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Teaching wedge turn - ITC

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I have an ITC clinic this weekend and have the following subject to teach.


Does the size of my wedge affect my wedge turn?  How about in a wedge Christy?



 I would be very interested in other Pro's feedback how they would approach this with 1st year instructors.




post #2 of 23
David, Each area and division set their own set of particular movement descriptors for training and exams. Helping a candidate pass that first certification test means getting them to ski to that model.
Myself I use a wedge change up to introduce the effect of different wedge widths. Then I go to guided discovery and play wedge turns with different wedge widths. Eventually the skis need to turn at different rates at different points in a turn for the wedge to become a wedge christie. Having played with that during the change up drill there is some transfer although heel pushing can screw up both maneuvers.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 1/6/16 at 2:39am
post #3 of 23



Good for you for taking an ITC. No fair trying to cheat on your homework assignment. So instead of giving you the answer, I'll ask you some questions. What is the difference between a breaking wedge and a gliding wedge? How could you change a breaking wedge into a turning wedge? What is the easiest way to turn a gliding wedge? Which type of wedge is easier to turn into a wedge christy? How does a wedge turn become a wedge christy?

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Good morning,

Thank you for the responses...Actually I am one of the trainers and will be conducting this part of the ITC  for new hires. I wanted to dig a lot deeper into the mechanics of the wedge turn beyond the breaking and gliding wedge concepts.  We teach a very narrow wedge thru the gliding wedge and wedge Christie for obvious reasons but I wanted to present the impacts of the transition from a wide wedge to a narrow wedge. How this impacts the skills concepts regarding efficiencies.  For instance the difficultly a beginner has getting onto the outside edge of the new inside ski when completing a wedge Christie when in a wide wedge (or maybe a breaking wedge).

And yes I am cheating a director asked me to conduct this part of the ITC and I wanted to find some more in-depth detail on this topic.  Those of us in the South (NC, VA) are just getting back into the teaching/training mode now that the weather has turned cold so I'm trying to get a little head start.



post #5 of 23
So your best answer is to go try different wedge sizes for different wedge maneuvers: gliding and braking, with differing amounts of braking.
post #6 of 23
Explore how the wedge is created. Are people pushing their heals out to a wedge or are they using leg rotation followed by spreading the legs? Very different mechanisms.
post #7 of 23

Right, there are two ways of creating the wedge as skier31 says.

--Rotating the skis around the arch of the foot, which does not widen the stance and leads to a very narrow gliding wedge

--Brushing/stepping/hopping the tails out with the pivot point forward towards the tip, which does widen the stance and leads to a wide wedge.  Combine these two with keeping the skis parallel and you have three stances to work with.


What you've got is a perfect start to guided discovery teaching/learning.  Initiate out of each of these and see what happens.


How to initiate a turn is another issue, with many options as well.

--outside ski focus:  brush the tail of the new outside ski outward; edge the new outside ski more; transfer weight to the outside ski/stand on it

--inside ski focus:  lighten it, lift its tail, lift it totally;  tip it to the little toe edge with ankle action, flatten it by moving upper body over it, go bowlegged to flatten it; pull it back (being careful not to pull back the hip/side of body above it!)

--two-legged focus:  shorten one leg while lengthening the other, as in riding a bicycle

--hip focus:  shift the new inside hip forward, along with the new inside shoulder, arm, elbow, and hand

--whole body focus:  turn and look in the direction you want to go 


I have a long list of these; this is what I can think of right now.

post #8 of 23

One more thing... if this is a multi-day training clinic, on the morning of the last day you might take your instructors into the rental shop and have them get boots TWO SIZES bigger than what they own. Then go out and have them ski what they are planning on teaching.  They will probably notice a significant difference in performance.  Discuss how to diagnose boots-too-big on their students, and discuss how they can deal with this very common problem.

Edited by LiquidFeet - 1/6/16 at 8:55am
post #9 of 23

The simple answer to the question is yes. The size of your wedge does affect your turn.


Since a wedge can only get so big before it starts impacting stance width, the larger the wedge gets, the further the feet are apart. As the feet get further apart into a braking wedge, the hip joints become severely limited in how they can move. This prevents any meaningful hip angulation, as well as inhibits any attempt at upper/lower body separation through the turn. A gliding wedge turn can be executed nearly the same as a basic open parallel turn. A turn in a braking wedge will be executed with the whole body turning as a rigid unit, as there is no available range of motion in the joints to do otherwise. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the awesome replies...this is exactly the feedback I was hoping to get from this forum. Great job!  I have lots to incorporate into my lesson plan.

Think cold! (We would be happy with just cold but snow would be nice.)




Massenutten Ski Team Coach and Learning Center Instructor/Trainer

post #11 of 23

You may also try a bit of guided discovery with the change being the steepness of the slope and have your trainees see the effects of wedge size on ease of turning,  turn shape and turn size as a result of terrain selection.

post #12 of 23
Yes, overterrain them in the guided discovery phase. It is going to lead to failure and might be more impactful since their own experience will become a stronger memory than just telling them why we avoid steeper terrain using that maneuver.

But here is the crux of all this, the school has a brand they sell to the customer and your new staff needs to follow what your ssd considers the well worn path to success. So demoing that scripted progression becomes very, very important. If it was a level 3 clinic exploring in depth details would be appropriate but newbies and level 1s tend to not need that level of detail. If anything too much detail at that level leads to erroneous tangental actions on the part of the newbies. Again suggesting wedge change ups and performing various width wedge turns and ending with wedge change up turns (wedge Christies) would cover just about all they will be expected to teach.
I know that sounds a bit elitist to some but trust me after having trained new staff for over forty years getting them to realize their journey is just beginning is one of the biggest things they need to take away from an ITC clinic. Over time they may grow into being an experienced pro capable of creative synthesis of alternate lesson plans but even then those plans need to fall within the parameters set by the ssd and their bosses in upper sam.
On a trainers level I would suggest you playing with wide wedges and cowboy parallel turns to feel the larger lateral RoM needed in the feet and core. But don't do that with new staff.
A personal story might express why better...
...we used a hopping wedge exercise in training one year. The intent was to help our newbies find a centered stance. The TM loved this exercise but to our horror all the new hires were out making every newbie client that season do hop wedges for hours. So be careful what you introduce to the new hires, they assume everything you show them is fair to use in a lesson.
post #13 of 23

JASP all very good points. 

post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

A personal story might express why better...
...we used a hopping wedge exercise in training one year. The intent was to help our newbies find a centered stance. The TM loved this exercise but to our horror all the new hires were out making every newbie client that season do hop wedges for hours. So be careful what you introduce to the new hires, they assume everything you show them is fair to use in a lesson.

Not everyone is good at their job!  YM

post #15 of 23
Not sure what you mean.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 1/9/16 at 3:46am
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Not sure what you mean.

I was referring to your new hires.    Some folks just don't know what's important and how to get the job done.  YM

post #17 of 23
That is why we need to limit what we present in new hire training. If they decide to pursue certification we also need to remember a specific level of details is appropriate for each cert level.
post #18 of 23
Thats true to SOME extent. Its amazing how one persons explanation does nothing and how another coach can say the same thing differently and it works. There is not an "outline" for this. There are also more aspects tested for this , MA, skiing, and teaching. Dont forget the 3C's count for a lot - ski concierge-customer-company.

It's just the way it
post #19 of 23
I didn't mean to sound snarky. But, it's true. That's why getting your next certification in coaching or instructing is rewards you with upper level skiers that you can take from good to great. The light-bulb is even brighter!
post #20 of 23
Sorry to the OP, how did the ITC go? The key to the Christie is not pushing out the new dh ski (wider) but tipping the new inside ski earlier.
post #21 of 23
Duh, you're an bad.
post #22 of 23
I read the original post as being about an ITC assignment for a participant, not the clinic leader. None of the many examiners I know would be asking for suggestions here.
post #23 of 23
Post 4 clarifies that he is one of the clinicians. I still say keep it simple, your target audience is new hires and the level one test is a bit more detailed than the new hire training but far from the details we expect at level 2, or 3.
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