Ski turns: Show ’em a little leg |

Ski turns: Show ’em a little leg

Kevin RoopVail, CO Colorado
Courtesy of Kevin Roop/Special to the Daily Skiers should be able to turn faster and more smoothly by leading with their inside knee or "showing 'em a little leg," as one ski instructor describes the movement.

Have you ever had trouble getting that inside leg out of the way? Or, do you feel like the reaction time of your turns is late. Many skiers and ski instructors call this phenomenon “the lazy inside leg.” In training my clients and other instructors I try to use comical anecdotes to get their attention, while improving their skills. This approach leads to less frustration, because the tedious part of the learning process is replaced with fun. So, to get rid of this so called lazy inside leg I came up with “show ’em a little leg.” But before I continue, please let me give you a little bit of my background.As a kid I grew up skiing the hills is North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The small town in southwestern Virginia where I was raised happened to be where two major intestates crossed. We had more truck stops per capita than any other town in America. Yes, I’m a bit of a southern redneck. Upon finishing college I started teaching skiing in West Virginia. After a couple of years I decided to make to move to Colorado.I heard that you needed an accent to teach out west and o’ boy did I have an accent. Little did I know it was an European accent that my friends were talking about. Twelve years later they still haven’t kicked me out of the ski-teaching business in Colorado and I still have my accent.

So, what does “show ’em a little leg” mean? Reminder: This exercise works well with very visual people with vivid imaginations. If you are a lady think of yourself as a sexy bombshell trying to catch a ride at the truck stop. Boys, I know you can get this picture in your mind. To catch a ride Marilyn Monroe needs to show the truckers a little leg. In her short mini skirt she bends her right knee and turns her leg to the right using her hip joint, all the while balancing on her straight left leg. She gets a ride.Anja Paerson, Bode Miller, and many other World Cup skiers use this movement pattern to catch a ride to the left or right when moving down the hill. They bend and direct the leg in which direction they desire to go. In doing this these athletes show a little leg while balancing over an extended outside leg. Check out some World Cup photos, or slow down some video tape. If you want to get really body part specific, think about leading every turn with tibia plateau – that’s the front, outside part of the knee.Now when you take this movement pattern to the slopes or share it with friends, think about it during the beginning of your turns. You should feel your turns start quicker, and that leg should almost never get in the way. No one will ever tell you again – or give you the cop-out answer – that you have a lazy inside leg.

There is one joint in the leg that I have left out and that is the ankle. Just make sure that the ankle on the inside leg is flexed or closed, The helps you keep your balances and should make you more comfortable in your skis.

Also, no one will be able to tell you that you have too much ski lead or that you are back on your skis. So get out there and show ’em a little leg. If it works for you use it. If it does not then file it, it may come in handy at a later time. One disclaimer – when sharing this visual analogy with others make sure you know your audience very well. It is not the most politically correct lesson plan that I have come up with.Kevin Roop is Beaver Creek’s alpine group lesson manager.

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