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Should I have put him back in a wedge?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Taught yesterday on very limited beginner terrain.  This was an adult student, cautious/concerned guy, skiing wobbly.  He was very capable in his professional life, but not on snow (how awful must that feel???).  His skiing exhibited determined concentration, stem entries followed by wobbly matching, a little upper body rotation to enhance the stems, skiing square, edges catching, especially the tail of new inside ski, rigid beginner bent-over-deeply-crouched stance, and fear, the whole familiar package.  He was creating turns consistently left and right but also consistently wobbling.  His quads and lower back were going to burn afterwards.   His stance was immovably rigid beyond these determined movements.  

 

He was not having fun, but had to learn to ski (family obligations!)  What he was doing was not going to get him to a more confident state, nor to a higher level of skiing.   It was especially not going to net him any fun.  He was in a dead-end, and firmly stuck there.

 

There had been many previous lessons.  He had been told to transfer his weight to his new outside ski to start a turn.  So he was trying to "weight" it by mostly pushing on it, resulting on a heel-push-stem entry, after which he moved his inside ski over to match.  He  had also been told to lean forward to get his weight on the fronts of his skis, thus the big bend at the waist to accommodate the sitting down stance.  I presume he started in a wedge, so someone had successfully gotten him out of it.  His upper body rotation was minimal, so I'm also thinking someone must have worked with him to keep his hands out front.  He was good with that.

 

We worked on initiations on the beginner terrain for half the lesson, but it was difficult getting him to loosen the hold he had on his new inside ski.  He was too wobbly on that hard icy surface and insecure.  I wondered if he'd have more success on the softer snow on our easiest green, so we went there.

 

Once there I focused on stance issues.  My goal was to get him out of the back seat and help him be less rigid and immovable and less downright uncomfortable.  I had him doing thumper traverses (inside ski tail thumping).  He got better at that with repetitions and could sometimes thump that new inside tail through the initiation - so he had some good initiations starting with the new inside ski!  In these initiations his stem disappeared.  

 

Then I got him to raise up his hips so his thigh angle was steeper.  Good; less quad burn!  But I could not get him to upright his torso.  He felt too unsure of his balance and wanted to get low for security's sake.      

 

Now that I think of it, I wish I had put him back in a wedge and worked on stance and balance exclusively. The wedge would have given him more stability so he might have been able to loosen up and feel alive on snow.  Maybe he even could have learned to loosen that death hold on the old outside ski (aka new inside ski) for good initiations.  I think I may try that the next time I have someone like this.

 

The things they learn in the first lessons are very sticky; first impressions are difficult to dislodge.  But that's my job, so any seasoned pros out there have suggestions?  

 

note:  this was a 1 1/2 hour lesson in the northeast on man-made snow.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/3/13 at 3:34pm
post #2 of 28

Sounds like a tough lesson - a guy who doesn't want to be there who's skiing poorly due to conflicting advice in past lessons. I don't envy you! It sounds like he would benefit from understanding the outcome you're trying to create by getting him centered and more mobile - e.g. to be able to ski faster, or handle more varied terrain.

 

Regarding the wedge, consider the function of the wedge: it adds a bit more friction to slow down the skier, and it puts the skier into a partially turned position (half your turn's already set up when you're in a wedge). I can't see using a wedge to train stability.  

 

Was he doubling over due to speed freakout? If so, good choice to move to the easiest green. I'd also watch his eyes. I wonder if he was watching his ski tips rather than looking out the mountain. 

 

I think you were on the right track with helping to mobilize him. Tapping the ski, shuffling the skis, thousand steps, hops--all good ways to mobilize the joints. 

 

To get him more centered rather than doubled over, you might get results by "showing off your chest to the people on the hill". But definitely hopping at transition will enable him to recenter; it's hard to hop if you're in a crouch! 

 

While that's probably all you can do in 1.5h, I'd want to get him into another lesson: "now that we're skiing centered, in the next lesson we'll learn to turn by using our lower joints. That way we can ski longer, manage our speed better, and ski steeper runs."  

 

It sounds like you did a good job with what you had. It's tough teaching someone who doesn't want to be there...

post #3 of 28
Quote:
 skiing wobbly

Check his boot fit.  If he had big comfy, sloppy boots, there is no way he can do what you're asking.  "Wear the smallest boot that you can wear without discomfort, buckled as tightly as you can without discomfort."

 

Quote:
 Was he doubling over due to speed freakout? If so, good choice to move to the easiest green. I'd also watch his eyes. I wonder if he was watching his ski tips rather than looking out the mountain. 

Important point.  If he is looking directly down at the snow, he'll seem to be moving really fast, and every thing that comes up will be a surprise.  Looking ahead, not down, is important.

 

I agree with the point of just working on stance...after the boots fit.

 

Is a wedge christie a skill to be taught or a bad habit to be changed?  Don't teach anything that must be un-learned.  Go from a wedge turn into easy parallel turns without letting the student know they're missing a step.  They'll pass through the wedge christie stage quickly without even knowing it.  The goal here is to get them through their wedge christies and into parallel before they've developed muscle memory to do the christie.

 

"Stand up straight.  Keep your hands out in the same balancing position you use when walking on an icy sidewalk.  Hinge forward at your ankles so you feel the tongues of your boots.  Move your body so your zipper pull is over the label on your left ski, then turn both feet to the right."

post #4 of 28

Go back and do a mini dry land 10 minutes. You can accomplish some great things just fooling around on boots to find stability without the ability to lever aft into the American toilet position... then take it to skis. Focus on foot steering, not weighting, and dial the terrain back. If his upper body is tense, give him a tip about holding the poles very loosely... Make sure he's breathing. Self-generated audio cues can work wonders for relaxing. I've had students sing the dumbest song they can remember to 'distract and relax'. There's a strong 'mental/emotional' component that's undermining his self-confidence. Some of it could be related to his immediate skiing experience, but he could be bringing old baggage to the hill as well. There's the science of skiing, but the 'art' often starts when we get between the ears.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys.  To your points:

 

I did talk about looking ahead.  His mind was spinning; this guy was on sensory overload.  Looking way ahead was too much, but he wasn't looking down either.  His vision was ok enough for the lesson.

 

I did get down and check his rental boots.  He said his toes were touching the front wall of the boot.  He had very loose cuffs; I tightened them up and explained why.  I had him on the chairlift swivel his skis and tell me if he had any slop; he said he didn't.  Some instructor in the past had told him he needed to be able to lift his heels up off the floor of the boots; I corrected that misinformation and asked him about how high off the bottoms his heels were as we rode up; he thought maybe a half inch or so.  Rental boots!  I overlooked buckling his bottom two buckles tighter when we got off; we were talking about something else.  Whoops.

 

I might have addressed the fear factor, but he didn't admit being shall we say "cautious."  With guys I'm reluctant to talk about fear directly, and I don't have many tricks in my bag for dealing with it.  The only one I've found useful so far is something I use when beginner guys keep falling back.  I tell them that when the urge to pull back attacks, thrust their fists forward as if punching someone.  It works; they don't need to hear it twice.  Got any good ways to loosen up someone who is holding their body rigid when fearful of losing control on snow?

 

Must admit I didn't think of addressing the rigidity directly while the lesson was going on.  Hopping, shuffling, etc would have been good for that.  I'll have that up front in my mind next time.  Working on balance while not being rigid might have been much more successful and might have offered more recognizable results for him in that short lesson.  I'll try to remember talking about breathing; big breath in for release; big breath out for turning??  Singing would be good, too. 


He was not going fast.  He was completing his turns.  I got him traversing all the way across the wide slope between turns so there was no run-away skis issue; he could do it and he never fell.  I kind of wish he had fallen so he'd know that it's no big deal.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/2/13 at 7:02pm
post #6 of 28

I would say to your question, "possibly", so long that it is a gliding wedge which should allow balance, release of the downhill ski and allow him to flow rather break (much more relaxing).  That was the first thing to come to mind.

 

My second thought has been touched on - thumpers,etc.

 

Third - the boots.  It is much easier for a person in a busy rental shop to get a customer comfortable in a boot vs. the right boot.  The right size and buckle tension is important, but sometimes the boot forward lean and ramp make it impossible to get your hips forward and not have quad-crouch burn.  It is difficult to stand up straight with our hips behind your feet.  Try a different brand of boots as well as down-sizing and buckle tension. 

 

Lastly, boot drills (also touched on).  Find a 20 yard hill off to the side someplace that has fairly firm snow and a little pitch.  IF something goes wrong they can just walk away, or if they do fall at least they don't have their skis and knees all tangled up.  (hint - long leg short leg and femur rotation make this much easier than just femur rotation). 

 

I'm looking forward to some other replies. 

post #7 of 28

Did this guy have any other athletic activities or sports he did in the past?

 

I agree with marko in go back to just boots, get him comfortable.

When back on skis, just have him go straight with no turns- ideally you have a very flat place with an uphill runout so he can stop without doing anything.

Get him comfortable gliding. I dream of a magic carpet served area like this. But even on a flat green you could maybe just do one large turn uphill to stop or do shallow traverses. The point is to build up some comfort on skis.

 

He knows he's failing, so he tries what he knows to do even harder. It's not working.

 

Since he's been taught to push on his outside ski. (Ok, "weight it", but invariably that results in pushing because when it doesn't work instantly they try more and more -pushing the foot, to make it work) You're going to have to acknowledge what he was taught, why people say to do that, and why not pushing is better. Look, pushing works or certainly can work. A great number of little kids get very good at it -just watch them going down pushing left foot, then right. The problem is it leads to very bad habits - always pushing to start a turn instead of releasing to start a turn, going to the left when you want to move right. (I'm not saying to tell him those things necessarily, but I have done it.)

 

You don't necessarily have to do a big explanation, but it has to be dealt with. Sometimes I'll say I want to focus on the inside ski. - Guiding the inside ski. If you get the inside one, the outside will follow but not the reverse. (They don't believe it, but stick with it) You could reduce everything to "left tip left to go left, right tip right to go right". That's only one thing to think about for each turn. Not bad.

 

The fear thing you can't necessarily talk about directly unless he gives an opening, but you can talk about performance and athletes. - They need to breathe to relax so they perform to their ability etc. However you want to put such things. You know it already. Bring in whatever you can relate to it and maybe get him to relate to it. Or do it some other way, there's no formula. They don't even have to respond but they may hear something in what you're saying anyway.

 

Fundamental to most of this is we don't want to go downhill uncontrolled, it's falling and it's scary. Virtually all skiers deal with this and it never really goes away, just gets to higher levels like 40 deg slopes, then 50 and then whatever. I'll frequently tell people this. Again, they often don't believe me but I assure them it's true and then they're just highly skeptical.

post #8 of 28
An issue I always check with a nervous beginner is whether they can stop effctively. If they can't, I make that the number one goal of the lesson. Learning a good hockey stop means implicitly working on useful stuff like edge control and rotational movements so it has other positive benefits anyway.

Guys don't like to talk openly about fear. Try asking if they would be happy driving a car down a mountain road without the brakes working or a problem with the steering. Use that analogy as a way to talk about the issue indirectly.
post #9 of 28

Feeling the skis slide is a good start.

 

Do the two main boot drills in the snow.  After that proceed to one footed scooter on the flats.  It gets them to balance on one ski going straight and if you start to lead them in a circle they can feel the ski slide and turn with rotary and pressure and edging.  Challenge them to try and make a small turn and stop on that one ski.  Let them know that what they think of weight is really just balance (counter and angulation appears as well as the feet inverting and everting).  Turn around and go around the other way.  Now put the ski on the other foot and do it again (straight and turns each way and stopping if possible)

 

Side slips.  If they do slide they will no doubt do some form of a "falling leaf" which will help them find their fore /aft.  This guy is going to have a hard time still I think.  I've gone as far as facing the client with my skis straddling theirs, and (this will sound odd) bend over and grab their ankles and tip them for them appropriately so they FEEL their skis flatten and slide. This has actually worked great for the NIS edge locked folks and the people who leave their uphill ski uphill while sliding (lateral pressure).  Many times it only take a few yards of doing this before they go "AaHaa!"

 

So, I think I covered tipping, leg rotation, fore /aft and lateral pressure,  balance with counter/ angulation, and, they may learn to stop before they ever go downhill. 


Edited by Crud Buster - 12/2/13 at 11:20pm
post #10 of 28
Thumbs up for sideslips, preferably in slightly steeper terrain.That's my standard starting point for developing a good hockey stop. Sideslipping down a steeper run also helps build confidence. It might not be pretty but it is in control and that's important.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Taught yesterday on very limited beginner terrain.  This was an adult student, cautious/concerned guy, skiing wobbly.......

 

 

Now that I think of it, I wish I had put him back in a wedge and worked on stance and balance exclusively. The wedge would have given him more stability so he might have been able to loosen up and feel alive on snow.  Maybe he even could have learned to loosen that death hold on the old outside ski (aka new inside ski) for good initiations.  I think I may try that the next time I have someone like this.

 

 

 

Thanks for the story and asking for advice. Yes, IMO you should have put him back in a wedge. I put allmost all my students no matter how good in a wedge at first. The absolute first thing I do is a basic warm up on flat ground. This way I can check out their overall fittness, their balance and how motivated they are. When wedging the students establish a good safe platform to act out of. As soon as they learn how to controll their speed by friction in the fall line and turning by outside ski pressure they will loosen up as they gain confidence.

 

The typical misstake, the one you now encountered, for these kind of adult students is that they fail to retain their outside ski edging. As they try to pressure their outside ski they also flatten it out. Because they move their hips towards the outside. This is the reason I teach "angulation" right from the beginning. Also, teaching on man made snow this early in the season is a big challange.

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Tog, yes I focused on the initiation first thing.  I didn't put down the earlier instruction - that would be confusing to the student and just not professional.  So I had him work on simple "baby steps" to get him to flatten the new inside ski, then turn it.  Left, flatten left, etc.  He was able to understand this, but unfortunately he couldn't do it; he was too rigid.  He couldn't let go of the support that ski offered.  I'll try to bring up my own ways of dealing with "caution" in such situations in the future... good suggestion.  I think I need to reread Mermer's book "Conversation with Fear."  She ahs lots of good ideas in there, but I've forgotten them.

 

hyperkub, thanks for the car analogy.  I'll see if I can work with that.  He could stop by turning uphill.  That was good.  But I didn't think of trying hockey stops.  I don't think he would have been able to do those, but it would have gotten him moving his whole body and just trying might have been worth the effort.  Then I could have suggested the hockey stops as a good thing to practice whenever he thought of them - after the lesson.


CrudBuster, getting to the lift involved skating uphill (yes, he could, sorta!) and then I had him sideslipping in a countered position down a somewhat steepish drop to the lift.  He could clumsily sideslip down facing left (nice - I don't think he'd ever tried sideslips), but not facing right, and was very stuck in staying square, but he tried to stay countered.  He didn't fall; he did manage to get a bit better with each repeat, so that was a success.  Riding that lift was worth it just for the chance to work on the slideslips and the counter.  You're right, sideslipping is so important.  For this guy, I explained it as a way to get down anything that was too steep to comfortably turn on.  He understood that and was committed to doing it.  Telling him how it relates to releasing the skis would have been too much at this point in his skiing.  Next time with someone like this I'll have them do the counter static first; he was having difficulty maintaining any tip lead:  I think he simply missed that part of my instruction.

 

tdk6, he did make controlled turns.  That's the problem; what he was doing was making consistent turns in both directions, and stopping by turning uphill.  He was wobbly, but getting around.  So his idea was that if he just tried harder and perfected what he was doing he'd be in better shape; unfortunately not true.  I didn't say this directly, since it would have dissolved his confidence.  This is why I addressed the inside ski from the start in the lesson, something I now wish I hadn't spent so much time on.  I wanted him to see the new inside ski as the "guide ski" and the outside ski as the "ride ski," phraseology I picked up in a thread here recently.  I forget who uses that language, but isn't it great?  But he couldn't do it because of the rigidity of his stance, and how stuck he was in the back seat, and maybe more importantly how stuck he was on that supportive outside ski/new inside ski.  At least he knows that starting his turns with his new inside ski is his next step ... as long as the next instructor he gets sees it this way (hmmmmmm.....).  Thanks for the insight on the difference between flattening the new outside ski and pushing on it vs. edging it and standing on it.  I didn't watch what he did with his hips.  I think he stayed over his skis, in between them, but must admit I'm not sure.  He certainly did not angulate.

 

So, after two days of reflection, what I've learned is that a very rigid and overly cautious skier who is aft and tail-pushing/stemming to turn needs to get flexible on the skis before attempting a new initiation movement pattern with a focus on the inside ski.  Becoming flexible and comfortable on a moving platform should be up front in my strategy.  I should have had him working on moving foot to foot (shuffling, stepping, sliding on one foot), standing up and flexing down (bending into the cuffs, hopping), and moving fore-aft (moving the feet forward and backward with large muscles, opening and closing the ankles, feeling the fronts of the cuffs and feeling the backs of the cuffs).  Whether I put him in the wedge or kept him parallel is not the issue; both could work.  Just getting him softened up and realizing balancing on the moving platform was possible and that doing this might even bring laughs and fun should have been my number one priority. Maybe I could have had him rub his tummy while patting his head while traversing.  That always brings laughs.  Then, and only then, should I have tried to get him to replace the stemming and tail-pushing with an inside ski release.  


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/3/13 at 7:50am
post #13 of 28

If you can find some flats, give the scooters a try.  I think these and boot work are really key from the get go. 

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrudBuster View Post
 

If you can find some flats, give the scooters a try.  I think these and boot work are really key from the get go. 

 

 

Scooters - on one foot, for foot-to-foot balance?

Boot work - for femur rotation instead of weighting?


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/3/13 at 3:38pm
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Tog, yes I focused on the initiation first thing.  I didn't put down the earlier instruction - that would be confusing to the student and just not professional.  So I had him work on simple "baby steps" to get him to flatten the new inside ski, then turn it.  Left, flatten left, etc.  He was able to understand this, but unfortunately he couldn't do it; he was too rigid.  He couldn't let go of the support that ski offered.  I'll try to bring up my own ways of dealing with "caution" in such situations in the future... good suggestion.  I think I need to reread Mermer's book "Conversation with Fear."  She ahs lots of good ideas in there, but I've forgotten them.

 

hyperkub, thanks for the car analogy.  I'll see if I can work with that.  He could stop by turning uphill.  That was good.  But I didn't think of trying hockey stops.  I don't think he would have been able to do those, but it would have gotten him moving his whole body and just trying might have been worth the effort.  Then I could have suggested the hockey stops as a good thing to practice whenever he thought of them - after the lesson.


CrudBuster, getting to the lift involved skating uphill (yes, he could, sorta!) and then I had him sideslipping in a countered position down a somewhat steepish drop to the lift.  He could clumsily sideslip down facing left (nice - I don't think he'd ever tried sideslips), but not facing right, and was very stuck in staying square, but he tried to stay countered.  He didn't fall; he did manage to get a bit better with each repeat, so that was a success.  Riding that lift was worth it just for the chance to work on the slideslips and the counter.  You're right, sideslipping is so important.  For this guy, I explained it as a way to get down anything that was too steep to comfortably turn on.  He understood that and was committed to doing it.  Telling him how it relates to releasing the skis would have been too much at this point in his skiing.  Next time with someone like this I'll have them do the counter static first; he was having difficulty maintaining any tip lead:  I think he simply missed that part of my instruction.

 

tdk6, he did make controlled turns.  That's the problem; what he was doing was making consistent turns in both directions, and stopping by turning uphill.  He was wobbly, but getting around.  So his idea was that if he just tried harder and perfected what he was doing he'd be in better shape; unfortunately not true.  I didn't say this directly, since it would have dissolved his confidence.  This is why I addressed the inside ski from the start in the lesson, something I now wish I hadn't spent so much time on.  I wanted him to see the new inside ski as the "guide ski" and the outside ski as the "ride ski," phraseology I picked up in a thread here recently.  I forget who uses that language, but isn't it great?  But he couldn't do it because of the rigidity of his stance, and how stuck he was in the back seat, and maybe more importantly how stuck he was on that supportive outside ski/new inside ski.  At least he knows that starting his turns with his new inside ski is his next step ... as long as the next instructor he gets sees it this way (hmmmmmm.....).  Thanks for the insight on the difference between flattening the new outside ski and pushing on it vs. edging it and standing on it.  I didn't watch what he did with his hips.  I think he stayed over his skis, in between them, but must admit I'm not sure.  He certainly did not angulate.

 

So, after two days of reflection, what I've learned is that a very rigid and overly cautious skier who is aft and tail-pushing/stemming to turn needs to get flexible on the skis before attempting a new initiation movement pattern with a focus on the inside ski.  Becoming flexible and comfortable on a moving platform should be up front in my strategy.  I should have had him working on moving foot to foot (shuffling, stepping, sliding on one foot), standing up and flexing down (bending into the cuffs, hopping), and moving fore-aft (moving the feet forward and backward with large muscles, opening and closing the ankles, feeling the fronts of the cuffs and feeling the backs of the cuffs).  Whether I put him in the wedge or kept him parallel is not the issue; both could work.  Just getting him softened up and realizing balancing on the moving platform was possible and that doing this might even bring laughs and fun should have been my number one priority. Maybe I could have had him rub his tummy while patting his head while traversing.  That always brings laughs.  Then, and only then, should I have tried to get him to replace the stemming and tail-pushing with an inside ski release.

 

Its a tough one. No easy remedy or prime solution Im affraid. I think you did pritty well especially since you have given it so much thaught. Most instructors I know wouldnt have given it much thaught then or now.

 

When I have my warmup at the beginning of each lesson I have them pick one ski off the snow. This is a good way of getting the sencation of balancing over one ski. Thats angulation.

 

Also, when a student is that uptight it wears on him quite a lot. An hour and a half must have been pritty exhausting for the guy.

post #16 of 28
LF, my favorite get-em-out-of-the-back-seat trick: Herringbone up a short rise, slide back down in a rearward wedge. Repeat a couple times, recognize where the pelvis goes during the herringbones. Then turn around and make the pelvis go where it did during the climb.

Wobbliness commonly results from loose boots and really tight leg muscles. You found the boots somewhat loose at the shin, but probably they were a bit loose at the foot too. I suggest wiggling the toes to relieve tensed leg muscles, along with bouncing, flexing and extending, wiggling the knees in and out, etc.

You did good with the focus on the inside foot. I'd have tried to get him tapping to start the turn.

A 90-minute lesson is frustratingly limited. You generally only can begin to address one issue in that time. I'm glad I no longer teach in that type of setting.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

Scooters - on one foot, for foot-to-foot balance?

Boot work - for femur rotation instead of weighting?

Sure.  The guy can't figure out one ski much less two.

"We worked on initiations on the beginner terrain for half the lesson, but it was difficult getting him to loosen the hold he had on his new inside ski." 

 

I would bet my bottom dollar (which is all I have to my name,) that if you did scooter turns he would not do them edge locked.  And remember, you need to turn both directions.  What if he is making a left scooter turn with his left ski?

 

"So he was trying to "weight" it by mostly pushing on it, resulting on a heel-push-stem entry, after which he moved his inside ski over to match."

 

Try doing scooter turns with only a heel push.  Your ski slides away from you and you loose all of your glide and put your foot down, which tells me he really wasn't 'weighting' his ski.  With only one ski on he will basically learn to stand on one ski before two, learn fore / aft and lateral pressure and begin to feel the fine line between over and under edged - AND WITHOUT FEAR!  (not too mention to start to feel the femur rotation that you hopefully explained beforehand).

 

So, what if he did flatten the ski on that icy hard-pack without balance, pressure, completely incorrect posture, wobbly boots, etc?  He probably would've fallen downhill and slammed in some way.  So, I do believe that people need to know the three things we can do with a ski from the get-go, rotary being one of them.  The three skills are not a secret to be kept.  Sorta like me in geometry wanting to know who gave me the given?  Once, I had the general idea of the overall theme of the class I got it.  But when my teacher said, "oh, its just a given" that left me hanging. (keep in mind I was non-attention-paying high school student).  The teacher then gave me a real-life example of having one measurement to start with to find the others.  Why not give them a good overall sample of skiing at any level right from the beginning?  We don't have to be technical, just like the given isn't technical.  Works for me.  BTW - define 'weighting' precisely for me.

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 

Just a clarification --- I don't like using the terms "weighting" or "transferring weight" when I talk about skiing.  I used it this time because my student used it and thought that was what he was doing.   I asked him how he started his turns, and he said he "weighted" or "transferred weight" to the outside ski.  I presume an instructor told him to do this.  What I saw was a brushed-out stem entry.    

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Just a clarification --- I don't like using the terms "weighting" or "transferring weight" when I talk about skiing.  I used it this time because my student used it and thought that was what he was doing.   I asked him how he started his turns, and he said he "weighted" or "transferred weight" to the outside ski.  I presume an instructor told him to do this.  What I saw was a brushed-out stem entry.    


I wasn't trying to call you out.  I know that term has slipped out of my mouth before.  We only have so many words to try to use on the cognitive side of skiing. 

post #20 of 28

So...your student is currently at a state where he is nominally in control and can turn, but he's doing it all with muscle. Everything is hard, but deep inside, he believes that if he just tries even harder, things will get better. Better work out some more! This skiing thing is tough! In addition, his successful professional life may be all about control.

 

And, the fear thing might also be a major contributor.

 

Once you have his boots snugged up, I like the idea of side slips for this guy. He gets to start out with his skis perpendicular to the fall line, he's not moving, he can see that perpendicular allows his skis to stay still, and he can stand up and relax. Now, without doing anything else, move the knees slightly so the skis release slightly and start to just creep sideways down the hill. Don't try to push the skis down the hill one at a time, which novice sideslippers often try to do. Try to get both skis to release, creep a foot, then move the knees uphill slightly to stop. Since he's already done this to get on the lift, you have a start, but you want more room with fewer perceived hazards in the immediate area.

 

This does several things: It requires a release of the downhill ski. It can be done slowly to minimize fear reactions. It can be done (we hope) without causing a crouch or a move to the tails. It can be done from an athletic, but generally upright, stance. It creates confidence that it is possible to move without crouching. It does not require pushing, just standing. It sets up the release of the old outside/new inside ski necessary for initiation of every parallel turn.

 

You will want to repeat this until he can do it smoothly and with confidence.

 

Then you are ready to expand the drill to garlands. Garlands will require the addition of a little rotary and allowing the tips to drift down the hill during the sideslip. Again, no pushing. Stand over them, steer very gently down the hill. Get the sideslip going first, then add a little steering. Then, tip the skis uphill again and steer gently up the hill to slow down. No crouching, very little speed, total control. Minimize muscle.

 

Again, you are accomplishing several things: The release is now followed by a slight turn down the hill. Then, you use his experience that he can turn uphill to stop. You have shown him that he can start a turn without actively moving to the outside ski and pushing it out. There is no pushing at all, and the whole thing requires very little effort. It doesn't require tense, hard muscles. Gravity and his own weight do the work. Everything is carefully controlled and non-threatening, yet all moves are parallel, so you've avoided giving him the feeling that you're taking a big step backwards. The pressure remains predominantly on the downhill ski, so the complexity and sensory overload of pressure transfer is avoided.

 

With the appropriate terrain, the garland can include more and more downhill turn before turning back across and up the hill. Always keep it slow so that the move to the heels and the crouch do not occur. Find terrain where speed control will not be an issue. Keep expanding on the exercise until he's pointed straight down before turning back across.

 

Once you have good garlands going in each direction with a comfortable, effective stance, you're ready to try the Big Move. It is, of course, to keep turning past the straight down the fall line point so that he ends up doing a new garland in the other direction. You still don't need to discuss pressure transfer. It simply isn't necessary. Speeds are very slow, and pressure will transfer naturally as the skis turn through the fall line. Speeds are slow enough so that this exercise will be largely two-footed anyway. Pressure transfer requires muscular effort that we don't want to get into at this point. You want a good stance and minimal effort.

 

You have also avoided any requirement for matching the skis, and the tail of the new inside ski will not get "caught" since the skis are never on opposing edges.

 

From the very beginning, this progression requires release of the old outside ski, rather than hanging on to it. It is intended to feel safe and be physically easy, thus avoiding squatting or crouching for security or to develop the leverage necessary to push. No pushing is required. Ever.

 

Everyone is different, of course, so there is always the possibility that this won't work. I've had good success with it. It might be worth a try.

post #21 of 28

I like the above^^. I'll add that sometimes when people have a hard time sideslipping I'll get right next to them downhill. I will sometimes literally pull a little on their jacket or top of the boot or maybe just hold the hand. Then slide down with them. This when they just refuse to let go of that edge and consider it impossible. A little micro hill on a flat slope can feel safer too.

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

Thumbs up for sideslips, preferably in slightly steeper terrain.That's my standard starting point for developing a good hockey stop. Sideslipping down a steeper run also helps build confidence. It might not be pretty but it is in control and that's important.

You would have put him on steeper terrain and then asked him to slide slip? 

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

So...your student is currently at a state where he is nominally in control and can turn, but he's doing it all with muscle. Everything is hard, but deep inside, he believes that if he just tries even harder, things will get better. Better work out some more! This skiing thing is tough! In addition, his successful professional life may be all about control.

 

And, the fear thing might also be a major contributor.

 

Once you have his boots snugged up, I like the idea of side slips for this guy. He gets to start out with his skis perpendicular to the fall line, he's not moving, he can see that perpendicular allows his skis to stay still, and he can stand up and relax. Now, without doing anything else, move the knees slightly so the skis release slightly and start to just creep sideways down the hill. Don't try to push the skis down the hill one at a time, which novice sideslippers often try to do. Try to get both skis to release, creep a foot, then move the knees uphill slightly to stop. Since he's already done this to get on the lift, you have a start, but you want more room with fewer perceived hazards in the immediate area.

 

This does several things: It requires a release of the downhill ski. It can be done slowly to minimize fear reactions. It can be done (we hope) without causing a crouch or a move to the tails. It can be done from an athletic, but generally upright, stance. It creates confidence that it is possible to move without crouching. It does not require pushing, just standing. It sets up the release of the old outside/new inside ski necessary for initiation of every parallel turn.

 

You will want to repeat this until he can do it smoothly and with confidence.

 

Then you are ready to expand the drill to garlands. Garlands will require the addition of a little rotary and allowing the tips to drift down the hill during the sideslip. Again, no pushing. Stand over them, steer very gently down the hill. Get the sideslip going first, then add a little steering. Then, tip the skis uphill again and steer gently up the hill to slow down. No crouching, very little speed, total control. Minimize muscle.

 

Again, you are accomplishing several things: The release is now followed by a slight turn down the hill. Then, you use his experience that he can turn uphill to stop. You have shown him that he can start a turn without actively moving to the outside ski and pushing it out. There is no pushing at all, and the whole thing requires very little effort. It doesn't require tense, hard muscles. Gravity and his own weight do the work. Everything is carefully controlled and non-threatening, yet all moves are parallel, so you've avoided giving him the feeling that you're taking a big step backwards. The pressure remains predominantly on the downhill ski, so the complexity and sensory overload of pressure transfer is avoided.

 

With the appropriate terrain, the garland can include more and more downhill turn before turning back across and up the hill. Always keep it slow so that the move to the heels and the crouch do not occur. Find terrain where speed control will not be an issue. Keep expanding on the exercise until he's pointed straight down before turning back across.

 

Once you have good garlands going in each direction with a comfortable, effective stance, you're ready to try the Big Move. It is, of course, to keep turning past the straight down the fall line point so that he ends up doing a new garland in the other direction. You still don't need to discuss pressure transfer. It simply isn't necessary. Speeds are very slow, and pressure will transfer naturally as the skis turn through the fall line. Speeds are slow enough so that this exercise will be largely two-footed anyway. Pressure transfer requires muscular effort that we don't want to get into at this point. You want a good stance and minimal effort.

 

You have also avoided any requirement for matching the skis, and the tail of the new inside ski will not get "caught" since the skis are never on opposing edges.

 

From the very beginning, this progression requires release of the old outside ski, rather than hanging on to it. It is intended to feel safe and be physically easy, thus avoiding squatting or crouching for security or to develop the leverage necessary to push. No pushing is required. Ever.

 

Everyone is different, of course, so there is always the possibility that this won't work. I've had good success with it. It might be worth a try.

 

This is great.  You described so clearly how and why this should work.  Thanks!  

One question - when I had him doing sideslips, I tried to get him into a slight counter, hips and shoulders facing somewhat downhill, uphill ski tip a little ahead of downhill ski.

Is there any reason I don't know of to allow/encourage squareness instead of slight counter when doing sideslips -- for someone like this?


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/5/13 at 6:33am
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

This is great.  You described so clearly how and why this should work.  Thanks!  

One question - when I had him doing sideslips, I tried to get him into a slight counter, hips and shoulders facing somewhat downhill, uphill ski tip a little ahead of downhill ski.

Is there any reason I don't know of to allow/encourage squareness instead of slight counter when doing sideslips -- for someone like this?

At this level that's too technical to worry about. Just get them to not stare down at their skis. If they can do it facing down the hill a bit good, but the slipping is really the key. He can't do it now, and piling on other requirements gives him too much to think about.

Maybe being square makes it a little more likely to slide backwards which usually freaks people out but then you've got falling leaf. Still, Kneale's reverse herringbone slide could be a good prep for going backwards since it'll probably happen to some degree.

 

If you have a small group you can show someone how looking down changes your balance. When you see someone else do it, it's pretty clear. Just have them watch, it'll happen right away since people always look down.

 

@iceage brings up a good point = you hardly want to take someone with this much fear to steeper terrain. Look for little slopes on flattish trails.

post #25 of 28
LF, you can get into a countered position and sideslip comfortably because you can do it in a relaxed manner. Asking a tense client to maintain that position AND start sliding sideways might create additional tension.

I get sideslipping started by sticking the uphill pole in the snow next to the uphill foot and the downhill pole in the snow at arms length downhill and ask that the client slide toward the downhill pole by releasing both skis from the feet and knees, reengaging the edges to stop sliding. Slide for a foot and stop, relocate the poles, slide for two feet and stop, etc. Finally, slide while holding the downhill pole out of the snow. Then I'll add forward sideslips with slight counter and poles held normally and go into JHC's garlands.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Kneale, Tog.  Good advice.  

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

This is great.  You described so clearly how and why this should work.  Thanks!

One question - when I had him doing sideslips, I tried to get him into a slight counter, hips and shoulders facing somewhat downhill, uphill ski tip a little ahead of downhill ski.

Is there any reason I don't know of to allow/encourage squareness instead of slight counter when doing sideslips -- for someone like this?

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Simplicity is a Biggus Dealus (with apologies to Mel Brooks) at this stage. If he likes square and his stance is functional, you're going to be more interested in getting the slip to happen and then smoothing it out.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by iceage View Post

You would have put him on steeper terrain and then asked him to slide slip? 

I said SLIGHTLY steeper terrain. On a really shallow slope side slipping doesn't work well for a beginner with poor edge control. Obviously I am not suggesting taking him to a double black...
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