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Curing the backseat blues

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
Six good points that make sense to me. Especially #3 Watch Your Hands. That's one aspect I often watch on strangers as I try to do Movement Analysis when riding the lift at my home hill. Mostly comparing the obvious beginners with intermediates, and the few advanced skiers.

The tip that I picked up from a Taos instructor that helped a lot was "chin up" as opposed to "head up." Another Taos instructor kept saying "stand tall" to the skier with the worst form in my advanced (black but not double-black) Ski Week group last winter. She even did a off-skis demonstration with that skier of why standing tall, instead of bending at the waist, made someone more stable when skiing uneven terrain. Both of those instructors happened to be women with 20+ years of experience teaching at TSV.
 
#3
Six good points that make sense to me. Especially #3 Watch Your Hands. That's one aspect I often watch on strangers as I try to do Movement Analysis when riding the lift at my home hill. Mostly comparing the obvious beginners with intermediates, and the few advanced skiers.

The tip that I picked up from a Taos instructor that helped a lot was "chin up" as opposed to "head up." Another Taos instructor kept saying "stand tall" to the skier with the worst form in my advanced (black but not double-black) Ski Week group last winter. She even did a off-skis demonstration with that skier of why standing tall, instead of bending at the waist, made someone more stable when skiing uneven terrain. Both of those instructors happened to be women with 20+ years of experience teaching at TSV.
I still think "chin up" when I ski....
 
#6
Thanks for sharing this article - very timely as I just got up the nerve to have a friend shoot a quick video of me skiing and I was agog at how much hind end was hanging out there. I have a touch of scoliosis so I know I need to keep reminding myself to pull in my pelvis - paddleboarding helped a lot just gotta remember to apply it to skiing.

However, I have a super noob question - what do they mean by ankle flex? I think of flex/extension as pointing a body part towards or away from a reference point. Any help on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
#7
Thanks for sharing this article - very timely as I just got up the nerve to have a friend shoot a quick video of me skiing and I was agog at how much hind end was hanging out there. I have a touch of scoliosis so I know I need to keep reminding myself to pull in my pelvis - paddleboarding helped a lot just gotta remember to apply it to skiing.

However, I have a super noob question - what do they mean by ankle flex? I think of flex/extension as pointing a body part towards or away from a reference point. Any help on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
Ankle flex - toes closer to shins
Ankle extension - think “pointing” your toes
 
#9
I actually have a lot of concerns about the article. Not because there aren’t some potentially helpful hints or cues that might help someone, but because so much of the advice is more like - it depends - and because I have seen these kinds of tips be commonly misunderstood.

IMHO, the worst of the tips by far is the “keep your torso tall” concept. I agree that it is not very effective or efficient to crouch, but crouching is usually a result of too much knee bend and the associated bending forward at the waist to compensate.

But one of the 2 most common ways that skiers get in the backseat is because of a vertical spine. Skiers told to “stand tall” invariably ski with their shoulders too far back!! So in my experience, this advice is usually counterproductive.

Try this: stand with your back (and butt) against the wall and your heels a couple of inches in front of the wall. Flex your ankles and knees just a bit so that you are comfortable. Now - bring your shoulders forward by flexing in your hip socket. There is no increased pressure where your butt is against the wall. Flexing at the hip to bring your shoulders forward does NOT move your hips back and does NOT make your butt stick out!

Over flexed knees resulting in a more horizontal femur angle is what actually moves the hips back.

You can potentially be “forward” with your hands behind your back. Or in the “backseat” with your shins on the boot cuff.

Rather than relying on these cues when developing your fore-aft stance, understand that you own the ultimate measuring tool for determining where your weight is actually centered - the bottom of your feet. Is the predominance of your weight on your heels? your arch? the balls of your feet? your tippy toes? Does it move around during the turn?

Fool around with the various cues from this article and by changing the relative amounts of flexion in in your ankles, knees and hips and be sensitive to the bottom of your feet. They will tell you - with certainty - where your weight is actually centering.

Once you are dialed in, if one of these tips works as a good reminder for you, great. But be wary of this advice as a “just do this” and you will have the correct fore-aft balance.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Please let me apologize in advance. I am slightly pedantic, and into linguistics, and a former RN, so I want to share a common partial misuse/misunderstanding of the term "flex the ankle". I do want to stress that I still use the term flex the ankle in a lesson, I just never use the term extend the ankle. Why? Well because there is technically no extension possible with this particular body joint. We can either dorsiflex, or plantar flex. The ski relevant flexion is dorsiflexion, bringing the foot up towards the front of the shin.

I know, I know, I am being super annoying and for that I am sorry. I do not want to make anyone feel bad about their use of ankle flexion, but I also find articles that stress "increase the flexion" a bit confusing, especially for healthcare professionals, who are actually quite well represented in the ski community. I think that as long as we describe in which direction the flex takes place then the term is very useful. I do wish that articles written in professional ski related publications would specify the flexion (dorsi or plantar) and then describe it for non anatomically minded readers. :grouphug:
 
#11
Please let me apologize in advance. I am slightly pedantic, and into linguistics, and a former RN, so I want to share a common partial misuse/misunderstanding of the term "flex the ankle". I do want to stress that I still use the term flex the ankle in a lesson, I just never use the term extend the ankle. Why? Well because there is technically no extension possible with this particular body joint. We can either dorsiflex, or plantar flex. The ski relevant flexion is dorsiflexion, bringing the foot up towards the front of the shin.

I know, I know, I am being super annoying and for that I am sorry. I do not want to make anyone feel bad about their use of ankle flexion, but I also find articles that stress "increase the flexion" a bit confusing, especially for healthcare professionals, who are actually quite well represented in the ski community. I think that as long as we describe in which direction the flex takes place then the term is very useful. I do wish that articles written in professional ski related publications would specify the flexion (dorsi or plantar) and then describe it for non anatomically minded readers. :grouphug:
I’m so glad you said this! I was confused about how we could possibly “extend” the ankle for so long! Lol. Eventually, I just kind of gave up and assumed it was a skiing lingo thing. In lessons I sometimes use the terms opening and closing the ankle. But I’m very aware that it’s always a challenge and so important that skiers understand what is actually meant.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#12
Thank you @Skisailor! Not only does this make sense in general, it reminds me of a Pilates 'ending' I teach clients. Only a smidgen of change needed to get what you are describing AND it gives the wall as a reference point. :clap:
 
#13
In lessons I sometimes use the terms opening and closing the ankle. But I’m very aware that it’s always a challenge and so important that skiers understand what is actually meant.
Open and Close were the words used by my Massanutten coach. Took me until the second season to really understand what he meant. We were working on a basic drill on a green because the other person who showed up for the Over 50 clinic wasn't getting how to do a rounded turn. Back then one side was much worse than the other. Ultimately what helped is that he had me try to demonstrate without skis on while holding up my ski pants. He said "Open" and "Close" until I was actually moving in the way that matched what he wanted to see happening. Very hard to interpret the words when only seeing the outside of an instructor's ski pants.
 
#14
@misfitgirl : By the way, I'm not an instructor. Started taking lessons from very experienced instructors at assorted locations about ten years ago, including once with @snoWYmonkey. @Skisailor is an instructor at Big Sky. Was lucky to do some free skiing with her during my Big Sky trip with friends last winter. My home hill is in Virginia and I've learned a lot from the instructors there in recent years, both in private and group lessons.
 
#15
Open and Close were the words used by my Massanutten coach. Took me until the second season to really understand what he meant. We were working on a basic drill on a green because the other person who showed up for the Over 50 clinic wasn't getting how to do a rounded turn. Back then one side was much worse than the other. Ultimately what helped is that he had me try to demonstrate without skis on while holding up my ski pants. He said "Open" and "Close" until I was actually moving in the way that matched what he wanted to see happening. Very hard to interpret the words when only seeing the outside of an instructor's ski pants.
A lot of times I will use my hand - thumb and forefinger - to represent the ankle and show what I mean by open versus closed.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Dorsiflexion, closing the ankle. It takes muscular action.
If you're interested, look up Anterior Tibialis. Do this when you put your boots on,
and keep doing it.
1579873741728.png 1579873782999.png
It looks like so when you are skiing:
British ski instructor is he balanced?.png

It feels natural to stand on skis with the lower leg upright, not tilted. But DON'T do it!
It feels unnatural to close your ankles when in ski boots. But DO do it!

There's a reason your boot cuffs are tilted forward. You need to match the tilt of your boot cuff with conscious effort at first. Later it will become natural.

Do not ski like this. Many people do. It moves your hips waaay back, and causes your quads to burn. It weights the back half of your skis and lightens the front half of your skis, causing you to have little control over where your skis point. This is skiing with an "open" ankle. Just say no.
1579873933523.png
 
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#19
@marzNC totally on board with the instructor/lesson thing. Much better to pay a good instructor to observe, critique, demonstrate, repeat. I also love skiing behind people who are better as often seeing their proper stance and technique gives me a visual reminder of what I am shooting for! So yeah, I'm that random chick behind you who is copying your turns, at a distance of course.
 
#20
@liquidfeet Thanks for all the references - super duper helpful! While I do not have the potty seat stance, I do tend to tilt my pelvis in a swayback position (I imagine my backline looks a bit like a ski jump, concave as and then an upward curve at the base). I found this SkiDiva thread that was also great [help-understanding-correct-stance-posture ]. Gonna work on the old "push the bush" moves later today and try to get the pelvis tucked back in while keeping ankles in proper position. Hoping it's quiet at the mountain so I can just do laps to build the muscle memory.

Thanks, @Skisailor @snoWYmonkey @santacruz skier @Abbi @Bluestsky and everyone for all the advice. Seeing it explained a variety of different ways will certainly help me decode feedback I see/hear and get from others/instructors. So grateful to you all *insert heart emoji here*!
 

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