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Anyone want to describe your favorite direct-to-parallel approach for beginner adult skiers?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

If you've ever taught direct-to-parallel, or if you regularly do, how about telling the rest of us how you do it?

Please include:

1.  Lesson length

2.  Group size limits

3.  What your beginner terrain is like 

 

Please do not allow this thread devolve into a heated discussion about whether it's good to teach this way or not!

I'm only interested in HOW people who do it make it work, and what things in addition to the teaching progression (terrain friendliness, lesson length, number of students, and so on) make a DTP progression work.

post #2 of 17

LF, do you circle the wagons (walk then glide in circles), do figure eights, herringbone uphill, glide downhill? The straight run wedge change up is where the two progressions split. Stepping through a J turn finish verses opening up the wedge enough to produce the stopping while remaining in the fall line. Prior to that point a straight run in a swale stops them without the need for a wedge. Beyond that point the braking wedge mechanism taught in the wedge change up maneuver simply does not exist in the DTP progression. At least not until we introduce a hockey stop maneuver. What this means is turning across the hill is used instead. Braking through line choice if you will. Timidity of a client may dictate the wedge over DTP and that is fine in most camps other than the one we cannot mention. Interestingly enough the use of line to control speed is a common element in gliding wedges and DTP skidded and carved turns. So they really are not all that different unless you go down the braking wedge pathway.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

What I'm looking at is having my students do a shallow traverse which ends with a step uphill to a stop.  I do this anyway.  Next season I'll try moving them forward from this point with a fan progression to a full half turn. That covers the second half of the turn that starts with the fall-line, with an uphill turn-stop at the end.  

 

But then there's the top half of the turn.  It's the most important part, the scary part.  

 

If I start them with upper body facing downhill while skis point across, and get them to sideslip downhill in this position, I can teach them to drift diagonally forward and allow their ski tips to seek the fall line as they unconsciously unwind.  Then I can have them step themselves back uphill to a stop.  I could work them up to drifting their skis (on old edges) around until they point down the fall line, then have them step uphill.

 

Next would be to glue the two together.

Then the stepping needs to be replaced by tipping.  I can't end that 1 1/2 lesson with step turns.

 

There is one big reason I don't think this progression is going to work at my mountain, with our short lessons, on our terrain, but I'll try it to see.  Our beginners often come to that first lesson with boots that are not super-snug.  Loose boots makes sideslipping (understandably) feel very insecure. I don't have time to send them back to change to smaller boots. I always do have them try sideslipping, but I abort the project as soon as I see the first person going into panic mode.  This always happens, as there is no flat runout at the bottom of that trail.  

 

I think I'll persevere next season by maybe having them jam some folded up trailmaps into their cuffs. Then I could have them use knee tipping instead of ankle tipping.  That would work, if I can get them to do it.

 

This whole DTP seems really challenging.  But it gets rid of inside edge lock that often haunts wedge turners.

 

Many of my mountain's senior teachers do not ever teach beginner adults.  They have no idea....

 

Comments?  Suggestions?

 

post #4 of 17

Many people are not willing to go before they know they can stop.  Many people need some time getting used to being on skis and sliding before they are willing to do some of the things you will ask them to do.   Asking a never ever to sideslip in the first hour on skis is certainly ambitious. I think there are other ways to deal with edge lock and wedge turners.

post #5 of 17
Try traversing in a wedge. To maintain a traverse, you MUST pressure the downhill ski more than the uphill. Equalize pressure and you start to turn downhill. Same thing for flattened parallel skis. Flatten both gradually and you get a gradual turn toward the fall line.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

Many people are not willing to go before they know they can stop.  Many people need some time getting used to being on skis and sliding before they are willing to do some of the things you will ask them to do.   Asking a never ever to sideslip in the first hour on skis is certainly ambitious. I think there are other ways to deal with edge lock and wedge turners.

Oh I agree.

 

The only time I've actually taught a direct-to-parallel lesson to a group of never-ever adults was one day when it was so stupid cold that the skis would not move across the snow.  There was no point in introducing the wedge to slow down and stop.  We ended up skating down for our first turns.  They were parallel and doing fine after skating downhill, once the pitch kicked in.  I did not do the sideslip approach to starting a new turn.  The skis would not sideslip.


My point is I'm just investigating ways others have had success.  If people have found DTP to not work, then that's good to hear too; it matches my experience.

 

I expect that terrain makes a difference in DTP's success, as does length of that first lesson.  And boot fit.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 7/1/16 at 4:25am
post #7 of 17
The timeframe more than the progresion is your real roadblock. Awakening their sliding gene takes time and without that willingness to glide their progress is going to be limited. Sounds like a pro helping fit boots is needed as well.
post #8 of 17

For DTP lessons, I start with a lot of ground work first. Boot drills, one ski drills, two ski drills across flats. A lot of stepping and rotating. I really want them to feel and recognize femoral rotation before we start introducing gravity. I'll do bowties, and emphasize the feeling of the femur head rotating in its socket (using different terminology obviously). Turning in place with boots, one ski, other ski, both skis. Walk in a circle, boot, one, other, both.

 

Once I see effective rotational ability, I introduce a very slight pitch. First I have them step a J turn to stop. Once I get that done, I go to shuffling a J turn to stop. Then I have them keep their skis in line and point their toes to the J turn. It does help that our snowmaking crew builds a berm at the bottom of our Magic Carpet hill, which is a nice safety net for them, as they're always going into the trough, and know they will stop if they don't get it right away. 

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

For DTP lessons, I start with a lot of ground work first. Boot drills, one ski drills, two ski drills across flats. A lot of stepping and rotating. I really want them to feel and recognize femoral rotation before we start introducing gravity. I'll do bowties, and emphasize the feeling of the femur head rotating in its socket (using different terminology obviously). Turning in place with boots, one ski, other ski, both skis. Walk in a circle, boot, one, other, both.

 

Once I see effective rotational ability, I introduce a very slight pitch. First I have them step a J turn to stop. Once I get that done, I go to shuffling a J turn to stop. Then I have them keep their skis in line and point their toes to the J turn. It does help that our snowmaking crew builds a berm at the bottom of our Magic Carpet hill, which is a nice safety net for them, as they're always going into the trough, and know they will stop if they don't get it right away. 


Thanks.  That's just the kind of info I'm looking for.

 

Do you choose some version of this progression instead of teaching a wedge progression only in certain types of situations, or as a preference normally?  

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post




Thanks.  That's just the kind of info I'm looking for.

Do you choose some version of this progression instead of teaching a wedge progression only in certain types of situations, or as a preference normally?  

I've been working a seasonal program for a few years now, so my never ever sample size has shrunk significantly. But in general this was my "A" plan for never evers, to be adapted as needed. Snow conditions, temp, student attention span, traffic, and individual ability could, and typically did, cause variation from my A plan.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, yeah, I get that.

 

I'm assuming that when they shuffle their skis from pointing across the hill to pointing them downhill that very first time, it's non-threatening.

I suspect they are on very, very low pitch terrain, and protected from cross-traffic.  Did I get that right?

 

Am I understanding that you don't use side-slipping at all, but shuffling, to get the turn initiated?  They must be going very, very slowly. 


Edited by LiquidFeet - 7/4/16 at 8:28pm
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Well, yeah, I get that.

I'm assuming that when they shuffle their skis from pointing across the hill to pointing them downhill that very first time, it's non-threatening.
I suspect they are on very, very low pitch terrain, and protected from cross-traffic.  Did I get that right?

Am I understanding that you don't use side-slipping at all, but shuffling, to get the turn initiated?  They must be going very, very slowly. 

Yes, our Magic Carpet terrain is very gentle, and I initially only use the last few yards of it before the berm. It's amazing how much confidence the berm instills, because they're not worried about taking off out of control.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

Yes, our Magic Carpet terrain is very gentle, and I initially only use the last few yards of it before the berm. It's amazing how much confidence the berm instills, because they're not worried about taking off out of control.


Thanks.  

 

I'm a Level II at a smaller mountain than yours, and I get a lot of beginner adults.  A private helps delete the issues that come from not having a berm.

 

Groups have to be taught to STOP in a fast and efficient way, so they have enough confidence to try other things... like turning.  

---Thus the Catch-22 begins....

Turning uphill in a wedge to stop is nowhere near as effective as turning uphill parallel to stop.  But once they have a wedge stop as their security blanket, they go to the wedge no matter which way their skis are pointed when they want to slow down or stop.  The adrenaline rushing through their heads imprints that first stop very very deeply in their psyche.  

 

I'm looking for a way to teach a parallel-skis-uphill-stop for their first stop, one that won't scare the dickens out of them on our terrain, which has no berm nor flat run-out anywhere in sight.  I've used stepping on edged skis, with diverging tips.  They are frightened as they look down the hill, because everything below them goes down down down and keeps going down.  But I can get them to do it.  

We bull-fighter ourselves around and do another uphill stop using edged skis.  After doing this for a while it's time to start a turn, but the terrain still goes down down with no berm.

 

So I also need a way to teach them to start a turn that doesn't scare them.  Shuffling the skis to point downhill will give them waaaay too much speed on our beginner pitch with no berm.  

 

Using a side-slip to falling leaf to turning the skis to point downhill as they side-slip requires having them learn to side-slip and feel confident doing that, without a berm, in rental boots that don't fit very well. There may be a way to do that.  Or not.  I've always aborted the sideslip thing with my never-ever lessons.  Some try it, some don't, some stop in panic mode.  This is not good.  I just don't think that side-slip approach is going to work.

 

Got suggestions?  I think I'm stuck with the wedge.

 

Oh here's one.  Have rubber cement applied to the beginner skis.  

I know that skis that refuse to slip-&-slide will allow me to do a skate-to-shape direct-to-parallel progression on our terrain.  On a very cold day last season I did that with a large group.  The skis had the wrong wax, or maybe even no wax, and they would not slip in any direction on the snow.  It was like sandpaper.  That was a GREAT lesson; I had so much fun.  And so did they.

post #14 of 17
There are a few considerations to discuss. The first is the ssd and their preferred beginner progression. Without their approval the dtp / wedge issue is moot. The second is finding or creating the appropriate safe terrain which again requires ssd participation as well as the GM. Third would be lesson length. As you have stated in other threads, your average lesson length is around an hour. An hour leaves little time for supervised practice. Which is a key to any parallel first progressions. As you correctly identified the fear of sliding out of control is initially higher without the braking mechanism of a wedge. Making encouragement from you very important. At least until their trust in Stopping only as a function of line takes over.
post #15 of 17
At one area I worked at the prevailing opinion was no terrain was flat enough for parallel first progressions. Riding a lift I pointed out four small areas perfect for it. The ssd and assd didn't say much at the time but the next fall we had a mid mountain lift stop and a top of the mountain area perfect for it. The preferred progression still includes wedges but step progressions are also used. The terrain works well for both, better in fact because the gliding wedge progression is just as terrain dependent.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 7/6/16 at 10:26am
post #16 of 17
My belief is that through a cooperative effort between line instructors and management, developing additional options like a parallel first beginner progression gains traction.
post #17 of 17
My additional belief is that someone needs to spearhead the effort to bring SAM on board if you expect them to support alternatives like parallel first beginner progressions. It also might bring in experienced clinicians who can help train parallel first options customized to your ski area's terrain limits. Which is another key, no two areas have the same type of beginner terrain options. It only follows that no two set progressions will be the same. As an experienced cert 2 I am sure the SSD will at least listen to your ideas LF.
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