\By Ron Kubicki, Director of Holiday Valley Snowsports School
For this week, you are going to need to determine if these tasks are within your ability. I would say almost any solid intermediate to advanced skier will benefit from these exercises.
When we ski, we have a mental image of what we look like, and most of the time we think we look pretty cool. Ego Alley under the Yodeler chair is not simply a random name for a slope. But in many cases we may be a bit shocked at perception vs. reality… it’s a lot like when you hear your voice on a recording for the first time. “Yikes that ain’t me is it?”
It may be the same if we saw a video of our skiing. Chances are we are leaning back a bit too much or we may be broke at the waist too much. These may be minor glitches, but we are skiing in our “comfort zone,” so we feel secure.
But let’s take a few minutes to see exactly what kind of feedback we can get from some “one ski” skiing. Taking away half of our base and half of our strength by lifting one foot, our body is going to naturally try to align itself to adjust to the change.
Here is a basic one you will see me and most other instructors do when we get off lifts: In a straight run on a level surface, raise one ski. Is it level when you pick it up, or is the tail down or the tip down? Tail down = weight back; tip down= weight too far forward; ski level = balanced stance. Just a quick check.
Go to Crystal now and make a few medium size turns. When you feel comfortable, pick up your inside ski. It should be level with the snow. Put it down, make a new turn and pick up inside ski. Practice this s few times until you get comfortable.
Now in a steep traverse, pick up your downhill ski and turn, keep that ski up until you finish the turn, put it down and immediately pick up the other ski and turn. You are always turning off your uphill ski, but you are on one ski and you are getting a lot of feedback from your body about balance. The more upright you are, the more you are supported skeletally – stacked on your bones. If you feel fatigue in your thighs, then you are in the “back seat” and using your muscles and equipment for balance. So keep changing skis at the beginning of your turns until you feel a rhythm and solid transition from foot to foot.
Now – and this is going to take a minute to sort out – make a medium sized turn at moderate speed. When you are in the fall line – facing straight down the hill – pick up your inside ski. Finish your turn and begin the new one WITHOUT CHANGING SKIS! Be careful, you are now beginning your turn on the inside ski and this is going to require you to extend into the new turn.
Remember the “Ski into the Future” article I wrote a couple weeks back? Well here it is again. You have to cross that ski with your body to change edges to begin the new turn. Once you have begun the new turn, you are on the inside ski. Once you hit the fall line again, change skis, so you are stepping onto the outside ski and picking up the inside ski.
Again, when you get to the new turn, you are on the downhill ski and will need to cross over that ski to get the new turn started. This takes some practice to get the rhythm and timing down, but soon you will start to feel a real “flow” as you change that edge on one ski. It takes away the opportunity to wedge, stem, hop or any of the little tricks we all use to change edges. Take your time with this and see if when you go back to two skis you don’t have a sense of being more centered and balanced on your skis.
There are many other options in skiing on one ski, all designed to improve performance of intermediate and advanced skiers.
Take the time to take a session with one of our PSIA/AASI trained staff and have some fun on the snow. Thanks again for reading my articles.
See you on the slopes!
Learn-Turn- Smile –Repeat!