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Old 02-07-2013, 07:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Question about skating

I'm so glad I discovered this forum. I'm brand new to snowboarding (started at the end of November and have put in 24 days at the slopes of Whistler so far) and have found this site invaluable!

A bit about me: I'm 51, very fit from years as a rock climber and a few years of doing P90X and Insanity workouts. Until last November I had never tried snowboarding or skiing. So, I decided to give it a try even at this ripe old age! LOL. Thus far, I am loving it, though I'm probably a bit more tentative learning the sport so late in life.

My question: Getting off the chair lift is still a bit of a challenge for me. I've been spending my time at Whistler's learning area but discovered the chair lift there is pretty fast and the dismount is steep! I've only bailed once at that chair but I nearly wrecked my knee when I did so. My question is how does one practice skating (with just one foot in the bindings) on slight inclines without twisting an ankle or a knee? I'm fine on the flats but I tried practicing skating on very slight inclines and found I have no control of the board and that it frequently slides out from my back foot, forcing my front foot to skid forward and causing me to do the splits and/or twisting my ankle and knee. The instructors at Whistler told me not to practice with one foot in the bindings even on gentle slopes because of risk of injury. But I really want to feel confident getting off the chair lift.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default I should clarify...

I have my back foot on the stomp pad. When I'm going down a gentle slope with just my front foot in the bindings I feel like I have no control over the board. Often, I fall and that causes me real concern because the fall tends to twist my front ankle and/or knee. I want to practice skating with my back foot on the stomp pad but I'm so afraid of wrecking my ankle or knee when I fall.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The best way to get used to going down a ramp with one foot is to go down a trail with one foot. The more you skate around on a slight hill, the better you will get. But for starters... lets just get you down the ramp without killing yourself.

I always tell my students 2 things when getting off the lift. 1. Keep the board straight. This is harder than is seems, especially if there are other people on the lift. Just keep the damn thing straight, don't try to turn it, and you should be successful (assuming there is no crazy exit.) 2. Get that foot on the board (while keeping it straight) and push the outside of your foot against the back binding. This provides extra grip if you don't have a stomp pad, but more importantly, it gives you something to focus on that has nothing to do with turning the board... remember turning on lift ramp = fall (until you get better.)

So just keep her straight with NO ATTEMPTS TO TURN OR CONTROL THE BOARD and keep that pressure between the outside of your back foot and the back binding... you should just slowly coast to a stop, assuming it is a properly maintained beginner lift. Some people may say keep weight on your front foot... but this is only important IF YOU WANT TO TURN. You can have weight on your back foot if it is flat, IOW as long as there is no toe or heel pressure that causes turning of the snowboard. Focus on going straight and you should be all set.

As for getting better at skating...

I would start with the back foot out on the bunny hill, and then position your board pointing downhill. Throw that back foot on the board and put some pressure against the back binding with that back foot. Imagine trying to push the back binding off the tail of the board using the lateral (outer) side of your foot. That pressure should keep your foot in place. Now just as you start moving, try to get some pressure on your heels (mostly front foot) and see if you can get the board to turn and start skidding like a normal heel turn. If you can't already heel slide down the bunny hill with one foot out, make sure you can do that first, and then attempt the above. If you start to feel out of control, just pop the foot off before you get going fast and you can save yourself.

I'll add: Make sure you can slide down the hill on toes and heels one-footed before you attempt an actual one footed turn like described above. I tell people to start dragging their free heel on heelside, and free toe on toeside, to give a bit of friction and speed control to your skid. So on your heelside, let the back 1/3 of your foot drag a little line in the snow behind your board as you skid down the hill. On the toeside, let the front 1/3 of your foot do the same. If you go too fast, just let the foot slide off to catch yourself.

Hope that all helps.

Last edited by BigmountainVMD; 02-07-2013 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Thanks!

I appreciate all that great advice. For the most part, I am staying straight when I get off the lift and have not been falling as much. The problem with the Whistler learning area chair lift is the exit is STEEP and the chair doesn't slow down! So I bailed badly recently.

My concern is when I do fall with one foot in the bindings how do I prevent injury? When I fell at that particular lift my board turned suddenly, forcing my front foot to slide forward while my back foot came off the stomp pad. That twisted my ankle and knee badly. Now, I'm a bit nervous about practicing one foot in even on gentle slopes because if I fall I could injure my ankle and/or knee.

As a newbie, I'm aware that even if I heed every bit of advice I'm going to occasionally fall. So how do I protect my knee and/or ankle while skating with just one foot in?
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My girlfriend wanted to improve her one footed riding at Whistler also.

Instead of strapping up at the top of Big Red, she started riding from there down to the learning area/family zone under Emerald. It's a pretty long area where you won't get going too fast and nobody is going fast enough to cause a serious collision.

Just doing that a couple times a day will definitely give you a lot more confidence.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default I've been practicing at the Whistler learning area...

for the past few days. It is a fantastic place to practice fundamentals. But damn that chair lift exit is steep and fast!

I've been practicing skating with my back foot on the stomp pad on very gentle slopes at the learning area. But sometimes the board slides out from under my back foot and I end up doing the splits. A few times my front foot has gotten twisted in the process.

I tracked down the teacher I had at Whistler and he advised me NOT to practice one footed because of the potential for injury. He said, "That is a popped knee waiting to happen." So, how does one practice with one foot in the bindings on gentle slopes without risking injury to one's ankle or knee.

BTW, the instructors and the learning area at Whistler are amazing! I love that area because I can really focus on fundamentals without worrying about crowds. And I've been getting lots of practicing getting off that chair lift!
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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when practicing 1 footy, keep your back foot on the stomp pad...period. Now you can have you boot slighty over the toeside or heel side...depending on how you like to stop. However leave the rear foot on the board until you stop. You also might try putting your rear foot up right next or closer to the front binding to help you make sure ur weighting the nose. The movements of skating or gliding around 1 footy is more subtle and you need to pay attention that your hips and shoulders are closed and knees are bent and relaxed, you are in a netural alinged and stacked posture and all body parts are in the imaginary ceral box.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freetheanimals View Post
I appreciate all that great advice. For the most part, I am staying straight when I get off the lift and have not been falling as much. The problem with the Whistler learning area chair lift is the exit is STEEP and the chair doesn't slow down!

I assume you are riding Olympic chair at mid station which. Does have a pretty steep offload.
You have two options. Practicing on the very slight incline where the magic carpet is, you could incorporate using your foot to drag to slow down or even mixing that with light edge pressure to get used to the feeling of only having one foot strapped in

Or- head up to the top of the mountain and ride Emerald chair. The terrain the the family zone (ego bowl) is much the same but the chair offload is not as steep.

The bunny hill on Blackcomb has an easy chair too.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Yes, the Olympic chair at mid-station

And while I was there today I nearly bought it dismounting that chair lift. One of the instructors asked if one of his students could ride the chair with me. I agreed. The little kid was about 10 and had never been on a chair lift before. When we were exiting the chair he skied right in front of me. I have little ability to steer my board with just one foot in the bindings. It took all my limited skill to steer clear of him but I came close to falling and having my board skid out from under my back foot - the very scenario I worry about because of the potential of a twisted knee.

I did practice skating near the magic carpet today and am feeling more confident with one foot in the bindings. Still, I feel nervous about the board slipping away and I end up doing the splits and hurting myself.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default I have boarded from Roundhouse...

to the Emerald chair and done a lot of the green runs. But after reading many threads on this forum and watching boarding lesson vids, I decided to work on fundamentals at Whistler's learning area. I was worried I was getting into bad habits being on the main runs with so many other people (e.g. doing the falling leaf for far too long because I was nervous with so many others whizzing by me). At the learning area I can focus on certain skills (skating, straight runs, Garlands, J turns, and getting off the chair lift) without dealing with crowds. Plus, I don't get so distracted at the learning area.
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