Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
Hey lb. if you can try to describe some of the things this other instructor did or said we can try to put it in a concept or name that perhaps you could then briefly communicate to the new one.
Sorry that this is rambling; the bird I've been roasting just came out of the oven, so I'm a little overdue for some food.
The workshop is set up so we have the same instructor for all six weeks; those who'd done the program before went with their previous group, and those of us who hadn't the program before got sorted into new groups (at least I think that's what happened). I believe I'm in the bottom group who want to focus on skills development. Our instructor was pulled into the program last minute because of unexpected demand; we'll have a different instructor this coming week because she can't be there, but then I'll be with her for the remaining four weeks.
The main thing she worked on was getting us as far forward as we could with full pressure on the tongues of our boots throughout all the exercises we did. We started by going from a sideslip to a turn by turning our skis while flat and spent a lot of time practicing making those turns as short as possible in terms of how far we went down the hill--quick turn, slight downhill-traverse, short turn, etc. Then we took the traverses out and did pivot slips, which quickly segued into 360s, which is what we worked on for the rest of the lesson. I didn't get enough time trying pivot slips to know whether I can do them; all I know is that I can turn so I'm skiing backward, usually not very well, but couldn't figure out how to turn around again except a few times I accidentally did something that worked. When I asked what I did differently when it worked she didn't say, and when I asked what I needed to do she said I just have to keep trying until I get it. After reading this thread I wonder why we didn't work on getting centered on our skis instead of just staying forward, so that "get forward" would actually mean "get centered."
Anyhow, when I did get as far forward as she wanted (and she actually showed each of us the position she wanted us to be in) it seemed like I couldn't turn on a flat ski (I guess my tips were catching, which would make sense). I felt very stiff with my hands and body sticking out, trying to keep my my shins hard against my tongues and my waist bent forward while trying to feel the connection between what my skis were doing and how well the pivoting went. The instructor tried to get me to loosen up, but try as I might to stop myself I'd stiffen and straighten my torso when I felt off balance and awkward.
I'm not sure it was any harder for me than anyone else, but without some idea of the mechanics of the movements or any brilliant insights of my own I got very frustrated. It's entirely possible that she was frustrated with me, too; I've had instructors get impatient before when I can't seem to figure out what they're trying to teach me.
I think I mentioned that I've had two instructors who I learned a lot from; one's at Bridger, and the other is/was at Snowbasin, though I don't know if he's still instructing. I waffled a lot about whether I should do this women's clinic at Alta or spend more money on instructors who I know I can communicate with, but on paper there were a lot of advantages to the clinic, and I'd like to make it work.
Originally Posted by Trekchick
Couple of things.
- A good instructor has an understanding of how each student in a group learns and can adapt the lesson to the individuals in a group. I was frustrated with an instructor who was (in turn) frustrated with me because "I keep telling you to do THAT and you're not doing it". My response was, "If I'm not getting it with you telling me the same thing over and over, find a different way of telling me" I want to a different instructor for a short lesson, just to mix things up, and got THAT in less than an hour because he taught me a different way. This happens, so don't get frustrated, just get a fresh perspective.
Most of my lessons were pretty much like the first one you describe. I had one where the lesson consisted of the instructor yelling "stop stemming!!" from a distance while skiing ahead with more advanced students I'd been grouped with at. But despite all that, I feel so dumb and get so embarrassed that I don't speak up. And I have to say that it's really hard to stop a group lesson to take the instructor aside and ask her to pay extra attention to me.
The fact that I've had so many private and group instructors not doing anything tells me that most either can't or won't even notice that a student needs some adaptation, to say nothing of making the effort to adapt. And aside from one guy, these weren't newbies; several had a lot of instructing behind them and were at least Level II, and two were very highly recommended by students who loved them.
So instead of asking for a "good" instructor, my inclination is to ask for an instructor who can adapt their teaching to suit me. Schedule ahead of time, make it clear that I want to learn and am able to do so, and make it clear that I don't learn like other students and need someone experienced and patient. That worked great at Bridger, where I had a fantastic and fun private with an instructor-trainer-something else. No frustration, no thrashing, just building skill on skill.
[*] Doing Pivot Slips can be daunting. Maybe you can try dry land exercises to get the sensation you're looking for. It took me a long time to get pivot slips. I can thank @Bob Barnes
for that. If you're interested in some dry land exercises, I can see what I can do to take some pictures and post something.
Dry land exercises might be helpful. I'm most interested in trying to figure out what "centered on my skis" means. I was thinking of getting up close and personal with forward and backward sideslips and falling leaf, then trying pivot slips again with someone who'll tell me if I'm close. It really seems that I'll never get comfortable with pivot slips unless I use the basic exercises to get control of my fore aft balance. As for 360s...well, I'm sure they'll come once I know where to pivot my skis from.
Originally Posted by contesstant @litterbug
, I do wish you were closer so we could ski together more often. We are both so determined to improve our skiing and I think it comes as naturally to you as it does to me! (It really doesn't--it's downright awkward for me at times!) I admire your determination so much. And we both analyze the crap out of things, too! It's a great thing I think!
I hope we get to spend some time together when the gang is all here! I plan on going to Snowbasin. And who knows, I might end up bailing on this whole Ladies Day thing altogether and sign up for lessons with Stew if he's still willing, which might provide some opportunities. Anyhow, since I now live downtown it actually takes 40 minutes to get to Alta, so Snowbasin isn't really that inconvenient.
I think I'm giving in to the whole analytical thing. After last night's post I did a questionnaire on learning styles and came out as strongly "global/conceptual"--that is, I need to understand how what I'm learning fits into a larger context; without that, I have a lot of trouble learning anything. I've always been able to do that with things like academics and music--you should see the charts and graphs I've used to make sense of raw information in classes that didn't do it for me. Too bad it's turned out to be a liability with ski lessons!
Oh, geez, it just occurred to me that I should go back to some of Mr. Barnes' diagrams; seems to me that there were some that would help me look at where rotary fits in...
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
I start my pivot slips by flexing and pressuring my toes.
Hmm. Tell me more about your toes.
Originally Posted by habacomike
I find that to be able to pivot the ski without deflection either forward or back (observed by an examiner) I have to be in contact with the back of my boot. It is not leverage -- simply contact. There's only a small chance that the balance point of the ski is in the position you indicate. Generally folk mount their bindings on the mounting line, and there is no standard for determining the location of the line either by manufacturer or model of ski. It might be there if the boot was mounted on the center of the running length of the ski, but that is common.
Pressuring the ski forward or aft will cause the ski to drift forward or aft. Only by standing on the center of the ski will you have a side slip without deflection.
Since anatomy and boot setup is different, everyone may experience a different position to find center and make pivot slips without deflection. It also takes a second pair of eyes to observe, as it is often pretty much impossible to tell if you've properly executed it.
One thing I wonder is whether having the bindings at +1 on those skis is a factor. I'd already considered moving them back to the recommended line, because I don't think I need to compensate either for my butt (lost some weight) or being in the back seat. So maybe if they were at the manufacturer's point, being as far forward as the instructor said would be appropriate?