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Legs Go Into the Splits on Steeper Runs

Skigal28

Certified Ski Diva
I have been re-reading old threads to prepare for my first day of skiing this weekend - heading out to SLC with my 11 year old son, it is going to be his first time and he's wants to learn how to snowboard - and I am coming back from a somewhat crummy last season. It is going to be DUMPING so I am excited to try this.

With wider powder skiis - how do these mechanics change? are they the same? I'll be renting some powder skis so I am hoping to have a fun time (keep the fear at bay, get out of my head) and enjoy the beauty and magic of skiing another season.
So envious!
Unless you're skiing deep powder, I don't think you'll necessarily need wider skis. I find sitting back slightly with more pressure on my heels on my black pearls gets me through Utah snow whether on a trail or in the trees. Mind you, I DO NOT go fast. I ski to ski another day.
Might I suggest Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood. The facilities have an old school feel, whilst the mountain is screaming western powder.
You'll have a blast!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
You want to stay centred on your skis. And because they are wider than you're used to, your feet and knees will need to be farther apart.

If you sit back, lean back etc, you're going to be off balance and will most likely pick up unwanted speed or wear out your quads. Stay centered.

If need be...raise your toes to get the pressure off the tips of the skis.
 

newbieM

Angel Diva
So envious!
Unless you're skiing deep powder, I don't think you'll necessarily need wider skis. I find sitting back slightly with more pressure on my heels on my black pearls gets me through Utah snow whether on a trail or in the trees. Mind you, I DO NOT go fast. I ski to ski another day.
Might I suggest Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood. The facilities have an old school feel, whilst the mountain is screaming western powder.
You'll have a blast!

I am of the same kind - I don’t love to ski fast I want to ski another day and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fact that I get to do this out of world sport.

I am going this weekend and doing solitude, Brighton and either Alta or PowMow. Last year when I skied in heavy snow my skiis were just getting eaten up. I rented some wider Solomon’s and they were much easier to glide through. I suspect I may have the same issue this weekend. I don’t know that I want to go up and then get stuck getting bounced around all day on my skis. I might arrive on Friday and rent a pair of powder skis at the base for the weekend.

I am also a still learning skier - I just learned in 2021 so I think I’m just not such a confident skier. So I think more pressure on my heels just has my throwing off my balance and wider skis just make it all a bit easier although with less control on turns.
 

Posse Mama

Certified Ski Diva
Hi Everyone! I've been reading this forum for a while now and have found so much helpful advice. Now it's time I ask my own specific ski question! For a little background info: I learned how to ski one week back in 2016 (I'm talking pizza and french fries and that's about it) and haven't skied again until the 2020/2021 season. From December until now I've done about 50 days (some days it's just one run) and 6 lessons (shared though, so like 6 hours total of private time with instructor). I began learning on some icier terrain earlier on in the season, which makes me SO nervous to fall. Lately Utah has had some amazing powder which has made things easier on me for sure. All in all I would say I'm becoming more confident, but I am definitely an overly cautious skier.

I'm really getting the hang of things though, I've been told I have great form, I can get my skis parallel, I have begun to dive into dynamic skiing with the focus on my bellybutton facing downhill, taking shorter turns, etc. BUT when I progress to blue runs, I get really frustrated that I get so nervous and lose my confidence. When I'm with an instructor I can power through it, but otherwise I just feel SO awkward. I make sure to do bigger turns on blues, but one thing I've noticed that I've been doing is when I'm parallel with the mountain I feel like my legs slide apart so wide that I'm going to topple over and lose my balance. My instructor has emphasized the importance of really putting pressure on the downhill ski, but I never think I'm doing it hard enough I guess? I can't seem to visualize where the pressure goes. It's like my downhill ski just slides away from me. I also get so hung up on this that I end up not looking far ahead and ski with my head down looking at my skis because I'm so afraid I'm doing it wrong. Am I not tightening my boots enough and therefore not leaning forward enough to get the weight on the downhill ski?

I can fly down a green run with confidence and it is SO much fun. Going down a blue I am skidding, sliding and holding my breath until I get to the bottom, lol. I really, really want to keep up with everyone I ski with, but anything steep and I just get so frustrated.

Thanks for your help, it is SO appreciated! I learn so much from this forum.
Many of us if not most have been where you are now. I understand wanting to moving to the blue runs and being successful. I encourage you to stay on the greens to improve your technique. How slow can you go while making turns? It will help you know where you are in each part of the turn and provide you with feedback. Staying on the greens will allow you to play and discover in a safe zone. No one learns when they do not feel safe. Pull from your previous lessons a few prompts. Be patient with yourself, I promise the journey is worth it.
 

newbieM

Angel Diva
I love garlands, skiing while tapping my inside ski or lifting it throughout a turn, and 1000s. The last is basically 1000 little steps across the trail which makes me have balance and gets my mind focused. Also rhythm if you can find it does wonders.
I just looked up 1000s exercise, I've never heard of that, I am totally going to try it. Thanks for sharing!
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
So envious!
Unless you're skiing deep powder, I don't think you'll necessarily need wider skis. I find sitting back slightly with more pressure on my heels on my black pearls gets me through Utah snow whether on a trail or in the trees. Mind you, I DO NOT go fast. I ski to ski another day.
Might I suggest Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood. The facilities have an old school feel, whilst the mountain is screaming western powder.
You'll have a blast!
The forecast is for 9" Friday, 22" Saturday and 12" Sunday so even groomers might be a little buried this weekend if that all plays out. Fingers crossed...
 

newbieM

Angel Diva
The forecast is for 9" Friday, 22" Saturday and 12" Sunday so even groomers might be a little buried this weekend if that all plays out. Fingers crossed...
Ya im a little nervous for my kid to learn in this weather. But for myself, I’m nervous and excited. I found powder days scare away some newbies so I get the greens to myself. But I’m also breaking in new boots and have a sore back and foot so I wonder how I’ll survive. But yay powwww!!! I’m so lucky!
 

lemonlime

Diva in Training
I joined this forum to comment on this thread. I am facing these exact problems as a now cautious adult re-skier. Anything steep/icy/unforgiving and I fall back into the bad habits outlined here. I’ve read the advice multiple times and I’m actually now looking forward to getting back out there and putting some of these ideas into action!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I joined this forum to comment on this thread. I am facing these exact problems as a now cautious adult re-skier. Anything steep/icy/unforgiving and I fall back into the bad habits outlined here. I’ve read the advice multiple times and I’m actually now looking forward to getting back out there and putting some of these ideas into action!
Welcome! What region do you ski in the most?
 

Laroken

Certified Ski Diva
Great write-up! You've found words to describe your concerns in such detail. I think your problem and its solution are pretty clear from the things you have written. This is going to be long; sorry for all the words.

Your words in red, mine in black.
1. Your weight is on the inside ski (should be on the outside ski).
It's like my downhill ski just slides away from me...so wide that I'm going to topple over and lose my balance.
--When your skis are pointing across the hill, the downhill ski is your outside ski. The outside ski always needs most of your weight on it, more pressure on it (weight and pressure are pretty much the same thing). Skiers need to ski with weight moving from outside ski to outside ski, as if walking from foot to foot. When that outside ski doesn't have your weight on it (or pressure on it), it will lose its grip and slide away. Your stance will widen, and you'll lose your balance.
2. You are probably leaning uphill to edge your skis. This hovers your weight over the inside/uphill ski.
--You don't say you are doing this whole body lean, but it's so common that I'm assuming it's what you are doing. Leaning your body uphill, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, will indeed edge your skis. But it has a very bad side effect. This lean hovers your body weight over the inside ski. The outside ski gets light and loses its grip.
--Where you hover your body determines where the weight-pressure lands. You need to stop leaning your whole body to edge your skis. Use another way to get your skis edged that doesn't involve an upper body lean.
3. Roll the knees to edge skis instead of leaning uphill.
--Crouch a bit, so both of your knees are more bent than normal. Then "roll" both knees sideways, uphill, to the inside of the turn. The knee movement will tilt the lower legs, and it will tilt your boots which are clamped onto your lower legs, and it will tilt your skis which are clamped onto your boots. Rolling the knees will edge the skis just as well as leaning the whole body. It will allow you to avoid leaning your upper body.
--While rolling the knees, keep your head and shoulders, and your whole torso, upright, vertical, instead of leaning sideways.
4. You are probably "leaning in" when your skis are pointing downhill too. Roll the knees to edge the skis through the whole turn so you can keep torso upright instead of leaning.
--You don't say anything about this, but if you are using a whole body lean to edge your skis at the bottom of the turn, you are probably using it for the whole turn. Do you lean sideways to get skis edged and make a turn happen? This whole body lean does work to edge the skis, but it hovers your body over the inside ski and unweights the outside ski. Weight-pressure needs to be on that outside ski through the whole turn. Roll the knees to edge the skis instead. Keep torso upright, vertical, instead of leaning sideways.
5. You are pushing out and away on the downhill ski to "pressure" it harder. But pushing never works.
My instructor has emphasized the importance of really putting pressure on the downhill ski, but I never think I'm doing it hard enough I guess?
--Where you hover your upper body, head and shoulders, determines where the weight/pressure goes. Pushing doesn't work; it breaks the ski away from its grip. Stop trying to add pressure to the outside ski. Just stop. You are pushing it out and away, breaking any grip it might have had. If you are leaning your body to edge the skis, and pushing on the outside ski, that's two things that are keeping it from gripping.
--Solution: keep torso upright, not leaning sideways, so your body weight is not over the inside ski, and stop pushing on that outside ski. That's all you need to do, because....
6. Turning will direct your weight and the pressure to the outside ski. Centrifugal force is your friend.
--When you make a turn, centrifugal force will move a lot of pressure/body weight to that outside ski, as long as you are not leaning in. You do not ever need to "add" pressure or "put" it onto the outside ski. It goes there, if you allow it. Where you hover your upper body determines how effective this is.
7. Your mind wants to control where the weight goes by looking at the skis (looking doesn't tell you where the weight or pressure is).
I can't seem to visualize where the pressure goes. I end up not looking far ahead and ski with my head down looking at my skis
--Feeling where the weight/pressure is will tell you whether the outside ski has more weight on it than the inside ski. Eyes don't work for this. Give them something else to do so they keep busy and stay out of this weight/pressure thing.
--Look down the hill where you are going. The farther you look, the better. You can even choose a visual target to ski towards, and lock your eyes on it. When your eyes are busy looking at something, this will free up your mind to feel, sense, where the weight is under your feet.
--These two things happen on two channels that can run simultaneously in your head - vision, and feeling sensations.
--Notice whether the inside foot or outside foot has more pressure beneath it. Get torso more upright to move more pressure to the outside foot. You may even need to lean your head and shoulders directly over the outside ski, so that the "nose-drip-line" (your nose drips in the cold, right?) falls onto or outside, beyond the outside ski.
--Once you notice your weight is on the outside ski with the channel of your mind that feels and senses pressure, notice whether the heel or the ball-of-foot has more pressure under it. You need pressure to be equal beneath both, definitely not more under the heel. Bend forward at the ankle to move more weight off the heel and toward the ball-of-foot if necessary.
8. Keeping torso upright means keeping it laterally upright.
A misunderstanding is possible with this directive. There's lateral uprightness, as in, not leaning sideways. Then there's fore-aft uprightness. I do not mean keep torso upright like a tree fore-aft wise. That will put you in the back seat. Your body as a whole unit, from feet to head, needs to lean forward over the skis, so your body weight does not hover over the tails of the skis. Why? Because the bindings are behind the center of the skis. The key to doing this is bending forward at the ankles.
LOVE this!!! I also learned to ski as an adult, and realizing I was leaning up hill on steeper terrain caused a MAJOR breakthrough for me. To this day, the second I begin to slip, slide and skid on the icy blacks, the first thing I do is check my lean … and it is ALWAYS the lean causing the problem! It’s counterintuitive to someone who didn’t grow up skiing — to me, when my body is in the right position, it feels like I am actively leaning down hill, which feels very scary on the steep terrain, where you want to lean AWAY from the place that could make you fall — but as soon as you position your body the right way, you feel your skis bite in a totally different way, and it gives you so much more grip, control and confidence. GOOD LUCK, ROXY!
 

tartegnin

Certified Ski Diva
This is all helpful. I’ve been concentrating so much on getting onto the new outside ski earlier in the transition that the new inside ski gets ignored. I see I should be weighting and edging the new outside at the same time I am SHORTENING and edging the the new INSIDE. And, all while ensuring sufficient flat skis between edge changes, squaring my hips, pole planting and ensuring appropriate angulation - yikes!

Reminds me of when I first learned to drive - how could anyone pay attention to rear view mirror, traffic lights, other cars, pedestrians, speed limits all at the same time?! Now I get to my destination without even thinking about it … same with skiing. I just focus now on making one or two focus areas become auto muscle memory at a time.

love all these posts!
 

lemonlime

Diva in Training
LOVE this!!! I also learned to ski as an adult, and realizing I was leaning up hill on steeper terrain caused a MAJOR breakthrough for me. To this day, the second I begin to slip, slide and skid on the icy blacks, the first thing I do is check my lean … and it is ALWAYS the lean causing the problem! It’s counterintuitive to someone who didn’t grow up skiing — to me, when my body is in the right position, it feels like I am actively leaning down hill, which feels very scary on the steep terrain, where you want to lean AWAY from the place that could make you fall — but as soon as you position your body the right way, you feel your skis bite in a totally different way, and it gives you so much more grip, control and confidence. GOOD LUCK, ROXY!
Yeah once you’ve had that feeling of doing the right thing a few times it’s almost addictive, I think that’s why I keep coming back!
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
I am of the same kind - I don’t love to ski fast I want to ski another day and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fact that I get to do this out of world sport.

I am going this weekend and doing solitude, Brighton and either Alta or PowMow. Last year when I skied in heavy snow my skiis were just getting eaten up. I rented some wider Solomon’s and they were much easier to glide through. I suspect I may have the same issue this weekend. I don’t know that I want to go up and then get stuck getting bounced around all day on my skis. I might arrive on Friday and rent a pair of powder skis at the base for the weekend.

I am also a still learning skier - I just learned in 2021 so I think I’m just not such a confident skier. So I think more pressure on my heels just has my throwing off my balance and wider skis just make it all a bit easier although with less control on turns.
Learning to ski powder is HARD, unless you do it a lot. I've been fortunate in that my last few Ski Weeks at Taos were visited by some deep powder, so I got bonus powder skiing instruction, which was invaluable. In my private ski wk 2 wks ago, we got dumped on with a total of 34"over several days, and I can say that with my instructor, Stephanie, I never skied powder so fast (and confidently) in my life!

As for skis, I've gotten to the point where I can use my Sheeva 9's (89 underfoot) in most powder, unless it's really deep (over 9-10"), or really fluffy. Then I break out my Atomic Backland 103's, although I'm starting to like them less, since they're considerably longer at 159 than my Sheeva 9's at 148, but that's off-topic.

All of this to say that if you can possibly swing it, it's well worth taking a powder day lesson or two. You'll learn all the different (proper) techniques needed to ski the powder, and will learn to love it instead of ruining your day being fearful (and perhaps getting injured).
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
Tahoe mostly. Just finished a very humbling few days at Heavenly. I’m at the point in my skiing where I think I have to either give up or go all in, and I’ve decided to go all in. So I’m really glad I’ve found this community!
Ha I'm there too and looking for a 2-3 month rental in Reno, ID, CO or UT. I need to work so we shall see what I can find. Skiing 5 days a year isn't going to help. Thanks and welcome!
 

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