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My turn: assess me!!! (for CSIA L3)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

 

Background: I'm in my late 30s, got my Level 2 in 2008, I teach on weekends at Grouse Mtn and sit at a desk banging on a keyboard during the week.  My fitness isn't great, as I'm quite physically inactive in the summer and don't do much pre-season prep.

 

I took the L3 Course in March 2012 @ Grouse, and failed both portions of the exam at Grouse in April 2012.  I passed the teaching exam on my retest at Grouse in April 2013, but failed the skiing portion.  

 

Perhaps unwisely, I attempted another retest at Whistler only 3 weeks later (April 30), but I enjoyed the experience anyway as it gave me a chance to see what an exam at a big mountain would be like.  As has been mentioned in other threads, it was a huge group with a tiny pass rate -- only 2 out of 22 on the ski portion.  Plus, it was a gorgeous spring day with surprisingly good snow (-5C, well groomed hardpack with a dash of fresh), and I really enjoyed the camaraderie shared with other exam candidates.  I recognized two of the examiners: Sami Chouinard and Ken Paynter...there were five in all.

 

So if you search around, you will come across past threads in which I've mentioned what the feedback I've received is from examiners, colleagues, etc.  But I rather not taint you with that, and have you guys look at me with fresh eyes and go to town on what you think about my skiing.  Please preface your feedback with whether or not you are familiar with the CSIA standards -- I will still value your feedback if you're not, but I'd prefer to have the context to interpret it appropriately.

 

Here we go!

 

Short radius (from 2013 Whistler exam):

 

Intermediate parallel (not on exam):

 

Advanced parallel (not on exam):

 

Many thanks...

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately I don't have any footage at all of a bump run.

post #3 of 21

Hi Randomstriker, I will play.  

 

Good for you on retaking your L3 test this Spring, not many would in the same  month.  My eyes are more than a little out of practice at playing Examiner, and never in CSIA, but this is what I see.

 

You could add some dynamic balance to the blend to help stabilize your turns; projecting your COM down the hill more inside the line scribed by your skis.  It would really be a benefit at initiation of the turns and your edge changes.  You ski well but think that this would bring out a dimension of power that is not currently showing itself.  This could be very beneficial for you in the bumps and on ungroomed snow.

 

Now lets hear what the big kids have to say. 

post #4 of 21

Greetings randomstriker and welcome to the Epic meat grinder experience!

 

I am not familiar with the CSIA standards, but I have watched the video clips of demonstrations of the standards at different levels. I am currently PSIA L3 cert.

 

Let's start with some of the effective movements in the parallel turns:

On edge above the fall line.

Both skis change edges simultaneously (no stemming)

Snow spray comes off the ski at the tip.

Tips stay on the snow.

Mostly "C" shaped turns.

Strong angulation (upper body more vertical than lower body)

 

Now let's look at some opportunities for higher performance.

 

In general what I see is a lot of you turning the skis and not a lot of the skis turning you. This needs to be reversed to pass L3. Your initiation move is up, followed by a pivot of the feet onto the new edge. Also, in general, your left turns are better than your right turns.

 

Now let's look at some specifics.

 

 

This is from the advanced parallel clip at 14 seconds. See the separation of the feet (left foot ahead)?  See the left pole horizontal, left hand behind the torso? At this position we want to have this kind of tip lead, but we also want the hips and shoulders lined up with the tip lead (i.e. upper body facing to the inside of the new turn instead of facing square to the ski tips). Also see how far your butt is behind your left leg?  You'll find it very difficult to initiate turns in the ankles through tipping when the upper body is not facing into the new turn and the butt is in the back seat. From this position you pretty much have to go up and pivot.

 

Ok - so this butt behind the heels thing is pretty consistent! And you are square to your skis approaching turn initiation.

 

This is from the short turns clip at 17 seconds. A pivot is about to happen. You have to cheat on your short radius turns. You need to work on getting the performance in your longer radius turns first, then make the same movements happen quicker in shorter radius turns.

 

This is nice angulation, but look at your right ski drifting away. You are not balanced against the outside ski. You are achieving angulation by leaning laterally into the new turn. When you can finish the previous turn with the upper body facing into the new turn and the hips flowing across the skis instead of stuck in the back seat going up and over, then you can be balanced against the outside ski in this portion of the turn. This where you get the bend in the ski and some dynamic performances on snow.

 

 

So let's recap.

Spot on comments from exams = not rolling your ankles + stance and balance issues". Spot on comment from Stranger = not moving your COM to the inside of the new turn (as part of initiation). The reason is that the position you finish your turns in limits your options for starting the next turn. There are a lot of symptoms that can appear when your options are limited. You've fixed some of them, but you're approaching "dead end" skiing because you are not working on the root cause. Finish your turns with your lower body turning more than your upper body and you will enable a new set of turn initiation movements that will make a huge increase in ski performance.

 

Recommend drills:

Picture Frame - develop upper/lower body rotary separation

Tug of War - balance against the outside ski

Shuffle turns - get centered

 

Extra credit: If you are serious about passing L3 you need to get more serious about fitness.

post #5 of 21

Work on S&B especially at the end of the turn. Your feet get caught behind in phase 1 into 2, and often the new outside ski is displaced. Try to feel functional bending of all joints, especially with the ankle through phase three, this will allow you to steer the ski more progressive underneath the COM. 

If you were on my course, I would be doing a lot of hockey stops, with the focus of keeping shin pressure throughout the entire movement, and then adding angualtion through the pole  tough/hip inside at the end of the turn (this is the aforementioned steering)

Any Q's please let me know. 

Roland 

post #6 of 21

Hi randomstriker, 

 

I've also been working towards my 3 for several seasons and am rather familiar with the standards. Rusty and rollo have summed up the consistent issues around stance and balance nicely. Presumably you're also able to self-assess using the video footage. I also imagine you've seen the level 3 standards videos, including candidates who've passed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ArIEdHOT9M  

 

I might suggest approaching development a bit differently if hockey stops aren't helping you to stay centered. First, I'd suggest mobilizing your ankles with some shuffling. Once you're mobilized, work on some javelin turns down a steeper Whistler blue. You'll find that it's night impossible to javelin turn from the backseat on steeper blues, it'll get you balancing over the outside ski, and enable you to create separation through pivoting. 

 

Another thought around your AP in particular: I liked the speed you started the run with. That said, there's a trend when you start your turns that you extend up, rather than out, which limits how dynamic and powerful your turn is (ie you're just dissipating all that pressure into an upward motion rather than generating speed). Once you've sorted out your stance and balance, think about adjusting your timing so you're balancing on the new edges, then extending fore-agonally, without crumpling through the apex. Eliminate the dead zone in the transition, and you'll have a rocking AP!

 

A few more practical notes that come to mind:

 

1 - Get rid of the backpack! Unless you're carrying an epi-pen or lifesaving device, you're messing up your CoM, restricting your mobility, giving your examiners another cue they can use to fail you, etc. 

 

2 - Rather than just taking the exam again, it'd be worth your time to check with a level 3 course conductor to assess your readiness first. Now that you've had the exam experience twice, you may as well ensure you're truly ready for next time. I've checked in a few times over the years and keep getting "not yet". It's saved me a bunch of money. 

 

3 - I'm guessing you're already doing the PDPs? 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

Work on S&B especially at the end of the turn. Your feet get caught behind in phase 1 into 2, and often the new outside ski is displaced. Try to feel functional bending of all joints, especially with the ankle through phase three, this will allow you to steer the ski more progressive underneath the COM. 

If you were on my course, I would be doing a lot of hockey stops, with the focus of keeping shin pressure throughout the entire movement, and then adding angualtion through the pole  tough/hip inside at the end of the turn (this is the aforementioned steering)

Any Q's please let me know. 

Roland 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hi randomstriker, 

 

I've also been working towards my 3 for several seasons and am rather familiar with the standards. Rusty and rollo have summed up the consistent issues around stance and balance nicely. Presumably you're also able to self-assess using the video footage. I also imagine you've seen the level 3 standards videos, including candidates who've passed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ArIEdHOT9M  

 

I might suggest approaching development a bit differently if hockey stops aren't helping you to stay centered. First, I'd suggest mobilizing your ankles with some shuffling. Once you're mobilized, work on some javelin turns down a steeper Whistler blue. You'll find that it's night impossible to javelin turn from the backseat on steeper blues, it'll get you balancing over the outside ski, and enable you to create separation through pivoting. 

 

Another thought around your AP in particular: I liked the speed you started the run with. That said, there's a trend when you start your turns that you extend up, rather than out, which limits how dynamic and powerful your turn is (ie you're just dissipating all that pressure into an upward motion rather than generating speed). Once you've sorted out your stance and balance, think about adjusting your timing so you're balancing on the new edges, then extending fore-agonally, without crumpling through the apex. Eliminate the dead zone in the transition, and you'll have a rocking AP!

 

A few more practical notes that come to mind:

 

1 - Get rid of the backpack! Unless you're carrying an epi-pen or lifesaving device, you're messing up your CoM, restricting your mobility, giving your examiners another cue they can use to fail you, etc. 

 

2 - Rather than just taking the exam again, it'd be worth your time to check with a level 3 course conductor to assess your readiness first. Now that you've had the exam experience twice, you may as well ensure you're truly ready for next time. I've checked in a few times over the years and keep getting "not yet". It's saved me a bunch of money. 

 

3 - I'm guessing you're already doing the PDPs

 

Quick questions for you CSIA folks from one of us PSIA types:  

what is S&B ??

AP ??  

PDP ??

post #8 of 21

I see you steering to an edge with your edging movements coming primarily the hip joint versus edging movement starting at the feet. this moves your COM in and back through the turn  Pressure is heavy late in the turn as a result and your are not balanced over your outside ski. So here is my quick prescription.

 

Start with outside ski turns. Find some easy green terrain and do laps focusing on lifting the new inside ski before you start your edge change and  turn. Keep the lifted ski parallel to the snow, making the same movements with your lifted ski, foot, and leg, as you make with your outside stance ski, foot, and leg. Once these are going better, then start changing up turn shape by alternating between long and short outside ski turns. Fight to maintain that stance over the sweet spot of the ski all the way through every turn. You'll feel it when you get it.

 

Next move to one ski turns using the same focuses as you used in the outside ski turns, including the turn shape variations and edging and steering movements originating in the feet.

 

Next start adding in some Javelin turns with the focus of progressively steering the outside ski under the lifted ski. This is different than moving the lifted ski over the stance and holding that position.

 

Now to bring all this back skiing with both skis on the snow, take your intermediate parallel turns to some gentle terrain and keeping the edge change movements originating in the feet. Ski the turn into the falline and then gently but quickly flatten the ski with a foot up focus and then still keeping with your foot up focus, tip the skis back on edge and finish the turn. do this lap after lap on every turn, slowly dialing up your speed and the terrain to your advanced parallel turns. Finish by eliminating the flattening of the skis in the falline, Keep the same dynamic ski snow interaction with feet first movements and balance to the outside ski.

 

Nothing new here but I think this will help you develop better foot first mechanics, a centered stance, and effective balance over your outside ski. These all require each other.

 

Enjoy and good luck!

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 


 

Quick questions for you CSIA folks from one of us PSIA types:  

what is S&B ??

AP ??  

PDP ??


Took me a while to figure it out but S&B = Stance and Balance

AP=Advanced Parallel

PDP I still have not figured out.

 

Thanks for putting the video up. Helps some of us learn a little more about Movement analysis and gives me a chance to practice more.

 

+1 on fitness. even though I spend most of my days working at a desk or servicing computers, after I started to pursue my L3 PSIA, I really started to work on my fitness and it has served me very well Just 15-30 minutes a day made a huge difference.. Being told to ski a top to bottom bump run for our L3, wasn't easy, I was able to do it at least once..

 

DC

 

DC

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan View Post


Took me a while to figure it out but S&B = Stance and Balance

AP=Advanced Parallel

PDP I still have not figured out.

 

Thanks for putting the video up. Helps some of us learn a little more about Movement analysis and gives me a chance to practice more.

 

+1 on fitness. even though I spend most of my days working at a desk or servicing computers, after I started to pursue my L3 PSIA, I really started to work on my fitness and it has served me very well Just 15-30 minutes a day made a huge difference.. Being told to ski a top to bottom bump run for our L3, wasn't easy, I was able to do it at least once..

 

DC

 

DC

PDP - Professional development  programme....free to all members, it keeps them active if they haven't take a course. It's usually a half or full day session with a Level 4, looking at ski teqnique and also teaching methodology, it just keeps our members up to date with the current lingo, and curriculum. 

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

1 - Get rid of the backpack! Unless you're carrying an epi-pen or lifesaving device, you're messing up your CoM, restricting your mobility, giving your examiners another cue they can use to fail you, etc. 

 

2 - Rather than just taking the exam again, it'd be worth your time to check with a level 3 course conductor to assess your readiness first. Now that you've had the exam experience twice, you may as well ensure you're truly ready for next time. I've checked in a few times over the years and keep getting "not yet". It's saved me a bunch of money. 

 

3 - I'm guessing you're already doing the PDPs? 

 

  1. Yep...all my friends made fun of me about the backpack.  Not gonna make that mistake again ;-)
  2. The problem is that the Level 4s that I have access to (Cam MacKenzie and John McClean) are pretty cagey about telling people if they meet the standard.  What I have seen consistently over the last few years is that for those candidates that did meet the standard, Cam & John don't want them to hear "yeah you'll pass" and then become complacent and backslide.  And anyway, a retest is pretty cheap ($148 including taxes) and registering for it serves as a concrete goal for me to focus my training on.
  3. Yes, I go to the PDPs, but I find them of limited benefit.  Usually way too many people attending.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
Quick questions for you CSIA folks from one of us PSIA types:  

what is S&B ??

AP ??  

PDP ??

 

LOL...I don't blame you for being confused.  At my home mountain (Grouse, a dinky little local hill) we hardly ever use the acronyms.  When I went to the exam in Whistler, I was like "IP?  AP? S&B?  WTF????"

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomstriker View Post

 

  1. Yep...all my friends made fun of me about the backpack.  Not gonna make that mistake again ;-)
  2. The problem is that the Level 4s that I have access to (Cam MacKenzie and John McClean) are pretty cagey about telling people if they meet the standard.  What I have seen consistently over the last few years is that for those candidates that did meet the standard, Cam & John don't want them to hear "yeah you'll pass" and then become complacent and backslide.  And anyway, a retest is pretty cheap ($148 including taxes) and registering for it serves as a concrete goal for me to focus my training on.
  3. Yes, I go to the PDPs, but I find them of limited benefit.  Usually way too many people attending.

 

 

LOL...I don't blame you for being confused.  At my home mountain (Grouse, a dinky little local hill) we hardly ever use the acronyms.  When I went to the exam in Whistler, I was like "IP?  AP? S&B?  WTF????"



I would agree with the L4's you have access to, there's no benefit being told that you're ready/going to pass and then missing it, it's highly disappointing if you have a bad day and don't pass, and then of course the phrase will be 'but my level 4 told me I'd pass'.

I would focus on your off season for now. Get into the gym, get fit and strong. I run PT sessions for Athletes and Instructors, and honestly I believe being in shape will give you the best possible advantage on snow next season. The level 3 standard requires athletic and powerful fall line skiing, especially in the bumps, you must be direct and not allow the terrain to dictate your path, this will be a lot easier with a strong core, powerful legs and a good set of lungs!!

I compare it all the time to car racing, if you're going to drive in a rally there's no point expecting to win when your car has the wrong tires, engine and suspension for the job even if the driver knows his stuff, he won't perform anywhere near as well, as he would in a fully spec'd car, treat your body the same as your equipment tuned and in good shape, and you will be rewarded. 

post #13 of 21

I think you ski WAY too close to people in your intermediate parallel video. 

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223 View Post

I think you ski WAY too close to people in your intermediate parallel video. 

 

Looks like he's skiing on Ego Bowl at the end of the day, maybe on a weekend or holiday. That run is an absolute gong show as it's one of the few easy routes down Whistler. Personally I wouldn't want to video with crowds like that, but all the near collisions are happening when he's turning out of the fall line as faster skiers from above him approach. I wouldn't say he's in the wrong, technically, but a shorter radius turn would be safer (right and wrong isn't much consolation if you end up broken). 

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

Looks like he's skiing on Ego Bowl at the end of the day, maybe on a weekend or holiday. That run is an absolute gong show as it's one of the few easy routes down Whistler. Personally I wouldn't want to video with crowds like that, but all the near collisions are happening when he's turning out of the fall line as faster skiers from above him approach. I wouldn't say he's in the wrong, technically, but a shorter radius turn would be safer (right and wrong isn't much consolation if you end up broken). 

 

That was the top of Green Acres, to the left of the first tree island.  Unfortunately I haven't taught at Whistler in almost 10 years, and I don't freeski there so often, so I wasn't so smart about picking the appropriate terrain for video assessment.  If I were to go again to practice or shoot video, I'd stick with what the examiners chose -- i.e. Springboard for all the groomed stuff and Stoker / Sorcerer for the bumps.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223 View Post

I think you ski WAY too close to people in your intermediate parallel video. 

Try skiing with 5000 people on 100 acres sometime. He's fine.

post #17 of 21

I'd deduct points because he missed the snowboarders.wink.gif

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomstriker View Post

 

That was the top of Green Acres, to the left of the first tree island.  Unfortunately I haven't taught at Whistler in almost 10 years, and I don't freeski there so often, so I wasn't so smart about picking the appropriate terrain for video assessment.  If I were to go again to practice or shoot video, I'd stick with what the examiners chose -- i.e. Springboard for all the groomed stuff and Stoker / Sorcerer for the bumps.

 

Holy crap--I didn't think green acres was ever that busy. 

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello all.

 

Just wanted to thank you again for the feedback provided many months ago -- I am re-reading it now and only after lots of reflection over the past year is the meaning of many of the comments sinking in and making sense to me.  Previously, I just didn't get what you were talking about (especially the excellent and very specific feedback from Rusty).  Given this, my suggestion to anyone else who receives feedback is to keep thinking about what was said, keep analyzing, keep reflecting on what that actually means.

 

I'm enjoying a great start to the season...hope you all are too.

post #20 of 21

Did you take the exam?  Did you pass?  Is it this year?  

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Did you take the exam?  Did you pass?  Is it this year?  

 

I passed the teaching portion at the end of last season, still need to pass the demonstration portion.  I think I finally understand the mechanics well enough to improve -- i.e. I can actually see what the hell the experts are describing when they assess me.

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