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Applied situation: Help

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've got a class of 5 skiers (and skieresses? . Apart from some individual differences, they all make sort of decent parallel turns. Unfortunately, they all pretty much like to sign their turns as if they were Zorro, i.e. with nicely shaped Z's .
What kind of progression would you suggest to help these students round the shapes of their turns? Let's say a sequence of drills from easy to advanced so that I will minimize the risk of "losing" my class in the process.

Thank you.
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSki
I've got a class of 5 skiers (and skieresses? . Apart from some individual differences, they all make sort of decent parallel turns. Unfortunately, they all pretty much like to sign their turns as if they were Zorro, i.e. with nicely shaped Z's .
What kind of progression would you suggest to help these students round the shapes of their turns? Let's say a sequence of drills from easy to advanced so that I will minimize the risk of "losing" my class in the process.

Thank you.
Some thoughts:

1. Uphill Christies might introduce the sensation of finishing a rounded turns to the students. Practicing Uphill Christies would allow students to feel the rounded, last section of their turn. Rather than zig-zagging, the student would be required to do exactlty that which you want them to do -- finish their turn in a rounded, complete fashion. Once they have done enough Uphill Christies on each side, introduce them into normal skiing and have students finish the ends of their turns as Uphill Christies. Eventually tune this down into rounded turns.

2. Work on mileage and experience medium radius turns. Your students are probably impatiently and (over) actively steering their skis early in the turn and desiring to complete it...thus producing the zig-zag. Working with students to be a bit more patient at the start of the turn along with letting the turns finish at the end takes mileage and practice.

3. Skiing in front of the students and letting them model your turn shape may help a variety of learners understand what you are hoping them to do (viewers, doers, etc.). Once they have the sensation of a medium radius turn with patient entry, you can progress into shorter radius turns that are equally round.

Good luck,

Ben
post #3 of 19
Johnski,

Here's an old thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ghlight=z+turn

To that I'll add a few ideas:
1. Traverse to a stop using only sidecut to carve up hill. Fan progression to steeper traverses. Make it a continuous turn, use a wide trail in low traffic conditions. Watch for stopping short caused by rotary moves/skidding. Progress to making a turn out of the traverse before stopping, then fan progression back to shorter radius turns.

2. Ten Toes (thanks Bob Shostic). When making turns, get all 10 toes pointing in the fall line before turning out of the fall line.

3. Grrrr turns. Over emphasize weighting of the downhill ski in the bottom part of the turn, making a "grrr" sound effect. The sound effect emphasis helps to emphasize the need for flexion/pressure, but also drags out the application to round out the bottom part (i.e. less fearful) of the turn. This is a cheating introduction to finishing turns going slightly uphill.

4. For thinkers - which approach to slowing down would you rather use? If show how wedging and skidding rely on the quad muscles to slow you down and show how going uphill slows you down for free (using gravity), then all you need to tell your students is "It's your choice."
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you Ben and Rusty. I will try tonight if the cold front does not freeze all of us.
post #5 of 19
JohnSki - Are they "settling" in the hips and knees at the bottom of the turn? If so, play with their stance to make it stronger and get feet under their hips. Settling causes the feet to get in front of the hips and then a one two move to start the next turn. It almost looks like a hockey stop that never quite happens. Try an exercise where they ski with bindings in front of hips for a run, then ski with bindings pulled way behind them and push them in front to start a turn, then try pulling bindings back when starting the turn and keep them there, then pull back and bring to neutral. Goal is bindings/feet under hips and to dynamically keep them there while skiing. Easy to say and hard to do!
post #6 of 19
To z the turn they have to stiffen the outside leg, which makes it hard to release edge. I think thousand steps would prevent this and also make it clear what desired turn shape is.

Also, if they are making this defensive typr manouver they are probably on too challenging terrain. Dial it back.

As a lowly level one, I'd like feedback on the wisdom of these choices.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by denyadog
To z the turn they have to stiffen the outside leg, which makes it hard to release edge. I think thousand steps would prevent this and also make it clear what desired turn shape is.

Also, if they are making this defensive type manouver they are probably on too challenging terrain. Dial it back.

As a lowly level one, I'd like feedback on the wisdom of these choices.
Typically "Z" turns are made with little or no edge but an edge set. Quick start or poor ski finish, skid finish if you will, causing a one two move to get out of the back seat and initiate.

Changing terrain to something less defensive could be a great move. Typically upper level skiers do not want to ski on "learning" terrain, ego is in their way. Many instructors have a fear of taking this level of skier to "learning" terrain.
Compromise and take them both places and "sell" the value of learning on terrain that seems beneath them.

Stepping has great value for balance, edging, and actually understanding carrying the turn into "the future" or movment into the turn to completeing the shape. I believe there are better ways to teach rotary. Yes, we do ski with rotary or the turn is the product of sidecut and pressure to decamber the ski only.

Another possibility is to have the student complete their turn almost to a stall. It is amazing what happens when they gain a control of their turn they never had before. Simply have the student complete each turn with tips of both skiis directed more up hill.

Is it the start or the finish or is it chicken and egg? So many possibilities unless you are there!

Have a good day!
post #8 of 19
One that's easy for people to graps and really works their turn shape is to ski a constant speed over varring terrain. Once people grasp the idea of what makes us go fast (straight down) and what makes us go slow (across the hill) and what when can change (how much we are straight down or across), it's pretty easy to get them to modify their turn shapes to achieve this goal. This is one of my go to excercises. 1). It's "REAL" skiing 2). It allows people to make their own choices when in a lesson (I let them go as fast or as slow as they want, all they have to do is maintain this speed once they get going.) 3). It's great at letting them refine their rotary skills. When you do this one, make sure that the terrain changes during the run (or at least one run), so that they have to make some adjustments (It would be ok if the first run was a constant pitch to let them get the idea). I usually do this from harder terrain to easier terrain, where the turn has to open up, but it would be OK to go from harder to easier as well ("check your speed at the pitch...") Ohhh! Just thought of this one, how about the same thing on a trail with a double fall line! The turn on one side would have to be different than the other....
post #9 of 19
Another exercise is to ask them to listen to the sould of their skis on the snow and try to make it as quiet as possible as they turn. This results in a patience sort of turn.

Ask them to see if they can get an even
sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

sound as they turn. The little bitty ssss are at the transitions and the sssss is at the belly of the turn. The sound should modulate evenly with the volume relating to the intensity of the turn.

If they hear a sssssssssssssssssss, a definate abrupt change in volume, you can bet that is where they are skidding or forcing. (Setting their edges and making the Z.) If they look at the track they can see it.

Hope this helps,
post #10 of 19
T,

That's a good one. I might combine it with my eyes closed drill, for an "extra sensory" ski run.....

L
post #11 of 19
Z's are often the result of the skiers being uncomfortable with pointing their skis straight down the fall line. One nifty exercise is what we call "box turns". Seriously under-terrain them when you have them first try this, and then gradually move them to higher terrain.

Have them imagine the skiers are bumper cars and they are going down a corridor with high walls on both sides. Have them ski within the corridor with only one rule: when the bumper cars reach a side wall, they have to travel straight down along the wall for 2 ski lengths before they turn in. As soon as they turn in, they get ready to hit the other wall and travel down that other wall for another 2 ski lengths.

This imagery seems to have an instantenous effect in rounding out turns, and move their focus from the top and bottom of turns to the apex of the turns. Plus the imagery builds confidence that they won't reach scary warp speed by spending time in the fall line. It also has a tendency to do other good things: it tends to slow down the top 1/3 of the turns, and it also tends to shorten the bottom 1/3 of the turns - the end result is you change the shape from a "Z" into something quite the opposite.

When they are getting the hang of it, work on their entry and on their exit from the "along the wall" phase smoother.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all... I will surely "assign" more tasks for you to suggest. Yesterday night, however I taught this class (despite the cold). I tried first the uphill Christies, but did not seem to produce much results. Then I suggested we try to step to the side from the fall line trying to go as much uphill as possible and things began to click. Next, we tried to do rails while doing traverses and, after a few attempts, i was very pleased with the guys. A couple of them could leave nice rails down and completely stop while going uphill. Then we went back to the 1000 steps drill and made some attempts to step during the entire turns. After a while, we went to a blue run and tried to blend what we worked on into our skiing. I'd say I noticed an improvement. Two of them consistently tried to do rails on every traverse except the ones in the steepest section. We ended up in the terrain park to play inside the pipe. I wanted to teach them how to enter runs in steep terrain using the walls of a pipe, showing them how reliable the sideslip is even on very steep terrain, or get them to consider the normal terrain not so steep as they tend to think. We took a few tumbles down the frozen pipe, but they were all laughing and having a good time. I even manage to get out of the pipe without killing myself and the students said they were very proud of me :-). I have nice students, I must say!
But, on a more serious note, I'd say that your suggestions did help. The 1000 steps when started in the fall line were within the reach of everyone, when started before the fall line less, but I noticed an improvement in all of them, some more some less. The skier I was most concerned about still tended to do the Z, but now the Z originates in the middle of the turn and not in the beginning. Then I suggested he tried to point down the fall line at 45 degrees instead of straight down and the reduction in speed showed the Z's going away dramatically.

But, what I enjoy the most working with this group, is their will to try new things. I was not sure they would have followed me in the pipe, but they did and without much fear despite they are all well over 20.

Thx guys!
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
T,

That's a good one. I might combine it with my eyes closed drill, for an "extra sensory" ski run.....

L
Ishull, what is your eyes closed drill? It sounds interesting.
post #14 of 19
I love uphill christies myself, but I must confess I've rarely lit the bulb with that exercise. The box turns exercise sounds like a much better deal.

Thanks for sharing Bob Shostek's wonderful instruction to get all ten toes heading down the hill before shifting CM.

Great thread.

Oh, one thing JohnSki: I was dismayed by your sexist nomenclature for the female students in your class. That really bites. I bring it up in the hope that you don't try that bit of humor with other women in the vicinity.
post #15 of 19
I was trying to fix a Z turning a couple years ago. Tried the obvious stuff to just change the shape of his turn, box turns-- cadence turns (counting 1-2-3), etc. That didn't help at all.

Continuing my movement analysis I noticed that it wasn't that the student wasn't trying to make round turns, it was the he had a defect that was preventing the turn from shaping. In his case his weight was back on his skis and he wasn't moving directionally into the turn so his edges didn't release. What was happening is he'd add rotary force to try to start the turn but withough releasing the edges, the rotary force would build and build until finally, the edges would break loose (even though he hadn't actively released them) and he spin around in a quick turn and be pointing the other way.

I decided to forget working on turn shape directly and work on balance, did the thumper, hops, etc. kinda of thing and then worked back into turning. Voila, round turns!!!!

I started working on moving actively into the turn next and the skier started to lose it. At that point I assertained that that was enough for one lessons, had to get the correct move into memory so we went back to what was working and just practiced. I suggested actively moving into the turn would be a topic for a future lesson.
post #16 of 19
I mentioned this in another thread recently. I find that one of the easiest ways is to have the student follow directly in your tracks. If you make nice round finished turns and ask them to point their ski tips at your ski tails they will be able to do it. Do this for a couple of runs, then (and make sure they know exactly when you are going to do this) you peel off and let them continue on their own, pretending they are still following in your tracks.

I've found this to be very successful for learning to slow down the start of the turn and finish the turns enough that they won't be intimidated by the speed created when entering the fall line.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo

Oh, one thing JohnSki: I was dismayed by your sexist nomenclature for the female students in your class. That really bites. I bring it up in the hope that you don't try that bit of humor with other women in the vicinity.
Sorry Nolo. I will not do it again. I did not know that skieress was bad, I just thought I was being funny. I am going to hit my head (not my skis!) against the wall... Will write later, after I recover my senses.
post #18 of 19
Aw, now I feel bad for pointing it out. It's just that in this day and age, women don't like to have words invented that say "woman anything." What does gender have to do with it, is the question. Actress, poetess, aviatrix...words like these are unnecessary except to signal a difference in plumbing.

Last week an age 60+ pro patroller referred to a woman in my class as "elderly," and you wouldn't believe the trouble that poor fellow was in, especially when he tried to fix it: "Ma'am (another mistake), we're probably the same age!"

I am only trying to help.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
I mentioned this in another thread recently. I find that one of the easiest ways is to have the student follow directly in your tracks. If you make nice round finished turns and ask them to point their ski tips at your ski tails they will be able to do it. Do this for a couple of runs, then (and make sure they know exactly when you are going to do this) you peel off and let them continue on their own, pretending they are still following in your tracks.

I've found this to be very successful for learning to slow down the start of the turn and finish the turns enough that they won't be intimidated by the speed created when entering the fall line.
Yeah - I did some group lessons this season as part of my "learn to ski in the real world" training.... All lessons were advanced skiers only & limit of 3 people to a lesson....

One lesson the poor instructor had me & this middle-aged overweight male who just used force to do anythinbg on skis & a lovely not so old woman who was a real natural athlete type.... she had been a dancer & had taught herself to ski by watching others (I hate her already at this point ) ..... Instructor kept trying to get her to round out the turns - she kept short cutting all turns because she just had no idea what he was trying to do.... He was skiing such nice turn shapes for us to try to get the turn shape better...

One T-bar ride she told me she wanted to ski like me (oops) - I pointed out that one of the ways I learnt to ski like me was from sticking like glue to the instructors trackswhen told to follow.... I explained that he was choosing the route he thought would "teach the most" & that she should pay more attention to his choice as it was not random where he turned....

Next run as he took off I yelled at her to "go now follow him" .... it worked beautifully - she followed him to the next stop in nice flowing turns.... once her natural athletic talent got the idea of how it felt to flow down the hill she improved in a HUGE leap.... instructor asked me on next t-bar ride what I did - I explained that due to no other lessons she did not understand "follow me" to be ski in tracks but simply "ski down here" & what we had talked about - he was so happy because her skiing just went up in leaps once she understood that the instruction was ALL the skiing he did - not just the talking part.... Damn I wish I could learn that fast....
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