What Is a Good Skier?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by martyg, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. martyg

    martyg Getting on the lift Industry Insider

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    Given that we are on the cusp of the season this article may help you establish your framework for your goals and aspirations.



    Link to Original article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-good-skier-marty-grabijas/

    Text if you are not on LinkedIn:

    You see them on the mountain. They move like silk in the wind. They are The “Good” Skiers, and you may not immediately identify the tangible element that they possess besides their inexplicable grace.

    “Good” skiers share two common traits: efficiency of movement and the ability to leverage options. The parallels between skiing and the Adult World are profound, with individuals who are skilled at efficiency and creating options often excelling in business, finance, relationships and of course in sports. For now, let’s look at skiing.

    Efficiency: Let’s imagine two skiers. Skier one makes a series of movements from their shoulders to their feet to execute a turn. Skier two uses movements originating from their feet to execute. Regardless of what terrain they ski – and skier one could spend all of their time on double black diamond death – skier two is the “better” skier. That is the skier who is moving like silk in the wind. They are embracing efficiencies of movement.

    Lift service alpine skiing is not a tasking physical endeavor. It should feel effortless. The challenge is that the most efficient movement patterns of skiing are extremely counter-intuitive to our survival instincts. Our minds do not like that, no matter if we are a weekend warrior or competing on the world stage. Without drilling efficient movement patterns (what I term patterns of grace) on benign terrain these survival instincts and inefficient movement patterns take over when we are faced with something beyond our comfort level (moments of pressure).

    Options: There are three ways that we can impact our skis: We can rotate our femurs in our hip socket and turn the skis; we can rotate our skis along their length to put the edges at a more acute angle to the snow; and we can vary the amount of pressure between the left and right ski, and fore and aft along each ski.

    Most skiers do one of those three things really well. The skier who does all three things well is the skier who skis effortlessly regardless of terrain or snow conditions. Bumps, groomers, steeps, powder, crud… each requires a blending of rotation, edging and pressure control. The skier who has mastered each of those skills will have the greatest degree of tactical options available to them. They will be able to match tactic to terrain and be the skier who flows down the mountain.

    So how do we get to that point of efficiency? Over the course of the ski season I will be presenting a series of articles that will help you on your path to mastery. And it is a path, a journey. No matter your age or perceived level of ability we all benefit from gains in efficiencies.

    I get that skiing should be fun and that there are times when you just want to rip. There is definitely a time and place for that. But here’s the deal: working to gain efficiencies results in enjoying more of the mountain and a higher stoke. Working to gain efficiencies allows us to be that person who can still send it in their senior years while your age bracket colleagues are binge watching Netflix. Working to gain efficiencies, often times, is not fun. However the results are awesome.

    Skiers and their movement patterns are neither “good” nor “bad”, regardless of the terrain that they ski. They are efficient or inefficient. Within that spectrum the goal for everyone is to have a great day outside. The nuance of that statement is that if I can efficiently enjoy the entire mountain my enjoyment increases exponentially.

    © Marty Grabijas 2017
     
  2. JFB

    JFB Getting on the lift Skier

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    Where I come from, the best skier is the one with the biggest smile.
     
  3. pchewn

    pchewn Getting off the lift Skier

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    The skier who can set the DIN on his bindings the lowest and still stay attached looking good on the run. i.e. The smooooooothest.
     
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  4. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

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    Anyone who can ski down this run with speed, grace and style and do it over and over again.

    cc29a9bd8f102928e9f4424aeb0640f3--startups-vermont.jpg
     
  5. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    <------- Not that guy!!!:roflmao:
     


  6. Pat AKA mustski

    Pat AKA mustski Out on the slopes Skier

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    I am hoping that you plan to post the articles here as well. I, for one, would love to read them!
     
  7. Goose

    Goose Getting off the lift Skier

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    Mice post imo
    but the truth is that totally efficiency skiing is a world most skiers don't know or ever get to know. So in their minds they are not missing anything and the enjoyment is still high. Only those who posses total efficiency are aware of how much more enjoyment is out there for the other person if they were only more willing and interested.

    Its sort of like someone who doesn't have as much interest in seeing and doing things in general. Pick any subject at all. To a person that sees and does at a higher level of interest to be as best they can, only they truly understand what the other person is missing. And it almost a frustration on part of the very interested doer/see-er who would like to open the mind of the non doer/see-er but cant. In the end that non doer/see-er is perfectly content within their world, and within their reaches of their own minds interests. You cant miss what you don't yet know. And that cant be forced on anyone.

    and lets face it, one does need the resources of time and money and also the willingness/desire. Very few people have all three. And also need ski enough places and times to put it all to good use. That's a big "if'.
    And so either by choice or by default or both very many wind up stuck in their own world of less than total efficient skiing sort of blind to what they may be missing. But they are perfectly happy being efficient at it even if only inside their view. But I would also question....does one have to do it all to be considered efficient? cant they be efficient (very good) at what they do even if limited to certain parts/types of skiing to no fault (or even some fault) of their own?

    That said, I will certainly be listening to gain more skiing efficiencies and put as much of it to use that I can. But that's because I can relate to the things you mention as it all makes good sense to me.
     
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  8. Eleeski

    Eleeski Out on the slopes Skier

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    I'm so much better than you!

    GNAR
     
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  9. David Chaus

    David Chaus Eschewing obfuscation Skier

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    But I’m the best skier on the mountain.

    And I just farted in the tram.

    Never mind my adventures in the enchanted forest.
     
  10. martyg

    martyg Getting on the lift Industry Insider

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    Great post Goose. As you point out, the principle applies to almost anything in life. Those who are at the razor's edge of their game - be it sports, music, medicine, business, etc. got there through discipline and hard work. In almost all cases that point of inspiration was a traumatic experience. At some level that degree of dedication borders o obsessive. However healthy or unhealthy it is for the subject, those are individuals who show us what is possible and inspire us.

    A analogy that I use, that is consistent with your thought, is in Martial Arts. Most people think that when you earn your black belt that you have climbed to the top rug of the ladder. The truth is that the real ladder is just starting. Everything you did to get to that point was just prep work.
     
  11. martyg

    martyg Getting on the lift Industry Insider

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    Exactly - efficiencies. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
     
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  12. dj61

    dj61 Booting up Skier

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    The one who knows his limitations?
     
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  13. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

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    A good skier is dynamic, smooth and always keeps moving down the fall line in a every changing path.
     
  14. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    Consistency has to be in there. I can have one really good run, the one that is easy because of rhythm, how I'm on the skis, when everything is "right". I can go back to the same run right away and feel like I've never skied before. I can tell when I'm not efficient because my legs are tired. Unfortunately my legs feel tired a lot so far this season!
     
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  15. martyg

    martyg Getting on the lift Industry Insider

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    Andy - thanks for sharing. That sounds like a perfect practice thing. I'll actually be covering the mechanics and physiology of learning in my next two pieces. Phil will be posting the articles as featured content.

    Look me up if you hit SW CO. I'd be stoked to ski with you.
     
  16. James

    James Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Outer Limits at Killington?
    No matter how efficient you are that takes work.

    I think the recent New Yorker article on Mikaela had that exact quote. Either she or her mom replied "no, slow is slow".

    Sometimes it looks great and smooth and it's slow. Once we put a clock on things, who knows. Franz Klammer was hardly smooth at Innsbruck in 1976. He was fast.
     
  17. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    It's a lot easier to be slow and smooth than fast and smooth.
    It's a lot easier to be slow and controlled than fast and controlled.
    Everything ramps up at higher speeds.
    Being fast may hide mistakes by making them harder for an observer to see, but they'll surely be more and worse.
     
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  18. Core2

    Core2 Out on the slopes Skier

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    No one cares if you are good at skiing.
     
  19. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    I care.
     
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  20. NE1

    NE1 Booting up Skier

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    The first prerequisite for judging a good (great?) skier is that they are humble, and do not brag about their skiing or the run they just took...just sayin'...
     
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