“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”


“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”


“Whether you think you can or think you can’t-you are right.”


Henry Ford


“Lane, .. I  have been stuck on my back to fronts (on the 5 foot). I am making the rotation around (sliding, not hopping or throwing it) but can’t seem to keep my arms in close enough to my body, and end up losing the handle before I can make the handle pass. HELP, I am not looking forward to another season of this!!”

Mark Howell

Davenport IA



I am really looking forward to completing my first installment of my Digital Ski School which will cover this along with the front to back in a full one hour lesson. I am hoping to have this available before the end of the month.


The first thing to do here is your homework! It starts with making sure your Posture and Glide and Power Band are awesome. Next, you will need to review the concepts of “The Quite Upper Body.” You can see these by going to https://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/articles_listed.html and looking at NFTE #15, #6.


I am quite sure this will need much work, but for the purpose of answering your question, I will assume that you have mastered the above concepts (this is a big assumption!)


If you are experiencing the same problem as Mark has described, I will offer three solutions.


#1 Much dry-land practice followed by at least 200 Puppy Paw (shoe-skis) turns done with exacting form.


#2 Correct Handle Position


#3 Learn my Clock Approach to surface turns!


The first idea is as easy as it sounds and I do not care if you are on trick skis or shoe skis but I want hundreds of perfectly performed turns so that your muscle memory is solid. A big mistake is to try this turn on your feet so many times incorrectly that you get in a rut. I like to follow the simple guideline of NEVER REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKE # TIMES IN A ROW!!!


This means you must change it up in whatever way you can to keep from practicing the incorrect form until you perfect the incorrect form. This is a HUGE lesson for barefooters of all levels. Do not allow yourself to get in a rut.why? Because I believe that “if you are going to be stupid, then you better be tough.” The problem is that being tough                 can lead to permanent problems with lots of incorrect muscle memory.


The second tip is to adjust from a normal back skiing handle position to the surface turn handle position. Whenever doing any surface turn, keep the handle closer to your body. Most people try to do this with arm strength only, but to do this properly you must keep your shoulders rolled back into perfect POSTURE!


The surface turn handle position for this turn is to have the handle touching the bottom of where your belt would be if you were wearing one. This will make you look a little chicken winged, but it is the only way I know to keep good upper body form during the turn.


Realize this, that the worse your starting position is, the more difficult it is to maintain this position throughout the turn. If your current position requires a lot of strength or excursion, then your chances of success are not good. Further more, you could get an ouwy or a boo-boo!


This leads me to my favorite example for surface turns. The Clock Approach. You deserve to have this unfair advantage in your skiing!


I actually found that I have covered this in NFTE #21, but I will repeat it here again so that you do not have to go get it.


Lane “Dawg” Bowers’ Clock Approach:


Pretend that while in the backwards position, you are standing on the face of a clock with your feet at the center and your chin directly over the 12! While performing the back to front, the most common mistake is to let your head circle around the clock from 12 to 1 to 2 to 3 or in the other direction in the same manner. Contrarily, turn so that your head never leaves the 12 position throughout the entire turn so that as you get to the front, the back of your head is over the twelve position. If you can accomplish this you will have turned with your hips and kept your upper body quiet! Does that make sense?


I want to ad just one more piece of advice. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SIT LOWER AS YOU COME TO THE FRONT! I find that many people try to protect themselves from “going out the front” bay sitting down. This is a FEAR mechanism. You brain is unbelievably smart and it is telling you to do this because it knows something I feels wrong. Most brains do this because of poor training habits as I explained in the first part of the article.


If you allow yourself to take enough falls, your mind will try to talk you out of this repeated beating by going on defense. You can get your brain to reset its thinking by treating your body to some SMART SKIING where you experience the fun of not falling!


Falling is bad! But if you do fall, use it as a learning tool. I love what Henry Ford had to say about this, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”


I would like to ad my own quote!


“You can control the quality of your skiing by controlling the quality of the thoughts that occupy your mind while skiing.”


-Lane Dawgumus Maximus


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