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"stand tall" - sez my PSIA instructor. "Ski the tunnel, stay low" - sez my race coach. "I'm confoozed" - sez I

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

For the record, I'm taking the advice of the race coach, not the PSIA guy, and my skiing is now the best it's ever been.

 

But I am very confused as to the physics of all this.

 

The context of the PSIA "stand tall" advice: a general "advanced ski camp" during the 2011/12 season at Mammoth. I didn't understand the logic of what the guy was saying then, and I still don't understand it. It never seems to have done anything for my skiing.

 

The context of the race coach "ski the tunnel" advice: slalom training at the Mammoth Masters program, from Pierre, the head coach. He pointed out during post-slalom video analysis that almost everyone in the program was getting too tall between gates. His mental exercise for us is to pretend we're skiing in a tunnel and if we raise our head just an inch we'll bump it.

 

This single piece of advice instantly helped both my freeskiing and my gate training.

 

But I'm still intellectually curious about this conflicting advice. I am probably the one missing something - maybe I don't understand what "stand tall" really means.


Edited by calisnow - 3/19/13 at 6:15pm
post #2 of 17

calisnow, perfect timing--you've illustrated my point perfectly from the "why skiing tall isn't the answer" thread.

 

tpj, you're welcome to apologize for declaring such issues as "hypothetical" or driven by an instructor's "'want' to get caught up in semantics". 


Edited by Metaphor_ - 3/20/13 at 1:07am
post #3 of 17

This reminds me of a situation that occoured to me years ago.

 

I was coaching a race camp with a few other coaches.  I was standing at the bottom of the run with another coach and this racer comes down the course.  He was totally stuck...didnt flex...didnt extend.  Just locked "midway".  Myself and the other coach both said allowed at the same time..."this guy needs to move more".  At that point I headed away to go back to the top of the course (before the racer in question showed up).  At the top, I saw the guy, and said "Try to extend more"....his response..."The guy at the bottom told me to flex more!!!!!"

 

 

Now...I can see how this may seem like opposite advice...but it isnt.  We can only flex, as much as we extend, and vice versa.  You cant just do one, and not the other...well not more then once anyway.  Our goal , was simply to get this guy moving...flexing and extending.  I have enough experience as a coach to know..that if a skier is stuck in "mid stance" telling them to flex more....will mean they automatically extend after, back to their comfortable positon...and likewise, if I tell them to extend more...they will automatically flex after, again, back to their comfortable position.  Will this work 100% of the time?  No.  But it will 99%.

 

So which is better?  Neither...one cant work without the other.  Chicken and egg.

 

Should instructors/coaches use the term "get tall" when they really mean "extend"?  Well in my experience most skiers get "tall=extend", but I appreciate not all do.  Its good to be able to explain things a variety of ways...as the penny drops different for different people.

 

 

Specific to your story...after transition you still (or should) extend (albeit laterally) or as some say (get tall...or get long....or "reach"...or ).

post #4 of 17

What ski dude said above.  The confusion starts with symmantics that get twisted into a static notion of 'the way' we should be skiing; one or the other. As skidude says, it's both. 

post #5 of 17
I try to avoid just saying something about flexing/extending by including some activity that illustrates. Want someone to extend? Try skating. It's both an extension movement and a lateral movement. Want someone to flex? Try hopping. You have to flex to prepare to hop.
post #6 of 17

   That exactly reminds me of what we've been working on several people with skidude (level 2 psia's, some going for l3..who want to improve their overall skiing.) One tends to always ski extended. Another tends to ski always flexed. Yet another seems to always be somewhere in between. Each ski in their respective comfort zones. Aside from the usual things, counter, angulate, fore aft, etc., "one" thing we've been emphasizing has been flexing and extending.

 

 The guy always "tall" has worked on getting his hip in more to brace against the forces and to flex thru, the guy always flexed has been shown /worked on exaggerated extending thru (no pushing) exercises. The one in between, some of both of course...

 

   Now that they get the idea that "something needs to happen" movement wise, in order to better facilitate pressure management, and that we shouldn't just stay in one static position throughout all phases, we've progressed and are now having all do the same movements as a group...seems to be helping, tho change takes time...That's why I put the "one" in one thing in quotes above, because they are really two sides of the same coin, imo...

 

   zenny

post #7 of 17

Calisnow,

 

I think the confusion comes from the fact that the race coach is seeing his skiers CoM moving up toward the sky like a tree grows, instead of across the skis in the direction of the new turn.

 

Skiing is a dynamic sport, & whether you bend & unbend, retract & extend, get short & tall, retract & lengthen or whatever you want to call it...  Like Skidude & Jerry Garcia said

 

"You gotta Move"

 

JF

post #8 of 17

They're both correct.  Stay low when skiing gates, the farther apart the gates are, the lower you should be of course.  Less wind resistance is usually faster.  Although you may want to pop up briefly to prejump some rollers.   Stand up more when skiing more diverse terrain.  Ever try to tuck a bump run??

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

They're both correct.  Stay low when skiing gates, the farther apart the gates are, the lower you should be of course.  Less wind resistance is usually faster.  Although you may want to pop up briefly to prejump some rollers.   Stand up more when skiing more diverse terrain.  Ever try to tuck a bump run??

 

Ever try to ski a bump run without flexing (staying low) and extending (standing up) a whole lot?

post #10 of 17

Here's a little of both:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xPx-zeRSAw

 

 

... and this guy:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MYJWFZZQ8A

 

smile.gif

post #11 of 17

Situations demand situational tactics and techniques. Racing occurs on hard snow and groomed terrain. Slipping it creates an even smoother surface. Outside the gates we encounter a wider variety of snow conditions and terrain variations. Thus making an adjustment towards a taller stance is often good advice since it allows us to negotiate the terrain with fewer problems. For example, skiing a steep chute requires a different skill blend and tactical approach than a slalom course. Being versatile enough to do either and realizing how and where a taller and lower stance are appropriate is part of becoming a better skier. Know both, own both, and your gate and free skiing will improve.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

I try to avoid just saying something about flexing/extending by including some activity that illustrates. Want someone to extend? Try skating. It's both an extension movement and a lateral movement. Want someone to flex? Try hopping. You have to flex to prepare to hop.

I spent a day shadowing an instructor who was teaching children extension and flexion in the funnest way possible. 

He was using terrain, some of which is part of the mt bike trail in the summer time, with banking, undulation and other things you can find on the mountain.  Once in a while he'd give a pointer or two but not too much serious instruction about extension and flexion but the kids got it because they skied it!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

calisnow, perfect timing--you've illustrated my point perfectly from the "why skiing tall isn't the answer" thread.

 

tpj, you're welcome to apologize for declaring such issues as "hypothetical" or driven by an instructor's "'want' to get caught up in semantics". 

 

Apologize for being right?

 

 I have never seen a student who was in the backseat suddenly stand up and ski bolt upright with their joints all locked out.  That student probably doesn't exist.  In fact I had a student (level3) yesterday who was only slightly back seat, but never moved from this position in any phase of the turn.  I did tell her to stand taller.  Guess what....  At the end of the lesson she listed that as the one tip I gave her that helped her the most.  I agreed with her based on what I saw.  Yes...  I did discuss a more accurate directional movement with her, but what worked for her was lengthening her legs and standing more upright.  Her quads thanked her.

 

As far as semantics go....  Go back and read some of the drivel you have posted on this subject.  You want to split hairs about lateral movements vs. vertical movements.  My point is that your description is no more accurate than the one you are criticizing and more likely to cause confusion in your typical student.  There has been a lot of criticism on this board from the non-professional about some of the jargon used here and how it's confusing and not clear to them.  The really funny thing about it is that most of the abbreviations and such are things I don't see used anywhere else but Epic.  Somehow people assume they are PSIA, but they are not.  Jargon evolves to make complex or specialized concepts easier to describe accurately amongst professionals.  In the field working with students and especially lower level students, jargon is inappropriate and that's why the criticism about it on this board.

 

So we make it simple and Metaphor gets his panties in a bunch or we make it accurate and the masses miss the point and say things like "that instructor would be too confusing on snow.  Even the race coach who told the OP to ski in the tunnel probably expected to see long legs at some phase in the turn.  To keep the head down while doing this would require some lateral extension.  BTW....  I would assume that a race clinic is a pretty high level learning environment where jargon and more accurate descriptions should be appropriate and understandable by students who have been around for a while.  It is not your typical low intermediate PSIA type lesson where that stuff would be inappropriate.  

 

Go back and look at the video on the thread that started this whole shit show.  That skier really should stand up and won't get bolt upright.  Even if he did, no skier will ski like that for long because it will feel wrong and won't work.  I stand by what I wrote in that thread, on the very first page BTW, about extending and flexing through the turn.  IMO any movement at all is a step in the right direction for that skier.  He is not hypothetical and neither are the students I teach everyday.

post #14 of 17

If you flex at the hip, does that mean that you are not skiing tall.  Bump skiers in my opinion ski tall.  They bend their knees and flex their hips - but they maintain god posture.  Same is true for slalom skiers.

 

This as opposed to a rounded back seen in downhill and and GS.

 

It would not be appropriate to ski with flexed hips and bent knees unless it was part of dealing with terrain or a particular turn.

 

I like a tall stance, but that's just me.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by calisnow View Post

For the record, I'm taking the advice of the race coach, not the PSIA guy, and my skiing is now the best it's ever been.

 

But I am very confused as to the physics of all this.

 

The context of the PSIA "stand tall" advice: a general "advanced ski camp" during the 2011/12 season at Mammoth. I didn't understand the logic of what the guy was saying then, and I still don't understand it. It never seems to have done anything for my skiing.

 

The context of the race coach "ski the tunnel" advice: slalom training at the Mammoth Masters program, from Pierre, the head coach. He pointed out during post-slalom video analysis that almost everyone in the program was getting too tall between gates. His mental exercise for us is to pretend we're skiing in a tunnel and if we raise our head just an inch we'll bump it.

 

Well Metaphor, you've found your man!

 

So to the OP,  what to you, is the logic of the tunnel advice? Why do you think one made a difference and not the other?

What was the explanation for the "stand tall" advice? Knowing why you're doing something is really important so there's not a misinterpretation.

Just giving a "he said I should stand tall" annecdote doesn't really provide much context.

Probably "long" would have been a better term?

 

Slalom demands a very stable upper body to be successful. You must keep the upper body going downhill or your toast or slow. The forces and speed involved are high and you've got to deal with running over gates, cross blocking etc.  I don't think the public realizes how crazy it is.

 

Check out this super slo motion video of Felix Neureuther, (GER), at Kitzbuhel in 2010. This would probably resonate with the "tunnel" advice? He does get long, and at times "tall", but when tall it's usually tall to the skis and tipped inside the turn.

He's big into core stability training, like most wcup skiers. He used to have a training video on his website of him kicking a soccer ball while on a slack line.

 

(btw, if you like this video, I'd download it because youtube already removed the original)

 

http://youtu.be/Fe4sW5yfJHk

 

Here's the full speed version. Not sure if it's the exact same run though.

 

http://youtu.be/VvQq5XMXm5c

 

You could easily say that both of these slalom skiers were "tall" at the start of the turn, though "long" might be a better term.

 

Photo Ron LeMaster                         Ivica Kostelic                                 Beaver Creek, 2011


 

Photo Ron LeMaster                                                Christian Deville                                        Beaver Creek, 2011

post #16 of 17

i would go with that it really depends on the type of turn you are making:

 

- when doing intermediate parallel turns you COG (centre of gravity) stays over your BOS (base of support) therefore when you extend it is going to be a vertical movement. "standing tall" this is the type of turn that your typical student will be making and where you are most likely to hear the words "stand tall" used.

 

- when doing advanced parallel turns you COG goes outside of your BOS so the extension is lateral rater than vertical "tunnel turns" you piked this up in a race camp because this is a more advanced skill and used by racers and it requires you to be skiing at higher speeds to achieve. it is fairly rare to get students in lessons at that level. 

 

another thing to bare in mind is that most instructors will try to keep concepts relitacely simple for students to understand so not to completely confuse students, where a race coach is often dealing with someone who does a lot more skiing and is more likely to grasp a more complex concept. 

 

hopefully there is some sense in there.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

calisnow, perfect timing--you've illustrated my point perfectly from the "why skiing tall isn't the answer" thread.

 

tpj, you're welcome to apologize for declaring such issues as "hypothetical" or driven by an instructor's "'want' to get caught up in semantics". 

 

Apologize for being right?

 

 I have never seen a student who was in the backseat suddenly stand up and ski bolt upright with their joints all locked out.  That student probably doesn't exist.  In fact I had a student (level3) yesterday who was only slightly back seat, but never moved from this position in any phase of the turn.  I did tell her to stand taller.  Guess what....  At the end of the lesson she listed that as the one tip I gave her that helped her the most.  I agreed with her based on what I saw.  Yes...  I did discuss a more accurate directional movement with her, but what worked for her was lengthening her legs and standing more upright.  Her quads thanked her.

 

As far as semantics go....  Go back and read some of the drivel you have posted on this subject.  You want to split hairs about lateral movements vs. vertical movements.  My point is that your description is no more accurate than the one you are criticizing and more likely to cause confusion in your typical student.  There has been a lot of criticism on this board from the non-professional about some of the jargon used here and how it's confusing and not clear to them.  The really funny thing about it is that most of the abbreviations and such are things I don't see used anywhere else but Epic.  Somehow people assume they are PSIA, but they are not.  Jargon evolves to make complex or specialized concepts easier to describe accurately amongst professionals.  In the field working with students and especially lower level students, jargon is inappropriate and that's why the criticism about it on this board.

 

So we make it simple and Metaphor gets his panties in a bunch or we make it accurate and the masses miss the point and say things like "that instructor would be too confusing on snow.  Even the race coach who told the OP to ski in the tunnel probably expected to see long legs at some phase in the turn.  To keep the head down while doing this would require some lateral extension.  BTW....  I would assume that a race clinic is a pretty high level learning environment where jargon and more accurate descriptions should be appropriate and understandable by students who have been around for a while.  It is not your typical low intermediate PSIA type lesson where that stuff would be inappropriate.  

 

Go back and look at the video on the thread that started this whole shit show.  That skier really should stand up and won't get bolt upright.  Even if he did, no skier will ski like that for long because it will feel wrong and won't work.  I stand by what I wrote in that thread, on the very first page BTW, about extending and flexing through the turn.  IMO any movement at all is a step in the right direction for that skier.  He is not hypothetical and neither are the students I teach everyday.

Depends on what you mean by "for long".   I was given that advice, after skiing in a tuck, using cross-under turns, and generally with my COM biased to the rear.   It felt wrong, and it didn't work (at least not as well as what I had been doing for a few decades),  in fact it worked so poorly that I had as many falls in 10 days as I had had in the last 10 years.   Still I attributed it to it being new, like a hockey player with a good shot learning to swing a golf club.    Some people actually listen to instructions.     I eventually figured it out.   

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