I have been teaching for a while and have taught more beginners than I can count. One question I have always asked myself as my personal skiing has developed and I have learned new movements is this: How early in a new skier's training can I introduce these movements? This may be surprising to some of you, but you can incorporate almost everything into your teaching of a wedge to a very beginner. I don't want to teach anything to a newbie that I will have to unteach later. I want to teach things that develop strong fundamental balancing, edging, pressuring, and rotary movements. These movements should be taught in such a way that when they have begun turning parallel, the movements will be essentially the same.
Here's the mantra: The movement patterns are the same. The movement patterns are the same. The movement patterns are the same. Whether a wedge or parallel, the movement patterns are essentially the same, and we as instructors should show that consistency in our own skiing. What will vary is the DIRT - duration, intensity, rate, and timing.
Presently, here are some of the things that I am successfully teaching to never-evers as I have them making their first turns, whether a wedge or straight to parallel:
Balancing over the new outside ski, fore and aft and laterally.
The elements of a balanced athletic stance that will allow them to balance over that ski - when they are in balance they should be able to simply lift the new inside ski and hold their balance (not moving). Maintain that balance as much as possible through the turn.
Transitioning onto the new outside ski well above the fall line. I start them from a standing position approximately perpendicular to the fall line.
As they start moving, I have them pressuring the tongue of their boot with their shins, while they press down on the ball of their foot. They maintain that pressure through the turn until they turn uphill.
As they turn uphill, I have them transition over the new outside ski and begin the turns again. Nice round turns with a good finish will result.
After they make their first few turns, I add pressuring to the inside (big toe) side of the new outside ski. This establishes that early edge that will shape a nice round turn through the duration.
I coax them to pressure the new outside ski more and more as they turn. If in the wedge, the parallel will often develop on its own as they committ more and more to the outside ski.
I do teach a braking wedge right away, but I spend little time on it. That gives them security right away that they will be able to stop and puts them more at ease, so they are more available to your teaching.
New skiers tend to be very static in their movements, and here's a little something that I have started doing with my students recently to keep them moving and also aids in leg independence
Traverse across the fall line at an angle, while bouncing. That means the ankles and knees are opening and closing as the their body moves up and down in constant motion.
First, they bounce in the traverse, then turn.
Then they add the bounce as they turn (anybody can do this)
Then I have them start bouncing on the new outside ski well above the fall line and throughout the turn.
Then go back to "regular" turns.
Some interesting things happen: First, as they bounce, the wedge disappears on its own as their legs naturally find their equilibrium underneath them in a shoulder width parallel. The brain has shut off mostly, so they continue into their turns in that parallel stance and make their turns. I have had some capable students just evolve into parallel turns from this. And they are much more comfortable moving on their skis.