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Lessons on artificial snow: Yes or no?

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hello again Divas! It was some time now since I have posted . I would love to continue finding inspiration here. A lot has been against me: first, that hip operation, then the mandatory rehabilitation , when I have finally found myself on skis again, the Covid lockdown...This year the only option available was skiing on a rolling carpet...Advantages: during the pandemics that had to reduce their charges, so I can have one on one classes, paying attention to everything I have been doing wrong (the list goes forever ) which I intend to continue until the next ski season. Disadvantages: this is not snow. Does anybody here have experience with those machines? Can they really teach you the correct technique on snow?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Good for you for perservering!

Do you know which company makes the rolling carpet? Do you have a picture? There are a few different variations around the U.S.

I did a lesson for fun at Inside Ski (near Washington DC) soon after it opened. Based on that experience, I would say it's well worth while. Especially with a series of 1-1 lessons. I'm an older advanced skier who learned the basics as a teen. Most of the lessons I have had as an adult were in the last decade. If I lived closer to Inside Ski, I would probably do a few lessons during pre-season as a warm up.

https://insideski.com

By the way, when most people see "artificial snow" they probably think of snow that comes from snow guns, not rolling carpets.
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
If we had one of these near me I'd maim to go on it, MAIM, I tells ya!

I learned to snowboard on a dry ski slope (the toothbrush-bristle hillside version). It's not like real snow but you learn the techniques on it fine.
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
Yes, it is worth it with a big caveat. I taught a couple who had never skied on real snow and as you can imagine were shocked by how much "faster" as in slippery real snow is. I think it would be fantastic for getting you back into shape and remembering the movement patterns. Maybe an hour or two with a instructor on snow as well once next winter comes along. I have taught many one time lessons post knee replacement with experienced students who just wanted someone to watch and assist. I hope it can be fun!
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Dear ladies thank you for your comments. I keep at it. Perhaps I am improving ? A little hard to tell, because I had to start from scratch and am now re learning parallel turns. In spite of my best efforts, the A-frame is still there. I wonder, does it become easier on actual snow, or is it actually easier now? I am progressing at a snail pace and wonder if it will get better this season?
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Progress is almost always slow for adult learners, @EdithP. Do not despair. Keep at it!
Your A-frame may disappear when you figure out how to start all your turns parallel.

To get those parallel turn entries, have you tried shortening/bending one leg to start a turn, doing nothing else but that? Your instructor may be directing you to lengthen/straighten one leg to start a turn, since this has been the most prominent instructional approach for years. It does start a turn nicely, but getting rid of the wedge entry is difficult when you do this, though.

Try doing the opposite: as you ski parallel along the slope, shorten one leg. You can start by pointing the skis straight down the hill if it's not steep. You'll get a turn, and it should be parallel from the start. To strengthen that turn entry, slide that ski backwards about 3". You'll feel a little resistance beneath the ski as you pull it back; that's natural. Report back, if you get a chance to try this.

The mantra people teach for this turn entry is "left, tip left, go left." Shortening/bending a leg results indirectly in that ski tipping onto its new edge. So this mantra means shorten/bend your left leg which tips that left ski onto its new edge which will make you go to the left. Same for going right. Do this thing with your right ski/leg. The mantra doesn't refer to the ski pull-back. Do that for extra credit :smile:.

Note: when initiating a turn this way, do not manually rotate the ski to point in the direction of the new turn. It's not necessary. The skis will turn on their own. Also avoid leaning sideways with your shoulders and whole body to help tip the skis up on edge; keep your torso upright, vertical. Just bend/shorten one leg and wait for things to happen. Slide that foot/ski back a little as you do this to give your initiation extra power.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I see you are on a rolling carpet. You'll find that skiing on snow adds momentum to your turns. Right now you aren't moving, the surface beneath you is moving. So you don't have momentum helping you.

I say helping. Yes, momentum helps. Remember learning to ride a bicycle? Do you remember discovering it was easier to stay upright if you went faster? That's momentum at work. It's the same on snow. Momentum will help you stay going straight while remaining upright.

But you'll want to go left and right in a snaky line. You'll be fighting that momentum at first, since it wants you to go straight. Having learned on a rolling carpet, you'll feel the momentum right away. But in your first session on snow you'll figure out how to use that momentum to your advantage since you'll already have the movement patterns; just a little adjustment will be needed. You'll be ahead of other beginners.

Skiing is a technical thing that offers pure bliss in a stunningly beautiful environment. It also offers continuing potential for advancement. Welcome to the club of passionate skiers!
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Dear Liquidfeet,
I am very obliged for your message, which came at the right moment indeed. Frankly, I am a little disheartened. Maybe not enough to give up , but I sense frustration rising. I seem to be trying to achieve the same thing day after day and nothing changes. The way I am taught is this: place all your weight on the outside foot, ski flat on the snow, press that shin into the boot. At the same time, the unweighted leg should be bent a little and tipped towards the slope, by flexing at the ankle, with opening of the knee towards the slope as well, with shin lightly pressed into the boot. I can do that well enough when standing on the right leg (turning to the left) , but almost not at all when going to the right. Then everything is wrong, I seem unable to press the shin to the boot front, and although I open the knee and flex the ankle to the bursting point it produces no effect. With every movement my A-frame only becomes wider, and my instructor keeps telling me to keep my feet closer together, which would make the whole operation easier. But I cannot figure out how I might go about it; it seems beyond my control. I had not expected to find it as difficult as that, when I was skiing on snow , I may have had wrong stance and other errors requiring correction, but I was not finding is as hard as I do now. Can it be that one of my knees somehow changed its mechanics as a result of hip operation?
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Dear Liquidfeet,
I am very obliged for your message, which came at the right moment indeed. Frankly, I am a little disheartened. Maybe not enough to give up , but I sense frustration rising. I seem to be trying to achieve the same thing day after day and nothing changes. The way I am taught is this: place all your weight on the outside foot, ski flat on the snow, press that shin into the boot. At the same time, the unweighted leg should be bent a little and tipped towards the slope, by flexing at the ankle, with opening of the knee towards the slope as well, with shin lightly pressed into the boot. I can do that well enough when standing on the right leg (turning to the left) , but almost not at all when going to the right. Then everything is wrong, I seem unable to press the shin to the boot front, and although I open the knee and flex the ankle to the bursting point it produces no effect. With every movement my A-frame only becomes wider, and my instructor keeps telling me to keep my feet closer together, which would make the whole operation easier. But I cannot figure out how I might go about it; it seems beyond my control. I had not expected to find it as difficult as that, when I was skiing on snow , I may have had wrong stance and other errors requiring correction, but I was not finding is as hard as I do now. Can it be that one of my knees somehow changed its mechanics as a result of hip operation?
Can you provide video of yourself? Maybe ask your instructor to take video of you skiing using your camera phone? Video works best if the person holding the camera stands at the side of the slope and the skier skis by. For you, that would be your instructor taking video of you from the side and from the front, with him moving from one position to the other while you make your turns.

Skiing can seem like rocket science until something starts working. Then you can take off like a rocket that works. Don't give up! Get some video and post it here. People will take a look and figure out what you need to do differently. Sometimes it takes a village....
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Dear Liquidfeet,
Yes, I should be able to do that. I asked my DH to come to my lesson and film me. Just I must ask him to extract a most informative fragment, to avoid dumping the whole thing here indiscriminately. Many thanks for wanting to have a look.
BTW my personal hunch is that all this is connected to poor stance, though I am putting a lot of effort to improve things. I would be very grateful for your opinion.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
EdithP-Ski
Please see the link. It is about 3 minutes all and contains three separate takes. The first is actually on snow, before I started taking lessons on the carpet. As you can see, a great number of issues, but my skis stayed together well enough. The next two are from my last lesson. One shows how I start at the bar with the skis parallel and how they gradualy drift apart (in spite of my best effort). The other shows what happens when I actually go "down" the slope. BTW, the speed was 20 kms/hour and inclination 10%. Meaning everything gentle.
FYI, I have probably skied about 200 hours in my life, over the space of ca 7 years. Of those 7, three were lost anyway, due to hip pain, then operation, then recovery and then Covid. Just so you know where I am coming from. BTW, I think my instructor is highly competent (the best I have ever met, actually) and we have a great relationship, just I am anxious to improve, so maybe via this village? Many thanks.
 
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newboots

Angel Diva
Thanks for posting this! I’ve never seen a rolling carpet before. I’ll leave the suggestions to the instructors, but it seems that this carpet is pretty different than snow. It will be interesting to see what @liquidfeet will say.

I see your determination in your face!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
EdithP - great balance in the second video. To go from the first one on snow to the rolling carpet....wow.

Poles and where to put them and/or your arms is always an issue for beginners. You do better without worrying about the poles.

So...suggestions and we'll see what others see. I see a lot of shoulder movement, which means upper body rotation. You are trying to start your turns with your shoulder, particularly on one side. When you had to put your hands behind your back, then you had to use your legs to turn first. What a difference. When I see that in a student I usually ask them to ski a few runs with their hands on their knees. Or if a little better skier, ski a run giving yourself a hug. Also I'm seeing a leg push on the right leg. This could be the carpet as opposed to real snow. Placing instead of pushing will translate better to snow.

@liquidfeet @snoWYmonkey

Also the only one I've seen in Toronto was sloped a bit. But maybe slope depends on skill. They were junior racers....
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I see no link. What post is it in?
Oh wait. There it is.

I'll look this afternoon or tonight. My garden is on a garden tour today and I have to get it ready, then serve as parking attendant while people do the strangest things with their cars. Drivers attempting to park at my house have to be "managed."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I’ve never seen a rolling carpet before. I’ll leave the suggestions to the instructors, but it seems that this carpet is pretty different than snow.
One big difference with a rolling carpet is that it's really tiring. InsideSki does 10-min intervals, followed by a rest period. Think about it . . . how often do you ski on an outdoor slope non-stop for 10 minutes? Meaning making a turn continuously.

During a Ski Swap, I watched a teenager who teaches at Inside Ski. He could stay on the rolling carpet for 15-20 min without even thinking about it. The speed is adjustable and he had it on FAST. Just like on snow, kids learn much faster than adults.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
--hip operation, then the mandatory rehabilitation
--a rolling carpet. Can they really teach you the correct technique on snow?
--I had to start from scratch and am now relearning parallel turns.
--In spite of my best efforts, the A-frame is still there.
--I am progressing at a snail pace and wonder if it will get better this season?
--frustration rising....trying to achieve the same thing day after day and nothing changes.
--The way I am taught is this:
----------place all your weight on the outside foot,
----------ski flat on the snow,
----------press that shin into the boot.
----------At the same time, the unweighted leg should be bent a little
----------and tipped towards the slope,
----------by flexing at the ankle,
----------with opening of the knee towards the slope as well,
----------with shin lightly pressed into the boot.
--I can do that well enough when standing on the right leg (turning to the left), but almost not at all when going to the right.
--everything is wrong, I seem unable to press the shin to the boot front, and although I open the knee and flex the ankle to the bursting point it produces no effect.
--my A-frame becomes wider... instructor keeps telling me to keep my feet closer together
--when I was skiing on snow, ...I was not finding is as hard as I do now.
--Can it be that one of my knees somehow changed its mechanics as a result of hip operation?

Edith, I'm going to respond to the things I've quoted from you above. It may take me a while. I'll get back to you tonight or tomorrow. If you see anything in the bolded parts I've quoted that you want to change or emphasize, please do that before I get back to you.

Others are responding faster, and that's good. I'll read their responses before I do mine too. Can't do that now. Gotta go.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
One big difference with a rolling carpet is that it's really tiring. InsideSki does 10-min intervals, followed by a rest period. Think about it . . . how often do you ski on an outdoor slope non-stop for 10 minutes? Meaning making a turn continuously.

During a Ski Swap, I watched a teenager who teaches at Inside Ski. He could stay on the rolling carpet for 15-20 min without even thinking about it. The speed is adjustable and he had it on FAST. Just like on snow, kids learn much faster than adults.
I learned to ski in the 70's and would practice on a local rolling ski carpet in town. I was not a fan as skiing on snow was way more fun and much easier and less tiring than a continuous carpet as @marzNC noted. The place only lasted about a year or so and then went out of business.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Angel Diva
... but it seems that this carpet is pretty different than snow.
Snow is faster and more forgiving. You can go much slower on the carpet, and thus can focus on the specific movements you’re working on, but the carpet is much less tolerant of mistakes. It is tiring. To ski parallel on the carpet, you’d have to maintain a constant downhill speed (with turn shape and edging?). Most people would have to wedge a little bit with the other leg to stop going downhill faster than the rolling speed of the carpet. Once you develop a rhythm, you can pull into 100% parallel, at least for a few turns. It is a good device for off-season training and keeping the ski muscles in shape.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I learned to ski in the 70's and would practice on a local rolling ski carpet in town. I was not a fan as skiing on snow was way more fun and much easier and less tiring than a continuous carpet as @marzNC noted. The place only lasted about a year or so and then went out of business.
As far as I can tell early versions of a rolling carpet didn't last long in general. What's been used successfully in Europe and the U.S. is mostly from a company called MaxxTracks, which is based in The Netherlands. It was founded in 1991 and there are over 200 installations worldwide as of 2021.

I remember seeing when WinterClub in Florida got started. Doesn't get national press but has been doing just fine as a business in a region where the nearest outdoor slope is a full day's drive or a 3+ hour flight.

InsideSki near DC opened up in 2017. A few Divas have been taking lessons for a few years. There are PSIA L3 instructors who teach there during the off-season.
 

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