Dinosaur skied 4 days in last 20 years. Just stepped on modern skis for the first time. Yikes!

BTWilliams

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Background: I stopped racing at 18 in about 1990. I was nothing too special as a racer. I did well at some smaller events here and there - usually in GS or DH. I mostly skied over my head and crashed, especially in SL, where I was the subject of many wagers as to which turn I would blow out in, and how wide an area I would spread my gear across. After racing I kept skiing recreationally about 20 days a year. Bought a pair of 205 cm Rossi 7XKs in 1994. I still have them. I could make them work just about anywhere. I did a lot of all mountain skiing, and become a better all around skier, and got away from having to attack every turn like a joe racer wanna be. I pretty much stopped skiing in 2000. From 2000 to 2021 I skied two days. Out of the blue this year I decided skiing would be a good way to get in shape instead of going to the gym. 5'-11", 190#. I bought a pair of Atomic Redster 183 / 19.4m for groomers, and a pair of Enforcer 100s for versatility. I have not touched the Enforcers, but just spent 2 days on the Atomics.

Uh...this is a bit different. I had a heck of a time figuring out how to truly GS carve on these skis. I thought I was a good skier! My turn entry just did not work, and if you do not start out the turn in a carve, there is no way your are getting into one. I spent my first day skiing hard for half a run, then trying to recover. These skis have a lot of pop and you can really get across the hill, but I could tell I was not proper carving. So day two, I just focused on drills drills drills, trying to get a feel for a proper and true carve. It was very hard to train my legs to initiate a turn with deliberate edge angles. The basic drill video "Learn how to CARVE - 3 EASY DRILLS" on Utube was helpful in re-training my legs and developing some edge angle awareness, and ankle/foot feeling. I had a very hard time doing Garlands effectively, as my inside/uphill leg has a mind of its own and I am so DH leg dominant. The timing from being flat to getting back on a cross hill carve was just not right either. When I went back to linked turns, I still could just not get a turn started in a carve. The initiation would always go wrong, and I would end up skidding early in the turn and blow the whole thing.

Finally, I had to get on a green groomer to figure out what was going on. The issue was TIMING. When you initiate with edge angle, holy moly the ski just does nothing for a bit. My nervous system was trained to expect an instant response when putting a ski on edge, because we had quite a bit of skidding/yawing back in the day. So if I laid the edge on angle, I would cheat to the inside, expecting the skis to load up right away. But now the ski just does not start a turn that rapidly, and I would get way out of balance. In the process of catching my balance, I would end up in the back seat like a kook. So I told myself to be really patient, put the turn-initiating ski on a good edge angle, don't let my body anticipate instand response (stay over the skis so I dont fall over to the inside), and just WAIT till something happens. It was like a switch flipped. I started initiating with edge angle (knees and feet), while forcing myself to not lean in too early...stay neutral and over the skis. After a while, I could link some turns in the flats, and went back to a steeper pitch. It was just wait, wait, wait. Are they ever going to turn? OK they are finally turning. I am going pretty fast. Ok...they are REALLY turning... OK holy crap I have never pulled these sorts of Gs in my life....I need to do some squats.

I still have plenty of issues. I am outside/DH leg dominant. It is like my inside leg is untrained and uncoordinated. Looking at my ski tracks, there are two clean deep knife edge tracks before and up to the "in fall line" phase just after turn initiation. But the inside track then fades and at the high load point in the turn (45-60 degrees past the fall line), it is all DH leg. Also, all the turn initiation feels like it is done only with the ski that will become the DH ski. It does not feel like I am getting the new inside ski on edge. My inside ski wanders a lot. Also, obviously I need to get in shape. The most surprising thing when you link aggressive carved turns (vs 80s style skiing) is how damned fast you get going. It is like you are on ice skates, and the only drag is air drag. So within 3-4 turns I am going so fast my body can not handle the loads (I do not have the feel yet to shorten the inside leg and get the edge angles up while keeping the DH leg less bent).

Any tips on how to get this inside ski to do something useful, and play nice with the overall progression of the turn? Any drills that are good for someone adapting from 80s/early 90s style skiing to a modern aggressive carving ski? I think I am starting to figure out the basics, but I have a long ways to go....

Thanks!
 

KingGrump

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Welcome back. Sounds like you are having a good time.

Rather than starting off on a GS ski, I would suggest getting a softer front side carver in the high '70s. Take a few lessons with a good instructor with the softer skis. That should get you kick started.

The Enforcer 100 is a really well liked ski. But not the optimal tools to get back in the saddle after 20 years off.
 

Johnny V.

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Any tips on how to get this inside ski to do something useful, and play nice with the overall progression of the turn? Any drills that are good for someone adapting from 80s/early 90s style skiing to a modern aggressive carving ski? I think I am starting to figure out the basics, but I have a long ways to go....
There's a 6 page (and growing) active thread in this forum right now that may be helpful (or may just confuse you).

I agree with King Grump about trying something softer, shorter and with a smaller turning radius to get you back in the swing of things. While the 183 G9s are far from unturnable planks (I use them for beer league racing-I'm 5'10"/180), another ski may be easier get your carving technique down and be more fun to ski when things get chopped up.
 

Jilly

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Having made this transition, well not from racing, but from straight Volkl Targa R's, it would be easier on a more recreational ski. Even the Atomic X9. Get yourself some used stuff and a lesson. Find an old timer that has made this transition and they will help you in a short time.
 

Philpug

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Someone with your background and the right coaching should easily transition into modern skiing. It is just a matter of finding someone to help you with creating new muscle memory. Once that light bulb goes off when you make that first modern turn, you will be "off to the races" so to speak.
 

oldschoolskier

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I made the transition a few years ago and here is my take.

Never back seat knees bent, ACL injury in the making (break this habit as we all learned back in the day).
Technique is the same, timing is little different (this is what is messing you up). Mostly proper initiation on ski before leaning ski over.
Race GS ski them or they ski you (and beat you up).

As to the inside leg this is a little about stance and balance. Widen up a bit, learn to balance on both equally, lean skis over while getting wt over skis.

Sums it up short and sweet. Figure about 16 to 30 hrs of focused skiing (8 days skiing minimum)
 

chilehed

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Here's the drill that did it for me, and it's one I do every day:
- Sink your shins into the boot front, hips forward, standing erect. Feet spaced a normal standing width apart. You're just standing there.
- Straight down a gentle slope, pressure the soles of your feet slowly from one side to the other. No hips, no knees, no ankles, no rotation - only the soles left side to right side. Do that for a bit.
- Do it again, but also tip the inside ski onto the front of the inside edge. I think of it as rotating the heel up and towards my own centerline while keeping the tip of the ski on the snow.
 

cantunamunch

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There's going to be gobs of gear and on-snow advice in this thread.


I think I am starting to figure out the basics, but I have a long ways to go....
Thanks!


Do you still have an old school bongo board at home? Believe it or not, those are better for modern skis than old school ones - and can totally help with getting rid of digital leg dominance, with gradual pressure transfer, and with keeping both feet/ankles/knees active during the turn.
 

François Pugh

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You will advance quicker with a slalom ski - 13 m side cut radius good for this purpose. More turns per run. To learn and exploit the ski, with sl ski you should keep speed below 45 mph, below 30 mph is better.
Make sure you don't do any pivoting at transition.
Focus on tipping that inside ski; I'm not telling you not to tip the outside ski; you need to do that too, but it's usually the inside tipping that needs work.
No need to jump on that outside ski; just allow the weight to get there on its own; most of it will be there once some g force gets generated.
You just have to get used to the new relationship between tipping and turning.
IFF you were carving on straight skis, you should pick this up quickly.
Your problem has as much to do with 20 years of rust as with new equipment. I made the switch quite late from 208 cm SG skis to Fischer RC4 World Cup SC (one step down from FIS SL) with no problem, but also no 20 year gap.
 

Philpug

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You will advance quicker with a slalom ski - 13 m side cut radius good for this purpose. More turns per run. To learn and exploit the ski, with sl ski you should keep speed below 45 mph, below 30 mph is better.
IMHO, this is swinging the pendulum too far coming from a 45M ski to a 13M. I agree with Grump, a mid teens TR ski will be a much better transition ski, maybe in the 70 mm underfoot.
 

Nobody

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As for equipment, have to agree that a 15 to 18 mt radius ski would be better to manage the transition in an easier way.
an Atomic X9 in 175-178 cm, a Voelkl Racetiger GS in same lenght even if a notch "above" the X9 skiing envelope, or similar form any other brand you'd prefer, should give you plenty.
Personally I managed the transition in stages, more because of happenstance (and available money) than will...down from 204 cm K2 Sl and 205 cm Voelkl P9RS Super to 198 cm Voelkl P40F1 (which were already pretty shaped up) and from there to 178 cm Nordica Hot Rod (these had an estimate radius of 18-19 mt, IIRC). It did not happen overnight, and if one is in a hurry to make up for lost time, then a lesson or ten might be also something to consider. That will quicken the transition, and will correct the small mistakes (postural, technical or tactical) that one might still not be able to detect by self-correcting/self-evaluating...
 

mikelrv

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Welcome back. Sounds like you are having a good time.

Rather than starting off on a GS ski, I would suggest getting a softer front side carver in the high '70s. Take a few lessons with a good instructor with the softer skis. That should get you kick started.

The Enforcer 100 is a really well liked ski. But not the optimal tools to get back in the saddle after 20 years off.
^ What he said. Welcome back, you will love the new tech once you get it.
 

François Pugh

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IMHO, this is swinging the pendulum too far coming from a 45M ski to a 13M. I agree with Grump, a mid teens TR ski will be a much better transition ski, maybe in the 70 mm underfoot.
Agree that a 15m to 18 m would be easier to get used to. Also probably more useful if you are not stuck on a small bump of a hill, teaching value aside.
 

LiquidFeet

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TR = turn radius built into the ski determined by its sidecut.
What Ski | Welove2ski

quoted from https://welove2ski.com/3-key-specifications-for-buying-skis:
To give you a rough idea of the figures involved, slalom skis – designed for the quick and short turns of slalom courses – have a correspondingly short radius (FIS regulation is 13m for men). This moves up through giant slalom skis (FIS regulation is 27m), super G skis (FIS regulation is 33m) and downhill skis (FIS regulation 45m). Typically, ‘cross’ skis and other retail models designed for on-piste performance will have a radius somewhere between a slalom and giant slalom model, whilst other freeride boards get bigger and bigger the more they are geared towards powder and off-piste.
 
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oldschoolskier

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IMHO, this is swinging the pendulum too far coming from a 45M ski to a 13M. I agree with Grump, a mid teens TR ski will be a much better transition ski, maybe in the 70 mm underfoot.
A few years back my mom went skiing with my sister, hadn't been on skis in about 15 years and in her mid 60's. My wife lent her her 13m R skis (had the bindings set professionally) we gave her the advice to simply roll the skis and the let the skis do the rest.

She had a blast. Straight skis to shaped after 15 yr break. Easy as pie.

@François Pugh nailed it pretty good.
 
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