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This Deb Armstrong Video Transformed my Skiing!

BlizzardBabe

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wow, this sounds amazing!! So glad you had a great time!

Would you say during the clinic that there were at least loose focuses the whole group was working towards to an extent, or was it just pretty individualized overall based on your specific needs? I’ve definitely been curious about these clinics and how they work. I also take a lot of lessons, and have fabulous instructors, but I sure would love to ski with and learn from Deb someday. Her videos often spur discussion and focuses for the day with my favorite instructor who also follows her, how cool it would be to work with her directly.

And kudos on the encouragement for Deb to become a Diva! Would love to see her on the site for sure.

@RachelV if Deb becomes a Diva, even more reason to go back to Taos soon for a Diva West trip no..?? :wink::bounce:

Cheers, @MissySki. Yes, each day Deb started with some basic concepts that are universal to skiing generally and that had relevance for everyone in the group, e.g., rolling from pinkie toe to big toe and skiing "foot to foot." We were fortunate in that we had different conditions each day which revealed different things in our skiing. Day 1 was bluebird and a perfect groomer day. We also did quite a few bump runs that day; the bumps were relatively soft and easy to see. I won't get into details except to say that my inveterate "shopping" for turns is not wholly bad, so long as I lose elevation with each skipped bump - straight traversing is not good, but traversing with a consistent loss in elevation is acceptable as I learn.

Day 2 it had snowed and was overcast, so we were dealing with snow that had been skied pretty thoroughly and pushed around a lot. I really struggled with it since, as a Mid-Atlantic skier, they were conditions I just never see. Deb gave me great encouragement, i.e., it will just take time for me to develop an understanding of how those piles of snow will impact my skis so I can become a better driver. The others in the group already had that understanding, being west coast and western skiers. By the end of the day, I was appreciating things better and really beginning to enjoy the bounce! ((Here, however, is my "blame it on the equipment" whine - I was skiing demos that day (Elan Wildcats 82) and I felt like they really got bounced around and deflected by the stuff. I had it in my head, that my Volkl Blaze 86 or my Stolkli Stormrider 85s (my spring slush tanks) would've handled it better. Probably all in my head, but the fact that I wasn't trusting my skis likely made me defensive and helped to fry my poor brain)). The universal still applied, though -- skiing foot to foot, foot to foot, foot to foot!!

Day 3 we did first tracks and the conditions were the best I've ever experienced. The word "butter" kept recirculating in my mind. Again, I've got good stuff to work on, e.g. turning with a flatter ski instead of being on my Mid-Atlantic ice edges all the time. There's other skill stuff too, of course, as I strive to "fill my toolbox" with additional skills.

More later . . . gotta go ski!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Cheers, @MissySki. Yes, each day Deb started with some basic concepts that are universal to skiing generally and that had relevance for everyone in the group, e.g., rolling from pinkie toe to big toe and skiing "foot to foot." We were fortunate in that we had different conditions each day which revealed different things in our skiing. Day 1 was bluebird and a perfect groomer day. We also did quite a few bump runs that day; the bumps were relatively soft and easy to see. I won't get into details except to say that my inveterate "shopping" for turns is not wholly bad, so long as I lose elevation with each skipped bump - straight traversing is not good, but traversing with a consistent loss in elevation is acceptable as I learn.

Day 2 it had snowed and was overcast, so we were dealing with snow that had been skied pretty thoroughly and pushed around a lot. I really struggled with it since, as a Mid-Atlantic skier, they were conditions I just never see. Deb gave me great encouragement, i.e., it will just take time for me to develop an understanding of how those piles of snow will impact my skis so I can become a better driver. The others in the group already had that understanding, being west coast and western skiers. By the end of the day, I was appreciating things better and really beginning to enjoy the bounce! ((Here, however, is my "blame it on the equipment" whine - I was skiing demos that day (Elan Wildcats 82) and I felt like they really got bounced around and deflected by the stuff. I had it in my head, that my Volkl Blaze 86 or my Stolkli Stormrider 85s (my spring slush tanks) would've handled it better. Probably all in my head, but the fact that I wasn't trusting my skis likely made me defensive and helped to fry my poor brain)). The universal still applied, though -- skiing foot to foot, foot to foot, foot to foot!!

Day 3 we did first tracks and the conditions were the best I've ever experienced. The word "butter" kept recirculating in my mind. Again, I've got good stuff to work on, e.g. turning with a flatter ski instead of being on my Mid-Atlantic ice edges all the time. There's other skill stuff too, of course, as I strive to "fill my toolbox" with additional skills.

More later . . . gotta go ski!
Thank you so much for this. The details make your descriptions so real.
 

bsskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@BlizzardBabe I would love to ski with you. Your bumps-shopping statement (and correction) is resonating with me. Will you be in Big Sky this season? Skiing off new tram is getting better and if you know where to go, can avoid our famous rocks. I’m no longer a fan of Big Sky as a resort in general, but do appreciate the bumps and trees and can meet up anytime. Will you back to Steamboat? Where do you now practice all the Deb skills you acquired?!
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@BlizzardBabe, I am straight-up envious! Maybe I need to save my pennies and sign up for one of her clinics. For me, it's the ever-changing conditions that make it hard for me to advance, ESPECIALLY when flat or crap light comes into play. The open hips move that has helped me so much goes out the window in flat light--I just get so tentative and defensive.
Ha same here.(flat light struggles). Sunday it was so beautiful and sunny. I got to practice on some nice soft bumps.

@BlizzardBabe thank you for sharing your experience. Sounds like an amazing clinic! Something i would love to be able to take advantage of. Sounds like it gets filled up fast? I tried to find a previous post by you but could not find it - did you say you had to sign up in the early fall?
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Okay, so I finally got around to watching this and tbh it feels very timely coming off my clinic at Holiday Valley. One of the things that my race coaches worked on with me back in the day (like 5 yrs ago lol) was to counter less in my turns. I guess years of PSIA lessons had drilled countering into my brain. Anyhow, I THOUGHT I'd improved on the issue until I got to the clinic at Holiday Valley and they wanted me to face more down the hill again/counter more. So imagine my imploding brain at that point. :confused: lol I'll be curious to see what Deb has to say on the matter, so I'm excited to see she's going to come here and talk about it. I don't know if there's a difference of thought in camps between the amount of counter to use between racing and PSIA, or if there's some middle ground that I'm just not understanding/finding in my own skiing where I'm swinging wildly between the extremes of too little vs. too much counter. It's most likely the latter.

I'm not sure I followed the open hips discussion earlier in the thread? I think it relates to that diagonal movement out and over towards the tip of the downhill ski (what's about to become the inside/uphill ski) at the beginning of the turn/turn initiation?
 

mustski

Angel Diva
The countering commentary had me confused at first also. Then I realized that they were dividing the body into three sections - lower body, upper body, AND hips which connect those 2 areas. So we can still counter using our upper body while keeping the hips squared to the ski. I would think this would be a must, when staying squared, in short turns. I haven't got a chance to try it out yet. After the holiday weekend!
 
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snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@tinymoose May I ask what radius turns you were working on in the different clinics? I only ask because my mostly PSIA but tiny USSA training, assuming I understand correctly, is that the amount of upper and lower body separation is somewhat dependent on radius of the turn. Moguls will have tons of separation with torso almost only facing the bottom of the run with active steering of legs, while downhill, the ultimate long radius, will keep the torso and legs turning more as a unit to help with the crazy forces at speed and to be able to hold that edge.

I have had coaches tell me the opposite in terms of what I need to focus on in the same week! I hope you get to ask why. Sometimes my students correct too much and then I have to show them how to find the happy balance in a given situation.
 

BlizzardBabe

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Well, I feel that things really came together today. The day before yesterday I had a shim put in my right boot b/c it felt fishier than I like (after 30+ days I guess things are packing-in a bit). The fit was so perfect that I started feeling a less than optimum fit in the left boot. So, I got "shimmed" again and all was ideal. The shop here only charged me $6.00 for the first boot and zero for the second. I'm still gobsmacked. Maybe I've lived in DC too long.

My second demo was the new Black Pearl 88. It was terrific in the same conditions described in "Day 2" above. I was able to practice, practice, practice and it really paid dividends. An absolutely super day of skiing!!

I'd love to ski with you sometime, @bsskier. I won't be in Big Sky this year, however. My March trip is Revelstoke BC. Maybe a future Diva West??

Re your question, @Sheena, I imagine things will fill fast. Finding the clinic was a fluke for me. Our group of four friends booked this week back in July or August. It wasn't until someone posted the ad for the Ski Strong clinic on this site that I found out about it. I think I signed up in October. Total kismet!!
 
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tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@tinymoose May I ask what radius turns you were working on in the different clinics? I only ask because my mostly PSIA but tiny USSA training, assuming I understand correctly, is that the amount of upper and lower body separation is somewhat dependent on radius of the turn. Moguls will have tons of separation with torso almost only facing the bottom of the run with active steering of legs, while downhill, the ultimate long radius, will keep the torso and legs turning more as a unit to help with the crazy forces at speed and to be able to hold that edge.

I have had coaches tell me the opposite in terms of what I need to focus on in the same week! I hope you get to ask why. Sometimes my students correct too much and then I have to show them how to find the happy balance in a given situation.
Oh, I understand, and have heard, that the amount of counter should change with the turn radius. I definitely counter more on steeps than I do on a green or blue groomer (which is basically not at all anymore). Race clinic was mostly modified GS, with slalom here and there, so more focus on med-to-long radius turns. The recent clinic was a mix of some short radius as well as med to longer radius turns. That being said, I got the impression at the recent clinic they wanted me to be less square to my skis even on the longer turns, so more counter overall? But again, maybe I misunderstood? They were also trying to get me to quiet my upper body. My race coach had told me to "wipe the table" to try to make my turns less static and more dynamic, but I guess I took wiping the table to some stupid extreme where it's now causing me to basically over-rotate (term borrowed from the video) to some extent at the end of my turns. So maybe that's why they were pushing the counter so much?

Tbh, I get the contradictory feedback at gymnastics at all the time too, and it leaves me just as confused there. One coach will tell me to rotate a hand on the beam on an acrobatic skill and two weeks later someone else will be like "why are you rotating your hand like that?!" lol
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@tinymoose now that sounds really frustrating. So sorry.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
There are a number of videos from Deb recently that speaks to the square hips to ski tips thing. What I take from it is that it is dependent on turn size as others have said. Might help to watch some more of them, but I’m not sure the message really gets super clear and Deb seems to still be playing around with the feelings while skiing here too. That’s something I think is so cool because she experiments with how things feel and changes things up. There is so much gray.. I also take that now as we need to experiment with what feels right for us too in different situations.

I can also relate to getting feedback that’s contradictory from different instructors at times (or that perhaps I didn’t really understand and took it the wrong way to start even) and/or that I have taken too far or out of context in the past. It’s easy to go from.. we’re doing this exaggerated drill to get a feeling versus now I do this all the time. Haha I’ve had some head scratchers from this for sure! Over time and doing a lot of lessons, I more recently have tried to take an approach of not holding anything as gospel and more going with the flow. Work on stuff, work on feeling stuff, and realizing/being OK with the fact that I might not be able to do or change something immediately. It’s most important to understand the surrounding concepts and things I can play with feeling over time to see how they connect with where I am right now with my unique skiing journey. Some things stick, some just don’t work for me at the moment, perhaps some never will or they will make more sense a month from now. It’s all a fluid work in progress.. and I’m finally more okay with that. Patience isn’t my strong suit and I’m a perfectionist, so this has not been an easy mindset to come by! Lol
 
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DebbieSue

Angel Diva
Anyone on this thread do Pilates? I started doing it because of my terrible posture (former competitive swimmer, and career hunched over microscope) with lower swayback (lordosis) and upper hunch (kyphosis) and then neck forward. I also have excessive anterior pelvic tilt. After 3 years of Pilates, my posture has improved, clothes fit better, I’ve regained a little height, and I can do yoga poses I never could before. But I digress….Pilates has two positions for pelvis, “neutral” and “imprint.” I am trying to ski in “imprint” (less anterior tilt) certainly while trying to carve and just goofing around and even in friendly moguls, and I think this cue is helping my stance overall and keeping me on edge in the later parts of the attempted carve turn.
Is this “imprint” cue the same as “opening” the hips?
 

mustski

Angel Diva
I’m also puzzled about “opening” the hips. Deb talks about skiing with hips “squared” not “open”. That said, I think you are on the right track with “imprint,” because that directs your pelvic bone forward. I think Deb was focusing on keeping the pelvic bone lined up with the skis.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
I’m also puzzled about “opening” the hips. Deb talks about skiing with hips “squared” not “open”. That said, I think you are on the right track with “imprint,” because that directs your pelvic bone forward. I think Deb was focusing on keeping the pelvic bone lined up with the skis.
That makes more sense to me. "Open" was a little vague and wasn't sure what that meant. I do a little Pilates with my weekly personal trainer so definitely understand the neutral vs imprint.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I’m also puzzled about “opening” the hips. Deb talks about skiing with hips “squared” not “open”. That said, I think you are on the right track with “imprint,” because that directs your pelvic bone forward. I think Deb was focusing on keeping the pelvic bone lined up with the skis.
I am referring to her demonstrated moves (which I highlighted earlier) where she pushes her pelvis forward and really stands tall over the outside ski--this is the move I am referring to that has really changed things for me. I am still working on it in flat light. I get so defensive in flat light and an offensive move on the skis feels crazy scary but is what I need to be doing. It's sure making a difference in any conditions with sunshine, though!
 

mustski

Angel Diva
I am referring to her demonstrated moves (which I highlighted earlier) where she pushes her pelvis forward and really stands tall over the outside ski--this is the move I am referring to that has really changed things for me. I am still working on it in flat light. I get so defensive in flat light and an offensive move on the skis feels crazy scary but is what I need to be doing. It's sure making a difference in any conditions with sunshine, though!
Yes. I have the same flat light issue and vertigo has made it worse. I suspect that I will have to become a fair weather skier in the near future :doh:
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I’m also puzzled about “opening” the hips. Deb talks about skiing with hips “squared” not “open”. That said, I think you are on the right track with “imprint,” because that directs your pelvic bone forward. I think Deb was focusing on keeping the pelvic bone lined up with the skis.
Several people have mentioned being uncertain what hips "open" means.
"Open" hips means the pelvis is facing the outside of the turn.
 

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