EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How do i go from snow plow to a complete parallel turn?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How do i go from snow plow to a complete parallel turn? - Page 4

post #91 of 227
Thread Starter 

TexSkier:  Are you an instructor?  I need to ask because I need to get my attribution to you correct when I quote your analogy to my intermediate skiers!

post #92 of 227
Originally Posted by Tim Hodgson View Post

TexSkier:  Are you an instructor?  I need to ask because I need to get my attribution to you correct when I quote your analogy to my intermediate skiers!

No, I am just a guy who has taken a lot of lessons and spends way too much time thinking about skiing.

post #93 of 227

Thanks to Tim for starting a very interesting discussion.

Clearly, as ski instructors you have to do the best with what you have to work with in terms of student abilities, terrain availability, and employer and licensing/standards organizational requirements.


Thanks also for the history lesson.  As noted above, the predominant opinion du-jour amomgst professional ski instructor associations changed long ago from the snow-plow to parallel, to Wedge to parallel (with a snow-plough, stem-Christie, Parallel somewhere near the end of the snow-plow to parallel historical phase).   The switch from snow-plow to gliding wedge as a starting place is of great interest to me, having learned with a snow plough and not learning about the wedge method until much later in life when I discovered Epic Ski Forums.   As JASP pointed out, the snow-plough to parallel method has edging and pressure as a dominant factor from the get go, where as the wedge to parallel emphasizes steering.   I found this upsetting at first, as for me there was no problem with the snow plough, yet I could easily see the problems derived from starting with an emphasis on steering and a lack of emphasis on edging and pressure.   I must thank JASP for pointing out (in another post, not the post quoted below - I couldn't find the post where it was pointed out), that one of the main reasons for the change was the skill level of and speed/terrain skied by the typical student made the wedge platform much better for most students being seen at ski schools.   That's the benefit of vast experience over limited anecdotal experience.


I still feel that a major problem experienced by many skiers is that they spend too much time at the lower levels, before getting on with it;  I didn't have unneeded habits ingrained, because I did not spend years making those temporary moves.  


I will also note that being rather unconventional in my learning, I am able to differentiate different parts of the older methods.  For example the un-wheighting (of both skis), and the holding the shoulder back (for rotational counter) were not part of my progression from snow-plow to parallel carved turns.   To me unweighting and counter can easily be removed to another topic.


Also this negative movement is a red herring.  Getting right onto that left ski to force a hard right turn is a positive movement.   As to push off moves, just as an aside, there is another thread, where it is being argued that at the very top levels of WC GS skiing a step to the new outside ski for early pressure is highly favoured by many top pros.  Still I see the problem with habitual moves being automatic default and not decided on moves.    I just think trading one default move (stem push off whatever, for another excessive default leg steering) isn't a solution to a problem; it's substituting one problem for another.   I can see where the solution might be to go direct to parallel while avoiding both problems, but if and only if the student is capable and willing to put in the effort.  If the student needs the comfort of the wedge, that's what it takes.   If the student has good enough balance to quickly go from snow plough to stem-Christie to parallel and is happy making french-fries snow plough turns on blacks at speed, let'em (I realize that would get me fired at most ski schools :eek).  Like racing, you do what you gotta do.

Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Thanks Ghost, I would add the center seeking effect of Gravity to the top of the turn and how even without an engaged edge it will pull us into the next turn. Yes the terrain of choice is very shallow but the net resultant force of support under both skis and Gravity is still slightly off vertical. Meaning the net force we still call Gravity pulls us down the hill even there. The secret is in reducing the edge that is supporting us and causing the traverse in the first place. I pulled out my 1964 manual and the 2007 certification guide from PSIA and noticed the big difference in how the maneuver is described in each. I will offer a small portion of both texts but since both are in hard copy form transcribing both here is a large task I am not going to take on right now. The 2007 guide was available at PSIA's site but Bob may be the person who can post that since he is the author and there are copyrights that may apply.


The 1964 version includes an uphill stem (or bilateral hopping stems if doing a wedge straight run) to get the skis into a converging position. From there the skier tips the shoulders to the outside of the turn to weight the outside ski. The outside shoulder is held back to create upper body counter. On the equipment of that era those moves seemed reasonable and were in large part an offshoot of the Austrian Arlberg system. Instructors who trained back then adopted this final form and if they did not change what was once the standard it would still be correct by that dated standard. The additional weight placed on the uphill ski would indeed increase reaction force under that ski and that in effect would push us into the new turn. A particular note missing in that manual was the reduction of edge angle of the downhill ski though and in effect this introduces vaulting to overwhelm the edge platform under the downhill ski.


Contrast that fairly simple and straight forward description with what Barnes and the PSIA Alpine Education Committee wrote in the 2007 certification guidelines that are three pages long. Of particular relevance I am including some overall qualities as they describe them followed by some maneuver specific descriptions of the basic maneuver and finally a few of the disqualifiers that I feel are of particular relevance to this discussion. Hopefully this doesn't get too verbose but here they are...


Stance is described in the commonalities & principles of all basic reference standard maneuvers as follows;

"Open, uncontrived, functional, and athletic, optimizing movement options, independent leg action, and muscular and skeletal efficiency.


The maneuver specific description includes all the basic fundamental principles of basic offensive turns at the beginning level.

  • Movements, speed, and line are reasonably attainable by a typical beginning skier...
  • Range and intensity of movements are appropriately minimal, reflecting the very low speed, very gentle terrain, and embryonic skill development of the beginning skier...
  • Consistent natural wedge is the outcome of the open stance, active steering movements, and tactics that keep speed and forces to a minimum...
  • It is a characteristic, not a principle, and outcome, not an intent, and certainly not a defensive braking move. The wedge is not forced!...
  • Skier demonstrates exclusively "positive movements"- when turning right nothing moves intentionally left. The uphill tail is not pushed out at turn initiation and the wedge does not open wider...
  • Gliding wedge is constant and natural, unforced, with no change in size. Skis stay on opposing edges as the skier's body remains consistently between the skis....


Disqualifiers, or at least some of them are as follows;

  • stance - ineffective, contrived, or severely misaligned to the extent that it interferes with the required technical or tactical elements.
  • Consistent or dominant upper body or pushoff-based rotary mechanics. these include rotation and rotary pushoff, counter rotation, and a blocking pole plant.
  • Sequential (outside leg first) movement, or any leg movements that twist the outside tail into an increased skid during initiation or shaping phase of the turn.


  • ​Failurwe to release edge of downhill ski at turn initiation; "pushoff" initiation.
  • Braking, intentional skidding, pushing to edge, checking, platforms.
  • ​insufficient engagement, causing slippage and loss of steering control.
  • Excessive engagement, causing edge lock and loss of steering control.

Pressure control

  • ​Active weight transfer, especially if it causes a negative movement of the body (cm) through transition (ie, pushoff)
  • ​Forward leverage causing the tails to wash, or otherwise interfere with steering efforts
  • loss of speed control, or speed control from braking


So there you have some of the more recent thinking about wedges which also apply to an extent to Wedge Christies (matching being an obvious difference).

BTW the wedge and matching is described as spontaneous and in the case of the wedge Christie they include the following

  • Matching also resulting from continued steering of the inside tip into the turn. Speed and pitch of the hill dictate the ti,ing and rate of matching.


When we get to parallel turns the obvious difference is corresponding edge usage clearly seen in somewhat equal edge angles of both skis at all times, a slightly narrower stance than the wedge Christie (reflects a student's improved balance and confidence), simultaneous edge release from reducing edge angles, consistently parallel skis as a result of refined active steering movements and appropriate tactics, and a lack of any contrived stances and negative movements (moving any part of the body away from the turn).


Beyond that lies a whole lot of activities and experimentation where the student may indeed assume contrived stances to discover their effects on the outcome and learn how to recognize when their stance gets out of the basic balance zone, as well as how to correct those common errors. But all of that is a topic for another day and another thread. Wedge to parallel is a journey where we establish some basic fundamentals in an easily digestible and usable form and then go about refining those movements as the student's skill level improves. Inside ski usage certainly changes but not as a function of anything more than speed. Try to perform basic parallel turns at a snails pace and you will wedge, or wedge Christie if you up the speed a slight bit. I am sure some here will refute some, or all of what I included here but in doing so I hope they provide just as much detail from their national organization that published that information. Please also include date of publishing because like PSIA sometimes that date is a factor in what was written.

post #94 of 227

I would offer the idea that we do not learn "dynamic balance".   A complete balancing and motor activity system is built into our brains at birth.  We begin using and programming it as toddlers and on through childhood, from crawling to standing to walking to running to jumping and skipping. Some of us continue programming it for more and more difficult and arcane tasks - surfing, gymnastics - but the basic building blocks are there from birth.  Real coaching skill is creating and improving the techniques students can use to attach new movement onto their existing patterns.


One major advantage in learning on a gliding wedge glaringly obvious - more students get more comfortable faster. More students feel more control faster.  Comfort and control eases stress which opens students minds for new skills and movements. A gliding wedge provides a solid platform from which most fundamental or advanced skills and movements can be learned and practiced. 


OTOH, a direct to parallel system can filter out less athletic students.  At the same time, a direct parallel system may lock the student into an edged / bent / carving ski platform too early in their development.  Students introduced too soon to matched skis often mask technique issues with speed or inertial and centripetal forces which may reduce development of "soft edge" or "flat ski" techniques necessary for off-piste snow or slope conditions.


Whether due to poor instruction or poor methods, the transition to advanced techniques via a wedge system can be more difficult than necessary.  The wedge is simply a tool. 

So is direct to parallel.  And tools are rarely at fault during a construction phase.   


Humans, on the other hand....  

post #95 of 227

We learn a new movement by several hundred repetitions.  It takes that to form the new neural connections in the brain so we no longer have to actively think about the new movement.  Then we are ready to learn another movement.  It takes several thousand repetitions to replace an already learned movement.


A new skier in a wedge for a half-day is OK, then on to the easiest parallel.  We do not want to get the wedge deeply ingrained as a habit, then need to break that and learn a replacement move.  Don't teach anything that will need to be un-learned.  (Skiers pick up enough of those on their own.)

post #96 of 227
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post


Exactly. A bit more complex. I tried to keep it as simple as I could. If you look at what you wrote yourself you can see that flexing to release is separate from flexing through transition. If we take a look at the two types of transitions we separate between, ILE and OLF, it only makes sense if we carve with big angles and ILE would mean that our flexed inside leg would extend into the transition. However, if we are carving at moderate speed with low edge angles and with the inside leg minimally flexed then releasing the outside ski would not drag your butt any closer to the snow. Instead it would look more like a ILE type transition.


Many times WC skiers flex to release and flex through transition but their hips rice 50cm and vault over and people think he/she extended into transition.


This is how I interpret this issue. I could be wrong.

It's so much about managing the pressure.  What the terrain does to us through out the turn and the transition whether the terrain  falling away or rising, whether one foots in a rut while the other is on a high spot, whether the terrain falls away quickly or we are transitioning onto flatter terrain impacts how much either leg has to flex or extend to do it's job.    The outside leg being long and the inside leg being short while turning ...yes, but how much???  We release the pressure to switch edges and we use the pressure to bend the ski.   How much extension does it take to maintain ski snow contact?  Whether we are skiing bumps or training slalom with deep ruts.   How much flexion does it take to get big angles?  How much retraction does it take to release the pressure?   How much do we absorb the virtual bump with flexion or how much do we have to extend to maintain snow contact  because we didn't absorb the virtual bump.    I think we can only answer these questions as we watch a turn and understand what is happening and whether or not we  believe the skier responded ideally or not to the demands of each turn.  It's what I like best about gate training.  In free skiing we are usually free to manage each turn or let each turn manage us without paying a penalty.  It's different in the gates where the turn needs to be initiated and completed in relative specific  areas in order to make the next gate and complete the course.    YM   

post #97 of 227
Originally Posted by doski View Post



.  At the same time, a direct parallel system may lock the student into an edged / bent / carving ski platform too early in their development. 

Although I don't spend a lot of time with never evers, the majority of my current teaching with beginners is more along the lines of DTP.  I admit, that I find it takes slightly more time on average to reach a breakthrough where the skiers can turn left and right but I believe when they get there they are ahead of the beginners who begin in wedges.  Our beginner area is a terrain based learning area which I also think helps all beginners.  Also, all our beginner lessons are two hours.   I do not find that these beginners are locked in any position much less a carving platform when started with DTP.  On the contrary, DTP encourages movement and balance over positions.  As a caveat, if any of my new students discover by any means how to turn left and right, then I accept what they have discovered and explore from where they are at.   It's not about what's wrong but rather what can be improved.    YM

post #98 of 227

FWIW, my .02 cents involves how much time a skier has to dedicate to the sport.  It's probably a foregone conclusion that almost all who have been following this thread want to become better skiers, even if they're already making parallel turns.  Clearly, an instructor can guide any level skier to better skiing and correct any manner of problem the skier is having given enough time, and provided the student has deep enough pockets to continue lessons.  Lessons, unfortunately, for many people are cost prohibitive.  I can usually afford 2 or 3 lessons per season.  Sometimes I show up and don't know what I want to work on and ask for some MA and completely let my instructor drive the lesson.  Other times I show up and I'll identify an area I'm struggling with.  Either way, one of the first questions they ask is "what do you want to get out of the lesson?"


The issue becomes what am I doing as the student in the days and weeks after the lesson has ended?  Am I practicing the things the instructor had me working on (almost always in the form of drills)?  Am I making time to do the hundreds of repetitions required to refine a new movement pattern associated with my fore/aft or lateral balance?  If I'm working on my own do I have a clear understanding of what a progression is and how to use it to improve the skill I've been taught or attempting for the first time on my own?  The answer when attempting a new drill is, start on gentle terrain, good snow conditions (groomed, no ice, crud, moguls), try the exercise in a traverse, then a half turn, then a full turn then connect a series of turns.  Alter the shape or radius of my turns.  And always, always, always use a steered/brushed carve/skidded turn before attempting a carved turn.  Finally, evaluate what I did.  


Going from a wedge to parallel takes patience and hard work through development of the fundamental base skills.

post #99 of 227
Thread Starter 

checksix68:  Anybody who can write a post like that and who skis 60-90 days a year should be teaching.  There are beginners, intermediates, and others who you can help.  At least at my resort, your pass, your wife's pass and any childrens' passes will be free as part of the compensation package.  Your "lessons" will be included free as part of ski school training.    You likely ski well now, but you cannot help becoming a better skier after joining, what is actually just a mandatory ski club, where you will always have buddies to ski with when you get to the resort.  Shreddin Sam wants you at the Job Fair on Oct. 29...


And one more thing, although it is impolite to count on it, often resorts will give a visiting instructor a discount off lift tickets, which could make ski trips out West more economical for you.  For instance, the PSIA Level II's in our group skied all three days for free at Mammoth Mountain during our May trip this year.  (Thank you Finlay Torrance!  Yes, my buddy and I are trying to figure out how to teach a week for you after our resort closes for the season in April, but our day jobs are currently conflicting with that.)  


Thanks for your post.

Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/18/16 at 9:15am
post #100 of 227

If you look at the video I posted in the other thread its easy to see how much faster carving is that wedging, Wedge Christies or even regular skidded Parallel Christies. So to start DTP with carving is not a good ide. Not that it has not been tried. Seen that a few times. Does not work very well. Beginners and even intermediate to good skiers often struggle with speeds like that. On the easiest of slopes. Not to talk about a regular crowded blue or red (European).

post #101 of 227
Thread Starter 

checksix68:  I agree with tdk6, above.  In 1996, the resort where I teach was one of the first in the nation to buy Elan parabolic skis for rental and ski school students.  All of us instructors would put on 135cm's and haul a$$ and see if we could carve an uphill and around entirely carved 360.  You really had to have speed, but you could do it.  Back then, I read The Athletic Skier by Warren Witherell and was excited by and tried the Direct to Parallel carved skiing teaching method for beginners.  It was a predictable teaching phase given the edging characteristic of the phenomenal new ski technology at the time. But based on my actual experience it is not the best method for teaching the average beginner.  So, I have developed/adopted the teaching philosophy expressed by SoftSnowGuy in his post above.


Now if you had an accomplished inline skater or an ice skater you could go direct to parallel carved.  But you would still teach them the wedge.  No one stops "parallel" on inline skates.  Everybody uses either a hockey stop, a T-stop, the heal brake, or even believe it or not a wedge to stop.  In skiing, a wedge is simply the most efficient method to stop or slow down in a narrow corridor like entering or negotiating a lift line, a congested area, the vicinity where a skier has fallen, or where Patrol is posted up and attending an injured guest.


Direct to parallel skidded skiing is an entirely different beast.  And again with the right student it could be done, but just learning to skid a ski without catching an edge and going down is hard enough.  (Witness a first time snow boarder for examples of that.)  So what is the best way to learn to skid a ski?  In my humble opinion, the braking, and then gliding wedge is the safest and most secure way to learn to skid a ski.  And that is how I introduce skiing to most beginners now.

Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/18/16 at 8:50am
post #102 of 227

Children usually don't mind wedging. All that they care about is moving and having fun. Adults on the other hand, men in particular, are very conscious of the fact that wedging is supposingly for beginners only. So in order to keep the adults motivated its good to be moving past the wedge stage asap swiftly. You can always come back to wedging later.

post #103 of 227
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Children usually don't mind wedging. All that they care about is moving and having fun. Adults on the other hand, men in particular, are very conscious of the fact that wedging is supposingly for beginners only. So in order to keep the adults motivated its good to be moving past the wedge stage asap swiftly. You can always come back to wedging later.


Most beginners that I teach are concerned about speed control and not whether they are in a wedge or parallel.  


If you teach movements [edge release and leg rotation] that allow students to turn their skis where they want to go, you don't have to do anything else to keep students motivated.  I don't teach a "\wedge" or "parallel".   Different combinations of movements produce different results.

post #104 of 227
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post


Most beginners that I teach are concerned about speed control and not whether they are in a wedge or parallel.  


If you teach movements [edge release and leg rotation] that allow students to turn their skis where they want to go, you don't have to do anything else to keep students motivated.  I don't teach a "\wedge" or "parallel".   Different combinations of movements produce different results.


Yes, just keep them moving forwards. And keep their focus on other things than if their skis are in a wedge or parallel. I try not to put too much emphasis on the actual wedge as in "this is a wedge" and that is for speed control.

post #105 of 227
Thread Starter 

As I have mentioned, my intro to parallel class has a Pressure/Edge carved turn focus.


Unless I have misinterpreted you, JASP, you (and likely other instructors) advocate more of a Rotation/Pressure steered turn focus in your intro parallel class.


When they come to me to learn parallel, my students usually already have some sort of a rotation based (often Z-turn shaped) wedge turn on easy intermediate terrain.  That is why I introduce, the new to them, Edge skill.


From reading this forum, I have decided to add a Rotation/Pressure skidded steered parallel turn instruction in the second half of my into to parallel class (before bringing it all together by ending with flat spin 360's).


In reading deep into this forum I came across one of the best explanations of why, post-shaped ski, the steered turn should be revived in my ski instruction.  Here it is, just an excellent read:




Click on the link at the bottom of Rick's page to download the article in pdf format to read his article without scrolling:


I found the link to Rick's excellent article in post #12 from 2011 below:



Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/21/16 at 8:25am
post #106 of 227

@Rick was a big contributor here for years, now he has a Facebook group called Skier Village, he also produced a fantastic DVD series which he sells.

post #107 of 227

... and his website is a treasure trove of a wide range of technical topics, from glossary to video demos, to a number of interesting concepts and some great writing. www.yourskicoach.com

post #108 of 227

,Tim, the pathway to parallel is full of traps. One is the idea of a pure carved turn, or a pure skidded one for that matter. Partial edge engagement of both skis is a quality that exists somewhere in between those two extremes and it is likely present in your lessons unless you ask beginners to make 50 foot radius turns (the size of a turn on a 16m sidecut ski would scribe) on a fully engaged outside ski. Parallel first or wedge based matters little if like most you choose to avoid teaching turns that big to beginners. Speed also plays a factor in my belief that true carves are unlikely at that level. Bending the ski into enough reverse camber to produce a six meter carved turn requires much more force than a beginner / beginning intermediate skier can create and maintain throughout a turn. Leaving a park and ride outcome more likely the case considering their rudimentary skill levels. Not having audited your classes I cannot say that for sure but I strongly suspect I am correct here.


The question you posed about wedge to parallel suggests the student started in a wedge progression regardless of who taught it to them. Breaking that habit seems to be at the core of your question and perhaps instead of thinking in those terms you might consider building on the skills those folks already have learned. If as I suspect they started with a blended turn steering is probably the first skill they learned. Edging tends to be a function of the stance and the changing edge angles that are the result of turning on an inclined surface. Weight on the outside ski tends to be a function of our linear momentum seeking to follow a straight path and the partially engaged skis seeking a curved path. If we were to try to mitigate this natural pressure shift we would need to lean inside the turn pretty far to keep equal pressure on both skis. Since we don't it is fair to assume pressure shifting to the outside ski is happening. Adding to it is certainly an option but considering Gravity is already pulling us there until the dynamics of the turns increase, (more speed) an active foot to foot weight shift is unwarranted and in most cases sets up a closed loop chain of events where corrections create the need for more corrections. The question of why we would do that emerges. Rotary Push Offs and Step / Stem transitions are two examples of this sort of superfluous movement addition and subsequent corrective compensatory actions later in that same turn. It also begs the question of efficacy and choosing between exploiting those naturally occurring forces that create an outcome verses trying to artificially create the very same outcome. Some may suggest haste as a reason for trying to expedite this by teaching contrived stances with excessive body angles but as I mention to all beginners who naturally try some of these stances, Imagine walking five miles in that contrived stance. Most of us would never be able to straighten up and walk erect again after doing that. It's just not how we move naturally.  Over time we definitely can work on expanding that RoM and that includes more angulation and active weight shifts but only as the dynamic needs dictate. Suggesting the introduction of those excessive moves so early in their development is questionable because without that dynamic need they do not create a balanced stance. It's a bit of a minimum action for maximum outcome idea. An idea Ollie Larsson described in his landmark book World Cup Ski Technique. "Allowing the skis the maximum freedom to slide" is exactly this approach. Interestingly enough that idea is still the basis for most learning systems. It explains what TDK and I discussed earlier where the big wind up and release moves went away in favor of a more reasonable method visible in the 1964 manual I mentioned.


Equipment changes simply made all of those big moves unnecessary. So even though some look to world cup racers and see a return to step and roll transitions the 35m sidecut regulation is one reason why that move re-emerged. Consider the average skier will never ski a world cup Sl or GS board it only makes sense that the average skier may want to play with but not adopt it as a default move. If the recreational ski designers return to only making those race inspired skis that would precipitate a return to steps and stems by the majority of skiers. I for one don't see that happening since that strong connection to the race world is unlikely to return.

post #109 of 227
Thread Starter 

JASP:  That was clear.  How about a link to your or a JASP-approved (not beginner progression but an) intermediate's progression to parallel?  Thanks!

post #110 of 227

Being a recreational skier myself, I think JASP hit the nail on the head.  The more I learn, the dumber I feel.  I'll never be a Candide Thovex or Ted Ligety.  Since someone brought up Rick, I'll use an example from his program, which is excellent, BTW.  The goal in one of his exercises is to dramatically reduce the turn radius by using a rotated turn, staying square to your skis and driving the outside hip forward.  Hip angulation becomes difficult, but it is an effective means/tactic to accomplish the goal.  Although I continue to practice this tactic, I don't incorporate it in my every day skiing.  I lack the confidence and refinement to employ the tactic outside of drilling.  If I want to ski as fast as possible on steep terrain, I use different angulation and transition tactics that I'm more comfortable with.  Even when strapping on a new pair of GS skis at the end of last season, I was way outside of my comfort zone.  My first impression was, "WOW, these ski's have tails."  The inside ski was problematic at best and it felt like it kept getting in the way and I was falling into it, so I found myself continually lifting it.  Turns out I was over anticipating my turns being used to a smaller turn radius all mountain ski.  Point is, when this season begins, it'll be back to square 1, using steered turns and developing patience to adjust to the larger turn radius of the new ski.    

post #111 of 227

Using Rick's DVD's in order would make an amazing skier.  The problem is there are so many drills, so many things to work on that it takes a lot of time and dedication.


I skipped around and still learned quite a bit, that allowed me for example to study the Transitions DVD without having to spend months on the 4 DVD's that came before it!


I did go very methodically through the first DVD, Basic Balance.   I'm no beginner, but learning to do all of the balance drills on that DVD was not easy and made me so much stronger and able to handle being put into challenging balance situations that I was then prepared for by having drilled them.  


Rick is one of the clearest communicators about skiing I've come across.  I've also had the fortune to have skied with him.


Between Bob Barnes and Rick Schnellman and I think you would have an incredible foundation.

post #112 of 227

I'm another Rick Schnellmann fan.  His analytical approach to skiing mechanics is excellent.

post #113 of 227
Tim, as an experience Pro it is time to create rather than follow anyone else's set progressions. Each student presents differently and that makes set progressions an unlikely best solution. At their best they offer guiding principles but in doing that they also restrict options you may want to consider. Sometimes the reason for an action needs to be addressed more than the movement springing from that reason. A lingering habit may not even be something they realize they use but digging a little deeper you might discover the underlying mindset they have that created the habit in the first place.

Braking wedges are an example we might use in a hypothetical situation. The student was introduced to them way back in the beginning lesson and it instilled a sense of safety and reliability. As they move towards parallel they have begun to realize the wedge isn't infallible and at faster speeds it just becomes ineffective. The z turns you described with a RPO transition is their chosen method of changing direction because the traverse section provides a little slowing. Knowing that as they turn into the fall line they will accelerate they preempt that with a reliable wedge to mitigate the acceleration. It also allows them to swing the skis around as they push off that downhill edge platform. But what is the root cause of all of this? Was it the instructor introducing braking wedges? Or was it a fear of the fall line and Gravity pulling them and their lack of control over Gravity? We simply are not going to get very far with them as long as that fear overrides the want to ski more aggressively. In short wedge or parallel is irrelevant if that underlying fear is inhibiting their ability to progress.

We can
1. do sideslips to garlands and a fan progression to ingrain a simultaneous release.
2. increase the pace and create spontaneous christies as a result of that faster pace
3. do straight runs on very gentle terrain to deprogram the fear of Gravity
4. do j turns on hard green terrain to deprogram the fear of Gravity
5. do one footed white pass turn entries on gentle terrain to deprogram the fear of Gravity
6. do flat spins to deprogram the fear of Gravity
7. play follow me (follow my tracks) and use the terrain based learning option
8. do pivot slips and study their tracks
9. belay them and have them ski while pulling you down the hill
10. just shut up and ski at 10% better than they do as a visual model of no blocking and braking in transition

All ten can be a starting point for a progression and as long as you have a reasonable (simply to complex / easy to difficult quality) sequence in mind that should be pretty easy to craft. I should also mention that all ten will work but may not be the best choice for everyone, one probably will. However if all ten don't work it might be time to address their mindset directly in a conversation. What is it they find so unnerving about cooperating with Gravity? How did this fear become so profound that it disables them? I've sat in the summit house for a half hour with a student from a lesson (not mine) while she wept until she got to a cathartic release point where we could honestly talk about that fear. She pulled herself together, worked on a few simple moves and over time gained the confidence to rejoin the group she started with. She is now one of my loyal clients who comes out to ski every season. All because I avoided the movement based solutions until she was mentally ready to challenge herself.. When the student is ready the instructor will appear....
Edited by justanotherskipro - 10/22/16 at 10:04am
post #114 of 227
Thread Starter 

JASP:  Your post definitely provides drills to reduce fear of Gravity and I have added it to my Instructor Notes file.  Thank you.


As far as your dig: 

Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Tim, as an experience pro it is time to create rather than follow anyone else's set progressions. 


Instructor to instructor:  10-4, yes, I am an experienced instructor.  And I have created my own progressions.  And they work.  But you disagree with the wedge to parallel Pressure/Edge progressions which I have created.  So, out of respect for you and your greater certification level, I asked you for yours.


Now, how about sharing your progressions for intermediates from wedge to skidded-rounded Rotation/steered parallel turn?


Some may consider it ironic that you chide me for asking for progressions from other experienced instructors such as yourself after you have indicated that you don't like mine?  


There's a lot of humor in life.


Thanks for sharing.  Take care, carry on, and have a Blessed Day!  

post #115 of 227

I have posted the following experience before but I think it is worth reposting it in this thread.


After over 40 years of teaching at a "traditional" ski area with a "traditional" bunny slope,  I moved and began teaching at a 300' vertical  mom and pop area. 

This area had no lift servicing beginner terrain. After teaching a breaking wedge and establishing some sort of turning capability, it was up the lift we go. 


The hill begins with a "Blue" rated face for about 200 yards and then flattens out for another 100 or 200 and then a short blue slope to the bottom. 


Because of the steepness, I built a progression that began with vertical sideslipping in both directions.  I mean a relatively compressed,  knees bent,  head up, hands forward sideslipping. Amongst other things, this provides a safe configuration while the student practices balance and the mechanics of tipping


Next I added forward movement across the hill (forward sideslip) allowing the student to incorporate velocity provided by gravity and hone their edging skills as underfoot conditions changed


The next pass or two introduced garland rotation to the mix. 


When we arrived at the flats, I had the students try to execute a turn in parallel by coaching them to steer  into the  turn  staying as tall as they can for as long as they can since they had somewhat addressed the fear of gravity up on the blue slope.


Then  it was back up the hill and do it again.    


The terrain sequence might sound ass backwards to many but it addressed the fear of gravity head on and gave the student the confidence needed to turn into the fall line down on the flats. 


I found this progression was far more successful than the hours spent on a beginner slope that did not provide the terrain needed to effectively learn and ingrain the fundamental skill of skidding ...or steering as many now like to call it. 

post #116 of 227
Thread Starter 

JESINTR:  Uh... Hmmm...  Uh...  Hmmm...


You my friend are not helping here.


Because you just perfectly described our easiest intermediate Chair.


And because you just perfectly described the wedge to parallel progression which I have developed over 18 seasons of teaching on that terrain.

(So, really I don't need to post up my specific progression at all.  But out of reciprocity, I will soon.)


So, is it possible that we are both using/employing "terrain-based" teaching?


Or let's just call it "reality-based" teaching.


Rather, than internet bashing "theory-based" teaching?


Take care, carry on, and Have a Blessed Day Brother!

Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/22/16 at 1:41pm
post #117 of 227
No slight Tim. Just questions about carving while doing skidded maneuvers. Seems incongruent with the basic maneuver descriptions.
As far as a progression, student development and performance drives how I piece together a lesson. Those ten ideas are all easy to modify as needed and each student will be involved in developing a custom lesson plan even when doing the same activity. It is the stepping stone model with a modification where the students not the instructor choose from three options for each activity. Knowing how each activity is related to the others (skill wise) makes modifing an activity easier and I suspect you already do this to some degree. Only you know how often you do that. But it requires a level 3 "all skills at all points" mindset, where the level two standard is not that comprehensive. Same can be said of Level ones where identifying one skill at one point in a turn is another test standard. Again not a slam just stating the standard.
post #118 of 227
Thread Starter 

10-4 JASP.  What text/digital would you recommend for Level III prep/mindset?

post #119 of 227

Tim, I looked at the Kirkwood training clinics in an effort to recommend some in house clinics. That is the first place I would look at because in house clinics are free to the staff (the company's pays the clinician). I will PM what I found since it is internal company information. The resources available to you in PSIA-W are another area worth investigating but being in RM I don't visit W's site often. Here at Epic Bud Hieshman (sp) is a W examiner you might ask for help in developing that level 3 mindset. It's not really a handout sort of thing since it is an evolutionary thing that happens as you go through that cert 3 training process and even more so as you train to become a trainer. Hope that helps

post #120 of 227
Thread Starter 

Thanks buddy!  I am open to clinics and will look forward to your pm.

And as I have found in my educational experience, and as Jonathan Ballou says in his global skiing podcast interview, a clinic is not where you learn, but where you define and refine what you have studied/practiced on your own.  So, I will thumb through the current PSIA Level III educational offerings too. 

Edited by Tim Hodgson - 10/23/16 at 1:45pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How do i go from snow plow to a complete parallel turn?