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The value of "Perfect Practice" - Page 4

post #91 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

 

 

 

The real answer is that there isn't a PSIA "style".  PSIA doesn't use a final form type of skiing and hasn't for many years.  What PSIA, in my division, is looking for is the use of the "skills proficiencies" or skiing fundamentals.  When we are asked to do a drill, a stupid human trick, or ski a scored run, they aren't just looking at how you "light up the mountain" or pivot slip your skis.  They are looking for turning movements originating from the lower body, pressure management along the length of the ski, pressure being directed from outside ski to outside ski, pole plant, vision, and upper body facing the intended direction of travel ect...  I haven't thought much about this for several months and this is a partial list from memory late at night.

 

In my case they don't see enough upper/lower body separation and called me out for a tendency to start my turns with an upper body rotation.  It's the JH local style and it works very well in steep terrain with variable snow, but it is not as efficient as starting turns from the lower body.  I believe that my "problem" is that I follow through too much at the end of my old turn and then must move my upper body to have my lower body in a position to start my new turn.  Upper/lower body separation also lends itself to more effective angulation, edge grip, and lateral balance.  I always skied better in the steeps because the steeps require more upper/lower body separation and angulation to keep the pressure over the outside ski.  I don't ski a lot of hard snow surfaces and don't get spanked too much for being under angulated on slopes that have lower angles.  Skiing faster will help hold you up if you are over-inclinated and under-angulated, when you slow down in this position you topple over to the inside.  

 

So a person, especially an athletic person, can ski pretty strong and fast and get down some pretty hard terrain yet still have too much pressure on the inside foot, use upper body rotary to initiate and/or finish turns, and bank their turns.  This person will not pass a PSIA exam no matter how much they "light up the mountain".  I have never met an examiner who didn't like dynamic skiing.  I see no need to dial it down for an exam.  Certain tasks like wedge turns aren't meant to be dynamic.  Your skiing should be appropriate to the task, just like you should not be carving arc to arc while teaching a level 3 lesson.  All of the tasks and all of your skiing on exam day must show some level of each of the skills proficiencies to the standard you are testing for.  I think I could pass the L2 skiing test on a well below average day, but for L3, I just don't show enough of what they want to see in certain areas.  There is no official style or finished form even though we talk sometimes as if there were.

 

I think Zentune did well because he has good fundamentals that show through in all of his skiing at least at the L2 standard he was testing for that day.  If his skills are solid enough, he will cruise right through L3 as well.  Deficiencies like mine are minor enough to pass the L2 standard, but tend to show through from wedge turns right through dynamic parallel and are not good enough for L3.  My guess is that when Zenny dialed it down he started to not show his solid fundamentals as well.  Most people who see me ski don't notice my deficiencies because I mask them well.  They are not hard to see with a trained eye.


Thanks, that was what I was looking for. There is no style, just a difference in movements. Some of which will work better for certain things, and some which will get in the way.

post #92 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

 

Thanks for the advice.  I am pretty sure I have it covered.  It wasn't my intention to make this thread about me, I was just trying relay my experience with years of "practicing" inefficient movements.  I got pretty good at being a crappy skier.  I would tell anyone who is serious about improving to get someone else's eyes on them from time to time.

 

 

This is kinda depressing.  On one level you can be a great skier but actually being a less good skier but with more refined specifics is what is required.  Guess it's part of the whole "instructor skiing is not real skiing" thesis. Not that I doubt that those who have very refined specifics and can put it all back together again dynamically in any conditions are great skiers.  

 

I've seen some people going into instructor training pretty soon after starting the sport.  I've always thought that they should get some miles under their belts and become real skiers first but I can see in the context you're describing that there are merits to their approach even if for me it is a) too late and b) something that I'd never have done as I would have perceived it would have sucked all the fun out for me.

post #93 of 104

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post #94 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

 

This is kinda depressing.  On one level you can be a great skier but actually being a less good skier but with more refined specifics is what is required.  Guess it's part of the whole "instructor skiing is not real skiing" thesis. Not that I doubt that those who have very refined specifics and can put it all back together again dynamically in any conditions are great skiers.  

 

I've seen some people going into instructor training pretty soon after starting the sport.  I've always thought that they should get some miles under their belts and become real skiers first but I can see in the context you're describing that there are merits to their approach even if for me it is a) too late and b) something that I'd never have done as I would have perceived it would have sucked all the fun out for me.

 

I guess that depends on how you define "good".  I know a lot of skiers who are very "Strong" and ski rowdy terrain on a regular basis.  Some of them aren't very good skiers IMO.  One of them was in the SS with me and worked for me on my painting crew.  He's a young "Strong" guy who really wants to be recognized as an "extreme" type skier.  He has huge balls and was always trying to ski backwards, do tricks, and jump off of things.  I always thought that he should have been working on learning to ski forwards.  Some of the more senior staff and myself used to cringe watching him ski in uniform.  He has quit the SS, it wasn't a good fit for him, and has been in a few movies and is currently sponsored by Ski Logic.  I think he still pretty much sucks at skiing and could never pass a L2 exam.  I like him and hope that he doesn't kill himself.  

 

One of the reasons that I got into the SS in my 40s was to have a decent retirement job in the wings.  The other reason was because I was getting to a place where I didn't enjoy skiing like I did in my 30s.  I was not skiing as much as I wanted, maybe 35 days/season, and I physically had trouble skiing for more than 1/2 day without getting tired and sore.  My answer to every skiing problem through my 30s was more energy and aggression.  That was starting to not work so well as I got older.  Getting more technical has allowed me to able to "ski all day, everyday, until the dirt".  I just don't get tired and my Quads don't burn anymore because I'm not generally in the backseat like I used to be.  I am a better skier now than I have ever been and it seemed like I was getting worse for a while as I got older and started to lose my youthful edge.

 

In my world, ski instructor skiing is real skiing.  This mountain doesn't reward robotic stiff stereotypical PSIA type skiing.  None of out L3 skiers ski that way.  In fact I had no idea what everyone here was talking about until I started to travel for trainings and events.  I see nothing wrong with a relatively new skier trying to become an instructor.  The real deal with that path is that you have to like teaching and realize that it's a job.  If you don't want to work while skiing, buy a lift ticket and go have fun.  The other thing to remember is that if you want to get better, you will have to do the work.  It's not enough to just wear the uniform and talk about it.  You must go out and ski it and own it.  It's important that instructors make some time to just go out and rip and have fun without worrying about how it "looks".  That's why none of our staff that's been here for any amount of time skis like a robot instructor.  

post #95 of 104

(edit:  Whoops, I wrote this while TPJ was posting above.)  

 

Fatbob, I don't think you've got that exactly right.  

 

TPJ is not saying that PSIA requires its Level III candidates to acquire some "refined specifics" that he does not currently have, nor that PSIA wants LIIIs to be less skilled than TPJ. 

 

Sometimes recreational skiers discover that if they turn their upper bodies strongly, they can get their lower bodies (and skis) to follow along.  Once they learn this movement pattern, they often use it when it's not necessary and it becomes cemented into their technical repertoire.   Turning the lower body first before the upper body when initiating turns is a big breakthrough for these skiers.  It's an important improvement that instructors lead skiers towards.  You know this, as does TPJ.     

 

PSIA wants their Level III instructors to be able to use this sequence, lower body turning before upper body, in all turns in all terrain, on demand, even though turning the upper body first is often quite functional and maybe even necessary in steep, deep terrain.  

 

I hear TPJ saying it's the versatility they are looking for.  Versatility is good, not depressing.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 9/15/14 at 8:47am
post #96 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

 I think Zentune did well because he has good fundamentals that show through in all of his skiing at least at the L2 standard he was testing for that day.  If his skills are solid enough, he will cruise right through L3 as well.  Deficiencies like mine are minor enough to pass the L2 standard, but tend to show through from wedge turns right through dynamic parallel and are not good enough for L3.  My guess is that when Zenny dialed it down he started to not show his solid fundamentals as well.  Most people who see me ski don't notice my deficiencies because I mask them well.  They are not hard to see with a trained eye.

 

  I should have added another disclaimer to my post in that the examiner who told me to "relax and ski" (NOT the coach from Hood, whom I didn't know) had seen me ski several times before in non-exam circumstances in my usual manner so I think it was more of a "what the hell are you doing, ski like you ski" kind of comment. In other words, I was literally erring on the side of caution for fear of appearing too dynamic for an L2 candidate. When, for example, they asked to see medium radius carved I was sort of assuming they wouldn't want to see hip on or near snow type of skiing out of a candidate but that's what I ended up showing them.

 

 I DO think my initial trepidation (apprehension?) manifested into a sort of "wooden" look those first 2 runs but then I didn't do any prep work on my skiing before the exam but chose to focus instead on my teaching segment.

 

   zenny


Edited by zentune - 9/15/14 at 8:13am
post #97 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

(edit:  Whoops, I wrote this while TPJ was posting above.)  

 

Fatbob, I don't think you've got that exactly right.  

 

TPJ is not saying that PSIA requires its Level III candidates to acquire some "refined specifics" that he does not currently have, nor that PSIA wants LIIIs to be less skilled than TPJ. 

 

Sometimes recreational skiers discover that if they turn their upper bodies strongly, they can get their lower bodies (and skis) to follow along.  Once they learn this movement pattern, they often use it when it's not necessary and it becomes cemented into their technical repertoire.   Turning the lower body first before the upper body when initiating turns is a big breakthrough for these skiers.  It's an important improvement that instructors lead skiers towards.  You know this.     

 

PSIA wants their Level III instructors to be able to use this sequence, lower body turning before upper body, in all turns in all terrain, on demand, even though turning the upper body first is often quite functional and maybe even necessary in steep, deep terrain.  

 

I hear TPJ saying it's the versatility they are looking for.  Versatility is good.

 

Question...  "Why do so many skiers use their upper bodies to initiate and finish turns?"

Answer....   "Because it works!"

 

The fact is that if this didn't work no one would do it, or they wouldn't keep doing it for long.  Just because it works doesn't mean it's the best way.

 

Don't worry if you are using upper body rotary.  It's not that bad and you can learn to do the more effective movements.  The rotary will always be there in your bag of tricks when you need to make a strong turn RIGHT NOW to avoid something bad happening to you.  You can see it in WC racers.  Sometimes a racer will start a new turn with their upper body while the lower body finishes the old turn.  When the old turn is finished the racer is ready to skivot more quickly into the new turn, stays closer to the fall line, and is faster for it.  We watched a bunch of WC footage and identified this tactic in specific gate sets.  There was at least one high level L2 who was freaking out because it was "wrong".  This person has passed L3 and is a very good instructor, but I found it funny that he was trapped by his dogma and could only see it as a mistake even though those racers were faster.  This same thing came up in a PSIA L3 training several weeks later when we were asked to deliberately start turns with our upper bodies while finishing the old turn with the lower body and then were asked if there was any tactical advantage to it.  The answer is that there can be.  I don't recommend bringing this up in an exam.

post #98 of 104
Thread Starter 
TPJ, as much as PSIA tries to hang onto the founders altruistic mantra of function over form (it is an offshoot of Joubert's work btw) there is a final form contained in their standards. Slight variations due to physical differences among different skiers are accepted but the standard is specifically designed as a middle of the road style and hardly contain everything we would see among competitive skiers in competition.
I still remember Katy Fry admonishing Two bugs for using his training to teach a racer like style (form). All of us could ski the company way quite well and we all skied above the test standards. As we should considering we all were staff trainers through examiners.

So I laugh to myself when I hear the function over form tag line because that was Joubert's way of commenting on the Austrian forms and linear teaching practices. Killy being the poster boy for the "new French way" where function over form was offered as a paradigm shift. Interestingly enough racers didn't ski all that different from each other and according to Joubert none of them skied like the final form of the day. Fast forward to now and it is no surprise that Ligety and the rest of the WC racers do not ski like PSIA level 3s. But over at PSIA they doggedly insist no final forms exists in their skiing model. SE put down that model a few posts ago and while I want to avoid the politics, other schools see the hypocrisy of teaching very specific movements and maneuvers and insisting they are not a final form.
It is one area where accuracy would alway lead to a specific solution and in effect a final form. At least for that skier and for the snow and terrain where they are skiing.
post #99 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

TPJ, as much as PSIA tries to hang onto the founders altruistic mantra of function over form (it is an offshoot of Joubert's work btw) there is a final form contained in their standards. Slight variations due to physical differences among different skiers are accepted but the standard is middle of the road style and hardly contain everything what we would see among competitive skiers in competition.
I still remember Katy Fry admonishing Two bugs for using his training to teach a racer like style (form). All of us could ski the company way quite well and we all skied above the test standard. We all were trainers and had taught that standard.

I laugh to myself when I hear the function over form tag line because that was Jobert's way of commenting on the Austrian forms and linear teaching practices. Killy being the poster boy for the "new French way" where function over form was offered as a paradigm shift.

Interestingly enough racers didn't ski all that different from each other and according to Joulbert none of them skied like the final form of the day. Fast forward to now and it is no surprise that Ligety and the rest of the WC racers do not ski like PSIA level 3s. But they doggedly insist no final forms exists in their skiing model. SE put down that model a few posts ago and while I want to avoid the politics, other schools see the hypocrisy of teaching very specific movements and maneuvers and insisting they are not a final form.
It is one area where accuracy would alway lead to a specific solution and in effect a final form. At least for that skier and for the snow and terrain where we are skiing.

 

Not only do they insist that there is no final form, they also insist that the PSIA technique filters down directly from what is happening on the WC.  Watching WC footage with examiner level coaches has exposed this hypocrisy for me.  The good news is that the DECLs that I work with here all realize these things and are reasonable about it.  They still evaluate to the standard in an exam, but will throw stuff out in on-snow training and video sessions that is not "center-line" or "final form".  Some of the best skiers I know in the SS are not PSIA, but there are common threads that can be identified in the skiing of the best skiers I know regardless of their backgrounds just like Joubert commented on.  I care more about being a great skier and instructor than I do about a gold pin and have never specifically tried to train just for the PSIA test.  As I refine my movements to be more effective and efficient, I expect to slip right past the L3 standard and beyond without getting caught up in the dogma or becoming a robot.  This doesn't mean that I don't want the shiny gold pin and the recognition that comes with it.  I am simply more interested in being truly good and not gaming the test.  None of the best instructors that I know even wear their bling on the uniform.  We/I prefer to let our skiing and teaching do the talking for us.

post #100 of 104
Thread Starter 
And that is the perspective where perfect practice and perfect demos need to be viewed. Situational intent dictates what we do. Yes efficacy is part of that picture but different models exist for different disciplines.
Modeling that skill development drill you are introducing to a student as accurately as possible includes a good idea of an ideal version of what you want them to do.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 9/15/14 at 9:54am
post #101 of 104

As for perfect practice,  one of the questions I ask myself when learning something new is how and what specifically do I practice to learn what I want to learn in the shortest possible time?   Secondly, is what I am training to learn appropriate for the demand.  I certainly do not want to take longer than necessary to become proficient at this new skill nor do I want to train to perfect something that is irrelevant  when it comes to practical application.   ( Is it necessary to perform great wedge Christie demos to become a great ski instructor?)     YM

post #102 of 104
Thread Starter 
Do you teach them? I have seen d team level folks teaching them. Same goes for examiners and every level of instructors working in a ski school. Accuracy is important regardless of the maneuver being taught.
post #103 of 104

I wonder how Ted L. or Mikela S.   wedge christies  would look or isn't that relevant?    Just asking the questions?   Don't necessarily have any evidence for or against.  I guess to gain evidence we would have to test one system or one instructor against another instructors outcomes.   That actually happens in coaching circles to some extent when one or more coaches produce more successful racers than others.  YM 

post #104 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post

I wonder how Ted L. or Mikela S.   wedge christies  would look or isn't that relevant?    Just asking the questions?   Don't necessarily have any evidence for or against.  I guess to gain evidence we would have to test one system or one instructor against another instructors outcomes.   That actually happens in coaching circles to some extent when one or more coaches produce more successful racers than others.  YM 

There's actually some pretty great vid of Mikaela doing drills on the USSA skills quest video list.... How does she do them? Mind bogglingly well. Way better than I've ever seen demoed at our hill. Ron Kipp is pretty darned impressive though. smile.gif
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