We must understand "edge release" does not mean a flat ski rather moving toward a flat ski, and is not an edge change by any stretch. The edge release is a movement which releases the edge's grip in the old turn allowing our inertia to begin moving, unaffected by the edge's grip. So when linking wedge turns the skis should remain on opposing edges, since this is the definition of a wedge, even though the edge angles vary throughout the turns. Ron LeMaster discusses in his book "Ultimate Skiing" chapter 2, pg.18, Platform Angle. "The angle between the force exerted on the ski and the platform the ski cuts into the snow - determines whether the ski holds or slips." When we decrease the angle of the ski (release the edge) to less than a right angle to the force we are exerting on it, it will slip. This does not necessitate a "flat" ski to the snow, merely a reduced angle to permit the ski to slip.
This being said, we must also keep in mind the goal is to create a christie with accurate movements in the wedge turns, therefore the movement to release the edge is the beginning of the christie. In teaching a student we want them to christie, conversely in an exam, the task of linking wedge turns should not show any christies yet demonstrate the accurate movements which will elicit said christie. The candidate must be careful to remain in a wedge yet demonstrate effective edge release to begin the turns allowing the tips to seek the fall line.
Really excellent points, Bud. I think you and I see these turns in exactly the same way. Optimal wedge turn demonstrations should not need to be faked, made up, dumbed down, or exaggerated in any way. They are the embryonic form of the fundamental turns of expert skiers, and demonstrating them requires skiing as well as you possibly can--using tactics (speed, turn radius, terrain, and so on) appropriate for first-day beginning skiers.
The only difference between the wedge turns of beginning skiers and the wedge turn demos of instructors is that for students, the wedge is not intentional. They aren't trying to make wedge turns--they're just trying to make "good" turns, as well as they can. The line they ski, the (very low) speed they go, the (very gentle) terrain they're on, and the rudimentary level of their skill makes the wedge happen naturally and unintentionally. And when it doesn't happen (when they "match" and become "parallel") they've moved on to the next milestone of skill level--by definition.
For instructors, though, we need to demonstrate wedge turns on demand, simply so that our demonstrations show movements that are accessible to our students at that level. When they do everything "right" at that low speed and skill level, they should feel rightly successful. But if their turns look dramatically different from those their instructor demonstrates, they'll feel like they have failed.
Wedge turns are not "theory," and they do not represent any sort of philosophy of ski teaching, other than the nearly universally-approved idea of "teaching for transfer"--teaching techniques and tactics today that will continue to help our students in the future and will not need to be "untaught" later. I have often said that "we don't teach beginning skiing--we introduce beginners to the techniques and tactics of experts." And at the most introductory level, those techniques almost invariably involve a wedge. It's not a choice--it's a reality. Indeed, even advanced and expert skiers, including instructors, will find it extremely difficult at best to make a genuine offensive parallel turn at the very low speeds and very small radius typical of beginning skiers. Even the principals of some better-known "direct to parallel" teaching progressions acknowledge that, in fact, "wedges happen."
Of course, none of this is to suggest that good instructors never teach other forms of wedge (or parallel) turns at times too--including defensive braking moves and intentional wedges when it's appropriate. The key is to know the difference, and to make sure our students know the difference as well. If we're teaching braking, it's a completely different technique, for an intent that is the polar opposite of the intent of good turns. Whether it's to maneuver through the lift maze, or to maintain cautious speed control on an intimidating pitch, or simply to brake to a stop for convenience or necessity, braking is an important ability to acquire. But it has nothing to do with "basic wedge turns."