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Ski Experts/Instructors any advice what is causing my kids skis to split please?

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
My 6 year old’s ski instructors won’t do drills. They just ski 2 hours of gates every session. I disagree and think they should be spending some time outside the gates working on ski technique especially at this age and also feel my kid may be picking up some bad habits from so much gate training.

There are no other options for tuition here and we are stuck here until the summer or possibly longer.

I had to scrub slowly through the video to try and see what was going on. Obviously neither of her turns are perfect. I feel she is rushing her turns and pivots very quickly resulting in a skid (but she is skiing slalom and just doesn’t have the skill to turn fast properly). Her turn to the right turn appears to be much weaker. Her skis split apart more.

Now previously she did have an a-frame and wasn’t using her inside ski at all, it was completely flat with her downhill ski on edge and the knee on her downhill leg falling into the dead flat uphill leg.

But after talking to her about it she has changed and now to me it looks like she is turning on her inside ski and dragging her outside ski along for the ride?

Also when scrubbing slowly through the video I could see (especially when videoed from behind) spray comes from her inside ski where she is skidding in the turn and her outside ski at the end of the turn.

So I think she is turning on her inside ski (and pivoting too quickly)?

But her instructor says she is stepping her foot and then suggested she is jumping the turn?

Also slightly concerned about the newly developed upper body rotation but it seems to be something they teach here and my skiing is old fashioned I think.

So opinions please? And although I vowed never to teach my kids if we can’t get to the UK this summer I may have to try so any suggestions on drills?

I was considering javelin turns (if this is the issue).

Basic side slipping (maybe to get her edges working together).

And the basic carve turn, just setting skis on edges and letting them turn up the hill. Again to try and get her using her edges together.

But I really have no idea teaching beyond basic intermediate level so would appreciate any advice.

Thanks all.

[MEDIA]
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
I think she's a bit more on her heels more than being forward in her boots..
keep the hands down the hill. dropping an arm puts one in the back seat.
Lay on the boots with your shins. Feel those toes-

looks like her right turn is weaker than the left -we all have a strong/weak side-

Think about 'big toe- little toe" Big toe on the down hill ski little toe on the uphill ski
drive those ski tips and the ski will follow.

I love pivot slips and falling leaf drills and short turns tight turns.
I do a lot of tip the ski down the hill then turn up hill. Especially on the weak side

To be a well rounded skier one has to experience more of the Mt than gates. Do you have moguls?

She's an excellent skier btw- has more Plus' than minus' IMO she's still growing and will gain
leg strength-plus time on the Mt she'll continue ski better and better- Having FUN is very important.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
She's doing many things right. But sure, there are plenty of things she can work on to improve her turns. Do you notice that's the case with all the students on this team?

Yes, your daughter is on her tails. Learning to bend forward at the ankles is in her future.
Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 7.47.03 AM.png

She is swinging her new outside arm forward and turning her shoulders in the direction of the new turn to help get her turns to work. She needs to use her feet and legs for that purpose instead, while using her upper body movements to enhance her balance and to direct the pressure where it needs to go. But rotating the upper body to get the skis to turn works. There's the problem with that movement pattern - many skiers use their upper bodies to help with their turns because it works. Taking the upper body out of its leadership role is an important skill jump in her future. It takes drills and direct focus.
Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 7.57.35 AM.png

She also needs to direct her balance to the outside ski. This is part of the upper body's rightful role. Right now she's leaning her head and shoulders in, banking, in order to get her skis edged. The problem with this is that it works. Many skiers do this. But it has unfortunate side-effects. Leaning-in hovers her torso and head over her inside ski, weighting it, which in turn steals pressure from the outside ski so it slides out and away. You are seeing this result; it's the "split" you see. Learning what to do with the upper body to direct pressure to the outside ski is in her future.
Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 7.57.19 AM.png

**Any asymmetry in her turns will disappear with time. One turn is almost always better than the other. Fixing whatever is messing up one turn comes after fixing things that impact all turns. I wouldn't worry about the asymmetry at this time.

These three fundamental issues that need replacing...

-balancing on the tails
-using upper body rotation
-and leaning-in to edge the skis

...are big deals for most new skiers. Replacing them with more effective movement patterns is important for advancement. But such fundamental changes take time and deliberate practice. There is no quick fix, no matter who the coach is. I agree with you that outside the gates is where this needs to happen.

My suggestion for you is to have a private talk with the coach. Ask her, don't tell her, what your daughter needs to work on outside the gates, and tell her you are committed to working with her on anything the coach thinks is important. If the coach gives you nothing, find another coach. If you like what the coach says, because she's been paying close attention to your daughter's skiing technique, then work with her on whatever she suggests.

If you decide you'll work with her, that's the time to ask about aft balance, and your daughter's use of the outside arm swing, and her leaning-in, if the coach has focused on other things and has not mentioned these.

If you find that this coach has been inattentive to your daughter, and there's no other race coaching available, you might consider leaving her in this group and finding a private coach for you to supplement what she's doing in the gates.
 
Last edited:

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I see the kids at Tremblant in and out of the gates. They need to free ski too. I see so many young racers so intent on bashing the pole, that they forget the fundamentals.

And I'm sure you can see from the video the left leg is diverting. All of what liquidfeet states should fix that.

I wonder too, about the rest of the group, as liquidfeet said. 6 is young, they should be having fun and skiing.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
I think she's a bit more on her heels more than being forward in her boots..
keep the hands down the hill. dropping an arm puts one in the back seat.
Lay on the boots with your shins. Feel those toes-

looks like her right turn is weaker than the left -we all have a strong/weak side-

Think about 'big toe- little toe" Big toe on the down hill ski little toe on the uphill ski
drive those ski tips and the ski will follow.

I love pivot slips and falling leaf drills and short turns tight turns.
I do a lot of tip the ski down the hill then turn up hill. Especially on the weak side

To be a well rounded skier one has to experience more of the Mt than gates. Do you have moguls?

She's an excellent skier btw- has more Plus' than minus' IMO she's still growing and will gain
leg strength-plus time on the Mt she'll continue ski better and better- Having FUN is very important.

Thanks so much. Unfortunately all we have at the moment is an indoor ski centre and we are stuck here indefinitely. We were planning to be in Canada this month for 3.5 weeks and UK and Italy or Switzerland in the summer but it’s looking unlikely now.

Falling leaf drills and pivot slips were on my list of drills to try along with side slipping. I asked her instructor and he dismissed them claiming the indoor ski centre is too small, it’s 0.25miles (I’ve done drills in centres 1/4 this size).

I was also going to try and get her to do some exaggerated up/down movements to try and get her moving in her boots better. These they frankly could do in the gates if they have to, but they’ve not done any yet. I did put some soft sweets in the front of her boots and said if she squished them she can have a bag to eat after skiing.

She was in a Lange RSJ50 and I’ve noticed the Rossignol and Head equivalent boots have a slightly softer flex. She’s very slim only around 44lbs so I wonder if a softer boot would help too?

When you say turning up the hill, do you mean just rolling the skis on edge and allowing them to make a full arc until uphill?

Thanks again for all your advice.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
She's doing many things right. But sure, there are plenty of things she can work on to improve her turns. Do you notice that's the case with all the students on this team?

Yes, your daughter is on her tails. Learning to bend forward at the ankles is in her future.
View attachment 15077

She is swinging her new outside arm forward and turning her shoulders in the direction of the new turn to help get her turns to work. She needs to use her feet and legs for that purpose instead, while using her upper body movements to enhance her balance and to direct the pressure where it needs to go. But rotating the upper body to get the skis to turn works. There's the problem with that movement pattern - many skiers use their upper bodies to help with their turns because it works. Taking the upper body out of its leadership role is an important skill jump in her future. It takes drills and direct focus.
View attachment 15078

She also needs to direct her balance to the outside ski. This is part of the upper body's rightful role. Right now she's leaning her head and shoulders in, banking, in order to get her skis edged. The problem with this is that it works. Many skiers do this. But it has unfortunate side-effects. Leaning-in hovers her torso and head over her inside ski, weighting it, which in turn steals pressure from the outside ski so it slides out and away. You are seeing this result; it's the "split" you see. Learning what to do with the upper body to direct pressure to the outside ski is in her future.
View attachment 15080

**Any asymmetry in her turns will disappear with time. One turn is almost always better than the other. Fixing whatever is messing up one turn comes after fixing things that impact all turns. I wouldn't worry about the asymmetry at this time.

These three fundamental issues that need replacing...

-balancing on the tails
-using upper body rotation
-and leaning-in to edge the skis

...are big deals for most new skiers. Replacing them with more effective movement patterns is important for advancement. But such fundamental changes take time and deliberate practice. There is no quick fix, no matter who the coach is. I agree with you that outside the gates is where this needs to happen.

My suggestion for you is to have a private talk with the coach. Ask her, don't tell her, what your daughter needs to work on outside the gates, and tell her you are committed to working with her on anything the coach thinks is important. If the coach gives you nothing, find another coach. If you like what the coach says, because she's been paying close attention to your daughter's skiing technique, then work with her on whatever she suggests.

If you decide you'll work with her, that's the time to ask about aft balance, and your daughter's use of the outside arm swing, and her leaning-in, if the coach has focused on other things and has not mentioned these.

If you find that this coach has been inattentive to your daughter, and there's no other race coaching available, you might consider leaving her in this group and finding a private coach for you to supplement what she's doing in the gates.

Thanks for such a detailed response breaking it all down.

Her instructors (four total from two different race programmes) all refuse to do drills. I am starting to think they honestly don’t know how to do drills.

I have already booked a ‘family’ ski lesson for the two of us with a private instructor first thing on a weekday morning so I am hoping he will be able to do some drills with us. I think I will take this video and break it down with your comments (just drop them in not tell him) so we don’t have to waste time skiing up and down whilst he looks for errors. I am unsure if he will know what to do though but I hope he will. If it goes well I can book her some 1:1 lessons with him.

With regard to exercises I had considered a number of things to do and my list was quite similar to those suggested by nopoleskier. I mentioned some drills to her instructor a while ago and he said let me know what you suggest so I WhatsApp’d this list and asked if he could look into these drills to see if any would be useful or if he knows of any others to try and work on technique?

But he decided the indoor hill was too small (it’s 0.25mi) and he just wants to just concentrate on skiing gates.

This was the list I sent:

Edging

Side slip to edge set
Hockey Stops/falling leaf
Carve Turns
Braquage to pivot slips
Hip to rib
Fishook/j turns

Upper body rotation

Framing
Poles held across in front

Backseat

Ski a run pressing hard on front of boots then another run backseat to feel the difference
Then ski with of exaggerated up down movement

I am just worried if we don’t get to UK in the summer (I have three 5 day camps booked with race pros who promise lots of drills) these habits will become engrained and hard to reverse. To the point where I wonder if she would be better not skiing at all, although she loves it. But I will see how the session with the private instructor goes fingers crossed.

On another note as mentioned above her boots were Lange RSJ50 and I notice Head and Rossi boots for kids this age have a slightly softer flex at 40. She is due new boots and am wondering if I should cancel the Langes and order some slightly softer boots if it would make any difference?

Lastly do you know anything about these rolling carpet ski places? Her instructor is the head instructor at one and mainly trains there (she skis snow 2x and there 1x a week), I have noticed all the kids out of there (who learned to ski on there) have horrendous upper body rotation and literally throw their skis round swinging their body. I mentioned this to him (only in respect to my daughter) and he claimed it was the modern way to ski.

I know she was skiing beautiful parallel carve turns in Whistler last March albeit in a wide stance and wonder if these indoor carpet treadmills do more harm than good? (it has been great for strength building though, she was very unfit after six months in lockdown and literally riding her tails like a surfer when she first got back on skis).

Thanks again for all this it’s been really informative and reassuring.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Here I thought the kids were skiing at dusk or night skiing....you're in the fridge!! I can see why the gates only then. Maximizing time!!

As an instructor/coach I would think that it would be nice to take one of the sessions and just let them ski and work on technique. It's just as important. And as far as I know, the PSIA, which we have a lot of instructors and the CSIA do not use upper body rotation as a part of "proper" skiing. The idea is separation of the 2 sections of the body. Turn with the feet.

We need some of our British Diva's about the carpets. I've never been on one.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
Here I thought the kids were skiing at dusk or night skiing....you're in the fridge!! I can see why the gates only then. Maximizing time!!

As an instructor/coach I would think that it would be nice to take one of the sessions and just let them ski and work on technique. It's just as important. And as far as I know, the PSIA, which we have a lot of instructors and the CSIA do not use upper body rotation as a part of "proper" skiing. The idea is separation of the 2 sections of the body. Turn with the feet.

We need some of our British Diva's about the carpets. I've never been on one.

Yep one of the biggest in the world! But still a fridge, in a desert

We’ve skied a lot of indoor snow centres and plastic dry slopes in the UK which are all smaller than this place. Every one has a 2hr session with 1hr dedicated to drills and 1hr gates. Or does a 3 hour session with a small break in the middle. I find the two hours of gate bashing very strange here.

These small slopes are perfect environments for skiing drills and doing video analysis especially as there is a drag lift half way down this one so you can do a short drill then correct and jump on the drag to retry.

would definitely be interested if anyone else has tried the carpet and what they thought. Thanks.
 

brooksnow

Certified Ski Diva
Wow, some great analysis here, and that's a good list you've developed, @Buttmonki. What a treat to be able to ski inside in a climate that doesn't have snow! I can understand your frustration when you know things could be better for your daughter.

Your daughter is a very good skier for 6, with obvious confidence and consistently matched edges as she turns.

She seems to be skiing primarily on her right foot when turning in both directions. Great when turning to the left, far less effective when turning to the right. When turning to the right she is starting the turn on her left foot then stepping onto her right which takes over. Right handed, perhaps?

To the ever-lengthening list of activity ideas, I'll add movements that have her using both feet: shuffling, marching, hopping, etc. I also like thumper turns for this, lifting the tail of the inside ski and thumping it down 2 or 3 times. The thumping encourages foot to foot movement and keeping the tip of the ski on the snow while thumping encourages a forward stance. Eventually she'll be able to thump through the whole turn, but to start thump the uphill ski between turns.

Skiing backwards is a fun activity for getting forward. Kids love it, and they will naturally flex their ankles as they glide backwards. Once they have the sensation, they can attempt to repeat it when skiing forward.

Yes to softer boots, but developing a true forward stance may still take a bit of growing up.
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
Thanks so much. Unfortunately all we have at the moment is an indoor ski centre and we are stuck here indefinitely. We were planning to be in Canada this month for 3.5 weeks and UK and Italy or Switzerland in the summer but it’s looking unlikely now.

Falling leaf drills and pivot slips were on my list of drills to try along with side slipping. I asked her instructor and he dismissed them claiming the indoor ski centre is too small, it’s 0.25miles (I’ve done drills in centres 1/4 this size).

I was also going to try and get her to do some exaggerated up/down movements to try and get her moving in her boots better. These they frankly could do in the gates if they have to, but they’ve not done any yet. I did put some soft sweets in the front of her boots and said if she squished them she can have a bag to eat after skiing.

She was in a Lange RSJ50 and I’ve noticed the Rossignol and Head equivalent boots have a slightly softer flex. She’s very slim only around 44lbs so I wonder if a softer boot would help too?

When you say turning up the hill, do you mean just rolling the skis on edge and allowing them to make a full arc until uphill?

Thanks again for all your advice.


Yes, tilt the skis down the hill then turn uphill.
Yes a softer boot might help!

Hope you get some free skiing in! Personally sounds like the coach is set in their ways!
 

BackCountryGirl

Angel Diva
Wow. I can't believe any decent program would use tall gates for a kid that was young AND would spend so much time in gates. I am a U8 coach and we feee ski and drill and maybe do 1 to 2 hours out of 8 in gates.

I see her rotating before edging, which is common. And she does lose contact with the front of her boot on the inside ski which causes the tip divergence.

That being said, she is doing well, much is developmental, and her movement patterns are pretty typical. Limited ability to dorsiflex, limited separation, whole body turn initiation are all pretty typical and tend to change with age and physical maturation.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
Wow. I can't believe any decent program would use tall gates for a kid that was young AND would spend so much time in gates. I am a U8 coach and we feee ski and drill and maybe do 1 to 2 hours out of 8 in gates.

I see her rotating before edging, which is common. And she does lose contact with the front of her boot on the inside ski which causes the tip divergence.

That being said, she is doing well, much is developmental, and her movement patterns are pretty typical. Limited ability to dorsiflex, limited separation, whole body turn initiation are all pretty typical and tend to change with age and physical maturation.

Thank you, you would not believe the number of times I have brought up these very points.

Last week I was advised by one of the coaches that “we bought equipment for doing drills but the kids didn’t like them and the parents complained and said it was a waste of time and they want the kids to ski gates”.

Notably most of the parents here don’t ski and I would doubt that many have done any race or instructor training. So I am now counter complaining on a weekly basis.

Their sessions are 2 hours, I have proposed a 3hr session with the first 90 minutes of warm up and drills and if parents have an issue they can opt out of the first half and only do the second half.

I have advised the club to break this into layman’s terms. “If you rock up to rugby practice do you spend two hours playing a rugby game? Or do you spend much of the session doing drills to increase skills in certain areas before putting it into practice in a game?”. There is literally no sport where training involves just doing the sport.

But I have had some results post into a new post below.
 

Buttmonki

Certified Ski Diva
Update! I have started some 1:1 lessons trying each of the coaches. The first one was good, he did drills but honestly he did them the way I would have done them, he knew which drills but not have to build on each one progressively. The second guy, wow! He was amazing. He decided to work on upper body separation. Started by talking to her and explaining it to her and she seems to have a good understanding now. Then he did framing, tray carriers and javelin turns. It was only a one hour lesson. The next day she went back to the club and this was the difference (from just one hour). I wish we could afford a day with him!

[MEDIA]

Her instructor at the club has also agreed the issues which are there, I’ve made it very clear ‘no body rotation’ and offered him a list of drills. He’s a lovely guy and she gets on with him really well so I would prefer her to continue there. I wish they would ski stubbies though, I’ve noticed the other kids attempting to cross block but many of them have zero angulation and are two feet from the gates so leaning over.

Finally assuming she gets a clear covid test next week she’s going on some real snow! Georgia have opened up for the last month of the season and her dad has been vaccinated so they’re going with her club coach and some of the other kids. I’ve specifically requested he throws her into some powder and bump free skiing!

Thank you everyone for your help and advice.
 

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