Where do you see most performance plateaus occur?

geepers

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This video was interesting. As someone who battles a perpetual stem and push I am curious as to how trying the experiment he had his trainers do would work for me. I tend to get stuck kind of in a squat. Exaggerating that and the opposite (stand up) is an interesting idea that goes along with Deb Amstrong's latest videos about moving forward at the transition, which is something I was just starting to play with last season. I've heard the "don't move up and down" thing so often that I've kind of had it beaten into my head, yet, it might be that exaggerating it at least temporarily or as a warmup will ultimately get me to find that feeling of releasing at the right time that will eliminate the stem (as he said it did for the instructors in the video.) They then find the balance and rhythm and drop the exaggerated move.

The section in that vid labeled "Hidden in plain sight" - (from the cued to about 14:10) seemed most relevant to the other poster. (Adding vid to a post allows a start point but not an end point.)

In terms of the stem... that's not one I've had to struggle much with in carving. (Not to worry, plenty of other issues that more than make up for it! :geek: ) However transitions are something I've been working on for the last few seasons, particularly in carving where the aim is to have no pivoting of the ski. Can only write about what has helped me (which may or may not be applicable to others) and that's using the forces from the previous turn to move into the new. Aiming to bias balance progressively to the outside as the old turn completes (skis coming back to me, angulation increasing, CoM already largely redirected across the hill but still moving partly down, absorbing to manage the pressure). My take is that flexing alone, without the CoM on the verge of, or already heading across the skis, simply makes for a low crouch and needing to do something wacky with the old inside ski - like a push-off or a stem.

I'm sure I'm about to get lots of advice for doing it better. Or how that's completely wrong. Where I'm up to. Work in progress.
 

geepers

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It's not strictly speaking that you need a perfectly centred stance to create high end carving, but very centred is a good way to introduce carving, because when you learn carving you want to be set up to just focus on tipping movements in isolation.

At an advanced level, for one, it's probably net desireable to be forward at the top of the arc and pick up some self-steering effect from the ski to juice the top of the turn. It's also a good idea to juice the tail at the finish, particularly since being very aft at the finish will help pull your ski off its old edge without introducing significant rotational effects.

Yeah - there seems to be a range of approaches to this.

Experimented for a few weeks one season with lotta fore at the top of the turn. The issue is that all that fore has to be taken out a very short time later to avoid being too far forward and having the tails wash out.

Much less issues (for old 'n slow me) with only using as much fore/aft range as required to get the job done. Assuming the intent is carving it very much depends on the steepness of pitch and our speed as that affects the size of the virtual bump encountered and the rate it comes at us.

Believe there's also an issue with equipment. Focusing on carving here... Skis for less advanced skiers tend to be less stiff and respond quicker to smaller changes in fore aft balance to allow easier pivoting. This may explain some of the range of thoughts on this issue.
 

tromano

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I love how much discussion was inadvertently prompted by my comments about relating strongly to skiers who hit a plateau through being unable to carve!

Had a busy weekend of skiing in fact, so replying to some things now:

(apologies for some of this inevitably being incoherent, I am quite tired)

@LiquidFeet with regards to doing outside-ski turns, lifting the inside ski - I'm used to just leaving the tip on the snow so I tried lifting up the entire ski as you suggested. Should this be a lot harder to do? I found it really difficult to physically keep that tip off the snow, I felt like I had to sort of tuck that inside leg right up and forward (bend it at the hip a lot more to lift the entire leg up, and not have my knee too bent because that forces the tip down) because otherwise the tip brushes against the snow more. It felt pretty odd so I figured I'd just ask about what I'm meant to feel there! I am almost certainly doing something quite basic wrong there, or it's normal and I'm just not used to it!

Anyway I always like trying new things, so it was for sure good to break out of my usual way of doing outside-ski turns.



The more I learn about skiing, the more I realise that everything starts back earlier than expected. Turn initiation preventing me from doing carved turns...? Yeah, probably, haha. Even though my turn initiation is definitely the strongest part of my turn (and the turn completion has always been the weakest! my nzsia level 1 examiner told me that my turn initiation was comfortably above passing standard but my turn completion was initially below passing standard, hah) I wouldn't be surprised that it has a part to play in the turn completion being bad. Like when I discovered last season that (at the time) my turn initiation was better on one side, because my turn completion was better on the other side, and that affected how I could start my next turn. It all flows together eh?

Funnily enough I got told to do railroad tracks last weekend. My instructor is currently off work while recovering from an injury, but I ran into them on the lift and they spent 30 seconds demonstrating them for me, for something to work on before I can actually have another lesson. So I've been practicing that. Today I practiced doing giant turns on mellow terrain and trying not to rotate the ski, but just let it follow the edge. I'm positive that I was doing turns that were a lot bigger than the stated radius of my ski, but hopefully it's a step in the right direction anyway!

I wasn't really flattening my skis between the turns though, because the speed and turn size was such that I was in danger of exceeding the edge of the run, hah. So I was moving pretty quickly from edge to edge. I need to "complete" the turns a little less to have space to roll slower from edge to edge I think.


This was really interesting. My skis are certainly not carving at all even in the top part of the turn, but they're at least following a better line before I completely lose it partway through the turn, hah. It's because of my own technique, but even while aware that I'm not doing carved turns, on very hardpack cord (like we actually had at 8am this morning at the skifield) I get a lot of vibration and complete loss of grip at the bottom of each turn, I really notice the point at which I completely lose grip because the strong vibration is very hard on my shins!! Every once in a blue moon I manage to keep grip all the way around and it feels pretty sweet. I imagine what I'm doing is pivoting the skis midway through the turn which means that they suddenly have a lot of force applied to them - more than they can hold, without building up to it through the turn.

Anyway, my experiences really track with what you're saying. I need to watch some more videos of people doing nice carved turns, and pay attention to what they're doing at the ends of their turns.

Aside from that, sounds like railroad tracks etc are still the way to go, for practicing that tipping movement. I tend to do big movements with my knees and hips while skiing so only really thinking about my ankles while doing the railroad tracks feels very odd. I keep feeling like I need to pull myself forward too, like I'm falling back. I think I'm really used to bringing my ski around in front of me, so I'm always braking downhill.


Honestly!! 99 out of 100 times!


Also, I really liked this. I'd love to see something similar from someone starting from even further back though! Their "starting point" is further ahead than where I currently am :P
I used to be where you are. Learning to carve isnt the hard part. Carving is simple. I was able to learn the basic movements in a two hour private. Changing habits built up over years - that's the hard part.

For me, 6 months after that private my first daughter was born. Then, two years later twins. I cut my ski days in half for 4 years and spent many of those fewer days skiing on the bunny hill with them. This reset helped alot to forget my old defaults and lots of time on the green terrain helped me refine the drills I learned. When I got bored with those initial drills I looked up others to play with. Every time I felt like I was falling back into my old patterens I would stop skiing immediatle and got do drills on the bunny hill to refocus on the new movements. Good luck. You can do it.

ETA. The first drills I started with were crab walk and racer turns.
 

Disinterested

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Yeah - there seems to be a range of approaches to this.

Believe there's also an issue with equipment. Focusing on carving here... Skis for less advanced skiers tend to be less stiff and respond quicker to smaller changes in fore aft balance to allow easier pivoting. This may explain some of the range of thoughts on this issue.

There's two things that'll help your ski stay on it edge and track in a more carved pathway despite relatively large fore-aft movement: stiffer skis and higher overall edge angle. Both create, in very different ways, more resistance to turning effects.

I never found it easy to manage fore-aft when I thought about the skis and myself in a line and trying to move along their length. Now I think about moving my feet through an arc with me at the centre, and trying to draw my outside foot through the arc, trying to time for effect how much I let the outside foot accelerate through. I begin by projecting myself where I want to go and pulling my feet back to the top of the arc, and then I pretty quickly switch to guiding them through the arc at a faster and faster pace. Sometimes you'll hear someone like Jf Beaulieu or another skiing celebrity talk about this as an issue of 'foot placement'.
 

geepers

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There's two things that'll help your ski stay on it edge and track in a more carved pathway despite relatively large fore-aft movement: stiffer skis and higher overall edge angle. Both create, in very different ways, more resistance to turning effects.

I never found it easy to manage fore-aft when I thought about the skis and myself in a line and trying to move along their length. Now I think about moving my feet through an arc with me at the centre, and trying to draw my outside foot through the arc, trying to time for effect how much I let the outside foot accelerate through. I begin by projecting myself where I want to go and pulling my feet back to the top of the arc, and then I pretty quickly switch to guiding them through the arc at a faster and faster pace. Sometimes you'll hear someone like Jf Beaulieu or another skiing celebrity talk about this as an issue of 'foot placement'.

With you on working the ski through the arc. Just making the observation that for me being forward more than necessary was counter-productive to improved carving. And on the greens/easy blues where we 1st learn this stuff a huge fore/aft range is not required.

On the higher edge angle... my understanding and experience is different.

On understanding it's surely platform angle rather than edge angle that keeps the ski in the groove it is making? Which controlled by angulation.

On experience I've found it more challenging to get fore/aft right at higher edge angles. The centripetal forces are typically higher. Speed is typically higher whilst the radius is smaller - meaning we are moving in/out of the virtual bump faster. My feeling is that if we can't get it dialed at 25 degrees it won't suddenly get better at 45 or more.
 

Disinterested

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This is just my experience talking, but: with high angles is that you're working with more volatile and large , forces but the ski is also requires bigger forces to break off its edge, whereas the amount of input required to break a low angle carving ski off its edge is minimal.

So while the ski might not perfectly carve when you're forward at a high edge angle, the ski performance is still overall very high and the turn is still mostly carved. To me, that feels like it's in some ways easier to make a mistake in the low angle scenario.

I think as much as anything the reason why transition, with its virtual bump, is hard, is not just that you have this larger and larger set of forces to manage as you speed up - it's also that edge angle is supposed to be decreasing there, meaning you need to more carefully preserve the forward - rather than sideways - trajectory of the skis. The skis are much more vulnerable as they pass through low angle to receiving a big turning input if you make the wrong move as you move from being inclined deep in to one turn and inclining deep in to the other, just because a flatter ski is easier to turn.

What's worse is - if you're an experienced skier - if you incline faster than your ski can roll up and bend to catch you with enough force, your body will essentially force you to turn the ski somehow to catch you.
 
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bud heishman

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There is an inflection point at the edge change which largely determines if the turn will be a pure carve or more skidded ("brushed" for the Harbies).

Provided the last turn was completed with ample forward momentum, (skis pointed in the direction of the inertia is moving) and the feet and the CM are on divergent paths while the feet are twisted to the left and simultaneously tipped to the right to turn right, the top of the turn can be carved.

If, on the other end the of the spectrum, the inertia is killed by an edge set and the skis are pointed more across the direction of travel, The turn initiation will likely be pivoted or stemmed.

Again! sometimes making the break through to carving turns is less a technique issue and more of a psychological issue of "INTENT TO TURN". Learning to use turn shape and aligning the path of inertia more with the direction the skis are pointed is necessary to a nice carved entry. The skier has to be comfortable with stepping on the gas pedal at the beginning of a turn rather than the brake pedal. These two examples above demonstrate the polar differences in the intent to GO and the intent to STOP GOING THERE.

Take a minute to evaluate what you are doing in your skiing technique. If you have a habitual stem or sequential edge change, you have a braking or defensive turn entry. This will inhibit any ability to carve your turns! It is imperative to change your INTENT TO TURN before any technique changes will be possible. The defensive, self preservation, intent may be subconscious so one has to first recognize the differences in intent before any change is possible. You must learn to ski a slow enough line but ski around that line as fast as your can. Then you will begin to carve.
 

LiquidFeet

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There is an inflection point at the edge change which largely determines if the turn will be a pure carve or more skidded ("brushed" for the Harbies).
....
Yes. I like this term "inflection point". This point is when the old turn ends and it's time to start the new turn. As Bud says, the skis do need to be traveling in the direction they are pointed at this inflection point.

To bring about the new turn, the biggie is to not pivot the skis, but instead to get them to tip from old edges to new edges without the skier changing the direction they are pointing. In other words, the tipping from old to new edges needs to happen during a straight run across the hill.

If the skier can get the skis onto new edges without changing the direction they are pointed or moving, the top of the new turn can be carved.

I see this as a technical challenge, not an issue of will, and not an issue of intending to go instead of braking. Yes, "go" will happen, and it will happen at speed. But getting to "go" is a technical challenge. Intention is not enough to get one there.

Learning to do RRtrx on low pitch terrain straight down the fall line, with eyes locked on a target ahead, is a great first step. With success, the skier will feel the skis carve. Then do the exact same thing at the end of a turn. Lock eyes on a target ahead, in the direction the skis are going and pointing, do RRtrx, and the skier will enter the new turn carving (and at speed). Low pitch, uncrowded terrain is best.

As for JFB's advice in that video, envisioning ahead of time what the radius of the turn will be and where the skis will take the skier is an exercise for people who already carve.

New-to-carving skiers are not going to know where their skis will take them. A trying-to-carve-the-first-time skier, if they succeed in tipping without turning the skis, will then learn where the skis will take them.

I learned to carve late in life and remember this process in detail. I locked my eyes on a target ahead, rolled my edges, gritted my teeth, and waited, waited, waited, for what seemed like forever, for my skis to turn without any further input from me. I felt the carve, and they left pencil-thin tracks. And travel was indeed fast. Success was not because I intended to go fast instead of braking, nor because I intended to ride the skis along a particular path I could envision. It was because I knew I needed to wait and see where the skis would go, and because I was able to get myself to do that.

The waiting, not knowing where the skis would go, was the hard part.
 
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BLspruce2

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This is a great thread. Lots of good comments. What I would add is if you can ski with better skiers you will advance without even realizing it. If you watch and follow them you will just get better without thinking about it. And you learn lots about gear setup etc. My luck was to learn to start skiing with a fun group of master ski racers on a small mountain. I was the worst by far but plugged away at it. Only years later when I went to other ski areas did I realize I could ski most runs on the mountain. Skiing is alot like riding bicycles. Ride in fast group rides and you get faster. Even if you take time off you do not forget how to do it. And once you ski decently you can develope your own style depending on what you enjoy. Skiing should be fun not work.
 

François Pugh

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Intention to go may not be enough to get you there, but intention to stop is enough to prevent you from getting there. Skis traveling where they are pointed is the path of least resistance, anything else adds resistance and slows you down. Being well trained to control speed (for some reason ski instructors are obsessed with this - something to do with client safety and all that) ingrains the addition of resistance. It's especially bad if turning (even turning uphill) is taught as the primary purpose of turning. Stop resisting!
 

Disinterested

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As for JFB's advice in that video, envisioning ahead of time what the radius of the turn will be and where the skis will take the skier is an exercise for people who already carve.

New-to-carving skiers are not going to know where their skis will take them. A trying-to-carve-the-first-time skier, if they succeed in tipping without turning the skis, will then learn where the skis will take them.

I learned to carve late in life and remember this process in detail. I locked my eyes on a target ahead, rolled my edges, gritted my teeth, and waited, waited, waited, for what seemed like forever, for my skis to turn without any further input from me. I felt the carve, and they left pencil-thin tracks. And travel was indeed fast. Success was not because I intended to go fast instead of braking, nor because I intended to ride the skis along a particular path I could envision. It was because I knew I needed to wait and see where the skis would go, and because I was able to get myself to do that.

The waiting, not knowing where the skis would go, was the hard part.

I must say I have essentially never had a hard time creating a first time carving experience for a skier. The first pencil thin lines for me have always been easy to create for someone. For me, it's a question of having skiers ski with their hands on their knees on very flat, wide runs and physically push their lower legs in to the turn with their hands to tip. The hands on knees will pretty aggressively shut down a lot of their capacity to rotate. I don't care about where the skiers wind up, at first, just about feeling a sensation of carving; that's why I have to make sure they're competent at stopping before we do this.

Some people aren't used to thinking about decoupling a tipping motion of their foot and leg from a turning one, and those folks just need to be set up in an environment to feel out the difference between tipping and twisting.

But as soon as someone has done any, even rudimentary carving, they are going to quickly start learning how to try to gauge how much tipping they need to wind up at a destination.

What I've found harder is being able to translate that progress quickly to carving on higher angled slopes, where a lot more inclination of the whole body is required early in the arc - my introductory drill also shuts that down. But then again, most people on most mountains won't be carving on a steep blue, for this reason.
 

LiquidFeet

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I must say I have essentially never had a hard time creating a first time carving experience for a skier. The first pencil thin lines for me have always been easy to create for someone. For me, it's a question of having skiers ski with their hands on their knees on very flat, wide runs and physically push their lower legs in to the turn with their hands to tip. The hands on knees will pretty aggressively shut down a lot of their capacity to rotate. I don't care about where the skiers wind up, at first, just about feeling a sensation of carving; that's why I have to make sure they're competent at stopping before we do this.
^^This is awesome.
 

AmyPJ

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I must say I have essentially never had a hard time creating a first time carving experience for a skier. The first pencil thin lines for me have always been easy to create for someone. For me, it's a question of having skiers ski with their hands on their knees on very flat, wide runs and physically push their lower legs in to the turn with their hands to tip. The hands on knees will pretty aggressively shut down a lot of their capacity to rotate. I don't care about where the skiers wind up, at first, just about feeling a sensation of carving; that's why I have to make sure they're competent at stopping before we do this.

Some people aren't used to thinking about decoupling a tipping motion of their foot and leg from a turning one, and those folks just need to be set up in an environment to feel out the difference between tipping and twisting.

But as soon as someone has done any, even rudimentary carving, they are going to quickly start learning how to try to gauge how much tipping they need to wind up at a destination.

What I've found harder is being able to translate that progress quickly to carving on higher angled slopes, where a lot more inclination of the whole body is required early in the arc - my introductory drill also shuts that down. But then again, most people on most mountains won't be carving on a steep blue, for this reason.
My husband used that trick to pass his L3 teaching exam. When he tries to get me to do it we end up arguing :roflmao: I’ll revisit it but on super easy terrain this time.
 
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bud heishman

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The best expression I've seen of what you are talking about is in this video.
This IS the "GO" intent in a nut shell.

My point of this thread was to get skiers to realize that plateaus may be based in a variety of areas, not always TECHNIQUE! Though some issues are certainly poor technique, many issues are caused by the other 3 three areas of EQUIPMENT, PSYCHOLOGICAL or PHYSIOLOGICAL issues. Our job as instructors/coaches is to CORRECTLY identify the CAUSE and direct our efforts to that area to cause a breakthrough.

Best of luck and wishing all a great season!
 

LiquidFeet

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... Though some issues are certainly poor technique, many issues are caused by the other 3 three areas of EQUIPMENT, PSYCHOLOGICAL or PHYSIOLOGICAL issues. Our job as instructors/coaches is to CORRECTLY identify the CAUSE and direct our efforts to that area to cause a breakthrough.
....
This is an excellent conceptual model. I really like it.

Let's talk about when the thing blocking advancement is @bud heishman's second category: PSYCHOLOGICAL.

IME the biggest psychological impediment for skiers is unjustified fear. This could be the same thing as wanting to not go too fast and lose control, with personal injury envisioned as a result. I'm sure there are other psychological blockages, but fear is the one I deal with the most often with my clients.

So how do people here replace that fear with a "go there" state of mind?
 

geepers

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This is just my experience talking, but: with high angles is that you're working with more volatile and large , forces but the ski is also requires bigger forces to break off its edge, whereas the amount of input required to break a low angle carving ski off its edge is minimal.

So while the ski might not perfectly carve when you're forward at a high edge angle, the ski performance is still overall very high and the turn is still mostly carved. To me, that feels like it's in some ways easier to make a mistake in the low angle scenario.

I think as much as anything the reason why transition, with its virtual bump, is hard, is not just that you have this larger and larger set of forces to manage as you speed up - it's also that edge angle is supposed to be decreasing there, meaning you need to more carefully preserve the forward - rather than sideways - trajectory of the skis. The skis are much more vulnerable as they pass through low angle to receiving a big turning input if you make the wrong move as you move from being inclined deep in to one turn and inclining deep in to the other, just because a flatter ski is easier to turn.

What's worse is - if you're an experienced skier - if you incline faster than your ski can roll up and bend to catch you with enough force, your body will essentially force you to turn the ski somehow to catch you.

Guess when it comes to keeping the ski in the groove it's cutting in the snow I've become a convert to the dogma of platform angle. Edge angle for radius, platform angle keeping it pinned. Why? 'Cause the high priests (like Bob and Ron) say so. Heck, even the CSIA now have it in their manuals. This one below has got be about the most frequent image posted to SkiTalk Ski School.
1634250440259.png


Spot on with the rotation of the skis when flat. Some folk (like my missus) just can't bring themselves to resist pivoting the skis at that point.

Intention to go may not be enough to get you there, but intention to stop is enough to prevent you from getting there.

That's good summation of the key point in @bud heishman and @LiquidFeet posts.
 
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