We Ski EVERYWHERE! 

High Park Ski Club

FROM: Document1.pdf

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 2

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com 

How would you like to transport yourself from in front of this computer screen to be on the slopes right now? Picture your favourite ski run laid out before you. See the trees covered with snow, the village down below, and the undulating surface of perfectly groomed snow with a dusting of fresh powder. It’s first thing in the morning and you have the whole run to yourself. As you push off and begin to ski you can hear the snow spray beneath your skis as you carve the perfect turn. You feel the sun’s warmth and a cool crisp breeze on you cheeks as you make your way down the slope linking one round turn after another. It’s the run of your life. 

Visualization is not only a great way to enjoy the sensation of skiing out of season or when you can’t get to the hill, but is also a proven method of improving our skills by building muscle memory. One famous study on the topic was conducted by Dr. Blaslotto at the University of Chicago where he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many basketball free throws they could make. The first group practiced free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making successful free throws. The third group did nothing. After 30 days he tested them again. The first group improved by 24%. The second group improved by 23% without touching a basketball!!! The third group did not improve which was expected.  

Imagine how much you can improve your skiing if you combine practicing with the mental rehearsal technique of visualization! Elite athletes do it all the time. You have probably seen ski racers at the start with their eyes closed, leaning on their poles, skiing with their arms through a course. For every one time they can physically run a course, they have hundreds of opportunities to practice it in their minds. 

Tips for successful visualization 

Visualization works best if you make it a multi-sensory experience. Involve sight, sound, and feeling like we did in the opening scenario. Visualize events unfolding out of your eyes (the first person). Think about the same things you think about when you are actually skiing. Feel the same positive sensations. Picture yourself being successful. If you are just learning to ski the moguls don’t picture yourself skiing through them with trepidation. Visualize yourself absorbing them as you execute rhythmical controlled turns. Practice. Just like you didn’t learn to ski in a day, visualization is a skill that gets better the more often you do it. 

I look forward to seeing you on the slopes soon. Until then enjoy many perfect runs in your mind.

FROM: Document2.pdf

Ski Tuning

By Len Zucker 

In order to improve at any sport you need three elements: the proper equipment, a body ready to exercise and the proper technique. When you show up for a lesson with High Park we work on the last element - technique.  

Since it is pre season right now let’s look at equipment. Where are your skis right now? Are they still in the bag from when you went skiing last year? Did you put them away wet? If you look at your skis now you may find that the edges are rusted and the bases are whitish with little hairs sticking up. If this is the case then your skis need a tune up. Tuning your skis is one of the best things you can do to improve your skiing and well worth the cost.  

A ski tune accomplishes several things. It makes your ski bases flat and even with the edges, it sharpens edges for better grip on ice and hard snow and the wax on the base allows the ski to be easily manoeuvred.  

The ski base is made of a polymer. During the summer an unprotected ski base actually shrinks. This leaves the edges higher than the base. This is called skiing on rails, similar to old metal runner sleds and it will be hard to turn your skis. The opposite of edge-high skis is a base-high skis. Skiing on very hard snow for a period of time without tuning the skis causes this. You wear the edges down and end up with the base lower then the edges. The ski will skid and you will be unable to set a good edge. A good ski tune is important to set you up for success.   Understanding how your skis are tuned should help you to bring them in regularly and hence improve your performance.  

First, the ski is put on a grinding stone and ground to produce a flat ski base. The grinding gives the ski base texture which helps the ski slide and turn easier.    Next, the base edge is bevelled to an angle from 0.5 to 2.0 degrees. This allows the turn to start without the edge catching. The side edge is also sharpened at an angle. For most of you the recommended angles are 0.5 to 1.0 degree base bevel, and a 1.0 to 2.0 side edge bevel. This will produce a ski that turns easily and grips hard. The skis are then waxed with a universal wax that covers the widest temperature range and suits most skiing in Ontario.   

Many skiers ask how long a tune up lasts and this depends on the snow you ski on. If it is icy and hard, then your edges will wear down in 3 to 5 days to the point that the skis won’t feel that they are gripping very well. If the snow is soft then you can ski longer before the next tune. To preserve the edge sharpness you should dry the skis base and edges at the end of your ski day. Separate the skis

when you get home and leave them leaning against a wall with the bases facing out overnight.  

Just remember: well tuned skis are more enjoyable to ski on and will improve your performance.    

FROM: Document3.pdf

WOMEN: NOT JUST LITTLE MEN

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 2

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

Walking into a ski store these days you can’t help but notice the proliferation of women-specific ski equipment. Is it all a clever marketing ploy o something to it?  

There are technical and anatomical differences between male and female skiers. Women have a lower center of gravity and thigh bones that angle towards the knee which can contribute to an “A this in lessons as male instructors tried to get their image to mirror that of a man’s. Now it is recognized that so long as both skis are at the same angle on the snow a little A-frame can be okay! As a woman may not have the same strength as a man, putting her hips inside the turn gives her the leverage she needs to resist the forces of the turn.

muscle. They have padding specifically placed for women’s anatomical foot shape. The most important determinant in whether a woman’s boot is right for you is your foot and your level of ability. A qualified boot fitter is essential in finding the right boot for you.

Women’s skis, once known more for their pretty graphics than for performance, now come in high performance options. The concept is to have a woman’s sk that is energy-saving yet athletically high performance by making adjustments to side cut, flex, weight and mounting system of the ski. Like any ski, it is best to try before you buy and go for what feels good and improves your performance, rather than what colour they are. Of course, if they happen to be a pretty colour, that’s just bonus! 

WOMEN: NOT JUST LITTLE MEN  By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 2 regrets.blogspot.com Walking into a ski store these days you can’t help but notice the proliferation of specific ski equipment. Is it all a clever marketing ploy or is there

There are technical and anatomical differences between male and female skiers. Women have a lower center of gravity and thigh bones that angle towards the knee which can contribute to an “A-frame”. For years women got beat up this in lessons as male instructors tried to get their image to mirror that of a man’s. Now it is recognized that so long as both skis are at the same angle on frame can be okay! As a woman may not have the same putting her hips inside the turn gives her the leverage she needs to resist the forces of the turn. 

In the photo to the left does Britt Janyk have an A-frame? That is, is her outside (right) shin at a different angle than her inside (left) shin? Absolutely. But are her skis on the snow at at the same angle? Again, yes. So, is there anything wrong with the way she is skiing? Absolutely not! I know I’d like to carve a turn like her! 

Women-specific equipment has come a long way in addressing women-specific Women’s boots are a lower height and tulip shaped to accommodate women’s lower calf muscle. They have padding specifically placed for women’s anatomical foot shape. The most important determinant in whether a woman’s boot is right for foot and your level of ability. A qualified boot fitter is essential in finding the right boot for you.

Women’s skis, once known more for their pretty graphics than for performance, now come in high performance options. The concept is to have a woman’s sk saving yet athletically high performance by making adjustments to side cut, flex, weight and mounting system of the ski. Like any ski, it is best to try before you buy and go for what feels good and improves your performance, hat colour they are. Of course, if they happen to be a pretty colour, 

Walking into a ski store these days you can’t help but notice the proliferation of r is there

There are technical and anatomical differences between male and female skiers. Women have a lower center of gravity and thigh bones that angle towards the frame”. For years women got beat up over this in lessons as male instructors tried to get their image to mirror that of a man’s. Now it is recognized that so long as both skis are at the same angle on frame can be okay! As a woman may not have the same putting her hips inside the turn gives her the leverage she

In the photo to the left does Britt Janyk have frame? That is, is her outside (right) shin at a different angle than her inside (left) shin? ely. But are her skis on the snow at at the same angle? Again, yes. So, is there anything wrong with the way she is skiing? Absolutely not! I know I’d like to carve a turn

specific equipment has come a long specific issues. Women’s boots are a lower height and tulipshaped to accommodate women’s lower calf muscle. They have padding specifically placed for women’s anatomical foot shape. The most important determinant in whether a woman’s boot is right for foot and your level of ability. A qualified boot fitter is essential in

Women’s skis, once known more for their pretty graphics than for performance, now come in high performance options. The concept is to have a woman’s ski saving yet athletically high performance by making adjustments to side cut, flex, weight and mounting system of the ski. Like any ski, it is best to try before you buy and go for what feels good and improves your performance, hat colour they are. Of course, if they happen to be a pretty colour,

FROM: Document4.pdf

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR LESSON

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

Have you ever experienced a lesson where everything just clicked and you were able to make a big change in your skiing? Perhaps the instructor said, did, or showed something that resonated with you. Just as likely, you were in a receptive place and open to learning that day. Being an active participant in the process ensures that you are getting the most out of your lesson. 

How do you actively participate in a lesson? Take charge of your own success. Be open to trying what the instructor suggests. Your instructor knows your ability and wouldn’t be asking you to do something if you were not capable. Sometimes a change is going to feel awkward at first. Stick it out and give it a chance. 

Watch the instructor’s demonstration closely and try to mimic not only the tactic but also the speed and turn shape. Pay attention to how you feel while doing it. Do you feel more or less in balance than usual? Where in the turn are you feeling pressure? On which ski? 

Ask questions when you don’t understand something. If you are not getting individual feedback ask for it. Listen to not just your feedback but also the feedback for the rest of the group. As they are of comparable ability to you, they are likely working on similar things. Plus if you have any aspirations to instruct someday, this is a great way to develop your eye to spot things people are doing well and things they can do to improve. 

Be supportive of other members of your group. When you see them make a positive change, tell them. Keep it positive. Instead of saying “hey, you finally got your legs apart” try “your edging was really strong when you were skiing with a wider stance”. Hopefully they will return positive comments when you do something well. And by following these simple tips, you will be soon giving them lots on which they can compliment you.   

FROM: Document5.pdf

SKI LIKE A KID

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

I recently spent a day instructing 6-8 year olds. For someone used to skiing with and instructing adults I was reminded of a valuable lesson from the kids. 

Skiing is fun!!! It shouldn’t be all about countless drills and thinking of a myriad of technical instructions as we make our way down the hill. Instead, ski like a kid. Look for the “funnest” way down the hill. Take advantage of dips, rolls, and the sides of the run. Get some air! Ski where the snow is untracked and ungroomed. When you open your eyes to the possibilities, you will find areas of familiar local ski hills that you have never before thought of skiing. 

Concerned that this will impact your ability to improve? It’s actually quite the opposite. Skiing up and down an embankment on the side of a run improves both balance and pivoting skills. Skiing through and over dips and rolls helps with pressure control and timing. Skiing less than perfectly groomed snow prepares you for an all-mountain experience when you travel. 

But most of all you will remember why you began in this great sport and have fun! So next time you are on the hill watch some of the kids. See where they go. Then go tap that terrain and have a blast skiing like a kid! 

FROM: Document6.pdf

MOGULS 101

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

The most common request I get from parallel skiers is to learn how to ski the moguls. As an instructor, bumps are one of the things I enjoy instructing the most as there is just so much to work with. The biggest challenge is focusing on the changes that will make the most difference. 

The single largest thing a parallel skier can do to improve their bump skiing is to pole plant. Not pole touch or pole point but really plant the pole. Plant it as far down the hill as you can reach in an area roughly even with your boots. This will do several things for you. First, it will get your body down the hill rather than leaning back up it. Second, it will recenter you as the bumps manipulate your fore/aft balance. Third, it expands your base of support from just under your skis to all the way to your pole. Finally, it will help you develop a rhythm in the bumps which brings me to the next point. 

Moguls are not the place for shopping. Save that for the ski shops at the end of the day! I am often asked where the best place to turn in the bumps is found. There are several acceptable answers - on top of the bump where the tips and tails of the ski are free to pivot, on the front side of the bump to use the bumps to help you steer, or even in between the bumps on a powder day or when they are well spaced. However, the best answer is wherever your rhythm takes you. Keep the poles swinging. Always have one planted or in the process or being planted. Good rhythm hides a multitude of sins! 

Finally, one of the areas where bump novices have the most challenge is getting thrown around in the bumps. It is integral to use your legs as shock absorbers to absorb the bumps. Practice traversing them with the visual of being in a low ceiling room with the only way not to hit your head is to bend your legs (ankles, knees, hips) on the top of the moguls and extend your legs down in the space between the moguls. 

Ultimately the best way to get better at skiing the moguls is to ski the moguls. Venture in whenever the opportunity arises and soon you will be looking for moguls with anticipation rather than trepidation. 

FROM: Document7.pdf

CRAVING THAT CARVING FEELING

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com 

What could be more fun than ripping up a clean sheet of corduroy snow? Shaped skis make it easier than ever to really carve it up. To get the most out of your skis it is integral that you are the one dictating the turn shape, not your skis. 

The first step to carving a turn is the set up between turns. This is where you release your edges from your previous turn and get stacked for the new turn. The best thing you can do to have awesome edge performance at the end of your turn is to take the time to set yourself up properly at the beginning of the turn. Be patient. When you release your edges from your previous turn, allow your skis to be flat on their bases before beginning to simultaneously extend your legs and turn your feet to begin your new turn. 

Be sure to continue extending as you enter the fall line (skis straight down the hill). At that point begin to progressively bend your legs (ankles, knees, hips) as you steer your skis across the fall line. For ultimate edge performance, you should get the sensation that you are almost steering back up the hill as you finish your turn. A few tactics you can use to help develop the edging sensation are as follows: 

1. Feel as though you are pressing on the inside corner of the tongue of your boots as you complete your turn 2. Uphill Christies - on a quiet hill, practice doing one large turn at a time where you come to a stop by edging up the hill 3. Roller blade turns - on flat terrain practice going edge to edge by rolling your ankles and legs without pivoting 4. When completing the turn allow your inside (uphill) leg to go completely soft 5. My new personal favourite - pretend you have elastic bands around each leg extending from the knee to the bottom of the ski. As you stretch the band on your outside leg through the turn, feel as though the band on your inside leg is contracting. If you are at the stage where you are skiing laterally with a wide natural stance, your inside leg will actually be a lot more bent than your outside leg making easy and natural to do.  

Take the time to play with some of these ideas and enjoy carving it up at a whole new level. Carve on! 

FROM: Document8.pdf

THE WARM UP: SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

Every day that you ski you have the opportunity to change your skiing and improve. The best way to ensure your success is to set yourself up for it right from your first few runs. How do you warm up for a day of skiing? Or, perhaps better put, do you warm up at all? By warming up I’m not advocating arm circles and static leg stretches. Static stretches before warming up do nothing to help your sports performance and can in fact lead to injury. Save the stretching for the end of day when your muscles are warm and stretching prevents soreness. 

The best warm up for skiing is skiing, albeit at a slower pace and a lower performance level than that which you are capable. Balance is the key skill from which all of the other skiing skills fall. If you have strong balance, it is easier to do just about anything on skis. To set up great balance at the beginning of the day, try some of the following tactics for your first few warm up runs. For best results, focus on only one thing per run.  

1) Feel your feet flat on the bottom of your boot. Often when one is skiing they feel more pressure on the ball of their foot when extending and on their heel when bending. Keeping your foot flat in your boot will ensure your fore/aft balance is in line. 

2) Ski "shmooshy" turns. Try NOT to edge when skiing big round turns. It is easy to edge from an out of balance position. It is impossible to ski round turns without edging unless you are well balanced. Many high end skiers feel embarrassed to "de-tune" their skiing in this fashion. To them I say, this is the way Herman Maier warmed up for his many World Cup wins. If the Hermanator can ski sloppy parallel turns, who are we to think we are too good to do that? 

3) Ski with your boot buckles undone or very loose. You should have no trouble controlling your skis at a slower speed with loose buckles. Too often skiers crank down their buckles in an effort to control their skis instead of relying on good balance. This is especially hard on the feet muscles at the beginning of the day when we want lots of blood to flow to the feet. 

4) Hop turns. Begin each turn by straightening your legs quickly allowing your skis to leave the snow. Land on a straight leg and then quickly absorb the hop. Hopping is impossible to do when out of balance. 

5) Drag both poles in the snow. This is a great way to ensure you begin your day steering with your lower body rather than rotating with your upper body. 

6) Ski any turn shape other than your favourite. If it is little tight turns that you love to do, ski great big carving turns, or vice versa. Set yourself up for change by trying something foreign first thing in your day.

 Take a few runs to get to the point where you can comfortably up the performance. Having the patience to do a proper warm-up will set you up for success for your whole day.   

FROM: Document9.pdf

SKIING THE GLADES

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

The light is flat. The snow on the groomed runs is skied off. It’s time to head for the trees! Gladed runs offer the fun trifecta challenge of loo formed by everyone turning in the same direction to avoid the trees, and of course the trees themselves. Skiing the trees is not only exhilarating but also a great way to practice your short radius and bump skiing as tree skiing requires strong pivoting/steering. Sighting ahead even prepares you for skiing gates.

A few things to help you in the trees:

1) Remove your pole straps. If one of your poles catches a tree you’d rather your pole get left behind than your shoulder. 

2) Ski with a buddy or buddies. Make sure you can see or hear each other and check in often. Tree wells can form at the base of trees which is very dangerous should one ski too close to the trees and fall in. 

3) The single best thing you can do to ski the trees better spaces between the trees, not the trees themselves. You ski where you look so look for the path between the trees.

So the next time you see some skiable trees, dive in and have fun!

Laurissa skiing the glades in Symphony Bowl in Whistler on January 28, 2010

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1 regrets.blogspot.com

The light is flat. The snow on the groomed runs is skied off. It’s time to head for the trees! Gladed runs offer the fun trifecta challenge of loose snow, moguls formed by everyone turning in the same direction to avoid the trees, and of course the trees themselves. Skiing the trees is not only exhilarating but also a great way to practice your short radius and bump skiing as tree skiing requires rong pivoting/steering. Sighting ahead even prepares you for skiing gates.

A few things to help you in the trees:

1) Remove your pole straps. If one of your poles catches a tree you’d rather your pole get left behind than your shoulder. 

uddy or buddies. Make sure you can see or hear each other and check in often. Tree wells can form at the base of trees which is very dangerous should one ski too close to the trees and fall in. 

3) The single best thing you can do to ski the trees better is to look for the white spaces between the trees, not the trees themselves. You ski where you look so look for the path between the trees.

So the next time you see some skiable trees, dive in and have fun!  

Laurissa skiing the glades in Symphony Bowl in Whistler on January 28, 2010

The light is flat. The snow on the groomed runs is skied off. It’s time to head for se snow, moguls formed by everyone turning in the same direction to avoid the trees, and of course the trees themselves. Skiing the trees is not only exhilarating but also a great way to practice your short radius and bump skiing as tree skiing requires rong pivoting/steering. Sighting ahead even prepares you for skiing gates.

1) Remove your pole straps. If one of your poles catches a tree you’d rather your

uddy or buddies. Make sure you can see or hear each other and check in often. Tree wells can form at the base of trees which is very dangerous is to look for the white spaces between the trees, not the trees themselves. You ski where you look so

Laurissa skiing the glades in Symphony Bowl in Whistler on January 28, 2010 

FROM: Document10.pdf

OVERCOMING FEAR  

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com  

The hardest part of learning to ski as an adult is overcoming fear. Fear takes many forms. For beginner skiers, it can be fear of going too fast, of being out of control, or falling. For intermediate and advanced skiers fear can be caused by poor visibility, steeps, ice, powder, trees, or moguls. What all these fears have in common is that they are fear of the unknown or unfamiliar. 

Today I skied Spanky's Ladder at Blackcomb for the first time. As I climbed up to the top of the mountain ridge it quickly became apparent why it is called ladder. I had to kick the toes of my boots into the steep narrow ledge to make my way up. It was so narrow I dared not look over the edge. A couple of times my boots slipped on the icy ascent and I dropped to a knee. I could not tell if my rapid heartbeat was caused from exertion or fear. 

I was wildly relieved to get to the point in the climb where my whole ski boot could make contact with the snow. Then I realized I must ski down. The entry to Garnet Bowl was narrow and steep. There was lots of fresh snow that my narrow eastern skis sunk into. But taking it section by section it was totally skiable and dare I say it, fun. When I reached the valley floor I felt like I had conquered my own Everest. I couldn't keep a big grin off my face as we skied back to the lift. The next double black diamond we skied, Pakalolo, had a narrow entry which ordinarily would have been intimidating yet didn't feel so bad after Spanky's.  

So how does one overcome fear? To become better at something you must do it. Yet getting into an intimidating situation often leads to a skier regressing to old habits - leaning up the hill, stiffening up, and even beginning a turn with a wedge. The best solution: put yourself into situations on the edge of your comfort zone. If you don't usually ski anything harder than a black diamond, try a double black diamond that isn't too long (Elevator Shaft at Blue Mountain comes to mind). Then the stakes aren't too high. Try to ski at least one run that challenges you every time you are out. As you become familiar with what was once unknown you will find that what used to look steep begins to look flat. You will begin to seek out moguls and more challenging terrain. What used to scare you will give you an adrenaline rush. And isn't that the reason we all started skiing to begin with? 

FROM: Document11.pdf

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POLE PLANT

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

The pole plant is one of the most overlooked parts of skiing. For those not yet skiing parallel, poles are great for propelling across flats, getting up after falls, and keeping balance on magic carpets. For parallel skiers a pole plant can be an integral tool to help them ski better. 

When in the turn should you pole plant? If you answered "at the beginning of the turn", while technically correct, you are probably pole planting too late. Skiers who think of the pole plant as the beginning of the turn generally start to extend and turn their skis into the new turn before they pole plant. The pole plant is the link between two turns. Because one turn begins when the last ends, thinking of the pole plant at the end of the turn puts it in the right spot. 

When skiing medium to larger turns, the pole plant is more of a pole "touch" and is used primarily as a timing device. For these types of turns the pole touch is forward towards the tips of your skis. This changes in short radius turns and moguls where the pole plant becomes a strong plant and is further from your body and not as far forward. By reaching your pole down the hill in line with your boots in short radius and moguls, the pole plant does more than control rhythm and symmetry. It has the following additional benefits:  1. It gets the pole out of the way as your skis slide into the next turn. I have seen many people trip over their poles in steep terrain when the skis must slide to begin a turn.  2. You can do a shorter radius turn because you don’t have to ski out and around a pole that is planted forward towards your tip.  3. It forces your downhill shoulder down the hill so that it is parallel with the slope, thus allowing you to angulate properly over your outside ski.  4. It stabilizes the upper body so that you are steering with your legs, not your upper body.  5. It allows you to recenter your body over your skis and down the hill between turns.  So the next time you are out skiing, think about where and when you are planting your pole. For short radius turns and moguls reach down the hill in line with your boots and plant that pole firmly. You will be amazed at the results. 

FROM: Document12.pdf

INCREDIBLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING

TIPS FOR ADVANCED SKIERS

by Al Ratcliff

Do you ever get the feeling you’re working way too hard, while your technique doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? Maybe all you need is a new perspective, - “That Incredible Lightness of Being” that expert skiers seem to have! Who Me? you say! Well why not? - Just change your focus!  

Advanced skiers are often tempted to press the knees hard inside to edge, push hard laterally with the legs to “grip” the snow, and to dump the hips in hard to “carve a trench”. When that happens, somebody’s kidding themselves! Sure we feel lots of pressure, but it’s mostly artificial, created and trapped inside our own legs.  

Alternatively, if we STAY LIGHT and skillfully maneuver our feet just right, the snow will come looking for US with so much carve that we actually have to find ways to absorb it! Instead of clenching those tired leg muscles and pressing hard, we can keep them supple and almost limp. – Sound too effortless? It is, and IT WORKS!  

On ice, the last thing we want to do is edge and press hard on the outside ski, hoping it will grip. It won’t, and all we‘ll succeed in doing is to make that ski break away. On hardpack, this will set up a tooth rattling chatter. Instead, expert skiers remain light on their feet, focusing on precision and STEERING control. They will DE-EDGE. They will actually strive to take pressure back OFF the skis, and share the weight evenly between both feet. Any heavy feeling or hard effort is counterproductive.  

During short radius in the steeps, experts will emphasize STEERING, not edge, and they will spend the latter part of the turn actively ABSORBING pressure, not creating it. They will do this by carefully monitoring the muscular tension in their legs, trying to remain as supple and gentle as possible. They know that any attempt to hit hard on an edge will “jamb” the ski, making it instantly lose grip. They will also try to “soften” the work done by their edges by distributing their weight evenly between both skis. In short, they will TREAT THE SNOW OR ICE LIKE A FRAGILE MEMBRANE that they don’t want to puncture.  

What a change in perspective! Now you can go home fresh as a daisy! - And remember: “FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY - STING LIKE A BEE”!      

FROM: Document13.pdf

MASTERING SHORT RADIUS TURNS

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

Being a versatile skier means being able to ski a variety of turn sizes from great big carving turns to tight little short radius turns. Being able to ski short radius turns in particular is very useful when skiing steeps, moguls, or glades. For those learning how to ski short radius turns, or who just want to improve their short radius skiing, I have developed a short radius progression guaranteed to making you better at skiing short radius turns. Spend at least an entire Ontario-length run performing each one of the following steps before progressing to the next. 

1) Side slipping. Slide sideways down the hill increasing edge angle by rolling your ankles and knees up the hill until you come to a stop. Then release your edges by flattening your ski to resume sliding. Repeat over and over again facing one direction until you are halfway down the slope. Then do it facing the opposite direction. Remember to keep your upper body facing down the hill as your legs are across the hill. This will help you develop muscle memory of being counterrotated. The act of applying edge angle and just as importantly, being able to release it, will help you finish your turns strongly and start the next turn in a balanced position. 

2) Braquage. Start by side slipping in one direction with your legs (ankles/knees/hips) bent. Turn your legs as you extend (straighten) them as much as possible as you enter the fall line and then bend them as much as possible to bring your skis back across the fall line. Repeat down the hill. The result should be something that looks like sloppy, slidey short radius turns. Tip: the more you bend and extend your legs the easier it will be to turn them. Again, remember to keep your upper body facing down the hill. The object of this step is to improve your pivoting (ability to turn the ski with your foot) and to reinforce counter-rotation. 

3) Hockey stops. Point your skis down the hill and then bring them out of the fall line coming to a full stop in one direction. Once you have stopped, plant your pole strongly down the hill. Repeat down the hill alternating directions coming to a full stop with a strong pole plant with each turn. This step will work on your steering as you must bring your skis completely across the hill to stop. Having a strong pole plant down the hill will set you up for your next turn and yes, reinforce counter-rotation. 

4) Link it all together. Start your run doing the hockey stop drill above, then a few turns in, stop coming to a complete stop between each turn. You are skiing short radius! You have learned how to apply edge angle and release it in step 1, pivot your skis by unbending and bending your legs in step 2, and steer your skis in step 3. Throughout you have kept your body facing down the hill and using a strong pole plant at the end of your turn, stabilized your upper body so all the skiing happens from the legs, not the upper body.  

Now get out there and have fun ripping it up with your small tight turns!   

FROM: Document14.pdf

ARE YOUR SKIS REALLY PARALLEL?

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

The goal for almost every skier starting out is to get their skis parallel. To a beginner skier this means eliminating the wedge they use to initiate a turn. However, there are at least three other ways skis can be less than parallel with advanced skiers. The next time you are out skiing have your instructor or a friend watch or video you skiing past them so you are seen from the front, side, and back. Here's what to get them to look for: 

1.  A wedge to initiate turns. This is caused by pushing out the outside ski to initiate turns. While most common with beginner skiers, intermediate and advanced skiers will sometimes revert to using a wedge to initiate turns on steeper or more intimidating terrain. Similarly they may "step out" to initiate short radius turns or ski moguls. Tactics to eliminate the wedge include moving to easier terrain to build confidence, exercising patience when initiating the turn, and braquage style drills. 

2.  A reverse wedge where the tails of the skis come together at the middle to end of the turn. This can be seen even with advanced skiers and is best diagnosed by watching a skier from the back. It can be caused by having the weight on the inside ski instead of the outside ski, by solely pivoting instead of using a blend of pivoting and edging to steer, or by poor body alignment. Depending on the cause some tactics that can be used to address the deficiency are outside ski turns, rollerblade turns, or feeling the feet flat in the boots and legs stacked in a natural standing position. 

3.  An exaggerated lead change where the inside ski is far out in front of the outside ski. This is usually caused by having too much weight on the inside ki but also can be caused by alignment issues (i.e., dropping the butt into the turn). Tactics to have skis more parallel fore/aft are to consciously pull the outside leg forward so the tips match when in the fall line and "kick start turns" where the inside ski tail is lifted as the turn is initiated. 

4.  Skis are not equally on edge (i.e., one is flatter than the other). This can be caused by sitting too far back or by A-framing (not having the outside and inside knees move equally into the turn). Tactics include feeling pressure on the frontinside of the outside ski boot and front-outside of the inside ski boot rather than full on the front or on the rear of the ski boot and uphill Christies. 

Have fun checking each other out and getting parallel on all four fronts! 

FROM: Document15.pdf

MAGIC FEET

TIPS FOR ADVANCED SKIERS

by Al Ratcliff

Do you sometimes wish you could literally dance on your skis? - Well you can! Here’s how. Your feet are among the lightest, most nimble parts of your body. They are your base of support upon which you balance. They are your only link to feel the snow. They are in fact how you guide your skis, and they can be lightning quick. HMMM! Maybe we should train THEM, and put them to work for us! 

Why put all your effort into “positioning” your trunk, hips and knees throughout various parts of the turn? Why not just direct everything from your feet? Instead of believing that your head rules, why not shift “Mission Control” down to your feet? It’s sort of like Michael Flatley of Riverdance – a quiet upper body anchored like a gyroscope in space, while those fabulous feet work their magic below. 

So how do we get “Magic Feet”? By developing foot awareness and quickness, that’s how! Imagine the insole of your boot has been replaced by tactile sandpaper, your feet are bare, and your boots are as supple as slippers. – NOW SKI! Imagine that your bare feet have been placed shoulder width apart in a big upside down Frisbee. Now PLAY, by moving the Frisbee forward and back, side to side, and steer your feet in unison left and right. FEEL how much weight is on each foot, and never jamb the edge of the Frisbee into the snow by “hitting” on one ski. Feel how much pressure you place on each foot, and when and where. It should begin to feel like you’ve turned that Frisbee into a precision toboggan that YOU are guiding over the snow! 

In the meantime, if you’ve totally forgotten to “position” your trunk, hips and knees - then you’ve come a long way baby! 

NOW KEEP ON DANCIN’!  

FROM: Document16.pdf

Grippin’ Ain’t Rippin’

by Al Ratcliff

Are you tempted to get those skis on edge as early as possible in the turn? Do you think this will allow you to “GRIP” the snow better? Are you under the impression that this will let you bend the skis more and make them cut a better turn? In the steeps, do you try to maintain control by gripping the snow hard enough to rotate the earth backwards? Are you convinced all of the above must be good because you can feel enormous pressure in your legs? If so, you may be a typical advanced skier. - Too bad though, because it doesn't work! In fact, it's the cause of a “glass ceiling” that prevents too many skiers from ever attaining expert performance. 

So what is the alternative to “GRIPPING” the snow? The answer is; TAKE YOUR TIME as you cross over into the new turn. BEFORE you plant your pole, roll both skis flat (off their edges completely). Let your body continue to move across the skis and down the fall line. Then on flat skis, STEER both feet in the direction of the turn, and simultaneously let them DRIFT out to the side (no edging!). Continue this motion, lengthening your legs, ALL THE WAY TO THE FALL LINE. After the fall line, you can begin edging by rolling your feet, ankles and knees to the inside, but you MUST continue to STEER strongly, not just ride the edge. Ski like this, in big gentle turns, for as long as it takes to get accustomed to this new sequence. 

Done right, this will allow you to “RIP” the snow and carve a trench deep enough to lay telephone cable. But, it requires PATIENCE, subtlety and real determination not to GRIP the snow early in the turn. It is the AVOIDANCE of quick and powerful effort. It will also require re-sequencing your balance in the first half of the turn - not an easy task, but well worth it. 

See your friendly neighbourhood ski instructor for some guidance with this, and remember; “GRIPPIN AIN'T RIPPIN”! 

P. S. This steering/drifting of the skis to the side cannot take place unless you maintain fairly even weight on both feet, and you don't press on the new outboard ski! (That would be “GRIPPIN” again, wouldn't it?). WISHING YOU A RIPPIN' GOOD TIME!   

FROM: Document17.pdf

POW POW!

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com

As I write this, it is dumping snow outside which means one thing - powder! True powder days are elusive and thus stand out in skiers' memories. The key is to make it stand out for being fun rather than tedious. 

Many western skiers are effortless in the powder, floating along on top of the snow. Not only do they have the opportunity to ski powder more often but they are also often on a wider ski. Some ski widths have gotten ridiculous. I've seen many skis this season that are wider in the mid-section than my skis are at the tip and tail. However, a mid-fat ski (around 80 mm) underfoot will allow you to float on the snow while still controlling the ski. Unless you are doing the majority of your skiing in powder (if we could be so lucky!) or you keep more than one pair of skis, it will not make sense for an eastern skier to buy mid-fat skis. However, that doesn't mean you can't rent them for the day. Just do it early - maybe even the night before when lots of snow is in the forecast - as they sell out quickly on a powder day. 

Whether on mid-fats or "skinny" eastern skis, try running a straighter line than you would when you are carving. You need more speed in the powder as it will slow you down. If you are uncomfortable with speed in this unfamiliar environment, try it first on easier terrain. How to weight your skis? I had always been taught to keep my skis closer together in the powder and to weight them more evenly. However, this year I have been exposed to the new train of thought which is to ski more like you would when you are carving - "pedaling" through the turn by keeping the skis hip width apart and transfering weight from one outside ski to the other as you transition between turns. I have found this incredibly effective in the powder and more akin to the way one usually skis. It is particularly helpful once the powder begins to be chopped up as it helps maintain balance. 

Like anything, the best way to get better at skiing powder is to ski it. So fingers crossed that there are many powder days in your future. Not to rub it in, but I'm signing off now to catch this one! 

FROM: Document18.pdf

BASE OF SUPPORT

by Al Ratcliff

My instructor says that expert skiing is all B.S.! Well, she’s right! – “Base of Support” that is. So what is Base of Support and why is it so important? It’s fairly accurate to say that advanced skiing is all about balance. Balance can be simplified. If your weight is not between your feet, then you’re about to crash! 

In terms of fore/aft balance, if your weight is behind your instep, you are “back”. If it is ahead of your instep, you’re “forward”. If it is centred over your instep, your skis are ecstatic and will do exactly what you want! In terms of lateral balance, if your weight is mostly on your inside foot, you will fall to the inside of the turn. If it is beyond your outside foot, you are going to fall to the outside of the turn. If, like most skiers, you are “pedalling” your weight from foot to foot with the start of every new turn (instead of keeping your feet fairly evenly weighted), then you will NEVER find lateral balance. 

All of this does not mean that your feet must remain under you at all times to be balanced. On the contrary, the greater the centrifugal force (WAAHOOOO!) that you generate, the more your feet must be out to the SIDE, in order for your MOMENTUM to be directed into the snow BETWEEN YOUR FEET! 

Now, let’s get out of balance. Let’s say we get into the “back seat”. There two cures. 1 - Struggle to pull your heavy body mass back up to the centre. 2 - Just slide your feet (which are much lighter) back a little until you are re-centred. Number two is the obvious choice, but most skiers opt for the body. 

So how can we put the B.S. back into our skiing? 1.   Remember at all times that your feet ARE your base of support. 2.  “FEEL” your feet (and the snow), not your body, for balance. 3.   MOVE YOUR FEET AROUND to keep the force between your feet and over your arches at all times.   AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!   

FROM: Document19.pdf

Packing It In

By Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

http://laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com 

For those not lucky enough to have a spring ski vacation on the horizon, it is time to start thinking about packing away your ski gear for the summer. A little extra care now will set you up for a great next season.  

First your skis: before stashing them away, treat them to a thick coat of hot wax. Coat not only the bases but also include the metal edges. Do not scrape. The wax will keep the bases moist so your skis don’t dry out or warp in the off months. Covering the edges helps prevent them from rusting. It doesn’t matter which of your ski waxes you use. I use whichever one I have the most of at the end of the season.  

Note your DIN number and write it down on a Post-it note that you attach to your skis. Then take a flat edged screwdriver and release the front and back DIN of your bindings by unscrewing it to zero or until there is no tension left. This will ease the tension of the springs and ensure your bindings continue to work well for the lifetime of your skis. Just don’t forget to re-set the DIN come fall! The Post-it note will remind you to re-set as well as remind you of your DIN. Store your skis somewhere with little temperature fluctuation and that isn’t too dry or too damp. So long as they are completely dry, storing them in your ski travel bag will keep them dust-free. 

Before putting away your ski boots for the season, make sure the buckles are fastened in the same spots you keep them fastened when you are wearing them. Do up the power strap. Ski boots should never be left unbuckled even during the season as the hard plastic has memory that will make them difficult to fasten later. Store them somewhere that does not get too warm. Heat will affect the plastic shell and can undo any work (punching out) you have done on the boots. 

Finally, I find it very useful to make note of any ski items (e.g., gloves, long underwear) that I need for the following season. Then you will be armed for any surprise summer sales or fall ski shows. 

For those finished skiing for the season, enjoy your summer! For those not quite ready to call it quits, it has been DUMPING in Whistler. Look me up. 

FROM: Document21.pdf

LESSONS FROM THE RINK

Ice skating, whether it is hockey, ringette, or figure skating, is one of Canada's great past-times. It is hard to grow up in Canada and not have skated at some time in your life. Being your typical prairie Canadian, I grew up on skates, logging 15 years of figure skating while simultaneously coaching figure and power skating for the last 7 years of my skating career. 

Then when I graduated from high school I stopped. It was what was expected. I moved on, went to university, began my career, and eventually embraced downhill skiing as my winter passion. But I still dreamed of skating and this fall after a 20+ year hiatus, I returned to the sport. Doing so has caused me to reflect on the similarities between skating and skiing. 

There is a lot of muscle memory involved in a sport you performed regularly over 15 years. Though I had only skated a half dozen times in the last 20 years I had full confidence I would still “have it” when I returned. Skating across the ice the first time, I really missed having a long ski underfoot instead of a wee blade. Which brings me to my first shared skill: Balance. If you can balance on a rockered blade that's 5 mm wide and less than a foot long, what challenge is there to a 66 cm wide, 164 cm long ski? 

Of course, Stance goes with balance and there the hockey players' semi-prone body position is much more similar to that of a skier's. For years I had to work on getting rid of my figure skater's arched back when I skied. Now that I am skating again, I am trying to straighten it back from the rolled over posture I've gotten used to as a skier! 

Strong skaters have the ability to move quickly from forwards to backwards and backwards to forwards. Hockey players do it by transferring weight from one foot to the other (a Mohawk in figure skating parlance) while figure skaters are also capable of doing it on one foot (a three turn). Both methods of turning require Pivoting - turning with the feet - our second ski skill. Three turns involve bending the knee to initiate, un-bending (unweighting) to pivot, and bending again to complete. Sound a little like a ski turn? 

Ever watch a hockey player fly around a corner to pick up a loose puck? How about ice dancers create deep, round edges as part of their program. There is even a warm up drill for skating called slalom. Yes, the third shared skill between skiing and skating is Edging. When skiing, skaters have a great ability to “move inside” the turn due to their well-developed lateral balance. 

As a point of departure between the two sports, when you carve in skating, your weight is on your inside leg, the opposite as when you are skiing. This is what makes skaters so good at inclination (leaning into a turn) but sometimes lacking in angulation (maintaining weight on the outside ski by keeping the body in a Cshape). 

With skating as in skiing, a lot of forces are built up that need to be reined in. In figure skating you see this when figure skaters “check” using a still upper body to land a jump or exit a turn. You also see it when they land a jump, reaching down to their ice with a straight landing leg that then quickly bends and absorbs the pressure upon contact with the ice. This can be likened to a skier absorbing the forces with their skis for Pressure Control, the fourth shared skill. 

The final shared skill is Timing and Coordination. In hockey, you have to have incredible hand-eye coordination to pass the puck or score. Timing is everything. In figure skating, all routines are set to music with jumps, spins, and dance moves timed to the beat. Having the wrong timing on a jump or lift can be disastrous. Teaching skaters how to coordinate their movements and implement a pole plant is a piece of cake. 

What these five skills don't take into account are the intangibles that make skaters great skiers - a zest for life, fearlessness, and embracing of our Canadian winters. 

So, if you are looking for a great off-season way to work on your skiing, or a way to stay in ski-shape on days you can't make it to the hill, why not consider lacing up and getting in some skating? Your skiing will be all the better for it. See you at the rink! 

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1 

You can comment on this article and find more articles written by Laurissa at laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com.

FROM: Document200.pdf

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1 

From turkey tent sales and ski shows to the nip in the air, signals abound that the ski season will soon be upon us. As passionate skiers we can't help but start to make ski plans, get our gear in check, and perhaps even think about goals for the season. 

What helps you to get better as a skier? One key is mileage. Whether you were lucky enough to get that mileage as a child or are now building it as an adult, to get better at skiing you need to spend time skiing. Now is the perfect time to lay out your ski plan for the year - whether it's marking up a calendar, inputting it into Outlook, or (like me) a detailed Excel spreadsheet, commit now to the number of days you plan to ski this season. Then try to beat it.  

Of course we all know that repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. Guided mileage is key. Start the year with a lesson. The first ski day after the summer break is magical. Just when you're thinking "will I remember how to do this?" your body takes over and you recall why you love skiing. This sensation of your body taking over is what is often referred to as muscle memory. The beginning of the season when your muscle memory is just being reactivated is the perfect time to break bad habits before they are reinforced. 

Once the season is underway, check back in periodically with lessons to measure your progress and to find new ways to develop your skills. But remember to also spend time free skiing and integrating this knowledge. Discovery is an important part of the learning process.  

Challenge yourself. Try new things. Define now what your goal for the season is going to be. The opportunities are endless - skiing black diamond runs on your next vacation to a big mountain, getting comfortable in the moguls, racing the gates efficiently, or becoming a ski instructor. The best goals are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Speak to an instructor about steps you can take to reach your individual goal. 

The ski season will soon be upon us. Make it your most successful season yet!  

FROM: 22.pdf

A fresh start

A unique part of skiing is its limited season. Without extensive travel and expense, we can only ski a few months of the year. This brings a process of relearning as we start again each year. It is important to be easy on ourselves during this time and not compare our skiing to what we were doing at the end of last season. Think of it instead as an incredible opportunity for reinvention and to break past one’s previous abilities. Here are some ways to ease back into the season while setting yourself up for your best season yet.

Balance is one of the most critical aspects of skiing. In order to get your season off to a great start, the best thing you can do is experiment in finding your balance. One way is to concentrate on your feet in your boots. Think about feeling your feet flat on the bottom of the sole of the boot throughout the turn.

Play with your stance. Do one run with your legs as wide apart as you can muster. Do the next run with your feet glued together 80s style but still using good form. Find a position somewhere between that feels natural to you.

While standing still, try hanging off the front of the boot. Then see how far back you can lean in them. Find a relaxed natural position somewhere between.

Remember that in order to maintain balance while skiing over constantly changing terrain, balance must be in motion. Keep your legs moving constantly through the turn without any static posed spots.

To Be Continued In The December 28 SnoBiz ....

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

You can comment on this article and find more articles written by Laurissa at laurissa-no-regrets.blogspot.com.2.pdf

FROM: 23.pdf

Look up...Way up...

One of the simplest things a skier can do to improve their skiing is to change where they look when they ski. If you love the way it looks when your skis disappear under deep powder or how cool it is when you show off the base when you are carving, you are not looking far enough ahead! When you are driving, do you look at your hood ornament or the road? The next time you see ski racing on TV take a look at where the racers are looking. They are not looking at the gate they are skiing around, they are looking two or three gates ahead. Integrating the same tactic into your recreational skiing will dramatically improve your skiing.

Skiers that look down or immediately ahead when they ski are often not symmetrical from turn to turn. They fail to anticipate changes in terrain. Their skiing lacks flow. They are more likely to be involved in collisions with other people on the hill.

So the next time you are skiing, pick an object way down the hill to focus on – a ski chalet, body of water, or a caution sign. Keep it in your sight the entire run. If you are not in the habit of doing this, it will feel foreign at first and you will likely have to keep reminding yourself to look up. But I guarantee you will be skiing faster, more fluidly, and in control.

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 24.pdf

Posture Perfect

One of the simplest adjustments a skier can make to improve ski performance is to modify their body position between the waist and the neck. The majority of skiers either ski too upright or bend over straight from the waist. Skiing with your back straight and shoulders back may follow what your mother told you about good posture but does nothing to engage your ski from its centre to its tail. This body position is more often seen with men, particularly those who carry some extra weight around the middle, but can also be seen with those who have participated in aesthetic-based sports (e.g., dancing, figure skating, diving, or gymnastics).

Skiing bent over from the hips is more common with women and tends to happen when skier are told to bend over more without being told how to do so. Then the bend comes at the hips giving the appearance of the butt sticking out. What this does to ski performance is get the skier “in the back seat” and thus unable to effectively work the front of their ski.

So what should good ski posture look and feel like? Think of being in a “ready position” – an athletic position like you would if you were waiting for a tennis ball to be served to you or a football to be snapped. For women, picture wearing a super tight pair of high waist jeans that force you to suck in your tummy. Picture these jeans coming up a couple inches higher than your belly button then roll your shoulders over keeping your waist upright. For men who may not be as familiar with the tight jeans feeling, picture getting sucker punched in the stomach around your belly button. As your stomach moves inward, roll your shoulders forward.

The goal for both groups is to keep your butt and hips upright and stacked over your legs with only your shoulders rolled forward. This will give you the active stance necessary to react to anything that comes at you but also allow you to use the whole length of the leg in your skiing and engage the whole ski tip to tail.

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 25.pdf

Ice Ice Baby

I once had a trainer tell me he loved the ice. He said that it gave him external feedback as to whether he was balanced on his skis. While I certainly wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoy skiing on ice, there are ways to it less painful.

First, it's important to determine if what you are skiing is, in fact, ice. Sometimes skiers refer to hard pack as ice. It isn't. Hard pack is snow that is packed down so hard that there is no loose snow on it. It is white. Ice is when you can see your reflection. Ice sparkles in the sunlight. Neither are particularly fun to ski but at least with hard pack, you can carve through it. Well tuned skis certainly help.

One strategy with ice is avoidance. Some runs will always be icier than others. These are usually those that funnel through a lot of traffic. For the same reason, icy spots are generally found in the middle of runs. These spots can be avoided by skiing as close to the side of the run as you are comfortable. Steeper pitchers are often icy because of skiers and boarders of lower abilities who push the snow to the bottom side slipping rather than carving the run.

If a patch of ice is unavoidable I think of skiing it “lightly”. While the natural reaction is to try and dig in, if it is truly ice and not hard pack you will not win that battle. It is better to get over it as quickly as possible while trying not to allow it to disrupt your rhythm. Concentrate on this good rhythm and on continuous movement (bending and extending) in your legs as ice often causes one to freeze up (pardon the pun).

The better balanced you are over your skis, the less ice will throw you. So on icy days, as on any other days, focus on balancing over your feet with your feet flat in your boots.

Like any new situation, skiing ice gets easier with practice so try not to give up and quit early on an icy day. You may never love it like my trainer but you will get more comfortable with it. And if all else fails you can exact your revenge on ice by consuming it in your après ski cocktail!

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 26.pdf

Buckle Up

The most important part of your ski equipment is your boots. For people starting out who can't afford to buy everything at once I advise buying boots and renting skis. Your boots are what transfer all your muscular efforts into your skis. Changing boots will affect your skiing more than changing skis.

Yet I am constantly surprised at the number of skiers who suffer through ill-fitting boots, who have to crank down the buckles to get anything out of them, or whose feet are always cold. Boots can be blown out. Buckles can be moved. Shells can be shaved down. Very few people are lucky enough to have factory-made boots fit them perfectly at the store. This is why ski shops include boot fitting as part of the cost of the boot. This includes not only the initial fitting but any adjustments required once you start skiing them and they pack out.

Don't forget the bottom of your feet. I'd highly recommend foot beds if you are a regular skier. Foot beds support the arches of your feet allowing for better power transfer and feet that aren't sore at the end of the day. The ones that come with boots are one size fit all. Super feet are a cheaper alternative though I swear by my custom foot beds. They last for years and can be moved from ski boot to ski boot.

I am often asked how a boot should fit. My answer: snug but comfortable. You want your foot firmly housed in the boot with no room to move but you don't want it to pinch or hurt. You should be able to ski comfortably with your boots unbuckled. In fact, I often keep the bottom couple of buckles undone for my first one or two runs of the day until my feet get used to them again.

The most important buckle on your boots isn't actually a buckle at all but the power strap – the Velcro strap at the top of your boots. This should be done up as tightly as you can so that the tongue of your boot is firmly against your shin with no space between. Otherwise people ski too far forward in their boots trying to seek the tongue and find that control.

The single best thing I've learned this year is to do up my power strap over the tongue but UNDER the shell of the boot. If your boot will accommodate you doing this, do it. It will get the tongue of the boot firmly against your shin. Plus it will upright the boot slightly allowing you to stand more comfortably in your boots and ski in a more stacked position using your skeleton rather than your muscles making you less tired at the end of the day.

Once you get your boots fitted perfectly, there is a lot you can do once you take them home to take care of them. Always keep them buckled. Thoroughly dry them out each time you use them by either removing the liners or using a boot drier. Do NOT leave the carefully adjusted shells by the fire or there is nothing a boot fitter can do to help you!

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 27.pdf

Guided Mileage

Skiing is a mileage game. The more you ski the more opportunities you have to experience different conditions and terrain and improve your ability to ski them. Yet so often I hear people say that they ski and ski and don't seem to improve. My response is to ask what they are working on. Nine times out of 10 they have no response. Unless you know what you are trying to improve, how do you expect to get better?

The beauty of a traveling ski club is the unlimited amount of free lessons. The next time you take a lesson, don't let the learning end when the lesson is over. Make notes of the tips the instructor gave you, the terrain you skied, and any drills or tactics the instructor had you use. When you free ski replicate elements of the lesson that worked for you. Have a focus for each run. Know what you are working to improve and what tactics you can use to get better. Rather than just repeating the way you always ski over and over again, guided mileage helps you make the changes necessary to improve

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 29.pdf

Striving for Balance

Finding balance in skiing can be as elusive as finding it in life. It is especially challenging at the beginning of the ski season. Yet balance is the foundation of good skiing.

A wise man (okay, a race coach) once said balance is any position you are in if you have not fallen. While a little tongue in cheek, the point he was making is that balance in skiing is achieved by being in a constant state of motion. As a skier makes their way down the hill the platform under their skis is constantly changing due to incline, snow texture, bumps, depressions, and so on. If you are static (i.e., not in the process of either bending or extending your legs) you will get the sensation of the terrain skiing you rather than the other way around.

Here are some simple drills I find helpful to get in balance, particularly at the beginning of the season.

  1. “Shmeered turns”. Try not to carve your first day or two back on snow. Instead focus on using lots of movement in your hips, knees, and ankles to make round turns down the hill.

    With carving skis, one can easily apply an edge while being out of balance but it is impossible to execute round turns out of balance.

  2. Feel your feet in your boots. Where are you feeling pressure on your feet (shins, heels, inside, outside)? Where in the turn are you feeling it? Try feeling as though your feet are flat on the bottoms of your boots – as though you are balanced on the binding – throughout the turn.

  3. Try skiing with your toes up throughout the turn. This forces you to balance over the ball of your foot.

  4. For more advanced skiers use inside ski turns where you start each turn skiing only on your inside ski, adding your outside ski after you turn out of the fall line.

  5. Also for advanced skiers, use delay turns where you pivot into the fall line, take the time to balance over your skis, then pick up the edge to complete the turn.

Above all, be patient. Your balance will return with some mileage. This is the time of the season to focus on the fundamentals. With strong balance as your base you will be able to take on new ski challenges throughout the season.

On a personal note, I have made a huge leap forward in achieving some balance in my life. I have made the permanent move to Whistler where I will run my media consulting business while skiing and instructing as much as I can. While I will miss skiing and instructing with High Park, I am happy that I have been asked to continue contributing to Sno Biz. And for those on the Whistler trip this year I hope to share some turns with you there!

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 30.pdf

Losing It

One benefit of improving your skiing is the feeling of control that develops. To achieve that secure feeling we often seek runs, terrain, and conditions with which we are comfortable and then ski them at a comfortable speed.

I'd like to challenge that conventional way of thinking by positing that the only way you can truly know that you are in balance is to lose and regain it. One amazingly fluid and exciting skier I had the pleasure to ski with recently likened her skiing to a series of linked recoveries. She goes for it when she skis and if she gets out of balance she corrects mid-stream with a double pole plant or repositioning of the body. To watch her you would never think she is out of balance. My best runs of the day were when I really went for it – it is amazing how quickly you are able to recover from any imbalances when you are active in your skiing. When trying this, keeping the turn shape smaller as it keeps you moving.

So mix it up. If you usually ski at Blue Mountain, try the bumps at Mount St. Louis Moonstone. If you are a MLSM skier, go to Blue to ski the steeps. Take advantage of all the great weekend and week-long trips High Park Ski Club has to offer and go further afield to challenge yourself on harder terrain and variable conditions.

To be clear I'm not advocating being unsafe. You have to be mindful of other people on the hill. But the next time you are out skiing, look for opportunities to ski off-piste, on rollers or side angles, and pick up the speed skiing on the edge of your comfort zone. You may be surprised to see what you are capable of.

- Laurissa Stebeleski, CSIA 3, CSCF 1

FROM: 280.pdf

Put more heat into your Warm up!

By Ken Harper

Warm ups as the article is titled, are an important part of any sport or athletic activity. Besides the physical benefits such as blood and air flow to enhance muscle performance, warm ups, if carefully thought out prepare you for your lesson and your day. You don’t need an instructor to have a productive warm up. All you need is a little imagination and an awareness of your senses.

Some examples of warm up routines might focus on just one thing such as trying to be centred on the skis. Or a warm up could include multiple goals. To warm up for a club race, for example, you may want to work on rhythm changes and your pole plant all in the same warm up session. The warm up gets you in sync with the movements that you want to reproduce during the sport or activity.

Warm ups can include visual exercises to get a better idea of what kinds of demands you might face. Before I teach a mogul class for instance, I get ready for the lesson by skiing over to the Moonstone moguls. I take the first chair lift adjacent to the moguls for a good aerial view. As I ride along looking down I am asking myself, “did it snow or rain last night? Was the temperature extremely cold or was it mild during the night? The answers to these questions give me clues as to what the snow surface is like. And ski resorts also provide the overnight conditions report to keep skiers safe and to create awareness for the same reason - for liability reasons too. Next, I ski off the lift and circle around to the side of the mogul field to get a closer look. As I approach the edge of the bumps I notice the bumps are easy to access from the side, they are rounder and smoother near the outer edge of the bump run compared to the middle of the run where the troughs are deepest.

So off I go down the smoother outer edge. As I make my first few turns I like to “explore” how the snow feels against the skis while taking my time to slowly test the grip and my speed. I am asking myself questions like, “Does it feel grippy like sandpaper or is loose like tiny ball bearings under my feet.” As my body’s receptors process this information I must make small changes along the way. These feelings tell me what I need to do to maintain my pace and balance.

Next I go back up but this time outside the bumps and I try to make some round shorter radius turns on the groomed snow. This run should feel a little easier after the bump discovery turns. I see a lot of skiers who try to put the body in right position. Instead try to balance against the outside or downhill ski while continuing to steer it. Keep the lower joints bent enough so that you can absorb the terrain. Is your pace consistent? Are the turns completed or do you find your find your skis pointed to the bottom too much and you are picking up speed on every turn? On your next run consider trying to plant your pole at a point below your downhill ski boot at say the 2 o’clock position on every turn both sides.

(More on pole plants in my lessons)

Do these mental and sensory drills on Blue terrain and at the same part of the pitch each time coming down. You get more consistency with the practice. On the bottom half where it gets flatter stretch out the length of the turns by letting the skis run more and by not turning as much as you did on the pitch. Take maybe one more run and ski down without thinking too hard, just let it happen and enjoy the ride. Arrive at the lesson line up prepared and ready to go!

See you on the slopes!