my torso is leaning out over my downhill ski and I'm reaching down the hill for my next pole plant. Finally, my left pole keeps dropping back and I don't like the way my arms look. I need to spend some time skiing with the first knuckle of each hand pointed upwards.

Anyway, onward and upward. The journey never ends and no matter how good we get, we can always get better. This April will mark 10 years of me skiing with PMTS (and apparently my 5th season of coaching, which I find really hard to believe). I try to put out some videos of my own skiing every once in a while so that progress in my own skiing will hopefully encourage others in their own journeys (particularly when comparing my later skiing to my earlier skiing). Whatever your skiing goals are, PMTS will get you there if you are willing to put in the work.
Last edited by geoffda on Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby Jeet » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 pm

Thanks for sharing Geoff. This post is an encouragement to keep on developing my skiing. Have a great season hope to see in you Tux in April :)

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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby geoffda » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:31 pm

Thanks Jeet. Keep at it, your skiing has really been looking good! Will miss you in Tux this year. It sounds like the boys from Welch, plus Walker will be coaching. Hopefully see you in 2020.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby Vailsteve » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:38 pm

Hi Geoff.

Question please...can you expand/detail the alignment mods you are working on? Having takrn the alignment camp last year, my understanding of what “true” alignment has taken a big jump forward, but I am extremely interested in learning more.

Diana added a small heel lift to my boots last year....my first day on skis at ABasin was just awful. But within two weeks, I definately felt the difference. Now I love it. That, and adding another .5 degree shim out to my right boot. My left leg/boot, strangely, is perfect at zero. We all made new footbeds as part of the camp and checked by Diana and Walker. Cuff cant was slightly tweaked but still good from my previous fitting by Walker.

I seem to remember a previous post by you talking about adding a heel lift. Are you still using it?

Are you focusing on refined shim angles, canting, or the footbeds?? I know each of these are iterative, so I would love to hear more. Thanks!
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby tigernbr » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:22 pm

I just finished watching Eliminate the Wedge 1,2 & 3 (I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched them). Diana makes it all look deceptively simple and easy. I have a lot of work ahead of me.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby geoffda » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:22 pm

Vailsteve wrote:Hi Geoff.

Question please...can you expand/detail the alignment mods you are working on? Having takrn the alignment camp last year, my understanding of what “true” alignment has taken a big jump forward, but I am extremely interested in learning more.

Diana added a small heel lift to my boots last year....my first day on skis at ABasin was just awful. But within two weeks, I definately felt the difference. Now I love it. That, and adding another .5 degree shim out to my right boot. My left leg/boot, strangely, is perfect at zero. We all made new footbeds as part of the camp and checked by Diana and Walker. Cuff cant was slightly tweaked but still good from my previous fitting by Walker.

I seem to remember a previous post by you talking about adding a heel lift. Are you still using it?

Are you focusing on refined shim angles, canting, or the footbeds?? I know each of these are iterative, so I would love to hear more. Thanks!


The issue with the right leg is tibial varum (curved or bowed lower leg). I present as if I'm bowlegged, but that would mean that my femur is externally rotated, which it is not. When I flex, my knee wants to track to the outside. With a neutral cuff, I start in a cuff-soft position and it only gets softer the deeper I flex. That is, my legs are pressed up against lateral (or outside) side of the cuff. I also have limited eversion (ability to tip to big toe edge) on that side and my feet are somewhat weak. All of that adds up to difficulties rolling the right foot over onto big-toe edge on the snow. Currently, I'm tipped in 2.5 degrees on that side (which is a huge amount of lateral accomodation) and my boots have been retrofitted with a t-nut to allow my cuffs to be canted more than the stock amount to the lateral side. This gets me cuff neutral so that I can get the necessary leverage to roll to big toe edge. With a soft cuff (which I was playing around with previously to try to help get me leverage to roll to little to edge), there is a gap between my ankle and the medial side of the boot, so when I try to tip my foot, the ankle doesn't contact the medial (inside) side of the boot immediately, so I lack leverage. Even when I can get the foot tipped over to big toe edge, my feet alone aren't strong enough to the hold the angle and I end up with the a wobbly leg. With the cuff tipped out to be more neutral, along with the extra lateral canting tipping me in, things are working much better, but I'm still having some difficulty with left turns and getting enough tipping. The right knee is still tracking a bit strangely so I don't think the cuffs are quite right yet.

The other big change was to add some room on the medial side of both boots. Standing in the shells, I was getting some plastic contacting my feet. I never bothered me, but it turns out just that little bit of contact was binding my feet somewhat. Adding some extra room supercharged my ability to tip my feet.


Here is a video shot from behind where you can see the right knee is still tracking out, so something still isn't quite right with this setup.
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby Vailsteve » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:31 pm

Thanks Geoff. Great explanation. And thanks to the Harb gurus — Diana, Walker and Becky in the alignment camp I can visualize exactly what you are doing. I specifically remember from the alignment manual that “excessive” tibial varum can be difficult to diagnose and align—first glance says you are bowlegged but you really aren’t.

And 2.5 degrees tipped in IS quite a bit. Glad to hear the cuff canting finally seems to dialed in. Those new T nuts from Harb really work (Walker had me drill out a pair of boot and install the new T nut. Quite straightforward to do...).

To me the most subtle thing you mentioned was punching out the medial side of your boot. I never would have thought of that as an issue. You do need room to evert your foot. Most skiers are in too big of a boot to begin with...interesting how “too tight” a boot can limit your ability to tip.

Bottom line for me Harb is all about subtle nuances. This thread certainly reinforces this

Thanks for the explanation!!
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Re: Ski like a Girl!

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:38 pm

geoffda wrote:I could have somewhat (see Heluva's post above) limited my hips from rising in transition, but doing so would have required *very* aggressive retraction of the old stance leg.


to add a bit... you also don't really need a super-deep flex of the stance leg in lower energy turns to get a functional release.
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