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List of fallacies in ski instruction

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, 

 

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
post #2 of 15
Your last maybe definitely is a fail. Movements should begin at the feet. The last thing to move should be the pelvis. Your reason has validity. So does the range of motion required to edge using only the pelvis.

I've never heard of having one ski long, one short, but I've heard/advocated having one LEG long and one short.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks Kneale--sometimes I'm a bit discombobulated and mean one thing but say something else :) Fixed the leg/ski mixup.

post #4 of 15

Fallacy - any of the above are commonly presented in professional ski instruction.(note - you didn't say "professional" ski instruction - see  - this is how these things get started).

 

I've seen plenty of situations where an outside observer could have played telephone tag with a lesson presentation and produced any of those fallacies. But what the Oracle tells you is for you alone. It is exactly what you need to hear. 

post #5 of 15

TR,

 

Agreed, I always know what I say to my students but I am always surprised by what they hear.

 

fom

post #6 of 15

bend zee knees.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

bend zee knees.

 

I have tried skiing with straight knees, and I think that one might be right.  

 

With all the instruction debates here, there must be a lot of fallacies to debunk.  Let's see...

 

Fallacies: Rotation is the root of all evil.  

Why it's a fallacy: Regardless of how much you try to eliminate rotation, it is a fundamental movement essential to balance and powerful skiing.

 

 

there, that should do it. :devil:

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
 

 

I have tried skiing with straight knees, and I think that one might be right.  

 

I meant as the main way of flexing....

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Fallacy - any of the above are commonly presented in professional ski instruction.(note - you didn't say "professional" ski instruction - see  - this is how these things get started).

 

I've seen plenty of situations where an outside observer could have played telephone tag with a lesson presentation and produced any of those fallacies. But what the Oracle tells you is for you alone. It is exactly what you need to hear. 

 

TheRusty... I've got to accept that you haven't come across plenty of well-intentioned instructors at all levels who espouse situational tactics or flat-out misinformation as universal truths. Really though? I mean this in the nicest way: I just can't see how all the instructors you've worked with have such a thorough end-to-end understanding of skiing that they're never propagating fallacies... Heck, after 6 years of being certified, and being pretty engaged on epicski, I still find myself misinformed sometimes. But with threads like this I hope to grow.

post #10 of 15

TheRusty,

 

There are still PSIA level 3's out there who teach jack in the box up moves at transition (sproing!!!  hup and around) and who teach students to growl loudly while crushing their shins against their boot cuffs.  And of course there's teaching violent upper body rotation with arms fully extended as a default way to start new turns.  I assume that current level 3's count as "professional" ski instructors in your book, no?

 

There are plenty of egos and plenty of fallacies in the "professional" ski instruction world in  North America.  Open your eyes and look around you.  Watch your peers at the upcoming pro jam / master's academy your division is hosting in Vermont this month.  I watched it last year and gabbed with several of the participants (including 2 guys from your mountain).  Eye opening!

 

Cirque,  

 

Thanks for offering that enticing appetizer, but I just finished dinner.  Perhaps some other time :D

post #11 of 15
post #12 of 15

Fallacy: Gravity Pulls You Down The Hill. Gravity pulls you toward the center of the earth. That's why so many novice skiers fall to the inside/uphill of their skis. They lean too far and gravity pulls them to the snow.

 

fom

post #13 of 15

My favorite piece of bad advice: Sit back in powder

post #14 of 15

Keep in mind that whilst teaching the general public, it is common for instructors to ask their students for for exaggerated movements or perhaps say things that aren't necessarily technically accurate in order to convey a new feeling. It is the old methodology vs technique debate. I definitely agree that there are a lot of misconceptions out there and I think it is important for instructors to understand the difference... but I think the average student in a 2 hour lesson can often benefit from a ridiculously simplified version as long as it is appropriate for their skill development needs.

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

Hi guys, 

 

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: 

 

1) 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. 

 

2) 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. 

 

 

It's a fallacy that language doesn't matter when one makes statements of fallacies. :)

 

1) Sometimes you want to keep your shoulders downhill. So it's not a fallacy as stated. Adding "always" would do it

 

2) You have 3 statements there. Bumps, powder, groomers. So it's a fallacy buffet? It's a bit of a mishmash. Also you say "feet together" in the statement, but then "locked feet" in the explanation. Feet together is not necessarily locked. Most great mogul skiers have their feet together. So there goes that "fallacy". I'd agree with it for powder - but you can ski it with feet together, so that's not a fallacy either. If you add "you have to have feet together" or something than ok.

 

Just like "sit back in powder" by itself is not a fallacy. Sitting back can work, and even in some instances might be preferable depending on equipment and conditions. Like you think there might be a buried log in front of you. If you say "To ski powder, you have to sit back" that's a fallacy. "sit back in powder" by itself is just unnecessary. Besides, with 110mm + skis nowadays, we could just as easily say "don't wedge in powder" :cool:) 

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