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ski lesson-parallel ski in one day (the title of the posted YouTube video) - Page 5
Yup, nothing like training for an exam, graded by three different people, when there is no way to know what they're looking for and they may all be looking for something else.
I cannot imagine such a scenario in any other professional certification area.
In the Eastern division there is one sure way to know what the examiners are looking for. It's in the exam guide.
During my L3 exam, when one of the examiners asked us to do a wedge to christy to parallel progression task, her wedge turns were done with an extremely wide stance. the group just looked at her demo and went "huh"? We knew what was being looked for and that wasn't it. However, she did that wide stance with skis flatter on the snow than what we would have done had we done a similarly wide stance. Her wedge turns were not braking wedge turns, they were gliding wedge turns. We all did "our" wedge turns because we knew we'd fail with a braking wedge. Now it says something that this person is no longer an examiner, but even so, the demo was not an issue because we all knew what we were supposed to do.
I know this "don't know what they're looking for" has been an issue for you in the past. I know that it affects other candidates as well. All I can say is that after studying the manuals, the exam prep guide, taking several Pro Jam clinics and taking clinics at my home mountain I had absolutely no doubts about what was being looked for before I went off to my exam. Examiners aren't perfect and that's why you only need to pass 2 out of 3. Looking at the water in the glass instead of the part of the glass that's empty is an essential element to quenching one's thirst.
I can't believe you just said this.
There are two right ways:
...the Level II right way
...the Level III right way
If certification candidates don't do the wedge the "right way" they will fail the wedge part of the exam.
I guess it's possible that both those right ways are the same, in which case there's only one right way.
Perhaps you are referring to Level I where the only wedge requirement for candidates is to pizza to the left and pizza to the right.
You know me well enough that if you can't believe I've said something then you haven't understood the intended meaning. Maybe this story will help.
One of my fellow exam candidates was the spitting image of this guy:
His body bent in ways that were super human when he skied. His skiing was a fantastic sight to behold. He was clearly an expert skier. He failed the exam, but not because he was doing the movements the wrong way. He failed because he was unable to make his skis perform all the required tasks (IMHO). You could tell by the way the examiners were conducting the exam when everyone nailed a task or when someone didn't. In my view he clearly passed several tasks and clearly failed several others. I was not the only one in the group who saw this.
If you train hard enough for an exam, you'll be fairly accurate in your own assessment of who's a sure pass, who's a sure fail and who's borderline. In exams I've consistently received feedback that I'm a "strong" skier. I've failed being strong and I've passed being strong. I've seen "graceful" (i.e. not strong) skiers pass with ease. There is no one single combination of muscle movements that produces a "passing" score in an exam. There are movements that are required in order to generate the desired performance that can be made within a "range" that will facilitate passing. What specific combinations of movements a skier makes is often seen as a "style". There are no style requirements for exams. There are many ways to meet the performance standards as defined in the exam prep guide. This is from the L2 section of the Eastern prep guide.
The examiner will give a score between 1 (lowest) and 6 (highest) for each task in the performance area. The scores of the tasks within each performance area will be averaged, and the candidate will need to have an average of 4 or better to be successful in that performance area for that ½ day session. The exception is in the Mountain Skiing tasks. The candidate will still need an average score of 4 or higher, but no single score can be below a 3 for the candidate to be successful in Mountain Skiing Performance Area
Clearly you can perform at 4, 5 or 6 and still pass. That proves that there are different ways to pass. This may be far too subtle a distinction for some tastes and it certainly is way more complicated than "right or wrong". If you can accept this concept, it is a great step forward toward successful certification.
Mogul skiing is often used as an example of why the above isn't true. There've been stories of candidates making beautiful comp mogul technique zipper line runs and failing the mogul task. It's not because comp mogul technique is "wrong". The reason is that examiners don't want to see a one trick pony. If you only did GS turns in your "full out" bump run, you'd fail too - no matter how awesome it looked. They want to see you demonstrate several different tactics. That's not written down anywhere. It's also not written down anywhere that you'll get extra points for throwing some air in your mogul run. But you'll come to know these things if you study for the exam. There's no written definition for "pizazz" in a mogul run, but with the right coaching you can easily learn the difference between "successful navigation" and "exciting to watch". It turns out that the mogul task is the ultimate example of why this "right/wrong" concept isn't true. If you mix up a little zipper line with a little snakiness, get a good blend of time spent on different pieces of the bumps (e.g. ruts, faces, backs, sides), bend the skis and display speed control you are well on your way to passing.
I am going to talk about myself again. I say"I came here to revitalize my teaching (I have no doubt that being here will help that) and to improve my personal skiing (it may help that)."
But something that I didn't see coming is that I am gaining some introspection as to how/what I currently teach.
I am a PSIA Level II cert. and teach beginners and intermediates and I know what I do for my beginning and intermediate students is effective. It is objectively provable.
This forum, JASP, PSIA, etc. are focused on wedge skiing, parallel skiing and movements to achieve each. I realize now that neither wedge nor parallel are my ultimate goal for my students and, that even beyond that, that there is no "perfect" wedge or parallel turn - which is the trick question which TheRusty recently posed.
And the quest for the perfect "turn" is a trap for those attempting to pass Level III. (I may know someone who has been caught in that trap.)
Active feet/skis, which will eventually be one with the skier, is my goal for my students.
So, I teach the Balance Pressure Edge Rotary Skills with movements to activate those skills. I could care less how my students wedge, and really don't care if their turns are perfectly parallel, so long as my students are actively using their feet to move their skis where they want to go and are reacting efficiently with their feet, legs, torso, hands to the forces felt on their feet/skis.
tdk6, who is one of my best "friends" on this forum (or at least has been one of the most patient with me) posted a wedge to parallel evolution video recently:
It does its job very well and tdk6 did a fine job demoing in it.
But, personally, it is exactly what I don't like about PSIA. It is very static in its movements. It is "turn" focused. With a goal toward perfecting the "turn."
I realize now that I don't care about turns. Turns are just a tactic for negotiating a slope. Turns are not the goal.
In basketball, making baskets is the goal.
In ski racing, the fastest time is the goal.
In PSIA certification exams, the stated goal is the proper blend of skills to create the requested/tested turns (at least until Level III bumps per TheRusty, above).
So a PSIA certification exam is a little like being scored on how well you dribble the ball down the court in basketball.
No doubt there is a correct and most efficient way to dribble the ball down the court, but the fans could care less about how you get there as long as when you do get there, you get the ball in the basket.
In free skiing, fun is the goal.
And as a result, my goal for my students is to teach them to dribble the ball (i.e., ski) like the Harlem Globe Trotters.
Instead of like the NBA World Champions.
From reading on this forum, I now realize that my introduction to parallel class is a misnomer. Yes, parallel skiing is a goal in the class and a carved parallel turn (one-footed or two-footed carved bottom of the turn, with flat ski patient-turn at fall line initiation) is objectively achieved by most of my students, but my introduction to parallel class is really an introduction to Edging class.
I will post my Introduction to Edging skill progression when I get time.
The purpose of this post is to convey my personal instructor epiphany.
It may explain why I am not "getting" a lot of other instructor's perspectives on teaching beginners and intermediates.
When I first became a ski instructor I was Rollerblading a lot. My perspective on ski teaching may have been formed by my Rollerblading. If you haven't seen it yet take a look at one of the skates we would do. The SF Friday Night Skate:
See the love in David Miles, the organizer (still today). See the fun in the skaters. See the varied terrain and obstacles which must be negotiated and the different foot movements required - from crack the whip in the Palace of Fine Arts, to "skating" up the nearly vertical Bush Street, to downhill through the Stockton and Broadway tunnels. It is skated at night. You must watch for pedestrians, other skaters, stationary obstacles, and cars, so although you can see ahead, no way can you look down for pavement cracks and grade changes -- it is all accomplished by feeling and active feet. That I think has been my goal in my ski teaching, once I shed my PSIA skin.
Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/6/16 at 9:34am
Actually Tim, it is curious that you write about wanting to improve and update your teaching and skiing yet you seem to be digging in your heels with that last post. Increasing your knowledge base and improving your skiing often means challenging ideas you currently hold as immutable truths. Just sayin...
JASP: Nope. It helps to know where you are now, before you start your journey to somewhere else. My heels are not dug in. That last post was just me expressing my realization of where I am now. I know Level III's, Clinicians, and Examiners know more than me. And I know I can learn from you and others.
So, don't firmly characterize me in my current state. For Christ's sake, I am just realizing what my current state is. I am here to grow. And recognizing where I am now, hopefully will make me more receptive to parts or all of the advice given here.
Just sayin' that I learned from Karate Kid, that the goal of painting the fence is not to perfect your fence painting.
My instructor goal here is to learn movements and progressions which will help me better instruct my students.
Tim, My encouragement to explore other options needs clarification. As a trainer I have had many different organizational, corporate, and operating company parameters to consider in staff training. The patrol has a particular focus, race coaching another, and every ski school has their own unique focus in spite of being PSIA member schools. Having been a trainer since 1980 I see things through the lens of that experience and see each ski area job as requiring a different set of skills. There are some commonalities but even within the same department, over time their methods and philosophies can change. It's just part of progress I guess. Having said that PSIA has set about standardizing lesson content with their mandatory update clinics and VRI with their epicmix on line app provides a platform where a student can expect their progress at any of our schools will allow them to seamlessly plug in to another lesson at any of our VRI schools. It's quite an undertaking but that is what they are promising customers and leaving it up to the training staffs to get everyone on board with fulfilling that promise. To use a famous TV phrase here, "resistance is futile you will be assimilated." As Borg like as that sounds we "smurfs" are tasked with fulfilling that promise every time we put on that vail blue uniform.
So considering all of that please consider the idea that Wedge first progressions and parallel first progressions are the same side of the same coin. Both are designed to get new skiers up and running and they start at exactly the same point. Exposing them to gliding on skis. A tenet that goes way back to the Arlberg days of the forties BTW. The focus on edging and carving you propose is incongruent with that my friend. Especially down at that first timer level where the idea of too much edge is specifically mentioned as a movement error by folks like Fred Iselin in his 1947 book, An Invitation To Skiing. His basic description of the maneuver includes the idea of the skis brushing across the snow much like a butter knife spreading butter rather than slicing it like a steak knife. Snow building up under the skis is also described as a rezult of too much edging. So I am curious why you adopted the idea of carved wedges. Sound like something born in the early 2000's when short slalom carving skis were the newest toy and edge biased beginner progressions were quite common. We've since moved on, or should I say returned to a more balanced approach where steering, pressure control as well as edging skills are once again the norm. In short we realized the skiers coming out of those lessons lacked the skill sets to modify their turns and their tendency was to assume a park and ride quality doing those those edgy, parallel first progressions turns. To be clear carving was never part of the wedge maneuver and parallel first progressions have since adopted the same blended turn focus. Carving is now relegated to a more advanced levels where it makes more sense because it requires the more developed balancing skills we usually see in level 5-6 students. The upper body lean is also absent for the very same reason, RoM and intensity of our movements matching the low dynamic nature of those slow turns and expanding at each subsequent level as speed increases is analogous to walking before running. Deliberate and disciplined movements of the upper and lower body is a strong focus in that model and that includes the concept of U/L separation where a quiet upper half and an active lower half are important qualities.
We could go around in circles here but if I have not given you compelling reasons to consider the new model at this point I have nothing more to add. I'm needed elsewhere and I wish you well on your continued search for ideas to incorporate into your teaching.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 10/6/16 at 5:16pm