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# How do you teach "Release"?

How do you teach it to beginners?

How do you teach it to intermediates who have it all wrong?

Every so often a great question comes up. The ability to stop turning in one direction must preceed the ability to turn in the other direction. A variety of release options exist but perhaps the most fundamental release option starts with the type of progression you are using.

Wedge based releases feature an incomplete edge release because the skis are kept on oppositional edges (both inside edges) so something as simple as a wedge change up manuever can be used to introduce the idea of a partial edge release even though no turning outcome is happening. As that outcome occurs and the students get used to the feeling of sliding we can alter the amount of partial edge engagement through changes in pressure, edge angle, and even steering. Beyond that stage linking wedge turns and moving towards Wedge Christies eventually includes a complete release of the inside edge of the old outside ski / new inside ski. This in turn leads to an edge change where the big toe edge is released, the ski is tipped onto the little toe edge and edge purchase on that little toe edge occurs. Where in the turn that occurs is typically a measure of where in the intermediate zone a student's performance level falls. Late "matching" representing the lower end of the intermediate scale and early "matching" represents the high end. Beyond that it becomes increasingly important to understand that the release can preceed the edge change but the transition to the edge change often preceeds the release. That being said were talking in generalities here and as you will see it's all situationally dependent.

So if you put a linear learning timeline to this, it would look like this.

Wedge turns:

We begin changing the pressure, edge angle, or steering (all three can change our stance) but since neither edge is completely released there is no edge change following the stance changes. So the transition from one turn to the next includes a relatively small RoM.

Wedge Christies:

They begin like the wedge turn but the inside leg usage changes to include an edge change somewhere during the turn. In other words the inside ski is rolled off it's big toe edge and onto the little toe edge. That move occurs after the new turn starts. Somewhere in all of this the old inside ski also experiences an edge change where it gets rolled off the little toe edge and onto the big toe edge. That's where all of this edge change stuff gets confusing.

Converging Stem Christies:

This is a useful maneuver that we don't teach much anymore since the tail of the inside ski swinging uphill prior to the release of the current outside ski are not seen in the parallel turns most skiers make at the next higher performance milestone. Another important element is the edge change of the inside ski prior to the release of the outside ski's big toe edge. For a brief moment the skis return to a wedge and sometimes oppositional edges.

Diverging Stem Turns: As the name implies the old version involves stemming the inside ski tip to create the diverging relationship. This occurs prior to any edge change so the skier ends up balancing on the little toe edge of the inside ski as they shift their weight to that ski. Then they roll that ski onto it's  big toe edge (edge change). Typically the release of the old outside ski preceeds the edge change of either ski.

Step turns:

These turns can either be converging, diverging or parallel but involve a strong step off of one ski (edge release). So a complete weight transfer occurs. Like the stem turns the edge change of the current inside ski can occur prior to the step (converging / diverging) after the step (diverging and parallel), or simultaneous with the step (diverging and parallel). We see this in race turns nowdays but not as much in the recreational world.

Parallel Turns:

Simultaneous releases and edge changes are the distinctive characteristic we see during modern linked parallel turns. Although a slightly sequential release and edge change are possible and very common among high intermediate through advanced skiers. To be honest IMO this turn type gets too much hype from those who see it as the ultimate expression of skiing prowess. It does take discipline and good timing to perform this turn but there is another level of skiing out there.

Beyond Parallel:

This is where expert skiing becomes an individual expression of function outweighing form. Experts use a wide variety of all the turns I've discussed to this point. Often the dynamics of the situation demand we use a maneuver some might call a beginner move but IMO that only shows that person's limited understanding of the sport. At the top of the sport all of the beginner / intermediate / advanced labels get thrown out. They use what works best for the situation. A slight wedge in the trees, a hop turn in a cliff band, a huge stivot somewhere in a turn (they're not limited to the top of the turn), and even a side slip to lose some altitude before the next turn represents legitimate tactical and technical choices at this level.

So where the release occurs and how we teach that needs to be seen through that wider lens of appropriateness for the situation. A beginner nowdays doesn't get exposed to all the different release options present in the wide variety of antique turns I just described. Not that they represent even a third of the turns we can actually make on skis. It all depends on how far back in history you want to go but IMO that's the beauty of the sport, techniques evolve but knowing and playing with moves some would call antiquated often reveals a wealth of knowledge we otherwise would never gain. Sadly the experts of the past have mostly faded into ski history and all we have left are the books they wrote.

Hope that helps,

Ski well LQ,

JASP

Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/16/11 at 1:27pm

For a lot of skiers, it can be scary to transition through a flat ski between engaging the edges. I think that's why we see a lot of abrupt heel pushing, or aggressive ankle rolling accompanied by some big bobbing to unweight those skis to speed through the transition. In such cases, if we can get learners comfortable with being on a flat ski, we can create a smoother transition. When learners have a smooth transition phase, they're in a better position to establish the platform under their feet in their new turn.

When I see heel push or edge hopping in intermediates, I like to develop the transition through bracquage and drift turns. Bracquage serves two great purposes here: firstly, bracquage gets the learner familiar with the feeling of flat skis. Secondly, bracquage facilitates development of pivoting skills. And as is the case in most drills, balance issues will also become apparent.

In drift turns, skiers delay the engagement of the new edges. Consequently the skiers are in transition for longer and have a good opportunity to develop a solid platform underfoot before engaging edges.  This drill also enables development of pressure control and timing/coordination (in addition to stance/balance, pivoting, and late edge engagement).

It's amazing how many folks avoid gliding on near flat skis. I usually start a lesson somewhere near the beginner area at the top of our front mountain. One of the first activities I use involves a side slip release. For intermediate and below it's two footed and for experts it's one footed. On very gentle beginner terrain it's quite common for these folks to get stuck in place since they fail to release the downhill ski and this inhibits their ability to simply let Gravity pull them downhill. It's such a simple drill but it's usually their first experience with lingering on a near flat ski. Once they've developed the ability to roll the ski flat enough for the release to occur, we do bracquage drills like garlands and pivot slips as we finish that short run. After that we move to class appropriate terrain and try the drill again but only breifly before moving on to round turns using that same release move. From there it becomes a recurring theme that we re-visit in a variety of terrain. The interesting thing is that as the terrain gets steeper the actual release point happens earlier and earlier (well before the skis get flat) but getting the students to linger on a near flat ski gets harder and harder. I suspect it's a function of their fear that Gravity will cause them to accelerate downhill too quickly. That's where patience turns and a few brief straight runs work to eliminate that fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

I suspect it's a function of their fear that Gravity will cause them to accelerate downhill too quickly. That's where patience turns and a few brief straight runs work to eliminate that fear.

Do you think the fear is from expected acceleration or the fact that they will momentarily have no control.  The control is gained back quickly (engage the edge) but it may seem to many as their most vulnerable time (on a flat ski).  Maybe a combination of the speed without the control.

Ken

What JASP said.

I've found that a lot of skiers are so indoctrinated into carving-is-the-only-real-skiing, and tipping-is-the-only-skill that they rush to get their skis on edge too much and too early n the turn.  Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them.  Thye need to learn to be comfortable with a gliding ski, and a soft, progressive edge engagement, but that's easier said than done.

BK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

What JASP said.

I've found that a lot of skiers are so indoctrinated into carving-is-the-only-real-skiing, and tipping-is-the-only-skill that they rush to get their skis on edge too much and too early n the turn.  Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them.  Thye need to learn to be comfortable with a gliding ski, and a soft, progressive edge engagement, but that's easier said than done.

BK

You got that right.  After an injury last year I focused on RR track turns, etc way too much.  It damn-near killed my skiing.  I'm still trying to get back to a flatter ski.

L&AirC,

I would say both but it's important to understand both are based in unrealistic fears and misconceptions.

Let's start with Edging, it's only one skill pool and doesn't represent our only means of controlling the skis. So why would you say no edge purchase means no control? Nothing could be further from the truth. Learning to control the skis with minimal edge engagement and to glide on them when they are dis-engaged is not an uncontrolled situation.

Same goes for the fear of maximum acceleration over a few feet. It's funny in a way since most skiers are more than willing to do J turns but balk at the idea of letting their skis go flat at the end of the turn. We're talking about straight running for several ski lengths in the fall line (a J turn) and less than one ski length in a transition between turns where the skis are moving across the hill. Doesn't make much sense if you think about it.

So when it comes to teaching releases you just may want to use a J turn to point out how those fears are unfounded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

L&AirC,

I would say both but it's important to understand both are based in unrealistic fears and misconceptions.

That's the key part. Though some fear is healthy, it is the unrealistic fear that can get in the way of performance for no apperant reason.

Let's start with Edging, it's only one skill pool and doesn't represent our only means of controlling the skis. So why would you say no edge purchase means no control? Nothing could be further from the truth.

We know that but the students you're describing need the drills you described so they can replace that fear with experience that proves it unrealistic.

Learning to control the skis with minimal edge engagement and to glide on them when they are dis-engaged is not an uncontrolled situation.

Same goes for the fear of maximum acceleration over a few feet. It's funny in a way since most skiers are more than willing to do J turns but balk at the idea of letting their skis go flat at the end of the turn. We're talking about straight running for several ski lengths in the fall line (a J turn) and less than one ski length in a transition between turns where the skis are moving across the hill. Doesn't make much sense if you think about it.

I wonder if it is the direction the skis are pointing that throws them off.  For some reason the feel more comfortable with the skis pointing downhill and flat than in a traverse.  I agree it doesn't make sense most unrealistic fears don't.

So when it comes to teaching releases you just may want to use a J turn to point out how those fears are unfounded.

It is amazing the things that goes through someones head prior to the experience.  Hence the need for the progressive drills starting on easier terrain.

Ken

As Bob Barnes says, "Intent dictates technique".  Sometimes it is not the technique that inhibits the release, sometimes it is the subconscious intent that is not consistent with the goal.  So if the skier turns their skis with the intent to slow down or "not go there", they will have great difficulty releasing that platformed edge.  Sometimes changing the skiers subconscious psyche to an offensive intent, using turning to control line rather than to slow down, can produce the release you are looking for without much technical focus.  Learning to embrace the acceleration with the tips going forward and down the hill, can open up a whole new world of enjoyment.

Good movement analysis should touch on possible technique, alignment, psychological, and physiological causes to what we see in the turns.  The problem is not always technique!

I start beginners with a wedge traverse.  You need to pressure the downhill ski more in a wedge to go across a grade.  Then I have them equalize pressure on their skis and realize that equally weighted skis want to turn downhill.  From there we start to begin turns with a slight forward extension to equlize the weight on the skis.  Then we work on steering out of the fall line.

With folks who are ready for simultaneous edge changes, I use much the same approach to get equally weighted flattened skis on gentle terrain.  I stress the importance of patience as the skis turn toward downhill.

So for a skier who has never heard the term "release,"  what do you say to explain what that is and how to make it happen?

I'm hearing lots of info about dealing with fear and resistance to releasing, and how to sneak up on the release.  Yes, it involves flattening the skis.  How do you tell them to do that?  Focus on  inside ski?  Focus on knee pointing?  Focus on knee flexing?  Focus on relaxation of entire leg?  Focus on little toe edge tipping?  What works?  Is it best to just say flatten both  skis and let them figure out how to do that?

I'm searching for how instructors explain what the movement is that creates the release, and what works with students.  Do some descriptions work better with beginners, and others work better with intermediates?  If people are in rotary push-off-mode, or in up-unweight-mode, does one way of conceptualizing the release work better than others?  As a relatively new instructor, I'm looking for the wisdom of seasoned veterans here.

Someone may have been very specific and already covered this in this thread, so maybe I missed it.  If that's the case please don't be brutal in your admonitions; just quote what I missed.  Thanks in advance....

I find the sideslip on a very shallow run produces a lot of epiphanies when it comes to individual defensive release habits and attitudes. Especially among higher level students who surprisingly find that drill a bit difficult at first. Once they discover the ability to simply release their turns, the rest of the lesson is usually pretty easy since they are now entering each turn in a more centered stance and ready to do whatever it takes to produce the turn outcome they desire. But shaping a turn is another subject for another thread.

Ski well My Friends,

JASP

Thanks, jasp.

When I teach sideslips, I don't explain how to do it either.  I just tell them to flatten both skis and keep them parallel so that they can slip downhill along a straight path.  Then I adjust what I say if they run into difficulties.

But I've found that people have a better chance of sideslipping straight down the hill if they have some uphill tip lead and are facing somewhat downhill, hips and shoulders and hands parallel; aka, upper-lower body separation.  I usually add doing that if they are facing the trees or getting hooked up in the snow.

Do you (or others) find it important to work on counter and angulation at the same time as working on release?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

Do you (or others) find it important to work on counter and angulation at the same time as working on release?

Yes!  This is a key to side slipping success IMO.  Here many skiers think they are countered because their hands and shoulders are open to the fall line however; their hips are still facing across the slope.  Until they can counter effectively with their hips the release to slip is ineffective.  I agree with developing a good body position facilitates edge release with this task.    As one of the tasks in the Western divisions exam process, it is very telling of the candidates skill development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

Yes!  This is a key to side slipping success IMO.  Here many skiers think they are countered because their hands and shoulders are open to the fall line however; their hips are still facing across the slope.  Until they can counter effectively with their hips the release to slip is ineffective.  I agree with developing a good body position facilitates edge release with this task.    As one of the tasks in the Western divisions exam process, it is very telling of the candidates skill development.

April 18, 2011

Hi Bud:

While doing pivot slips this year, a ski pro at my local mountain observed that I had difficulty getting my hips to "counter/face down fall line" without some twisting help from my upper body (i.e. shoulders etc).  What drills would you suggest to fix this problem while doing pivot slips and other "slipping/slidding" type maneuvers?

Thanks,

CP

To teach the "Release", I have my students pretend that their skis are tires and they have to let the air out of the outside (or downhill) ski to release the edge, and inflate the inside ski with the air that comes out of the outside ski.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP

April 18, 2011

Hi Bud:

While doing pivot slips this year, a ski pro at my local mountain observed that I had difficulty getting my hips to "counter/face down fall line" without some twisting help from my upper body (i.e. shoulders etc).  What drills would you suggest to fix this problem while doing pivot slips and other "slipping/slidding" type maneuvers?

Thanks,

CP

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

So for a skier who has never heard the term "release,"  what do you say to explain what that is and how to make it happen?

I'm hearing lots of info about dealing with fear and resistance to releasing, and how to sneak up on the release.  Yes, it involves flattening the skis.  How do you tell them to do that?  Focus on  inside ski?  Focus on knee pointing?  Focus on knee flexing?  Focus on relaxation of entire leg?  Focus on little toe edge tipping?  What works?  Is it best to just say flatten both  skis and let them figure out how to do that?

I'm searching for how instructors explain what the movement is that creates the release, and what works with students.  Do some descriptions work better with beginners, and others work better with intermediates?  If people are in rotary push-off-mode, or in up-unweight-mode, does one way of conceptualizing the release work better than others?  As a relatively new instructor, I'm looking for the wisdom of seasoned veterans here.

Someone may have been very specific and already covered this in this thread, so maybe I missed it.  If that's the case please don't be brutal in your admonitions; just quote what I missed.  Thanks in advance....

Liquidfeet, I'll use all of the above methods of getting people to release their edges. Some can work with the little toe, I call it "little toe in the snow" to get a little rhyme going in their head, you can only have 1 little toe in the snow unless you are extremely bow legged. Other times I will ask them to lead with their knee pointing in the direction they want to go, thinking of it as having big flashlights on their knees lighting up the way in the direction they want to go. Sometimes I'll get then to think about moving the femur/ thigh muscle into the direction. Really can be anything that they can understand and focus on to simultaneously release both edges. On steeper terrain I get them thinking about leaning the mountain for a split second, not a hop but enough that they feel like stepping off the slope moving down the hill versus hopping up to release edges.

On all releases I stress getting the new inside/ old outside leg to lead thru the turn, the trick is to get people using a body part that they understand and can control somewhat easily. One other thing I use is that I say and show everything moves lets say to the right until it is time to turn left. Put that into the movements of the body parts.

Edited by Snowbowler - 4/18/11 at 2:27pm

I think there are simple releases and complicated releases.  Before everyone jumps all over this, let me explain.

The "release" necessary to do a sideslip, which several have mentioned here, is primarily a bit of ankle flex to flatten the skis so gravity can make the slipping happen.  Once the slipping starts, the release is over.

The "release" necessary for pivot slips is more complicated, involving subtle knee flexing along with some careful repositioning of legs and feet to make possible the skier's rotation of the skis without any left-right traveling.  Once the rotating starts, the release is over.  (I can testify that pivot slips are difficult to do.)

The "release" necessary for dynamic carved turns is more like the flat tire conceptualization that SnowMiser mentioned - flex that new inside knee so that the new inside hip lowers.  Gravity and momentum will cause the body to cross over the skis and the edges will change as a result.  But other progressive actions (counter and angulation for inside half lead and for outside ski loading) must accompany this flexing or the release does not allow edge change and engagement to happen effectively, and these are the necessary things that create the new carved turn.  Once the skis begin to turn, the release is over.  So I think of the progressive counter and angulation as essential parts of the release, but others may disagree.

I don't think the same drills or conceptualizations or descriptions will teach all of these different types of releases, but I could be wrong.  Does what I've just described make sense the the experienced instructors out there?

Liquidfeet, Here's the thing, the drill is so much simpler than that because the objective isn't to perform a cert maneuver, it's just to release the skis and let them move downhill. So parallel, converging, and diverging are all possible variations. The expressed requirement that they stay directly in the fall line needs to be addressed as well. Don't do it! That's not to say doing a traverse or a falling leaf maneuver would be acceptable. That's lingering on the partially engaged edge(s) and that means they are not acheiving the expressed objective of a complete edge release. So to be clear the objective is a release, nothing more. It's worth noting that when that occurs, the outcome is they will be pulled directly down the fall line. I know that may sound like splitting hairs but when you define a specific path, the release becomes secondary to the subtle edge and pressure control movements used to maintain that line. So they never truely release the skis and simply slide downhill.

A side note I feel needs mentioning LQ is that all this focus on technique suggests you have a very left brained bias when it comes to setting up a learning segment. Let it go LQ. The drill I mentioned is a bit of a guided discovery task combined with a little bit of problem solving mixed in for fun. So while we're leading them to a discovery, keep the communications limited to defining the objective. Step outside of the spotlight and let the students play. You can step in on subsequent tries and coach them through any errors they discover but ya gotta let them discover those difficulties prior to offering any coaching. Which means multiple tries before stepping in with coaching.  It's not a paint by numbers (directed) activity but somewhere in loosely defined activities like this personal epiphanies tend to occur.

BTW ever try converging / diverging side slips / pivot slips? How about one footed sideslips and pivot slips? Or even a one footed side slip turn entry to the fall line. (White pass side slips). The only caveat here is all the one footed stuff is on the downhill ski means catching the downhill edge is quite possible so be aware of that as you try these for the first few times.

So there you have it, a small drill and less than ten minutes of lesson time. Hope that makes sense.

JASP

Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/18/11 at 9:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

What JASP said.

I've found that a lot of skiers are so indoctrinated into carving-is-the-only-real-skiing, and tipping-is-the-only-skill that they rush to get their skis on edge too much and too early n the turn.  Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them.  Thye need to learn to be comfortable with a gliding ski, and a soft, progressive edge engagement, but that's easier said than done.

BK

What does that look like? I can't visualize it.

Originally Posted by Carl R

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer

What JASP said.

I've found that a lot of skiers are so indoctrinated into carving-is-the-only-real-skiing, and tipping-is-the-only-skill that they rush to get their skis on edge too much and too early n the turn.  Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them.  Thye need to learn to be comfortable with a gliding ski, and a soft, progressive edge engagement, but that's easier said than done.

BK

What does that look like? I can't visualize it.

CarlR, If the progressive edge engagement without over-pressuring/twisting the skis is your objective, here's an easy one to try.

As you come out of a turn on a nice wide slope, target with your eyes a tree or something straight ahead of your skis, straight ahead of where they are pointing.  Look at it and seek it mentally.  Keep your focus on it.  At the same time, slowly lower your downhill hip towards the boot beneath it.  Don't do anything else.

Slowly lower that hip.  Target that tree.

You'll get your gliding ski with soft progressive edge engagement and no twisting.

Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

Liquidfeet, Here's the thing, the drill is so much simpler than that because the objective isn't to perform a cert maneuver, it's just to release the skis and let them move downhill. So parallel, converging, and diverging are all possible variations. The expressed requirement that they stay directly in the fall line needs to be addressed as well. Don't do it! That's not to say doing a traverse or a falling leaf maneuver would be acceptable. That's lingering on the partially engaged edge(s) and that means they are not acheiving the expressed objective of a complete edge release. So to be clear the objective is a release, nothing more. It's worth noting that when that occurs, the outcome is they will be pulled directly down the fall line. I know that may sound like splitting hairs but when you define a specific path, the release becomes secondary to the subtle edge and pressure control movements used to maintain that line. So they never truely release the skis and simply slide downhill.

A side note I feel needs mentioning LQ is that all this focus on technique suggests you have a very left brained bias when it comes to setting up a learning segment. Let it go LQ. The drill I mentioned is a bit of a guided discovery task combined with a little bit of problem solving mixed in for fun. So while we're leading them to a discovery, keep the communications limited to defining the objective. Step outside of the spotlight and let the students play. You can step in on subsequent tries and coach them through any errors they discover but ya gotta let them discover those difficulties prior to offering any coaching. Which means multiple tries before stepping in with coaching.  It's not a paint by numbers (directed) activity but somewhere in loosely defined activities like this personal epiphanies tend to occur.

BTW ever try converging / diverging side slips / pivot slips? How about one footed sideslips and pivot slips? Or even a one footed side slip turn entry to the fall line. (White pass side slips). The only caveat here is all the one footed stuff is on the downhill ski means catching the downhill edge is quite possible so be aware of that as you try these for the first few times.

So there you have it, a small drill and less than ten minutes of lesson time. Hope that makes sense.

JASP

Jasp,  thanks again.  The snow is melting, melting, here in New England, but I'm going to try all those side slip variations (oh dear, on spring snow!) this weekend when I get out for my last hurrah of the season.  And I'll remember that when doing side slips with my students not to focus on maintaining a straight path down the hill.  That's a very good point - it pulls the focus away from the release.  (The oncoming trees at the side of our narrow trail are another issue, however.)

Yes, you are right, I'm very analytical.  I overdo it (so they say) all the time, but I am very comfortable with my overkill search for technical knowledge. It's a way of staying connected to skiing when I'm away from the snow, and it has provided a foundation for me to ramp up my own skills in a relatively short time.  Perhaps if I had started skiing as a child and lived right next to a mountain things would be different, but that's not the case.

There's one place where I hide it.  When I'm teaching, I keep it simple.  I dial down the technical terms with my adult students (I won't even use "parallel"), and follow the dictum "Ignorance Is Bliss."  I give them one thing to do at a time, have them try that until they gain success and can tell me what they just did in their own words, then add on another thing.  I stay silent while they try these things and run into the inevitable difficulties.  I just watch and wait as they use trial-and-error to deal with whatever is hanging them up.  I'll ask them what they feel happening, then offer a solution and let them try it again.  I do all this in the context of working towards a particular goal, so I keep reassuring them that these things need to be set up before achieving that goal (parallel turns, going up the lift, whatever).  (So far I've only taught novices in short duration lessons, day one, two, and three-type skiers.)  I bet you'd be proud of me.

Behind that assumed simplicity is the technical knowledge that I gain from reading about skiing, here and in books.  Epic has been great for me because of the people who take the time to post in detail how good turns work.  I'm convinced that knowing these things helps me choose an effective sequence of things for a student to do as we work together towards a goal.  The same goes for me trying to learn to ski better myself.  I'm actually (sigh, embarrassment) taking notes.

Nice Post LQ. A final note on side slips. It's quite appropriate to use them to help a student develop the ability to feather an edge without the complete edge release I mentioned earlier. Fall line side slips, garlands, skidded diagonal traverses, and falling leafs are all examples of sideslip drills with a focus on a partial edge release to control line. Hopefully my comments earlier didn't leave anyone with the impression that I think a partial edge release is alway a bad thing. During an edge change it can certainly interfere with our migration from one set of edges to the next (turn linkage) but after the edge change (during a skidded turn) the ability to feather an edge is an important skill. It"s all objective dependent, or as Barnes is famous for saying, intent dictates technique.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

Jasp,  thanks again.  The snow is melting, melting, here in New England, but I'm going to try all those side slip variations (oh dear, on spring snow!) this weekend when I get out for my last hurrah of the season.  And I'll remember that when doing side slips with my students not to focus on maintaining a straight path down the hill.  That's a very good point - it pulls the focus away from the release.  (The oncoming trees at the side of our narrow trail are another issue, however.)

Maintaining a corridor for higher level kids can often be a good way to keep their attention. Most think that sideslipping is easy until they try it. When you give them a corridor to stay in and they fail, you can then go back to just side slipping, master that, then go back to a corridor.

A lot of people have difficutlty with side slipping because they won't commit the body downhill. They'll attempt to lean uphill and release the edges. Usually what happens is the uphill ski keeps getting caught after moving about a foot. One thing I learned from Dave Grogan to help with this: Stand below them and place your uphill ski underneath or next to the students downhill ski. Now, they can't slide downhill because you're braced against their ski. Have them move their body downhill - you often have to physically gently pull them so at least their downhill hip is over the downhill ski. They will not like this!  Tell them this is the move they have to do to accomplish the side slip while they release the edges. (Just moving like that releases most of the edge.) Some people get it right away, but others you're going to have to repeat it a few times. There really is a lot of ingrained fear to allowing oneself to "fall" downhill.

Now, if you really want to learn to commit to a flat downhill ski in a side slip, try learning to jump on a box sideways. Any edge at all and you're done for. This one I'm still working on. Failure can be painful, but you're dealing with the same thing as the people who don't want to commit to going downhill over their downhill ski.

It is absolutely amazing how people can ski for years and not be able to side slip. It will definitely show up in their skiing. It may be the simplest drill that shows the most.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

CarlR, If the progressive edge engagement without over-pressuring/twisting the skis is your objective, here's an easy one to try.

As you come out of a turn on a nice wide slope, target with your eyes a tree or something straight ahead of your skis, straight ahead of where they are pointing.  Look at it and seek it mentally.  Keep your focus on it.  At the same time, slowly lower your downhill hip towards the boot beneath it.  Don't do anything else.

Slowly lower that hip.  Target that tree.

You'll get your gliding ski with soft progressive edge engagement and no twisting.

I think you misread my post. I'm not asking for technique tips.
I see that I've quoted too much to be clear.
What I'm asking for is what it looks like when "skis on edge too much and too early n the turn. Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them".
If "tipping-is-the-only-skill" i don't understand how the above situation can occur.

The tools I use for teaching releases to beginners and low intermediates are:

1. Edging drills.  Uphill christis with a fan progression, etc.  If they know they can get to their edges they are more willing to release them.  This gives them assurances that they know they have control.
2. On gentle terrain I introduce patience turns.  These let them feel that they can release their edges and let gravity do the work.  I do single patience turns to a full stop in both directions.  Then we do linked patience turns.  They get the feel of letting go and then engaging their edges.
3. Side slipping on steeper terrain.  Both direct side slips down the fall line and traversing side slips.  This goes back to getting the touch of how edges feel when they are engaged and released.
4. For more accomplished skiers I use the same drills and add in starting turns by tipping the new inside ski first.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl R

I see that I've quoted too much to be clear.
What I'm asking for is what it looks like when "skis on edge too much and too early n the turn. Ironically, often they need to twist their feet to get some pressure, then their edges don't hold because they over-pressure them".
If "tipping-is-the-only-skill" i don't understand how the above situation can occur.

Since those quotes are from my earlier post, I'll try to explain.  It's not that "tipping is the only skill", it's that some instructors believe that, and it it sometimes prevents them from presenting skills in a ore effective way.

The goal here is to get to a clean release to a flat ski, and ride the flat ski into a clean and progressive edge re-engagement.  Some instructors believe that if they teach only tipping movements from the beginning, students will learn that type of release.  Regardless of what I tell a student to do, or what he/she believes she/he is doing, a lot of skiers need to twist their feet as soon as they release their edges. They need to do that because they are not confident that their edges will re-engage before they slide to their death, The pressure caused by the twisting gives them some feeling of control, but it prevents the ski from re-engaging cleanly, and actually leads to less control in many conditions. That's why we try to train it out of intermediates to help them advance.  One drill to do that is patience turns, as others have mentioned.  I like to use side slip drills, with re-engagement, traverses with edge releases by leg extension, and other drills.  My original point was that you need to do exercises that develop some confidence that the ski will re-engage, but simply telling a skier to stop twisting and tip more is a waste of time. They are not intentionally twisting, and they are not even aware that they are twisting, until they learn that they don't need to twist.

I think maybe my reluctance to tell a student to tip goes back to when I had a pretty good regular client who was progressing nicely.  I usually tell clients what the next lesson will be to keep them coming back.  (If I don't do, that it means I don't want to ski with you anymore.)  So finally he gets to where he needs to work on edging, so I tell him "next week we'll work on tipping."  I never saw the guy again.  It never occurred to me that he would think I meant I wanted more money form him.

BK

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