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Self-Improvement

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My Mother-in-Law normally babysits for us on Thursdays, but can't today - so now that I've finally got Junior Doc off to sleep but cant go out to do anything more productive I've actually got time to spend on Snowheads!

Reading valais2's thread on 'What's holding you back' made me think about the opposite (I'm an optimist) - what can we do to improve, outside of more time on snow and more lessons? I'm thinking of those of us who only get to ski a week or 2 a year.

Fitness is an obvious one, and closely related but oft-forgot is balance. I've had an Indo board for years and recently got a slack line, I cycle a bit (road and MTB) for fitness which also helps balance, I showjump competitively and have been known to stand (briefly) on a surf board.

What does anyone else do?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I cycle a bit (road and MTB) for fitness which also helps balance


yes - agree. I commute by bike and on the London leg that involves quite a few red lights. Years ago I decided that those were an opportunity to practice track stands. I'm not that great although in my defence I don't ride fixed so its harder but I generally manage to avoid unclipping most days. I think that's helped my balance quite a lot.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Tom Doc,

All carefully selected:

table tennis - reaction times
table football - reaction times
balance board - muscle tone and balance - kept in the study and used all year when I and the the kids go in and out of the room
xc and DH - fitness, balance, reaction times
skiing films - mindset - analysis of errors re snowpack etc
kit fiddling - keeping your mind tuned to awareness of binding failures etc. This has been important on occasion cf salomon junior binding design defects

in other words - both body and head stuff
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I completely agree on the balance. When teaching people to ski this to me seems to limit people far sooner than their fitness. I recommend pilates, both for the balance, functional strength, injury prevention and perhaps most importantly awareness. i.e. being able to make an efficient movement of one part of your body without lots of other unnecessary counter-productive movements.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Unsupported one leg squats in bare feet. Started doing them because of injury but has transformed the balance on my "weaker" left leg and fixed all the weakness in my multiply sprained ankle at the same time.
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@Raceplate, interesting.

@valais2, table foot? Don't believe you. Skis vids however I am a great believer in - memory neurons. But only if you can learn by watching.

Inline skating - bearing in mind the turns are inverted. Also great for dynamic balance.

Any other sport as basically you can only get ski fit by skiing.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@under a new name, ...you haven't seen us play table football... even been in a French cafe? It's reaction times on another plane entirely...and I'm being serious. Ball on...BANG...goal. Ball on ...BANG...goal. SH tournament? Literal, not fantasy...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Raceplate, Now you've mastered them try simply standing on 1 leg with your eyes shut! Balance is a complicated thing according to my partner's physio.
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Mental visualization....a powerful tool, if practiced. You can even put on your ski gear and lean on your poles while you do it, to really get in the moment! Toofy Grin
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Old Fartbag, +1 Laughing
Also all the fitness and balance, in whatever way you can ( up and down steep hills and Tai Chi for me) - and watching YT vids, thinking, reading and then asking lots of stupid questions on SHds, of course wink
Some snowdome practice & coaching also, especially in the warmer months.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@valais2, I don't ski on my hands. Seriously, I think it's a too different thing.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Most of the activities mentioned are fairly typical, except maybe Tai Chi maybe, and table football!

under a new name wrote:
@valais2, I don't ski on my hands. Seriously, I think it's a too different thing.


I wondered that too, but maybe certain parts of quick reactions carry over - its the difference between reacting to something you see and which (I guess) is at least a little predictable, and reacting to something you feel and which is less predictable (i.e unseen changes in the snow. Although with experience these changes become more predictable. And visible). I think surfing and horse riding (fit and sharp competition horses, not plods!) replicate the unpredictable part well, in fact they challenge balance in ways that are prob more unpredictable than skiing.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Tom Doc, Any martial arts - though there are many different kinds and approaches - will give you reaction training, strength training, cardio and a lot of awareness about where your body is and what it's doing ( proprioception and spatial awareness). I consider Tai Chi a martial art, some prefer it as more of a gentle or mindful exercise form - but it doesn't half get your legs strong, and teach you a lot about where your weight and balance is and how quickly to switch it around, on or off.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Read a book. Ron LeMaster would be my recommendation if you wanted a good technical reference about skiing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Tom Doc, remember that your consciousness is about half a second behind reality...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Set realistic expectations for your ski trip.

It's a holiday, not a Calvinist crusade.

Take time to have a lie in, a mid morning coffee, lunch with a view. Enjoy apres and trying new cuisine at dinner.

Stop to take in the views when you're skiing.

Do those things and you'll find you'll be happier and more relaxed.

And those two things can transform your time on snow. It has for the vast majority of my students and friends.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Join your local dryslope race club.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@ski, +1
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Mike Pow wrote:

It's a holiday, not a Calvinist crusade.
. Very Happy +1
Although given the amount of dangerous idiots out there, a few well-armed (or just well-connected, in the good book's sense) supporters to accompany you might help...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Tom Doc wrote:
.... what can we do to improve, outside of more time on snow and more lessons? I'm thinking of those of us who only get to ski a week or 2 a year.... What does anyone else do?

What I did whilst learning was to go to the dry slope pretty much every week until I'd got it dialled. I think someone else here or in the other thread described the same kind of thing: plug away at it until it's done. That's the only secret I have.

Dry/ indoor slopes are not interesting enough just for fun once you've ridden a lot in mountains, in my opinion, but as a "gym" they're great.

Once you've figured out how to actually ride, it doesn't really stretch you physically.
I usually swim or go to the gym to make sure I don't lose fitness whilst snowboarding . That's supposed to be funny but it's also true.
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Ski as close as possible behind the best skier in your party - hopefully you'll copy their good technique.

Don't forget about style. Skiing is about expression as much as technique. You'll probably want to look good as well as ski effectively snowHead
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Peter S, if you ski effectively you will probably look good!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I think all sports you do can help you ski or snowboard better in the end as coördination and responding to certain situations is so important. Think it's also really important to keep your joints flexible as your joint movements are soooooo incredibly important in skiing (my Ausbilder during my Anwärter thought I should start dancing salsa, haha). Making turns on a racing bike is actually similar to making turns on ski's (hips in your turn, but upper body turned outwards) so that could help you understand the movements better mentally perhaps and maybe automatise them more (I hope it does for me).
I'm actually just trying to maintain the balance and coördination I gained during this ski season by keeping fit (jogging, cycling loads, field hockey, and ab exercises). Also, what can sometimes help is watching youtube videos of stuff you'd want to learn beforehand, in order to see how people practice certain things or what views they have on them so you can practice those things more effectively. And go riding with people that are better than you, they can help you with so much stuff! They don't even have to give you specific advise, even just talking with them about some subject can give you sooooo much good info or like a sudden insight.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Mike Pow wrote:
Set realistic expectations for your ski trip.

It's a holiday, not a Calvinist crusade.

Take time to have a lie in, a mid morning coffee, lunch with a view. Enjoy apres and trying new cuisine at dinner.

Stop to take in the views when you're skiing.

Do those things and you'll find you'll be happier and more relaxed.

And those two things can transform your time on snow. It has for the vast majority of my students and friends.


This!

The truth is you are never going to be *great* at something you only do 7-14 days per year. Yes, going in prepared is likely going to increase your enjoyment, how quickly you learn, and also decrease your risk of injury. Yes coaching will get you better quicker. But if your goal is to be great you need lots of time on snow. Setting unrealistic goals and focusing only on skiing ability is only going to result in disappointment.[/i]
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boarder2020 wrote:


This!

The truth is you are never going to be *great* at something you only do 7-14 days per year. Yes, going in prepared is likely going to increase your enjoyment, how quickly you learn, and also decrease your risk of injury. Yes coaching will get you better quicker. But if your goal is to be great you need lots of time on snow. Setting unrealistic goals and focusing only on skiing ability is only going to result in disappointment.[/i]


Very true. If you only get one or two weeks on snow you can't possibly hope to develop to the same levels as those who make it a priority in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's a sport where it is possible to be good enough to get enormous enjoyment out of being only a casual participant. The snow and the view is the same whether you've put in 10,000 hours or 100.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
It's a sport...

For most, it's a recreation. Like golf, like bicycling, like swimming...

Still, some take it a lot more serious than others. Toofy Grin
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Peter S, i don't think that works for everyone.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
under a new name wrote:
@Peter S, i don't think that works for everyone.


Particularly if the best skier in your party is a bag of spanners.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
under a new name wrote:
@Peter S, i don't think that works for everyone.

I find skiing behind an expert skier is mostly good for tactics (type of turn and reading the terrain).....but I find that I don't necessarily have the observational skills to spot the subtleties of what is really going on re timing/weight/edge/twist/balance etc. If I could do so successfully, I'd be teaching. snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Reaction time very important - I know that the table football links seems tenuous, but there is something in it; obviously mountain biking and similar far more potent prep - but have some fun with this

https://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime

This one is interesting

https://www.justpark.com/creative/reaction-time-test/

Fortunately I score 35 years younger than I am ...

Links to this....

http://dergi.nigde.edu.tr/index.php/besyodergi/article/download/650/597

Which is why we play a hell of a lot of table tennis
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I recently started to go to yoga classes to help with flexibility and balance and the older you get I think it becomes more and more important.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@valais2, the best I managed was 16 years younger, the worst about 4 years younger, and the average about 12.33 years younger. (the worst one was the first time I played it when I did not know where the sign was going to appear)

However, when driving on icy roads, whilst you might have very fast reaction time, this is not what will help you most. If you react quickly and try to make an emergency stop, you will more than likely create a bigger problem. I am lucky to have spent a period of time driving a car with dodgy brakes. This helps you learn to use gears to slow down, and to drive within the ability of your car to stop. Also a slower reaction, but a smoother application of brakes, might be more effective than a heavy brake foot. Driving a car on ice, is similar to driving with dodgy brakes.

35 year younger score would be difficult to achieve consistently. Either you are older than me, or you play a lot of video games.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Bigtipper, ...nope, no video games ... just a lot of sports to keep reaction time up ... fortunately whenever I do these tests the average of a lot of attempts comes out the same, and I am sure that table tennis in particular has a big and beneficial impact ... and yes, at 59 I may be a great deal older ....


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sat 3-06-17 9:35; edited 1 time in total
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@valais2, so does that study show that table tennis play improves reaction times or that kids with faster reactions are more motivated to play table tennis?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'm sure there have been studies done that show there isn't much variation in reaction time.

People like, e.g. Andy Murray, one of the best returners-of-serve in the history of tennis, appear to have incredible reactions, but it's actually down to practise and becoming incredibly good at anticipating where the ball is going to go from the smallest of clues in the opponents stance, movements, etc.

EDIT: I remember seeing a TV show years ago (presumably Top Gear) featuring Jeremy Clarkson and Colin McRae. They did a few basic reaction tests to demonstrate that McRae's reactions were no faster than Clarkson. He was just a LOT better at driving rally cars!


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sat 3-06-17 18:22; edited 1 time in total
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Is having a reaction time 100ms faster really a game-changer in recreational skiing? I can the benefits if it gets you into flow state easier like the Matrix but something different is going on there with the brain I think.
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@under a new name,

Indeed almost always an element of chicken and egg - need to get causality the right way around

@stevomcd,

Indeed a genetic component - what I am talking about is arresting the age-related decay not bucking against genetics

@Dave of the Marmottes,

Well, I've seen my reaction time improve (or be arrested) and I believe it helps ... But that's just a belief .. The thing is, the sports Are just good fun in their own right...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:
Which is why we play a hell of a lot of table tennis

I never was very good at table tennis but I wasn't too bad at the recreation level.

Until a few years back, when I developed cataract. My "reaction time" got a whole lot worse...

That's what clued me in on why I wasn't any good even in my younger days. I have relatively bad vision. End of story.

Back on topic, I can feel my brain's reaction speed deteriorated, most notably when mountain biking. But skiing doesn't seem to suffer from that. As long as I'm not in the woods, there's not much to "react" to. Just keep a neutral balance, the body takes care of the re-balance without my brain getting involve (and screw it up).
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I doubt 100ms makes a huge amount of difference in skiing, but at a not-unusual speed of 30mph you'll travel 1.3m in 100ms. I don't know about you, but that sounds useful to me, if not in skiing then in other areas of life such as driving or cycling where no matter how defensive you are there will be occasions when you need to stop in a hurry.
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@kieranm, Yep but what are you reacting to in that 1.3m? If you're scanning ahead I'd suggest that it is something about 30m away, if it is a change in feel e.g. you've hit an icy patch and started sliding sideways I'd suggest it is appropriate and proportionate reaction that is more important than pure speed of reaction. Those on screen tests are easy to train your brain for but don't tell you anything about reactions where more than one response is possible.

Don't get me wrong it sounds like valais2 has the bases covered for fun things to do in their own right that a) will certainly make him feel better about being prepped for the ski season and b) are likely to be positve to general health but whether they are the best ski specific training I couldn't say. Maybe if you frame it as the best training is the type you are going to do and stick at (compared to say squats in the gym).
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