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Tips for Skiing Backward/Switch


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi Divas!

I'm sure *most* of us like to go forwards...but I was wondering if anyone has any tips for skiing backward? It's a goal of mine this season to get more comfortable riding switch. I ride switch on my snowboard, but I feel odd that I can't do it on my skis despite getting 40+ days on my skis...and like 5 on my snowboard! I don't have full twin tip skis (mostly cause I don't like the feel of center-mounted skis), but I do have partial twin tips.

Thoughts? Tips? Prayers for my body when I inevitably take a huge digger?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I asked DD "how to ski switch" she said "Mom I dont think you should" then changed it to ok I'll teach you. Big difference in skiing switch in a competition vs just trying on an easy green lol.

I found this video which is basic but the stance is key.
How To Ski Switch - YouTube


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
You can have twin tips not center mounted. Mine are mounted at the recommended line the factory put in.

Its a wierd freaky feeling but cool and fun once you get comfortable i like carving switch.

Start slow. Definitely gotta have bent knees because if you're standing too tall when you look over your shoulder you'll start turning when you dont wanna. I was taught to put pressure on your heels...its the same as going forwards you just need to be able to switch the brain to backwards. Hehe..i did that on purpose. Things that help me are i point the leading shoulder and elbow "forward" like you're putting your wallet in your back pocket. The other arm is held out to the "back" like balancing. All the other regular concepts of normal forwards skiing apply . You want to try to be able to look over both shoulders but one will feel easier than the other


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
To learn to ski switch:
1. Begin by skiing backwards in a wedge. Goal one: with equal pressure on both feet, slide straight down the hill.
2. Repeat #1. Bend one leg. You will turn to a stop. Bend the other leg; you will turn in the other direction to a stop.
3. Link turns, working on rhythm.
4. Narrow the wedge by sliding in the bent-leg ski. That's your inside ski and leg.
5. Work up to making turns with parallel skis between turns. This is a reverse wedge-christie.
6. Work up from wedge-christies to parallel turns. To start a parallel turn, lighten that new inside ski by bending the leg, tip the ski onto its little toe edge, and let the outside ski ride you around.
7. Overview: It's the inside ski/leg's job to match the outside ski between turns. It's also the new inside leg's job to start the next turn by bending. In fact, it's the inside leg/ski's job to control the turn from start to finish. As it should be in forward turns too.

Gear: any ski will do, even one with a race tail, if you are on hard snow going slow on low pitch terrain. The tail won't dig in.

Vision: turning your shoulders and head to see where you are going will affect the turn. Figure this out as you go. Be careful; you will be skiing blind sometimes.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
There are several ways to learn to do a flat 360. My favorite is this one:

Learning the fundamental building blocks of a flat spin
1. Ski forward down the hill. Slide/pull back one foot but not the hip above it. Let's say pull the left foot back. This should start a left turn or a left rotation all by itself. Pulling that foot back involves bending the left leg a little. It puts pressure on that ski's tip. The pressure will produce drag and cause you to turn or rotate to the left, with most of your weight on the other ski. You may get a turn to the left with leftward travel, or you may get a rotation to the left without that travel.
2. Mess with the effect the pulling-back causes to strengthen the rotation and diminish the travel. See how far you can get that rotation to take you. With work, you should be able to get yourself pointing uphill.
3. Slide backwards and point your skis downhill again.
4. Repeat this sequence in both directions over and over until you can point your skis uphill in both directions, then return to pointing them downhill. All the while you will be moving downhill. Your goal is to eliminate left-right travel.
5. Bending your ankles (closing them) to move your body more forward aka down the hill (think: ski jumper) for the first half of each of these helps. This puts your weight over the fronts of your skis, so they will pivot over their shovels.
6. Conversely, open your ankles to move your body weight downhill over the backs of your skis for the second half when you are rotating to point skis downhill again. Leaning backwards over your skis feels odd; work to get familiar with this. The skis will pivot back around on the tails.
7. When you get this going, you will be pivoting on the front of the right ski to rotate left to point uphill. Your weight will mostly be on that one ski. And when you pivot to point downhill, you'll be pivoting over the tail of the right ski.

Putting those building blocks together to get the spin to work
8. You now know how to do both parts of a full 360 in either direction, although you haven't done one yet. The first part of the left pivot (pull left foot back while closing the ankle to move weight forward, causing a pivot over front of right ski to point uphill) needs to be combined with the second part of the right pivot (lean back, pivot skis around to point downhill, standing on left ski).
9. Summary: for left spin, stand on right ski for first part, stand on left ski for second part. Also: stand on front of right ski for first part, stand on back of left ski for second part.
10. I say to myself out loud on a left spin (to keep me from getting mixed up on which ski to stand on): right ski, left ski. That helps enormously.
11. So when you are pointing uphill, switch which ski you are standing on, lean back, and around you'll go using the angular momentum you've built up. You need to be spinning without travel for this to work well. Pause, and you stall.
12. Getting the skis to point back downhill is the hard part where mostly everyone stalls out. It takes adults a while to figure this out. Kids just get it. So annoying.
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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7 above: I got right and left reversed for part of that. It should read:
7. When you get this going, you will be pivoting on the front of the right ski to rotate left to point uphill. Your weight will mostly be on that right ski. And when you pivot to point downhill, you'll be pivoting over the tail of the right left ski.

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