Last week I was In the locker room eating a quick late lunch and I decided to play the second Sybervision tape. For those who don't know what this is, it is a VHS tape made in the late Eighties of Jens Husted and Chris Rhyman skiing and demoing short radius and short swing turns on steep off groom terrain. There is more to the tape than the obvious great skiing but this is enough for now.
Anyway, I was eating and happily watching this dynamic skiing on old school gear and really appreciating the skill of these skiers when an instructor who is currently going through the certification process made a comment about how they were picking up their inside ski to start their turns along with some other comments, all trying to make the point that these skiers weren't skiing correctly, and that we weren't supposed to ski like this and so it couldn't be that good of skiing. My first response was that I thought that this was awesome skiing, which was met with some resistance. So I started asking some deliberate questions to hopefully help shine some light on the instructors confusion. The questions are really about visual ques for good skiing and don't really till any new ground, but are more a way to simplify MA.
Here are the questions I asked:
Are they balanced over the outside ski?
Are they in a stance that allows them to manage pressure along the length of the ski?
Are the feet and legs turning under a stable and engaged core and upper body?
And lastly, are the tipping movements originating in the feet and legs under an engaged core and upper body?
I guess my main point is that if we use the right visual ques we can see how skiing can be good and still not perfect. I mean, who ever skis perfectly anyway, particularly off the groom. So it is not about which moves we are supposed to be making or allowed to make, but about which works best in a given situation, terrain, and gear.
I teach a lot on Bridger's ridge terrain and sometimes when I speak about breaking wedges for traverses, and stem christies for tight steep terrain I get the response, “are we allowed to do this?” Yes, we are allowed to do these things. Hopefully this thread will flesh out some of these misunderstandings.
We can ski well in challenging terrain and conditions and not always have perfectly matching edges and constantly parallel skis, just to bring up a couple of things.