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Does the new ski technology reduce the need for lessons?

post #1 of 153
Thread Starter 

Back in the day skis were long and skinny so it took skill and strength to ski advanced runs--moguls, bumps, powder, and steep.  Then comes the shaped ski and it is like adding power steering so carving and turns are easier.  Now we have shaped rockers which turn really easy.  I think this allows people to ski the whole mountain without the technical skills the equipment used to require.  So if a person can ski the whole mountain and enjoy it why take a lesson to get any better? 

post #2 of 153

I suspect that the new ski technology has brought many self professed old school experts back in to a few lessons that would not have taken any additional instruction had they stuck with the old school gear,  I'm not one of them, but do agree that taking lessons to help adapt to new gear is a good idea for most.

post #3 of 153

Learning curve has improved for the skiers and theoretically you can learn/teach yourself;  that goes for anything.  But to get the best, quickest results, having another set of knowledgeable, trained eyes to help with one's weaknesses is irreplaceable.

post #4 of 153

I don't think you can buy technical skiing skills by purchasing new technology gear. I have seen this for the past 15 or so years with regards to shaped ski technology. People have bought the new gear and continued to ski like they already were. Boots locked, twisty/pivoty smears down the fall line. There have been quite a few that have adapted to new shapes but mostly younger kids who have grown up on them. There is not anything wrong with how people are using their skis if they are happy, but they sure are not getting out of the gear anything what they potentially could. Now I'm seeing a lot of the same stuff with todays rockered tech, especially very fat twin tip/rockers with people skiing on groomed slopes right next to untracked or slightly tracked up powder. They don't go in it. So if one has the technical skills to be an excellent skier they can get much more out of the new gear and let it take them places they might not have ventured before. But those skills still need to be developed sometime. The gear won't do it for you. Problem I have found in teaching some people with newer tech i.e. shaped skis is they say they want to learn to use it etc,  but when I say lets go over to some easy green cruiser and try some stuff they don't want to or only grudgingly go. I'll give them things to play around with that could help them to get the most out of their gear but right after the lesson they are  back up on the steeper slopes still hacking their way down. They have to put in the time and mileage (on the easier terrain ) to ingrain the skills that will get them the max out of their gear.

post #5 of 153
Quote:
I think this allows people to ski the whole mountain without the technical skills the equipment used to require.  So if a person can ski the whole mountain and enjoy it why take a lesson to get any better?

 

Newer and better equipment accelerates the learning curve, but you'll still learn faster with good instruction.  I'm biased, of course... rolleyes.gif

 

I still see plenty of people who can't "ski the whole mountain" (myself included, at least at larger mountains), and there's always something more to learn and improve on, whether you do it in formal lessons or not.  There's also some question of whether being able to maneuver down any trail without dying is the same as "skiing the whole mountain".  For example, I can get through icy, steep moguls safely, but I wouldn't say I can really ski them well.

 

There's nothing wrong with being self-taught, or using old-school technique, or hacking your way through things (as long as you're in some semblance of control).  If you're able to ski or ride safely, and you're having a good time, you're doing it right.

post #6 of 153

It's easier with the new equipment, but as far as taking or not taking lessons, I see no difference.  I and my friends ejnoyed skiing the whole mountain just fine back in the day and we didn't want to pay for lessons.  Lesson's were cheaper back then, but so was money.

post #7 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge Hippie View Post

 I think this allows people to ski the whole mountain without the technical skills the equipment used to require.   


 

Matthias hit on it but in my mind there is difference between making it down a run and "skiing" a run. Very few people progress to the point where they can "ski" everything on the mountain.

 

Also depends on what you mean by lesson. I have only taken a total of three days of lessons, two of which where the summit race camp this past weekend(side note: the camp was awesome and if they do it again next year I highly encourage everyone to attend.). On the other side of that a family friend, who used to be a para-Olympic skier, taught me how to ski. Besides the first day almost none of it was formal teaching and usually just involved pointers as we were going up the chair lift.

 

So I am not really self taught but I didn't really take any formal lessons either. I think it is pretty difficult for anyone to advance very far being purely self taught.   

post #8 of 153

I came back to 2 sticks last year. The last time I had been on ski's was 1995. Prior to that I had been on maybe 4 trips. I found the newer shapes to be extremely intuative. It might have helped that I snowboarded for many years and have done a lot of skating in my time. At this point i'm not an amazing skier. I can ski most of the mountain with confidence including smaller drops, and deep pow. I feel like I ski better and cleaner than 74 percent of the people on a given day. I'm really happy that coming back to the sport I had so many options.

 

I have not really felt like I have needed lessons. Though I have contemplated a steeps clinic.

post #9 of 153

I feel like I ski better and cleaner than 75.5 percent of the people on any given day.smile.gif

 

Is the optimal technique for wide rocker skis different from that of conventional shape skis? How should these new skis be driven?

post #10 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge Hippie View Post

 So if a person can ski the whole mountain and enjoy it why take a lesson to get any better? 


Uh....because the person wants to get better.

post #11 of 153

education is the way that a culture passes on the knowledge built up through history.

 

Just as the methodology for certain crafts will certainly die in the IKEA era, the correct way for skiing may also be lost to laziness and ignorance.


There will only be a few ski gurus meditating high in the mountains of Norway and Alaska. It will all be a highly guarded secret, protected by Knights Templar Ski Academy. 

 

 

ec, is that a 40 degree clinic or a 50 degree clinic? one is more useful; the other keeps you from barfing or pooping. biggrin.gif

post #12 of 153
Is it easier to ski better on the new gear...

...or is it easier to ski worse?

That is the question!

Best regards,
Bob
post #13 of 153
I think it's pretty clear--particularly from many of the conversations here at EpicSki--that new gear has reduced the number of skiers who THINK they could benefit from lessons. Comments like "I can ski the whole mountain...what else is there?" show a distinct lack of awareness of what truly good skiing is. It's not just about getting down the mountain, or getting back to the lift--much less about getting back to the lift faster than your buddies. For the expert, it's about how you ski down the mountain. It's about the sensations of great turns, the floating, flying, gliding, the G-forces, the feeling of effortless control, skis slicing through the snow, energy ebbing and flowing, but never wasted, of playing with the mountain and with gravity. It's the joy of self-expression and freedom. For the expert, "getting down the mountain" is a foregone conclusion, worth not much.

Whether it's the equipment or the marketing hype surrounding it, the notion that you can "buy a turn" has never been stronger, and the awareness that there is so much more to skiing than just getting down the mountain has never been lower. It is too bad. I watch skiers on the hill, "getting down it" just fine, but who will never, ever experience the intoxicating sensations that come with great turns if they don't fundamentally change some of the things they do--regardless of how well they do it. Expert skiers are not only more skillful at what they do--what they do is fundamentally different from what most skiers do, at any level of skill. What that difference is is not intuitive for most skiers. Some will trip over it by accident, on their own, through trial and error. But most will never get there, no matter how much they practice--because the road they're on doesn't lead to expert skiing. Most skiers without instruction simply get better and better at bad skiing.

But who's to say? How would you know until you make the breakthrough? How do know that there's another dimension until you get there and look back? If you don't know that there is more to it than just what kind of terrain and conditions you can "get down," why would you think a lesson would benefit you? As the artist Degas said, "painting is easy, if you don't know how to do it."

So is skiing.

One thing is certain, though. I've never known a skier who, once learning to make a better turn, wished he hadn't!

Best regards,
Bob
post #14 of 153



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

Is it easier to ski better on the new gear...

...or is it easier to ski worse?

That is the question!

Best regards,
Bob
 


Clever.

 

To me:

 

Shape skis made it easier to ski better....fat skis make is easier to ski worse.
 

post #15 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

I think it's pretty clear--particularly from many of the conversations here at EpicSki--that new gear has reduced the number of skiers who THINK they could benefit from lessons. Comments like "I can ski the whole mountain...what else is there?" show a distinct lack of awareness of what truly good skiing is. It's not just about getting down the mountain, or getting back to the lift--much less about getting back to the lift faster than your buddies. For the expert, it's about how you ski down the mountain. It's about the sensations of great turns, the floating, flying, gliding, the G-forces, the feeling of effortless control, skis slicing through the snow, energy ebbing and flowing, but never wasted, of playing with the mountain and with gravity. It's the joy of self-expression and freedom. For the expert, "getting down the mountain" is a foregone conclusion, worth not much.

 

I feel like I have read this before. Perhaps from one of your previous posts in a thread on a similar topic? 

post #16 of 153
And how does that make you feel, LoneWolf?

wink.gif
post #17 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

education is the way that a culture passes on the knowledge built up through history.

 

Just as the methodology for certain crafts will certainly die in the IKEA era, the correct way for skiing may also be lost to laziness and ignorance.


There will only be a few ski gurus meditating high in the mountains of Norway and Alaska. It will all be a highly guarded secret, protected by Knights Templar Ski Academy. 

 

 

ec, is that a 40 degree clinic or a 50 degree clinic? one is more useful; the other keeps you from barfing or pooping. biggrin.gif


The one that teaches me something. As hidden as it is I know where to find the stuff that makes me shit my pants at Meadows. I know where to refine my technique, and where to push it's limits. We're still working on refining.

 

I use the "That sure sucked", and "Holy shit that was fun" method when it comes to improving my technique. There are still plenty of "That sure sucked" moments, but there are now a lot more "holy shit" ones.

post #18 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridge Hippie View Post

Back in the day skis were long and skinny so it took skill and strength to ski advanced runs--moguls, bumps, powder, and steep.  Then comes the shaped ski and it is like adding power steering so carving and turns are easier.  Now we have shaped rockers which turn really easy.  I think this allows people to ski the whole mountain without the technical skills the equipment used to require.  So if a person can ski the whole mountain and enjoy it why take a lesson to get any better? 


They let moderators troll too?  Sweet!

post #19 of 153

I stopped skiing just before the shaped revolution began, and I started up again about 4 years ago. I still see just as many people struggling down the mountain now as I did back then. Perhaps they struggle a little bit less, but the difference isn't all that significant. So, as far as I can tell, these designs haven't really made it noticeably easier for beginners.

 

In my opinion, the real benefactors in this design revolution are the intermediate and advanced skiers. The new designs have opened up more options for those who have some idea of what they are doing, allowing them to make turns that they couldn't do back in the days of the straight and narrow (carving a very small radius, smearing in powder, etc.). They don't do the skiing for you; they just simply give you more options if you know how to use them. However, the marketing is aimed at those who don't know what they're doing, trying to make them believe that new equipment will make them ski better.

 

To me this is yet another example of how the ski industry is following in the footsteps of the tennis industry. New designs open up more options for skilled/semi-skilled players. The beginners still struggle pretty much the same as they did before, but they mistakenly believe they are playing better for various reasons, even though an outside observer can tell otherwise. Then, the marketing kicks in and convinces these beginners that the road to improvement lies in buying new equipment. So, instead of paying for lessons, they continually buy new gear year after year and forever remain crap players, whereas the skilled players quickly find which designs work for them and stick with them.

 

As far as I can tell, the only thing that has made it easier for beginners is the improvement in grooming and snow making.

post #20 of 153

I think advance and expert skiers CAN buy a better a turn then they had before .Example I was skiing yesterday  with a Eastern D candidate who has made the skiing cut. yesterday on substantial powder day on a tree run with clumps of 10 inches of new snow and misshaped bumps I was easily able to get pull away from him  on a fun shape ski, while he was on a conventional shaped 94mm skis. I am not a better skier than him but my specific equipment for the job makes even the best not as good as me, and I am really not that good . Hell some last week at MRG challenged me out of the blue to "race" down Chute at MRG. He was on 205cm SL skis and kicked my ass. NO idea why he came up to me randomly but he did and the he basically did 4 GS turns though the bumps and then skied a zipperline that anytime I started to catch him he would just go straighter. That guy for sure doesnt think the new equipment is worth anything.


 when we getting back into the skied out bumps on the main front 4 trails the tables turned much back in his favor and I was gasping as I tried to navigate huge bumps on a pair of katanas.

 

  Its not that lower end intermediates arent going to benefit from the newer designs its just that most people dont CARE how bad they ski they just want to have fun. What they dont know is the better they are the more fun it is.

post #21 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

I think advance and expert skiers CAN buy a better a turn then they had before .Example I was skiing yesterday  with a Eastern D candidate who has made the skiing cut. yesterday on substantial powder day on a tree run with clumps of 10 inches of new snow and misshaped bumps I was easily able to get pull away from him  on a fun shape ski, while he was on a conventional shaped 94mm skis. I am not a better skier than him but my specific equipment for the job makes even the best not as good as me, and I am really not that good . Hell some last week at MRG challenged me out of the blue to "race" down Chute at MRG. He was on 205cm SL skis and kicked my ass. NO idea why he came up to me randomly but he did and the he basically did 4 GS turns though the bumps and then skied a zipperline that anytime I started to catch him he would just go straighter. That guy for sure doesnt think the new equipment is worth anything.


 when we getting back into the skied out bumps on the main front 4 trails the tables turned much back in his favor and I was gasping as I tried to navigate huge bumps on a pair of katanas.

 

  Its not that lower end intermediates arent going to benefit from the newer designs its just that most people dont CARE how bad they ski they just want to have fun. What they dont know is the better they are the more fun it is.



That's not buying a turn though; that's buying speed. There's a huge difference. Your buddy was most likely making better turns than you were, but his skis were deeper in the snow, which slowed him down. But, just because his speed was slower it doesn't mean his skiing was worse or that your equipment made you ski better.

 

I'll give you a quick example of my point. One TV channel here just reran an old episode of Top Gear in which they were comparing the lap times around the Nurburgring. One of the presenters did a lap in some suped up sports car and was really smug about his time, so this German race driver tried to beat his time driving a standard Ford Transit van. In the end, despite removing all the excess weight they could and driving on the edge of insanity, the German lady finished 8 seconds slower.

 

Now, if you only focus on the lap time, then you could say the presenter was better. But, given that the German lady was only a little more than 0.5 sec/mile slower despite the fact that she was driving a cargo van, you have to admit that she drove better even though she had the slower time.

 

Faster doesn't always mean better.

post #22 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

I think advance and expert skiers CAN buy a better a turn then they had before .Example I was skiing yesterday  with a Eastern D candidate who has made the skiing cut. yesterday on substantial powder day on a tree run with clumps of 10 inches of new snow and misshaped bumps I was easily able to get pull away from him  on a fun shape ski, while he was on a conventional shaped 94mm skis. I am not a better skier than him but my specific equipment for the job makes even the best not as good as me, and I am really not that good . Hell some last week at MRG challenged me out of the blue to "race" down Chute at MRG. He was on 205cm SL skis and kicked my ass. NO idea why he came up to me randomly but he did and the he basically did 4 GS turns though the bumps and then skied a zipperline that anytime I started to catch him he would just go straighter. That guy for sure doesnt think the new equipment is worth anything.


 when we getting back into the skied out bumps on the main front 4 trails the tables turned much back in his favor and I was gasping as I tried to navigate huge bumps on a pair of katanas.

 

  Its not that lower end intermediates arent going to benefit from the newer designs its just that most people dont CARE how bad they ski they just want to have fun. What they dont know is the better they are the more fun it is.



Man Josh, that last sentence really sums it up doesn't it?

 

It's one thing to be able to ski the whole resort instead of staying on the greens and blues. Some new equipment definitly makes it easier for some to do that. Problem is, relying on personal breakthroughs to improve one's skiing are a rare occurance and sometimes take years of trial and error. For most people, just a few lessons from an instructor or even just a very talented friend who has the time to help you equals hundreds of days struggling to get over the wall you will hit when your natural ability runs out.

 

You can't buy turns from a ski store.

 

I've yet to find a ski that turns by itself. You still have to turn them.

 

It's not the skis, it's the person standing on them.

post #23 of 153

This discussion got me thinking of the Four Stages of Competence.  In summary:

 

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
    The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it.
  2. Conscious Incompetence
    Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.
  3. Conscious Competence
    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.
  4. Unconscious Competence
    The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes "second nature" and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she may or may not be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

 

Perhaps the new equipment allows people to remain in the Unconscious Incompetence longer.  This is because the newer equipment has a built in turn, is easier to move, floats better, supports the foot and ankle better, etc.  It's sort of like the new equipment has a dampening system that corrects for some "operating nut" errors.

 

It is only when a person recognizes that they don't know everything (conscious incompetence) and has a desire to improve that the person is ready for a teacher or coach.  To learn you must be open to learning.

 

Everyone has something to learn in this sport or any sport.  All top athletes have coaches.  It's not that the coach can do it better than the athlete.  It's that the coach has the eye and knowledge to help that athlete improve.

post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

And how does that make you feel, LoneWolf?

wink.gif


like this:

Beating_A_Dead_Horse_by_livius.gif

post #25 of 153

Are there conditions that no matter what type of gear is attached to your feet,skill are a deciding factor? I think yes. I ski with a few guys that fit that mold Josh and Lars. They just have fun and don't care about improvement. To teach his own.

post #26 of 153
And how does the color yellow make you feel, LF?
post #27 of 153

Like I should be skiing because it means it's sunny and who cares how you ski as long as you have fun. Which really makes this discussion an argument with a predetermined outcome.

 

See you all on the hill 

post #28 of 153
Quote:
who cares how you ski as long as you have fun

No argument here, but this is also the entire point! Skiing is fun on many levels. But it becomes more fun the better you get at it. Again, I've never met anyone who, after learning to make a better turn, wished he hadn't!

Skiers who primarily use their skis as brakes--very easy for an instructor to see simply by watching a turn or two, particularly observing how those turns begin--can have a ton of fun. They're up in the mountains, after all, getting exercise, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, playing with their friends, and feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering new challenges, skiing terrain they haven't skied before, and so on.

But there is more. I see it daily, from students who discover the sensations and sense of control that fundamentally different turns bring. Good turns--the forgotten art that this thread addresses--are exhilarating! Suddenly, the old "turns" that were once "fun" just don't provide the satisfaction, or the thrill. They want more and more, and they never want to go back. There are sensations in turns that simply do not exist in the movements that most skiers make, or the things they call "turns," no matter how advanced.

But--like Degas's painting--if you don't know how to do it, you'll never even know there's any more to it.

One sure sign that a skier could use a lesson is when you fail to find challenge not on the Double Diamond and challenging off-piste runs, but on the "easy" groomed green runs. Green runs lack challenge only for intermediate skiers and hacks. For beginners, and for true experts who seek more than "just getting down the mountain," there is plenty of challenge and fascination even on the "easiest" terrain.

Best regards,
Bob
post #29 of 153

the word "lesson" may be a barrier to acceptance of the idea of getting new insight into your skiing. what if a friend said: "your stance is good for most of the turn but at the end of the turn you slide your skis together, which is less stable." that wouldn't technically be a lesson, but by giving you something to work on, your skiing will undoubtedly improve.

post #30 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Just as the methodology for certain crafts will certainly die in the IKEA era, the correct way for skiing may also be lost to laziness and ignorance.


There will only be a few ski gurus meditating high in the mountains of Norway and Alaska. It will all be a highly guarded secret, protected by Knights Templar Ski Academy. 

biggrin.gif


Since you mention the loss of certain crafts in the IKEA era...have you ever taken a look at Fine Woodworking magazine? It devotes considerable space to the latest tools and techniques. It also devotes considerable space to traditional tools and techniques, the importance of hand tools, restoring old tools, etc. Someday, when I have time, I hope to correctly learn how to use and maintain a family of hand planes. Among other things.

 

The new equipment makes some things easier. It's easier to make round turns, to ski crud, powder and steeps with poorer technique. It's also easier to make Z-turns, to pivot, skid, chop and hack your way down anything.

 

And it's easier yet (and, one might argue, more fun) if you have a solid ownership of skiing's fundamental skill set.

 

So, you can have plenty of fun self-taught, no doubt. For me, it's more fun and less intimidating if I have better skills. YMMV.

 


 

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