I thought it would be helpful to create a list of fallacies, or false-truths commonly presented in ski instruction. I'd love to hear from all you other instructors out there on the fallacies you want to stomp out, or if you feel some of the fallacies I've identified aren't really fallacies. Here are some fallacies I've come across for your enjoyment:
Fallacies: Keep your shoulders pointed down the hill.
Why it's a fallacy: When your skis point one way, and your chest is facing a completely different direction, you're in a worse balanced position.
What to develop instead: Create upper and lower body separation through turning the lower joints. Allow the upper body to point towards the direction of momentum. It's OK if the upper body follows the turning effort. Even expert skiers making short radius turns demonstrate the upper body following the lower body.
Fallacies: ski bumps and powder with your feet together. Ski groomers in a wide stance.
Why it's a fallacy: Locked feet reduces your ability to turn joints and engage edges. Overly-wide stance can encourage skiers to stand more on the inside ski, affecting ability to turn and balance. (The fallacy is in absolutes. it's all relative.)
What to develop instead: Adopt a functional stance width - open it up for stability, bring in a bit for agility. Consider vertical distance between feet when turning rather than just horizontal width between feet.
Fallacy: create lots of tip lead to open your hips to the hill in order to be stable and turn easier.
Why it's a fallacy: Leads to balancing on the inside ski and a weaker structural stance.
What to develop instead: Allow only enough functional tip lead as required. Experiment with sliding the outside ski forward, pulling the inside ski back.
Fallacy: Our goal skiing is to always stay centred. (Related fallacy: always get forward!)
Why it's a fallacy: We always want to be able to find and return to centre. But to be able to create momentum, we work different parts of the ski. Also, in varied conditions, we really do need to be able to keep the skis moving in front and even behind us. And of course at higher speeds, we're moving our feet forward and out to anticipate our slower body travelling a more direct path. So while we always want to be able to move back to centre, we don't necessarily want to remain centred every instant.
What to develop instead: create a mobile stance. Work on skiing over different balance points in different turn shapes. Find centre, back, and forward. Learn to shuffle the skis, hop, dolphin turn to improve stance.
Maybe-Fallacy (I'd like to see this one discussed): feel a pinch in your waist.
Why it's a fallacy: The theory was if you're feeling a pinch, you're angulating. However, if you're pinching, you may just be arcing your spine (not good if you hit a big bump!) and losing the ability to "coil".
What to do instead: Don't worry about pinch. Angulation should start at the hips. To create balance over the outside ski, work on one leg long/one leg short; bend and stretch turns; rollerblade turns; that exercise where your outside hand feels your hip position, and your inside hand reaches forward/outside the turn (sometimes called "gay haitian", I hate that name)
Fallacy: To get on edge, just move your hip into the turn.
Why it's a fallacy: Moving the hip in often twists the knees/legs into a compromised position. When skiers move the hip in, they're generally moving to the centre of the turn without enough momentum to drive the outside ski; instead the skier is balanced over the inside ski.
What to do instead: establish a platform before making any movements. Allow pressure to build on the outside ski. Do one leg long/one leg short; bend and stretch; patience turns...
So that's my starting point. What do you guys think?
Edited by Metaphor_ - 12/4/13 at 2:34pm