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Lessons on artificial snow: Yes or no?

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
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!
Oh boy, I know. I have the look of a female Nazi guard at a concentration camp. But the word "concentration" actually explains it :smile:
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
. 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.

Yes, it is that machinery that I am learning on.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Dear ladies, I must say I am quite moved. Thank you for visiting this thread and commenting! As probably majority of late starters I am very defensive about my efforts and fight a constant battle with a creeping thought that it may all be too late and I am just being delusional.
Yes to everybody who pointed the areas for improvement. Actually many of those things are already in the works, and I trust my coach that he will eventually massage them out of my system completely.
I must say, this experience makes me ask myself this question repeatedly: what have I been taught over the years by various instructors I tried to work with?I developed so many bad habits and no one even commented. That is also a reason I decided to start working on the carpet and get some real and longer term coaching. I hope this will be a good investment.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Also the only one I've seen in Toronto was sloped a bit. But maybe slope depends on skill. They were junior racers....[/QUOTE]

Well, it is in fact more sloped that it looks in the video. Inclination about 10%. The video image always seems to flatten the picture.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
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.

Yes, skiing on snow is way more fun. As to its being easier - I certainly hope so!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@EdithP, here's what I see, as it relates to what you've posted. Your comments in red, mine in black.


Before the operation on snow vs after the operation on the carpet
--hip operation, then the mandatory rehabilitation
--I had to start from scratch and am now relearning parallel turns.
--In spite of my best efforts, the A-frame is still there.
--when I was skiing on snow, ...I was not finding it as hard as I do now.


Your skiing on the carpet shows important improvements, despite the wedge (A-frame) you are using. It's time to celebrate.

LEANING IN on snow
On the snow, you extend (lengthen, straighten) your new outside leg to start a turn. As you do this, the skis begin to turn to point downhill. At the same time you lean your whole body towards the inside of the new turn. This whole body lean does two things, one good and one bad. It edges both skis, so their built-in turning function starts to work; they bend and turn you. It also positions your upper body, where most of your body weight is, over the new inside ski. That weight needs to be over the new outside ski. When the inside ski has too much weight on it, there will not be enough weight on the outside ski and it will slip downhill as you turn. You'll lose your grip.

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UPRIGHT TORSO on the carpet:
On the carpet, you do not let your body "lean in" to edge the skis. In the lext-to-last video, you even lean your body out over the outside ski. This is great! Once you figure out how to easily get your weight, all of it, on that outside ski, you'll be able to loosen that inside ski and bring it over to match the outside ski and the wedge and A-frame will be gone. Leaning out over that ski is the beginning. Flexing your ankles to press your shin into the tongue of the boot is a big part of that as well. Look forward to your instructor asking you to lighten that inside ski at some point in your future so you can slide it over to match the outside ski. When you can transfer your weight to the new outside ski before the turn starts, you'll be able to keep both skis parallel. And you will no longer be leaning in, causing your outside ski to lose grip. So yes, the A-frame is still there, but you are learning how to put your weight on the outside ski so you can get it gone. Be patient. You're on your way to parallel. Don't rush it.

Screen Shot 2021-05-30 at 2.34.16 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-05-30 at 2.35.27 PM.png


UPPER BODY ROTATION
On the snow, your turn your whole body to face the way the skis are pointing with each turn. You are using a bit of "upper body rotation" to encourage the skis to rotate across the snow. It works, but it's something beginners need to purge from their skiing. On the carpet, you face forward. You are getting your skis to turn without rotating your body along with them. This is an excellent advancement in your skiing. Pat self on back! And give that instructor a big tip every time you have a lesson. He deserves it.

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It's harder now, on the carpet, for all the reasons people have said about carpets. But it's also harder because you are leaning some very important movement patterns that are unfamiliar to you. You are working very hard, paying intense attention to doing new things with your feet and legs, so that you make your turns happen by doing stuff with feet and legs, not with upper body leaning and rotating. This is extremely important to learn, and it take intense concentration to do. This is obvious in your rigid stance; you are concentrating hard on doing those things your instructor is telling you to do, and you're doing them! Expect to get exhausted. Good skiers ski from the feet up. You are learning to do just that. Bravo!
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Previous injury
--hip operation, then the mandatory rehabilitation
--Can it be that one of my knees somehow changed its mechanics as a result of hip operation?
--when I was skiing on snow, ...I was not finding it as hard as I do now.
--my A-frame becomes wider... instructor keeps telling me to keep my feet closer together

Asymmetry/ Weak Side
--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.

You may be favoring your hip. Or not. But asymmetry is a part of skiing. Everyone has a weaker side, the side where the muscles just won't obey your orders. If you ski 100 days a season, and ski that frequently for another 25 years, and get professional coaching, you'll still have a weaker, rogue side. I've talked with such people and this is what they tell me. Work on that side, work on getting it to match the stronger side, and keep at it. You can minimize the asymmetry over time.

I see the right ski getting stuck in your left turns. You need to transfer weight to the new outside ski, your left ski, earlier in the turn. Then when the right ski is light, bring that foot over closer to the outside foot. If you wait, it will get stuck. That's what's happening.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Rolling Carpet
--a rolling carpet. Can they really teach you the correct technique on snow?
--when I was skiing on snow, ...I was not finding it as hard as I do now.


See previous post about the changes for the better in your skiing since you've been on that carpet. Yes, yes yes, you can learn on it. It's harder now because you are getting very good instruction and you're working intensely on new motor patterns. That's hard work, both mentally and physically.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
A-Frame vs Parallel
--In spite of my best efforts, the A-frame is still there.
--my A-frame becomes wider... instructor keeps telling me to keep my feet closer together


Get your weight on your new outside ski earlier, before the skis start to turn, and you'll be able to bring that inside foot over to match. Try all kinds of things to get your upper body to hover over the new outside ski earlier, just as you start to think of beginning the new turn. Earlier, earlier, earlier. You'll get there.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Frustration
--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.
--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.


Nope. You are progressing. And not at a snail's pace either.. Things are changing. Everything is not wrong. This is skiing. We all deal with frustration when our bodies refuse to obey orders. Your goal is to get the muscles connected to the brain, but right now the neural net is neo-natal. Your hard work is building fat connections in your brain. It's good that you are frustrated. If you weren't, you wouldn't be recognizing what still needs work. Without that recognition, no improvement is possible. C'mon. Embrace the frustration. It's working in your favor.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Initiation mechanics
All instructors use language that they have found to work with their students. But all instructors don't use the same language. So disconcerting.

Below I'm translating the terms you use into the ones I use when I teach. Your instructor sounds like he's teaching you to do things very similar to what I teach. There are some questions embedded in these translations because I want to make sure I am understanding correctly. Your comments in red, mine in black.

--The way I am taught is this:
----------place all your weight on the outside foot, weight the new outside ski

(Are you told to place your weight on that new outside foot/ski by extending the leg above it, or by leaning out over it, or by doing something else? Instruction varies wildly on this point.)
----------ski flat on the snow, extend new outside leg to flatten that new outside ski
(Once the new outside ski is flat, are you asked to rotate it to point downhill or not? If it's edged to its Big Toe Edge, aka BTE, it will turn on its own, but you may want it to turn faster for shorter turns. That will require some manual rotation.)
----------press that shin into the boot.
(The mantra I teach is to say to self, "Tongue-Shin." On the carpet you are maintaining constant tongue-shin contact.)
----------At the same time, the unweighted leg should be bent a little
(Are you being asked to flex/bend/shorten the new inside leg at the same time as lengthening the new outside leg? I try to get my students to flex the new inside leg first; this makes skiing parallel easier because it helps avoid getting that inside ski stuck way out there in a wedge. But most instructors don't teach this; the inside ski is handled mostly as an afterthought. For some instructors like me it's the major ski to pay attention to. Instructor wars have been fought over this difference.)
----------and tipped towards the slope
(I call this tipping the new inside ski to its little toe edge, aka LTE. This can be done by ankle-tipping the foot inside the boot, or by rolling the knee to the inside of the new turn, or by doing both together. Does any of this sound familiar?)
----------by flexing at the ankle,
(I teach this as ankle-flexing, or bending forward at the ankle, or closing the ankle, to get and maintain tongue-shin contact. The reason is to keep you out of the back seat, to make it possible to hover your upper body over the front of the ski so it will press into the snow and start and control your turns. The ski does need to be edged for the front of the ski to do this work. Flexing the ankle alone won't edge it; tipping the foot at the ankle or rolling the knee will edge the ski.)
----------with opening of the knee towards the slope as well,
(I think this means roll the new inside knee towards the inside of the new turn, which tips that ski to its LTE. Is this what your instructor means? When you are successful at doing this, the new inside ski will turn at the same time as the new outside ski, and thus remain parallel to it. It will not have any chance of getting stuck way out there in a wedge/A-frame as your right ski does in your right turns.)
----------with shin lightly pressed into the boot. (I teach maintaining constant tongue-shin contact. Does your instructor teach this? Some do and some don't. Some have people opening and closing the ankles, either together or in sequence; others teach continuous contact. This difference is another source of instructor wars :smile:)
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Rigidity
I see you skiing with a rigid body, both on snow and on the carpet. Your instructor has you moving your arms and hands in the last short video. Moving those hands and arms will help you big-time. Your body will need to keep itself balanced and keep turning while you're doing stuff with your arms, but your conscious mind will be focused on the hands and arms. That split in attention will help you to embed the new foot and leg movement patterns you are learning into deep muscle memory. In other words, those foot and leg movements will start becoming intuitive when your conscious attention is on rubbing your tummy and patting your head. Or clapping hands, or putting both on your head, or placing them behind your back, or reaching up and then reaching down. Anything like that can work.

Once your feet and legs do their thing without you having to concentrate on what they are doing, you can relax, the rigidity will fall away, and you won't get so tired out.
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Previous injury....
I see the right ski getting stuck in your left turns. You need to transfer weight to the new outside ski, your left ski, earlier in the turn. Then when the right ski is light, bring that foot over closer to the outside foot. If you wait, it will get stuck. That's what's happening.

Whoops. I meant I see the right ski getting stuck on your RIGHT turns.
Another way to keep that ski from getting stuck is to tip the right ski to its LTE earlier, either by tipping the foot at the ankle, or rolling the knee inside the turn, or by doing both. The earlier the better.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Now we see why @liquidfeet needed to wait until she had time to answer! I expect you’ll be studying those posts for awhile.

@EdithP - I don’t know how old you are, but it’s not too old! @liquidfeet herself started late (50s, I think) and I started at 62. I am not going to win races and maybe never ski double black diamond trails, but this year (my fifth) I wasn’t able to ski much but my technique approved dramatically! And I have witnesses!

It is frustrating. I’ve never been an athlete, and I’ve had a bunch of minor orthopedic issues that have frustrated me even more. But don’t be discouraged. You can do it!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Rigidity
I see you skiing with a rigid body, both on snow and on the carpet. Your instructor has you moving your arms and hands in the last short video. Moving those hands and arms will help you big-time.
I'm not an instructor, but have been taking lessons pretty regularly in the last decade. I've become an advanced skier only in the last 5-6 years, after age 55.

@EdithP : I noticed how stiffly you are holding your arms. It looks like you think they should be in a "perfect" position at all times. What I've been learning is that arms should be moving at all times, as well as feet, legs, and essentially everything else. Nothing should be static . . . ever. Of course, much easier said than done.

A take-away for me from a semi-private lesson with a few friends this season was that being aware of where my elbows were was actually more useful than only thinking about my hands. We were all advanced skiers. But we spent a fair amount of time on greens/blues working on fundamental skill. When fundamentals are fully ingrained, it's much more likely that a skier won't revert to a defensive bad habit on more challenging terrain. Doesn't matter if "challenging" means a groomed slope with a very little pitch or an ungroomed steep slope.

I have a good friend who started skiing when her kids did. Since her son loved skiing and started ski school when he was 6, he learned very quickly. She took lessons too. Progress has been slow but steady. Regardless of snow conditions, my friend loves to enjoy the slopes at her own pace. This winter was her 8th, but she probably only skied 3-4 days the first few years and 10-15 days after that. In addition to lessons, getting over a hump takes "mileage", meaning more time on snow. This season she was able to ski more for assorted reasons, over 20 days during three ski vacations. That made a big difference.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Now, this is beyond kind. My head is reeling, TBH. I will need a quieter moment to ingest everything and respond properly. Now, just - THANK YOU. You have really given me a boost. I badly needed a good reason to keep going and among you you have given me one.
Liquidfeet, Yes, I too find that communication often is itself a problem. I will look into everything you have written with such clarity and precision and respond, but it seems to me that what you are saying is exactly the way my coach wants me to do things.
And FYI, I will be 65 this October. Although I am not feeling it , as I strive hard to stay in good physical form. (Which is why occasionally I ask myself if I am forgetting the real state of affairs).
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
And FYI, I will be 65 this October. Although I am not feeling it , as I strive hard to stay in good physical form. (Which is why occasionally I ask myself if I am forgetting the real state of affairs).
You certainly look to be in great shape!

I turn 65 this month. My parents both lived into their 90s and stayed in good shape physically for a long time even though they weren't sporty. Wanting to improve my skiing was the major reason that I started exercising regularly at least during the 3-4 months before my ski season started. I looked around for exercises more directly related to "ski conditioning." After a year or two, it became obvious that increasing core strength and 1-leg balance was really useful in day-to-day life as well.

I collected ideas about ski conditioning for older skiers in a blog that you might find interesting. I started with basic exercises and didn't add stuff for people in really good shape until a few years later. When keeping a good stance (feet width, fore-aft balance) and making parallel or carved turns is more natural, leg strength becomes less important. Core strength, 1-leg balance, hip flexibility are what I pay more attention to in terms of exercises versus just staying active in general. Also hamstring strength to support knees.

https://over50skifitness.blogspot.com
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Liquidfeet, MarzNC
I hoped I would be able to respond properly before going away for a family reunion/long weekend which will last till Sunday, but in the end there so much last minute stuff to do that I only could sit down to it now, and it is near midnight. So for now just very briefly.
I had another ski lesson this morning and tried to bear in mind what you guys were telling me and I think something clicked. When I watched the video afterwards I saw that here and there I would have whole sequences of proper parallel turns. Then they would get lost again, but hey, it was a cheering sight. Thank you again for your comments.
MarzNC, so we are the same age. A very cheering information. I certainly hope to keep going as long as I can and my Mom gives a great example. At eighty seven she starts each day with a session of hula hooping followed by fifty roll outs.
I will get a closer look at your fitness blog when I am back . I am sure it is a very good idea to do ski specific exercises.. At the moment I have an aerobic routine I do every day, but am feeling like something is missing. Fitness centres are still closed down, so I am only doing what can be done at home
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Now we see why @liquidfeet needed to wait until she had time to answer! I expect you’ll be studying those posts for awhile.

I always love seeing @liquidfeet 's skiing analysis posts. She's helped me so much. I'll have to provide some more videos in my own upcoming ski season to keep her busy ;)

@EdithP I have 80 ski days over the past two years and no one is harder on me than I am. I have been plagued by misery over my perceived complete lack of progress. I still ski slower and more nervously than most people. But when I compare all my videos of my own skiing, I HAVE improved, a lot. You have too! :smile: skiing is really hard, and there's just a ton of little details that make a big difference, and it's hard to see or feel improvement, and there's always better skiers to compare ourselves too. But the improvement is still there :smile: glad to see you're so determined!! Keep it up :smile:
 

DebbieSue

Certified Ski Diva
You certainly look to be in great shape!

I turn 65 this month. My parents both lived into their 90s and stayed in good shape physically for a long time even though they weren't sporty. Wanting to improve my skiing was the major reason that I started exercising regularly at least during the 3-4 months before my ski season started. I looked around for exercises more directly related to "ski conditioning." After a year or two, it became obvious that increasing core strength and 1-leg balance was really useful in day-to-day life as well.

I collected ideas about ski conditioning for older skiers in a blog that you might find interesting. I started with basic exercises and didn't add stuff for people in really good shape until a few years later. When keeping a good stance (feet width, fore-aft balance) and making parallel or carved turns is more natural, leg strength becomes less important. Core strength, 1-leg balance, hip flexibility are what I pay more attention to in terms of exercises versus just staying active in general. Also hamstring strength to support knees.

https://over50skifitness.blogspot.com
Just went to the blog above. It is very impressive what you do to be fit for skiing. And it is certainly part of what has allowed you to continue to improve as you age. I'm working on core and hip flexibility as my main priorities to prepare for skiing, so I'm glad to hear that's what you recommended. My "hip hinge" has a lot of of room for improvement. I look forward to learning from you divas in season and off season.
 

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