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


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