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3/4 skier back and not moving into turn

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Skier: level 3/4 very rudimentary beginning wedge christie
Problem: CM is back. As skis seek falline, there is a retreating motion instead of a forward motion further aggravating the problem by getting the CM even more back. Also, skier rotates quickly pulling inside shoulder back to get through scary part of turn.

post #2 of 8
Are you on shallow terrain?

Try fanning turn finishes in an uphill christy fashion. That is, from a traverse, turn uphill, even in the wedge. Then start from a steeper traverse and turn uphill. Keep going steeper and steeper until you're turning out of the fall line. Student learns that the turn finish can control speed. Now do some short straight runs to a to the uphill christy. Finally, point out that the turn entry requires that you speed up some, but that can be controlled by staying with the turn until comfortable speeds are reached.
post #3 of 8
one of my favorite things to work with people (especially if not dealing with a group), standing still, have them try to stand on their toes (obviously the boots limit this) - kinda like the idea of shooting a basketball on skis, but not a quick move. Then we talk about reaching with this movement, standing on toes, arms extended (so to prevent the reach with the arms and squat with the butt). Then, with you stationary, hold out a pole and have the student reach for the pole (standing on the toes, arms reaching out in front of them - big trick is getting both hands reaching) as you bring the pole from up hill to down hill (making the student turn around you - kinda like the idea of leading a tortoise with a carrot on a stick, just out of reach). Once they get that, take the pole away (reach for the phantom pole) - the whole principle is to get the hip to start moving into the turn, and creating forward pressure, instead of sitting back. Next is to stop reaching with the arms (put them back into a skiing pose, and work with the idea of reaching with the hip (you can have them revert to the phantom reach and think about connecting the hands and hips with a string if reaching with the hips doesn't really work at first). By now the skis should be working better turning, and you can just work on mellowing out he movements (especially if there is a dramatic vertical movement, but at least they shouldn't be in the backseat anymore).

Another real quick trick I like to use is to make a few turns with a huge wedge (let them sit back). Then make a few with the smallest wedge possible (again if sitting back, so be it). Then make a few turns starting in the biggest wedge possible and ending the turn with the smallest wedge possible. If the are sitting back the edge will not allow the ski to get flat so it will not be easy to vary the size of the wedge. If this doesn't get em forward. I then point out (and have them do it too), leaning back in a wedge gets the skis on edge, but our body is out of whack. have them try, standing still, open into a wedge, then flex into the boots (instead of leaning back), and you can generate the same amount of edge, but now you are forward. Reinforce this with a few slow speed turns generating the edge angle by flexing the boot, and then re-try the varied size wedge turns, chances are the results will be very different. This is another one of those drills that you are really only looking for a little of what you are teaching them to transfer to their skiing (optimally, activating the ankles, getting forward, and ideally, without saying it, getting their hips into the right place to allow the inside ski to get flat).
post #4 of 8

They must learn to move the CM as part of turn initiation. This won't happen from a breaking wedge on steeper terrain.

Check out this explanation/exercise.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I posted this question without saying what I'd try as I wanted to see what ideas other people have. I've had a number of skiers that fall into this profile this year. Some things I did--

I used some heel-tappers to help get them out of the back seat. Works but is sooo gosh darned uncreative, yuck; that's why I asked for other ideas. I'd often doing start them tapping uphill ski in arcing traverses and work it down the fallline in a fan til they are starting more in the fall line. I liked Kneale's fan suggestion and guess I was also incorporating something like that. I'd work work them back to regular skiing after the tappers and point out that they speed up at the top of the turn and on completed the turn, they bleed off speed. Another thing I'd do is on the last tap have them concentrate on transferring some weight to the ski that will become the new outside ski and ride the turn around til they bled off speed.

A next step I've sometimes used was to have the skier then concentrate on keeping shin-toungue contact as he/she turns into the fallline. I have success with this if the skier has already made some progress getting out of the backseat with previous exercise and has gained some confidence completing turns.

If terrain is available, I'd lead them around the downhill side of some whales to get some spantaneous matching going on.

At the end of the lesson, I typically would instruct a skier like this to spend 90% of the time on terrain well within their ability; dark-green at most or maybe the easiest of blues on a non-advanced mountain. They need to keep the wedge small and get the new movements down before moving to harder trails. (Much like Rusty suggested.)
post #6 of 8

Ok, now that you've bought that. I do like to take "confident" over wedgers to steeper terrain. Once, they've survived that, the easier terrain is a lot less "scary". Oh they won't tell you they were scared before, but they will tell you that the easier terrain is a lot easier after being on the advanced terrain. Which means it's easier to get them to give up that blasted breaking wedge and let the skis go! Back that 90-10 split down a bit. At my resort, because of the trail layout, I would use a 65-35 guideline to anyone who could navigate the next level of terrain falling twice or less per run on the tougher terrain. On average. Of course you need to adjust your recommendation to each student based on where they are coming from.
post #7 of 8
A lot wedgers stuck in the backseat have repeated this action/position so many times that it's almost ingrained in them, and that IMHO, they need to mentally whacked with a 2x4 to get them out of it.

I have had a lot of success switching these folks (maybe temporarily, maybe permanently) to a DTP path and making them do DTP-related drills for most of a class session. Usually, going to DTP is much less of a stretch for level 2-3 folks than it would be for a bunch of never-evers, since the former already are used to sliding around on the snow, have developed some semblance of balance, etc..

Specifically, I'll get them to do things like:

- traverse on the shallowest terrain balanced on first the downhill, and then the uphill ski (it's pretty hard to be in the backseat when you are just using on one foot).

- a "no-turning" version of the 1000 steps in a shallow traverse. In other words, almost walking across the hill by alternately picking up one ski and then the other. Make sure the tip of the raised ski isn't higher than the tail.

- incorporate a few degrees of foot twisting at each of the above steps to have them eventually wind up stepping / turning uphill to a stop.

- positioning myself just a tad uphill from them (as they come across) and encouraging them to get to me without stopping or having to poll by just using their legs and skis. Hopefully they wind up doing something more like a skating move or a diverging step turn up the hill, I don't care - I just want to see them get their CM obviously forward with each movement. We then talk about this and try it again.

- then start fanning the progression from steeper and steeper starts (as suggested above) until they are crossing the fall line. Again, all of this is done on the most shallow of bunny slopes for all the usual reasons.

- after they get good at this, I usually let them try a gliding wedge again, and often find they are out of the back seat and somewhere close to spontaneously matching because of the DTP exercises they just did. I then ask if they see a b4-after difference, which they like better, etc. A fair number of them have felt so good about their progress that they have asked about steeper terrain and I've had to give them the usual lecture about not over-terraining themselves.

Tom / PM

PS #1 - In all fairness, I have had a few level 2-3 people not have the skills to balance on one ski at a time, even for just a moment. Sometimes there is an easy-to-fix underlying problem like their boots not being buckled, sometimes they don't have the concept of getting an edge, and sometimes its an intrinsic lack of balancing abilitiy. I consider balance to be absolutely fundamental, so rather than trying to "work them out of the backseat" slowly while fighting their balance issues and resulting insecurities, I'll give them tasks that they can do which (hopefully) will directly help their balance issue (eg, balancing on one foot while standing completely still, while not moving forward, but intentionally waving around their legs and arms, skating on the flats, etc.)

PS #2 - I'm at the same resort as TheRusty
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanx also PhysicsMan. I like some of the DTP ideas, in fact I was thinking 100 steps types things would be good for balance and moving down the hill. In fact, in never-ever lessons, I always seem to get one skier who can't balance and wedge well enough to turn (wedge is mandatory at our mt although we can add other stuff). After an hour, I've really want the group to be going up the magic carpet. For the skier that can't even wedge turn, I've successfully gotten them to walk down the learning slope in S turns.

The not even being able to balance on one ski issue is why I often use heel-tappers instead of thumpers.

I'm thinking now that for a skier like this, 100 step fan would be a good exercise.
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