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PSIA Decoder Ring?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Sailing jargon, for example, is not intuitive to Joe 21st century American. A rope is a "line." Sometimes a line is a "sheet." The jargon is nevertheless meaningful and useful to sailors. If I'm a student of sailing there are places I can go to learn this jargon.
 
Similarly, if I want to learn the PMTS jargon (e.g., "counter-balancing" vs. "counter-acting"), I can read the Harb books and watch the Harb videos and get a clue.
 
I've found many of the threads in this forum interesting. Some of the individual posts have been of immediate practical benefit for me. (Thanks again, Mr. Barnes, among others. I'm now better at accepting chaos. biggrin.gif ) But mostly you folks go on and on about stuff, only half of which I understand, as a civilian who is a good skier, but who has no PSIA training and very little exposure to formal instruction. Much of this lack of comprehension is attributable to use of PSIA jargon. Can y'all recommend one or two specific known-good decoder resources that can help me understand the terminology? I'm not just talking about obviously opaque terms like "DIRT". I'm also talking about words like "steering" whose meaning at first seems like it ought to be clear at face value, but then devolves into fog the more I think about it. Yes, I can always Google individual words or phrases, but I'm looking for what people turn to themselves as a clear, authoritative, but digestible "bible," the way a programmer, for example, might turn to Steve McConnell's Code Complete.
 
Thanks in advance.
 
-q
 
P.S.: PLEASE do not shower me with a hundred posts telling me I can't learn to ski from a book. Give me some credit, and let's just not go there at all in this thread. Thanks.
post #2 of 23

  Q, have you seen this?  http://www.epicski.com/a/the-complete-encyclopedia-of-skiing-epicski-skiing-glossary --some useful descriptions here...

 

 

   zenny

post #3 of 23

Buy Bob's book.

post #4 of 23

For at least an introduction to PSIA lingo, reviewing the definitions in the back of the Alpine Technical Manual would be a start.  And, next comes the encyclopedia.

 

dave

post #5 of 23

It's not so much PSIA lingo as instructor lingo or even Epic lingo. Semantics is a big part of a lot of disagreements on Epic. Please do not ever fear to ask for definitions in the middle of a thread. Instructors should know better then to not explain jargon for the casual reader. But we should not need to define it over and over again either. It's going to be natural if the same term has been used and explained recently in a thread that people won't bother to explain it again in a new thread.

 

The problem with a bible of ski instructor definitions, just like the problem with Code Complete is  that there are a lot of people who think they are so good (or "too busy") that they don't need to read the bible. So even if there is a bible, you will probably still need to get people to define their semantics.

 

Feel free to use this thread to add new terms and ask for explanations. Eventually it could be converted into a wiki.

post #6 of 23

I appreciate your candor and desire for clarification.  As I understand it, PSIA manuals encourage instructors to meet the needs of the students.  Isn't that what the Core Concepts Manual is all about?  Find out how a student learns and then adjust.   If the student's goal is to ski a blue slope with confidence and you see they aren't 'steering' enough to do that, then you better be able to explain what that means without sending someone off to 'buy a book.'  Jargon for jargon's sake makes for poor instruction, whether it's on the slope or in a thread.

post #7 of 23

I feel your pain, qcanoe.  

 

Bob Barnes' Complete Encyclopedia is pretty thorough.  Even if you buy it, you'll discover some people continue to use terms different from how he does.  They just do.  Mine is printed up and in a big binder.  


The PSIA's Adult Alpine Teaching Handbook (aka Alpine Technical Manual) can be bought through PSIA's online store.  It has a nice glossary of drills in the back, but not a glossary of regular skiing terms.  You won't find "steer" in its glossary.  This handy little booklet (expressly made for instructors) is sitting on the table in front of me right now ... a summer task to plow through it.

 

I really like the way Rick Schnellman uses many of the usual terms.  He is very clear and ties his use of skiing terms to his instructional DVDs which are also very good. He doesn't always use the same terms that Bob Barnes does, and others posting won't always agree with him either.  I think Bob Barnes and Rick Schnellman disagree on steering.  I like Rick's definition; it relates carving to steering in context.  Here's his online glossary:

 

http://www.yourskicoach.com/glossary/SkiGlossary/Glossary.html

post #8 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 
But mostly you folks go on and on about stuff, only half of which I understand, as a civilian who is a good skier, but who has no PSIA training and very little exposure to formal instruction. Much of this lack of comprehension is attributable to use of PSIA jargon. Can y'all recommend one or two specific known-good decoder resources that can help me understand the terminology?

 

When this topic comes up I like to point out that people are often seeing discussions between instructors, and while the discussions aren't exclusive by any means, they definitely will get technical at times. When people are receiving feedback, on the other hand, there's an expectation that the instructor speak using language the learner can understand. I also personally feel that if you're passionate about a sport, it's critical to understand the skills, biomechanics, and ultimately physics behind it. Without knowing why we do the things we do, I suspect that improvements will come rather slowly. Knowing the vocabulary is only a small part of achieving an understanding of skiing.

 

The easiest and most practical route to understanding would be to just take some instructor training. You'll learn a lot about the mechanics of skiing, you should come away with a model for how skiing works, and you'll also improve your own skiing at the same time as you learn how to teach. 

 

You could just ask questions as Rusty suggested. The downside for most people is they don't like to be the "I don't get it!" guy. (I'm more than happy to play the part, personally, but I know a lot of people put their notion of perceived credibility above their interest in developing.) 

 

You could also read the CSIA's technical reference or the PSIA equivalent. It's not built as a "how to ski" book so I'm not sure how well this would work for any given person. 

 

If you use Rick's definitions, be aware he's decided to redefine some words that already exist in CSIA (e.g. pivoting, steering). That said, even experienced instructors get confused about these terms.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

When this topic comes up I like to point out that people are often seeing discussions between instructors, and while the discussions aren't exclusive by any means, they definitely will get technical at times. When people are receiving feedback, on the other hand, there's an expectation that the instructor speak using language the learner can understand. I also personally feel that if you're passionate about a sport, it's critical to understand the skills, biomechanics, and ultimately physics behind it. Without knowing why we do the things we do, I suspect that improvements will come rather slowly. Knowing the vocabulary is only a small part of achieving an understanding of skiing.

 

The easiest and most practical route to understanding would be to just take some instructor training. You'll learn a lot about the mechanics of skiing, you should come away with a model for how skiing works, and you'll also improve your own skiing at the same time as you learn how to teach. 

 

You could just ask questions as Rusty suggested. The downside for most people is they don't like to be the "I don't get it!" guy. (I'm more than happy to play the part, personally, but I know a lot of people put their notion of perceived credibility above their interest in developing.) 

 

You could also read the CSIA's technical reference or the PSIA equivalent. It's not built as a "how to ski" book so I'm not sure how well this would work for any given person. 

 

If you use Rick's definitions, be aware he's decided to redefine some words that already exist in CSIA (e.g. pivoting, steering). That said, even experienced instructors get confused about these terms.

 

Excellent suggestion. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Some good suggestions in here. Thanks. I'll follow the links and do some reading.

 

Side note in response to a couple of the posts above: Sometimes using jargon is a form of posturing, or is used when simpler language would serve the need better, as when working with a non-technically-oriented student. Note that I'm not talking about that problem here. I'm talking about cases where jargon is used in a way that others find genuinely profitable. I'm not asking for anyone to dumb it down (except when dumbing it down is actually smartening it up); I just want to get a better understanding of what people mean when they use it, so I can align it with skills and movement patterns I may or may not already have.

 

Metaphor's challenge to take instructor training is interesting. Essentially what he's saying, I think, is, "A point comes when you gotta put your money where your mouth is." I never really considered this because I've never had any real interest in or talent for teaching (not really a soft skills guy), and I always assumed that was a primary part of all instructor training. But maybe not.

post #11 of 23

Hi Q,

 

I use Bob's book myself. Probably the most comprehensive easy to digest ski encyclopedia available. I can't think of any other book that is strictly devoted to skiing's terminology. I've got his 3 rd edition in print and his latest electronic version too, but I'm old school enough that I really enjoy just flipping the pages. I leave it on our locker room table at Bridger all winter long to make it available to all of our instructors for their reading enjoyment and learning. Psia used to have a decent glossary in the back of their tech manuals but I find that the latest versions of the tech manuals have become too watered down for my tastes. I'm not sure why that is. One nice thing about Bob's book is that it gives a historical perspective of the terms and in doing so, gives a more universal or global definition of ski terms. The best place to start from IMHO. I remember being frustrated myself when I first stated teaching  by what I saw was a lack of a defined terminology. It was there all along, I just had to find it.
 

post #12 of 23
have you ever heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words"? of course you have. well, some words and phrases such as leg steering, upper/lower separation, tipping, inclination, etc, are used for the sake of brevity amongst "those in the know". its neednt be about posturing. and as the rusty notes, many here are willing to elaborate or define if needed.

zenny
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Ric, thanks for the testimonial. I will definitely be getting the Barnes book. Too much weight behind that now to do anything else. Maybe I'll throw some T'ai Chi into my alleged fitness routine for good measure. smile.gif
 
Zentune, yeah, when I used the word "posturing" in my last post, I was specifically trying to clarify that I was NOT accusing people of that sin - at least not in this thread. Instead I'm operating on the assumption that people are employing terminology in good faith. I understand that I can ask for clarification here, but I also need to be able to RTFM when that is more appropriate.
post #14 of 23

    I get ya, q. I think another potentially confusing thing for readers here on Epic is that it's not all psia speak. As you know there's a few different schools of thought here--sometimes in the back and forth's different verbage gets used interchangably--and as a result spirited, ummm, discussions can often ensue! biggrin.gif

 

    Another excellent book is Ron Lemaster's Ultimate Skiing, which references many terms and concepts and uses photo montages to show the real world manifestations of them...

 

    zenny


Edited by zentune - 5/16/13 at 6:07am
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Ric, thanks for the testimonial. I will definitely be getting the Barnes book. Too much weight behind that now to do anything else. Maybe I'll throw some T'ai Chi into my alleged fitness routine for good measure. smile.gif
 
Zentune, yeah, when I used the word "posturing" in my last post, I was specifically trying to clarify that I was NOT accusing people of that sin - at least not in this thread. Instead I'm operating on the assumption that people are employing terminology in good faith. I understand that I can ask for clarification here, but I also need to be able to RTFM when that is more appropriate.

 



That'd be cool! Next time we ski together you can show me some ski with chi moves. wink.gif  I have a whole shelf of books on skiing, some really vintage, others fairly new. Some are good, and some not as good, but they are all have something to offer. Elling's The All Mountain Skier is a good one, Harb's Essentials is worthwhile, and any Whitherall  book. The more background you get the easier it is to understand others when they talk about skiing. Elling's book has an easy to understand chapter on steering skills.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Some good suggestions in here. Thanks. I'll follow the links and do some reading.

Side note in response to a couple of the posts above: Sometimes using jargon is a form of posturing, or is used when simpler language would serve the need better, as when working with a non-technically-oriented student. Note that I'm not talking about that problem here. I'm talking about cases where jargon is used in a way that others find genuinely profitable. I'm not asking for anyone to dumb it down (except when dumbing it down is actually smartening it up); I just want to get a better understanding of what people mean when they use it, so I can align it with skills and movement patterns I may or may not already have.

Metaphor's challenge to take instructor training is interesting. Essentially what he's saying, I think, is, "A point comes when you gotta put your money where your mouth is." I never really considered this because I've never had any real interest in or talent for teaching (not really a soft skills guy), and I always assumed that was a primary part of all instructor training. But maybe not.


Ski instructor training is probably the best lesson for the cost you can buy anywhere.
post #17 of 23

Much (not all) of the ski instructor training I've participated in is all about improving one's personal skiing.   The assumption is that if you can do it and know how it affects your skiing, then you can teach it.  

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Sailing jargon, for example, is not intuitive to Joe 21st century American. A rope is a "line." Sometimes a line is a "sheet." The jargon is nevertheless meaningful and useful to sailors.
Yes, otherwise the expression "they're three sheets to the wind" ,aka very drunk, would make no sense.
You could always try and get Bob's 2007 Rocky Mt Manual. Not a lot of lingo, but everything is laid out.
Very little to no jargon is used in actual teaching.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Ski instructor training is probably the best lesson for the cost you can buy anywhere.

 

I want to do some instructor training! But my understanding is that you can't, e.g., do the PSIA 1 training/clinic unless you're a resort employee.  Is there another way?

post #20 of 23

Some mountains offer early season training for wanna-be instructors.  You have to pay to take the course.  You might or might not get hired.  Wachusett in MA does this.  Don't know right off who else in NE does, though.

post #21 of 23

I still have my PSIA ATM manual from 1981-1982.  I wonder how much of it is still germane today? 

 

 

 

The book is 60 pages with the first 12 being terms and definitions.  So, 20% of the total content is terms and definitions.  LOL!

post #22 of 23
All of it is, Crgildart! There was more information and food for thought packed in those 60 pages than in all of the manuals PSIA has put out combined since then. It was not an easy read, or a fancy production. With multiple authors, there were more than a few contradictions in it to get you thinking. And, of course, it preceded the Center Line(TM) Model and all else that has come since--as well as the "shaped skis" that accelerated the evolution (not, in my opinion, revolution) in understanding and performance opportunities for the average skier.

Although it had many flaws, I still consider that old ATM manual among the greats!

Best regards,
Bob
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

All of it is, Crgildart! There was more information and food for thought packed in those 60 pages than in all of the manuals PSIA has put out combined since then. It was not an easy read, or a fancy production. With multiple authors, there were more than a few contradictions in it to get you thinking. And, of course, it preceded the Center Line(TM) Model and all else that has come since--as well as the "shaped skis" that accelerated the evolution (not, in my opinion, revolution) in understanding and performance opportunities for the average skier.

Although it had many flaws, I still consider that old ATM manual among the greats!

Best regards,
Bob


It was fun flipping through it today when I took it out to scan it.  I knew it like the back of my hand near the end of the instructor training period for the competency exam.  I think I'll keep it for another 30 years hahaha..

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