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Getting the most out of a CSIA level 3 course

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi folks, 

 

I'm taking the CSIA level 3 course at Whistler next week. From what I'm told I'm pretty far away from the level 3 standard and shouldn't expect to pass this year. frown.gif I feel like I've been in a rut despite going to instructor training sessions regularly this season and having a real desire to improve. Any ideas on how to kickstart yourself? And ideas on how to make the most out of the level 3 course? 

post #2 of 6

What, specifically, have you been told, besides just the rather vague statement that you're not up to the L3 standard?

 

Go to the course prepared to tear your skiing apart and start over again. It's possible things will get worse before they get better. Pay attention to the exercises and drills. What is each one supposed to accomplish? What does each one leave out, i.e., why is it a drill and not skiing? When is the thing the drill is supposed to show applicable? When is it not applicable? Why?

 

If there is a drill you find particularly offensive, look at it more carefully. Why don't you like it? If you have trouble doing it, that means you need to spend more time working on it. Understand the shortcomings or weaknesses of the drill.

 

How is your balance? This tends to be a severe weakness in the skiing of many people, and just because you're still upright doesn't mean you're accurately and effectively balanced. Do you lever forward? Do you drop your hips? Do you lever forward and drop your hips? Do you stand on your feet easily as you move, or do you find yourself putting a great deal of muscular effort into pressing down on the ball of your foot or pushing the outside ski to an edge or any of a large number of other things that people do to get their skis to behave?

 

Balance is hard for many people to assess. They think they're in balance when they're actually overusing their muscles to stay upright and force the skis to turn. Can you pick up the inside ski during a turn without falling to the inside? If you can pick it up, does the tail come up first or the tip? That brief exercise can show you some basic things about both your lateral and your fore-aft balance.

 

If you want to get better, you will. Pay attention, take it seriously and be willing to practice silly things on groomed runs.

post #3 of 6

Best way to get the most out of the CSIA L3 course is to go in with an open mind and a desire to learn as much as possible.

 

Have you done the CSCF EL course yet?  I know it is (unfortunately) no longer a prererquisite for CSIA L3, but it is still very good training. 

 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post

What, specifically, have you been told, besides just the rather vague statement that you're not up to the L3 standard?

...

 

If there is a drill you find particularly offensive, look at it more carefully. Why don't you like it? If you have trouble doing it, that means you need to spend more time working on it. Understand the shortcomings or weaknesses of the drill.

...

If you want to get better, you will. Pay attention, take it seriously and be willing to practice silly things on groomed runs.


Heya, 

 

Two current issues are widening the stance and staying consistently flexed in the ankle, knee and hip. I've been working toward improved flexion--and spend a lot of time in the bumps envisioning a row of spikes at shoulder height where the head is! That helps. As for widening my stance, I have trouble reconciling this requirement. Yes, my feet are quite close. But if you ski like a gorilla, all kinds of problems pop up: balancing over the inside ski, inconsistent edge angles... and neither racers nor level 4 instructors ski with a wide stance. They ski long-leg/short-leg through much of the turn, but still have a narrow stance. So... yes... any thoughts on this would be helpful. 

 

I love drills on groomers! Lately I've been doing lots of charleston turns and dolphin turns. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post

Best way to get the most out of the CSIA L3 course is to go in with an open mind and a desire to learn as much as possible.

 

Have you done the CSCF EL course yet?  I know it is (unfortunately) no longer a prererquisite for CSIA L3, but it is still very good training. 

 


I did do the EL course. At the risk of sounding like a nay-bob, it fell far below my expectations in terms of both developing my skiing and actually teaching anything meaningful about coaching. I think I would have gotten more out of just going to our on-hill clinics those days.

 

I like to think I have an open mind, but as all adult learners, need to reconcile new knowledge with existing, sometimes conflicting knowledge. Well, we'll see! The level 1 and 2 were great courses. I guess we'll see how it goes--and I'll let folks know for those considering it later in the season or next year. 

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 


Heya, 

 

Two current issues are widening the stance and staying consistently flexed in the ankle, knee and hip. I've been working toward improved flexion--and spend a lot of time in the bumps envisioning a row of spikes at shoulder height where the head is! That helps. As for widening my stance, I have trouble reconciling this requirement. Yes, my feet are quite close. But if you ski like a gorilla, all kinds of problems pop up: balancing over the inside ski, inconsistent edge angles... and neither racers nor level 4 instructors ski with a wide stance. They ski long-leg/short-leg through much of the turn, but still have a narrow stance. So... yes... any thoughts on this would be helpful. 

 

 



The direction to widen your stance might have been something to add, not necessarily the final picture to strive for.  The key thing about stance is that it should vary according to context.  When you're in the bumps for example, a wide stance won't help you (and it won't be L3 standard either).  However, for dynamic parallel, you'll want the skis wider for stability and upper/lower body separation.  A gorilla stance is extreme, not my preference but sometimes used as an exaggeration to establish new patterns.  I hope you weren't being told that the super-wide stance was a final goal.

 

Suitable ankle/knee/hip flexion will be better and more consistently achieved with a more dynamic stance (including wider as required), so there's a relationship between these two goals which should help you on your development path.

 

Too bad that the EL course didn't give you what you were looking for.  There's a range of courses, and course conductors, at all levels, so I hope you haven't eliminated a great source of training development on the basis of one course.  Fortunately you've got a good start with CSIA courses, but the Alliance has their share of average courses too.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, 

 

Quick update from day 1: 

 

The level 3 course had a massive number of participants. We were broken up into smaller groups - we have seven participants plus the instructor. Sammy, our course conductor, did a quick boot check within the first five minutes, and noticed that my cuff, despite its buckles being done up as tightly as possible, could fit an extra couple of fingers! I had no idea your cuff should be fully snug. So at lunch he made a point of lending me his spoilers and stuffing some trail maps down the back. Skiing after was like night and day! Suddenly I could pressure the cuff--where before I got much less pressure even with a massive flex. At the end of the day he took his spoilers back--yikes, skiing felt sloppy again. Needless to say I went out and bought some spoilers after our session!

 

Sammy also worked on my stance issue. It turned out that my feet were so close that tipping to quite high edge angles became difficult. While too wide of a stance hinders your ability to pivot, I wasn't near that point. So for the afternoon, wider stance was on the menu for me. Third party observers said the stance change made my skiing look better. I felt like I was skiing on the inside ski quite a bit thereafter. That happens though when you change one attribute in someone's skiing--other problem elements suddenly become more visible. One thing at a time! Also, I have to recover my active ankle movement, which has kind of fallen apart now that I'm more forward in the boot. (lots of what you mentioned, mogulmuncher. are you a course conductor, by any chance?)

 

In the morning we focused on the skill of pivoting and we did some video of our "advanced parallel" and short radius turns. In the afternoon we worked on edge engagement and pressure management. I think it made a big difference to some of us in our ability to maintain speed and turn shape. 

 

The off-hill session was a good re-introduction to the CSIA teaching methodology. Not much to say about it yet. We watched a video that demonstrated each element of the methodology in a skier as they skied (physics, biomechanics, can't recall if it went any further). 

 

Basically, the level 3 has been an awesome course so far. The next few days won't specifically be ski improvement; rather, they're focused on enabling us to teach more advanced skills (short radius, bumps, off piste). However, I suspect we still will get lots of ski improvement anyway in those domains.

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