Drill Tips and drills for for-aft balance?

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Mendieta, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Hi all

    At this point, I am an intermediate whose main learning focus is on staying aggressively positioned through the turn, as opposed to falling to the back seat.

    In the interest of keeping the OP, short, focused and Ski School centered, I wonder what our dear instructors and coaches here tend to work on, with their athletes/guests, for for/ aft balance. It would also be nice to hear from folks what they work on with their instructors and coaches.

    I am hoping we can keep this thread as a high quality, instructional thread with positive, factual suggestions, not just for me, but for the many other people reading in the future.

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. T-Square

    T-Square Terry Moderator

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    Try some short skis. About 120-130 cm. If you get back you have instant feedback, the tips will chatter like hell. (Get too far back and you will be sitting.) I spent almost a season on 120s; great training and fun.

    Also, lift the inside ski tail keeping the tip on the snow. You have to be forward to do it properly.
     
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  3. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Good advice but better yet, join a clinic on or just go out and rent for a few hours, a pair of ski blades.
     
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  4. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Yes, that one I did, with Chris O., instructor at Rose - it wasn't very easy but it was almost a season ago! I should try again. Another recommendation from more than one instructor was to jump on both skis while on flats (catwalks, for instance). You need to be well centered to jump up and land. I think thousand steps is also good because you can't do it unless centered. One problem is that I can't do thousand steps in a steep :)

    Frankly, in moderate slopes I think I've been much better about forward stance, but trickier snow (crud, slush, bumps) or steep (fast blues or groomed backs) typically have me leaning back a bit. Besides drill, I need some traits to make sure I don't fall back.

    Several instructors suggested coming out of a turn leaning towards the next turn (basically downhill). Of course, in a perfect infinity move, this all happens naturally. But I am not there yet! I do, sometimes, in gentle slopes, get a feel for it, and boy, is it sweet!
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  5. T-Square

    T-Square Terry Moderator

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    Don't sweat doing things on steeps yet. Mastery is gained by learning on comfortable terrain and then taking it into steeper terrain in steps.

    Another tip is to concentrate just on pulling your toes up hard against the top of your boots. Don't worry about anything else, just feel your toes in firm contact with the top of your boots and ski. This will help close your ankle joints (from this L to this < ) and help you keep your shins in good contact with the boot tongues. (Try it without your boots on and seated and see all that happens with your feet and lower legs.)

    Also, skate and glide on your skis. When doing this concentrate on flexing the ankle and knee and gliding from ski to ski while letting your upper body drive forward. Start on the flats and slight uphill. Once you are comfortable, then start skating down light green slopes. (Yes it wile get fast quick.) Finally let the skating downhill lead into a turn.
     
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  6. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Good thread, @Mendieta! Stuff I was working on all winter myself! (Hard to think about skiing right now, with biking in full swing!)
     
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  7. cbk

    cbk Ski with great élan! Skier

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    I was also going to mention snowblades. (Or equivalent.) I think mine are ~90cm. Spend an hour on those then go back to your regular skis, you'll feel rock solid centered!
     
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  8. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    For the summer...inline skates. Find a parking lot with a slight grade and start carving turns. Having to balance on a 12" platform is great summer training and you will see a huge difference when you get back on snow. You cannot be in the backseat on skates, You will be on your butt.
     
  9. David Chaus

    David Chaus formerly known as DesiredUsername Skier

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    I like all the suggestions so far. Here's another: sit on a chair, and without using your hands, stand up. Notice how much you need to move forward in order to stand up. Your ankle will probably need to close and your knees and hips will move forward so that your hips are over your feet. Alternatively you can shift your feet back to get them under your hips. For extra credit, stand up and sit down, very slowly and smoothly.

    Here's a PT/OT piece of equipment that is really helpful as well. It was recommended to me by Jim Mates (bootfitter in Seattle). It's great not only for fore-aft balance but also lateral balance and multi-planar movement.

    https://www.optp.com/Wooden-Wobble?cat_id=35#.WUNoWLFlCfA
     
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  10. Swede

    Swede Out on the slopes Skier

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    I always found skiing on just the outside (lifting the inside ski up) is a great exercice that besides a few other things really forces you forward in to the right fore/aft balance. It's called 'outside to outside'-drill' over there.
     
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  11. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Thank you! I should have split the question into tips an drills, in retrospective. Good suggestion about mastering skills in comfy terrain. I try to do that.

    The more challenging tertain is fun to go to, though. There I think I can use tips, what I was calling traits above. Basic movements that enforce good balance.

    Philpug made a suggestion to remember to pole plant when we stopped for others at the middle of a run. The rest of the run I was much more aggressively on my cuffs, and commiting to the turns, though it wasn't a mild run. Pole plant definitely helps! :thumb:

    I like the tip on toes. By "top of the boot" do you mean the front, or literally the upper part? Many thanks to all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  12. T-Square

    T-Square Terry Moderator

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    Literally the top of the boot. Pull your toes straight up towards the sky.
     
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  13. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Thank you, @Swede are javelin turns any different? Or are these outside-to-outside turns, simply perfectly linked javelin turns? An easier version of this, I believe, is the drill suggested by @T-Square above where you just lift the heel of the inside ski. That would be a nice progression to focus on.
     
  14. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Outside ski to outside ski drill is generally done with parallel skis. In javelin turns, the ski tips crosses over each other. The key to the javelin turn is not to actively turn the inside ski over the outside ski. Be patient and allow the outside ski to turn in under the lifted inside ski.
     
  15. jzmtl

    jzmtl Intermidiot Skier

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    Ski with your boots unbuckled, best to stay on blue for this though. Or you can try crosscountry skis, the boots offers zero support and you'll find center pretty fast.

    Beyond that just play with your fore/aft balance while skiing, push as forward as possible and same with aft, get a feeling of both, then try enter the turn very forward and exit the turn very aft.
     
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  16. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Like @jzmtl suggestion about skiing with the boots open. Try it on the real easy stuff first.

    During the gatherings when asked why I often ski with my boots unbuckled. My reply - "I like to stand on my own two feet."
    It's a lot easier to balance on your feet than on your shins.
     
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  17. Swede

    Swede Out on the slopes Skier

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    This is the drill I was talking about:

     
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  18. Dave Marshak

    Dave Marshak All Time World Champion Skier

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    Those are a lot of good drills, but many of them are better for lateral balance, and are successful only if the skier has already developed good fore-aft balance.
    The classic progression from fore-aft to lateral balance is: side steps up the hill, side slips down, falling leaf, pivot slips, traverse, traverse with speed check, traverse with release downhill, shuffles, 1000 steps. That's more or less the Natur Technik progression from 50 years ago (with some adjustment for modern equipment), and it still works.
    In any group of more than 4 intermediate skiers, asking for side steps/side slips/pivot slips will offend at least one of them. Invariably, that person struggles to complete the task.

    dm
     
  19. Dave Marshak

    Dave Marshak All Time World Champion Skier

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    I NEVER ask anyone to do that anymore. The cuff of the boot is the lever that opens the binding, and the heel may not release with the buckles open. I've seen at least one skier come out of her boot doing that, which risks sending the ski down the hill.

    dm
     
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  20. Dave Marshak

    Dave Marshak All Time World Champion Skier

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    I do that whenever I am skiing poorly, which is often. I think it re-boots your nervous system in a way that makes you more aware of the sensations in your feet, and disrupts bad habits. It's more like forcing myself to pay more attention than a drill to learn a new skill.

    dm
     
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