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Help Needed: Diagnose my control issues?

Jowenne Poon

Diva in Training
#1
Hi all. First-time poster here. :smile: My skiing level is still on the green hills and I rely on the wedge stop whenever I start to freak out with speed. I used to ski 15 years ago when I was a teen but never advanced from the wedge. I picked up skiing again as an adult and feeling more confident and familiar on the hills and would like to now advance to parallel skiing and have control while doing it.

I just got new skis and boots last week and skied with them for the first time yesterday. I practiced on the bunny hill then went on a familiar green hill. I don't know if it was the new skis that I had to get used to but I definitely wiped out more times than ever before!

I am trying (kind of obsessively) to try and parallel. I understand that you have to lean towards the little toe and also keep hips above your feet. But watching Youtube videos is of course so different than actually being on the hill! What keeps happening is that I go too fast, then try the wedge stop and when I do come to a stop, my downhill ski is across the fall line while my inside ski is pretty much 90 degrees from the outer ski. (wtf!) It is a bit too extreme of a stop for my comfort because half the time I'm praying that I stop and I also skid until I do.

What I feel is happening is that I lighten my inner ski while traversing across the fall line. But I keep 'forgetting' to edge on the inside ski. When I do remember and try, I put my inside ski's little toe edge down while I'm traversing across the hill and then I lose control suddenly, lose balance, and wipe out.

I think it's the speed that freaks me out because I am then not in control. The other times, I traverse across the hill and remind myself to be patient until the egde change. And then a really fast skier zooms down the slope and freaks me out and then I lose balance because I myself am going too fast for my liking before waiting for the turn to slow me down. Then I wipe out... ::sigh:: I have some battle bruises today to show for at least. :smile:

Any of these incidents sound familiar or anyone have any advice??

I'm planning on taking another lesson to properly learn how to parallel. But I have one more lift pass for next weekend before my lesson in a couple of weeks. So the next time I'm on the slopes, I'd want to try some things to help myself if possible... :noidea: I don't want to give up because skiing is possibly the only active thing I do in the winter! And also, the more frustrated I am, the less fun it is for me.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Nothing will beat a good lesson. Edging at this point might be counter productive to a stance issue. Get the skis parallel without worrying about the edges yet.

One issue I see with a lot of skiers is that they don't do a complete turn. Go the whole 180 degrees. You will slow down when you start steering the skis uphill. This makes those nice C shapes, instead of Z shapes.
 

CrystalRose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
:wave: Welcome @Jowenne Poon. I'm a newbie also so while I don't have a ski tip for you to get parallel, I will say don't be too hard on yourself. Since you have one more ski day before your lesson I suggest focusing on just one thing to improve on. Lightening the inside leg or turn shape or whatever. Don't try to do too much at once, that can make for an overwhelming and frustrating ski day.

Maybe just do that in the morning or every other run, and then just ski! Don't worry about progression or how you look. Just have fun! I understand wanting ever run to count and no time to be wasted but sometimes just let gravity do it's thing.:ski2:
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Trying to force parallel turns when you're at the stage where you're using a power wedge to stop is conterproductive. If you lock on edge without a weight shift or some shape to your turn, you'll simply lock the ski on edge and go straight (it's a very common problem). There's lots of other things that need to happen first.

1. Learn to steer your skis through a full turn, and point them up the hill to brake while using a gliding wedge.
2. Learn to skid your skis through the bottom of the turn to keep your speed under control while you're steering.
3. Begin shifting your weight between skis, and practice bending at the ankles rather than the knees or waist.
3. Once you have the turn shape and skidding down, then you can work on patiently rolling from edge-to-edge on a VERY gentle slope.

You need to be on terrain that you're perfectly comfortable on, and that doesn't challenge you at all for any of this to work.

Have you found the Skiing Magazine Learn to Ski videos? Here's #1
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#7
Hi all. I changed my profile. (I'm actually the original poster). Thank you for the feedback and encouragement! I think I have watched all of the Ski School, Josh Foster's, and Harald Harb's Youtube videos! They are all very helpful. I am so determined to ski better.

I think my main problem has been my stance, which leads to a weight shift and balance problem. I also think I have to get used to my new skis. The rentals dept always gave me 140 cm skis, but I have skis up to my nose now that are 154 cm. I think that def takes getting used to, as I understand that the longer the ski, the more control you need.

Next time on the slopes, I will try to focus on one thing - my stance over my outside ski! I do find myself on outside ski edge but going downhill which leads to not a quick enough turn. Totally makes sense that I'm not putting enough weight on it to actually help me turn. I think I'm too anxious and forgetting to keep my centre of mass over my outside ski. Someone had once told me, try and think of your ear to always be over your outside ski. When I'm freaking out and going too fast, I tend to forget and also find that it's too late to try it! Anyone have any other mind 'tricks' about keeping your centre of mass in the correct position?

Back to the bunny hill for a some practice runs next time for me. :smile:
 
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CrystalRose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Yeah new skis (and boots) in the mix can definitely change things. I also bought some nose height skis after being on much shorter rentals and it was not fun. Ended up getting back on the shorter rentals and skiing is fun again! Not that I'm suggesting that for you.

You seem to be handling the new length/ski better than I did so maybe you just need to get over the adjustment period.
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#10
Yeah new skis (and boots) in the mix can definitely change things. I also bought some nose height skis after being on much shorter rentals and it was not fun. Ended up getting back on the shorter rentals and skiing is fun again! Not that I'm suggesting that for you.

You seem to be handling the new length/ski better than I did so maybe you just need to get over the adjustment period.
Not gonna give up! Hope you are enjoying your new skis now at this point. :smile:
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Have you tried Mount St Louis/ Moonstone yet? That was one of our favorites for a day trip when we were up in Ontario. Even when the kids could ski the blues and blacks, they would often choose to lap Big Lonely just to take the lift over the terrain park and watch the tricks.
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#14
Have you tried Mount St Louis/ Moonstone yet? That was one of our favorites for a day trip when we were up in Ontario. Even when the kids could ski the blues and blacks, they would often choose to lap Big Lonely just to take the lift over the terrain park and watch the tricks.
I used to ski at Mount St Louis when I was a teen. I totally remember Big Lonely! I was thinking of ending this season there. This week we're going to Hockley Valley. Still a small place with only 1 green run for me. But I'm ok with that for now. :smile:
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#15
I'm on the other side of the province....towards Kingston, so locally Calabogie is closer. But I usually ski Tremblant.

But way back when.....I learned to ski at Snow Valley. A family friend was an instructor there.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Check and see if any of these places have a Ladies event. Some are daily clinics, some are season long lessons. Might be too late for this year, but plan for next. And the Toronto Snow Show in October is worth the trip for you. Deals on lessons, passes, gear...
 

EeveeCanSki

Certified Ski Diva
#17
@JO-ski: +1 to everything @volklgirl said above--that is pretty much how I progressed to parallel. Once it happened, it happened quickly, and this season I have been working on refining technique and timing of the turns. I still wedge and stem some when I'm in a jam, but nothing beats how stable (and free!!) I feel executing the parallel turns in a good skier's stance.

Not rushing the turns is so very key to progression...something that worked well for me was to link smooth stem turns down a gentle then a moderate green run. When the instructor I was working with last season told me simply to bring my uphill leg underneath my hip, wedge got smaller, and the parallel happened naturally. This helped me keep my knee open just enough for the movement to proceed without catching an edge. Had I opened the knee too much and consciously rolled onto the little toe, I likely would have caught that outside edge and lost my balance. In a few moments of fatigue this weekend I could feel myself doing this, but luckily realized it and simply flattened the ski.

As for tricks to help the parallel process along, for warm-up, my instructors will have me work on lifting the ski drills--have you done these? To begin, I initiate and complete a turn (a wedge or parallel is fine, whatever happens) then traverse across the hill with skis parallel while lifting the tail of the uphill (inside) ski, or attempting to lift the uphill ski entirely. Then I turn again, and repeat in the other direction. This *really* gets a feel for weight over the downhill (outside) ski, and improves balance at the same time. Right now, I am most comfortable lifting the tail of the uphill ski and keeping the tip in contact with the snow. Eventually I should work my way up to turning keeping one ski lifted.

Where I ski most often, we have a beautiful little gentle green run on which I repeat, repeat, repeat the parallel turns to get the timing down and commit the motions to muscle memory. I work on steeper slopes under the guidance of an instructor, but having a run where I can practice on my own, and have everything "click", has also been critical to my progression.

Good luck to you as you advance your skiing!
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#18
Check and see if any of these places have a Ladies event. Some are daily clinics, some are season long lessons. Might be too late for this year, but plan for next. And the Toronto Snow Show in October is worth the trip for you. Deals on lessons, passes, gear...
Thank you @Jilly . I will look closer and early before next season! I would like to do more regular lessons next season to progress my skills. Didn't know there were clinics just for ladies. Good to know! And the Ski and Snowboard show too. Would like to check out what they offer the next time around. We did totally miss it this year. Thank you for the recommedations. :smile: Everyone on this forum is so nice. :grouphug:
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#19
I'm on the other side of the province....towards Kingston, so locally Calabogie is closer. But I usually ski Tremblant.

But way back when.....I learned to ski at Snow Valley. A family friend was an instructor there.
Calabogie! I only hear good things about that place. I heard it has one of the longest green runs. I'm most interested in that for the moment even if it's not too ambitious. :smile:
 

JO-ski

Certified Ski Diva
#20
@JO-ski: +1 to everything @volklgirl said above--that is pretty much how I progressed to parallel. Once it happened, it happened quickly, and this season I have been working on refining technique and timing of the turns. I still wedge and stem some when I'm in a jam, but nothing beats how stable (and free!!) I feel executing the parallel turns in a good skier's stance.
I totally know what you mean. Funny enough.. before when I was on rental skis, I was actually feeling more and more comfortable keeping my skis parallel and turning with control with a comfortable stance with body turned slightly downhill with weight over my outside ski. But once I got on my new skis this weekend, I felt like everything I learned before on the rentals went out the door! It was a bit discouraging because I don't know if I totally lost everything I learned or if my skis were the reason why I had to readjust. I think the latter... and it also tipped me off balance because of the speeds that the new skis took me.

@JO-ski: Not rushing the turns is so very key to progression...something that worked well for me was to link smooth stem turns down a gentle then a moderate green run. When the instructor I was working with last season told me simply to bring my uphill leg underneath my hip, wedge got smaller, and the parallel happened naturally. This helped me keep my knee open just enough for the movement to proceed without catching an edge. Had I opened the knee too much and consciously rolled onto the little toe, I likely would have caught that outside edge and lost my balance. In a few moments of fatigue this weekend I could feel myself doing this, but luckily realized it and simply flattened the ski.
OK, I think I will not be putting my uphill ski on edge purposefully at this moment. I am definitely not on carving level yet. I'll try focusing on the weight on the outside ski and transferring the weight as I turn. I'm excited to try again now that I can recall what I was doing wrong.

@JO-ski: As for tricks to help the parallel process along, for warm-up, my instructors will have me work on lifting the ski drills--have you done these? To begin, I initiate and complete a turn (a wedge or parallel is fine, whatever happens) then traverse across the hill with skis parallel while lifting the tail of the uphill (inside) ski, or attempting to lift the uphill ski entirely. Then I turn again, and repeat in the other direction. This *really* gets a feel for weight over the downhill (outside) ski, and improves balance at the same time. Right now, I am most comfortable lifting the tail of the uphill ski and keeping the tip in contact with the snow. Eventually I should work my way up to turning keeping one ski lifted.

Where I ski most often, we have a beautiful little gentle green run on which I repeat, repeat, repeat the parallel turns to get the timing down and commit the motions to muscle memory. I work on steeper slopes under the guidance of an instructor, but having a run where I can practice on my own, and have everything "click", has also been critical to my progression.

Good luck to you as you advance your skiing!
@EveeCanSki Thank you for the detailed explanation! I am going to try this a lot more this week. I have tried this but I know I haven't perfected it. So I think I must go back and keep repeating, like you've done before I try and advance or think about to anything else. Feeling positive again. :smile:
 

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