/ Skiing progression advice

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019

I'm off on my second ever skiing holiday in February - 7 years after my first go - and looking for advice on the best way to improve my skills. Last time I did the standard ESF week of beginner lessons, supplemented by advice and help from my vastly more experienced boyfriend in the afternoons. By the end of the week I was getting myself down reds but it wasn't particularly pretty and there's obviously a lot still to learn.

I don't really want to do another week of 'follow my leader' style lessons as by the end of the week I wasn't getting much out of them but I'm not sure what the best alternative is. I was thinking that a day or two of just piste time followed by a morning of more focussed learning might be best but private lessons are obviously hideously expensive and group lessons don't seem that well set up for what I'm after. What advice would you give to someone in my position and are there any recommendations for ski schools/instructors that I should look at in La Plagne?

Cheers!

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summo 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Day 1 blow the cobwebs off yourself. 

Day2 private 1 to 1 lesson. 1-3 hrs whatever you can afford.

Days 3,4 work on their points.

Day 5, repeat day 2 ideally with same person. If not focus on what they said and look at YouTube there a few good instructors on there. 

Rest of holiday; enjoy ski way better. 

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plyometrics 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Get fit before you go with some ski specific strengthening exercises and general aerobic  work. 

Not skill specific I appreciate, but the quicker you fatigue on the hill, the less able you’ll be to focus on improving your technique. 

Skiing or riding is no fun if your legs have had enough by 11am!

Hope you have a great time. 

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Dan Arkle 25 Nov 2019
In reply to :

Summo's advice is good, also-

Get your friend to video you. Look at what you do differently to expert skiers. 

(which will be to keep your weight further forward, and bend the knees more!) 

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beardy mike 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Don't go with the ESF, they are in my admitedly somewhat dated experience, shite. Find a BASI instructor and like Summo says, take some private lessons as they will be able to tailor their advice to your specific needs so you can work on the points for the rest of the day. 1 hour a day is probably about right as you simply can't absorb more than that effectively...

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kathrync 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I would suggest that two half days of private or small group lessons would probably cost around the same as a week of group lessons if you shop around, and is probably going to be of more benefit. I have found that private lessons on Tuesday and Thursday mornings work quite well, as I have time before to get my ski legs back, and time between and after to consolidate.

Some ski schools also run "clinic" sessions.  These are usually one or two intensive sessions with small groups. These can be general skiing, or focus on specifics like bumps or steeps, and given the small groups are usually driven by what the clients want to work on.  I have had good experiences with New Generation for these kinds of sessions, although that was several years ago and in other resorts.  They have opened a ski school in La Plagne in the last couple of years though, so it might be worth a look.

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beardy mike 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Dan Arkle:

And don't forget, bend your ankles. Bending your knees without flexing your ankles puts your arse towards your skis. Flexing your ankles (which you can artificially force by pulling your feet upwards into your boots, shifts your weight forwards into your boots, unlocks your quad muscles, so that as you bend ze knees your centre of gravity remains centred over your bindings. It should be a progressive bend well as pressure in your ski edge builds up - the bending helps to absorb the force so that your ski edge does not break free and start to chatter... and remember every movement should be slow and progressive, not snappy and sharp. You see way too many skiers zigzagging rather than swooshing. Zig zagging allows speed to build up in the transition between turns so you are in a perpetual state of "ooh that's nice, ooo that's a bit fast f*ck f*ck f*ck phew, oooh that's nice, ooo that;s a bit fast f*ck f*ck f*ck....". Swooshing means that your skis during the transition are at some point during the transition, at 90 degrees to the "fall/fun" line, and at the apex of the turn you will face and follow the fall line for a second of two. That pause is th pause which allows you to control the speed in the transition, and then during the actual turn, prevents the ski edge pressure from building too much.

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

Cheers. That's kind of what I thought would be best but getting confirmation from others is always useful. I was a little concerned that a private lesson might seem like overkill for a skiing punter like me but I really want to get the most out of the trip. And it would give my other half a chance to go and ski some harder stuff without having me in tow!

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to plyometrics:

Cool, ta. I've been doing quite a bit of mountain biking recently, which I hope will help my thighs get accustomed to spending long periods standing up with bent knees! But will try to fit in some ski specific exercises as well to help. I'm a lot fitter than I was on my last holiday but back then I'd been doing a lot more climbing so my core strength was probably a lot better back then!

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to kathrync:

I'll do some more looking then as all the private lessons I've seen are a lot more expensive than group ones - i.e. a single 2 hour privately is about the same as 5 days of 2 hour grouo ones. It would be better if i had someone to share a private lesson with as that makes it much more affordable but unfortunately my other half is far far better than I am.

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

To be fair to ESF they were absolutely fine for getting me out and teaching me the basics last time and they were super cheap. The problem was that I improved a lot faster than the rest of the beginner group, especially once I'd figured out the basics of skiing parallel, and unfortunately the group set up isn't great in that situation. But you're right, it's definitely not the right option for me this time. 

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kathrync 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

It has been a while since I did these kind of lessons, so my info might be out of date.  I remember paying around 250 euro for 6 days of group lessons, or around 150 euro for a half day private lesson about 3 years ago.  So to do 2x private lessons was a little more expensive, but given the benefit of doing I thought it was worthwhile.

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beardy mike 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I think the biggest problem with progressing faster than everybody else to parallel turns is often that it means the absolute rock solid base isn't necessarily there yet. It's actually pretty easy to get to parallel turns, but you need to make sure that you revisit the basics to make sure you've understood how feathering edges, weighting and unweighting your skis, absorbing edge pressure and body position all affect your skiing, all the way through from snow plough to moguls. Granted it may be more fun to get out with your partner... anyway I guess my point is that if you go with a native english speaker they will be far more effective at really helping with that basic technique. ESF group lessons are nearly always "follow the leader" which is a bag of cack if you really want to learn, especially if they are focusing more on their other clients becauseit's easier to talk to them...

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John2 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I'd agree with the previous poster that New Generation will probably offer more personalised tuition than ESF. 

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

That's a really good point!! It reminds me of when I started climbing and got really good at climbing crimpy slabs but without the solid base of skills to cope with coming across a VS jamming crack on a pitch! It's a hard balance to find - spending time on actual learning and practice vs just getting out and skiing - especially when I'm unlikely to be in a position to ski more than once in a while.

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summo 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

>  I was a little concerned that a private lesson might seem like overkill for a skiing punter like me but I really want to get the most out of the trip. 

It's really the other way around, you will benefit most from a private lesson. 

Kids like groups for the fun play element, but for an adult with aspirations of skiing say any black in style, it's arguably cheaper in the long run to pay for a private lesson occasionally, than masses of group lessons, where you spend half your time waiting for the person who over rated their ability to pick themselves up. 

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019

Has anyone had experience with New Generation's Ski Clinic sessions? Two small group lessons - one on day 3, one on day 5 - 2.5 hours each with a max of 6 pupils. They look like a potentially good option for the cost.

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kathrync 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> Has anyone had experience with New Generation's Ski Clinic sessions? Two small group lessons - one on day 3, one on day 5 - 2.5 hours each with a max of 6 pupils. They look like a potentially good option for the cost.

Yes, I did these a couple of years in a row when I was about where you are now.  I found them quite good.  Often the group is smaller than the max and the demographic is a bit different, so it is usually people who actually want to learn.  Be aware that the NewGen meeting point in La Plagne can be hard to find, depending on where you are coming from.

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Luke90 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> It would be better if i had someone to share a private lesson with as that makes it much more affordable but unfortunately my other half is far far better than I am.

That's not necessarily a barrier. A good instructor ought to be able to offer some benefits to both of you. Though obviously it depends whether your partner is at all interested.

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Crimp Eastwood 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

 Lots of good skiing advice on here. One more thing to mention is there are plenty of brilliant youtube sources( and some dodgy ones too) that can give you a headstart to make the most of precious time on the slopes. I would highly recommend stomp it tutorials. These videos have some brilliant videos and simple exercises and concepts for beginner and intermediate skiers, as well as videos on harder stuff. Used them to take my skiing from garbage to silly park skiing. Definitely worth a look if u have 20 mins spare on a bus or something.

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jimbob1962 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Crimp Eastwood:

2nd the youtube advice. I've been skiing for 20 years and not had lessons for 15 or so but I've learnt a lot by focusing on a couple of things from videos and put it into practise on the slopes then when happy try another, I would recommend anything from BASI but there's loads of stuff out there . Obviously your not going to get any instructor feedback but its free and it certainly helped my get off the intermediate plateau. For ski specific excercises try Dave Rydings (Britains best slalom skier) new youtube video.

Hope you have a great week.

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HeMa 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I'm a firm believer of sink or swim methodology... kind of like quite often people here are for climbing...

Just just get up to the top and pick the steepest, iciest piste down and try to cope... either end up in a hospital, sell your skiing stuff or eventually get good at this skiing thing. Bonus points for omitting training heels.


Or be smart and get those private lessons as Summo suggested... morning of the 2nd day. And perhaps another a few days later.


PS. whilst biking and such are good for skiing, without a doubt about the best exercise is sitting without the chair... So back on the wall and lower down so yer quads are at 90 deg angle from the wall and again lower legs are 90 deg from both the ground & quads... Like you'd be sitting on a chair.   

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JuneBob 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

If you can get to an indoor slope before your holiday, then you can get back up to speed before the holiday starts. Maybe a lesson there too, although the experience of the instructor may not be so good as in France.

New Generation are a reputable ski school, so you will likely receive good coaching from them. I used to teach classes of 6, and giving individual coaching was quite manageable.

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Trangia 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Plus 1 for the advice to have a morning of 1 to 1 lessons, followed by several days of working on the points made, then another 1 to 1 lesson with the same instructor. Unless your French is fluent insist on an English speaking instructor with a good command of English. Also having yourself videoed is excellent advice so that you can look objectably at your faults. 

This is what I did a couple of decades ago, when after many decades of skiing on skinny 2m GS skis using the weighting and unweighting technique, with skis close together, I had to completely relearn the art of carving on much shorter carvers. I also invested in a day of GS race training which really got me carving without losing speed by side skidding. Again that was filmed, by the end of the day I had virtually halved the time of my first run  by improving my technique.

Good advice about spending a couple of months or so ahead of your holiday, working on strengthening your ski muscles. You ski a lot better if you are not tired, particularly in your legs.

Post edited at 13:10
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summo 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Crimp Eastwood:

Best YouTube source I've seen is ski school by elate media. They have a full range of short lessons covering all skills, giving little pointers to focus on etc. 

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summo 25 Nov 2019
In reply to HeMa:

Will try the chairless sitting. Single leg squats whilst brushing teeth are my favourite. Good for balance, bit of strength and for just sensing where your weight is sitting over. 

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climbingpixie 25 Nov 2019
In reply to JuneBob:

I'm not too far away from Snozone in Castleford so I might book myself some slope time. I'm slightly concerned that I might have completely forgotten how to ski so I think this'll be useful for confidence. 

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gooberman-hill 25 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

> It should be a progressive bend well as pressure in your ski edge builds up - the bending helps to absorb the force so that your ski edge does not break free and start to chatter...

Can you explain this point a bit please. I've been skiing on lightweight tourers for years (currently on my old Altitrail Lights) , and I suffer from vicious chatter on hard and icy slopes (apart from the going sideways problem because I don't gt my edges sharpened often enough!). I'd always thought that the issue was that my skis were very light and didn't have the weight and the strength to cut into an icy slope, but from what you are saying, it sounds like my technique is off.

Steve

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Fruitbat 25 Nov 2019
In reply to summo:

Ha! I thought I may have been the only person who does that whilst teeth-brushing - for even more benefit have you tried doing it with your eyes closed? 

Post edited at 18:12
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beardy mike 25 Nov 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

It's massively more apparent when you are using light, non-torsionally stiff skis. So imagine you are doing a turn. You ski across the slope and start to initiate your turn by beginning to rotate the skis downhill. This rotation puts the skis at a different angle to the snow which creates a different force. Pressure builds up (hopefully) in the outer ski which in turns pushes you around the corner until your skis are once more facing across the slope. If there is too much pressure, the edge biting into the slope is too much for the ski which twists to allow the edge to release and the ski skitters. Instead as you go through the apex of the turn you need to be settling down on that outer leg by bending it at the knees, ankles and hips. Your muscles act as a shock aborber and as the pressure builds you squeeze down a bit further - imagine you have a tennis ball between your thigh and belly. If you do it right you should be at your lowest point when the pressure is greatest. Usually if the ski skitters you will find that your leg is tense often because you are anticipating the skitter and tense up as a result. It can also be a sign that you are out the back, which means your quad has to support your weight and is pretensed. In this case as I said before, pulling your feet up towards the tounge of your boot (if they had a tongue) will tilt you forward and recentre your weight allowing your quad to relax a little. In turn you get less tired and are able to flex more at the knee and it all goes around. Same applies for carving although in carving you are angulating your body and rolling from the ankle, through the knee and then hip to initiate the turn rather than rotating the ski...

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Philb1950 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Like many say, 1on1 private lessons. Doesn,t really matter where they,re from as long as they speak English and you get on with them.

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David Hillebrandt 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

It is no coincidence that several people mention New Generation.

(conflict of interest in the past my son has worked for them but I had returned for several private or small group lessons from them well before he worked for them)

Dave H

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Andy Hardy 25 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

20 odd years ago I used to be in the ski club at Rossendale where over the course of a winter I got 2 hour lessons on a Wednesday night for a whole £5 (iirc). The fact that the instructor was great, and I was not cramming it all in 1 week meant that the ski trip I did that year went really well, basically I had the technique I just needed to up the fitness levels.

So, if you can find a group at your local dry slope it really can work minor miracles.

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gooberman-hill 25 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

Thanks - that's really helpful

Steve

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mysterion 26 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I think you should just do a week in resort skiing around. First morning building up from where you started maybe up to reds again but most importantly getting in the mileage, on blues if necessary, forget blacks. Forget offpiste too, that is like learning all over again, properly this time! Just enjoy the pistes and during the week decide if you need help, only then book some instruction.

Finally, pay no attention to people giving 'right hand down a bit, left hand down bit' instructions on the internet, it's just bollocks. Do it however you were taught it, the same phrases and motions.

Post edited at 01:19
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HeMa 26 Nov 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Mikes advice is pretty much spot on.

Ideally you'll have a lot of weight on yer ball of foot and evenly on both feet (I know, not going to happen... but that is one culprit for inside ski chatter). And the thing is to apply that weight gradually so that the edge bites all the way during the turn. With misery stix it is rather easy to overpressure the skis and cause the edge to not bite in an skid = chatter.

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HeMa 26 Nov 2019
In reply to mysterion:

> Forget offpiste too, that is like learning all over again, properly this time!

Bullshite, if yer technique is good it is *EXACTLY* the same on groomers, bottomless pow or crud.

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John Gresty 26 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

You are on holiday. Ditch the lessons and spend the money on a couple of nice (expensive) meals out. 

Your skiing may not look 'pretty' but as long as you are safe and happy, who cares. 

John

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Dan Arkle 26 Nov 2019
In reply to HeMa:

> Bullshite, if yer technique is good it is *EXACTLY* the same on groomers, bottomless pow or crud.

Ooh, I've not heard this one before. Strong statement - Can you justify it?

Does anyone else agree? 

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summo 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> Ooh, I've not heard this one before. Strong statement - Can you justify it?

> Does anyone else agree? 

I think he means if you learn to ski using your edges well, understand how your posture and position over the ski changes things etc.. then you simply adapt your technique for different conditions (with practice of course). 

You see what I'd politely call tourists skiers (Half day pub, half slope...) who only skid turn, the minute they encounter a bit of hard packed snow or ice, a section of fresh deeper snow etc. they are down like a sack of spuds. 

I think some folk are in such a rush to get out and feel they have skied a red or black, they don't spend enough time on easier ground refining the basic skills. That and the fact many don't consider it a sport and if you do no exercise for 51 weeks of the year, you'll likely get injured if you suddenly ski every day for week. 

Post edited at 08:34
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daWalt 26 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I'm not too far away from Snozone in Castleford so I might book myself some slope time. I'm slightly concerned that I might have completely forgotten how to ski

takes 5 min to get back to where you were; like riding a bike.

indoor slopes aren't cheap, but worthwhile if you use the time wisely - actually practice.

I'm on the "get instruction" side in this debate. at the stage you're at you'll get the most out of it. it makes the difference between getting down a slope and skiing a slope; the difference between swing-and-skid and carve and feather. one decent lesson can be worth years of practice at 1wk/yr.

many many people just get down stuff and seem happy with it, but good lessons will stop you getting onto the plateau of mediocre technique.

if you're on holliday and see some guy (it's always a guy) scratching their way down like some kind of high speed cat on a tin roof, then be sure say hello - they're british ;-)

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John2 26 Nov 2019
In reply to Dan Arkle:

'Does anyone else agree?'

With modern skis I do agree, as long as you are not using racing type turns on the pistes. It is possible to ski powder either using short rounded turns or faster turns using the skis in the same way as in a fast carve on piste.

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Frank4short 26 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

I think broadly speaking the advice on here is good but a couple of thoughts being fit, going to a dry/indoor slope in advance and getting a couple of private lessons are all worthy. The people on here who are saying it's like riding a bike and only takes a couple of moments to get to where you were are all extremely experienced skiers who mostly take more than 1 ski holiday/trip a year and have years and years of experience. So take that with a pinch of salt and take your time getting back on your feet, so to speak. 

Also not all British/native english speaking instructors are good and actually most ESF/French instructors aren't bad. It's virtually unheard of now to find a French instructor in a major resort that gets a lot of international visitors who speaks poor English. Though there are instances when in group environments where most of the group speak French they'll be arseholes and mostly speak french but that's a different issue.

As a corollary to that, should Boris "get Brexit done" you can pretty much guarantee the French will try and shut as many of the British ski schools as possible, as fast as possible and probably only allow british ski instructors with full equivalence to the French system. So don't get upset if you end up with ESF as odds are they'll be more than fine, but if you're booking a private instructor it can be advantageous to ask to meet them in advance, as you can always say you want someone else if you don't get a good feeling about/from them.

Post edited at 09:40
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mysterion 26 Nov 2019
In reply to HeMa:

> Bullshite, if yer technique is good it is *EXACTLY* the same on groomers, bottomless pow or crud.

That is exactly what I meant, going back to the basics again, only doing it properly this time, not just good enough to turn on the pistes.

Post edited at 10:29
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Trangia 26 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

> You are on holiday. Ditch the lessons and spend the money on a couple of nice (expensive) meals out. 

> Your skiing may not look 'pretty' but as long as you are safe and happy, who cares. 

> John

I agree up to a point, but skiing isn't just about looking pretty, it's about learning to be being in control. With good technique comes greater control. If you can't ski in control, you are not really safe either to other people or yourself.

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PaulTclimbing 26 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

When you go to snowzone

1. snowplough- remember to parallel across slope will automatically initiate a turn downslope if you don't uphill edge.

practice you stop step across

2. practice linking these turns from a snowplough. often better one side.

3. visualise a line and start hopping into micro link turns either side of that line- direct down the fall line. snowplough to step to parallel if necessary.

4. do 3 demonically with lots of dynamic jumping, over exaggerate the nature and aggression of turns. to practice transitioning from each carving edge and skiing 1 ski.

NB Ive never had a lesson in my life and taught myself looking at how others were taught and listening/visualising. Can ski piste and offpiste. Think i've got some bad habits (leaning back)and a lack of flexibility oh and cant understand how to hold/hug the ball but ive got down the valee blanche a good few times which suits me.

Have fun

Post edited at 10:42
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JuneBob 27 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

> You are on holiday. Ditch the lessons and spend the money on a couple of nice (expensive) meals out. 

I find this an odd thing to say. If you want to eat out and aren't interested in developing your skiing, stay at home, that's even cheaper.

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John Gresty 27 Nov 2019
In reply to JuneBob:

Skiing for me was a holiday, too many folks replying seem to make it sound like work.

There are a lot more things than pure technique, being happy in a mountainous environment, reading the terrain, knowing the snow conditions, all make a world of difference. A lot of skiers that I've met cannot do any of those things,  and consequently made things a lot more difficult and frightening for themselves, plenty couldn't even decipher a piste map, but they do dress stylishly and ski prettily.

John

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daWalt 27 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

> Skiing for me was a holiday, too many folks replying seem to make it sound like work.

Can you ski?

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summo 27 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

> There are a lot more things than pure technique, being happy in a mountainous environment, reading the terrain, knowing the snow conditions, all make a world of difference. A lot of skiers that I've met cannot do any of those things,  and consequently made things a lot more difficult and frightening for themselves, plenty couldn't even decipher a piste map, but they do dress stylishly and ski prettily.

You are correct. But if you can ski well, you can flow over changing terrain, adapting as you go without barely thinking, this leaves; 90% of your thoughts to the environment, the view, lunch, the snow conditions, avalanche risk and looking out of straight line kamikaze hung over Brits etc.. 

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beardy mike 27 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

Ah yes, traditional, British, consumate professional amateur attitude. You get that some people take pleasure in perfecting their skiing, out of getting a carving turn bang on, or smashing out turn after turn down the steeps, or challenging themselves on moguls right? It's not all about the view and the environment. Like Summo says, if you have good technique your attention is less taken up by pooping your pants when things get steep unexpectedly or conditions change... do you also leave at first light and come back after dark on alpine routes because theres more to alpine climbing than going fast and being safe?

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Dave Garnett 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Fruitbat:

> Ha! I thought I may have been the only person who does that whilst teeth-brushing - for even more benefit have you tried doing it with your eyes closed? 

I don't know what your skiing is like but I'm seriously concerned about your oral hygiene technique!

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summo 27 Nov 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I don't know what your skiing is like but I'm seriously concerned about your oral hygiene technique!

It's all about priorities, if you ski then balance and stability are critical on the slopes. But if you board and spend your day sitting in the snow park taking selfies, declaring how sick everything Is, then obviously your teeth matter more. 

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climbingpixie 27 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

Perhaps my phrasing in my OP was poor. When I said my skiing wasn't pretty I meant that I'm not very good. I don't care what I look like on the piste, as anyone who sees me in my second hand jacket and third hand Buffalo salopettes can attest! It's primarily about being safe and competent enough to get the most out of my holiday. But I also feel like anything that's worth doing is worth trying hard and challenging myself, hence asking for advice on here. 

However rest assured there'll be at least one relaxing fondue during the week and a non-skiing treat of a go on the bobsleigh track!

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climbingpixie 27 Nov 2019

Many thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate the help. I think I'm going to book a private lesson for day 2 but also think about booking onto the New Gen ski clinic as well. And I'm going to head to Snozone a few times before the trip to remind myself how skis work and get a bit of confidence up. Turns out they do a cheap Wednesday student offer so no excuse not to really. 

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PaulTclimbing 28 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

A few golden rules

1. Go below steady on the first day..no scream off trying to catch up with mates

2. after this push your skiing technique hard

3 taken on adventures and challenges you see others doing, little drop offs, piste jumps etc

4. Ditch the thoughts of Fondue

5. push on and execute

6. Most Golden of all rules :   Ice in the morning slush in the afternoon. Push out/heal push through the turns in pm slush/deep snow 

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climbingpixie 28 Nov 2019
In reply to PaulTclimbing:

I was totally with you until the fondue comment...

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HeMa 28 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

Indeed. At least 2 Fondue evenings and one Raclette.

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Doug 28 Nov 2019
In reply to HeMa:

And don't forget the tartiflette!

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Carless 28 Nov 2019
In reply to PaulTclimbing:

Your golden rules may have some very valid points...

but find the time to relax mate - it'll improve your skiing

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beardy mike 28 Nov 2019
In reply to PaulTclimbing:

I agree with all that apart from push out your heels - certainly not BASI sanctioned that one...

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John W 28 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

As far as every freeride guide I've ever known says, "all turns are initiated by the big toe".

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John Gresty 29 Nov 2019
In reply to daWalt:

'Can you ski'

I'll leave that up to the people that I have been on holiday with.  But, La Grave skiing does need a wee bit of knowledge.

John 

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galpinos 29 Nov 2019
In reply to PaulTclimbing:

> 4. Ditch the thoughts of Fondue

Rubbish. Fondue aux cepes and tartiflette for me please........

> 6. Most Golden of all rules :   Ice in the morning slush in the afternoon. Push out/heal push through the turns in pm slush/deep snow 

What does Push out/heal push mean? Carving massive turns through a slushy blue is pure joy, no need to change technique, just modify to the terrain, your speed and the snow.

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kathrync 29 Nov 2019
In reply to beardy mike:

> I agree with all that apart from push out your heels - certainly not BASI sanctioned that one...

The biggest improvement I have seen in my skiing over the last couple of years came from learning to weight to the outside ski without pushing it out.  Much more nuanced control, and less likely to lead to a skid.

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JuliaH 29 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:  

I'd recommend doing some running/ marches up hills and a couple of squat/ ski related exercises over a few weeks before going, it'll help with leg stamina. I find I'd just be cracking my intermediate ski technique, tidying up para turns etc and my legs would end up burning massively as I haven't got the most efficient technique. Thats what usually ruins a day/ trip for me. Private instruction is def. the way to go. Done it twice in Cham and was brilliant- get them to film you, it really showed up my bad points!

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John2 29 Nov 2019
In reply to JuliaH:

You have just contradicted yourself, really. As you correctly point out, the better your technique the less physical effort you need to put in and therefore the less fitness training you need to do.

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kevin stephens 29 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

With the risk of opening another can of worms...……...

Do you have your own boots or rental boots?

Depending on your feet, rental boots can severely restrict your learning

Only buy boots from a highly recommended boot fitter

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daWalt 29 Nov 2019
In reply to John Gresty:

so how do you reach your level of proficiency; possibly by some instruction and subsequent practice maybe? sounds like hard work ;-)

it's a lot easier to enjoy a golfing holiday if you can swing a club properly.

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kevin stephens 29 Nov 2019
In reply to John2:

> You have just contradicted yourself, really. As you correctly point out, the better your technique the less physical effort you need to put in and therefore the less fitness training you need to do.


That's not really true

Skiing well is an athletic sport, if you are fit and competent you will be able to use your fitness and strength to ski well all day

If you are not competent but fit you will waste energy and strength and get tired; quad burns, particularly if using muscles rather than skeleton to hold yourself in balance

If you are not competent or fit then you will get tired and sore even quicker

If you are competent but unfit you will be able to ski well for maybe half the day, then find your skiing goes to pot and you either ski badly and/or go to the bar early

Post edited at 15:35
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captain paranoia 29 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

How do you think? Do you like to understand the technical aspects in order to do things?

I spent some time helping a mate of mine to improve. We're both engineers, so I went through how carving skis work to make the turns, and all the feathering, weighting/unweighting, edging and balance stuff that beardy mike discussed, and he found that helpful, especially when we did some simple exercises to demonstrate those aspects, and how to make your body exploit the technical behaviour of the skis.

I first skiied in Bulgaria. I went to ski school, very ESF style. In the afternoon, I tried to ski with my friends. That's hard... One of them showed me a step turn, and I spent an entire afternoon on a single, quiet beginner slope, going round and round, practising this turn, figuring for myself how to make it work properly. By the end of the day, I was competent enough to just about keep up with my friends (though, of course, there were a lot of crashes). I gave up the ski school after about three days. One the last day, I went back, and found that I was way better than the rest of his group, and he asked how that had happened...

My step change in capability came though a private lesson (in my third year, I think), with the instructor watching my skiing, finding (very quickly) what I was doing wrong (generally, thugging my way around turns by throwing my upper body around), giving me simple techniques to identify and fix the problem (hands on hips, and checking for 'Showaddywaddy' moves...), and exercises to improve. And then showing me how carving skis worked; making turns just by rolling the knees from one side to the other.

Don't let the instructor baffle you with terms you don't understand (e.g. fall-line, release, etc); they use them all the time, and forget that novices don't know what they mean (the perennial problem of jargon). Especially if you're going private; if you don't understand what they mean, get them to explain in common words until you do.

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climbingpixie 29 Nov 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

I'll be using rentals. I've considered buying my own and and I'm sure they would be better but it's a massive investment of cash on top of an already expensive trip. I'm also loath to buy my own boots until I'm a better skier - buying boots at this stage would probably mean a pair that were more aimed at beginners and I might find myself growing out of them, skillswise, in the future.

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climbingpixie 29 Nov 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

I like to understand the mechanics of what I'm doing but I struggle to visualise and understand it in the abstract so some of the stuff people have posted on this thread makes absolutely no sense to me as I can't relate it to my experience. So I would say I'm quite a hands on learner but I appreciate and work best if people explain why I should do something.

TBH what I found most helpful last time was probably when I was out with my other half in the afternoons. He didn't bombard me with information but every now and again he'd make a suggestion about my stance or technique and for then next hour or so I'd think about that, consciously trying to incorporate that advice until it felt natural. That kind of incremental drip feed of suggestions worked really well, letting me gradually improve my skiing but without being stressful or overwhelming or leading to mid-piste arguments!

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captain paranoia 29 Nov 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I'm doing but I struggle to visualise and understand it in the abstract so some of the stuff people have posted on this thread makes absolutely no sense to me as I can't relate it to my experience

Trying to explain physical actions in words alone is very difficult (I can't follow much of the description, either, and I'm a reasonable skier...). Much easier if you can demonstrate and use actual practice.

> That kind of incremental drip feed of suggestions worked really well

Drip feed is good. Give a tip, and give time to try it out for a bit. Then give another tip, and so on.

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John2 30 Nov 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

You are missing the option of a good morning's skiing, lunch at the Edelweiss, a few drinks at the Rosée Blanche and  an evening at Bar 15. Both fitness and technique required the next morning.

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Andysomething 01 Dec 2019
In reply to climbingpixie:

> .......He didn't bombard me with information ..........That kind of incremental drip feed of suggestions worked really well, letting me gradually improve my skiing but without being stressful or overwhelming or leading to mid-piste arguments!...........

This sounds like sense to me, stick with working on one or at the very most two things at a time.  And always be working on something!

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