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This Deb Armstrong Video Transformed my Skiing!

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I was going to post this in the "Aha Moment" thread, but felt like this video deserves its own thread.
Now that I am in a proper boot setup (after ten years!) and am feeling really balanced, I've been kind of trying to figure out how to get to the next "no longer skiing like an intermediate" level. My husband has been really hesitant to give much feedback this year, I think because he's tired of me telling him in the past "I can't!" What's ironic is he identified this issue in my skiing when we first met, but his cue was to "stand up". Well, stand up didn't work for me because, well, I WAS standing up. I needed to hear "open your hips!" I combined really opening my hip joint along with a forward lean of my upper body (this is where the ol' push the *&^* does NOT work.) What I felt was an almost unfolding of my entire posture, widening of my arms, and my skis came alive. I was skiing almost 10 mph faster than I have all season and truly riding my edges through the turn vs. the skidded finish I am so excellent at. I do think Stockli skis in particular come to life with this type of skiing (I was on my Nela 88s.) I felt a new performance level of this ski. What a blast!

Anyway, here is the video. I watch all of Deb's videos, but this is just what I needed to see this morning before I headed up for a few runs.
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant , Would you be able to describe how you moved your body and hips to feel this new sensation? I have always been confounded by all this hip movement talk from so many videos and instructors. And none of it has connected with my brain to translate into a specific move that would take me to the Zen of this very important skill.:crazy:
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant , Would you be able to describe how you moved your body and hips to feel this new sensation? I have always been confounded by all this hip movement talk from so many videos and instructors. And none of it has connected with my brain to translate into a specific move that would take me to the Zen of this very important skill.:crazy:
I'm trying to think how I can describe, other than in the video when she's standing and leaning against her poles and opening her hips. That's what I did to start a turn, but I also did not allow my hips to get into the "crouched" position during the rest of the turn.
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
LOL. so, what exactly does "open" mean to you? I still do not quite grasp that meaning as it has been explained different ways. I will say that last year I started my turns with the inside ski and that has been a wonderful change.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
LOL. so, what exactly does "open" mean to you? I still do not quite grasp that meaning as it has been explained different ways. I will say that last year I started my turns with the inside ski and that has been a wonderful change.
Extend at the hip vs. flex. It's demoed at 4:16, 5:50 and 8:30 in the video. I did find that my ski held through the turn a lot longer and the whole length of the ski.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It seems that she is more focused in the video on the rotary, side to side, action of the hips than the amount of delta, space between torso and legs, but does touch on both, and I assume that is what Contesstant is referring to in her opening up the hips comment. '

I like the video and the exploration of movement. I do think that Deb touches on an important point which is that she has not applied this approach of remaining more square and then opening up the hips at the start of the turn in bumps, where I suspect the timing or the opening up will be quite reversed and less squaring will take place over all.

She also mentions radius size being a factor in the amount of squaring we may want to use. I see this when I watch slalom versus super G racers or even slalom versus mogul skiers. The shorter the turn radius the less square they are to the skis through the majority of the turn.

In terms of opening up, I wish she had touched on how the other joints need to work in tandem with the hip opening up/straightening out on the frontal plane. If I get into a neutral position with my knees bent and some bending at the waist and only open up at the waist my upper body is suddenly far behind the rest of the bodies and I have lost control of the skis. By also changing the relationship of the knee bending at the same time as opening up the hips it is possible to stay centered over the middle of the ski which is critical.

Ultimately it is a great video discussing the hips, or is it the pelvis we really mean, in relation to the age old question in skiing: upper or lower body. Either way, the important part is that we are moving the other bones in relation to the pelvis, be it femurs or the spine, which are both connected to the pelvis.

On a personal note, I suspect how we use the pelvis to spine and the strength we have developed in our muscles will possibly also impact our wear and tear on our bodies. I am fortunate to not have a lot of hip issues, but my lower back is a mess, actually all the way up through my neck. As we age, we may want to make adjustments to how we create our turns to reduce injury and this video shows that there are different ways to make a happy and healthy ski turn!
 

Beckster

Certified Ski Diva
I like this instructor and how she posts a select focus. As I’m not an instructor, I had also found her when I was searching for simple tips to help some friends improve their powder skiing. My friends were thrilled with how quickly the tips changed their abilities after a few runs.
Love these hip movement tips and will keep them in mind.
Thanks for sharing.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I am going to have to watch this later. I started and didnt finish. Though now I wonder if this is the same thing Tim was talking to me about at the beginning of the season. For the life of me open the pelvis does not make any sense to me. I need to see someone demonstrate it and then tell me I am doing it wrong and why.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I am going to have to watch this later. I started and didnt finish. Though now I wonder if this is the same thing Tim was talking to me about at the beginning of the season. For the life of me open the pelvis does not make any sense to me. I need to see someone demonstrate it and then tell me I am doing it wrong and why.
Maybe the movement out of a skiing context is akin to sitting down on the floor with your legs in front of you and going from a position where your torso is kept straight and initially bent over forward or even just sitting fully upright, then the opening is moving the entire upper body backwards to a laying down position. Essentially opening up the angle or space between the legs and the torso.

In skiing it tends to happen naturally in a well executed turn, though what leads to it and which body parts and the sequence and timing can vary tremendously. I see many skiers, especially women skiers, maintain the relationship of the angle between the thighs and torso throughout their turns. Not sure if what I am writing helps any...sorry
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It seems that she is more focused in the video on the rotary, side to side, action of the hips than the amount of delta, space between torso and legs, but does touch on both, and I assume that is what Contesstant is referring to in her opening up the hips comment. '

I like the video and the exploration of movement. I do think that Deb touches on an important point which is that she has not applied this approach of remaining more square and then opening up the hips at the start of the turn in bumps, where I suspect the timing or the opening up will be quite reversed and less squaring will take place over all.

She also mentions radius size being a factor in the amount of squaring we may want to use. I see this when I watch slalom versus super G racers or even slalom versus mogul skiers. The shorter the turn radius the less square they are to the skis through the majority of the turn.

In terms of opening up, I wish she had touched on how the other joints need to work in tandem with the hip opening up/straightening out on the frontal plane. If I get into a neutral position with my knees bent and some bending at the waist and only open up at the waist my upper body is suddenly far behind the rest of the bodies and I have lost control of the skis. By also changing the relationship of the knee bending at the same time as opening up the hips it is possible to stay centered over the middle of the ski which is critical.

Ultimately it is a great video discussing the hips, or is it the pelvis we really mean, in relation to the age old question in skiing: upper or lower body. Either way, the important part is that we are moving the other bones in relation to the pelvis, be it femurs or the spine, which are both connected to the pelvis.

On a personal note, I suspect how we use the pelvis to spine and the strength we have developed in our muscles will possibly also impact our wear and tear on our bodies. I am fortunate to not have a lot of hip issues, but my lower back is a mess, actually all the way up through my neck. As we age, we may want to make adjustments to how we create our turns to reduce injury and this video shows that there are different ways to make a happy and healthy ski turn!
So many good points here, and they tell me I'm on the right track! First off, my first question as I was trying this was "how can I do this and short radius turns or bumps?" As you've eluded to, you can't. Not really. I felt like I was a bit "locked in" to this position as in, not easy to make quick moves. But it will be an evolving thing, I think, where I have now felt the sensation of the absolute crazy ease of turn initiation with the hips over the feet vs. just behind the feet. My old movement pattern of hips slightly back already feels totally off, and I can feel it when I end up back there and now can easily stand up AND shift my shoulders and weight more forward, and let 'em rip! The hips back was a defensive position, and I do blame boot woes for that. (And the lack of instruction for many years.)

The other thing that has felt odd is extending the hip while keeping the knees slightly flexed AND the ankles. What I've realized is essentially extending the hip (what I call opening, basically, very little bend at the waist) automatically centers the hips over the feet, which allows for almost automatic control of turn initiation. BUT the upper body cannot fall backwards or your skis will take you for a ride LOL!

The light got flat off and on, and I could feel myself get "locked up" in my hips when I couldn't see as well, so I kept telling myself "do not lock up!" and it was pretty easy to correct. We'll see how things go in crud, which we should have on Sunday.

The other thing I noticed is counter came almost naturally. I could really feel my obliques working vs. my abs, and my glutes more than my hamstrings. I did have one run where my right mid-quads started firing and I knew something was off. It's a process--skiing is so hard!

It's funny because my husband has touched on a lot of these points as a level III instructor, including being more square in longer-radius turns, but he isn't always great at parsing things down (and then the fight began! :rotf: ) We've both definitely learned from my experience.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ok I re-watched and re-watched again focusing on the segments where it is demonstrated. And @snoWYmonkey thanks for the explanation - that combined with the demonstrations in the video help make this clearer. NOW if I can make my body do it - LOL I usually try to ski alone or don't have anyone who can really tell me if I am doing something right/wrong, but ultimately I try not to subject people to have to ski with me - LOL
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
In skiing it tends to happen naturally in a well executed turn, though what leads to it and which body parts and the sequence and timing can vary tremendously. I see many skiers, especially women skiers, maintain the relationship of the angle between the thighs and torso throughout their turns. Not sure if what I am writing helps any...sorry
This is what I mean by "locked up". I'd get into what is a traditionally athletic stance and just stay there. Today, I was really paying attention to skiers who do the same thing. They're essentially overflexed, all the time. I do think that the short cuff boot has gotten the cuff of the boot out of my way, so to speak, allowing me to be more dynamic.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ok I re-watched and re-watched again focusing on the segments where it is demonstrated. And @snoWYmonkey thanks for the explanation - that combined with the demonstrations in the video help make this clearer. NOW if I can make my body do it - LOL I usually try to ski alone or don't have anyone who can really tell me if I am doing something right/wrong, but ultimately I try not to subject people to have to ski with me - LOL
Except me! I'll ski with you and do drills any time. It's always fun skiing with people who are not just interested in skiing as fast as possible and never want to work on things.

FWIW Herbert's is where it really came alive for me, then Bullwinkle. If only Herbert's was 100 yards longer! Oh, skier's right on School Hill, too, down lower.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Except me! I'll ski with you and do drills any time. It's always fun skiing with people who are not just interested in skiing as fast as possible and never want to work on things.

FWIW Herbert's is where it really came alive for me, then Bullwinkle. If only Herbert's was 100 yards longer! Oh, skier's right on School Hill, too, down lower.
Well yes, this. I don't really find it fun to be in charge mode every ski day. I am always thinking, hey let me work on this, (in the past) get frustrated and say #@#$ it. Now I have some fun new movements to work on including the "hip shrug" in moguls too.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Well yes, this. I don't really find it fun to be in charge mode every ski day. I am always thinking, hey let me work on this, (in the past) get frustrated and say #@#$ it. Now I have some fun new movements to work on including the "hip shrug" in moguls too.
For sure, sometimes it's like "what should I be working on?" Now we have something else to try! For all I know, I look like an absolute gomer out there.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant the opening up still happens and is more crucial almost in bumps and super short radius turns. It is the timing that changes and the direction some too.

I think of opening up into the mogul truth by extending the legs into the space of the truth from the top of the bump where I started my new turn. I am not reaching with the torso and hips so much as the opening is a direct result of knees and hips opening up into extension by having the feet move down amd the torso stay level.

Most of us instinctively want to extend at the start of the turn in a bump but this means we loose the positive pressure of skis against snow as the ground falls away. So hard to change our hard earned timing and patterns.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant the opening up still happens and is more crucial almost in bumps and super short radius turns. It is the timing that changes and the direction some too.

I think of opening up into the mogul truth by extending the legs into the space of the truth from the top of the bump where I started my new turn. I am not reaching with the torso and hips so much as the opening is a direct result of knees and hips opening up into extension by having the feet move down amd the torso stay level.

Most of us instinctively want to extend at the start of the turn in a bump but this means we loose the positive pressure of skis against snow as the ground falls away. So hard to change our hard earned timing and patterns.
Makes total sense. I think the timing and quickness will improve for me as I get better at it. Right now, I have to hyperfocus on NOT defaulting to my defensive overbent position. I make it sound like I'm in a total crouch, which I'm not. But I've been at this stupid plateau of not being able to lay down a clean railroad track turn or a clean carve, and always feeling a bit like my skis are driving me, and this move has put ME in the driver's seat and I LOVE it!
 

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