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L3 Teaching Task

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My training director is doing his job - challenged me to come up with a lesson plan for one of the tasks mentioned in the certification guide and then, if it meets his approval, present it to my fellow L3 aspirants this weekend.  Of course, it is somewhat contrived because the elements of assessment and goal negotiation are missing from the paper outline.  Still, I took a shot and await word(s, probably many) from said TD.


Then I started to stew....


"Short radius turns with turn shape in varying terrain."


First: what does the phrase “with turn shape” mean here?  All turns have a shape of some kind.  Is there a specific shape PSIA has in mind?  (I’ve assumed it to mean “where shape is some segment of a circle” but then I wondered how come they didn’t say so?  If that were the case “with round shape” would be much clearer.)  Or am I missing the point entirely?  Is it meant to be more verby – “with movements that contribute to the efficient shaping of the turn into the desired form, whatever that form is”?


Second: My lesson plan assumes that the most salient aspect here is rounded, sr turns.  Given that my audience is proficient skiers, it may well be that I can assume rounded sr turns are already being done and the key point is “in varying terrain”.  If that is the case I’d want to change focus to edge and pressure control skills, rather than the ones I selected.


On the edge of my seat for your response.  (This position is putting a crease in my butt, so the earlier the better.)

post #2 of 8

I think you are on the right track that terrain is the key to this one.  This is what I would do:

Start on easy groomed terrain, and ask everone to watch where the snow sprays from each others' skis in a short radius turn.  If they're good skiers, the answer is the snow sprays UP the hill as they begin the turn, at least for some of them.  Then ask 'what do we do to make the snow spray up the hill?"  The answer is something like an early edge change, and early and continuing leg extension to add pressure at the top of the turn.  That early pressure from continuous extension is the key to speed control in the first part of the turn.  Bring it into steeper terrain and look for the early pressure there.   Emphasize pressure control on a flatter ski.  De-emphasize edging and carving.  Doing it on a flat ski gets away from parkandride tendencies, and gives them a better chance for sucess at a new move pattern.

Another thing I'd try is to ski wet heavy snow, if you have it.  Most borderline L3s around here will struggle with that, and wet heavy is the nightmare situation for lessons for most instructors.  Tell them to turn continuously, emphasize smooth rotary movements at the femurs/hips. At least some of the strugglers will improve immediately. It works because in order to turn continuously, they need to be in balance continuously.  Wrap it up with a discussion of balance.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your L3.



post #3 of 8

Your right that all turns have a shape, even Z turns. When we talk about turn shape we almost always mean a rounded shape to control speed. I think your right that short radius turns with a round shape may be clearer. Mind if I steal that?

When it comes to the varying conditions now you start about teaching with tactics. What is your tactic to variable conditions? If it's something other than avoid at all costs, work with that.

I'm I big fan of guided discovery so giving a group a tactical task and throwing them right into the varying conditions gets the gears turning. Then use the knowledge of the group to discover the best tactics for the conditions. From there you can work towards the techniques that make those tactics work the easiest. Make the clinic more about the knowledge within the group and you be the moderator than about what you know. Essentially it's experimenting with teaching styles other than command/task.

One last thing. I've been seeing turn shape more as an oval than a circle. It is still nicely rounded on the edges and with shape along the long part. In steep conditions we may ski with the oval going across the hill, even in a short radius. As terrain begins to flatten out we start to ski the oval more in the fall line. You have to adjust to maintain speed through varying pitches.

Have fun with it and run the edge of failure. Success is just affirmation, failure is where the real learning begins.

post #4 of 8
For the Teaching Assignment: "Short radius turns with turn shape in varying terrain" first define what you're trying to accomplish, then how to accomplish it.

1) Short radius turns = "1/2 - 3/4 Packer Widths" (ugh!?!)
In reality: anything from 6 feet - 12 feet Apex to Apex. Anything bigger is "shmedium"

2) Turn Shape: variable size radius (per above) and variable "completeness" meaning more (or less) finished across the fall line.

3) Varying Terrain: Even slopes, lumpy slopes and bumps in mild blue to black terrain.

Breaking it down, how would you teach short radius turns such that you get your students to vary turn shape (size and completeness) and also get them practiced at doing it in varied terrain? Below is my own take on one possible answer. (many answers are possible)

a) Completeness.
Show independent leg steering (ILS) as a mechanism to complete a turn more and less (Open Parallel).
Show increased edge-angles (and increased speed & angulation) as the mechanism to complete a turn more and less (Dynamic Parallel).

b) Size.
For a selected (and demoed) turn radius show items in (a) above.
Select larger (or smaller) radius turns and repeat (a) above for the new size.
Movement Patterns will be quicker for smaller turns, slower for larger turns.

c) Varied terrain.
Take existing skills (just taught) into varied terrain
Go to a steeper slope, apply ideas taught earlier (more complete turns via more ILS or higher edge-angles).
Go into the bumps, apply very short turns using ideas taught earlier.

This is an easy way to break down any assignment.
1) What exactly is being asked for? Include definition of terms and definition of task (what is the goal?)
2) What are the skills, movement patterns or strategies that will accomplish the goal?
3) What must you teach students to show them the selected skill, movement pattern, strategy?
4) Go teach it (remembering to teach one thing at a time - and in a practical, progressive sequence)

For a Level-3 teaching assignment you can generally move through each step pretty quickly but the goal of each step is to get students (your peers) to actually DO the specific thing you're asking them to do. Don't just Demo and move on - watch them and give feedback. They either did, or did not demonstrate the pattern you asked for. Accurate feedback is essential for an Exam. Ignore extraneous patterns you might see that are unrelated to the specific thing you're asking people to do (unless some aspect of what they're doing hinders or prevents them from accomplishing what you've asked them to do - in which case you're forced to bring it up).

Does that help any?

post #5 of 8

Just remember, you are not working on your L3 Mind-reading certification. So make sense of it yourself and as long as you can explain why you are doing what you are doing, you should be fine. Also remember that there are people in your class, so watch them ski. If they aren't doing what you thought they would do, it's OK to throw the old plan out the window and teach them how they need to be taught.

post #6 of 8

Everyone has given you very good advice. One thing I'll add is that is if this is to truly replicate a L3 exam type setting at least in the east you have about 8-15 minutes or usually 1 run to accomplish it. Keep it on track and focused leaving time for that all important feed back as michaelA mentioned and for a wrap up at the end. Good luck

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone.  Excellent, useful responses.

post #8 of 8



Great answers above,


With any teaching task, pick the one and only one skill to develop for the task.  The key word in the above task is shape.  That implies rotary skills and as Michael mentioned, inside leg steering.  Use a drill involving the inside leg, such as a series of short uphill christies on moderate terrain, tweak it*, then on steeper terrain, tweak that*, and then in the bumps.  Most importantly, apply that movement to their skiing.


*   give feedback and enhance where necessary.


Hope this is useful to you and best of luck on your L3  =).



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