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Lessons on artificial snow: Yes or no?

marzNC

Angel Diva
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.
Thanks! Although I put a number of exercises in the blog, that doesn't mean I'm doing them all by any means. I learned about some of them from my personal trainer and others popped up during YouTube searches. The blog was the easiest way to store and share what I found.

The exercise I do in some form the most often is this one for 1-leg balance. Learned during knee rehab that 2-3 min of balance exercise a time or two essentially every day makes a difference. Has meant that I can put on pants while standing up.

 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
All the advice you have received is amazing, as are you! Gutsy to ski the carpet even at 20kmph and 10 oer cent grade.

I fully agree with @liquidfeet about balancing on the new outside ski early. To achieve that, practicing standing at home in your boots, no skis, on one leg at a time, and gently tipping the boot from flat to inside edge and also to outside edge in very small increments, could maybe be a way to work on balancing one footed confidence. Suggest having a wall on each side to touch if necessary.

To help with hand positioning I sometimes imagine being a tightrope walker and that long balancing stick is probably, while far from the technically perfect position, a better place for the hands to live. Lower, and a little wider apart, to help with the balance.

Most of all, what amazing progress, and wishing you a ton of fun getting ready for next winter!
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
Hello, I am back and looking forward to continuing this exchange. What a lot of things to tackle!!! ! I will start from the top with Liquidfeet's first question:
To get those parallel turn entries, have you tried shortening/bending one leg to start a turn, doing nothing else but that?
Yes, that is exactly how I am taught. In fact we spent quite some time on getting me to see that I could as well use one ski only. It is enough to bend the standing leg and lean the core forward. The ski will turn without anything else being done. I am told not to lower the outside shoulder either, just stay upright from the hips up and centred over the weighted ski.

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.
I have since had two more lessons and am concentrating really hard on this aspect. I think I am seeing results: the "light" foot has become much more manageable. Not quite there yet, but I see my way forward/ THANK YOU.

---------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.)

See above. I am told to do nothing about rotating that foot. It turns on its own, so most likely I am quite automatically positioning myself over that Big Toe Edge.

----------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.)
.
Yes, I am told to maintain the shin/tongue contact at all times (I do have a problem with the right shin, which seems to retract).

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.

Same. Inside foot management is for me the hardest part of learning to do it right. When I skied on snow, I simply softened and unweighted that foot, it seemed to "come in" parallel quite automatically. Now, I am told to do different things, will explain below.

(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?)

I am asked to do three things at the same time: 1. roll the inside knee towards the slope, maintaing contact with boot tongue 2. position the inside ski very lightly on its outside edge, and 3. rotate the unweighted foot at the ankle horizontally away from the weighted foot. This should set the inside ski parallel to the outside ski which is turning, but I have trouble making it work. The unweighted foot does glide ( I have finally got ever that hurdle, so hurray!) but does not come parallel. My feet get further and further apart, and everything becomes harder to accomplish.


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.

marzNC - I love that story. I wish I could have started skiing when my kids did. It was not on the cards, only now I have both time and money . I am aware of the time that can never be regained and very much hoping I can yet put whatever remains to a good use. And following your exercise suggestion I will start with the one footed balance, the simplest and likely the one I need some action first of all.

Thank you all so much.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
Snowymonkey:
"I fully agree with @liquidfeet about balancing on the new outside ski early. To achieve that, practicing standing at home in your boots, no skis, on one leg at a time, and gently tipping the boot from flat to inside edge and also to outside edge in very small increments, could maybe be a way to work on balancing one footed confidence. Suggest having a wall on each side to touch if necessary."

Thank you for the great tip and many thanks for encouragement!!!!!!!!!!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
marzNC - I love that story. I wish I could have started skiing when my kids did. It was not on the cards, only now I have both time and money . I am aware of the time that can never be regained and very much hoping I can yet put whatever remains to a good use. And following your exercise suggestion I will start with the one footed balance, the simplest and likely the one I need some action first of all.
While I had the opportunity to learned to ski as a young teen, I didn't ski at all for 10 years after that and only started skiing every winter after age 50. I'm an older mother with a non-skiing husband. The fact that my daughter loved skiing at Day 1 at age 4 meant I had a ski buddy in the making for a few years at our local hill. Of course, she was better than I was by age 10 or 11. I didn't start taking lessons until after age 55, mostly because of a knee injury (not skiing). I had no idea how much I could learn from very experienced instructors in private or semi-private lessons. Combined with "mileage" at both my home hill and destination resorts in the Rockies, I'm enjoying terrain that I used to think would never be possible for me.

The real changes didn't start until I was getting into 15+ days at my local hill and 20+ days at big mountains with a primary ski buddy (a classmate who is also a senior) who was a much better skier and willing to be a "sweeper" when we skied terrain that was more challenging for me. Ironically after I got him to take semi-private lessons with me, he became a much smoother skier and could ski longer days because he was using better technique and less muscle.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Snowymonkey:
"I fully agree with @liquidfeet about balancing on the new outside ski early. To achieve that, practicing standing at home in your boots, no skis, on one leg at a time, and gently tipping the boot from flat to inside edge and also to outside edge in very small increments, could maybe be a way to work on balancing one footed confidence. Suggest having a wall on each side to touch if necessary."

Thank you for the great tip and many thanks for encouragement!!!!!!!!!!
Although a few instructors don't like the idea, I found the SkiA Sweetspot useful as a way to gain confidence and improve balance directly related to skiing. In particular when I was still working on knee rehab. It was designed in the UK about ten years ago and is also endorsed in N. America.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
am asked to do three things at the same time: 1. roll the inside knee towards the slope, maintaing contact with boot tongue 2. position the inside ski very lightly on its outside edge, and 3. rotate the unweighted foot at the ankle horizontally away from the weighted foot. This should set the inside ski parallel to the outside ski which is turning, but I have trouble making it work. The unweighted foot does glide ( I have finally got ever that hurdle, so hurray!) but does not come parallel. My feet get further and further apart, and everything becomes harder to accomplish.

I'm having some difficulty understanding #3. Or are you trying to tilt the foot? I think it's terminology. At basic parallel, I talk about tilting the foot to get the ski to edge. Rotating the ankle towards the slope seems not something I would be able to do.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@EdithP, congrats on your good work and advancing skills. I'm so glad your discouragement is lifting. What you are doing is clearly working. But then there's that persistent problem of the new inside ski not doing what you tell it to do. Maybe we can figure that one out here. Your comments in black. Mine in red.

I think I am seeing results: the "light" foot has become much more manageable. Not quite there yet, but I see my way forward
For the sake of this conversation, let's label that rogue ski and foot and leg the NEW inside ski/foot/leg. That means when you are going across the hill at the end of the OLD turn, the NEW inside ski/foot/leg will be the downhill one. As the turn progresses, it will become the uphill ski/foot/leg.
***Here's the important thing: what you do with that ski/foot/leg when it's the downhill ski/foot/leg is what counts. Doing the stuff your instructor tells you to do while you are still going across the hill in the old turn's direction is the key to getting your skis parallel. That ski will become manageable if you do the three things your instructor is having you learn with the NEW inside ski/foot/leg (downhill ski/foot/leg) while the old turn is still happening and you are still heading in the old direction. This is why I emphasized doing things early, earlier, EARLY in my previous long post.


I am told to do nothing about rotating that foot. It turns on its own, so most likely I am quite automatically positioning myself over that Big Toe Edge.
I assume you mean you are not supposed to rotate either ski or foot. That's great. They will both turn on their own because of the inbuilt-self-turning function of the skis.

Inside foot management is for me the hardest part of learning to do it right. When I skied on snow, I simply softened and unweighted that foot, it seemed to "come in" parallel quite automatically. Now, I am told to do different things....
Softening and unweighting that NEW inside foot -- when the old turn is still happening and you're still heading across the hill -- when that NEW inside foot is the downhill foot -- is a simpler way of instructing you to start a new turn. It leaves out some things, however, which your instructor is adding in with the three things below.

--do three things at the same time:
--1. roll the inside knee towards the slope, maintaining contact with boot tongue
This means when you're heading across the hill at the end of the OLD turn, roll the downhill knee (NEW inside knee) downhill. This will mean you go a little bowlegged as you move that downhill knee away from the uphill knee. To do this you have to flex that downhill leg, aka NEW inside leg. Flexing that leg (bending it) is what "softening" means. Keeping the shin-tongue contact is a very important part of this knee roll, and needs to be said so the skier doesn't move the NEW inside foot (the downhill one) away from the other foot as the knee-rolling happens. Just think "Go Bowlegged with the downhill knee."
--2. position the inside ski very lightly on its outside edge, and
The rolling of the NEW inside (downhill) knee, when you keep that foot in place instead of letting it move out and away with the knee, will automatically tip the NEW inside ski (downhill) to its Little Toe Edge (outside edge). The "very lightly" part comes from rolling the knee, as long as you don't lean your upper body to edge the ski. You will be edging it to the LTE with the knee action. When you were on the hill, you did this edging by leaning the whole body. You are doing it the better way now on the carpet.
--3. rotate the unweighted foot at the ankle horizontally away from the weighted foot.
Now this one stumps me. I think it must mean tip the foot inside the boot by bending the foot sideways at its ankle. This movement will feel familiar if you've ever sprained your ankle. The boot, if it fits you, will protect you from that. Another way of saying this is "Lift the arch" of the NEW inside foot (downhill foot) when you are heading across the hill and the old turn is done.
--The unweighted foot does glide ( I have finally got ever that hurdle, so hurray!) but does not come parallel. My feet get further and further apart, and everything becomes harder to accomplish.
I have two guesses as to why this happens.
1. As you head across the hill, you are not tipping the downhill foot inside the boot to put that ski onto its downhill edge, or LTE. Another way of saying this: you are not focusing on lifting the arch of the downhill foot as you roll that downhill knee outward, so that that NEW inside foot/downhill foot will stay in place. You allow that foot to remain unmonitored by mission control.
2. You do not keep that shin-tongue contact as you roll the knee and tip the foot. The shin-tongue thing remains unmonitored. When the shin-tongue contact is lost, the foot moves forward too much and starts behaving naughty.


***This is normal for learning complicated new motor patterns. No one can do three new movements at the same time if they all require monitoring to get them to happen. We can only pay conscious attention to one thing at a time. The solution is to rotate your conscious monitoring from knee-roll on turn #1, to shin-tongue on turn #2, to raising the arch on turn #3. Then repeat. Eventually you'll get them bundled into one movement. Do all this EARLY as the skis are taking you across the hill.

***Why is it so hard to do this on the carpet? Two reasons I think.
1. The arch-raising is new and the knee-roll is new. They replace leaning your entire body as a unit it edge the skis, like the Teaning tower of Pisa. You did have shin-tongue before on the snow.
2. You have to do this in a much narrower space on the carpet, so you can't delay or pause while heading a long way across the hill between turns. On the snow you did this. So you have to act earlier on the carpet. But something is getting delayed and the NEW inside foot (the downhill one) is moving outward before you get those delayed things going. You might sing an energetic song in your head to maintain your rhythm as you rotate through knee-roll, shin-tongue, and arch-lift.


It's so nice to have someone talking about technique in June. Keep it up! It feeds our energy.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@EdithP, there's another mantra that ski instructors use to teach this complex movement pattern used for initiating turns. And initiating turns is the most important thing you'll learn. There are many initiations, the good, the bad, and the ugly. All of the following are good in the right context.

They all employ a well-known generic mantra used by ski instructors all over:
Left foot/ski/leg: move it in the left direction in some way, to go left.

This list below may not be complete. Most always true: paying attention to and acting on the NEW inside ski/foot/leg (downhill ski) rather than the NEW outside ski (uphill ski) at initiation, when the skis are going across the hill between turns, is essential for staying parallel.

Left leg: flex it, to go left.
Left ski: lighten it, lift its tail, or lift the whole ski entirely, to go left.
Left ski: tip it left (to LTE, raise the arch), to go left.
Left knee: roll it left, to go left.

And if you are rotating a ski, it's
Left ski: rotate it left, to go left.
And if you get to pulling a ski back, it's
Left ski: pull it back, to go left.

Guess what. You can teach yourself to do them all at the same time. Mix-n-match.

All this has to do with doing something with the NEW inside ski/foot/leg in order to initiate turns. For left turns, the NEW inside ski/foot/leg is always the left one. For right turns it's the right ski/foot/leg.

Do any or all of these when you are at the very end of the old turn, heading across the hill. Don't delay.

I don't think any of this conflicts with what your instructor is teaching. Some of it may be extra that he doesn't want you to do, though.
 
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EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
--3. rotate the unweighted foot at the ankle horizontally away from the weighted foot.
Now this one stumps me.
Imagine standing on a flat surface, with both your feet pointing forward., as 12 on a clock. Now, as you stand, unweigh and rotate one foot , so that the pair are no longer parallel, but one foot starts to point at an angle to the standing foot - 10 past 12..
(of course, in actual fact, you will not get this angled poition, because the weighted foot will also be turning. This is just to explain the horizontal rotation.)
Does this explain things better? The words such as "tilting" or "rotating" are extremely confusing, I know, because they may be taking place in many different planes.
Thank you for keeping this up - it is really good to have someone to talk to. My next lesson is on Thursday morning and maybe I will try to put some of those suggestions to use.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Imagine standing on a flat surface, with both your feet pointing forward., as 12 on a clock. Now, as you stand, unweigh and rotate one foot , so that the pair are no longer parallel, but one foot starts to point at an angle to the standing foot - 10 past 12..
(of course, in actual fact, you will not get this angled poition, because the weighted foot will also be turning. This is just to explain the horizontal rotation.)
Does this explain things better? The words such as "tilting" or "rotating" are extremely confusing, I know, because they may be taking place in many different planes.
Thank you for keeping this up - it is really good to have someone to talk to. My next lesson is on Thursday morning and maybe I will try to put some of those suggestions to use.
Ah! So your instructor may be having you rotate your NEW inside foot and its ski after all. Or he may be asking you to tip that ski by tipping that foot. Ask him to clarify. It's an odd wording he's chosen to use. Here's a video about tipping both feet, not rotating them.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The curious thing is, if we tip/rotate/pull-back/knee-roll the NEW inside ski/foot/leg, the NEW outside one usually does the same without us paying attention to it, so things happen with both sides at the same time and they happen parallel.

But if we pay attention to the NEW outside ski/foot/leg and let the NEW inside take care of itself, it gets delayed and we have a wedge turn entry with unequal edging.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
The curious thing is, if we tip/rotate/pull-back/knee-roll the NEW inside ski/foot/leg, the NEW outside one usually does the same without us paying attention to it, so things happen with both sides at the same time and they happen parallel.

But if we pay attention to the NEW outside ski/foot/leg and let the NEW inside take care of itself, it gets delayed and we have a wedge turn entry with unequal edging.
Bingo! I have his feeling that this is exactly what is happening to my feet.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
As to tipping vs rotation, neither my coach nor I are native English speakers. I live in Poland. I have a fair knowledge of English, but with this technical stuff I may be translating inaccurately. But this video is not what I am taught.
I am to do 3 things with that unweighted leg: I should: 1. roll the knee, 2. pressure the outside edge of the ski ever so slightly (if that is tipping?) AND rotate at the ankle. All three at the same time. BTW, we never talk about what is supposed to happen inside my boot, so chances are I am not getting something right.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
. As you head across the hill, you are not tipping the downhill foot inside the boot to put that ski onto its downhill edge, or LTE. Another way of saying this: you are not focusing on lifting the arch of the downhill foot as you roll that downhill knee outward, so that that NEW inside foot/downhill foot will stay in place. You allow that foot to remain unmonitored by mission control.
2. You do not keep that shin-tongue contact as you roll the knee and tip the foot. The shin-tongue thing remains unmonitored. When the shin-tongue contact is lost, the foot moves forward too much and starts behaving naughty.

Those are excellent points and I will try to put them to practise. Very likely you are right on both scores, though they may be happening intermittently. The shin-tongue thing on the right leg often does not quite happen, I experience it as if my right leg was "too short " to meet the boot. It is not, it is only the feeling I have when the ski "rushes forward" under my knee, producing a gap between my shin and the tongue, while the boot back touches the back of my calf.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
The solution is to rotate your conscious monitoring from knee-roll on turn #1, to shin-tongue on turn #2, to raising the arch on turn #3. Then repeat. Eventually you'll get them bundled into one movement. Do all this EARLY as the skis are taking you across the hill.
This is very valuable. Thank you!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
BTW, we never talk about what is supposed to happen inside my boot, so chances are I am not getting something right.
That brings up a question that hasn't been asked yet . . . how did you buy your boots?

During one lesson of a multi-week group program the instruction started out by asking: what are your feet doing? Fair to say that most of the students hadn't ever thought about their feet before. The group was all adults, with several over 50. Most were advanced intermediates and a few had been skiing for decades on small hills. The resort is a couple hours drive west of Washington DC, which is not exactly ski country in the USA.

As to tipping vs rotation, neither my coach nor I are native English speakers. I live in Poland. I have a fair knowledge of English, but with this technical stuff I may be translating inaccurately.
Your English is great! The technical jargon for ski technique isn't easy for native speakers either.

Where in Poland? I visited with my parents one summer during college back in the 1970s. We spent time in Warsaw and Kraków. My father was a professor and had connections to a professor in Warsaw. They hadn't met before but had corresponded. The Polish professor drove us to Kraków and Łódź and was a great host. Brought along his daughter who was my age for the visit to Kraków.
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
"...how did you buy your boots?"
The Quote function is balking on me for some reason, so I will just be using a regular quotation notation.
My boots at present come with the lessons, they are new, good quality Atomics with medium flex. Were chosen by my coach. I am the only user though, and I have discussed the possibility of my buying them from the ski centre at discount at the beginning of the next snow season. BTW, I notice that in the US ski publications a lot is made of boot fitting to individual needs. Rightly or wrongly, am unable to judge, in Europe this preoccupation on is practically absent, save maybe semiprofessionals and up. So no, I have never given my boots a thought, they seem snug but comfortable.
I would be very interested in learning what my feet should, or could be doing inside my boots!

MarzNC, yes, I remember that you visited Poland in the 1970s. When I first introduced myself to this wonderful group in 2019, this is what I learned. BTW, if you do not mind sharing, what was your father's field? My husband started in life as a physics researcher, so if that was your father's sphere, (maybe?) there could be some names that ring.
Lodz is the city I went to uni actually. Now I have been living in Warsaw for the last twenty years. And whereabouts in the US do you live?
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
Ah! So your instructor may be having you rotate your NEW inside foot and its ski after all. Or he may be asking you to tip that ski by tipping that foot. Ask him to clarify. It's an odd wording he's chosen to use. Here's a video about tipping both feet, not rotating them.
Thinking hard on what the instructions are, I have come up with this:
I am to do things asymmetrically. The weighted leg, should just be bent slightly and pressed into the boot. . No conscious rotation, no hover over the outside edge either. Just applying balance on the weighted leg and the whole body lean forward. That should turn the ski.
To match that turn, the unweighted leg should: roll the knee out and tip slightly towards its uphill edge. That should in theory be enough - I understand - to effect a parallel turn. That third component, rotation of the unweighted foot , is in fact optional, if I cannot quite manage with just the first two.
I think now I have described the procedure as accurately as I know how. Wish I could do it, though!
 

EdithP

Certified Ski Diva
Something has gone wrong with the quote function on my computer , and now I am having my own input included in the quote in the mesage above. . Could you maybe tell me how to correct this?
 

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