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First season, utterly hooked

KingGrump

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I'll forever have to defend having learned on my own. Even if it goes well. Just more motivation to actually do it right! Maybe someone from here can run into me someday and judge how well I have or haven't done

Post a video.
 

Bad Bob

I golf worse than I ski.
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@MoSkyrPls Your attitude reminds me a lot of my room mate the last year I taught full time.
Ron was very athletic he had some ski touring experience but no real alpine when we met. I got him started and he went from there, I was teaching at Copper Mt at the time and he skied mostly Arapahoe Basin. He got into chasing some good skiers around the mountain and was crazy enough to kind of keep up by skiing flat out in their wake.
Ron ran out of luck one day and augured into a big old pine tree, chest first, at full speed. He hit so hard he split out the side seams of the powder suit he was wearing (my powder suit by the way, it was hanging in the closet). They life flighted him to Denver, where he woke up in ICU. They thought he might loose his spleen but luck was with him but it was not a good way to spend his Spring. He did not ski again.
Taking some advice might have saved Ron some pain.
Don't be a Ron.
 

mdf

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I'm one of the few here who believes you can (partly) teach yourself. The part that is missing is objective feedback ... what it feels like from inside is often different from what is happening outside.

Movement analysis (MA) video can provide great feedback, but in-person analysis is quicker and more efficient.
 

tromano

Goin' the way they're pointed...
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You can definitely learn a lot on your own, but if you dont have boots that fit... All the athleticism in the world won't help you figure it out.
 

KingGrump

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what it feels like from inside is often different from what is happening outside.

Translation: What you think you are doing and what you are doing are often two different things.

Didn't we just had another one of these prodigy expert skier that learned to carve for 7 days earlier this season?
 

SpeedyKevin

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I very much agree, and it's highly likely I'll get some instruction when I find just the right situation. However, it's been a wonderful challenge so far that seemingly has gone quite well.

First off welcome to the forums!

Second off, I said probably something similar to you about being self taught. It sure was a fun challenge...but damn skiing became sooo much more fun and challenging after I took a few lessons this year. The challenge in skiing originally came from overcompensating. Now it comes from proper line picking and maintaining ideal form. Though I didn't feel it initially, I would say it is definitely worth taking the lessons earlier on as breaking old habits is hard! (well for me that is)
 

LiquidFeet

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I just read through this thread, MoSkyrPls.

You certainly have enthusiasm and have done what only a few would do - bell to bell skiing, purchasing all the gear, intensely researching techniques online, teaching yourself by watching others and doing what you've seen or read about online. Oh, and you've found this place - bravo!

The comments you've gotten seem to fall into three categories.
1. Welcome and praise and affirmation for the love of the ski life that you have. We are addicted to skiing and love it when others feel the same way we feel. Welcome to the club!
2. Encouragement to get narrower skis (70s), so you can learn fundamental stuff that is essential to skiing the whole mountain. Fat skis prohibit getting skis up on edge fast enough and early enough to ride the fall line with skis thoroughly bent. This will be especially the case when you are skiing at Hidden Valley just outside St. Louis. There will be firm snow; the fat skis won't penetrate that snow easily.
The people urging you to get and learn on narrower skis are wise and they speak from experience. Many of them are instructors. They know how a 99 width inhibits tipping the skis on edge fast enough and early enough to ride the fall line with skis thoroughly bent.
3. Comments urging you to get new boots. And to buy them from a real bootfitter, in a brick and mortar shop. Your bootfitter, if you decide to do this, should probably see a video of you skiing. Try to get somebody to take a short video for you. You want to know how your turns look, right? The video will give the bootfitter the info needed to select the boots that not only fit but offer you the technical support you need. People here will recommend someone if they know where you plan on getting your boots.
You asked if buying boots at the end of the season is a good idea. Depending on how "normal" your feet are, you may be able to get boots that fit at the end of the season, but that's when the stock is low. The best time to buy boots that fit is early season when the stock is at its fullest. Don't search for deals on your boots. Very bad idea. Boots that fit transfer your foot and leg movements to the skis. Loose boots don't do that; there's lag time. Loose boots are like a loose steering wheel. If you are having trouble skiing moguls and your boots are too big, then your control over what the skis are doing is compromised. You'll never be able to place them where they need to go in bumps, bump after bump, with loose boots.
4. Encouragement to get lessons.
This last one is the one I want to address. I don't think you are ready for lessons.

The reason I say this is that taking a lesson with a good instructor will never deliver the excitement you now get from shaping your own technique - your way. The lesson will need to be done on mild terrain, where your instructor will have you moving slowly so your mind can attend to the things you need to learn. You most likely will get instruction on one new thing, and then time skiing with the instructor watching. The instructor will give you feedback on how well you are doing this thing, and correct any misunderstandings. I get the idea that you like to go fast, you like to explore terrain that is challenging, and you enjoy the thrill of working at or just beyond your skill level. You are strong and don't mind tomahawking down the slope. You are not concerned about injury. A lesson that will do you any good is not going to be on challenging terrain, nor will it be at speed. From your enthusiastic comments so far, I don't think you will tolerate the atmosphere of a lesson. It will feel like you're being held back and losing valuable time on the mountain.

Knowledgeable people know how self-taught skiers who ski many days/weeks/years embed habits that seriously limit improvement. It just happens. This is normal. I know you are not approaching teaching yourself to ski in a normal fashion, but getting things wrong is probably still going to happen with you. You should know that once embedded, not-so-good movement habits are very hard to overwrite with better movement patterns. Skiers who have been pleased with their skiing so far (as you are), who have embedded movement patterns that are limiting their potential in some way, who are taking a lesson because someone talked them into it, are impatient and want immediate results that they can feel. But new movements inserted into one's skiing are going to feel awkward at first. To get new stuff to sync with old stuff will take deliberate practice for days or maybe longer. People often find it to be so much more fun to just revert to how they were skiing before the lesson.

Which brings me to this. You like the way you ski. You are high on learning to ski on your own, and you enjoy figuring out what your skiing needs in order to improve from watching and reading about ski technique. You are happy with your progress, and the way your turns feel. You have said that you learn differently than other people, so that implies you don't want to be like other slower learners and take a normal lesson.

When you have found your progress is lagging and you are getting frustrated, that's when you might want to take a lesson (no, take lessons). You know this already, and you've written it in this thread. Do that; when your joy turns to frustration, take lessons. Better yet, get a video of yourself now; a phone camera is good enough. Then you can look at what you're doing and figure out for yourself what needs work. Have a friend stand on the side of the trail and video you as you come down, go past, and continue to the bottom.

Best of luck with your progress. I'd love to see you ski.


 
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Thread Starter
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MoSkyrPls

MoSkyrPls

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I just read through this thread, MoSkyrPls.

You certainly have enthusiasm and have done what only a few would do - bell to bell skiing, purchasing all the gear, intensely researching techniques online, teaching yourself by watching others and doing what you've seen or read about online. Oh, and you've found this place - bravo!

The comments you've gotten seem to fall into three categories.
1. Welcome and praise and affirmation for the love of the ski life that you have. We are addicted to skiing and love it when others feel the same way we feel. Welcome to the club!
2. Encouragement to get narrower skis (70s), so you can learn fundamental stuff that is essential to skiing the whole mountain. Fat skis prohibit getting skis up on edge fast enough and early enough to ride the fall line with skis thoroughly bent. This will be especially the case when you are skiing at Hidden Valley just outside St. Louis. There will be firm snow; the fat skis won't penetrate that snow easily.
The people urging you to get and learn on narrower skis are wise and they speak from experience. Many of them are instructors. They know how a 99 width inhibits tipping the skis on edge fast enough and early enough to ride the fall line with skis thoroughly bent.
3. Comments urging you to get new boots. And to buy them from a real bootfitter, in a brick and mortar shop. Your bootfitter, if you decide to do this, should probably see a video of you skiing. Try to get somebody to take a short video for you. You want to know how your turns look, right? The video will give the bootfitter the info needed to select the boots that not only fit but offer you the technical support you need. People here will recommend someone if they know where you plan on getting your boots.
You asked if buying boots at the end of the season is a good idea. Depending on how "normal" your feet are, you may be able to get boots that fit at the end of the season, but that's when the stock is low. The best time to buy boots that fit is early season when the stock is at its fullest. Don't search for deals on your boots. Very bad idea. Boots that fit transfer your foot and leg movements to the skis. Loose boots don't do that; there's lag time. Loose boots are like a loose steering wheel. If you are having trouble skiing moguls and your boots are too big, then your control over what the skis are doing is compromised. You'll never be able to place them where they need to go in bumps, bump after bump, with loose boots.
4. Encouragement to get lessons.
This last one is the one I want to address. I don't think you are ready for lessons.

The reason I say this is that taking a lesson with a good instructor will never deliver the excitement you now get from shaping your own technique - your way. The lesson will need to be done on mild terrain, where your instructor will have you moving slowly so your mind can attend to the things you need to learn. You most likely will get instruction on one new thing, and then time skiing with the instructor watching. The instructor will give you feedback on how well you are doing this thing, and correct any misunderstandings. I get the idea that you like to go fast, you like to explore terrain that is challenging, and you enjoy the thrill of working at or just beyond your skill level. You are strong and don't mind tomahawking down the slope. You are not concerned about injury. A lesson that will do you any good is not going to be on challenging terrain, nor will it be at speed. From your enthusiastic comments so far, I don't think you will tolerate the atmosphere of a lesson. It will feel like you're being held back and losing valuable time on the mountain.

Knowledgeable people know how self-taught skiers who ski many days/weeks/years embed habits that seriously limit improvement. It just happens. This is normal. I know you are not approaching teaching yourself to ski in a normal fashion, but getting things wrong is probably still going to happen with you. You should know that once embedded, not-so-good movement habits are very hard to overwrite with better movement patterns. Skiers who have been pleased with their skiing so far (as you are), who have embedded movement patterns that are limiting their potential in some way, who are taking a lesson because someone talked them into it, are impatient and want immediate results that they can feel. But new movements inserted into one's skiing are going to feel awkward at first. To get new stuff to sync with old stuff will take deliberate practice for days or maybe longer. People often find it to be so much more fun to just revert to how they were skiing before the lesson.

Which brings me to this. You like the way you ski. You are high on learning to ski on your own, and you enjoy figuring out what your skiing needs in order to improve from watching and reading about ski technique. You are happy with your progress, and the way your turns feel. You have said that you learn differently than other people, so that implies you don't want to be like other slower learners and take a normal lesson.

When you have found your progress is lagging and you are getting frustrated, that's when you might want to take a lesson (no, take lessons). You know this already, and you've written it in this thread. Do that; when your joy turns to frustration, take lessons. Better yet, get a video of yourself now; a phone camera is good enough. Then you can look at what you're doing and figure out for yourself what needs work. Have a friend stand on the side of the trail and video you as you come down, go past, and continue to the bottom.

Best of luck with your progress. I'd love to see you ski.


You have EXACTLY picked up on what I'm putting down, thank you.

Actually, I'm continually in fear of injury. I love to go fast, but I try to not give in to the adrenaline too much, and keep things logical. I'm pretty risk averse believe it or not. I just happen to be going on these trips with a friend that likes to snowboard almost exclusively in the trees he pushes me a bit, but not too much.

I did get some narrower skis, and stiffer. Enforcers 88s... I wasn't sure if I wanted to go all the way to a carving ski just yet. I understand they can be a bit demanding at first.

I've been working on the boot situation, and luckily I do have a pretty normal foot. My boots were too loose last season, but at least they were quite comfy and caused me zero pain. I'll do my best to visit a boot fitter on the first trip out to summit County.

In a way you're right that I want to keep charging at my own pace. It will be really interesting to see how well I have or haven't avoided bad habits. Also, I don't want to have to ditch my friend when we're out in Colorado for a day. In a perfect world, we'll run into some old buddy of his that's an instructor and they'll help me out, I'll buy dinner and drinks.
 

LiquidFeet

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.... I don't want to have to ditch my friend when we're out in Colorado for a day. In a perfect world, we'll run into some old buddy of his that's an instructor and they'll help me out, I'll buy dinner and drinks.
It's hard to improve one's technique while following faster more experienced skiers on difficult terrain.

If you feel any caution while speeding along in those trees, then you are probably "overterrained."
That means you are making decisions on what to do in the moment, at speed. It's hard to pay attention to doing new things when this is the case. Slow is how one pays attention to whether the body is doing what you want it to do. Slow on non-intimidating terrain is how you start embedding the best movement patterns that will serve you later when you're on difficult terrain.

When caution or worry (are you asking yourself is this safe???) is a major player, the body acts before the mind can tell it what to do. I bet you've felt that. It overrides what you want it to do that's new. And when the body is in control like that it makes decisions it has made in the past. It relies on habituated movements. That's what people here mean when they refer to "compensation."

Every run using already habituated movements embeds those movements deeper into muscle memory. It makes it harder later to replace them with new better more functional movements. There's this thing we talk about - "terminal intermediate." This means an intermediate skier who did not embed major fundamental movement patterns early in their skiing. They hit a wall that won't let them advance. They are often too impatient with the way lessons work to spend the time with repeat lessons to actually embed those missing fundamentals.

I'm not recommending you stop skiing with your friends who go fast on challenging terrain. Just letting you know that later you will find it difficult to overwrite those things the body does in that kind of situation. All this assumes that you are missing some fundamentals. Of course it's possible you are not, and only need boots that fit and narrower skis.

On teaching oneself - I'm speaking from experience. When I began skiing I taught myself from instructional books and online resources.I thought I skied very well and that I was a "natural." Nope. This forum was what helped me the most. Because of the long conversations I began to understand what was behind major movement patterns. Understanding the mechanics was important to me because it helped me recognize when what I thought I was doing wasn't what I was doing. Knowledge and practice worked in tandem, for me.

Becoming an instructor also led to some very good training.
 
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LiquidFeet

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@MoSkyrPls, check out this thread.
Rookie Academy doesn't address fundamentals directly in the courses these two guys are taking. They are doing a three-week course for advanced/expert skiers. This renown course is taught in New Zealand, and it's taught by some of the best skiers on the planet.

Mike B and Chris V. are getting taught precision control for skiers at their level. But fundamentals do get addressed because those always need to be refined as new movement patterns are incorporated into what's already there. This type of instruction you can look forward to later when you've moved through intermediatehood, past any difficulties in moving up from being an intermediate, and on into advanced skiing

Skiing always had more to challenge a skier, if the skier wants to stay challenged. I bet that's you.
 
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mdf

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I'm not recommending you stop skiing with your friends who go fas on challenging terrain.
If they are truly good, not just fast, following them is one of the best things you can do. But watch what they do, not just where they go. And get them to tell you what they see in your skiing.

And don't be embarrassed to make them wait for you.

On the other hand, a lot of fast and fearless skiers are actually fairly bad skiers. We here have even less ability to judge your friends skiing than your skiing.
 

LiquidFeet

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If they are truly good, not just fast, following them is one of the best things you can do. But watch what they do, not just where they go. And get them to tell you what they see in your skiing.

And don't be embarrassed to make them wait for you.

On the other hand, a lot of fast and fearless skiers are actually fairly bad skiers. We here have even less ability to judge your friends skiing than your skiing.
Right! Following a very good skier, trying to match the skier's movements, is so helpful.
But I think the friend he has mentioned following is on a snowboard.
 

Jack skis

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MoSkyrPls you've certainly gotten a lot of advice here about learning to ski, and as a long time skier I'd just like to say welcome to my favorite sport. Skiing has been a great part of my life, beyond skiing itself, and I hope it is for you. Keep it up however you chose to do it.
 
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MoSkyrPls

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My friend used to ski, but has been snowboarding for years now. I'm always thankful for when I find someone who obviously has great technique and I try to hang back and follow their line.

I put a huge emphasis on the technical side of things prior to getting on the snow, because I wanted to minimize those bad habits as much as possible and actually start skiing, and I'm continually looking for them in my skiing. My fore/aft balance greatly improved through the season, and I can tell it's going to be even better from the skating. I've been trying to work on my core strength and how I use it in my athletic stance, and keeping my mass centered/controlled.

I go slow in the moguls and take it in sections that I plan out so I can get more out of it and not feel like I'm always catching up. When I'm feeling overwhelmed or tired, I stay out of the trees and work on easier moguled blues.

I think I'm finally starting to put together the relationship between upper body separation, early edge angle and toppling, at least conceptually. I've had moments where they all worked together in a way that just felt right. But that's on blues where I feel confident. The sensation between edges when I commit to releasing and falling feels incredible though.

One of my biggest weaknesses is probably how I use my poles, or rather don't. I need to work on that, but at least I'm not dragging them for balance.

I'm very happy with how enthusiastic everyone has been about this, and the advice is quite appreciated. It helps keep the motivation up when everyone around you just can't understand the obsession.
 
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MoSkyrPls

MoSkyrPls

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MoSkyrPls you've certainly gotten a lot of advice here about learning to ski, and as a long time skier I'd just like to say welcome to my favorite sport. Skiing has been a great part of my life, beyond skiing itself, and I hope it is for you. Keep it up however you chose to do it.
I'm a little surprised at just how much there has been and I feel honored that everyone cares enough to take the time. I've secretly always known I would love skiing, I just didn't realize it was something I could actually do.
 

tromano

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Self teaching vs. Lessons.. these things are not in tension, they complement each other.

I self learned alot about skiing the few seasons I was skiing with my kids on the green runs. Focusing on my feet... right foot, goes right, you go right... doing simple drills like garlands.

Everyone has a bad day from time to time... I have learned that when I feel like I am skiing bad, I go back to the easiest terrain for about 30 min and just focus on fundamentals and that helps sort thngs out. That is what self learning means to me.

Another thing that I keep coming back to year after year is this.

 

LiquidFeet

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My friend used to ski, but has been snowboarding for years now. I'm always thankful for when I find someone who obviously has great technique and I try to hang back and follow their line.

I put a huge emphasis on the technical side of things prior to getting on the snow, because I wanted to minimize those bad habits as much as possible and actually start skiing, and I'm continually looking for them in my skiing. My fore/aft balance greatly improved through the season, and I can tell it's going to be even better from the skating. I've been trying to work on my core strength and how I use it in my athletic stance, and keeping my mass centered/controlled.

I go slow in the moguls and take it in sections that I plan out so I can get more out of it and not feel like I'm always catching up. When I'm feeling overwhelmed or tired, I stay out of the trees and work on easier moguled blues.

I think I'm finally starting to put together the relationship between upper body separation, early edge angle and toppling, at least conceptually. I've had moments where they all worked together in a way that just felt right. But that's on blues where I feel confident. The sensation between edges when I commit to releasing and falling feels incredible though.

One of my biggest weaknesses is probably how I use my poles, or rather don't. I need to work on that, but at least I'm not dragging them for balance.

I'm very happy with how enthusiastic everyone has been about this, and the advice is quite appreciated. It helps keep the motivation up when everyone around you just can't understand the obsession.
Yep, you're hooked and are paying attention to the right things. Such a joy to read this post.
Can you get your snowboarding friend to take video of you?
 
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MoSkyrPls

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Yep, you're hooked and are paying attention to the right things. Such a joy to read this post.
Can you get your snowboarding friend to take video of you?

Thank you! I felt like there was something pure and enjoyable about what I experienced, right down to the exceptional snow conditions, on both trips to Summit County and even here in Missouri at Hidden Valley. The people I met are amazing. I felt like I got to live out my own Hero's Journey and I appreciate that every day.

I'll definitely have him get some video of me, we may have a few good bloopers from last season too. He can't stand taking video on anything that's not trees or hike only terrain, feels like a youtuber or something but we've been discussing video pretty frequently now. I chose to not put much effort into pictures or video when I was there last season, I wanted to focus on what mattered in the moment. I think we'll try out an insta360 so we don't have to put much effort into framing.
 
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MoSkyrPls

MoSkyrPls

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Self teaching vs. Lessons.. these things are not in tension, they complement each other.

I self learned alot about skiing the few seasons I was skiing with my kids on the green runs. Focusing on my feet... right foot, goes right, you go right... doing simple drills like garlands.

Everyone has a bad day from time to time... I have learned that when I feel like I am skiing bad, I go back to the easiest terrain for about 30 min and just focus on fundamentals and that helps sort thngs out. That is what self learning means to me.

Another thing that I keep coming back to year after year is this.

Yeah that's awesome! I love applied physics based learning and it helps me understand what I'm doing a lot more. That's why I'm so hesitant about teachers/instructors. Most of my family are teachers, and I've spent plenty of years in school and I really know what I like.

What I'm starting to pick up on is you want early edge angle, but you want it before you start to load the new edge, then you progressively sink into the new edge, then progressively release from it using the springing action of the ski. Depending on effectively the frequency of your turns, which should mean shorter or longer turns, you change the amount of slip angle I guess between the direction your mass is going and the direction your skis are going. So for short turns or moguls, you'll have a lot of slip angle between the direction your shoulders and upper body are facing, likely down the fall line, and the direction your skis face, while for longer turns, your body doesn't have to be locked down the fall line, and should point closer in line with your skis. I've heard it talked about as European style and American style at some point. But it seems like fluidly doing both things in the right scenario works well.
 

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