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Racing and ski instruction - Page 3

post #61 of 91
Proprioception (& peripheral vision)

Same reason you can pick stuff up off table when lights go out - or write name without looking....
post #62 of 91
Thread Starter 
Good answer, disski. I wanted to mention this since reading a comment you made in another thread about having to look back over your shoulder for reassurance that other skiers weren't going to plow into you from behind. Asking you not to look back developed your peripheral vision while also sharpening other critical sensory channels--hearing, feeling, and attending to the experience in order to recognize patterns of cause and effect.

The hand "knows" when and where to grab the falling knife because of input on four channels: (peripheral) Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Experiential (VAKE), just as the body "knows" where it needs to be in space to maintain its connection to the ground--i.e., be in balance.
post #63 of 91
My earlier comment about looking over the shoulder has been mis-interpreted. I was not suggesting that anyone look out for people plowing into them from directly behind them. Rather, it is a tactic I use when carving long turns, right across the fall-line, on the trajectory that almost takes me slightly uphill between turns, to avoid meeting "fall-line wedelers" at an angle of 90 degrees.

Actually, it is intended to be a sensible part of an overall strategy of developing peripheral vision, something that will increase in importance as the slopes get more crowded, people go faster, and radical sidecuts allow skiers/snowboarders to take ever-different trajectories down the hill.
post #64 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Good answer, disski. I wanted to mention this since reading a comment you made in another thread about having to look back over your shoulder for reassurance that other skiers weren't going to plow into you from behind. Asking you not to look back developed your peripheral vision while also sharpening other critical sensory channels--hearing, feeling, and attending to the experience in order to recognize patterns of cause and effect.

The hand "knows" when and where to grab the falling knife because of input on four channels: (peripheral) Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Experiential (VAKE), just as the body "knows" where it needs to be in space to maintain its connection to the ground--i.e., be in balance.
Nolo
Yes - I had to trust that if I could NOT hear them they were probably at a reasonable level & would not splat me on a direct rear hit.... As I said somewhere recently - I also had to learn to TURN DOWNHILL FAST when I heard stupid noises than indicated out of control person to rear....

As you noted I also needed to tune into periphereal vision & to realise that if I looked where I was going I had pretty good view really (except whiteouts - do not go too fast in whiteouts!)

Feeling - my awareness of sensory input was always VERY high... I had to learn what to IGNORE for a start - because my sensory input is so important to my body awareness I was super aware of every ski vibration
post #65 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
My earlier comment about looking over the shoulder has been mis-interpreted. I was not suggesting that anyone look out for people plowing into them from directly behind them. Rather, it is a tactic I use when carving long turns, right across the fall-line, on the trajectory that almost takes me slightly uphill between turns, to avoid meeting "fall-line wedelers" at an angle of 90 degrees.

.

But if I am making a long turn that carries up hill again then I have been looking across the hill (at least peripherally) for a fair portion of that turn....

If I am pointing upper body pretty much where it should be(towards ski tips) my vision should be pretty much where it needs to be.... yes???


As I said - I got pretty stern talkings to for attempting to turn head uphill (excpet when starting off - or on entering trails) ....

One of the comments was that such behaviour makes my skiing "erratic" and thus causes s with good skiers/boarders that should be avoiding me but I try to dodge them or stop instead....

Like if I tried to stop at green traffic lights all the time....
post #66 of 91
Dissski

Although you are correct to say that you shouldn't when skiing on open piste have to look back up the way, Martin's point is that if you are skiing the 'slow line fast' you do run the risk of inadvertantly cutting accross skiers taking a more direct route and although you may have the theoretical right of way, on crowded pistes there will be problems.

This is precisely why I asked the question on the wisdom of teaching recreational skiing based on the racing ethos of speed (Wetheral's slow line fast etc) when so often such skiers apply these skills in less than ideal conditions (crowded pistes, poor physical fitness, etc). Should recreational skiing be based on more a more defensive foundation?
post #67 of 91
Thread Starter 
Daslider,

Would you agree that the race course trains the kinds of skills that can defend a skier on a crowded slope?
post #68 of 91
Nolo, in the long term yes, of course, race skills are just ski skills. But while these are being refined, there may be a case for a more defensive progression wrt speed - the modern ski is like a 1000cc bike where a regulated 125cc might be a better learning platform. Perhaps more pivoting and less carving to begin with which deliberately keeps speed down? The defensive-offensive language is perjorative and unhelpful; as skis carve more and more easily, a return to the swish may not appeal to teachers.
post #69 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Daslider,

Would you agree that the race course trains the kinds of skills that can defend a skier on a crowded slope?
The only defense really available to the slower skier on a crowded slope, is the skill and responsibility of the faster skiers approaching from above. If I were skiing slowly in that situation, I would feel better if the skiers attempting to overtake me had some race training experience, because racing teaches extreme precision, and the ability to avoid objects (ie. gates). Whether race training also teaches a responsible attitude is surely down to individual coaches.
post #70 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by daslider
Nolo, in the long term yes, of course, race skills are just ski skills. But while these are being refined, there may be a case for a more defensive progression wrt speed - the modern ski is like a 1000cc bike where a regulated 125cc might be a better learning platform. Perhaps more pivoting and less carving to begin with which deliberately keeps speed down? The defensive-offensive language is perjorative and unhelpful; as skis carve more and more easily, a return to the swish may not appeal to teachers.

But I control my speed much better by using the terrain (turning UPHILL) & my line than by your process... It forces me to be much more aware of my surroundings rather than "ski down this corridor" type of attitude....
Even on cattracks I can use the edge to turn uphill & bleed speed if I need to.... & remember I dislike any bumps etc in general - they upset my balance much more than an average person - so if I can use this technique then it is NOT that hard....
post #71 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by daslider
Dissski

Although you are correct to say that you shouldn't when skiing on open piste have to look back up the way, Martin's point is that if you are skiing the 'slow line fast' you do run the risk of inadvertantly cutting accross skiers taking a more direct route and although you may have the theoretical right of way, on crowded pistes there will be problems.

This is precisely why I asked the question on the wisdom of teaching recreational skiing based on the racing ethos of speed (Wetheral's slow line fast etc) when so often such skiers apply these skills in less than ideal conditions (crowded pistes, poor physical fitness, etc). Should recreational skiing be based on more a more defensive foundation?

But you do not "inadvertently" cut across their path - you take a VERY defined arc that slowly heads that way (or not so slowly depending on your line & hence speed) that means you KNOW you are heading that way for quite some time (- as do they....if they are looking ahead)..... also by LOOKING WHERE YOU ARE GOING you will be able to see them for quite some distance....

The only people that cause problems this way are the ones that do the "oh I thought I had picked you short turn timing - so I just skied across the front of you skis when we are the only people on a 30foot wide piece of snow" type of stuff - they will always be a problem - you CAN often hear them though as they often do not ski that well... if you cannot hear them thehn only rear vision mirrors are likely any use as you need to be able to see BEHIND - ALL the time


The only "inadvertently" comes from sking Z's instead of circles(or parts thereof) - then it is impossible to tell WHEN the change of direction will occur(ie when will the skier get freaked & change direction).... I have seen people ski Z's in very small corridors thinking they are high level skiers - they have no speed control & not much other control either they get faster the whole trip despite all those "turns" (series of edge changes) .... I believe this is due to the instruction style that suggests you teach parallel turns by teaching a series of hockey stops.... they seriously think that as long as they "turn" they have speed control - yet they have no control of line

BTW - it is almost always crowded on at least PART of any downhill trip here - small amount of ski lifted area & SHORT SEASON = lots of people on small amount of snow.... My instructors used to tell me to go ski USA - MUCH LESS CROWDED (I have a fear of crowds)
post #72 of 91
Thread Starter 
I think racing can be the fastest track to good skiing. Why, you ask?

1. The format of all-day, season-long coaching from one person.
2. The objective of turning in predetermined places.
3. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
4. The goal of finishing first. (Read both ways.)
5. Being on a team with a peer group dedicated to achieving the same objective and goals. Free skiing with them.
6. Learning about and being concerned about having the right equipment, physical conditioning, nutrition, health habits, and so forth.
7. Precision drills.
8. Others???
post #73 of 91
Nolo-
That sums it up nicely.
How about:
- Clear physical models?
- Not only drills, but progressions.
- Exposure to skiers who are verifiably faster than you are.
post #74 of 91
Nolo and Alaska Mike,

That sum things up rather nicely.
post #75 of 91
Race coaches as a general "mob" tend also to be more aware of the psychological aspects to skiing & coaching.... they KNOW it affects your racing when your mind is not suitably focused (or not focused or whatever you need to do to be in right mind set)


Too many ski instructors around who assume students think like they do (like the adrenaline rush perhaps? etc)


Also the understanding of biomechanics is usually better


These TWO things make a huge difference for me - my teaching hinges on these aspects - I need people with strong skills in these areas to make my learning easier
post #76 of 91
Nolo

the notion of Racing as the 'fastest track to good skiing' may be the reason so many skiers give up skischool as soon as they think they can get around the mountain on their own, even if their methods could never be described as 'good skiing'. What seems to be acquired is speed befor skill, not unsurprisingly as any potatoe sack will go downhill fast. Of course it is only a problem if such skiing becomes dangerous to others which with increasingly crowded pistes perhaps it is already. The 'slow line fast' may not be the best intro to recreational skiing, unless someone can invent a speed-regulated or detuned ski for learning skiing using race-based methodologies.
post #77 of 91
daslider-
Huh? Ski racing in general implies a lot of training, and those that have even flirted with it understand that the only way to improve is to train.

I think the reason so many people abandon ski schools after a lesson or two is that for better or worse "good enough" is just that for most people. Show them the basics and then leave them alone to enjoy the mountain. They figure they can pick the rest as they go along. Speed is an easy thrill, limited for the most part by their tolerence for riding at or just beyond the edge of control. The same thrill is provided by jumping over pretty much every bump on the bunny hill. You can hardly blame racing for the culture of operating beyond one's abilities.

Do you have any racing background on which to base your opinion?
post #78 of 91
Well,,,I don't have a race background, but I have an opinion, and it's not a disagreement.

It would seem that the generalizations being given could certainly be true for both sides of the fence, so to speak. One thing seems obvious to me and that is that those who seek out race coaching already have a motivation in line with the coaches they seek out. Do race coaches grow better skiers, or are the skiers who seek out race coaching already motivated to perform, and is performing the best teacher for all students? As ski instructors, we have people with many different motivitions, many not nearly as obvious as I want to beat the clock or ski faster in the gates.

From my experience in having long term racers in some of my classes, especially at the MSU level class, that there is always room for improvement and a different perspective. Last winter I had one of my MSU students tell me that I had helped her in a way that all her race coaches and summer race camps at Mt Hood never did. Not saying that her coaches weren't talented, but I saw a solution they apparently didn't. Not to mention how totaly screwed up her boots were and how off her canting was on her skis. All done at the direction of her coaches and their boot guru's according to her. My guess is that we would find these stories on both sides of the fence. Sometimes it might be simply a matter of looking in a new direction. Does racing motivate coaches to look in new directions? Probably no more than ski instruction. In the end there is no substitute for learning, understanding and competance, on both sides of the fence.

How well equiped is the average race coach to teach skiing to a group of 50/60 year olds who want to ski off groom and in control? Bumps powder and steeps. Or the timid skier who wants to simply learn to enjoy their skiing more? For that matter, how well equipes is the average ski instructor? Maybe there is some trickle down from high end race technique, but if there is I need it clarified for me to recognize it. Later, Ric.
post #79 of 91
Alaska Mike

this thread started by asking whether ski technique would continue to be influenced by racing "is ski racing still the vanguard of the ski technique that will be taught in ski schools across the land?" So perhaps you can read my comments in this context.

I agree about the 'good enough' stuff, but it remains to be asked whether some other teaching paradigm (not race based) might lead to new possibilities for recreational skiers, when now to ski slowly well, you almost have to first be able to ski fast (the slow line fast stuff). I'm not knocking race training for racers, or for any decent skiers, just questioning the validity for recreational skiers of learning racebased skiing. One of the reasons might be the problems of overcrowded pistes.
post #80 of 91
So, this begs the question, if recreational ski instruction is not going to be race-influenced, where would it get it's inspiration? Big-mountain skiing? Freestyle or park/pipe (I shudder a little at that thought)? I'm not saying that they don't have their place, but I believe racing technique provides the best foundation to branch from.

A person who knows how to apply and release edges effectively is going to have much more control of direction and speed than a person who uses a primarily skidded technique.

One of the reasons (if not the reason) Harald Harb has been successful in marketing his program (PMTS) is that it's based primarily on his experiences as a race coach. Agree with the content/marketing approach or not, there is a lot in there about stance, balance, edge control, and line/speed control that has a great deal of merit for the average recreational skier. Add to that a defined progression and feedback, and you pretty much have a race-based recreational ski school. PMTS doesn't work for everyone in every situation (didn't for me), but it does provide an interesting model to study.

What are the successful ski schools (outcome, not necessarily financial) within PSIA doing differently from the less successful schools? How is the content of the PSIA model applied so that the success rate is higher? How is success measured?

Giving the public what they want isn't always the answer, and strictly giving them what they need doesn't always cut it either. Perhaps making them want what they need?

Again, what defines a good skier to the instructor? What definition does the student have?
post #81 of 91
Alaska Mike said: "So, this begs the question, if recreational ski instruction is not going to be race-influenced, where would it get it's inspiration? Big-mountain skiing? Freestyle or park/pipe (I shudder a little at that thought)?"

Ric B: Iwould hope that good instruction takes the good from all disciplines. Is there something wrong with this. Are you saying you think the other disciplines have little or nothing to offer? Snowboarding?

Alaska Mike said: "Giving the public what they want isn't always the answer, and strictly giving them what they need doesn't always cut it either. Perhaps making them want what they need?"

Ric B: Give em what they want, what they need, and motivate them to see and want more. Inspiration or motivation is where the individual finds it, not where someone else thinks they should find it. Does it need to be anymore complicated or controled than that? If it's not fun for the individual then they won't do it. Later, Ric.
post #82 of 91
Thread Starter 
I agree, Mike, that the springboard to good skiing is sound fundamentals, and I think race programs can be the best form of delivery of sound fundamentals, because a race program is primarily subject-centered, whereas a ski school program is primarily student-centered.

In other words, ski school employees are expected to indulge their students and applaud their efforts, and race coaches are expected to demand precision from their athletes and be exacting about it.
post #83 of 91
Nolo hit it right on the head.
The original question here was whether skiing technique comes from racing. There's no question that it does. Teaching methods are another story. Ski instructors are taught to avoid all negative feedback, and in the worst cases this just leads to feeding egos rather than to real learning. In race training, the clock deflates everyone's ego. The only thing to do in a race program is improve or quit. That's why the "graduates" of racing are the best skiers.

Regards, John
post #84 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
I think racing can be the fastest track to good skiing. Why, you ask?

1. The format of all-day, season-long coaching from one person.
2. The objective of turning in predetermined places.
3. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
4. The goal of finishing first. (Read both ways.)
5. Being on a team with a peer group dedicated to achieving the same objective and goals. Free skiing with them.
6. Learning about and being concerned about having the right equipment, physical conditioning, nutrition, health habits, and so forth.
7. Precision drills.
8. Others???
I would add, "The ability to objectively measure your improvement." (Sorry about the split infinitive!)
post #85 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by daslider
Nolo

the notion of Racing as the 'fastest track to good skiing' may be the reason so many skiers give up skischool as soon as they think they can get around the mountain on their own, even if their methods could never be described as 'good skiing'. What seems to be acquired is speed befor skill, not unsurprisingly as any potatoe sack will go downhill fast.
Au contraire, daslider, I believe if you take one of those scary, "sack of tatties" skiers who think they're good because they can fly down groomed pistes (we've all seen them) and make them ski around gates against the clock, they'll realise that racing (and good skiing) is about changing direction efficiently, not pure speed.
(The toughest and most important section of the Lauberhorn downhill is not the 85mph Haneggschuss, but the Wasserstation S, where you enter at 70mph and exit at 40mph. The guy who exits at 45mph usually wins the race.)
post #86 of 91
Quite Martin, I think I tripped myself on my own double negative. I have no doubt those who persevere with racing end up the strongest skiers, most efficient etc. I just wonder about recreational skiers and race-based teaching in the shorter term, particularly those who only 'learn' for the shortest possible time. Would they be better off on a different foundation course?
post #87 of 91
It depends on how well the subject matter is presented. Early in the season we focus a lot on stance and balance drills, not tuck turns. Pivot slips, traversing drillls... It seems like every year we build the same pyramid, starting at the bottom and working our way up. Racing fundamentals can be applied even in a wedge.

I very much doubt that any approach that bases itself around a single hour of instruction will be successful in creating good skiers from never-evers.

I have nothing against park and pipe technique as a whole, but I believe using that as a foundation is wrong. Watch your average park skier freeskiing and you'll see a couple common traits- flat/swivelled skis, hands/poles low, and an overly upright stance. While this does facilitate tricks, it's not an efficient way to ski in general. When youth, flexibility, and strength fade, the limits of the style are readily apparent. Build a solid base that you can return to, and then move from there as you see fit.

How much of current ski instruction based on active goal setting and long-term planning for the student? This can be as simple as pointing out good skiing and highlighting traits to emulate. Is the emphasis on positive feedback creating a short-sighted lesson?
post #88 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
As a total chicken (ex maybe) re speed I'll answer

YES

My (race coach) instructor taught me about speed....

When I know HOW to go faster I also know how to NOT go faster....(IE I can ski MY LINE) If I have the technique to ski faster I also have more choice as to where & how I ski....

In learning to ski SAFER(my goal) I also learnt to ski FASTER(instructors goal) and more importantly I had much more choice as to how I would ski....

I also learnt that it is often SAFER to turn DOWNHILL & use speed(safely) to escape the errant person uphill trying to destroy me..... Stupid as it sounds I feel safer now I can ski faster....

I am still no speed demon - but have been accused (by a full cert instructor) of being a racer - due to my skiing style...
ok - ego stuff I guess quoting self but...

I was about the LEAST likely candidate for skiing with race coaches you could imagine.... I would be terrified ALL the time & scream MOST of the time.... all it needed was skis on feet & movement....

Just happened that the guy with disabled ski teaching experience also happened to be an ex-racer & race coach....
& guess what - the race coach style worked BETTER to relieve my fear than simply telling me it was OK...
He simple taught me the control I needed to feel secure & along the way TOLD me WHY I needed to learn this stuff if I found certain sensations to be unnerving....
He also kept working on my mental attitude to my own skiing
post #89 of 91
Oh & note that I am note advocating all nervous nellies join a race program...

just pointing out that the COMBINATION of race coaching & disabled ski instructing was what made the difference ..... I think the IISA push for second set of skills is useful from this viewpoint - it forces another experience set...
post #90 of 91
Mike, now I think you are on to something. Talking about what format of lesson structure grows good skiers may be more relevant. I think no one would disagree that the long term relationship developes and grows the best skiers, if the coaching is equal, the results should be the same, on the course or off.

It would seem that the relationship between equipment manufacturers and top skiers in all disciplines is driving technique to some degree. I'll leave it to the rest of you to decide this.

Personaly, I would like the opportunity, (and time) to run gates once in a while. But I gotta tell you, I don't need a time clock to spank myself, I can get that job done all over the mountain. Later, Ric.
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