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Frustrated: upper/lower body separation

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I am able to do this with short turns, but with longer turns I feel like I would need to twist my body in half, and DH and father still tell me I don't separate enough.

This is extremely frustrating because I just find it impossible to do. I try to keep my shoulders down the fall line, but they just don't! DH is NOT a ski instructor, and it's quite possible he doesn't know what he is talking about. I've taken a ton of lessons, and my instructors tell me my body position is fine. I know I am supposed to believe the instructors, but I can't help it and have this 'need' for family members to tell me I am doing it right, even considering the source.

Now for the question... Every image and video I pull up for longer turns, their shoulders are NOT pointing downhill, but rather on a diagonal. I believe I am doing the green guy here:

1584704891005.png

Is DH thinking I should be doing this?
1584705290237.png
Does this guy always have his shoulders perfectly down the fall line or do they ever go on a diagonal like the guy above? I have been so incredibly frustrated with myself for not getting it. Or maybe I am getting it and just don't know it? Yes, I am a perfectionist and have a hard time just having fun.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Love the return of the turn videos! Fun scripting too...

This is something I have been working on a lot this past season and just wanted to share that there may be other factors too. When I just “couldn’t get it” after 4-5 lessons with good instructors I was talking to my physical therapist about my frustration. Well I have very limited mobility in my hips and limited femur rotation (among other range of motion challenges).
There is a hip exercise I will try to find that has helped and also if you find you feel lots of resistance doing it could clue you in to whether this might be contributing for you. After my mobility improved mid season I found working to really have my body turned fall line when doing hockey stops was a good way to start integrating what this felt like. Instructor had us hockey stop one side then other side with body really turned to downhill and that was the trick for me to start “feeling” what I was looking for.
 
#4
I am able to do this with short turns, but with longer turns I feel like I would need to twist my body in half, and DH and father still tell me I don't separate enough.

This is extremely frustrating because I just find it impossible to do. I try to keep my shoulders down the fall line, but they just don't! DH is NOT a ski instructor, and it's quite possible he doesn't know what he is talking about. I've taken a ton of lessons, and my instructors tell me my body position is fine. I know I am supposed to believe the instructors, but I can't help it and have this 'need' for family members to tell me I am doing it right, even considering the source.

Now for the question... Every image and video I pull up for longer turns, their shoulders are NOT pointing downhill, but rather on a diagonal. I believe I am doing the green guy here:

View attachment 12519

Is DH thinking I should be doing this?
View attachment 12521
Does this guy always have his shoulders perfectly down the fall line or do they ever go on a diagonal like the guy above? I have been so incredibly frustrated with myself for not getting it. Or maybe I am getting it and just don't know it? Yes, I am a perfectionist and have a hard time just having fun.
How much “counter” or separation you use is not a fixed amount and is absolutely related to turn size! You should not have the same amount of separation in every single turn. It moderates as turn size gets larger.

When skiing short radius turns directly down the fall line, then everything from the hips up should be level and face directly down the hill while only the legs turn. But as you lengthen out to medium turns, you may be only 40-45 degrees off of your ski tips. In very large turns, you may be only 10 degrees off your ski tips. In these medium and larger turns, think about facing the upper body toward the apex of the turn you are making. The apex is the point of the circle/turn you are making that is farthest out - that point where the skis start pointing down the hill.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#5
I am able to do this with short turns, but with longer turns I feel like I would need to twist my body in half, and DH and father still tell me I don't separate enough.
Have you had any lesson where an instructor did the drill of having you pick a target a fair way down the hill, and then you ski towards the target while making turns? Could be a particular tree or a snow gun if they are lining the edge of a groomer.

Upper/lower body separation is like many fundamentals. It's not all or nothing, as @Skisailor says. She's an instructor. I'm not. I've become a solid advanced skier with the help of lessons in the last decade. It helped that my coach at my home hill also taught me basic Movement Analysis over a few seasons.

A story . . . my ski buddy Bill and I have been doing semi-private lessons together for several years. Also have learned a lot doing a Taos Ski Week four seasons in a row. He was advanced/expert in high school and over 65. We did a semi-private lesson at Bridger last season with RicB. I first worked with Ric in 2012 based on a recommendation by name. He's not only a PSIA Level 3 instructor, he's a trainer of instructors and a Bridger Ridge guide.

Some time towards the end of the 2-hour lesson we are stopped on a groomer and he asks us something like "What do you think you need to work on for your skiing?" By then we'd done more than one bump run, including an adventure run down a double-black with a very challenging traverse with big whoop-de-doos. He knows we can ski challenging terrain. Neither of us guess correctly. The answer was . . . upper and lower body separation!

Ric showed us a simple drill. I've been using that drill ever since to improve upper/lower body separation. Now when I ski behind Bill on a groomer, I can tell what's missing. Especially in one direction. Still a work in progress.
 

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
That guy is doing warp speed to be that low. There are some good video's out there.

Take a look at the "return of the turn" series from Blizzard. That will show you some sequences of a really good skier.
I took a look, and these guys are going suuuper fast and are not doing very wide turns. That could be why their bodies are facing down and very angulated. I don't like going very fast.

Love the return of the turn videos! Fun scripting too...

This is something I have been working on a lot this past season and just wanted to share that there may be other factors too. When I just “couldn’t get it” after 4-5 lessons with good instructors I was talking to my physical therapist about my frustration. Well I have very limited mobility in my hips and limited femur rotation (among other range of motion challenges).
Hmm... never noticed limited hip mobility, but who knows

How much “counter” or separation you use is not a fixed amount and is absolutely related to turn size! You should not have the same amount of separation in every single turn. It moderates as turn size gets larger.
Ah! That's what I thought. What about speed? Is it easier to separate when you are going faster? Because then you can angle your body more without falling over?

Have you had any lesson where an instructor did the drill of having you pick a target a fair way down the hill, and then you ski towards the target while making turns?
Yes, I've done a bunch of drills like that. The picture frame, the teapot, holding poles over my head, etc. Still turn my body with the skis too much according to DH. UGHHHHH
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
Yes, I've done a bunch of drills like that. The picture frame, the teapot, holding poles over my head, etc. Still turn my body with the skis too much according to DH. UGHHHHH
He's not an instructor, correct? I can now tell fairly easily when people are skiing the hard way because they lack some fundamental skill. But having been in advanced group lessons, I know how hard it can be to get someone to execute a movement correctly often enough to FEEL the difference. Always interesting when the student goes "OH! That's different!" after an hour, or day, of trying to do what the instructor is suggesting. Often by then the instructor had done more than drill or said more than one thing with the same goal in mind.

You might consider having someone take video early next season. What I noticed watching Bill at our last stop in Feb at Steamboat was that there were times he turns his head, but not his upper body. So in his mind he was positioned correctly, but he wasn't. We skied more groomers those few days than usual and he was leading because he'd skied at Steamboat and it was the first time for me. So I was behind him more often than usual.

The drill that Ric showed me is easy, but harder to cheat. Although even so I found that on my bad side I would cheat if I didn't concentrate enough. I demonstrated it for a few friends this season. All advanced skiers. But they usually don't really do it right. It took until about the third attempt with Ric before Bill and I were doing what he wanted. It was an Aha! moment when I felt the correct movement on my bad side.
 
#8
I took a look, and these guys are going suuuper fast and are not doing very wide turns. That could be why their bodies are facing down and very angulated. I don't like going very fast.



Hmm... never noticed limited hip mobility, but who knows



Ah! That's what I thought. What about speed? Is it easier to separate when you are going faster? Because then you can angle your body more without falling over?


Yes, I've done a bunch of drills like that. The picture frame, the teapot, holding poles over my head, etc. Still turn my body with the skis too much according to DH. UGHHHHH
It is not any harder to separate at slow speeds. Those video guys are going fast because they are not skiing short RADIUS turns (i.e not finishing their turns with skis more across across the hill). They are skiing cut off arcs which have a LONG radius at a fast frequency. Hence they are intentionally taking a very straight fast line.


There are two separation aspects to consider.

1) Separation by turning the femurs in the hip socket. You should be able to ski short RADIUS turns by turning only your legs while the pelvis/hips, shoulders, head are facing directly down the hill. This modulates with turn size as I already described above.

2) There is also angulation. I don’t lump this in with “upper lower body separation” terminology personally, but many do. In short radius turns directly down the fall line, coming forward by hinging at the hip will allow this kind of angulation.

With angulation, as turn size increases it also changes. In any turn where we begin to spend part of the turn coming across the fall line, this angulation becomes more of a tilt of the upper body - the teapot drill. I like to think of it as matching our shoulder tilt to the pitch of the slope. So - some cues:

- Downhill hand lower than uphill hand
- Downhill shoulder lower than uphill shoulder
- Feel a pinch in the waist on the downhill side

Does that clear anything up ?
 

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
He's not an instructor, correct?
Not even close, haha! He started out about my level, but is more fearless and therefore has advanced faster.

What I noticed watching Bill at our last stop in Feb at Steamboat was that there were times he turns his head, but not his upper body. So in his mind he was positioned correctly, but he wasn't.
Yep, I think I might be doing that. I 'think' I am separating, but I am not. Then I try to exaggerate, but then I look like I am salsa dancing and wiggling my butt. Obviously I am supposed to separate at the hip socket level, and instead I am doing Shakira whose hips don't lie. Ha!

It is not any harder to separate at slow speeds. Those video guys are going fast because they are not skiing short RADIUS turns (i.e not finishing their turns with skis more across across the hill). They are skiing cut off arcs which have a LONG radius at a fast frequency. Hence they are intentionally taking a very straight fast line.
Ah! Yes, that makes sense, and I think that's what I was thinking. More of a straight line vs taking up the whole width of the run.

I am slowly getting to the point where I can have my body face down the fall line and the legs move under me in various radius turns, and 'mostly' beginning to succeed on blues in good conditions, but give me an icy black run, and it's survival mode!
 
#10
Yep, I think I might be doing that. I 'think' I am separating, but I am not. Then I try to exaggerate, but then I look like I am salsa dancing and wiggling my butt. Obviously I am supposed to separate at the hip socket level, and instead I am doing Shakira whose hips don't lie. Ha!
After I did knee rehab (not a skiing injury) I got the SkiA Sweetspot for balance training. I found that it was also useful for feeling upper/lower body separation in ski boots but not on snow. Also good for feeling what extreme angulation feels like without worrying about a snowy slope, or skis for that matter.

Like any training device, it's not the same as skiing. But I found it useful. I got it before I started taking lessons on a regular basis. There are a few videos in the old thread about SkiA. It was invented in the UK.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/skia-sweetspot-trainer.15335/
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
How much “counter” or separation you use is not a fixed amount and is absolutely related to turn size! You should not have the same amount of separation in every single turn. It moderates as turn size gets larger.

When skiing short radius turns directly down the fall line, then everything from the hips up should be level and face directly down the hill while only the legs turn. But as you lengthen out to medium turns, you may be only 40-45 degrees off of your ski tips. In very large turns, you may be only 10 degrees off your ski tips. In these medium and larger turns, think about facing the upper body toward the apex of the turn you are making. The apex is the point of the circle/turn you are making that is farthest out - that point where the skis start pointing down the hill.
^^This. Simplified:

1. Face downhill in very short turns.
** Face the apex of the next turn (when skis are pointing downhill) for all other turns...
2. which means face somewhat downhill in medium turns
3. and barely downhill in very long turns.
** The only time you'll face the trees between turns is when you are doing very long, very wide, completed turns. I rarely see anyone doing such turns.
 

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
3. and barely downhill in very long turns.
** The only time you'll face the trees between turns is when you are doing very long, very wide, completed turns. I rarely see anyone doing such turns.
Do you guys happen to have a video of a good skier doing this? It seems like everything I see is either slalom racers or short turns, or long straight-line turns. Maybe it's more of a beginner thing to make super wide turns?
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Do you guys happen to have a video of a good skier doing this? It seems like everything I see is either slalom racers or short turns, or long straight-line turns. Maybe it's more of a beginner thing to make super wide turns?
You'll find some very high level long radius turns in this video.
 
#15
I did wonder - it’s the second time you have mentioned “wide turns” so I want to check back in on that. The speed control comes from getting your skis to point across the hill by turning your legs. As soon as you manage that you will slow down. You do not need to actually travel across the slope any distance.

In short radius turns the body is moving pretty straight down the hill while the skis kind of wag left and right. It can be done in a very narrow corridor. Keeping the ski flatter and more pivoty will be slower. Skiing more on your edges will be faster.
 

BMR

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Can’t remember if you said - have you learned/practiced any sideslipping? Learned how to get OFF your edges more?
Yes, I've practiced that and feel comfortable flattening the skis.

I did wonder - it’s the second time you have mentioned “wide turns” so I want to check back in on that. The speed control comes from getting your skis to point across the hill by turning your legs. As soon as you manage that you will slow down. You do not need to actually travel across the slope any distance.

In short radius turns the body is moving pretty straight down the hill while the skis kind of wag left and right. It can be done in a very narrow corridor. Keeping the ski flatter and more pivoty will be slower. Skiing more on your edges will be faster.
Maybe I need to forget trying the long radius turns for now and just stick to a narrow corridor and play around with speed by varying turn frequency. At least until I feel confident my body is facing forward at all times (I think I am there most of the time on groomed blues). And maybe then start to widen the radius to see how wide I can go before my shoulders need to turn.
 
#18
Sounds good. On the longer radius turns, the shoulders face the ski tips more but also, remember to lower the outside/downhill shoulder as the turn develops. Stand on that outside ski and that will flatten it more and provide more speed control. Have fun.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Agree with @liquidfeet ‘s description of the turns in that video. IMHO - those are not the turns you should be trying to emulate right now however. You need a flatter ski pivoty turn so you can slow things down at first. Can’t remember if you said - have you learned/practiced any sideslipping? Learned how to get OFF your edges more?
Agree.
 

Powgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
@BMR ...I was having some of the same struggles...whenever I would try to stay facing downhill, I would feel my weight shift to my heels (not good).

I follow Deb Armstrong on YT...she is a former Olympian and now instructor in Steamboat...in one of her videos, she suggested keeping your belly button pointed to the tip of your outside ski...this has worked very well for me!

(I am not an instructor)