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MA My Clinic Group

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Steep little pitch, challenging conditions.  All these guys are PSIA instructors.  Guess their level, diagnose the one thing they could change about this run that would give them the most valuable improvement, propose an exercise or two to get there.  You could refer to them as S1, S2, S3, S4.



post #2 of 11

Skier 1

Guessing level 2

Should work on moving toward the appex of the new turn, and more pressure control movements.  Maybe would work on various types of hop turns to encourage flexion and extension.


Skier 2

Level 1

He's in the backseat and makes no movement down the hill, necessatating a sequential edge release, and in fact picks up the inside ski.  Lots of stuff and drills to work on.  Sideslips, pivot slips, garlands. 


Skier 3

Level 1.5? 

A little back seat early on, gets more centered as video progresses, pops straight up and doesn't get down the fall line/toward the appex, but a stronger simoultaneous release than skier 2.  Also lacks pressure control movements, as can be seen when he gets bucked a little in the turn finish.  Same drills as Skier 2.  Maybe do them on tougher terrain than skier 2.


Skier 4

Level 1

Back seat, pops up to release, twists entire body to get skis to pivot, skiing very defensively.  I wonder what he skis like on easier terrain, he looks like he doesn't really want to be there.  Get him on easier terrain and work a lot of the same drills as mentioned in the previous 2 skiers.  Get him centered and countered.


All 4 are stiff, and all 4 could do a better job moving the CM down the hill.  Skier 1 and 3 are pretty solid.  2 and 4 are a little over their heads in that terrain.

post #3 of 11

Yikes that is steep. Nobody at this level makes dramatic changes to their skiing on this kind of terrain.

S1 - L2 - Stay more in the fall line. Pivot slips.

S2 - L1 - Lift the tail of the new inside ski to initiate turns

S3 - L2 - Stop shopping or get a shopping cart. 10 toes drill.

S4 - L1 - Get an airbag. Use more width of the trail and finish turns with uphill finish.

post #4 of 11
molesaver, thanks for this opportunity!
I'm going to use CSIA equivalents in my levels. I'm having trouble seeing due to the white-on-white but it looked like the terrain was a bit bumped, and I'd suggest toning the pitch down for these guys to get development with them. How steep was this terrain exactly?
s1: l2, falling a bit back/inside, passive/defensive in skiing; I'd like to get him more agile and linking turns. drive hand forward after pole plant to get more weight over outside ski and set up for next turn; speed up timing to eliminate the traverse.
s2: l1, needs help stance and balance. take him back to groomers. turn using lower body. unlock joints. work on independent leg steering. Pole plant exercise can work for him as well to get him more aggressive. 
s3: l1+ or 2-, traversing... because he's uncomfortable. get him turning uphill at end of turn to set up for the next turn well. Plant on the backside of the bump, and as he turns, continue to drive the hand forward/downhill to balance over outside ski. 
s4: l1, lifting skis... rotating upper body, lots to work on here. Get him to hop turn down here using a firm pole plant to get idea of turning lower joints. also will help his balance. I'd want to know if he intended to side-slip, or if it was an unintentional outcome of his stance. If unintentional, we have to fix--otherwise he won't be able to ski bumps with confidence. If he can hop turn landing on his new edges, great. You might need to tone it way back for him on a groomer first. 
post #5 of 11

What's the 10 Toes Drill?

post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

What's the 10 Toes Drill?

I never heard the term either, LF. My guess would be some sort of garland with focus on releasing/turning the feet simultaneously.

I hope these guys were taken to this terrain so the clinician could show them the video and reinforce his suggestions for more skills development on less challenging terrain.
post #7 of 11

I believe it is a focus to consciously have all ten toes pointing straight down the fall line and take away the "rush" to pivot the skis so much at the top of the turn.
post #8 of 11

I'm working on increasing my MA skills, so thanks for this opportunity.


Skier 1:  This is the only skier in this group exhibiting any upper-body-lower body-separation.  Both skis stay pretty solidly on the snow for the entire run.  It looks like he's centered on the skis, and is even maybe having some fun.  He maintains his balance fully.


---I'd continue to work with this skier on this terrain and on these conditions, having him get more aggressive and feel more personal power owning that lumpy cut up snow.  A good metaphor: drive the bus at speed, on an obstacle course, rather than riding the bus to work.  He could get his COM in front of his feet and keep it there, leading his skis down the hill all the way to the bottom.  The visual cues I'm seeing of riding rather than driving are the location of the hips and the arms - these could be more forward.  I think he'd have more fun skiing this run like he was a cop chasing a bad guy ahead of him.    


Skier 2:  This skier is so far back that the skis are running ahead out from under him.  He loses his balance and flails a bit for this reason.  Knowing he's losing his balance, he's leaning into the hill defensively which puts his weight firmly on the inside ski at the end of the turn.  He's having to lift the new inside ski up to get the new turn started; the tip elevates more than the tail.  His body language screams "worried!"


---My first prescription would be to go to less intimidating terrain and work on getting forward over the shovels.  I'd watch to see if he could initiate his turns with attention to the new inside ski and his inside half, or turn his legs beneath a stable upper body.  If he can do all that on easier terrain, which he may be able to do, then I'd work on doing that under duress by increasing the terrain challenge slowly.  If he can't do all that on easier terrain, then I'd have to decide what to attack first depending on the specifics of how he skis.


Skier 3:  This skier has a more solid stance than Skier 2.  He flexes down at the end of his turns and extends his entire body into the next turn.  He is skiing square, and banking some.  He rushes the top of the turns and traverses.  But he holds firmly onto his balance for the entire run.  


---I'd take him to easier terrain and have him work on allowing angulation and counter to develop in his turns, with a focus on eliminating the traverse as he makes short round turns.  His turns on this terrain could transform into short round turns confidently gripping the snow with just counter and angulation.  He would feel more powerful control of the situation. 


Skier 4:  This skier is clearly aware that his skills are not up to this run from the start, thus he's very defensive.  His head must be spinning.  You are filming this!  I feel his pain.   He's using upper body rotation to initiate his turns - that outside arm swings way around.  He's leaning back and into the hill.  He is maintaining a very wide stance to attempt to get some balance and maintain some dignity (fail!)  He is attempting to make these turns short, without a traverse, which is great, but loses his balance because of the back seat and leaning in.


--I'd pair him up with Skier 2 and do the same stuff with him.  He may be find on easier terrain.  Or he may need to learn upper-body-lower-body-separation.

post #9 of 11

Yep - That's 10 toes. For a stupid concept, it's often remarkably effective.


Instructors are supposed to be able to ski all terrain and all conditions. There's a teaching concept that we only teach on less difficult terrain than what the student is capable of skiing. There's another concept that says if we're not falling, we're not learning. I know several of my mentors would have said that taking skiers 2 and 4 onto this run was inappropriate. Personally, I would not attempt to "teach" any of these skiers on this run (at least on the first attempt). But I will take skiers onto terrain that is over their heads like Mole as done for skiers 2 and 4 in this video if the risks can be managed. If there are no fear issues, it is challenging and it's fun. We all get accidentally over our heads eventually. Going there on purpose helps us practice our risk management skills. Skier 4 did a great job of managing speed and line and falling on purpose to minimize the likelihood of a long tumble. I like the positioning of the camera/clinic leader in the spot where assistance is most likely to be needed and effective. Difficult terrain has the nasty habit of spotlighting our weakest default movements. That can be useful. But there is no need to look at a soccer mom's attempt to drive 190 mph at Daytona to determine skill improvement opportunities.


Michael Rogan once said "That sucked! Let's do it again." In the right circumstances there's a lot to be said for that teaching method. If the goal here was to improve performance on this level of terrain, I would have followed this with instruction on milder terrain, then come back to tape an "after" run. But I'm also very conscious that repeated runs of this type for skiers 2 and 4 are more likely to ingrain inefficient movements than lead to performance improvement. My preference would be to give them a lot more development work before attempting a second run.


To get some perspective, this run should be filmed in the summertime. I suspect you would not get me on it without a rope. If it rates multiple expletives (of joy for climbers, of fear for normal people) in the summer time, it should rate at least a second thought in the winter.

post #10 of 11

Not going to say too much, but other than skier #1, everyone is pretty much over terrained. There are some pretty clear skill deficiencies that have already been mentioned. That said, the terrain is very typical of the PNW. We all ski this stuff even if no style points are rewarded.smile.gif  T

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

This is a short little pitch at a short little ski area - Central, at Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour from Seattle.  This run is called "Light Tower."  It is around 35 degrees, never groomed and has some trees on it.  On this occasion, conditions were pretty typical for Snoqualmie Pass - cruddy snow that had been through several melt/freeze cycles, on the soft side now, but still challenging, half set-up Cascade concrete.  In other words: both crappy and typical.  My goal for this day was to get video of everybody in a number of different situations and then we'd go take a look, have a beer and talk about stuff.  Runs were graded for "groomed, hero" to "manky crap."  I hoped to show that subtle things on the groomers would, without fail, show up as completely unsubtle things when the going got tough.  This was the awfullest run.  These guys have skied together a lot, have pretty good self awareness about their limitations and are really good sports who are committed to improvement.  Nobody wilted on seeing this.  Thanks for your insightful comments and I hope you had fun with it.  (I just learned about 'ten toes')

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