Sometime ago I wrote Skier Tuck about tucking while skiing.
First, I tag this as an expert matter (despite the previous tag as an intermediate skill) because your ability to turn and stop decrease when you are tucking, plus your ability to absorb bumps and other terrain oddities decreases. So, do not tuck unless you are comfortable at the speed and can quickly get up and reestablish control.
I have found when I tuck I do it mostly correct, but I usually reach out with my arms as far as I can, it seems to me that my speed increases the further I reach out. However, watching Doug Lewis discuss tucking prior the Wengen downhill. So, naturally I went searching for a video of that demonstration and while I do not find the Universal Sport demonstration I find the next best thing a video Doug made on his own:
I will now keep this in mind and bite my gloves the next time I tuck, which I do on a regular basis at the end of NASTAR runs and at those times when I am attempting to bust speed barriers. Again, I do so only when safe.
I have written about ski pole planting before, and am obviously doing so again. I find so much contradictory advice on pole planting.
I read one site saying that it is just a flick of the wrist and the next site advises to reach out there with the arm and stab the snow good. The last article that talked about reaching out in order to get your body to force your center of mass to stay over the center of the skis, I need to think that over some more, but at least a first though of it makes sense to myself. I have found when I reach out down the run I tend to ski faster and more aggressively. However, when I am flicking the wrists I have found I can only go so fast and I can not keep my timing as well either, I am fighting to plant at the proper timing (the timing is the one aspect of discussion that remains constant across the various sites).
Ski, not imaginary, Pole
The problem I do have with the reach out is I fear it gets my upper body too much in motion, and that is another piece of advice one sees frequently the need to keep the upper body still as possible.
I believe I am finally getting the hang of planting poles. What about yourself? How do you approach pole planting? Do you have advice or know of any good sites talking about pole planting?
I am not into skiing bumps. By bumps I mean piles of snow that have hardened up instead of piles of soft snow. You can carve through piles of soft snow but not moguls you either go around them or over the top. I have been in mogul fields a couple of times but the problem is they are often formed only on the runs that are steep (and hence offer enough challenge without the bumps) and that combination keeps me off. I was at Nordic Mountain and there was a run they left bumped up and none of those runs I considered steep. So I stopped by the field, eyed it up, planned a line, skied into it, and fell down between the second and third bumps. Kudos to Nordic Mountain, a ski patroller was on the scene before I could do much of anything, and all was well. I have also taken accidental turns onto bumped runs with similar results.
I highly recommend watching Elatemedia’s videos on skiing, you will learn something (though I have watched another Elatemedia video that left me quite unimpressed with the instructional part) in every one.
Skiing Bumps — More Challenge
If you are paying attention to this you are probably already a good skier and are looking for more variety and challenge and that of course is a good thing. I love laying down carves at high-speed, but lets face it does get boring we all need the variety to keep us interested, we all need a challenge! My challenge is not coming from being the best skier anywhere so I need to find other ways to keep things interested.
Skiing Videos — One of the Two
There are two things I focus on in preparing for ski season. The first is my fitness, fortunately I am entering this season way ahead of all of my previous ski seasons. I am cardio-conditioned like I have never been before (or a long-long time) and my muscles from head to toe are in good shape. The other preparation I do is to seek out videos such as the one I embed above. I watch them over and over again, listening, watching, and thinking. In addition, I spend a fair amount of time watching the professionals on the FIS World Cup circuit. I really think the time spent watching makes a big difference.
Recently I wrote about skiing on ice and how I barely notice when I ski on ice. I remember seeing ice and mentally freezing (pun intended) and putting on the brakes. Skidding on ice is something best avoided.
However, skiing in the opposite snow conditions can be equally challenging to the skidder. If you are not on edge, skidding through fluffencrud can be perilous, you feel every bump, every irregularity and they all work to throw you off balance.
However, the solution for both ski challenges is the same: be on edge. If it is fluffencrud, the edges cut right through it, and if it is ice edged skis can sink a good bite into it.
Think of a knife, move it across a pile of mashed potatoes and then move the knife through the potatoes edge first. Which way gets you to the solid of the plate much more easily? Then take that knife to butter, a flat knife does not give any direction control through the butter whereas a knife edge will engage the butter.
Quite a few of us do not have the pleasure of skiing in soft powder snow all that often, in fact, many of us in the Midwest and on the East Coast often experience skiing on ice. I am not being figurative, I am being literal.
Rarely are the runs solid ice from top to bottom, but more often we ski across patches of exposed ice. What I find is the ice patches often become exposed on the more difficult trails especially on approaches to headwalls, quite predictably skiers & boarders of lesser ski and experience skid on the headwall approach and scrape off the snow from the underlying ice.
Most of the time we think of skiing in terms of movements over the horizontal, after all, we are essentially fastened to the slope by gravity, the need to stay in control, and fear of breaking bones & body parts.
However, our knees and legs can work our body in a vertical fashion. We bob up and down and in fact it is best that we do, a stiff bodied skier is a snow covered skier. If you have ever seen the freestyle mogul event in the Olympics the upper bodies of the skiers appears to be fairly still and steady, however, watch their legs and knees and you will see lots of vertical motion.
You protest saying you ski on groomed runs that are nice and regular. Sure, still there is fair amount of need to ski with vertical motion. The common name for such motions are up-unweighting and down-unweighting and essentially they help remove your weight from the engaged ski edges so you can unlock those ski edges from their current state of snow engagement and roll your skis over to the new set of edges.
The rest of this discussion focuses on up-unweighting. (more…)
In this diagram I highlight two forces involved in skiing. The force of gravity and the force normal (the force pushing back by the surface of the slope). However, this is an idealized situation and there are other forces that are assumed away. Why is it safe to assume them away and what forces are they? (more…)
One of the ski-related tasks I have been meaning to take on and do since the close of last ski season is to maintain my skis more diligently, or more like it to maintain them at all.
Last spring I took my first crack at it by sharpening my edges. However, I did not quite have the confidence to keep the edge I put on and took the skis in late fall. However, I discovered that waxing skis and filling in base gouges are easy tasks. (more…)
99% of the time when I ski I can always see my skis (if I would bother to look down), very rarely do I ski in snow that would cover them up, but from time to time it does happen. Whenever skiing in such snow though I have a bit of a harder time of it, and I think I discovered why. (more…)
One of the things us skiers do is to tuck, that is to assume a more streamlined body posture. It makes a huge difference, especially when the difference between first place and off the podium is hundredths of a second, and that is no exaggeration.
If you have watched competitive skiing you know what I am talking about. Racers spend from more to less time in a tuck from downhill races to slalom. The more and tighter turning required means less time tucking and more time in a more upright position.
Now, what does a good tuck look like? Read on! (more…)