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Exam Dilemna

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I id my Level 2 Skiing this week. Passed it, so this is just an observation, for future reference. What do you do when the examiner does his demo differently from what you understand him to be asking, or in a way that you consider tobe incorrecct? Do you perform the demo that he did, or do you do it the way you practiced?
post #2 of 14

I subscribe to the philosophy of "dance with the one who brung ya". In other words, do what you know and have practiced. That said, I remember, in my L3 exam, flat out asking the examiner at the beginning of our time together, whether he would be doing demos exactly as he wanted to see them, just in case what we saw didn't exaclty match the words we heard. I actually got two different answers from two different people. One said "do as I do", the other said "do as I say". I can't remember, but I think the third said, "do whatever you think is best", which to me means do what I know and have practiced (what he said, not did)

post #3 of 14

congrats Epic,

I asked the same thing when I took my level 2 and 3. (Still working on the level 3)

I have actually gotten different responses depending on who I've asked.

Most suggest that you do as they demo. and when you get to the spot where the examiner is, ask them to clarify. Do it without being "smart". You can say something like, "you said to make "medium radius advanced wedge christies" but I would interprete those more as beginning wedge christies. Should I be doing them more towards the advanced side or beginning side?"

The other option is do what they say and ask them the same thing. Be sure to try to make it not like you are being "smarter" than them but that you are trying to clarify the task for yourself.

It shows that you understand the mechanics of the task and have the eye to see the difference. It also helps you understand what they are looking for instead of just guessing what they are thinking.
post #4 of 14
Congratulations Epic, enjoy the pay hike!

I've got a bunch of video for you. We'll talk about how to get it to you after the holidays.

Enjoy the rest of Christmas day and Happy New Year.
post #5 of 14
Nice job passing! I would say ASK? If that does not work then do what was asked of you. You may have practiced a wedge christie with out a pole swing but if the examiner ask for a pole swing, show them the pole swing. The issue hopefully does not come up to often as we work hard every year to be clear in our expectations by making sure we explain in detail and match the demo to the explanation. However no one is close to perfect so it happens. Be honest and clear with your examiner and just ask for clear description of what is expected. Good luck moving forward. Good luck moving further. Todo
post #6 of 14
Congratulations, Erik!

The question you ask has even wider application. I have been coached by Level III folks who tell me not to do "X", then they demo the way they WANT me to do it - and they're doing "X"!

Most frequently, they want my stance to widen - and usually, their own stance is what I would call narrow. I asked one of these excellent skiers (they're all light years ahead of me) to turn around and look at his own tracks. He was stunned!

We don't always feel what we do. Two of our Level III coaches, independently and on different days, made the exact same observations of my skiing - and I do believe that their observations were accurate. I just couldn't feel that I was skiing as they described. Riding up the lift with one of them during a clinic, I myself pointed to a women who was skiing well but whose stance I pointed out was abnormally narrow. With some hesitance and a quizzical look, my coach said, "That's exactly how you ski."

I know that this does little to answer the question you initially asked, Erik. I hope it would be acceptable to request permission to perfom two demos and ask the exam conductor which of these she/he would prefer that you do. Could that work? I may or may not ever reach the point of feeling confident enough to take a Level II exam, but in the event that I do, I'm another candidate who'd like to know how to handle this tricky situation where the talk and the walk from the conductor do not appear to be the same.
post #7 of 14
Congrats on passing the level II skiing! The off-piste must have been challenging in current conditions!

In my limited experience, you do what they say they want, even if it's not what you understand. For example, in my level II skiing, the examiner asked us to "brush out both tails" to start the wedge christies. While very different than what I had practiced, I modified my skiing to meet with his requirements. He also didn't control speed in a wedge christie with turn shape, but with braking movements, so that's what I did (the second time, since I couldn't believe that's really what he wanted the first time!).

I know when I did my level II, I was too frightened of the examiner to ask questions based on his interaction with both others there and with me. I plan on retaking my teaching this year, so I hope I can overcome that. I think it's best to ask, but I also know that some examiners (hopefully a very small minority) enjoy keeping those taking the exam guessing and/or making it a mind-reading exercise to pass. So, I think you have to be a bit careful.

I hope that my experience is not common. RR track turns on a medium blue and medium radius performance turns in a slow skiing zone?! : (Nothing like getting pulled over by the patrol during an exam!!!)
post #8 of 14
I agree that you should ask questions and keep asking until both you and the examiner are confident that you fully comprehend what is expected of you. Remember, you are paying for the exam and you are the client. It is the examiners job to follow the teaching model and to “check for understanding”. But this is a two way street and you should ask any questions you might have.

What would you want from one of your students if you were teaching something different from what they had understood from a previous lesson?
post #9 of 14
When I took my level 2 exam (and passed half of it ) there were two examiners. Always one would do the demo, and one would stay with us and go last. So if I thought the demoing examiner skied differently than he/she had described the task, I would ask the one still with us. I'd say something like, "Hey, Examiner 2, it looked to me like Examiner 1 did this, but he said he was going to do that. Did you see what I saw, and if so, which way should we do it?"

Congratulations on passing, epic!
post #10 of 14
Congratulations on passing your skiing, epic. Just out of curiosity, what demos did the examiner have difficulty doing as he said?
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, I don't want to type all night, but since you asked....

First of all, it was something like 20 below and windy on the first day, so not only did you not want to be out for very long, but it was also hard to hear and be heard with so much clothes on (masks, helmets and so on). We did probably three runs with each examiner, so there weren't really a lot of second tries.

Second, the day before ETU, I went and skiied in the morning with Barb Marshall who is a PSIA-E Examiner, and focused specifically on Level 2 skiing tasks. My wedge christy was, well, simply not a wedge christy prior to that. So, Barb told me exactly what the examiners will be looking for in the tasks, and that is what I was looking for in them.. What I got from her was that in most of the lower level tasks, the stance width should be a bit wider than normal, and it should not change as you go through the turn. So in the wedge christy, you steer the tips in to form the wedge, rather than pushing your feet (and tails) out. Then you steer them parallel to match again as opposed to bringing your feet together to close the wedge. Well, that's not what I saw from all of the examiners. I thought the third one had a very good wedge christy demo, but the two before I didn't think were as good as mine. Also, I felt that the terrain used for the wedges and wedge christy's was inapporopriate some of the time. Way fast. Again, the 3rd guy who is a local SSD was a little more appropriate. I think because he goes to line-up everyday (even if he doesn't teach it), the others do all privates or just PSIA stuff. Another interesting thing was when one of the examiner described the railroad tracks task and said that you should be dynamic and leading with a strong inside half (??????) I thought that RR is a task to seperate rotary from edging. Doesn't what he described make it something else. He was also pretty far down on a relatively steep run. I was probably going 40 when I buzzed past him.

Another interesting note, Barb told me to slow doan all my demos, two of the instructors wanted me to go faster. I got similar comments from two of the examiners about not being dynamic enough, butr these guys didn't do a free run with us, and I thought these were level 2 trasks and should not be very dynamic. Bob B has seen me ski, i wonder if his thoughts match what was written on the cards.

Anyway, it was a mysterious exam, but I felt I was the strongest skier there, and wasn't too worried abouut passing until I had to wait for them to post the scores.

The most fun part for me was helping another instructor that I felt had good movementsin general, but obviously didn't know what they were looking for. She was doing a lot of things like lifting the inside ski and so on. Her skiing was totally different by day 2 and she passed. I felt sorry for some of the guys that had come from smaller mountains where there are no Level 3 skiers, let alone D-Team or Examiners. Thay had no chance in my opinion. I was kinda wishing I could help all of them, but not in one run...
post #12 of 14
That wedge seems to be one that gets a lot of folks. I think Barb was right on, but I've seen the other, too (as mentioned above). Where did you do your off-piste?
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by ssh
That wedge seems to be one that gets a lot of folks. I think Barb was right on, but I've seen the other, too (as mentioned above). Where did you do your off-piste?
There isn't an off-piste component in PSIA-E. The majority of resorts in the division don't have any off-piste terrain.
post #14 of 14

Examiners often use "inappropriate" terrain for a variety of reasons. One, you've probably been practising on appropriate terrain. They want to see you ski, not see you do something that you've memorized. Two, when you are busy adapting to inappropriate terrain you're "natural" moves show through and you have to have understanding in order to be able to adapt. For my level 2, I did my christies on a cat track with a double fall line. I made a "huh?" type comment to my examiner and he said "Yeah, but if you got any flaws, they'll show up here quick".

One comment I got from Pro Jam: Look at how fast your guests are going when they do wedge christies. I get the feeling that slow and fast demos are going to split like the tastes great/less filling debate.

I don't see anything wrong with a strong inside 1/2 on rr turns. You gotta change edges. You gotta move your core to change the edges. The inside half has to get over the new edge the same as a "normal" turn. When I skied with Vic Gerdin at National Academy a couple years ago he had us doing high speed rr turns. It's definitely a lot more intense then tipping ankles on a cat track or a green run. 40 mph is probably exactly what the examiner was looking for.

I believe that most candidates are better off when an examiner "stretches" the tasks. They'll cut you slack for the difficulty. You don't have to be perfect. All you have to have is the moves and understanding. On appropriate terrain, you can get away with not understanding, but you have to have the moves and be perfect. It's a good sign when the examiner makes things difficult. It means they already expect you to be able to do the easy stuff. When they give you multiple shots at the "appropriate" stuff you are in trouble.
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