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Skiing on the Uphill Ski

 Poster: A snowHead
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Over the Christmas week myself and the wife had an instructor for the day from the Lech Ski School. Nice guy - Julio, a fairly old Argentinian who'd being teaching in Lech and back in Argentina for 40 years. Most of the lesson was focused on my wife's skiing, I got two tips from him which I spent the next ten days or so trying to work on -

1. Keeping my legs closer together. Nearly all my previous instructors have told me to ski with my feet hip width apart or wider (usually with the instructor himself skiing with his skis practically touching each other). Julio wanted me to keep my skis close together, mainly he said because it was more elegant.

2. The only drill he gave me was to practice lifting my downhill ski and putting all my weight on the uphill ski during the traverse phase of a turn. I've done the opposite drill in the past (lifting the uphill leg) and I'm still not sure what the point of this drill is. Any ideas? I found it quite tough - pretty difficult to not either put too much edge in and turn up hill or not get enough edge on and start turning downhill. Is this a drill that's worth persevering with?
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On my L2 we did exercise 2 down the White Lady: traverse full width on uphill ski, kick turn, traverse back again, repeat down the entire length! Then we went round and did exactly the same again!!! Our instructor said he liked the exercise.

I believe it's all part of building up the 'push' in your outside leg during a turn.

Another one we did on a gentle slope (near the 'Nessie' bumps). Get a friend to hold both ski tips stationary as you point directly down the hill. Then they take away one hand so they're only holding one ski tip. You have to use your strength and willpower to stop the other one sliding forwards. It sounds easy but it took its toll on one of my ankles and I had to excuse myself from the rest of the session.
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@Valkyrie,
Quote:

Julio wanted me to keep my skis close together, mainly he said because it was more elegant.
Laughing Laughing
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I've done something like exercise 2 with various instructors - I think it's about getting on to that ski (transition) earlier in the turn - inner leg extension. I found it a very helpful exercise and one I remind myself of when things fall apart. As for being more elegant, having never skied (or done anything else) with an elderly Argentinian, I've not come across elegance as as a training goal.
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Valkyrie wrote:
2. The only drill he gave me was to practice lifting my downhill ski and putting all my weight on the uphill ski during the traverse phase of a turn.
There shouldn't be a traverse phase between turns. The only reason for traversing is to move across the slope without losing too much height, other than that you should be linking your turns as seamlessly as you can (cutting out any deliberate traverse).
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Valkyrie wrote:
1. Keeping my legs closer together. Nearly all my previous instructors have told me to ski with my feet hip width apart or wider (usually with the instructor himself skiing with his skis practically touching each other). Julio wanted me to keep my skis close together, mainly he said because it was more elegant.
If you go back to that ski school, and I'd recommend you don't, I think you should ask for a different instructor.
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rob@rar wrote:
Valkyrie wrote:
1. Keeping my legs closer together. Nearly all my previous instructors have told me to ski with my feet hip width apart or wider (usually with the instructor himself skiing with his skis practically touching each other). Julio wanted me to keep my skis close together, mainly he said because it was more elegant.
If you go back to that ski school, and I'd recommend you don't, I think you should ask for a different instructor.

Well it’s much better in powder to have your skis closer together, although modern piste teaching trend is more for shoulder/ hip width apart. I have a mate who skis very old school with skis almost touching, and it does look very elegant. Horses for courses I’d say.
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t4tomo wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
Valkyrie wrote:
1. Keeping my legs closer together. Nearly all my previous instructors have told me to ski with my feet hip width apart or wider (usually with the instructor himself skiing with his skis practically touching each other). Julio wanted me to keep my skis close together, mainly he said because it was more elegant.
If you go back to that ski school, and I'd recommend you don't, I think you should ask for a different instructor.

Well it’s much better in powder to have your skis closer together, although modern piste teaching trend is more for shoulder/ hip width apart. I have a mate who skis very old school with skis almost touching, and it does look very elegant. Horses for courses I’d say.
If the OP had said he was on an off-piste or moguls lesson and the instructor explained it was to make it easier to manage the skis in deep snow or in the bumps I wouldn't have commented. But it seems to me that the instructor was trying to encourage the skier to change his stance in order to match some sort of aesthetic that the instructor liked, regardless of whether that is the most efficient way to ski a variety of settings. As I said, find a new instructor and maybe a new ski school.
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I was waiting for some comments on this, I'm totally with @rob@rar, skis together "elegant"?, only if you can't recognise a good skiing stance..........
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no one knows how far apart the OP skis originally were, if you looked like John Wayne then most certainly. regarding weighting the uphill ski. It's creating a platform for the new turn on the new down hill ski, you can the turn the skis effectively prior to the fall line,
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@rob@rar, @KenX, when I learned to ski in Sweden in 1979 skiing with the skis very close together was all the rage for those good enough to do so. The only people you saw on a single plank were those on monoskis so it looks to me if the OPs instructor just had an old fashioned idea of skiing elegance
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Mother hucker wrote:
no one knows how far apart the OP skis originally were, if you looked like John Wayne then most certainly. regarding weighting the uphill ski. It's creating a platform for the new turn on the new down hill ski, you can the turn the skis effectively prior to the fall line,
Sure. But why describe the motivation for a narrower stance as "it's more elegant"? The movements we make, our body position, our dynamic balance should all be related to the terrain and snow we are skiing not some arbitrary value judgement about how elegant we are. If appearance to other people is important careful choice of ski apparel should be sufficient.

Just to be pedantic, creating a strong platform at the top of the turn on firm snow you work mostly with the ski which is 'uphill' rather than 'downhill', although it does become the 'downhill' ski as you pass through the fall line wink For that reason it is far better to talk about outside ski and inside ski, which are absolute not relative terms. When clients talk about the uphill ski I have to work out which ski they mean; if they talk about the outside ski I know exactly what they mean.
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Rabbie wrote:
@rob@rar, @KenX, when I learned to ski in Sweden in 1979 skiing with the skis very close together was all the rage for those good enough to do so. The only people you saw on a single plank were those on monoskis so it looks to me if the OPs instructor just had an old fashioned idea of skiing elegance
No doubt that's true. A long time ago form (as opposed to function) played a much more important role in ski instruction. I have some photos of me skiing from the late 80s when my skis were so close together the tips overlapped. Those were the dark days, fortunately long ago abandoned but I think some of the older generation of ski instructors still cling to those values.

A narrower stance is appropriate in some situations. A wider stance is appropriate in some situations. A good skier should be able to adapt their stance (and a bunch of other stuff) to ski those situations as effectively as possible). None of those situations should be determined by what looks "elegant", IMHO.
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I have to admit, when we're talking about the transition phase where one turn ends and the new one begins I find the use of 'uphill ski' to be much clearer than inside or outside ski.

I agree with what everyone else is saying about the drill though. It's about changing the weight distribution for the start of the new turn. Like a lot of drills, I suspect it's being used to address an area the instructor thinks the OP could improve on. Most halfway decent instructors don't have us doing drills at random.
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Quote:

pretty difficult to not either put too much edge in and turn up hill or not get enough edge on and start turning downhill.


I'd say the second part of this is what you should be doing. Starting the new turn.
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olderscot wrote:
I have to admit, when we're talking about the transition phase where one turn ends and the new one begins I find the use of 'uphill ski' to be much clearer than inside or outside ski.
Are you talking about the uphill ski before the transition or after the transition? What happens to the uphill ski in the final phase of the turn? How do you describe that ski if you are on a gentle slope and the skis take a much more direct path down the fall line such that one is never really "up hill" of the other?
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rob@rar wrote:


A narrower stance is appropriate in some situations. A wider stance is appropriate in some situations. A good skier should be able to adapt their stance (and a bunch of other stuff) to ski those situations as effectively as possible). None of those situations should be determined by what looks "elegant", IMHO.

This would also be my view.....different widths, for different conditions ie. Moguls/Powder/Piste

I also think, within reason, people naturally have a width they find comfortable for them. A little wider (around hip width) is more stable. A little narrower (a touch narrower than hip width, but not together) is faster from ski to ski.
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Quote:

Are you talking about the uphill ski before the transition or after the transition? What happens to the uphill ski in the final phase of the turn? How do you describe that ski if you are on a gentle slope and the skis take a much more direct path down the fall line such that one is never really "up hill" of the other?


We're not talking about before the transition nor after the transition, but during the transition. The argument you're trying to make applies even more so during the transition where the 'inside' and 'outside' ski actually changes and it's impossible to tell one from the other without prefacing which one with you mean with 'old' or 'new' (or similar).

As an instructor, you might be very clear about which one you mean but as a punter I know which one I understand better.
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@olderscot, as another punter, I find "the old outside ski" and "the new outside ski" to be clearest of all. A few more words perhaps, but precise and only leaves room for error if you mix up inside and outside. "Uphill" and "downhill" change through the turn so it's easier to get confused.
Horses for courses I guess...
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olderscot wrote:
We're not talking about before the transition nor after the transition, but during the transition. The argument you're trying to make applies even more so during the transition where the 'inside' and 'outside' ski actually changes and is impossible to tell one from the other without prefacing which one with you mean with 'old' or 'new' (or similar).
The actual transition, when the ski is flat between edge changes, is such a momentary thing that we don't do anything specifically in that time frame, it's simply a part of changing from one set of edges to another, or from turning in one direction to the other. I think instinctively we all know that something changes, and I will talk about the "old outside ski" and the "new outside ski as the new turn begins". But if a client refers to the uphill ski I often have to ask if they mean at the start of the turn or the end of the turn.

olderscot wrote:
As an instructor, you might be very clear about which one you mean but as a punter I know which one I understand better.
Sure, and I try to tune in to what ever language and understanding the client has when talking about these things. But in my experience it works better if the client understands the difference between the outside ski and the inside ski as this reflects the difference in what actually happens when you are skiing rather than a relative term about which ski is uphill or not at various points in the turn.
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I agree that if you do preface the description with 'new' and 'old' then it is clear and also consistent which is better all round.

By itself though, 'inside' and 'outside' ski just doesn't work for me during the transition. Which is the point I was trying to make.

I guess I agree that being consistent trumps everything in helping people understand what's beign discussed.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 3-01-19 12:09; edited 3 times in total
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mgrolf wrote:
@olderscot, as another punter, I find "the old outside ski" and "the new outside ski" to be clearest of all.
Indeed, which is what I do until I'm confident that simply talking about "inside" and "outside" is well enough understood by my client to use that shorthand.
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olderscot wrote:
By itself though, 'inside' and 'outside' ski just work for me during the transtion.
Although from a technical (and most probably pedantic) point of view, during the moment of transition your skis are not following a curved path so there is no 'inside' or 'outside' ski.

[/pedantic mode]
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Weird, I get inside and outside ok - but if you started throwing a time context in as well I'd be stuffed.
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Rob, I'd missed 'doesn't' in the bit you'd quoted but have correct that in my earlier post.

The thing I was trying to get across was that if we try and describe the 'transition' phase rather than 'traverse' phase as the OP did (and you pointed out that turns should be linked) then during that period the use of 'inside' and 'outside' ski can be confusing and 'uphill' is actually rather a good description being quite intuitive and meaningful for most of the situations we'd be talking about and certainly when try to describe how we change the weight distribution on the skis at the end of one turn and the start of another (other than at an advanced level).

For clarity though and consistency though, I can quite see that sticking to 'inside' or 'outside' works best as long as you make it clear which one you mean during the transition.
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Nghh, my brain just got fried.
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olderscot wrote:
The thing I was trying to get across was that if we try and describe the 'transition' phase rather than 'traverse' phase as the OP did (and you pointed out that turns should be linked) then during that period the use of 'inside' and 'outside' ski can be confusing and 'uphill' is actually rather a good description being quite intuitive and meaningful for most of the situations we'd be talking about and certainly when try to describe how we change the weight distribution on the skis at the end of one turn and the start of another (other than at an advanced level).

For clarity though and consistency though, I can quite see that sticking to 'inside' or 'outside' works best as long as you make it clear which one you mean during the transition.
I think my confusion here is that I never talk about what happens during the transition (if by this you mean what happens between edge changes). I will focus a lot about what we do as we start a turn; I will sometimes focus on pressing early on what will become the new outside ski (the so-called "inner leg extension" mentioned by pam w earlier); and I try to encourage linking turns as accurately as possible so there is no hesitation / delay / traverse between your turns. But the actual transition phase when the skis are flat, between edge changes, happens so quickly and subconsciously that it's not something I've ever felt the need to focus on with clients.
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@Valkyrie, it worries me how much time this instructor spent with your wife and hence what he was teaching her.
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Here's how you do it, Vuarnet sunglasses, Fusalp sweater, capri pants, leather 3 clip boots and Rossi Stratos


http://youtube.com/v/h6lt_6OxmNw


http://youtube.com/v/d1p0UZAt4mc

even Vuarnet and JC (himself) have to adapt their stance though.
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@davidof, Very Happy Very Happy Fab!
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I think this is interesting, looking at all Olympic Downhill champions since 1948. A few obvious changes, but it seems to me this is more to do with how downhill courses are smoothed of sudden terrain changes and that someone thought it was a good idea to use a bit more metal in ski construction so skis gripped the snow more effectively. Vuarnet introduced the tuck, but other than that is there much difference in what the skier is doing across the decades?


http://youtube.com/v/zwNpXGvhGcw
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Great video Rob - thanks for sharing. Although as you say the changes are relatively small I think there are some definite changes in posture - e.g. hips further forward when out of tuck in later skiers - but hard to say whether the early skiers are typical of their time or that's just the way they skied. Very little difference that I can see in stance width though, which is I think what was being discussed. Some of those early downhill courses are scary, even if you don't consider the equipment they're using, so the fact that they got down it at all is quite something.
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^^ Those guys are heroes, particularity in the early days...
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@kieranm,
Quote:

Great video Rob - thanks for sharing

+1 God those guys are brave! Shocked
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kieranm wrote:
... - e.g. hips further forward when out of tuck in later skiers ...
Tall plastic boots rather than short leather boots had a lot to do with that I think. For the early skiers I get an overwhelming sense of them "hanging on to the mountain" rather than skiing it. The differences I see are kit or course related, with the exception of Vuarnet's egg-shaped aerodynamic change.
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rob@rar wrote:
Mother hucker wrote:
no one knows how far apart the OP skis originally were, if you looked like John Wayne then most certainly. regarding weighting the uphill ski. It's creating a platform for the new turn on the new down hill ski, you can the turn the skis effectively prior to the fall line,
Sure. But why describe the motivation for a narrower stance as "it's more elegant"? The movements we make, our body position, our dynamic balance should all be related to the terrain and snow we are skiing not some arbitrary value judgement about how elegant we are. If appearance to other people is important careful choice of ski apparel should be sufficient.

Just to be pedantic, creating a strong platform at the top of the turn on firm snow you work mostly with the ski which is 'uphill' rather than 'downhill', although it does become the 'downhill' ski as you pass through the fall line wink For that reason it is far better to talk about outside ski and inside ski, which are absolute not relative terms. When clients talk about the uphill ski I have to work out which ski they mean; if they talk about the outside ski I know exactly what they mean.


yes that is a ridiculous thing to say regarding the elegance of the skiing. it would have fried my brain to hear that.
uphill, downhill, inside, outside, new and old yes i get that can be confusing but I'm guessing you knew what i meant??
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Mother hucker wrote:
... but I'm guessing you knew what i meant??
Indeed, you said that it's about creating a platform for the turn. I think that's the most important thing we do when we ski. The beginning of the turn, the setup phase, is all important. Plenty more work to be done when we have started the turn, but without a good platform no matter what you do for the rest of the turn it's going to be compromised.
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A lot more replies than I was expecting to see, thanks all! To be fair to Julio, the narrower stance advice was probably relevant on the day I was skiing with him as it was snowing heavily and there were lots of bumps on the pistes. With hindsight a narrower stance did make threading around the bumps a fair bit easier.
@rob@rar, I had a traverse between turns only when I was doing the lift the uphill ski drill. So not a phase of a turn at all, just a few seconds in a straight line between turns. Traveling in a straight line there is no inside or outside, only uphill or downhill.

The lesson cost €400 for four hours, wonder how much the instructor actually gets?
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If Inside and Outside ski doesn't make sense think about skiing on your Little toe edge or Big toe edge... The nano second you feel your big toe edge you are on the outside ski....referencing the Uphill and Downhill ski is a recipe for confusion ime...
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@skimottaret,
Quote:

If Inside and Outside ski doesn't make sense
LOL, you've got used to the capital letters! Laughing
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