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I went out the other day on a Snowboard, which I haven't done in way too long. Man, that's fun. And my skiing improved because of it. It's all about moving with the tool, staying centered and shaping the turn.

The first few turns on the SB I was so concerned with slowing down that I just pushed my back foot around and slid around the corner. The board would pivot, slide, then as pressure built up chatter and bounce over the snow. The latter half of the turn was very unpleasant and I couldn't wait to get it off my feet. However, once I started to shape the top of the turn and kept moving with the board instead of pushing it away from me, I could stay centered, use my joints and absorb/control the pressure through the bottom of the turn.

I spent today skiing with some of my instructors who are training for their Cert 3 exam. All expert skiers. Each of them had a phase of the turn where they moved away from the ski. These movements included: pushing the tail away, stemming the new outside ski, rising vertically, leaning in, moving straight downhill, and moving laterally. In each skier, the ski would do something bad/undesired (chatter, skid, bounce, slide) immediately after that movement. We spent a couple runs working on simply moving with the ski. The results where awesome. The ski snow interaction was much more positive and engaged. The ski would bend and assist in the direction change, the skiers used less movements and got more results.

A couple of cues that worked very well...
1. Keep the tip of the ski changing direction. As soon as you can't move or feel the tip, you know you've allowed yourself to drift backward or away from the ski.
2. During transition, keep your feet heavy so you avoid rising up (the old up un-weighting thing)
3. As you move to the new turn seek to feel the front of the ski pulling you into the turn
4. Be actively patient during the top 1/3 of the turn. We have a tendency to rush through the fall line (cause it's scary) which will lead to the ski traveling sideways. It's not just patience, but active patience that makes the ski work through the turn.

That's enough for now. As always, these are some things to think about, but there is no substitute for on hill time with a coach. Keep your eyes out for more information on our Men's and Women's Club programming for Advanced skiers.

Nelson Wingard

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Comment by Nelson Wingard on January 18, 2009 at 8:52am
I hear ya. Increase the challenge by making the ski do more. Cover more terrain laterally on the hill, put you feet in the unreachable pockets. Longer days, more runs, steeper and deeper.
Comment by skisteamboat on January 18, 2009 at 6:35am
Great tips. I especially like the admonition to stop the unweighting. After a decade or two of "Up-Turn-Down" it took some time to acclimate to the new style skis. I find myself reverting to old style turns occasionally and can really tell the difference. Only takes a couple of days and back in tune with the new style. Skis today make it almost too easy. ;)

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