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Edging advice sought

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,
So I am an early intermediate who is on the verge of proper continuous parallel skiing but have two issues that I want an opinion on which I suspect will have the same answer:

1) I still have to focus hard to keep my skis together
2) I struggle to get both skis onto their edges

I know how to do both of the above but seem to fail in the actual execution. I assume at the level I'm at it's a case of practice, practice and practice more now? I'm off to La Plagne next week for seven days and was going to spend the time working on the above? I'm assuming that's sensible given that I had 9 hours of lessons in Morzine in January and intend to follow the instructions of my BASS coach.
Thanks in advance
KB
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@kid bwapo,

(1) what do you mean by 'skis together'? Do you mean doing roughly the same thing at roughly the same time (good) or having them clamped together (bad)?

(2) which do you struggle with - the inside or outside or left or right?
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Whatever your answers, more lessons would be the right thing for you.
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I mean both skis working together and I struggle with the inside ski.
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Lots of people have different definitions of 'early intermediate', where would you fit on this scale? http://www.insideoutskiing.com/level.html

One thing that helped me get used to the feel of being on the edge was to get into tuck (proper tuck, not the poles in the air variety). This forces you to roll the ankle rather than pushing the hips or knees, in turn that allows the ski to do the work (as it should) rather than the skier trying to force it to turn. Obviously not easily done on a steep run, but there are plenty of easy blues in La Plagne that you can try it on.

I think @laundryman, might be right though, a few more lessons are probably the way forward.
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Disclaimer - I am not an Instructor, so my remarks should be seen in that light.

I have been skiing for more years than I care to remember....and in all that time, early Intermediates have very often been fixated on the "Holy Grail" of that standard....How to keep the skis Parallel.

Ironically, I'm not sure that putting all your effort into trying to keep your skis parallel is actually helpful. This is because parallel skis are the RESULT of correct movements and so should not be the main focus. ie. Effect, not cause.

As the correct movements become ingrained, you will gradually find that the skis will become parallel, without conscious thought.

I am sure that BASS will have shown you the route to this.

It is my understanding that the purpose of the Snowplough Turn, is to easily allow you to achieve an edge on the turning ski. As your speed gets up, a slight flattening of the unweighted ski (by a slight rotation of the knee), allows it to slide parallel with the turning ski (as there is little weight on it).

Trying to get "Rhythm and Flow" into smooth S-Shaped turns, makes the transition from Stem to Parallel easier.

As your skill level increases, you will then start looking at early weight transfer to start the turn.

So my advice is to stop worrying about whether your skis are parallel, or not....and have faith that it is something that will happen in its own time, as you perfect what you've been taught.

Check out drills called "Garlands", which may also help.

Good Luck with it all.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 20-02-17 20:54; edited 1 time in total
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
Lots of people have different definitions of 'early intermediate', where would you fit on this scale? http://www.insideoutskiing.com/level.html

One thing that helped me get used to the feel of being on the edge was to get into tuck (proper tuck, not the poles in the air variety). This forces you to roll the ankle rather than pushing the hips or knees, in turn that allows the ski to do the work (as it should) rather than the skier trying to force it to turn. Obviously not easily done on a steep run, but there are plenty of easy blues in La Plagne that you can try it on.

I think @laundryman, might be right though, a few more lessons are probably the way forward.


I'd say top end of Improver being honest. In retrospect it's probably more me having my feet a little too far apart which sometimes makes me catch an edge. I'm aware that i'm not always hip width which I'm actively trying to resolve. Thanks for the advice all. I'll work on it next week and book more lessons.
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kid bwapo wrote:
In retrospect it's probably more me having my feet a little too far apart which sometimes makes me catch an edge. I'm aware that i'm not always hip width which I'm actively trying to resolve.


That goes a long way, knowing what your weaknesses are is a good start point. You can work on it and also ask instructors specific questions...they may also offer a bit of advice that you hadn't considered.

If you haven't already watched them then I'd recommend the Darren Turner videos on Youtube (think it's something like Elate Media). I found them to be really useful to help improve my skiing.


Disclaimer: I don't profess to be a particularly good skier or follow my own advice Embarassed
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Ha ha. Love the honesty. Yes, I like Darren Turner too. Has a good coaching style. I guess I'm just impatient to be better Very Happy
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@kid bwapo, @Old Fartbag, has hit on the garland exercise, which in my opinion is a great way to get the feel of proper edging. don't try this on anything but an easy blue. too much speed at this stage will make it difficult.
go on you tube and look at Darren Turner. he has a great garland vid which is well worth a look.

practice on pistes that are well within your comfort zone and play around with the feeling of getting the skis onto their edges and be patient and let the skis do the work.

Enjoy La Plagne

Oh and welcome to Snowheads
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Great stuff. Garland it is then. I'll get on with it next week!
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kid bwapo wrote:
In retrospect it's probably more me having my feet a little too far apart which sometimes makes me catch an edge. I'm aware that i'm not always hip width which I'm actively trying to resolve. Thanks for the advice all. I'll work on it next week and book more lessons.

I wonder if you've got too much weight on the inside ski. You might be balancing on it (which may give a false sense of security), with the outside ski acting like an outrigger. Try experimenting with weight distribution, with the aim of getting 60/70/80% of the weight on the outside ski. That will make it easier to close any undue gap and edge the inside ski. It takes commitment though, and may feel a bit scary initially.

I should add the disclaimer that I'm not an instructor and that a real one will work out what's going on pretty well instantly, and demonstrate appropriate drills, etc. Much better than my speculation!
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Yes, I do. One of the drills we were working one was being able to lift the inside ski when traversing which I initially struggled with. It's on the list for next week. That and garland should see me ok and help me improve. i hope! Very Happy
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@kid bwapo, let us know how you get on Very Happy
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@Old Fartbag, spot on, don't rush to force your skis parallel. You can't move the inside ski because you are carrying too much weight on it. If you are going to lift the inside/uphill ski then make sure you only lift the tail, if you lift the whole ski you are probably carrying your weight too far back.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Not sure if OP has the same challenge but I would unintentionally snow plough during a turn, putting a lot more thought into what my downhill ski was doing, I would find myself stepping through the uphill ski too. As is often the way a single observation from a coach helped me fix it which was; think about up and down as up/forwards and down. I would tend to go vertically straight up, once I realised that my uphill ski did its thing and became parallel.

Enjoy La Plagne you lucky thing.
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...and to make skimottaret happy,
here's how garlands should be done
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@musher, that's a great vid. watching world cup racers practice is always satisfying.

It also speaks to the general comment I now get from ski instructors; spending too much time on my edges.

In the rush to get to the 'carving' craze I seemed to jump straight in to the whole quick 'edge/edge' turn thing, requiring me to scrub a load of speed every few turns in a big messy smear to maintain decent control.

This is a) tiring b) totally breaks rhythm, and c) stopped me from enjoying moguls at all until last year.

It turns out that learning how to use the flat of the ski in concert with the edge is just as important as getting that distinctive angle thing going. Who knew? Shocked
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@Pynch, indeed. Some people seem to spend all day hooning down pistes doing fast carved turns. Can't think of a more boring way to spend a week skiing.
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@Yoda, I must say there is nothing quite like that zippy feeling, but all day would certainly get a bit boring.

Best mid-morning to get the blood flowing once the cobwebs have been knocked off and I've tightened my boots.
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You'll get some 'interesting' tips if you google 'edging advice'.
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@swiftoid, Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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So. La Plagne was excellent. Some really terrific blues and reds there. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now despondent that I have to wait another 10 months before skiing again Sad

That said the Garland drills were excellent and helped no end. I can comfortably carve to the right without losing speed but carving to the left still seems to be an issue. I got my boots checked and they were the perfect length but too wide so Fabrice (Boudu Sport La Plagne who are excellent by the way) did a perfect custom job on them for me which made a huge difference.

That said in advance of next years trip I'll likely get a couple of hour private lessons at my local indoor slope here in Hemel as well as some group parallels when I go back next year. Many thanks to all for your help and advice!
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Sounds like a great trip, @kid bwapo!

If Hemel is local to you, you could consider doing some lessons over the summer. It's much, much quieter. There will be special offers on group coaching lessons and you will typically have much smaller group sizes than during the busy winter season. Inside Out's clinics would also be great for you.
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Yes that's exactly what I was going to do. Going now is like skiing down a blue during French half-term!
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I think you are at a critical stage in your skiing development where investing in more lessons will do you some good and take you to the next stage. I have too many friends that have tried to progress after initial lessons and have managed to pick up bad habits in order to get by. They are strong, riding on forgiving equipment, but their lack of correct techniques really shows on tricky terrain. One in particular is haveing a tough time coming to terms with having to unpick the faults and essentially start again which is not easy at 40.
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Agreed. Part of the reason I improved so much at La Plagne was because I worked on the things the instructor told me during my nine hours of lessons in Morzine four weeks previously. I want to get to the stage where I can edge/carve properly and generally ski more efficiently. Lessons are definitely on the cards in advance of the next trip (probably either Trois Vallees or Espace Killy) next year and i'll likely top up with some additional ones when I'm there Very Happy
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@kid bwapo, glad you had a good week away - you are clearly approaching it correctly. I did not read the whole thread and did nit realise you had already gone this year. I personally would not bother with going to HH and just take instruction on the mountain during the first few days. Put the money you'd spend at HH towards some private sessions. Nothing beats learning on mixed terrain in whatever the weather throws at you.
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It's an interesting point. The thing about indoor slopes is they're only 150m. I find you're getting into a rhythm and then you're back on the button. Maybe I'll just wait until I arrive Smile
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kid bwapo wrote:
Yes that's exactly what I was going to do. Going now is like skiing down a blue during French half-term!


Ha that's a good description, I was there on Sunday and between 10:30 - 11:00 it was bedlam. The rear of my ski's have more scratches from 2 hours there compared to a week in Meribel earlier in the year. I like going there to practice drills and the monthly passes start soon so hopefully that's a sign of quieter times. My skiing improved considerably from 2016 - 2017 by going to HH (I am probably a little further along than you based on your description)
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Ozboy, @kid bwapo, Lessons in resort on varied terrain are great, but it is also important to really nail the fundamental techniques - most of which can be picked up pretty well in a fridge.

Getting these down over the summer will mean that when you get to a proper mountain you can explore further and (if lessons are an option) have the instructor look at more specific things, like how the solid fundamentals are applied to steeper terrain and different types of snow. (I say this as someone who wishes they had done summer ski school in a fridge every year rather than having actually done it, though friends have).

Also, waiting a whole year to get back on snow is never fun.
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@Ozboy, whilst I agree that "Nothing beats learning on mixed terrain in whatever the weather throws at you" I personally have found the snowdome a useful place to work on technique. If you can only do one, choose mountain lessons rather than dome lessons. But both are useful.
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@Ozboy, I'd be inclined to agree, but a session or two over the summer is a good way to remind yourself what it's all about. 10 months between trips can be a good way to forget things Very Happy
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, surely it's just like riding a bike Wink. Yes you are right so long as one is not just repeating bad technique run after run. Think indoor should be used for lessons assuming the quality of tuition is good?
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I've had tuition there before and it was pretty good. I'll likely hop along regardless just to keep things fresh although I always come away pining for powder Sad
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Great to hear you had an excellent trip to La Plagne @kid bwapo.

My experience in the fridges has been broadly positive. Drills and exercises indoors have accelerated my progress during lessons on real snow no end.

Echoing the other comments about group coaching; I've found it really good at MK, specifically the 10am-1pm session on Tuesday. The coach is a lady called Gwenda, she pays attention to your runs and gives you feedback relevant to your learning objectives. I've had great success on a recent trip where lessons on carving just clicked following sessions with Gwenda in MK.

Out of interest did the custom job on your boots solve the differences in your left/right carve? When you were learning parallel turning did you have a strong/weak side?
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Well no and then yes. After skiing with them for a few days I came to the conclusion the fit was wrong. I toddled along to Boudu Sports and had thirty minutes with Fabrice the boot fitter who came to the conclusion that the length was perfect but they were too wide. He customised them further for me and that made a huge difference in control. That very afternoon I was beginning to carve down some of the trickier reds and it was one hundred times more fun than it had ever been. I didn't want to come home!

Lads trip will be in January probably Trois Vallees so I'll get a few more lessons there and, I'd imagine, some fridgies just to to keep my eye in.
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