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This Deb Armstrong Video Transformed my Skiing!

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Going back to the Pilates neutral spine & imprinted spine concepts, it seems like the latter is the same as the 'push the bush' concept, i.e. a slight posterior pelvic tilt.

Edit: lots of great content in this thread, it'll take a while to get through & process it.
That’s what I was thinking and tried it out today on a huge bowl at Breckenridge at 12,500 ft. Not groomed but the most beautiful long bowl run.. and I mean long. Perfect snow!
 

mustski

Angel Diva
Do you get feedback that something is amiss with your setup versus your technique, or are you able to just feel that yourself? I think I usually err on the side of it being me and things I need to work through, and I sort of hate tinkering too much with equipment because it just turns into a seemingly never ending can of worms from previous iterations where I have obsessed over the equipment piece. So, curious how others think of this as well.
I definitely notice differences in gear and it does affect my skiing. I am in Big Bear right now and I am skiing my old boots which are not canted. My first 2 or 3 runs, I couldn't figure out what was going on until I remembered that these boots aren't canted. I adjusted my skiing and everything worked fine. It's the same as when I ski a binding with a large delta angle. I have trouble getting forward at first, but figure it out. When it's us ... it is true across all gear and/or at all times in certain terrain. When it's gear, it goes away when we change gear.

I know ladies who hate being canted. I suspect they are just used to skiing without the canting assist. Philpug canted my new boots and, at first, it was strange. Now I like it. It makes it easier for me to make J turns in both directions. I used to only be able to make them to the right.

@liquidfeet thanks for explaining "open hips" for me. You are an excellent communicator!
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I definitely notice differences in gear and it does affect my skiing. I am in Big Bear right now and I am skiing my old boots which are not canted. My first 2 or 3 runs, I couldn't figure out what was going on until I remembered that these boots aren't canted. I adjusted my skiing and everything worked fine. It's the same as when I ski a binding with a large delta angle. I have trouble getting forward at first, but figure it out. When it's us ... it is true across all gear and/or at all times in certain terrain. When it's gear, it goes away when we change gear.

I know ladies who hate being canted. I suspect they are just used to skiing without the canting assist. Philpug canted my new boots and, at first, it was strange. Now I like it. It makes it easier for me to make J turns in both directions. I used to only be able to make them to the right.

@liquidfeet thanks for explaining "open hips" for me. You are an excellent communicator!
Yes, I can certainly relate to those ideas and think most people who have skied for a while will have figured these preferences and/or needs out over time. Or if they are lucky and without wonky anatomy.. maybe not haha. I'm thinking about more obscure gear issues than the norm when I was inquiring here I guess.

I know I prefer a negative delta binding ramp angle, but that I can get by with a low delta and have more trouble with a higher delta. I know I can ski with uncanted boots but a little canting does make certain things easier. I know I absolutely cannot deal with high heel lifts but that apparently, I am currently liking very small ones in these specific boots. I know I always need extra stuff added to my instep area because no boot has a low enough instep height for me. I know what a bad and great ski tune feels like and I know what type of ski I like and don't in general. I know too much forward lean in my boots is bad for me, and spoilers as well. I know exactly where my boots need to be stretched to begin with now, versus how 99% of bootfitters would treat my issues if I didn't and that they would take the opposite approach of what I actually need and that opposite approach absolutely doesn't work. I know how ski boots should actually feel and that Booster straps are awesome additions. I know I need custom footbeds and that I need heating in my boots. I know I am like the princess and the pea, I can absolutely discern when something is different and that any tiny changes can make a big impact both positive or negative in many cases for me.. which is another reason I am wary of doing too many things that are irreversible especially.

After skiing for the better part of 17 years now and having wonky foot and leg bone ratio anatomy, it is not overly surprising to me that I found a lot of this out years ago, and that a lot of it was through a lot of trial and error that was absolutely miserable at the time. Often with the things I was trying not making things better unfortunately. And yet, even with all of these things I know and can feel, I still wonder about gear stuff at times and whether that is a cause of an issue I am seeing or not. And it sounds like other advanced skiers have things like that pop up as well. So, I am curious where that line is drawn for those who do know a lot about their gear needs and preferences already and have gone through lots of these trials and tribulations. Is it ever somewhat done? Or is it always an ever-lingering question? And if we can work through some of the issues with technique anyway, is that sometimes not the better approach or what our focus should actually be on versus forever searching for the magic silver bullet fix in equipment? Barring new technology anyway. I don't really know; I can only go by my own experience and current thoughts on it, but I do still have curiosity about the way others think about it, especially those who might be further along on the journey than I am.
 

tartegnin

Certified Ski 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!
Yes this! I was also confused by the concept but it started to make sense on the snow when I squared my hips to my skis and provided counter from the waist - it was a small difference but I realized I’ve been rotating using my hips in the mix and there is definitely a difference when you take them out of the equation. It’s small but makes a difference centering over your skis through the turn.

I’ve also looked at how I do rotations at the gym to exercise the obliques - I was definitely rotating with my hips and even thighs and there is a real difference rotating just from the waist. You don’t get as far around but you feel it more!
 

MaryVA

Certified Ski Diva
As promised, I do have a report from the Ski Strong clinic at Steamboat this week. My detailed assessment is as follows: “WOW!!”

As I’ve posted in the past, I’ve taken a LOT of lessons over the past several years since I decided to get serious about skiing. Nothing even remotely approximates the level of instruction, analysis, and personalized attention that Ski Strong delivered. NOTHING.

I won’t get into the nuances of my own performance “issues,” since skiing is so individualized. Everyone, naturally, will have their own unique quirks, questions, and quandaries. I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone with my own poorly expressed analyses. Suffice it to say that I have my homework to do but I can now approach it with a much better understanding of my weaknesses and strengths. I also made several revelatory connections about form and function, i.e., “light bulb moments,” that I’m confident will stick with me as I work on improving.

As to the program in general, we had 5 women in our group (originally, we also were expecting a “Steve” who turned out to be fictitious ). A super group all-around. Very supportive and nonjudgemental – as we all would expect from a group of dedicated women skiers! One standout – and I, by no means, am suggesting that other instructors or clinics were lacking or deficient – but unlike any other lesson program I’ve been in, Deb genuinely wanted to get to know us all. There was no artifice or “marketing” – she clearly loves people and is truly passionate about helping everyone improve their skiing.

Again, I’m not going to get into details or this could go on ad nauseum. Let me just say that every one of us got oodles of individualized attention and instruction from Deb. Those of you who’ve watched her videos already know that Deb is a superior teacher and communicator. What you see in the videos is EXACTLY what you get. Down-to-earth, honest, clear, and often clairvoyant. No negativity – just incisive instruction and energetic (I would go so far as to say “joyful”) encouragement.

Lizzie, a young instructor (well, young in my aging mind) from the Steamboat Ski School accompanied our group as “sweeper extraordinaire” and had a boatload of helpful insights and nuggets of advice herself. She is a gem and is learning from the best. Deb occasionally provided tips to Lizzie as well. I’ll tell ya, if I could ski like Lizzie my life would be complete, so knowing that even the experts have stuff to work on gives me hope.

So, if I had to nail things down to one main takeaway from Deb, it would be that “skiing is lifelong learning.” Our experience, our attitude, our age, our fitness, our equipment, the conditions, and the terrain all dictate and demand different things to/from us and are constantly in flux. That is what makes this sport so amazing, challenging and exceedingly FUN!

Now on to the last tidbit – you all asked me to ask Deb about “the ‘hips’ question” re the video with Scott @ Taos. I did ask and she provided me with an excellent explanation. In the end, however, I know that I don’t have the expertise to relay it to you all accurately. So . . . drumroll . . . when Deb returns from a well-deserved break, she intends to become a “Diva” and give us all the REAL lowdown on the hips question. Stay tuned to this channel, Divas!
This sounds amazing! I would love to ski with Deb one day, and have been toying with the idea of one of her clinics as a 40th birthday present to myself next year. I'm curious about the
As promised, I do have a report from the Ski Strong clinic at Steamboat this week. My detailed assessment is as follows: “WOW!!”

As I’ve posted in the past, I’ve taken a LOT of lessons over the past several years since I decided to get serious about skiing. Nothing even remotely approximates the level of instruction, analysis, and personalized attention that Ski Strong delivered. NOTHING.

I won’t get into the nuances of my own performance “issues,” since skiing is so individualized. Everyone, naturally, will have their own unique quirks, questions, and quandaries. I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone with my own poorly expressed analyses. Suffice it to say that I have my homework to do but I can now approach it with a much better understanding of my weaknesses and strengths. I also made several revelatory connections about form and function, i.e., “light bulb moments,” that I’m confident will stick with me as I work on improving.

As to the program in general, we had 5 women in our group (originally, we also were expecting a “Steve” who turned out to be fictitious ). A super group all-around. Very supportive and nonjudgemental – as we all would expect from a group of dedicated women skiers! One standout – and I, by no means, am suggesting that other instructors or clinics were lacking or deficient – but unlike any other lesson program I’ve been in, Deb genuinely wanted to get to know us all. There was no artifice or “marketing” – she clearly loves people and is truly passionate about helping everyone improve their skiing.

Again, I’m not going to get into details or this could go on ad nauseum. Let me just say that every one of us got oodles of individualized attention and instruction from Deb. Those of you who’ve watched her videos already know that Deb is a superior teacher and communicator. What you see in the videos is EXACTLY what you get. Down-to-earth, honest, clear, and often clairvoyant. No negativity – just incisive instruction and energetic (I would go so far as to say “joyful”) encouragement.

Lizzie, a young instructor (well, young in my aging mind) from the Steamboat Ski School accompanied our group as “sweeper extraordinaire” and had a boatload of helpful insights and nuggets of advice herself. She is a gem and is learning from the best. Deb occasionally provided tips to Lizzie as well. I’ll tell ya, if I could ski like Lizzie my life would be complete, so knowing that even the experts have stuff to work on gives me hope.

So, if I had to nail things down to one main takeaway from Deb, it would be that “skiing is lifelong learning.” Our experience, our attitude, our age, our fitness, our equipment, the conditions, and the terrain all dictate and demand different things to/from us and are constantly in flux. That is what makes this sport so amazing, challenging and exceedingly FUN!

Now on to the last tidbit – you all asked me to ask Deb about “the ‘hips’ question” re the video with Scott @ Taos. I did ask and she provided me with an excellent explanation. In the end, however, I know that I don’t have the expertise to relay it to you all accurately. So . . . drumroll . . . when Deb returns from a well-deserved break, she intends to become a “Diva” and give us all the REAL lowdown on the hips question. Stay tuned to this channel, Divas!
This sounds amazing! And I really hope that Deb starts posting on here!

I've been toying with the idea of a Deb clinic as a 40th birthday present to myself next year. Can you share a bit more about the make-up of the clinic participants in terms of age range, skiing ability/style, etc.? You mentioned that there were five women in your group, but was that the entire clinic, or were there multiple groups that Deb then cycled between (if it was just the five of you and you had Deb as your full-time instructor every day, that's amazing!)? Thanks for sharing your experience!
 

mustski

Angel Diva
I tried squaring my hios today, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I think part of it is that I prefer short or medium turn to long turns. It threw off my rhythm. Probably if I stuck with it, I would have found a sweet spot but, overall, I found it awkward and it made my skiing stiff.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
It actually worked for me while skiing in Breckenridge IF I thought about it. Kept me more upright as I tend to ski old school with lots of up/down movement. Taos instructor indicated “we no longer ski like that “…. You don’t need to expend that much energy…..
 

BlizzardBabe

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've been toying with the idea of a Deb clinic as a 40th birthday present to myself next year. Can you share a bit more about the make-up of the clinic participants in terms of age range, skiing ability/style, etc.? You mentioned that there were five women in your group, but was that the entire clinic, or were there multiple groups that Deb then cycled between (if it was just the five of you and you had Deb as your full-time instructor every day, that's amazing!)? Thanks for sharing your experience!

It was amazing, @MaryVA .

The max number in the group was set at six, but due to a ski school snafu we only had five ("Mysterious Steve" was our invisible number six). Yes, the five of us spent the entire clinic w/Deb. There was a terrific amount of individualized instruction. I swear the woman has eyes in the back of her helmet. I don't know how she managed to observe us all when she was leading, but she did. She also did a good bit of skiing one-on-one with each of us - whether it was us following her, or her skiing behind us giving instruction while we progressed down the hill.

We also had a session at lunch on the second day where Deb diagrammed what I'd call the "architecture" of a turn. She had no problem w/us recording it, so I have a video of that discussion. It is like watching a private screening of one of her vids! Another instructor from the ski school, Lizzie Forman, accompanied us the entire time as well. Lizzie was super & was able to provide great input and analysis to everyone.
Our group probably ranged in age from late 30's or early 40's to me, at age 64. There was one woman, Paula, who may have been a bit older than me, but I was definitely near the top of the heap as far as age goes.

Deb apparently does a beginner, intermediate, and advanced clinic each year. The ski school is planning to expand "Ski Strong" next season - both at Taos and Steamboat, so there will be more opportunity to find a good date and location. We were all fairly comparable skiers, so there was no issue w/anyone lagging. Each of us had skills in different areas, e.g., I'm good with ice and edging (think mid-Atlantic ice rink), and steeper pitches, but I'm awful in bumps and trees. Others had more proficiency in those areas but had difficulty with super-firm conditions and steeper trails. Nevertheless, I feel pretty confident that Deb and Lizzie would've been able to handle a wider disparity in skills than what our group had.

I hope you get to do a clinic next season, @MaryVA . I'm definitely going to try and do one again if it works out w/my schedule.
 

MaryVA

Certified Ski Diva
It was amazing, @MaryVA .

The max number in the group was set at six, but due to a ski school snafu we only had five ("Mysterious Steve" was our invisible number six). Yes, the five of us spent the entire clinic w/Deb. There was a terrific amount of individualized instruction. I swear the woman has eyes in the back of her helmet. I don't know how she managed to observe us all when she was leading, but she did. She also did a good bit of skiing one-on-one with each of us - whether it was us following her, or her skiing behind us giving instruction while we progressed down the hill.

We also had a session at lunch on the second day where Deb diagrammed what I'd call the "architecture" of a turn. She had no problem w/us recording it, so I have a video of that discussion. It is like watching a private screening of one of her vids! Another instructor from the ski school, Lizzie Forman, accompanied us the entire time as well. Lizzie was super & was able to provide great input and analysis to everyone.
Our group probably ranged in age from late 30's or early 40's to me, at age 64. There was one woman, Paula, who may have been a bit older than me, but I was definitely near the top of the heap as far as age goes.

Deb apparently does a beginner, intermediate, and advanced clinic each year. The ski school is planning to expand "Ski Strong" next season - both at Taos and Steamboat, so there will be more opportunity to find a good date and location. We were all fairly comparable skiers, so there was no issue w/anyone lagging. Each of us had skills in different areas, e.g., I'm good with ice and edging (think mid-Atlantic ice rink), and steeper pitches, but I'm awful in bumps and trees. Others had more proficiency in those areas but had difficulty with super-firm conditions and steeper trails. Nevertheless, I feel pretty confident that Deb and Lizzie would've been able to handle a wider disparity in skills than what our group had.

I hope you get to do a clinic next season, @MaryVA . I'm definitely going to try and do one again if it works out w/my schedule.
Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely going to try to do a clinic with her next year, assuming the available weeks work with my schedule. It sounds like you and I are pretty similar skiers, actually. I grew up skiing in Western NY and my home mountain these days is in Northern Virginia, so I have no problem with steep and icy conditions and am solid on my edges, but have a lot less experience in bumps, powder, trees, heavy crud and all the other conditions that you're less likely to see back east. Until an instructor at Alta a few years back critiqued my skiing as being "too edge-dominant," I don't think it had ever even occurred to me to think about actively utilizing any other part of my skis, but it's something I've been trying to work on (with mixed success) in the years since. Getting personalized feedback from Deb on how I'm doing would be incredible.
 

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