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Lessons on artificial snow: Yes or no?

newboots

Angel Diva
Humbling! Yep! But it’s good I saw video from my second year. Now my video still does not resemble Mikaela’s, but I can sure see the progress.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Once I know how something SHOULD look, then watching myself doing it (or more likely, not doing it!) helps immensely.
Decidedly. This is indeed one great tool that works well for me. It is an advantage of lessons on the carpet: I have a recording of every lesson and then go through each afterwards. And yes, it does show where and what can be improved, sometimes easily. I have seen exactly and clearly how I do not keep the right stance and drop my hips, and that picture is actually in front of my eyes, helping quite a bit.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Skiing is unexpectedly non-intuitive. Not much transfers from other athletic endeavors, either. Plus, we can't see what we are doing as we do it (no mirrors on the sides of the trails), and our sensations lie to us about what we are actually doing. I think this is what makes getting better such a challenge.

But then we love a good challenge, right?
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/va89pymfluz6t24/AABlFtbCj2LBBZR4voRKjLYOa?dl=0
I wonder if I could ask you again to have a look and tell me if things are moving on? I still cannot properly transfer weight between the skis and the usual exercises like lifting one ski heel during a turn do not seem to give me the idea of what exactly should be happening.
I have added another short video (2 minutes or so) from my last lesson. I will now have 2 weeks' break and would like to use that time for mental exercises. Would be very much obliged for tips. Thank you all.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
What I'm noticing. I still see a "pressing" of the leg". Also on the RH turns, they are not complete. If you were on snow, you would pick up speed. Bring that turn all the way around. I also see some shoulder movement that goes with the leg press. Like the shoulder is following.

Suggestion - When you start to move to the new turn, I see a little "up" with the upper body. Use that with a breath in. Then move to the turn. It will center you and relax your stance.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/va89pymfluz6t24/AABlFtbCj2LBBZR4voRKjLYOa?dl=0
I wonder if I could ask you again to have a look and tell me if things are moving on? I still cannot properly transfer weight between the skis and the usual exercises like lifting one ski heel during a turn do not seem to give me the idea of what exactly should be happening.
I have added another short video (2 minutes or so) from my last lesson. I will now have 2 weeks' break and would like to use that time for mental exercises. Would be very much obliged for tips. Thank you all.
@EdithP, you look a bit more secure in your turns on the carpet now. What are the things that feel better for you? What do you know you've gotten better at since you've been on the carpet? I'd like to hear about your successes.

You are working on getting all your weight to move from one foot to another, right? (Good.)
It looks like you know which foot needs the weight on it. But it does look like you are still standing on both feet.

A good thing to do is stand on one foot only. Lifting the tail of the other ski will do that for you. You can't stand on the tip of a ski when its tail is lifted. That's what that exercise is all about. Lifting the tail (heel) of a ski is how people learn to transfer weight to the other foot.

So keep working on that.

When you succeed in lifting the tail of that ski, and when you can do it one ski then the other, you will have made a big advancement. At that point, focus on lifting alternating tails over and over until it's easy.

Then lift the tail earlier. Or sooner. When you can do that, you will have made another big advancement in skill.

Then when you can lift the alternating tails earlier and earlier, try rotating the lifted tail over to beside the tail of the weighted ski. Put it down, lift the other tail, rotate it in the air and put it down next to the tail of the ski you are standing on. Work on that as much as you can. Over and over. This skill will lead to skiing parallel.

If the tip won't stay on the snow when you try to lift the tail, pull that foot back a little. That makes lifting only the tail easier.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One thing you could do at home when you have the two week break is put your boots on and click into your skis. Do this on a rug. Then lift one ski's tail, then lift the other ski's tail. Do this in front of a mirror. Get familiar with this move because it's so important.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I ran out of time to edit that last post.
Once you are lifting the tails one at a time, then rotate the tail of the lifted ski over to make the two skis parallel. You'll notice this works best if the tips are pretty close together. Maybe closer than you are currently keeping them.

While you're doing this in front of a mirror, imagine that your skis are taking you left and right. Close your eyes and imagine you are on the carpet as you do it. Close your eyes and imagine you are on snow as you do it.

Maybe this will help you visualize this movement, along with its sensations. What do you think?
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thank you guys for looking at my video. I am feeling stuck and every bit of outside opinion helps.
First,
I still see a "pressing" of the leg". Also on the RH turns, they are not complete
Not sure I know what you mean? I am told to press the standing leg into the boot as much as I can, maybe I am getting something wrong? As to RH turns, yes, I agree, still working on getting that right turn to work, but at the beginning I just could not do it at all, so maybe these incomplete turns at least are an improvement?
But it does look like you are still standing on both feet.
Yes, this is the newer approach, to make me transfer weight to one leg only starting with standing on two. I am to start a turn with actually going straight down on both legs, and then put the weight on one log only. I guess it is not working too well at the moment.
A good thing to do is stand on one foot only. Lifting the tail of the other ski will do that for you. You can't stand on the tip of a ski when its tail is lifted. That's what that exercise is all about. Lifting the tail (heel) of a ski is how people learn to transfer weight to the other foot.
And this has turned out an impasse I seem unable to overcome. When I lift the inside ski (or just its tip) my outside ski rushes forward (ie across the carpet ) in a sudden jolt and before I can transfer the weight again, I am out of space on the carpet. It feels like I am not doing something important at the right moment, but I cannot figure out what. I am searching for what should I add to this sequence to land safely on another foot, but really have no idea for now.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
And this has turned out an impasse I seem unable to overcome. When I lift the inside ski (or just its tip) my outside ski rushes forward (ie across the carpet ) in a sudden jolt and before I can transfer the weight again, I am out of space on the carpet. It feels like I am not doing something important at the right moment, but I cannot figure out what. I am searching for what should I add to this sequence to land safely on another foot, but really have no idea for now.
While that is a drill that I learned when I started taking lessons out west in 2013, I would be loathe to try it on a rolling carpet. That's based on the one lesson on the carpet several years ago (advanced skier, lessons for several years before that). The opportunity was a perk for helping to support the installation at Inside Ski (near Washington DC).

Can you sense where you are applying weight along your skis? I've had more than one instructor say something like "put pressure HERE" when they are pointing to the section of the skis between the front binding and the tip. Usually just about where the base of the ski is still on the surface all the time. Has been in advanced lessons when the skier is already fairly aware of more subtle aspects of how to get skis to turn without much effort by good weight transfer.

You could work on weight transfer at home. I'm thinking of Tai Chi exercises. The simplest is shifting weight from one foot to another completely, but doing it VERY slowly. You don't have to pick up the foot that is losing weight at all. During a Tai Chi sequence, the idea is to have all the weight balance on one foot BEFORE moving the other one. As an indoor drill, could pick up the heel on the unweighted foot an inch or so. Then slowly put it down and transfer all weight back to that foot. Note that knees are slightly bent. After transferring all the weight, bend the knee of the weighted leg a bit more. Then move up slowly as weight is transferred back. Unlike a skiing stance, do not hinge at the hips. The description is often that you should think of a string from the top of your head. Definitely should have eyes forward.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
What are the things that feel better for you? What do you know you've gotten better at since you've been on the carpet? I'd like to hear about your successes.
How sweet of you to ask. I guess maybe I am enjoying it all a bit more. I like the speed (we have moved to 30 kms ph) and the effortlessness of movement on the carpet, for allmy imperfection. But the fact that I have by now had 28 lessons with not very much to show for it is beginning to irk me. I am reading skiers' stories and they mention how, after learning the rudiments, they subsequently take "a couple of lessons" each season meaning three, four, six - and it moves things forwards. So at the moment feeling a bit sore at my thickness. But will try and stick to it through the summer, maybe something will finally click.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
How sweet of you to ask. I guess maybe I am enjoying it all a bit more. I like the speed (we have moved to 30 kms ph) and the effortlessness of movement on the carpet, for allmy imperfection. But the fact that I have by now had 28 lessons with not very much to show for it is beginning to irk me. I am reading skiers' stories and they mention how, after learning the rudiments, they subsequently take "a couple of lessons" each season meaning three, four, six - and it moves things forwards. So at the moment feeling a bit sore at my thickness. But will try and stick to it through the summer, maybe something will finally click.
The stories you are reading are not a random sample of skiers. How many people do you think want to post publicly about how difficult it is to learn any sport? How many people bother to learn to ski at your age?

I'm a biostatistician by education and profession (retired quit a while ago). When I read about any study on any subject, I always think about who was included. A study about people ages 25-50 isn't particularly relevant to me any more now that I'm in my 60s. A study for young adults ages 18-25 is not really useful at all. Except perhaps for ideas for my daughter. I apply the same thinking when reading posts or blogs related to skiing in terms of the age of the writer, where they are skiing, and what type of speed/terrain is of interest to them.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
How many people bother to learn to ski at your age?
True. I should have thought about that. Never making allowances for my age is one of my strongest rules., though. But I guess there are occasions where one should just factor it in. So I have been unrealistic in my estimate of time it will take me to get to my goal? I probably have, you are right. But then, I keep thinking that time is short and I do not have the whole life to learn and perfect this new skill. I will need to be more patient
Thank you though for the reminder not to believe all one hears/reads/is given to understand about the process of learning to ski. Or rather, not to apply others' situations to my own.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
True. I should have thought about that. Never making allowances for my age is one of my strongest rules., though. But I guess there are occasions where one should just factor it in. So I have been unrealistic in my estimate of time it will take me to get to my goal? I probably have, you are right. But then, I keep thinking that time is short and I do not have the whole life to learn and perfect this new skill. I will need to be more patient
Thank you though for the reminder not to believe all one hears/reads/is given to understand about the process of learning to ski. Or rather, not to apply others' situations to my own.
From what you've said, I don't think age is the primary factor. At least not the fact that you are over 60. However, the fact that you aren't under 30 is a factor. Also makes a difference that learning a new sport has never been that easy for you. I remember reading stories about adults who picked up skiing quickly . . . partially because they played ice hockey or had done figure skating at a high level before starting to ski. My friend's son was amazing in how quickly he picked up skiing at age 6, even compared to other kids at ski school. But he starting playing ice hockey at age 4. His little sister started younger but will never get to his ski level. Not as interested and with different natural skills.

Hard to say how much can be learned as a beginner on a rolling carpet, even with a good instructor. It could be that spending time on ski conditioning in the next few months before you can get on snow would help more. Note that I'm not suggesting you stop taking lessons. But perhaps spread them out a little more and use the time for working with a personal trainer instead. Don't really need someone who skis. What you want is someone who can make sure you have good form for exercises related to improving core strength, 1-leg balance, flexibility (for hips), and hamstring strength (for knee support).

Aiming for perfection for ski technique has never been my goal for ski lessons. I'm not a perfectionist. Used to drive my older brother a bit crazy because he is a perfectionist. My goal is to have more fun and flexibility on the slopes. Having the confidence and technique to enjoy more challenging terrain means getting away from crowds and getting to ski better snow. Also means less worry when exploring a new ski resort or terrain. For me that meant doing the lessons and practice needed to get from adventurous advanced intermediate to solid advanced was worth the time and money. I had a lot of fun along the way.

I've been pushing my friend to get good enough to feel comfortable on any blue (intermediate) at Alta in any conditions because then skiing is fun even on days when conditions aren't perfect. It took six seasons to get close to that stage since she didn't get to ski more than 15 days a season. She started in her 40s. Last winter was a breakthrough season because she was able to ski far more than usual. That was the payoff for all the previous hard work. Note that she was having fun by the second ski weekend, even just skiing the easiest slopes at our small home hill.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thank you. Lots of very good advice here. I guess I was having a bout of frustration and needed to vent, but here I am all ready for the long march again. I will start the tai-chi exercise straight away, there is much to be said for raising awareness of what is actually happening. And I guess it is all down to the fact I am still not leaning forward enough when turning. That alone could cause that shooting forward, I suspect. So, forwards and upwards!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
And this has turned out an impasse I seem unable to overcome. When I lift the inside ski (or just its tip) my outside ski rushes forward (ie across the carpet ) in a sudden jolt and before I can transfer the weight again, I am out of space on the carpet. It feels like I am not doing something important at the right moment, but I cannot figure out what....

....And I guess it is all down to the fact I am still not leaning forward enough when turning. That alone could cause that shooting forward, I suspect. So, forwards and upwards!
.... this is the newer approach, to make me transfer weight to one leg only starting with standing on two. I am to start a turn with actually going straight down on both legs, and then put the weight on one log only. I guess it is not working too well at the moment.
There's your issue. You lift the whole ski, or the tip. Not the tail. You need to lift only the tail, with the tip still down on the snow/carpet.

I see you do know why you can't lift the tail. Your weight is hovering over the back half of your skis. If you lift one ski when you are standing on the back half of your skis, the ski end up you standing on will shoot forward every time. It will feel like a rug is being pulled out from under you. This will happen every time.

To avoid that stance ski shooting forward, you MUST get your weight hovering over the fronts of the skis and lift only the tail of the inside ski.

Worth repeating:
You need to lift only the tail, not the whole ski ... and definitely never ever just the tip. And to lift only the tail you absolutely have to have your weight forward.

To get your weight to hover over the front half of your skis practice this at home in boots and skis in front of a mirror. Stand on a carpet. Bend forward at your ankles. Raise your butt up and forward in order to project your belly button forward in front of your toes. The fronts of your skis will keep you from falling forward. Practice this in front of a mirror. Hold your ski poles and use them to balance yourself as you do this. See how far forward you can get your pelvis. You need to believe that your skis will keep you from falling on your face when you get your weight truly forward. Success in getting forward does not depend on where your shoulders are, it depends on where your pelvis is, and getting it far enough forward depends on you believing it's safe to do, that you won't fall on your face. Some beginners believe they will go faster if they get their weight forward. Nope, your skis shoot out in front of you faster if your weight is on the tails. They have it backwards.

Do you own boots and skis and poles? Can you do this at home on a carpet, in front of a mirror that goes all the way to the floor, so you can see what's happening with your feet and skis?

If you don't own your gear, can you do this practice where you do the lessons, before the lesson, in front of a mirror? Could you get there early and practice before the lessons start? Or could you borrow gear from a friend to practice at home?

I so want to see you make this big breakthrough. You're working so hard. You are getting close, and that you'll get this breakthrough soon.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Worth repeating:
You need to lift only the tail, not the whole ski ... and definitely never ever just the tip. And to lift only the tail you absolutely have to have your weight forward.
I think on a rolling carpet, the only way I would want to try this drill would be when holding onto the safety rail. I'm not really sure how it would work. By the time I was doing parallel turns, I didn't need the rail.

I have very clear memories of the first time an instructor wanted me to try this drill. It was the first private lesson I took from Ric at Bridger. The first time I tried it, I fell over immediately. Obviously my weight wasn't in the right place. Of course, falling on soft snow is not a big deal. Falling on a rolling carpet is quite different. The instructor can stop the carpet pretty quickly, but still something to be avoided. There is a reason that long sleeves are recommended.
 

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