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Almost direct to parallel?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yesterday I had  a 9 y.o. male student for a 1.5 hour lesson who gets to ski only a few days a year because his family doesn't live anywhere even close to a ski area.  He was doing well making wedge turns, but just didn't seem to get it about bringing his uphill ski parallel to the downhill ski even after completing the turn.  He would continue across the slope in a wedge.  After trying various means of trying to get him to do it, I decided making a leap directly to parallel was worth a try.  I asked if he had a bicycle and he said yes so we talked about what his legs do when he pedals.  He's a fairly bright kid so he go what I was saying about the "long leg, short leg" aspect of bicycling and also for skiing, although I had to draw a picture in the snow.  We found a suitable place on the ski run and and I had him traverse at a fairly steep angle and then consciously think about making his uphill leg longer while moving his body toward that leg.  He did it and made a parallel turn, a bit shaky but nonetheless it was parallel.  Then we did one in the other direction and again he succeeded. Then we linked two turns together, then four turns and then six turns.  We made two more trips down the same run with great results.  He would sometimes revert to the wedge when he felt he was going too fast at the apex but at that stage it isn't something to worry about  and not worth trying to correct very often.  As long as the gradient wasn't too bad he did parallel turns without any difficulty.  Hopefully his parents will remember what I explained to them.

 

So, is this approach similar to DTP?  IIRC, this was his second or third lesson.

post #2 of 10

DTP progressions usually begin with edging/pressuring skills used to traverse and turn uphill out of steeper and steeper traverses,  fanning those movements from closer to the fall line.  Then you deal with unedging skills to begin turning into the fall line and completing a turn as before.  A wedge usually isn't introduced until needed as a lift line tool.

 

I do not understand your description where you say, "while moving his body toward that leg".  Does that mean flexing over the ski after it turns into the fall line because of the leg lengthening?

post #3 of 10

DTP progressions usually begin with the development of pivoting skills used to traverse and turn uphill out of steeper and steeper traverses...OR, start with shallow direction changes then make greater and greater changes.

 

So yes, what you did is in effect DTP.  It works well on new gear with kids and the majority of adults.

 

 

 

Edging/pressue is a throw back to the breaking wedge days in the 70s.  I certainly have never seen that approach being tuaght by any professional ski teaching organisation.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

I do not understand your description where you say, "while moving his body toward that leg".  Does that mean flexing over the ski after it turns into the fall line because of the leg lengthening?

Yes, but I didn't explain it very well.  What I wanted him to do was move his COM slightly toward the apex of the turn but that seemed to the easiest way to explain it to him.
 

 

post #5 of 10

I had great success with an adult first day skier last weekend as well.  I think our students went through a similar progression, but mine was able to do the wedge christie.  He didn't want that, he wanted to ski parallel like his buddies.  The snow was soft lumpy spring snow, so I decided to give teaching him parallel a try.  He was very bored on the beginner slope accessed by the belt, and once he showed me he could do a wedge turn by pivoting both skis around the ankles, I took him up the lift.  I promised him we'd get to parallel, but he had to get familiar with wedge turns first with the new slope's gravity and pitch.

 

He did fine with short wedge turns.  Then I had him do wedge christies, which your skier found difficult but my guy did just fine with.  We had done wedge change-ups on the belt area before (straight run in a wedge - parallel - wedge - parallel) and he'd done fine with those.  

 

After that I had him carve/slice (parallel skis, edged, no rotation, park and ride) some huge J-turns across the slope cruising uphill to a stop in both directions, and we kept doing that with steeper and steeper initial fall line angles to gain more and more speed. He was finally having fun!  This guy was thrilled and totally hooked at this point on skiing.  What a blast - for me for me as well as him.  We were lucky to have empty slopes -- all the rotating skiers had quit and gone into the bar, as the heavy soft sloppy spring snow wouldn't comply.

 

I got him to do some Schlopy type drills to introduce angulation so he would stop banking his wedge christies, then I had him do some long linked J-turns that started with a wedge, shifted to a flat-ski-christie high in the turn to gain speed, then finished with a tipped-knee carve/slice through the snow.  One massive J-turn in both directions, coasting to a stop uphill each time, keeping that angulation going so the downhill (outside ski) was loaded.  He was almost ready for the parallel turns -- and getting down the hill with high speed (for a slow snow day) and having lots of fun.  We finished that run linking those long turns.  I was amazed he got it, but I think the platform provided by the snow made it easier than it would have been if the snow had been hard.

 

Next, we went up a higher lift (first time I've ever been able to do this with a first-day skier in a three hour lesson), and I had him do linked short wedge christies, then linked long wedge christies finishing with the carve/slice.  We focused on maintaining that angulation to load the outside ski as well.  When he was comfortable, I showed him how to replace the wedge initiation with a release:  collapse the downhill knee to move the downhill hip down toward the downhill boot beneath it.  This description has worked well for me - just move the hip straight down towards the boot - do nothing else.  I explained that his shoulders and head would also move downhill, but the point was to move the hip down over the boot and not to worry about anything else.  I explained how the ski would turn on its own and demonstrated for him.  

 

He did it!  Boy was this guy happy.  He linked parallel turns (no rotation in that snow) all the way down to the bottom.  We were out of time, but he had a bunch of tasks to work on and enough skills to get him around a bit on the mountain in that spring snow.  Plus he had the rotated wedge turn to use should this prove too fast for comfort on harder snow.  

 

This was the best/fastest progression I've had with a first day skier, and I'm ready to try this again with similar skiers on soft snow again.  Can't wait to try some version of this on hard (normal) New England man-made snow next season.  I don't expect the same success, but I'd like to be wrong.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

How long are our lessons?  That sounds longer than 90 minutes which is the length of ours.+

 

post #7 of 10

Our beginner package includes a three hour lesson.  That's what this was.  And I only had one student.  Luck was really on our side.

Is your never-ever lesson usually 90 minutes?  Oh, wait, I see.  This was not a beginner lesson you were giving.  And this was a child.  It's so different with kids, don't you think?

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Our standard lesson is 90 minutes, no matter if it's a never-ever or someone's 10th lesson.  I would really prefer to see first timer lessons longer than 90 minutes.  I've had adults that just finally "got" stopping after 90 minutes.  I feel somewhat guilty if I can't get them stopping and turning in 90 minutes, but there are times when that just cannot happen.  I had a young man from Haiti, a college student, once and he was so terrified that he kept grabbing me and would not let go, even when I got angry about it.  He wasn't even close to stopping after 90 minutes.  Up to about 10 or so, I think kids are generally easier to teach in terms of stopping and turning.  Our wrangler(6 and under) specialists are really good.  They have the little ones stopping and turning after about 45 minutes.

post #9 of 10

Yep, some adults can be amazingly difficult to teach.  

That's why I find it thrilling to teach someone who catches on fast.

Is it the same with you?

 

My personal goal as an instructor is to get good at teaching those difficult adults --

the especially-frightened or really floppy-and-out-of-control people

who can't get their bodies to behave.  

 

Are there instructors out there who always have success with every never-ever adult?  

If so, what's the secret?  How long did it take you to get enough experience to do this? 

 

But then perhaps it's not possible.  I've had some seasoned instructors say that to me.

I hope they are wrong, but if they are right, then I'd like to at least leave those

students with happy memories of having had fun during that three hour lesson.  

 

How to get people who are not succeeding very much to have a good time is

another challenge I look forward to tackling.  Anyone got any suggestions?

 

The last answer I got in the locker room was to hand them a tennis racket.  

 

 

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

My personal goal as an instructor is to get good at teaching those difficult adults --

the especially-frightened or really floppy-and-out-of-control people

who can't get their bodies to behave.  

 

 

The last answer I got in the locker room was to hand them a tennis racket.  

 

 


I'd hand the instructor who said that the tennis racket instead.  Good for you, LF.  Working with the tough cases are your best opportunity for growth as an instructor.  It demands you tap into and expand your innovation, adaptation, and invention skills.  I love working with the people the rest of the coaching staff is running the other way from.  

 

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