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Skating On Alpine Skis

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

OK.  I want to preference this with stating that sometimes people hear something and it sticks with them, even if they didn't quite get the point.  So...

 

When it comes to skating for the L2 exam, my thoughts on this are you should show efficiency, control and balance.  Edge change should go from outer edge to inside edge: yadda yadda.  My reason for this post is the arms.  My arms know what they want to do; pump.  Pump just like they do when I'm running albeit at a slower pace.  Very similar to when I'm skating on skates.  My arms should be bent at the elbows so my forearms are parallel to the deck (slope), and when my left leg goes forward, my right arm goes forward.  I'm a bi-ped; that's how we work, right?

 

My issue is that for the last couple years, one of the trainers keeps telling us to pump our arms; not fore and aft but up and down.  Says that is what the examiners want to see.  He's a smart man and a great skier and I'm sure this is something that got stuck in his head without hearing the rest of the info.  Up and down is completely unnatural to me.  My arms do NOT want to pump from my waist to in between my legs.  I decided I should ask, because there are several things that are counter intuitive in skiing.

 

I watched many videos of L2 candidates skating.  Unfortunately there were only a few that, in my mind, were skating well and some of those weren't pumping there arms at all.

 

So, what should I be practicing this season?  What comes naturally or unnatural? If you have something for me to reference to share with the trainer, that would be great too.

 

Thanks,

Ken

post #2 of 14

Sidebar: When you're skating on skates, your arms should be going towards your set down leg so that your upper body can quickly recenter itself on that set-down leg.      If you have a wide stance and the skates are turned out at the toes , the pumping won't be fore and aft but will include a side-to-side swing.   Try this on a steep uphill grade, as steep as you can climb on skates.  That side-to-side swing can very easily be called "up and down" if it's done at the elbow.   Your "from my waist to in between my legs" comment made me think of this.  If that's the problem, you can practice by holding a hockey stick in front of you as you climb that steep uphill grade.

 

Sidebar2: nordic skating is very definitely "up", as in "up above the shoulders' - the up-driving effort is part of re-centering and starting to stand tall on top of the set-down leg.   

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I might not have described what I'm trying to get at very well.  Surely has nothing to do with the wine I was drinking redface.gif.

 

The motions described in post #2 seem pretty close to natural, exaggerated but natural.  Including a sidewards swing is in my convoluted head is still part of fore and aft.  These movements seem to be there to increase power. 

 

The motion I'm being told to do and that gets demo'd (since I'm an a$$ I refuse to do it that way based on it being awkward) is (when right leg goes forward) left fist starts at belly button and is pumped straight down towards ground.  It is strictly an up and down movement.  Actually just down as the up movement is just to return to the start.

 

Imagine using that arm motion doing what cantunamunch described in post two.

 

I also want to point out I'm not picking on the trainer.  I think highly of him and consider him a friend.  I just want something to reference so I can have a conversation with him on this prior to training starting this year.

 

There is a chance I'm misunderstanding him but I don't think so.  Not after two or three years of seeing him demo it.

 

Ken

post #4 of 14

What's the point of the skating?  Do you really get tested on it for alpine L2?  Seems silly to me.  I don't think the L2 skiing standard is very high and IMO most of the people who I've seen have trouble with it either weren't very good skiers or were wildly over thinking it.  I would recommend working on finding a balanced stance that is not static.  I see lots of skiers who adopt a pose and don't move through their turns.  IE their moving on their skis, but not with their skis.  Relax and try to have fun with it and it should go pretty easily for you.  I can tell that you have been working on your skiing and am surprised that your goal has been eluding you.

 

Good luck, relax, breathe, and don't get locked into a position that seems like something a good skier might adopt.

 

Balance and the sweet spot on a ski are a moving target and will be in a different place in each phase of the turn.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

More clarification:

 

I can skate just fine.  Do it all the time; flat, downhill and even uphill.  When I'm feeling froggy, with a gate bag and backpack.

 

My only point of this thread is for information on the arm movement and hopefully a reference supporting the info.

 

I looked at the M2 at PSAI and there is a short clip of someone skating, but it doesn't look definitive to "me" and there is no mention of the arms.

 

Most things I've read just say something like, "...arms pumping.." without any mention of direction.

 

TPJ,

To your first couple of questions; I believe to show edge control and balance and yes or I wouldn't be posting this. 

 

Thanks,

Ken

post #6 of 14

You are definitely over-thinking this.  Focus on moving forward and clean edge engagement and you will do fine.  Or skate without using your poles.  If you can't skate well enough to pass L2 (or L3 for that matter), chances are there are more serious problems for you.

FWIW I skate with my hands low, both pushing at the same time on every stride.  No one ever criticized that.  That nordic thing of high hands requires long poles.

 

BK

post #7 of 14
Yeah, they test for it TPJ... Seems silly. If they were testing for effective skating, they'd have a start gate an a point 100 yards down the fall line (timed of course) to,a hockey stop in a corridor... Or maybe into pivot slips. smile.gif
post #8 of 14

Having trained with Ken for several years I can attest to the fact that he can indeed skate.    You should see just how fast he skates away from kids camp when a "code brown" is announced!   I think what Ken is getting at is the question of just what is the PSIA standard for this exercise?    We are told in training that they want to see your arms pumping up and down in the most inane fashion imaginable.   Try to envision yourself on the dance floor making your moves, looking pimp, with your hands in fists up at your chest and you are just pumping them straight up and down to your waist one at a time, that is the arm pumping we are taught.   Now imagine that you are skating while doing this and that is why both Ken and I feel a little weird when this drill comes up.   To me this arm pumping serves no purpose and makes no sense whatsoever.  I think effective arm motion when skating is to move your arm forward along with the ski that is moving forward.   At least that's what works best for me.

 

As to why they would ask you to do this in an L2 I think they want to see your COM keeping up with your skis when skating down hill and I think they want to see effective edge engagement and disengagement.    In a L2 prep clinic I was told they also want to see straight lines left in the snow from each stride that you take.    I am not sure why that particular examiner wanted to see straight lines left in the snow.    I find that I will often curve in a little bit as I push off at the end of the stride on my SL skis anyway.

 

I think this strange up and down arm pumping we are told to do probably stems from a misunderstanding along the way.   Perhaps a trainer or examiner was trying to get a group of people to loosen up their upper bodies when skating and told them to "pump their arms" and then gave some sort of exaggerated demo which has now taken on a life of its own.    I once had a great skier and trainer give us tubes formed into 18 inch across circles to hold around our waists while skiing.   We were told to pull forward on the tube to keep our hips forward at all times.   It felt awful.   The Bob Barnes Hips over feet thread from a year or two ago explains why this exercise was so flawed in my opinion.  

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you Todd.

I feel the arm pumping we're told to do is as natural as rubbing your belly in a circle while tapping your head; I can do it, but why? In fact the arm pumping up and down while skating is as helpful as rubbing your belly and tapping your head while skating.
post #10 of 14

Most of the tips here should carry over to alpine, no pumping up and down. Arms start at 67 sec.

post #11 of 14

I used to cross a pretty large frozen pond on the way to some local BC hills that the locals kept cleared for skating when I was much younger.  Skating on snow you'll need to keep a flatter ski up til the last moment when you push off for the next glide.  One thing I ran in to recently though was not picking up my new transition ski high enough... trying to be too low and smooth.  When I do that I clip the top of the back/current gliding ski with the ski I'm stepping to when I skate on twin tips.

post #12 of 14

just checked psia-e cert standards and flatland skating is not on the requirements. Skating down the fall line is. I would say that if this is the case, the examiners are going to be more concerned about the way you move your COM down the hill. Also, edging, and range of motion. As far as hands, remember that in "normal" skiing hands can be a good indicator of where the COM is going. (i.e. hands back=COM back, hands down the hill as in a short radius turn= COM moving down the hill) So make sure your hands are headed in the direction you want to move your COM. Hope this helps.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

Thank you Todd.
I feel the arm pumping we're told to do is as natural as rubbing your belly in a circle while tapping your head; I can do it, but why? In fact the arm pumping up and down while skating is as helpful as rubbing your belly and tapping your head while skating.

I never meant to insult anyone or insinuate that L&AirC couldn't ski or skate well.  I suspect that his problems with level 2 have more to do with what is going on in his head than what he can do on snow.  You can look at assessments anyway that you want to, to me the best way to pass is to not try to over think about what it is specifically that they want you to do and to show up and ski well.  I wouldn't worry at all about the hand pumping or whatever.  I would ski balanced and strong.  I think Skiingblind nailed it in the previous post.  If in doubt don't listen to what the examiner is saying, watch what he is doing and do that.  In the teaching segment, get quickly to the point and don't talk yourself into a corner.  If you know what you are doing, your first instinct will be your best and an examiner will often let you talk yourself right out of a pass by continuing to feed you rope.  Stick to one skill and don't try to cover too much information.  Also make very sure that your demo matches your description.  I fully expect to hear that you passed this season.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I never meant to insult anyone or insinuate that L&AirC couldn't ski or skate well.  I suspect that his problems with level 2 have more to do with what is going on in his head than what he can do on snow.  You can look at assessments anyway that you want to, to me the best way to pass is to not try to over think about what it is specifically that they want you to do and to show up and ski well.  I wouldn't worry at all about the hand pumping or whatever.  I would ski balanced and strong.  I think Skiingblind nailed it in the previous post.  If in doubt don't listen to what the examiner is saying, watch what he is doing and do that.  In the teaching segment, get quickly to the point and don't talk yourself into a corner.  If you know what you are doing, your first instinct will be your best and an examiner will often let you talk yourself right out of a pass by continuing to feed you rope.  Stick to one skill and don't try to cover too much information.  Also make very sure that your demo matches your description.  I fully expect to hear that you passed this season.

 

TPJ,

No harm no foul.  I didn't take it as an insult.  I've gathered from this thread, as in others, my incredible ability to NOT get my point across.  Partly as I didn't want to go into all the detail because I thought this was going to be easy; my bad.  I have no concerns about skating in an exam or to carry out my daily tasks working at the mountain.  I actually do it for fun sometimes.  Nothing like skating from one lift to the other with a gate bag to get your heart pumping. 

 

I was really trying to get to some valid reference, that couldn't be misinterpreted, that states what the arm movement is - not for me but for the trainer where I work.  Remember, as I pointed out earlier, I don't pump my arms the way I'm being told (up and down), but the trainer is still training people to do that.  I'm trying to get that to stop.  I was hoping to find a "burning bush" that he couldn't dispute.  I like the guy a lot, but I'm also known to be a little argumentative and have challenged his training sessions a couple times and would like to stay away from a debate.  He's actually been a better trainer than I have been student when it comes to professional courtesy and I would like to amend that.

 

As for the exam itself, I not sure I'm going for L2 yet.  I want to this year, but thanks to our Congress, as an employee of a Defense Contractor, Sequestration is a much bigger concern for me and I probably won't make any solid plans until the politicians pull their collective heads out of their butts so I know if I have a job or not.  L2 training money may very well be buying groceries and I might be standing in the unemployment line instead of "line up".

 

IF I take the exam this season (still have a ton of prerequisites to do), I'm not going to sweat it.  Yes I would want to do well and pass with flying colors, but I'll know if I'm ready or not and the mountain's SSD is very open and tactful about letting candidates know if they are ready.   I thought I was going to go for L2 last season but I got sucked into running NASTAR again so I did very little training and very little instructing.  I've been told I wont have to do that this year (we need an emoticon showing the smiley face's mouth with a hook, line and sinker attached to it) and will be instructing/training instead.  I could spend the rest of my life as an L1 and be happy.  I mainly want L2 for the training I'll go through to get it for self improvement and the education that comes with it.  In similar certifications, I have always done well. I'm not the nervous wreck type.

 

I do appreciate your comments (and others) on how to approach the exam.  Thanks for that.

 

beercheer.gif,

 

Ken

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