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Learn to Ski Length? - Page 3

post #61 of 80
Alla dat what's above. I agree, maybe. sometimes.

But start this woman on 120's. Let's listen to her issue: Control!

She's not tall, so 120's are perfect for stability with extra control--in any system.
post #62 of 80

ski length

I suggest a length right around the eyebrows or so, but not much shorter.
The trouble with starting really short is two-fold: 1) the student gets used to it and refuses to go longer even though they soon have the ability.
2) Other than renting, when we buy and buy short we do not tend to buy longer soon. Most of us do not have the money to buy skis every year. This was the downfall of the GLM method decades ago.

Too many people skiing today and on this server are too young to remember what we used to ski on. We stood straight and held our outstratched hand straight up inthe air, straight arm. The ski was to reach up to the 1st knuckle of the middle finger! Many know this but never experienced it. guess what? we learned to ski!! I took almost a week but we did it. Today I can teach someone to ski in 6 minutes. Most of us instructors can.

Start about eyebrow height and let the student get out there and have fun. Encourage additional lessons. Add one thing at a time. Praise, praise, praise!!! Bob
post #63 of 80

6 minutes?

Originally Posted by jyarddog
The trouble with starting really short is two-fold: 1) the student gets used to it and refuses to go longer even though they soon have the ability.
2) Other than renting, when we buy and buy short we do not tend to buy longer soon. Most of us do not have the money to buy skis every year. This was the downfall of the GLM method decades ago.

Today I can teach someone to ski in 6 minutes. Most of us instructors can.
Would you like to come out to Aspen and test your six minute theory for us? You're fast!

We have yet to have the "refuse to go longer" issue, and if we did, we're thinkin' sort of "so what?"

We would never suggest buying at 120cm. In fact, we suggest not buying until the length is right.

I think the real downfall in the old GLM was that the skis were just not great skis. Furthermore, the technique seemed to be really rotary heavy. Today's short beginner's skis are "real" skis, with great turn dynamics. Furthermore GLM brought a lot of very happy people into the ski world (although they didn't ski so well).

Lastly, why would you put a beginner on a ski that is virtually the same length used in World Cup slalom? These racers, in slalom (the slowest event) have dropped down at least thirty cms. Why wouldn't we extend the same advantage to our new skiers?
post #64 of 80

I really haven't had a problem getting folks to move up in length when I suggest that it's a good idea to do so. I also suggest to folks that ask me about buying skis, is to rent good skis or high performance ski and not to buy them. Spend the money on good boots and alignment and rent skis. IMHO, this is the way to go.

On the suggestion about eyebrow high skis, I have to stick to my guns and say the first time skiers from LV 1-3 are more comfortable and at ease on the shorter skis. They are more in control and don't fight the skis or terrain on the shorter sticks.-----------Wigs
post #65 of 80
Right on, Wigs.
post #66 of 80
Weems- This is why I don't post much anymore. There is always someone who is avid in show how wrong you are. I'm sorry but all last year this is what we did... taught all or almost all to ski within 6 minutes. That's getting them up on their feet and sliding on their own and having a ball. I have done this time and time again. My ski director even says it is our goal... the 6 minute rule. A year ago or so I posted how we basically do this. I got slammed then how wrong I am. Ya know? I really get tired of the challenges.... come out here and prove it... thing. I get tired of the nit-picking of symantics, as someone else posted two people saying the same thing but in different ways and still arguing! I've seen your posts before, Weems. I highly respect your knowledge and I am sure... your ability. Not going off on you personally. I just am now feeling I really don't give a damn anymore, not even going for my level II tests this year. Afterall, notwithstanding my success in teaching and praise I've gotten from each and every one of my students last year and before and before the replies I've gotten here show I know nothing about skiing whatsoever. Bob

While selling skis I cnosistently hear, "No I want to stay with a shorter ski... I want to be able to turn." I hear this time and time again.
post #67 of 80
I see Wigs point- well made and respectfully so. I agree, however I don't think the eyebrow length isn't too bad; at least tooo much shorter. But I see your argument as well.
post #68 of 80

Of coarse terrain in one's working environment plays a big part too. I couldn’t say that we at Snowmass are blessed with the best Lv 1-2 terrain at this time. But Lvs above that are in heaven IMHO. Ski areas that are relatively flat in their beginners terrain could start their students skiing on a longer skis because of the lack of gravity. In terrain where terminal velocity is reached shortly after pointing the skis downhill and is not to fast or constantly accelerating, longer skis would be okay. But as we all know, the longer the skis, the harder to turn unless the student has a good base of support, is standing in balance, and has mastered some rotary skills so that the student can pivot and skid some to bleed off the speed that increases in steeper beginner terrain. On a shorter ski, the student can use tipping skills and carve their skis to a slower speed or stop if necessary without getting the bajesus scared out of them. They can learn two movement patterns in their first day, tipping and carving, and rotary and skidding instead of in most cases just rotary and skidding. So for those that teach in areas that have relatively flat non threatening beginners terrain, by all means, chin high skis IMHO.-----------Wigs
post #69 of 80
I posted a rather lengthy post but hit the wrong key and it was gone so you are saved from it! But I agree with you Wigs, terrain, situations, conditions, etc all play a part. I was posting how we do the 6 minute thing. I would have to correct myself- most are within 6 minutes. Sometimes it's 10 minutes due to excessive fear or lack of atheletic ability, etc. But most are 6 minutes. One was in about 3 minutes. That little guy was a real go getter! I was amazed. It was him not me. Perhaps more later on our methods, though some will say how absolutely wrong it is, even though we have had tremendous success and no failures with it. But that's life I guess. Bob
post #70 of 80

I would really like a rundown on this when you have time. Thanks, ---Wigs
post #71 of 80

Get 'em sliddin'

Wigs- Here goes. My apologies if this gets lengthy. After demonstrating how to get into the bindings (modeling) and then they do it, we side step up hill a few feet and back down. I then physically get them pointed downhill in a wedge, showing they aren't going anywhere because our skis are wide apart like a pizza. [Any verbal cue works well. We use the word pizza.] At this time I am in front of the student facing him (him, her, in the interest of being pc which I am not! ), so I'm in a reverse wedge, facing up hill.

This is where I got slammed a few years ago, claiming this is dangerous, going backwards. We are blessed with a very gentle slope, fenced off so other skiers don't come ripping through. Precautions are met to make sure the 'coast is clear'. PSIA instructors will point out that this is not the proper procedure according to the study manual. This probably will send them through the roof! But Wigs, .... this works!

Depending on how difficult a time my student exhibits, including facial espressions of fear, I do one of 3 things. 1) get him sliding while bending over and holding the tips of his skis until I see increased stability, 2) gently hold his hands as we slid down hill. [Here I would ask him to not really grab onto my hands, let me do the holding, but he can if he needs to... asuring him I'm there for him. --- Of course, we have gone through shins against the tongue of the boots, etc.] This hand holding which is barely touching his hands automatically gets his hands and arms in the correct position. Then we start to go downhill, verbally encouraging him all the way and having him look at my head not at his feet. After about 20 feet we stop by 'getting big' which I already covered (making the pizza bigger and bigger and really big!) I say, Look behind you. As he looks behind where he used to be I say, "Guess what! You just skied! Every time my student turns back toward me with a huge grin of satisfaction on his face! 3) If thee is too much fear on his face- we slide for about 2 feet and get big. Wow! he stopped! Then I draw a line in the snow and say, "OK, let's go to here!" - Another 2 feet. He does, etc. until we can increase the distance.

At this point we are even with the start of the rope tow. We now step step step to point to the rope tow. I model it first then help them do it as needed. Now I say, let's duck walk over to the tow. These verbal cues seem to work beautifully. They rely on the students own schema (mini theories in life, or things we have espenienced and learned throughout life). i.e. we all know how a duck walks. This is from my own teaching experience in school. It is amazing how the student almost instantly starts walking correctly on his skis. Some get it right away, some have a bit of trouble but they too get it quickly. We are on level ground right now or relatively level ground.

Our slogan or mantra as it were is SHOW, DON'T TELL. Do as little talking as you can. Once I had a student who spoke no English. Boy did I learn this slogan fast! hehehe! Good teaching experience for me!

At this point we show how to use the rope tow, I modl and also show how to get off the rope tow by getting off after about 6 or 7 feet. I then ask them if they want to go first or me. Usually it's me. I wait at the top. (Little kids i go with them) It's a bit rough at first, of course, but they get it. Sometimes as you know, it's the hardest part... getting off the rope tow!

We then duck walk over a ways, and I help them get turned down hill and repeat what we did before. I watch the progress on his balance, letting go of the hands more and more staying in front until I am satified with his stability then I back out of his way backwards and turning and stay with him all the way down the hill praising all the way and reminding to get bigger - bigger and bigger and really big to stop. I'm right there if it doesn't work. 95% of the time it does.

At this point (with kids) it's gimme five! time and back up they go. They are so proud of themselves. I am too. It's my true paycheck! i stay with them the second run asking if they want me in front or just beside them, their choice. By this time they are on their own, skiing!

Now it is discovery time. (Their own practice) I watch for certain cues. They are already skiing by themselves. The 6 minutes or so is over. Perhaps some thought I meant 6 minutes and they are ripping down a green hill by themselves. My mistake if I led that impression.

During the next few runs I now add "get tall-get big. This is new input and modeling. I demo - straighten knees and get tall... skis come together and I go faster, get big (pizza) I do slower! Bigger pizza go slower yet and even stop. Do this back and forth. (change ups! see?!)

At this point they are making run after run on their own, having a blast. I am watching for safety and for a natural cue to happen. Pretty soon you see what's going on. I am sure you have seen this. When the student gets to the bottom, his brain is saying... "Now how am I going to get over to that tow?" Something natural and wonderful happens... you start to see a natural turn in the direction of the tow!!! At this point... new input after some review. We teach the turn!

This has been extrememly successful. Our management has gotten incredible praises directed to us, ski instructors. I've had parents come to me during lunch and praise me for their kid's lessons! I've used this method even with those who have never seen snow before as well! I taught one gal from Brazil. The following year I happen to run into a fellow who asked me, "Aren't you that guy who tuahgt a girl from Brazil?" I said, "Yes I remember her! Great kid!" He said, "She was an exchange student who lived with us for that year. She wrote recently that she is so proud of herself. She skis better than anyone in her class, in school, in Brazil. Someone please tell me where their ski area is! I guess there is one!

Wigs- All this follows the 6 point lesson plan format. Review, Input, model, guided practice, indipendant practice, evaluation, review. Yes, that's 7 but review is a repeat. This closely follows another lesson plan format called ITIP- Instructional Teaching Into Practice. These are two good formats, there are many others. All follow basic procedures.

This 6 minutes is to the point where they are sliding on their own, not ripping down a green or blue hill! Again, my error if I lef anyone to that impression. This method we use is fast, efficient, instant success, big smiles! The down side of this is we often hear.... I want to go on the big people hill now! Buzzzzz wrong answer! hahaha Let's work on some more stuff and figure out a few more things first. safety first. If I think he is ready I will give the parent some things to look for and work with. Other times I try to stress, let's stay here for a while. When I see decent progress and hear, "I'm bored now" then we might try the 'big people hill'!

Later I can post a copy of how the 6 lesson plan works more clearly, but upon reading it I think you'll see that you have been doing it all along!

I guess I should chill a bit here. I expect to get picked apart, showing how this is wrong, bad, etc. But all I can say is we have had nothing but success, no accidents, no owies. I remiind- we are blessed with gentle slopes, family ambiance, small ski area, laid back atmosphere, fenced off beginner area, and ... patience - grasshopper! If all this works you- use it. If it doesn't - don't. Be eclectic. Use parts of this or that, show don't tell as best as possible, watch for all cues from the student as to what to teach next and how to teach it. It is learning oriented, not teaching oriented. Bob
post #72 of 80

This seems to be a good wedge progression and is not much different than our DTP progression in many ways. We do many of the same things, but in parallel. I do have to say that when you said they're skiing in six minutes with your progression, it was somewhat misleading, IMHO. From what you described, we also get the same results in about the same amount of time with our Beginner Magic program. I am troubled though with the amount of time being spent in a braking wedge, (Snowplow) when I believe the time would be better spent discovering how to make the skis turn to a stop instead changing their base of support in IMHO. The braking wedge or snowplow is a very defensive stance and if one took it to a blue run after believing that this is the way to stop, would get a very rude awakening. How many young athletic people with really no money to spend for lessons except for that first few hours on skis take what they learned to the top with their skiing buddies? Quite a few I would say. And if all they have is the wedge and no turns, they are in deep doo doo!

Again, skiing goals such as turning to a stop or just to slow down can be accomplished early on, (within the first hour of skiing for the first time skier for the most part) with the use of the short shaped beginners skis. And also, I'm not poo pooing the idea that we should never teach the wedge, because there are many instances when it's needed in a skiing day. I'm just saying that we have had great success with the DTP for our guests first time on skis experience. But whatever works for you and your school, more power to ya!-------------Wigs
post #73 of 80
ask any woman who is learning to ski... her #1 concern is the same as your wife's...

"she is VERY concerned about not feeling like she has control over what she's doing."

many have posted here discussing the external elements that will affect the skier. IMHO... her ATTITUDE is what you're trying to work on, no?

sure all the stuff like equipment, choice of instructor, terrain (etc) matters - has an effect and impact on the process. that said - she has to overcome a big mental hurdle that's more significant.

these days I only instruct a few weeks of the year - a 7-week (meets mornings once a week) women's clinic at a local ski hill. it's participants are 30's - 60's year old women. I always ask about goals and most women tell me that they want to ski in control. period. they don't care about skiing a black diamond or going fast. they want to be safe!

women are communicators and are used to working in teams and fostering relationships... so that's what we do. this builds trust... after trust comes skiing.

post #74 of 80
Wiggs- Wonderful! I do agree with all you say. I tend to leave out things in trying to shorten my posts. We are just getting them on their feet to have some fun on their own at first.

While they are practicing I watch closely for that natural turn. This is where I spoke of - soon we see the student making a turn on his own toward the rope tow. - It's neat to see this happen. Evidently the brain is saying, "Now how am I going to get myself over there?" -

When this happens we start teaching the turn. YES- absolutely trying to use a big wedge to stop when on the "big people" hill is a rude awakening! Very much agreed.
That's the next step and or next lesson. When we see smoother turns and better balance and more stability, we go to the big people hill. This of course depends on the student's own progress. I never push it... safety first.

Here is where we will make a gentle traverse with an uphill stop, get ourselves turned around with the bull fighter turn and do it the other direction and all else PSIA instructs here.

Our big people hills tend to start a bit steeper than the student would like. Then it tapers off very nicely about half way down.

I stay right with them on the downhill side. Sometimes I teach them the side slip so they can slip down to the easier part. My ski director said this was taking too long so I backed off on that, even though the students loved it (easy and safe way to get down a steep part- I call it legal cheating! but also they are learning edge control somewhat) But alas you do what your boss says and I see his point.

Anyway- I am constantly reassuring the student it is easier ... down there.... and once we get there we then work on stuff we already worked on back at the rope tow.

New hill - work on old stuff. Old hill - work on new stuff. Old hill = one the student is well familiar with.

The things you mentioned are absolutely right on. I hadn 't gotten there yet. And yes... the rest of the lesson focuses on turning. Once I see more stability and on the easy part of the big people hill I try to work into the christie bit by bit. We first will bring the inside ski parrallel toward the end of the turn. As this is mastered each direction we then try bringing it parrallel a bit sooner in the turn, and so on. I do tell them this is what we will be working on as the end result. This way the student knows where we are going with this move. They can advance as they see fit, rather than directed by me. (but always ready to hold them back for safety reasons if called for.) I am sure there is much I'm doing but not saying here. Hard to write it all down huh? Bob
post #75 of 80
Klkaye- Extremely well said- good points!
post #76 of 80

I think what you are doing for your guest is ONE good way to introduce them to skiing. I also believe that down the road in a few years or sooner, that all PSIA primary teaching progressions for beginners will be DTP, and that the wedge and the progressions for it will be secondary, and taught for what may be an emergency situation to stop in cramped areas or other places where it may be need to negotiate terrain. The reason being for a move to the DTP progression is that a lot of schools are promoting the use of short shaped skis for teaching beginners, ideal for the DTP progression. I believe that this will become more universal in the PSIA sanctioned schools throughout the country as time goes by. One thing that is important is that we get all members of our collective schools on the same page. As a big supporter of the DTP teaching progression and seeing what can be done in a short period of time, there are still members of our school that will not give up their old ways. Mostly private lesson Pros that have been teaching skiing since Moses parted the sea. Their attitude is, “Well the wedge progression has always worked for me, why should I change?” Or,” If it ain’t broken, why fix it?” concept. Someone might have a model T ford since it was manufactured and taken exceptional care of it over the years and it runs fine. But since it’s an old slow car, it takes a week longer to get where you want to go. I’m not condemning privates or the private Pro because there are many excellent ones out there and they get results with their old ways. It’s just that there are some that refuse to buy a new faster car. I believe that its very important that a school has all its Pros on the same page. After all, isn’t that what PSIA is trying to do with its teaching progressions? Get all the ski school in the country on the same page?

So let’s be open to change! It’s a brave new world! Go out and buy a new car because the Joneses are going to get there before you.----------------Wigs
post #77 of 80
Klkaye- I also teach a women's program and have had the same experiences with my women prioritizing safety through control.

One other thing I hear consistantly that should be a red flag for instructors is that the gals are mortified at being picked apart by "experts" riding the lifts. I often use the lift ride with my students for movement analysis etc., but I've become very aware of the tone I use. Even if there aren't other guests on the lift with us, I try to be very gentle in using other skiers as examples. I have seriously had female students melt down when they had to ski within visual range of the chairs.

SIAWOL, another thing to thing to worry about!

We're so complicated...
post #78 of 80

you said: "I often use the lift ride with my students for movement analysis etc., but I've become very aware of the tone I use."

I totally agree that women can be more sensitive or may "agree with you" for the sake of being agreeable... but, not really accepting what you say.

I tend to ask a ton of questions. My goal is to have them tell me about their skiing, mistakes, goals, etc. The next step is generally them asking me what they can "do about that". BINGO.

post #79 of 80
"I tend to ask a ton of questions. My goal is to have them tell me about their skiing, mistakes, goals, etc. The next step is generally them asking me what they can "do about that". BINGO."


I'm completely in accord, it's just so natural for them (or me) to pick a visual model. "I want to ski like her" "He looks completely uncoordinated -- I don't want that"

Much like taking a picture from a magazine into my hair stylist -- I can't, with any technical knowledge, describe the cuticle of my hair or tell where on the colour charts my undertones are, but I can point to the picture and tell him "My goal is to look like this". He can then do his contemplative hmmm.... as he accesses his vast experience in dealing with clientelle who have personalities that run between charming clients and problem children with unrealistic expectations. (I always seem to get a uncomfortably long hmmm... as he ponders my past mistakes).

Especially with beginners I feel like I have to spend a lot of time reading between the lines because they haven't had much skiing experience; their mistakes are going to generally be along the lines of falling down or getting too fast and out of control (limited informed self-diagnostics) and their goals are, as we agree -- to be in control/safe. To me the BINGO moment is when they are astute enough to pick out a beautiful skier and tell me that's what they want.

Unlike my hair guy, though, I've never told anyone I can't make them look like Anna Kournikova.
post #80 of 80
Well said Wiggs- I'm never closed to a new approach. I merely posted what I've been doing and with great success. If there is another way, and there obviously is, then let's give it a try. It would be nice to teach something and then seem to have to unteach it later. Bad habits are hard to break. It took quite some time to get that pop or unweighting out of my form. Oh well... we never stop learning. bob
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