Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ski Tips feedback:

Hi Carl,

I meant to thank you for your freerideskier web site a couple of months ago, but I was busy skiing!

I took up skiing 2 seasons ago at age 52 in order to have something to do while my son was out snowboarding. I took some beginning lessons that were just like what you describe in Kill the Snowplow. I tried desperately to control my speed and to make quick turns while using the wedge/snowplow technique.

I got NOWHERE. If a trail was even moderately steep, I would pick up velocity and no amount of "snowplowing" would slow me down. I felt like worst skier on the slope. I didn't mind that at first, but after a few ski trips where I made no improvement, it got discouraging.

I found your website while Googling "how to hockey stop on skis". I felt that if I could just stop myself when I needed to, then I wouldn't be such a danger to myself and others. I read about your low opinion of the snowplow technique and it described my experience exactly. It was great for learning to slide around on skis that first day, but on ice, or steeps or a narrow trail? The snowplow was worthless and it was VERY hard to break my dependence on it.

Your website had GREAT instructions on how to progress to a hockey stop, or what you call "controlled stopping"  -- starting at the end and working backwards. I actually printed out your instructions and took them with me. I know that I looked pathetic pulling out my folded pieces of paper and reading them after getting off the lift, but so what.

I worked really hard on your hockey stop guide ("Kill the Snow Plow"). I couldn't figure it out at first, but I made a record number of trips to my local slopes and eventually got the feel of side slipping / edge controlled stopping. After a lot of tries, I was able to do a "fast turn" where I would end up sliding slightly uphill. I was able to STOP!

I worked on turning my feet faster and -- after many hours of trying -- I got it! I was doing hockey stops! Skis perpendicular to the fall line, upper body facing the fall line, as much edging and pressure as needed. I could stop myself on moderate steeps even if I had already built up some speed. I was so proud and thrilled, I wanted to scream.

Since then, I have been working on making good turns -- using edging and pressure to make aggressive turns and control my speed. During the winter of 2011, I went from a rather poor beginner to a decent intermediate skier. No one else helped me like you did and I can't thank you enough.

-Jeff Miller
Ellicott City, MD, USA


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Dmitry has some good points and some bad points, firstly his balance is good and not too far back and he is edging his skis to try and cave, also his upper body is very quiet and not moving around too much.

The first thing I would change is his hand position, his hands are too high and too far forward. If you are not careful this will actually push your weight backwards! The correct position is more around your waist and more relaxed, by bringing your hands down and more level with your body this will encourage you to lean a little forward with your whole body and bring your bum in a little, which will help with the initiation of the turn.
Secondly you are rotating and flaring your top ski during the turn, this means that your skis are not parallel and only your downhill ski is on its edge. The effect of this is again to push your weight backwards as you push your uphill ski forward. Also a side effect of this is the change in width between the skis during the turn. The width should remain constant! The easiest was to fix this flair is to keep the tips more level and don't push your uphill ski forward. I usually say about 10cm max between the end of the tips. Also try not to get too wide usually a boot length apart is plenty, your flaring is also taking your weight too much on the inside.

I would focus on starting your turn by edging BOTH skis the same, the more edge the better. Try to keep your ballance 60/40 to the out side ski, and let the ski technology turn you not ankle rotation.

With these few simple adjustments I'm sure Dmitry will become a very good skier!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parallel to Powder - Thanks to FreeRideSkier.com

"Hey Carl,

Many, many thanks for the "Kill the Snowplough" stuff.

I decided to start to learn to ski in early December last year ('10) because I love to climb in winter and really fancied having a go at Ski Mountaineering. So I thought that, this season, I should first learn to ski downhill competently on and off piste. As a first time skier I decided to book a lesson with the local (Cairngorm, Scotland) ski school which I did in first week of December. However, in an attempt to get as much info before my lesson I Googled "Snow Plough" and came across your Dr Ski article. It made so much sense so, although I went along for my 2 hour morning lesson, at which I was taught to stop and turn using the "dreaded plough", I decided that I would stay on the slope for the afternoon and have a go at "Hockey Stops" etc.
It may have been a very gentle nursery slope with perfectly pisted, fresh snow but it seemed almost vertical to me at the time. However, after a few goes at stopping I pointed  more and more "downhill" until I managed to link a couple of turns. Woohoo! Anyway, by the end of the day I had mastered the Ptarmigan T-Bar and managed to get down the slope a couple of times parallel and managed to stop at the bottom. Must have looked really funny though moving my arms robot-like back and forwards to initiate the turns. Subtle? no - just arms swinging back and forth - but I was turning - parallel....and stopping! Amazing!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have boought myself some K2 Backlite Touring skis with Eagle bindings and Scarpa Flash boots and have done another 7 days on the hill (once a week as work allows) - using mostly your tips and watching other folks' technique (or lack of it!) I am happily skiing all the Green and Blue runs on Cairngorm working on Carving technique instead of sliding around the turns - and am now skiing the White Lady - a RED run. It felt quite steep first time but not that scary as I knew I could stop safely at any time. I don't suppose my skiing is very pretty but I'll work on that later eh? Who cares anyway - I'm having a ball! And it feels soooo good when you can ski fast down the slope and Hockey Stop at the end of the T-Bar queue!

Maybe a bit of (only just!) off-piste and powder next. Had a day a couple of weeks ago when the slopes were just a couple of inches of wind blown powder on top of lots of old icy snow. I fell off lots - just didn't know how to deal with those conditions but I guess I'll work it out (with your help of couse!)

Anyway, thanks to you again for the incredible start to my skiing - I know I could not have achieved it so fast (or cheaply!) without the Dr Ski stuff. 

Kind Regards,

Andy Gatenby