Originally Posted by nolo
Until you believe in what you are doing, you're not going to do it.
This is huge, and provides one reason why some people have considerable trouble making changes in their skiing.
I like nolo's principles. The first two are the most important and powerful. The student can learn to allow the third to happen through accurate balance and centrifugal force. Be careful about encouraging a step to the outside ski. The fourth will happen if the student is taught to release, guide and re-engage with their feet. As for the fifth, poles can be a bit of a problem because students up to and including some intermediates tend to be too dependent on their poles, with resulting ineffective moves of their upper body. Initial successful recoveries involving leaning on poles can create positive feedback that carries over into the student's skiing as they advance. I don't like to tell students not to do things, so it becomes important to tell students from the beginning what are effective ways to use their poles. Touch, don't plant!
My model is incomplete and always subject to revision. As given here, it does not directly address advanced techniques for challenging conditions, but I believe that it forms the basis for developing more advanced techniques. It seems to focus mostly on nolo's first two principles, and it's probably too wordy.
- Balance is everything. Accurate balance allows effective and efficient movement.
- Movement can enhance or destroy balance.
- Balance is dynamic. It is not a pose.
- When balance is accurate, it is physically easy to release and allow gravity to pull the tips down the hill, regardless of snow conditions, bumps or anything else. When balance is not accurate, things are hard. You can feel accurate balance, because things get easy.
- Always guide the tips. It is physically hard to push the tails up the hill. I'm into easy. What can I say? I'm old.
- A turn in its simplest form, is no more than release, guide, re-engage.
- Flatten the skis to release. There are several ways to do this that work well. There are also ways that don't work well or are entirely too much effort. Flatten them. They'll release, even in powder or crud. Release them both at the same time. Unweighting isn't required, although often it's fun.
- When they release, you have a choice: Guide straight to re-engage without any pivot at all, or allow/guide the tips down the hill as little or as much as you want to alter your line, shorten your turn, etc. Gravity will tend to pull the tips downhill.
- Tip the skis onto their new edges to re-engage. If your balance and movements are accurate, you can do this very early in the turn well above the fall line, and still achieve a very short turn. Your weight combined with the forces generated will cause the engaged ski to bend. Its sidecut and bent shape will pull you almost irresistibly into and through the turn. It is not necessary to push on the skis.
We can see that we have three of the four fundamental skills here: Balance (the biggy, and usually not done accurately), edging and rotary. What happened to pressure control? I love pressure control! For many people, though, discussion of pressure control may lead to exaggerated, inaccurate, or totally unneeded movements, as in nolo's example where someone was convinced they had to radically reduce pressure on the skis in powder in order to turn. For the basic model, I'd prefer that people learn to stand accurately on their skis without trying to reduce or increase pressure (which is, actually, pressure control). We'll get there. In the meantime, I'm content to let them discover that a good turn will pull them toward their outside ski, and that release+gravity, instead of unweighting, will allow a new turn to develop.
There are corollaries, such as: When guiding and re-engaging, focus on the inside ski. In other words, guide/engage the right ski for right turns and the left ski for left turns. The outside ski will follow. In fact, it's difficult to engage the little toe edge of the inside ski without also engaging the big toe edge of the outside ski. As most of us know, students tend to release, steer and re-engage the outside ski first. Change the focus to the inside ski.
There's more. There's always more. But in my admittedly worthless opinion, it's based on this. Fire away!