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Videos of my skiing - improvements from one year of skiing and multiple lessons

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
A bit over a year ago, I moved cities so that I lived only 1.5-2ish hours from a mountain, bought some new ski boots that weren't two sizes two big, bought a season pass, and increased my ski frequency from once every few years to going nearly every weekend of the 2019 season. I asked some strangers to take videos of me along the way and I just dug up my oldest one so I can do a "one year on..." comparison. :smile:

22 June 2019

(not the best angle, I know!)

30 June 2020

(apologies about the video quality - it was sent to me over fb messenger which did bad things to it)

I'm just really happy to see the huge difference in my skiing! This time last year, I didn't have the ability to make turns that were any quicker or shorter than the ones in that earlier video. I took quite a few lessons, improved my skiing very sloooowly, and it all started to come together. I was frustrated a lot along the way at how slow my progress was - it seemed non existent at times. I had battles with boot fit and pre-existing knee pain. But I'm so happy I kept going, because finally I'm starting to have the pretty round turns of my dreams :bounce:

P.S. - I can even see a difference between the two most recent videos I have. The final one I posted above (30 June 2020) and this one from a few days prior -
I had a lesson between these two videos and among other things, we worked on fore-aft balance. Apparently I was a bit too far forward at the very end of my turns. I was doubtful - too far forward doesn't sound like anything that could be applied to my skiing - but I did what my instructor said and I can actually see the difference and slight improvement between these two videos. :smile: I'm eager to get back on the snow and practice!
 

Bonnie2617

Certified Ski Diva
#2
Looking great! I must say I’ve been hesitant about lessons and have been mostly trying to figure it out on my own, but with this approach it has taken forever to progress. Amazing how a little tweak can make a difference in skiing!

Thanks for sharing! I love seeing videos of real skiers and day dreaming of the next time I can go skiing!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#3
I'm seeing a BIG difference. In the first video you actually tip your whole body..called banking. Second one it's gone. You have more control now.

Work on loosening up In the lower body. Your legs are your shock absorbers. A little wider stance will help with edging and might eliminate that step out I see. Think about keeping the knees apart. Go have some fun!!!!
 
#4
A little wider stance will help with edging and might eliminate that step out I see. Think about keeping the knees apart.
^^^ Really good advice.... Taos instructor in February gave me the same advice (wider stance and knees apart) as I'm a bit of an old school style skier..... with too much up/down motion...... another old school technique....
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Thank you! :smile:

I think with lessons it really helps if you can click with the instructor. Most of mine have been good because when I found a good instructor who really improved my skiing, I kept requesting them haha.

Looking great! I must say I’ve been hesitant about lessons and have been mostly trying to figure it out on my own, but with this approach it has taken forever to progress. Amazing how a little tweak can make a difference in skiing!

Thanks for sharing! I love seeing videos of real skiers and day dreaming of the next time I can go skiing!
Even with lessons it feels like it's taken forever!! Part of that is definitely because I'm not very confident or "sendy" though. But the more in control of my skis I feel, the more confident I can be. I think they have helped me a ton :smile:

I'm seeing a BIG difference. In the first video you actually tip your whole body..called banking. Second one it's gone. You have more control now.

Work on loosening up In the lower body. Your legs are your shock absorbers. A little wider stance will help with edging and might eliminate that step out I see. Think about keeping the knees apart. Go have some fun!!!!
Thanks!! I'm hoping to ski tomorrow (weather permitting....), I'll remember this. Being too stiff/not loosening up enough is a problem I've had for a long time in skiing, it's a tough one to crack. I'll keep working on it. I assume these are all common problems for newer skiers!
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I did manage to go skiing yesterday. My usual ski area was shut due to gale force winds so I went to a new-to-me place which mostly has T bars - and it was so quiet there were no lift lines and I rode every T bar on my own! Conditions were very hard pack which was an extra challenge, but a good motivation to try to stay centered so the tails of my skis didn't slide away too much! Tried to think about keeping my legs a bit wider but mostly forgot. Next time ;)

It's confidence, just go ski.
Gaining confidence is slow for sure. I've had about 40 ski days between the first and last ski videos I posted, and have gained skill in that time but it took a much longer time for that to translate into any increased confidence. Any tips for the terminally unconfident? :(
 

NZfarmgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I did manage to go skiing yesterday. My usual ski area was shut due to gale force winds so I went to a new-to-me place which mostly has T bars - and it was so quiet there were no lift lines and I rode every T bar on my own! Conditions were very hard pack which was an extra challenge, but a good motivation to try to stay centered so the tails of my skis didn't slide away too much! Tried to think about keeping my legs a bit wider but mostly forgot. Next time ;)



Gaining confidence is slow for sure. I've had about 40 ski days between the first and last ski videos I posted, and have gained skill in that time but it took a much longer time for that to translate into any increased confidence. Any tips for the terminally unconfident? :(
For confidence I say- ski with some friends that are braver than you, go where they go, and go a little faster now.
Learn a couple little tricks -like spinning 180 and then 360 on a beginner run. -great for confidence.
(balance on one ski -the outside- let the other ski be light and flat and spin-turn both feet quickly. -then change balance quickly to the other foot and keep turning to complete a 360)
or do the baby jumps in the park (-bend your knees, extend over the jump, then flex and absorb the landing-like you are jump off a chair -don't lean back , or let your feet travel out in front of you, and don't wave your arms around.) practise on a pile of snow.

For your skiing, a slightly wider stance will be helpful. Creates a more stable platform and allows room for the skis both to edge. What I see happening, is your stance narrowing at the end of the turn and then widening to start a new one. Try to maintain the same stance throughout the turn, don't let the inside foot and knee drift in, rather, actively turn that leg as well as the outside leg. Think about the inside foot drawing a slightly smaller radius curve than the outside, whilst balancing early on the outside, enabling a lighter inside ski which can pivot easily.
As your instructor said -being centrally balanced (stacked) on the skis, allows for more even pressure along the whole length of the ski, creating more control, we can be too far back, but also too far forward.
Focus on the ankle joint flexing to achieve this, and don't over bend at the hip, feel the whole length of your foot connecting to the bottom of your boot and to the snow.

You look good, Go faster now! and keep up with the lessons.
Mt Hutt is great. sounds like you were at Porters?
 
#10
I am impressed! Our ski year was cut short this year, but I made progress, too (lessons!) and I was very pleased with it.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
For confidence I say- ski with some friends that are braver than you, go where they go, and go a little faster now.
Learn a couple little tricks -like spinning 180 and then 360 on a beginner run. -great for confidence.
(balance on one ski -the outside- let the other ski be light and flat and spin-turn both feet quickly. -then change balance quickly to the other foot and keep turning to complete a 360)
or do the baby jumps in the park (-bend your knees, extend over the jump, then flex and absorb the landing-like you are jump off a chair -don't lean back , or let your feet travel out in front of you, and don't wave your arms around.) practise on a pile of snow.
Ah yes well you've identified what might be the main problem with my skiing confidence (as well as some non-ski related injury history which made me a more nervous skier anyway) - all of my ski friends actually live in the North Island of NZ, where i used to live, and none of my local friends here ski (or board). So I ski alone 95% of the time. I kinda need tips for confidence that don't involve any other people as I'm not sure how to summon any ski friends at all, let alone ones better than me! :laughter:

I can try those other tips though. I hate even going over rollers because it's so easy to land too far back, and I always figured I'm not a park skier so I don't need to try. I guess it's good for mixing it up though :smile:



For your skiing, a slightly wider stance will be helpful. Creates a more stable platform and allows room for the skis both to edge. What I see happening, is your stance narrowing at the end of the turn and then widening to start a new one. Try to maintain the same stance throughout the turn, don't let the inside foot and knee drift in, rather, actively turn that leg as well as the outside leg. Think about the inside foot drawing a slightly smaller radius curve than the outside, whilst balancing early on the outside, enabling a lighter inside ski which can pivot easily.
As your instructor said -being centrally balanced (stacked) on the skis, allows for more even pressure along the whole length of the ski, creating more control, we can be too far back, but also too far forward.
Focus on the ankle joint flexing to achieve this, and don't over bend at the hip, feel the whole length of your foot connecting to the bottom of your boot and to the snow.

You look good, Go faster now! and keep up with the lessons.
Mt Hutt is great. sounds like you were at Porters?
Thanks! It seems like I'm definitely getting a few votes for my stance being too narrow. I haven't been able to take any videos since that last one but I'll just have to consciously think about it and hope that I'm kinda doing the right thing! I'm definitely still working on being centrally balanced, too. I feel like I have to pull myself forward after every turn so I don't fall behind. It feels like doing mini ab crunches sometimes, haha.

I do intend to keep up with the lessons, they're just pricey so I'm trying to get in as much skiing practice as I can before going back for a tune up, to optimise the time I get!

And yes! Porters was the other field I went to. I mostly ski Hutt but will probably continue to hit up Porters when Hutt is closed.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
@fgor you are so lucky to be able to ski this year. I expect my upcoming season is not going to happen for me here in the US, and that I won't even walk into my ski school's locker room even once. I plan on avoiding ski lodges altogether unless somehow a vaccine becomes available to me and my family.

You second video shows strong improvement from your first. In that earlier video you were starting your turns by turning your shoulders and arms first, then leaning in the direction of the turn rather strongly to get your skis edged on the snow. Those things work, but there are better ways to start turns and edge the skis.

Using the shoulders and torso to start turns can throw a skier off balance since the heavy part of the body, the torso, is always turning one way or the other. It also limits the quickness of the turns, because that torso will only turn at a comfortable speed. It also only turns so far, then stops.

Leaning the whole body sideways to edge the skis can be overdone, so that the inside ski gets too much weight and the outside ski, which should be holding most of the weight, skids outward, losing its controlling power for the turn. That was happening in that first video.

Contratulations on getting rid of the upper body rotation to start the turn and on reducing the whole body lean!

In the second, more recent video, your shoulders and arms turn at the same time as your skis, not first. This is an important improvement. Instead of dragging your skis around by rotating your shoulders and torso first, it looks like you are now starting your turns by extending/lengthening/straightening your new outside leg, right? If I'm right, then you have shifted the initiation movement to your legs. That's a BIG BREAKTHROUGH!

Using the legs to start your turns, doing one thing with the new inside leg (shortening/flexing it) and another with the new outside leg (lengthening/extending it), makes a huge difference in skiing. Turns started by legs can now be shaped to be short or long depending on how fast or slow you do those leg movements. Changes can be made on the fly to avoid obstacles (ex: a skier cuts in front of you) without getting the heavy and sluggish mass of the torso involved.

A new feeling of security should be emerging with this new means of turn management and control focused on the legs. Enjoy that feeling as it grows.

Your torso still leans a bit into your turns as you edge your skis. Are you aware of this? There's a way to change that part of the torso's involvement. Doing this new thing will increase your sense of security even more. Work on holding your torso, from the hips/pelvis up to the shoulders, more upright. You may feel a pinch at your waist where the more vertical torso meets the tilted legs. That pinch will tell you you're succeeding in reducing or removing the torso's inside lean.

The result of this upright torso (aka angulation) will be that your outside ski will get to carry more of your "weight" through the part of the turn where you feel the strongest forces. This is good. Getting weight off that inside ski and onto the outside ski may be the next big breakthrough for you. Think of skiing as being like walking. One foot at a time bears the weight.

Because I think you are ready to direct more of the weight (or pressure) to your outside ski, I disagree with others who are saying to widen your stance. Widening the stance so both feet hold your weight and you feel more secure is what beginners do when they ski in a wedge. You are beyond that. You don't need more weight on that inside ski. You're ready for less. Your stance width looks just fine as it is.

While it may sound scary to ski from outside ski to outside ski, from one foot to the other, with less weight on the inside ski, it won't be. Once you are comfortable holding your torso more vertical, once you are feeling that pinch at your side, and once you are regularly feeling that outside foot/ski/leg holding most of your weight and supporting you, your sense of security in your turns will grow even stronger. Confidence grows from technical improvements. Savor it.

When your outside ski skids outward now and loses its grip, it's probably because your are leaning inward too much with your torso. Get vertical! Move shoulders up higher, feel the pinch. The skid, and the accompanying insecure feeling, should disappear.

Know that this is the way to ski strongly, with legs and feet controlling most everything that goes on and the torso offering support but not control.

Skiing alone, without friends, can actually help a skier improve faster. I bet your friends didn't want to slow down and do drills, did they? When you are skiing alone, you can work at your own speed on the runs you choose. You won't be put in scary situations where you are flying down the hill using your old ineffective skillset, trying to keep up with people who ski faster than you and thinking "this isn't safe." I'm all for skiing as slow as possible on low pitch terrain that isn't intimidating, stopping to push the reset button when you need to, and skiing the same run over and over until the thing you're trying to get right becomes second nature. This is the best way to improve fast.

Keep up the good work.
And congrats on all the improvements!
 
Last edited:
#16
@fgor : when you ski alone, are you sticking to the same trail(s) or moving all over the mountain? The advantage of staying in familiar territory for at least a few runs is that you get to know the tricky spots. You may be thinking that the idea is to avoid those spots. Perhaps to start with. But once you know where one is, consider stopping well above it, and then do the tricky section deliberately. May only be a turn or two.

My home mountain is pretty small. But what I learned by having lessons was how to use the available terrain to practice. There are lots of different ways to go done a blue run. Also some drills that I can only practice properly on very flat green terrain even as an advanced skier, like a 360.

When my daughter was learning to drive, she usually didn't want to drive unless it was perfect conditions. Small roads that she knew, little traffic, no rain, and daylight. Needless to say, after a while I made her drive in less than ideal conditions at least for a short period so that she would gain experience while learning.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
@fgor you are so lucky to be able to ski this year. I expect my upcoming season is not going to happen for me here in the US, and that I won't even walk into my ski school's locker room even once. I plan on avoiding ski lodges altogether unless somehow a vaccine becomes available to me and my family.

You second video shows strong improvement from your first. In that earlier video you were starting your turns by turning your shoulders and arms first, then leaning in the direction of the turn rather strongly to get your skis edged on the snow. Those things work, but there are better ways to start turns and edge the skis.

Using the shoulders and torso to start turns can throw a skier off balance since the heavy part of the body, the torso, is always turning one way or the other. It also limits the quickness of the turns, because that torso will only turn at a comfortable speed. It also only turns so far, then stops.

Leaning the whole body sideways to edge the skis can be overdone, so that the inside ski gets too much weight and the outside ski, which should be holding most of the weight, skids outward, losing its controlling power for the turn. That was happening in that first video.

Contratulations on getting rid of the upper body rotation to start the turn and on reducing the whole body lean!

In the second, more recent video, your shoulders and arms turn at the same time as your skis, not first. This is an important improvement. Instead of dragging your skis around by rotating your shoulders and torso first, it looks like you are now starting your turns by extending/lengthening/straightening your new outside leg, right? If I'm right, then you have shifted the initiation movement to your legs. That's a BIG BREAKTHROUGH!

Using the legs to start your turns, doing one thing with the new inside leg (shortening/flexing it) and another with the new outside leg (lengthening/extending it), makes a huge difference in skiing. Turns started by legs can now be shaped to be short or long depending on how fast or slow you do those leg movements. Changes can be made on the fly to avoid obstacles (ex: a skier cuts in front of you) without getting the heavy and sluggish mass of the torso involved.

A new feeling of security should be emerging with this new means of turn management and control focused on the legs. Enjoy that feeling as it grows.

Your torso still leans a bit into your turns as you edge your skis. Are you aware of this? There's a way to change that part of the torso's involvement. Doing this new thing will increase your sense of security even more. Work on holding your torso, from the hips/pelvis up to the shoulders, more upright. You may feel a pinch at your waist where the more vertical torso meets the tilted legs. That pinch will tell you you're succeeding in reducing or removing the torso's inside lean.

The result of this upright torso (aka angulation) will be that your outside ski will get to carry more of your "weight" through the part of the turn where you feel the strongest forces. This is good. Getting weight off that inside ski and onto the outside ski may be the next big breakthrough for you. Think of skiing as being like walking. One foot at a time bears the weight.

Because I think you are ready to direct more of the weight (or pressure) to your outside ski, I disagree with others who are saying to widen your stance. Widening the stance so both feet hold your weight and you feel more secure is what beginners do when they ski in a wedge. You are beyond that. You don't need more weight on that inside ski. You're ready for less. Your stance width looks just fine as it is.

While it may sound scary to ski from outside ski to outside ski, from one foot to the other, with less weight on the inside ski, it won't be. Once you are comfortable holding your torso more vertical, once you are feeling that pinch at your side, and once you are regularly feeling that outside foot/ski/leg holding most of your weight and supporting you, your sense of security in your turns will grow even stronger. Confidence grows from technical improvements. Savor it.

When your outside ski skids outward now and loses its grip, it's probably because your are leaning inward too much with your torso. Get vertical! Move shoulders up higher, feel the pinch. The skid, and the accompanying insecure feeling, should disappear.

Know that this is the way to ski strongly, with legs and feet controlling most everything that goes on and the torso offering support but not control.

Skiing alone, without friends, can actually help a skier improve faster. I bet your friends didn't want to slow down and do drills, did they? When you are skiing alone, you can work at your own speed on the runs you choose. You won't be put in scary situations where you are flying down the hill using your old ineffective skillset, trying to keep up with people who ski faster than you and thinking "this isn't safe." I'm all for skiing as slow as possible on low pitch terrain that isn't intimidating, stopping to push the reset button when you need to, and skiing the same run over and over until the thing you're trying to get right becomes second nature. This is the best way to improve fast.

Keep up the good work.
And congrats on all the improvements!
Thank you so much for the very detailed reply and analysis! I think I'll have to print this out and bring it with me when I next ski (should be tomorrow...!).

And that's true that skiing alone lets me spend more time doing drills (and I should make the most of this). I had the opportunity to ski with a friend who was visiting from out of town recently; I tried to show him pivot slips (a drill which an instructor showed me and is really tough for me, there's a specific spot in my top-to-bottom run where I like to do them) and he tried one and gave up and skied down normally ahead of me :P

While I'm at it - any tips for those? I lack video unfortunately but I can't seem to do them without going into a huge wedge. My instructor said I should be pivoting on the flats of my skis but they're tricky and the inside ski really doesn't want to play along!

Looking forward to gaining even more control and pressure on my outside ski :smile:
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
@fgor : when you ski alone, are you sticking to the same trail(s) or moving all over the mountain? The advantage of staying in familiar territory for at least a few runs is that you get to know the tricky spots. You may be thinking that the idea is to avoid those spots. Perhaps to start with. But once you know where one is, consider stopping well above it, and then do the tricky section deliberately. May only be a turn or two.

My home mountain is pretty small. But what I learned by having lessons was how to use the available terrain to practice. There are lots of different ways to go done a blue run. Also some drills that I can only practice properly on very flat green terrain even as an advanced skier, like a 360.

When my daughter was learning to drive, she usually didn't want to drive unless it was perfect conditions. Small roads that she knew, little traffic, no rain, and daylight. Needless to say, after a while I made her drive in less than ideal conditions at least for a short period so that she would gain experience while learning.
Well, I don't really find there's a ton of variety at my local mountain. I sort of have one top-to-bottom run which I do almost the same each time, with some variants:

000782-mthutt-maps-lr.jpg

A typical run for me is to go up the summit chair, go down hubers/upper fascination (they are the same run at the top, follow the hubers red line down to where it ends - the final part of it is a short steep drop which I like to do pivot slips down because a couple of instructors have picked that spot to work on them - then go down broadway/johnny doles (its almost the same run and is joined at some points.... very wide). Because it's so wide there are a few ways you can ski it including dropping down into the easy part of the exhibition bowl (which is also really only blue as long as you enter it from the side).

Most of the other blue/red runs I don't really do because of cat tracks. Going down cat tracks really makes my knees hurt so I try to avoid them. Morning glory is fine but the first part of it is just a cat track that runs down until that black run splits off it. Virgin mile is a terrifying long and narrow cat track with steep drop offs at some parts. International express is a long cat track (and the run International is so prone to being icy and scraped off that it's seldom any fun for me because I don't know how to ski icy scraped stuff - if I really want to do International, I'll normally go down the first part of the green trail Highway 72 instead, which runs parallel, to avoid the cat track). Sometimes I'll ski upper fascination then go across to ski chair bowl.

Upper fascination/hubers has always been a challenging run to me because it is steep, I've only got down it a couple of times without stopping at least once on the way down. I do it every single run anyway because I hate cat tracks just THAT much. So it's kinda easier to me (and easier on my knees!!!!!!!) than doing Morning Glory.

I'm not sure what the takeaway here is though! Doing more cat track runs just means my ski days will be that much shorter because my knees can't take too much of it (obviously getting better at cat tracks would be brilliant but so far it's just not happening), and when I avoid runs due to icy scraped conditions it's because they're scary and I have no idea how to ski that stuff; I just end up side slipping down the worst parts. Hmmmm.

IMG_20190728_144510.jpg

I could probably drop into the blue part of the exhibition bowl more often though; I often find it kinda annoying and weird to ski in because it slopes up both sides, but that's probably good to get more experience in!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#19
While I'm at it - any tips for those? I lack video unfortunately but I can't seem to do them without going into a huge wedge. My instructor said I should be pivoting on the flats of my skis but they're tricky and the inside ski really doesn't want to play along!

Looking forward to gaining even more control and pressure on my outside ski :smile:
Start by rolling both knees downhill. The skis should flatten out then...pivot.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Start by rolling both knees downhill. The skis should flatten out then...pivot.
Ooh, I hadn't thought about my knees while doing this. Thanks, I'll try that!

It's funny, I can side slip completely intuitively, but my brain just does something different while trying to pivot slip..!
 

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