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Skiing Styles and Instruction - Page 2

post #31 of 336
Thread Starter 

thanks for the link milesb

Confirms what I suspected and stated above, not much understanding out there of the super phantom style of turn

That doesn't make anything bob says invalid, just a lot of his description, pics are not applicable to the basic bread and butter SP turn. (which like I said above is probably why I don't see to many people on the hill doing those style of turns even though it's the most common turn type for a PMTS trained skier)

Lito's early weight shift turn, Harold's Super Phantom turn, and Eric and Rob's turn (which is the same) is referred to in Bob's link above, as a negative movement. (which it isn't)

Some day if I get to share some slope time it'll be fun to mutually share our ideas of movement patterns. I would guess from what I read that many here do not like the early weight shift style of turn or perhaps have never done that type of turn and have opinions without the experience of that particullar style of turn. I would have to conclude it's just lack of experience with that style of turn if someone has the opinion it's a negative movement. That just shows a very basic un-familiarity or misunderstanding of what they're reading in any of the above 3 mentioned book sources about this turn. If you actually did it on the hill you couldn't say these things as it's obviously not true.

That would explain why some people think you always have to stem the entries at slow speed though. I always wondered how that made any sense. But if your not actually familiar with the early weight shift turn, that explains it. Probably people's written descriptions are not the best of this turn (even though the pictures are accurate).
post #32 of 336
Originally Posted by Rick H
In conclusion, everyone's mind works in different ways. Cues that work for the majority, may not work for some. I am one of those who need to find other ways of doing things.

Rick H
Truer words were never spoken. As a guy on the receiving end of coaching (not a teacher) I can testify that you can hear good advice six different ways, and one of them clicks and works for you, where the others don't.
post #33 of 336
John, Harald can prove it to you. Watch the section in the Expert 2 video where he demonstrates the two foot and one foot release from a standstill. The two foot release shows a noticeable wedge at the start, and the 1 foot release (essentially the super phantom) only avoids this by virtue of the inside ski being off the snow and his relying on leaning on the pole for support. Which he says to do. Try it without the pole and you will, as Bob Barnes pointed out, either fall or grossly twist the ski. This does not detract in any way from the validity of PMTS teaching. It is an exercise (with slow speed exagerrated to the maximum) to get the feel of the moves in a safe way, and as soon as he does these releases with a LITTLE more speed, the wedge completely disappears. I'm not going to debate anyone about whether relying on pole support for an exercise teaches bad habits, once again thats beyond my pay grade! But I do predict that Barnes would say that there is functionally no difference between the support of the pole and the support of an opposed inside ski for the purpose of this exercise.
post #34 of 336
Very well said, Miles. You are right that this unintentional occurrence of a wedge should not detract from the validity of a teaching progression. Indeed, that is the whole point! The wedge happens, almost inevitably, as a result of GOOD skiing fundamentals. As I've said many times before, this is the Wedge Christie that PSIA recognizes. We don't "teach" it, directly, but we do recognize that it is likely to mark a phase in the early development of good skiing skills.

It is not impossible to make a low speed, very parallel turn. But it is very difficult to make one without resorting to some highly questionable movements. As you've pointed out (and thank you for that!), even Harald's turns "prove" the point that a wedge is a likely result of good skiing movements. Those parallel-with-unintentional-wedge-entry turns are the very definition of wedge christie! Harald is (and I mean this with no disrespect) the Grand Poobah of "direct to parallel" progressions, with his "No Plow" pins and all, and he's a skier of considerable skill. When a wedge christie appears in his skiing, I rest my case!

My main concern with the "Direct to Parallel" concept is the danger that it may emphasize a false, and problematic, goal. If all you really want is "parallel," at any cost, it's very easy--lock your feet together and swish 'em around. But if your real goal is good, sound fundamentals of skiing, then you really shouldn't let that little wedge concern you. The true wedge christie involves absolutely no movements, tactics, or outcomes that will ever need to be unlearned. It is the polar opposite of the "stem christie" in technique, tactics, intent, and outcome. (And John Mason, despite your self-proclaimed virtual lack of knowledge and experience, you really ought to know that by now!)

I would hate to think that students would think they were doing something wrong just because they noticed a little wedge. And it's even worse when they try to "correct" it with a real error! Unfortunately, I have seen just this, all too often, from real beginner skiers on up through misguided instructors.

"Parallel at all costs" is extremely likely to lead to all kinds of bad habits! Fortunately, few worthwhile programs really emphasize it that way (none, actually).

"DTP" does seem to have some marketing value, and many sound programs, like Aspen's "Beginner Magic," advertise that they teach a "DTP" approach. They're actually better than that! But I still worry that they may be sending an unfortunate message to many unsuspecting students.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #35 of 336
By pointing my lightened ski the direction that I wanted go, and pulling the heel back, I was tipping the ski and lifting at the same time. I was getting the ski under center of my body and my CM was getting further into the center of the turn.

The cue, lift and tip made no change in my skiing, because I could not relate to it. Pointing in the direction made sense.
Hi Rick H--congratulations on discovering the cue that fits your personal makeup and needs!

You are right that "point the inside ski" (which I have to say sounds a lot like my preferred mantra "right tip right to go right") is very similar to the instruction "lift and tip the inside ski." One entails, and generally causes, the other, and one may work for one person, the other for the next. Biomechanically, the movements of externally rotating the foot and leg and the movements of tipping the foot (inverting it) are nearly identical.

I have often said that I generally prefer the "right tip right" image ("point the ski"), because it is less likely to cause the skier to move the wrong direction (i.e. uphill) when releasing the edge of the downhill ski, and because it emphasizes the steering aspect a bit more. To me, it is more directly and easily applicable to the concept of "turning"--intentionally changing your direction of travel. As you've pointed out, "point the ski" entails lifting, or at least releasing, and tipping (although the reverse is not necessarily true). Indeed, from your experience, "point the ski" caused you to "lift and tip" better than "lift and tip" did--for you. Fascinating, isn't it?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

PS--you also mentioned that this cue helped you get rid of your "microwedge" entry. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'll bet that what it really did was get rid of a microSTEM entry. Don't be dismayed if, as Miles has pointed out, there is still a small wedge as you enter some turns, especially at low speeds. That's a wedge christie. As I've described in the past, "lift and tip," often causes a STEM--a push of the UPHILL tail out--at the initiation of a turn. It doesn't have to, of course, but because that "lift" often accompanies a move uphill to balance on the new ski, the turn is likely to begin with a twist of that uphill ski out into a stem. Your "point the [downhill] ski" cue completely eliminates this problem!
post #36 of 336
Thank you all! A wedge must make an appearance at very low speeds. I'm very happy to have that validated. Whoo-hoo!

A light bulb went on when the similarity in the gross movement patterns of wedge, basic parallel and dynamic parallel turns was made clear by this thread http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=7969

I like to think of the basic parallel turn as the passive parallel turn. Parallel first appears passively as the result of the inside ski getting "out of the way".

Simplicity itself:

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
The moment the speeds increase, and the natural balancing movement causes the CM to move a little farther in, that inside ski will flatten and roll to its other edge. Voila--the wedge is gone, and the wedge turn becomes a wedge christie, becomes a parallel turn!
I also prefer to focus on the term dynamic from the skiers perspective, and their activity, as opposed to merely bigger forces/higher speeds. So, it floats my boat to reverse the priority in the following, to make the skier the instigator or the high forces, as opposed to reacting to them:

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
To answer your question, SCSA, "dynamic" in the sense of "dynamic turns" simply suggests that there are substantial forces involved, due to higher speeds, steeper slopes, tighter turns, and so on, and that these greater forces both require greater activity on the skier's part--more edge angle, greater inclination into the turn--and provide the opportunity to USE those forces to bend the skis more and carve more cleanly.
Yes, the forces to require greater activity on the skiers part, but I would suggest that the forces are present precisely because of greater activity on the skiers part; it is the skier being more dynamic that classifies the turn - the increased forces are the result of their intent.
post #37 of 336
Thread Starter 

Actually I don't know the precise meaning of wedge christy

But I bet I can find it in the dictionary.

Interesting discussion. I'll see if my DVD is on loan or back here and take a look.

Bascially I think what I'm hearing is that in a very slow turn, you would end up with a slight wedge or if you did not you would fall no matter the dynamics.

I would think this would be very true with a stance wider than hip socket width since one would fall over. But you can stand easily on the one foot and not fall over in a narrower stance (not boots together - but do a chin up and see where the legs dangle).

Of course the railroad turn smoothly accelerated to a GS turn would not do this wedge entry. (at least I think thats obvious to everyone though not too many people do this excercise (railroad turns yes - railroad turns smoothly accelrated to GS turns, no))

I must say I'm not aware of any wedge at all in a two footed release. On a one footed release the other ski is off the ground so there is no wedge there almost by definition.

But, I'll take a look at the video. I don't see yet how, even if an inadvertent wedge drops in one of HH's videos that proves the point. It would if the wedge must happen, but if it's inadvertent and not needed as a part of slow skiing physics then the fact it's on an HH video is interesting but non-consequential.

If I understand the point being made is that a wedge christy is unavoidable in a slow turn with good movement patterns. (as opposed to a stem christy)

I'm off to load the BB Dictionary to learn what a wedge christy is. (though my training is split PSIA and PMTS 9 days and 10 days intermixed, the PSIA was all at the race level so I never was told or shown specifically what this is) (and you know it isn't gonna be taught in PMTS)
post #38 of 336
Thread Starter 

Ok - wedge christy

This is where you start in a wedge and end the bottom of the turn parallel as opposed to parallel throughout

I still didn't load the dictionary yet, but found some other on-line stuff

If that's correct, there is video and book material in PMTS where people that are already only wedging where they are given/and shown drills to learn to progress out of the wedge. I would imagine this was precisely what HH was demonstrating in what MilesB was referring too.

But, if the fortunate person has never been exposed to the wedge this set of drills can be skipped.

I hope that's not what your're were referring to MilesB as that would be way out of context. That type of wedge to parallel material is throughout the PMTS material to help people get to the next level. He is showing a person that wedges a drill to experience a carved turn for the first time. Of course he starts in a wedge for that part of the video or book. (but I'll still dig it out and take a look)

I'll be at Copper Nov 15th. Maybe I can look BB up and he can show me what he is talking about. (or you can do it MilesB next time I'm in Mammoth)

I'm pretty sure I can do the two footed release and stay parallel with no problem at any speed from stopped on. It's also true that people that stem their turn entries tend not to at high speed. High speed can mask flaws in technique.
post #39 of 336
Thread Starter 

MilesB - Everyone should get this video

MilesB - I found the video - Anyone can be an expert skier number 2.

Yes - for a second on the two footed release the inside ski is a wedge on the video you refer to by about 1 inch out of parallel over the whole length of the ski. This is not what people are thinking of when they are shown "wedge christie".

On the one footed release at slow speed there is no wedge at all.

You can do the two footed release easily without the 1 inch microscopic wedge.

It wasn't taking the video out of context, it was making a point where there was no point to be made.

Fun video - when I bought it I couldn't do or understand much of what was there (a year ago or 50 ski days ago). I should go over it again. Thanks Miles for getting me to dig it up!

Sorry BigE. Pick it up and see what Miles was talking about. (actually get 1 and 2, they're a lot of fun)
post #40 of 336
John, the part that makes it a wedge is the opposing edges, and that shows up very clearly. The only way to avoid this is to put more wieght on the supporting pole so the CM can get inside of the little toe edge of the inside ski. Because if the dynamics of the turn (which are zero when starting from a standstill) can't hold you up, SOMETHING has to. Don't get stressed by this, if Harb thought it was a big deal, I'm sure he wouldn't have put it in his video! I only brought it up because I think you had the wrong idea of how a wedge CAN happen. However, most people you see wedging are not doing it because they are going too slow.
Now if you want to debate Barnes about the validity of teaching the wedge because it can happen anyways, you are a brave man!
And yes, go over that tape, there are some really good things in there.
post #41 of 336

This is not what people are thinking of when they are shown "wedge christie".
What people, John? It may not be what YOU think of--but that just shows that you have much to learn.

It is, in fact, a wedge christie. Yes, it's subtle here--but look who's making it! The fact that it exists at all in this instance absolutely proves the point I've made over and over here for years. Here you have a skilled skier, an experienced instructor, one who believes (or at least has succeeded in convincing you) that "parallel equals expert skiing," one who wears a "No Plow" pin and has made such blanket assertions as "the wedge is a deadend movement," and who has convinced his followers to assert such absurdities as "the wedge is immoral," and who will "fail" an instructor in his exams if they show a wedge in their turns--and he is making a wedge on his own heavily edited video where he is trying to demonstrate a parallel turn. And you don't see that as convincing?

I don't see yet how, even if an inadvertent wedge drops in one of HH's videos that proves the point.
Again--that "inadvertent wedge" is EXACTLY the point, so this video clip certainly does "prove" it!

I have not said, by the way, that a wedge must absolutely appear by some incontrovertible natural law or something. It is not "unavoidable." It is just very LIKELY to appear, even in the best of skiers. Why? Because it is not a bad thing! I can, in fact, make a parallel turn under these same conditions, even from a stop, without resorting to "bad" movements, but it is not easy. And more importantly, why should I--much less my students--bother? Why is it so important that there be no wedge? If you believe that Harald is a good skier and instructor, then his inadvertent wedge, no matter how subtle, proves that "parallel" is NOT important, that there is nothing inherently wrong with the wedge. And THAT IS THE POINT!

The small wedge that Harald shows, of course, would be both more likely and more pronounced in a skier of less skill like, say, a beginner. And it will vanish, as you know, in most of Harald's turns as he picks up a little more speed.

Why is this important to me? It is no criticism of Harald, in my opinion, that he demonstrates a good wedge christie (although I do find it somewhat amusing). I respect good wedge christies! What is important is the gross disservice to students that arises from the "anti-wedge" argument. The wedge happens--you cannot deny that! Why villify it? Why deliberately create misconceptions, and why make skiers feel guilty or inferior if they experience a wedge in their skiing, especially as beginners? When you really understand this stuff, you won't!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #42 of 336
Bob, to be fair, he is not trying to demonstrate a parallel turn, he is demonstrating a movement and an exercise. Doing it from a standstill makes it easier to see and to try. Doesn't really change any thing, I just don't want to be misrepresenting!
post #43 of 336
Miles--I'd like to reiterate your point, for emphasis, that "if Harb thought [that little wedge] was a big deal, I'm sure he wouldn't have put it in his video." It's a very good point!

It is not a big deal! I'm glad to see it in Harald's video. It demonstrates good movements at a level of speed and refinement that is actually attainable by low-level skiers. That is what a wedge christie is--and that is all it is. Harald's inadvertent wedge should give his students "permission" to allow a wedge, if it appears in their own skiing, without thinking that something must have gone horribly wrong. That's a good thing!

John--there are many things that seem simple, black and white, at first, but that display ever more shades of gray as your understanding increases. I suggest that this is one of them. All wedges are not equal. Wedges are not categorically bad, and all parallel turns are certainly not "good." Skiing is complex, rich, and fascinating. You've made an admirable effort to understand it, and you should be proud of what you've learned in a short time. But you have only scratched the surface. So have I, for that matter!

Do not be taken by those who suggest that becoming an expert skier is easy. It isn't, and that's what makes skiing great! Learning is easy, yes. Improving is easy, and continuous if you have good guidance. Having fun does not require perfect technique. There is, and always will be, much to learn.

I believe it was Degas who observed that "painting is easy when you don't know how to do it." Like painting, thinking that skiing is "easy" is a dead giveaway of a beginner!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #44 of 336
He is not trying to demonstrate a parallel turn, he is demonstrating a movement...
Yes! That's why it works so well. I have always said that good instructors teach movements, not parallel turns. Once we lose the obsession with "parallel," we finally clear the road to good skiing!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #45 of 336
Thread Starter 

You guys are silly

In first video the same slow turns sometimes have an inadvertent wedge at the start and just as often do not. Bob, I don't know if you've seen the video MilesB is referring to or not. Certainly it's not a neccessary component as both videos for the same turn show a wedge sometimes on the two footed from a standing start and sometimes they do not.

Who cares. The point is that the wedge christie is a major progression that is worked through in the standard progression. In PMTS there is no progression through that stage. If it shows up now and then, so what. I paraphrase Bob, if you were so stuck on direct parallel at all costs then tie your legs together.

Miles and you Bob are both - "look who is making the wedge christie". Since it's clearly inadvertant (since it does not happen in all cases at this slow speed on the video - thus not required by physics of skiing) and even more clearly not a stage people are taught and brought through in the PMTS progression - what is the point?

It's fine if you want to take a skier that skis with a wedge and work them through a wedge christy so they can start to get to parallel turns.

A PMTS oriented coach would do the brushing phantom move to generate the same wedge christie turn progression with that type of skier as well.

I can only assume this is some supposed contradiction or reaction to the "anti-wedge" buttons or approach of PMTS. That's fine, but then make a logical argument. Saying - look HH does a wedge christie in his videos so it's a fine progression to use - is fine to say, but not even worth a second of discussion. Now if that wedge christie appeared in all similar turns at slow speed on his videos then it still would not address the progression differences but at least would make the logic understandable. But, since in fact, it's an inadvertent wedge christie that does not always occur in the same type of turn in the videos, then it's just silly.

Just accept the fact the the progressions are different between the two approaches. You use and teach the wedge progression and do not have a big problem in moving people through that to parallel skiing and PMTS does not take that approach.

I can see reviewing the posts that your approach to the wedge is for confidence and safety for the beginner and that you teach lightening and tipping movements within the context of the wedge to turn rather than outside lower leg steering movements. Thats good. Many instructors that use the wedge do not do that but teach stemming right off the bat to turn with the wedge (like my first teacher). But to defend or imply defense of that style of teaching because of a flicker of a wedge that intermittently appears on flat to the snow skis in a HH video is silly. Defend it for the reasons that make sense.

I have never met you but you do get very emotional in your defense of wedging or more accuratly if anyone suggests it may not be the best progession to run people through. Yet, you have spoken highly of the centerline method which is that undocumented in public dtp method developed by PSIA. So, I'm confused. Are you making a line in the sand so to speak and saying people will progress through the wedge to parallel and anyone who implies differently are wrong? Or are you simply pointing out that wedges happen, teach and support whatever progression you want? I can't tell because there is no logic to the argument you are making. Everyone agrees wedges happen. What exactly are we "arguing" about. I can't get into a good argument when I agree with someone.

And I agree - wedges happen.

Now the simple question - if you have to have the wedge to teach skiing, how can any beginner ever learn snowboarding?
post #46 of 336
Thread Starter 

I was typing while you guys were

And I can see what the main hot spot is:

Anyone can be an expert skier.

I skied 75 days in a short period of time (1.5 years) with 19 of those days coached.

The vast majority of skiers ski maybe 5 or 10 days a year and that's it. You don't get the time on the hill to develop dynamic balance with that level of mileage. For those folks these books are going to not help them self progress very well.

gee - I agree again! What is this world coming to!
post #47 of 336
The point is that the wedge christie is a major progression that is worked through in the standard progression.
No, John. That is patently false! It is not even possible--there is no "standard progression." Where do you get your information?

Nor is there, or has there ever been, a "Center Line method."
post #48 of 336
Thread Starter 

tad of correction

Originally Posted by MilesB
Try it without the pole and you will, as Bob Barnes pointed out, either fall or grossly twist the ski.
When I've taught people this I don't like or use the pole. But the turn is much more patient than HH shows on the video.

In the two footed releases I have worked with people on, I have them do it from a shallow traverse (for this example we are going to the right). They then flatten the skis which cause them to move to the fall line, then lift and tip the right ski if we are working on garlands, or lift and tip the left ski if we are working on cross the fall line turns. Neither generates a wedge. (while a random accidental wedge might occur - and that's not a problem if it does).

Once again, since our descriptions are so totally different only on the slope might we be able to exchange properly what we are talking about.
post #49 of 336
Thread Starter 

I'm glad that's false

I'm sorry I got that incorrect impression. When I didn't know what the wedge christie was I quickly and easily found a site that had it in their outline of ski instruction for adults with a description of each stage the student would be taken through and wedge christie was the one just before open parallel.

Also the published PISA levels and CERT I II III testing shows the wedge as a progression. It's used and expected to be present in the turns through levels 1-6 of the 1-8 progression.

Are you saying the wedge is not used as a teaching tool and progression? By standard I'm referring to the resort implemented group instruction sequence their instructors are told to take their students through at many resorts. But, I'm glad I'm patently wrong and that every resort I've been two so far in my minimal 1.5 years of skiing gets to teach whatever they want:

Lets review:

I've been to:

Beaver Creak
Holiday Valley
Paoli Peaks
Nubs Nob
Mt Hood

I guess your right. I did not see anyone on Mt Hood in the summer using the wedge as a progression. However, I did at all the other resorts. So you are correct. It is not standard.

opps - how could I forget - perfect north (also taught the wedge to beginners)

But I can't argue with you. You are correct. I can see that the wedge is not taught as a standard to beginners.
post #50 of 336
If you have to have the wedge to teach skiing, how can any beginner ever learn snowboarding?
Beats me, John. You've certainly never heard me say you "have to have a wedge" anywhere. And the current PSIA Alpine Manual's "Stepping Stones" model explicitly presents the case that there are many possible routes to any intended outcome. (Not that I'm a big fan of that manual, by the way, but it does clearly contradict your assertion.)

One of the most important principles that has formed the foundation for PSIA's teaching models for a very long time is that good teaching is "outcome-based," not "progression-based." PSIA absolutely does not advocate any particular progression, and if you believe otherwise, you've been fed some very bad information. A set progression is the antithesis of the "outcome based" philosophy. It is completely contradictory to PSIA's "student-focused" ideal, known as "Guest Centered Teaching (TM)" here in the Rocky Mountain Division.

Since you brought it up, though, I must ask--if active weight transfer, "lift," inside foot tipping, or "parallel" are important to turning, how can snowboarders manage?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #51 of 336
Thread Starter 

Centerline - quote from 5/14/2001 7:17pm

The movement patterns of all the Center Line Milestones are identical--wedge or parallel, and very different from those of the Stem Christie. Look closely at the illustrations of the Center Line milestones (Wedge Turn, Wedge Christie, Open Parallel, Dynamic Parallel), and you will see the tipping of the old "stance" ski to release its edge, the lightening and weight transfer, the lack of twisting out of the tail of the new outside ski, all the things that HHe claims as his own, and as unique and distinct from the PSIA model.

Some have asked why it appears that emphasis on releasing the downhill ski to end one turn and initiate the next seems (coincidentally?) to have become a focus only around the time that Harald Harb started describing it. I say HHe was among MANY instructors simultaneously getting excited about some new trends in top level skiing. HHe was among many describing the same phenomenon, indicative, but hardly the cause, of a major shift in emphasis in ski instruction.

Harb's first book, copyrighted in 1997, describes these "new" movements, and he deserves great credit for writing them down. But I quote from my own book--not from the current Third Edition that goes to great length to describe contemporary skiing--but from the very First Edition, copyright 1990: "A stem christy differs from the Centerline Wedge Christy in that in the Wedge Christy the skis are steered...with an extension that allows the downhill ski to release its edge..." (italics added).

It's also interesting to note that the term "Wedge Turn" is not even an entry in my first edition (just noticed this myself)! As I have said, we do not "officially" teach--and have not for many years taught--"wedge turns." We teach movements and skills. The wedge--or not--appears as an outcome, depending on the intent, skill level, and situation. Whenever it is strategically beneficial, we allow, teach, and teach WITH, a wedge. But is very explicitly NOT a goal, requirement, or emphasis. Officially. (And shame on any instructor, PSIA-affiliated or otherwise, who does not follow this credo!) And PMTS, despite their penchant for calling the wedge anything but, teaches it too, for the same reasons, at least "officially."

"Actually, PSIA has removed virtually all stemming and stepping from its "centerline" main progressions; obviously they're still around as other possibilities - they don't eliminate anything that might be useful at some level." Succinct, accurate, and very well put, Michelle (skiandsb)!

Now consider this: In innaccurately portraying PSIA's technical model, "HHe" shows one of two things. Either HHe's stupid and ignorant of the facts, which no one here would even begin to suggest, or he's lying to you, knowingly misrepresenting the facts. I'm not trying to be harsh or to pick on HHim--I honestly can't see a third option. Personally, I'd be wary of choosing someone with either of these "attributes" as my guru. And I'd be suspicious of anything else he/she had to say.
Sorry Bob. I got the impression the centerline progression was like HH's PMTS or visa versa from your own post quoted above. Sorry I was confused and that centerline does not exist now.

Anyway - my assertion isn't even an assertion. It's obvious fact. Most beginners when they take their first lesson will be taught the snowplow with stemming regardless of the improvements you mentioned back in 2001 above. You'll see people shouting friendly instructions all over the country to their hoard of kids, "Now mash the grape under your big toe". Maybe it's just inertia with the old stuff still pervading instruction.

They do it at Breck which has one of the busiest ski schools in Colorado. You see them doing it everywhere. It's not the wedge might happen as you are stating. It's directly taught. And so what. They can do that if they want. You seem to not like that. HH doesn't like that. It's doesn't appear to be changing out there that much at most schools. But I'm glad you agree that style of teaching (steming wedges) is not a good place to start a student on.

********** on outcomes vs progressions ********

If you list the outcomes expected a progression is implied. The milestones of levels 1-8 imply a progression. That list of milestones has many steps that are skipped altogether in PMTS. In other words there are many milestones (outcomes?) listed and represented in levels 1-8 that do not occur in PMTS.

PMTS also uses student outcomes to direct the instruction. The progression is not in stone either. The order of drills in books like the appendix of Eric and Rob's Ski the Whole Mountain is a progression. It does match the normal average student in that a two footed release will be easier to teach than a super phantom and both are much easier than a weighted release Von Gruenigen race turn. Just because a student after 2 weeks wants to learn the Von Gruenigen turn doesn't mean the student can yet, till they learn how to edge their weaker LTE of their inside ski. So you have to drill that first to develop the balance before that turn can be introduced. So of course there are progressions even in the context of student outcomes driven instruction.

At some point instruction becomes coaching. This removal of error would be different for each student. One student may be throwing their shoulder to create rotation. Another student might be in the back seat. Another might never figured out the pole plant. The more a student requires instruction the more progression based it is. The more the student requires coaching the less likely the instruction will follow a stated progression. Any progression is just a roadmap. How a teacher uses it for a particullar student is up to them. A progression the way I'm using it is simply a toolbox of drills to teach some aspect of skiing. In the progression sense of the word they are organized in order of dificulty and in the concepts they are trying to teach. (like the back of Eric and Rob's book). Nothing wrong with a progression unless a mindless teacher thinks its a rigid progression.

On to the technical question you brought up:

See next thread - I'll get this one up there for now
post #52 of 336
Thread Starter 

Ah - the snowboarder analagy

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
Since you brought it up, though, I must ask--if active weight transfer, "lift," inside foot tipping, or "parallel" are important to turning, how can snowboarders manage?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
The point of the analogy is much more simple and obvious than your question.

The argument many make (probably not you so don't take any of this personally because I don't mean it that way) that you must use the wedge for speed control with beginners. Yet, snowboards can not wedge for speed control but instructors have figured out how to teach them without the wedge. Thus, why is it so hard to imagine a method to start a beginner on that does not teach the wedge.

But you have already said the wedge is not taught. It just happens. So the snowboarder analogy is irrelevant I suppose.
post #53 of 336
John--please! It is most certainly true that every resort you've been too--and all the rest of them too, "gets to teach whatever they want."

And within each of those schools, remember that it is individual instructors teaching--not "systems." Yes, you'll see a lot of wedges skiing around the beginner slopes of the world, some for the right reasons, some not. Some are the natural "inadvertent" (but ubiquitous) wedges that we've discussed here, resulting from sound, offensive movements and good teaching. Others are legitimate defensive braking wedges taught and used when tactically appropriate--such as Harb's "lift-line maneuvering device"--or to allow novice skiers to experience more of the terrain than they might with purely offensive movements. (You can legitimately argue both sides of whether or not this is a good idea, but it's at least based on the ideal of student-focused teaching--give them what they want!)

And without a doubt, many of those "wedge lessons" are examples of poor teaching. (So are many wedgeless lessons.) The vast majority of beginner lessons in most ski schools, including most of those on your list, are taught by instructors with little more experience or training than you have yourself. Most are uncertified at any level, and very, very few beginner lessons are taught by Full (Level 3) Certified instructors. To your credit, John, you have probably put more effort and thought into becoming knowledgeable than many of those instructors you've observed. But this is another issue entirely.

If you want to make the point that there's a lot of inept ski teaching going on out there, you'll get no argument from me. And if you can find a solution to the problem, I'll be your biggest fan! But I can tell you, for sure--the solution is not to place blame on any educational organization.

More, and better, training is certainly one of the keys. But remember that there is no law that says your ski instructor has to have any training whatsoever! PSIA has no control over what goes on out there on the hill. Untrained instructors come cheap. And until students start demanding better, resorts will continue to have little incentive to improve the situation!

PSIA, and most other national instructor organizations, provide access to highly accurate, up-to-date technical information and teaching methodology, with some great tools for applying it, and some of the greatest skiers, educators, and innovators in the world to teach you all about it. But ski resorts run their ski schools in this country, and PSIA has virtually no influence on what actually takes place on the hill. Perhaps it should be otherwise. But that's the way it is at the moment.

It's often said--and has been written in various PSIA manuals--that it takes 5 to 7 years, minimum, for a ski instructor to reach a level that could be described as "competent." And that's given good training along the way! 5-7 years is pretty typically how long it takes for an instructor to become Full Certified, too--not coincidentally.

The typical career of a full-time instructor is maybe 3 years, often less. If you want to put your finger on the problem, do the math!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #54 of 336
Most beginners when they take their first lesson will be taught the snowplow with stemming regardless of the improvements you mentioned back in 2001 above.
Yes, John. While it makes me cringe, I won't argue with you here. I am well on record as deploring the "typical ski lesson." It is a problem.

The moral of the story is that, if you want a good lesson, you've got to buck the system, or at least figure out how it works. Every ski school (well, most anyway) has some excellent instructors that will knock your socks off. But it is up to you to find them!

post #55 of 336
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info

I was under the impression that when a school advertises its school as PSIA certified that it only hired PSIA certs. Of course, even if that's true it doesn't take much to be PSIA level 1 cert as far as skiing abilty.

So you're saying that schools hire anyone by and large and there are very little standards enforced? That's pretty scary. No wonder people often get turned off at their first lesson. I would think the resorts would have a long term economic interest in addressing that. But, sadly, most seem more focused on their real estate components than their ski schools.
post #56 of 336
Thread Starter 

and that's why Epic is a great thing!

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
The moral of the story is that, if you want a good lesson, you've got to buck the system, or at least figure out how it works. Every ski school (well, most anyway) has some excellent instructors that will knock your socks off. But it is up to you to find them!

Yes, Epic is a great resource for getting connected to some good instructors and camps.
post #57 of 336
Originally Posted by John Mason
...only on the slope might we be able to exchange properly what we are talking about.

I think that's the way to go!

Can I join you? I always enjoy skiing with Bob and I'm certain you would too.
post #58 of 336
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
It's often said--and has been written in various PSIA manuals--that it takes 5 to 7 years, minimum, for a ski instructor to reach a level that could be described as "competent." And that's given good training along the way! 5-7 years is pretty typically how long it takes for an instructor to become Full Certified, too--not coincidentally.
Sweeeeet... only 3-5 years to go.

John - I'm a lowly Level I instructor. I teach the wedge (even the braking wedge), nobody makes me. The funny thig is, if I teach the right movements the wedge foes away on it's own. There is no unlearning the wedge.
post #59 of 336
Thread Starter 

sure - where are you?

I'm going to the PMTS instructor camp Nov 15th at copper (you can make it be whatever camp type you want as they offer clinics you can select up to four from - so it's not so much an instructor camp for me but a get better at skiing camp for me). I'm also doing a session on movement analysis with the V1 software at this camp. Anyway - it's at Copper and I don't have my transportation up yet. I could pop up early and get used to the altitude (even a week isn't long enough) and ski some and share ideas. (bob would probably require money (or I could show him high end digital panoramic photography techniques))

I last skied in August and I'd love to get my ski legs going again before the camp.
post #60 of 336
Thread Starter 

Yes I can see that

Originally Posted by epic
Sweeeeet... only 3-5 years to go.

John - I'm a lowly Level I instructor. I teach the wedge (even the braking wedge), nobody makes me. The funny thig is, if I teach the right movements the wedge foes away on it's own. There is no unlearning the wedge.
In reviewing Bob's history of posts I see that you can indeed teach the wedge with correct movement patterns which lessons the balance needs while not ingraining stemming. You might want to check out a PMTS camp and learn the beginner progression the other way to see if either way has advantages. My personal opinion is that balance will be developed quicker with the non-wedge approach and a more functional stance will be encouraged.

I think that 7 year time frame is a guideline (like a progression - hehe). An individual instructor might be a great instructor right off.

Question for you - ok 2 questions for you:

1. If you define a best stance as walk and see where your steps are - or -
hand from a beam and see where your legs dangle, is what you move your students to ultimately as you work them out of the wedge, at this width, or do they tend to be wider than this. I would think that if you start people with a stance that is too wide (a wedge) that this would have to be unlearned as well as the wedge be unlearned.
2. Since one ski balance is not required in the wedge, when and how do you introduce this, or do you plateau at a ski style with more equal weighting of the skis. This lack of one ski balance is also something I would personally feel would need unlearned as you progressed someone out of their wedge.

Of course, if you don't see the need for a functional stance as defined above or one ski balance in skiing then you are right. There is nothing to unlearn.
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