Railroad Tracks

Intermediate Zone/Level 2 Fundamental Versatility

Activity Description

This activity consists of linked carved turns on gentle terrain done in a narrow corridor. This developmental edging activity leaves tracks in the snow that are thought to look like railroad tracks.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

Railroad tracks provide a training target that focuses on developing and refining the ability to utilize ski design to create a basic carved ski performance. These fundamental movements manage edge control and are the building blocks to higher-level skiing skills and are key to the elusive “parallel turn” sought by the skiing public.

What The Skis Do (EFFECT):

• Tails follow tips to create carved ski performance
• Tracks are linked in both directions and leave carved tracks in the snow
• Skis are parallel and stance width is consistent
• Edge angles of skis are increased and decreased at similar rate and time
• Fall line oriented corridor one groomer track wide

How The Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Tipping/edging comes from legs under a stable upper body
• Continuous rolling/tipping motion of both feet/ankles/legs release and then re-engage the edges simultaneously and links the one turn to the next.
• The skier maintains ankle flexion in both legs and continues to move the body forward as the skis accelerate down the slope.
• Upper body angulation/hip angulation is minimal and acts to direct pressure slightly toward the outside ski.
• No pole swing or touch is used

Where:  Green terrain

Teaching/Learning Cues

Changing the Habitual Big-toe to big-toe Habit (sequential edge change that starts with big toe side of new outside ski changing/engaging first)

• Contrast new outside foot big-toe-down habit by starting with a concentrated focus to only move the new inside foot big toe up.
• Start in straight run, then roll/tip the new inside (only) big toe up off the snow onto slight (little toe) edge while keeping other ski flat.
• When slight tension is felt in that lead foot/leg, simply relax that foot and allow it to go back to flat. (Repeat several times)
• Repeat with other foot leading, being aware of resisting any habit that wants to edge the other ski on it’s big toe edge.
• Skis may initially leave brushed tracks instead of carved tracks, but steering/rotation should not be used to create skidded turns.

It is best to have someone do movement analysis to determine the specific cause of this pattern.

Here are some cues to help achieve a carved turn outcome.

• Assess for athletic, balanced fore/aft stance. Skier should have pressure on shin of boot, and feel pressure on the whole foot, with more pressure toward the ball of the foot.
• Sometimes when skiers focus on “tipping to the little and big toe” sides of the feet, the heel of the foot looses contact with the boot, and the ski begins to pivot/skid. Think of trying to ski on the entire side of the boot.
• When trying to “make the skis turn” skiers often add rotary inputs, causing the skis to skid. In this activity, learn to gradually place the ski on edge and let the ski design cause the turning. Be patient, let the ski create the direction change. Tipping the ski up onto a higher edge angle will tighten the arc, if desired.