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Smoothness at Transition for Level II

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
JoeB again, working on eliminating old-fashioned edge set and smoothing my turn transition in prep for PSIA Level II skiing. To do this, I am employing various drills and help from from dchan therusty, nolo, and others on this site: wiggle worms leading to RR turns, forward sideslips leading to patience turns, keeping my feet well-situated under my CM at transition, etc, etc. I am making progress. But in order to further my goal, I have a couple of very specific questions for those who have passed LII or are, like me, working toward the exam: (1) should I be concentrating on eliminating 97% of the old-fashioned up-and-down motion as a way to eliminate hard edge set, thereby promoting smoothness? and (2) it is my understanding from my practice exam results that I need to smoothly establish a carve with the new set of edges from a flat ski condition at the top of the turn, from which I am allowed to skid as the turn progresses. Am I right on this?

Any help on this will be greatly appreciated, guys.
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
it is my understanding from my practice exam results that I need to smoothly establish a carve with the new set of edges from a flat ski condition at the top of the turn, from which I am allowed to skid as the turn progresses. Am I right on this?

Any help on this will be greatly appreciated, guys.
It depends upon the certification standards you are following. PSIA-C requires a Level II to: "make short, medium, and long radius turns on blue and groomed black terrain with minimal skidding. Skis make two separate, relatively defined arcs in the snow from before the fall line to completion."

If PSIA-E follows the same standard, I'm not sure that you would want to encourage skidding as the turn progresses. Of course, the term "minimal" is subjective and it is in the eye of the beholder/examiner as to whether your skidding is "minimal." Under PSIA-C's standards, I would work to eliminate it at least on blue runs.

Best,

Ben
post #3 of 19
JoeB,

There should be no "old" vertical motion in your skiing. However, that said with proper flexion and extension (ankle flex) you will get taller and shorter with your turns. You should be looking for a forward and into the new turn movement. There should not be up and down movement.

An up move with twisting is no longer acceptable psia standard skiing. I have been instructed to be able to do a pure carved turn w/no skid and a clean transition to the new edge.

Ed
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
I have a couple of very specific questions for those who have passed LII or are, like me, working toward the exam: (1) should I be concentrating on eliminating 97% of the old-fashioned up-and-down motion as a way to eliminate hard edge set, thereby promoting smoothness? and (2) it is my understanding from my practice exam results that I need to smoothly establish a carve with the new set of edges from a flat ski condition at the top of the turn, from which I am allowed to skid as the turn progresses. Am I right on this?

Any help on this will be greatly appreciated, guys.
Be careful about eliminating "up-and-down." You need strong flexion and extension, but the extension has to take you forward, not up the hill. Your extension should be progressive and slow, not abrupt at the top of the turn. When my extension is not adequate, I still flex a little to start my turn. If I flex more than extend, I end up in the backseat after a few turns. I think that's a pretty common fault among those of us who learned to ski on skis that required a strong unweighting motion. I think you need to keep 100% of the motion (or even more), but it needs to be more progressive and more to the front of the ski.
For L2, I think you need to get on your edges before the fall line (on blue terrain) and stay on them if the radius of the turn allows it. For L3, you need to engage the edges cleanly at the transition. For both, you may need to scrub a little (or even a lot) to get a short raduius turn in, or to get speed control on moguls or whenever conditions require it. Steering a ski into a good, round turn shape is OK, and not the same as skidding sideways without steering, which is unacceptable in most freeskiing.
Make it easy on your self and get a short radius, relatively versatile, mellow ski. The short radius will help you make short turns without excessive skidding, and make it easier to ski on one ski. A race ski can be harder to ski, and sometimes it's difficult to release the edges of a high performance ski, which can lead to a little stepping at transition, which is also unacceptable.
Good luck.

John
post #5 of 19
Okay... as I am reading this, I am gathering that it is all a matter of degrees. So how much "old" vertical motion is acceptable, and how much scarfing is acceptable?

Can anyone reference videos of what is 1)comfortable Lvl 2, 2)marginal at Lvl 2, and 3)subpar?

Thanks!
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by josseph
Okay... as I am reading this, I am gathering that it is all a matter of degrees. So how much "old" vertical motion is acceptable, and how much scarfing is acceptable?

Can anyone reference videos of what is 1)comfortable Lvl 2, 2)marginal at Lvl 2, and 3)subpar?

Thanks!
I recently saw a PSIA video of L2 skiing, but I don't see it on the PSIA-E website now. The marginal L2 was stepping just a little at turn initiation in what might have been soft groomed snow. I'm doing some training Wedbnsday and Thursday evenings, so if you remind me in the early afternoon both days I may be able to find out where you can get that.

John
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys, lots of good stuff. I am already twice as smart on this as I was yesterday at this time (some might say, yeah, but still pretty dumb.) I want to second Joseph's query re how much up-and-down is appropriate: John, you said that some up and down is essential in order to enable proper flexion and extension, but that it should tend forward, not up the hill. I'm good with that, but my question is: are you saying essentially the same thing that Ed has said, i.e., that one needs to get shorter and taller through the turn due to ankle flexion?

Also, John, thanks for the skinny on L2/L3 as to when they are looking for the new set of edges to be engaged. My mention of skidding in my original post was not to imply a pronounced skid, most especially not at the top of the turn, but mostly a modest departure from pure carve through the belly of the turn to manage speed and achieve shorter radii as needed. A PSIA coach on a recent L2 practice exam told us (he addressed it to everyone, but I think I was the primary culprit) that we need to smoothly "establish" the new set of edges at the top of the turn. I read that as a smooth engagement without edge "setting," therefore needing to eliminate the sudden drop in the CM that is the primary source of energy that produces the Z at the top of the turn. Gents, any comment on that?

And yeah, some video would be very useful. So any refs on where to find some would be appreciated. Thanks, guys.

Joe
post #8 of 19

travel through flatness

Ive heard it said that at turn transition you should ultimately think about your skis "travelling through flatness" to get to the new set of edges.

We just had a level 2 (PSIA-E) event at our mountain.

I heard comments from the examiners that your demos should show weighting and unweighting, for sure

your free skiing should show weighting and unweighting for sure, but definitely not a pop up and away from the turn, but gradual and in the direction of the new turn.

they want smooth smooth smooth. whatever you can do to smooth out your transitions (most of the time), stay out of the back seat (most of the time), and maintain a strong inside half (most of the time) will do you very well in the exam.
They are looking for a level of performance in the 80-90% range. In other words if you do 10 turns, a couple of them can be off a little. Its not like level 3 (which Ive heard, is a big leap from level 2) where you had better be on your game anywhere, anytime, all the time etc.

Be sure you have skating down to a dynamic form. (you may also get one footed skiing)

They are looking for you to ski well with one difficulty level- In either steeps, or bumps, or powder, but not steep powder, or icy bumps.

what else, thats about all I can remember right now. ask me again tomorrow, I need sleep.

PS: this is just my take on it after being in the process for the last two seasons. Im going for part two end of season.

Good luck and remember, bring your sense of humor!
post #9 of 19
Not sure if this helps at all, but nearing the end of last season I when through a "mock exam" at a nearby ski area. It was run just as an exam would be, real examiners and all. I passed the written, passed the skiing, did well enough to pass the technical but my teaching was weak. This season I have recieved much more time coaching Intermediate adults and since that is what we will be doing in exams I feel far more confident on the teaching aspect of the exam this year.
Anyway, as I was skiing bump runs and even short radius turns in this exam, the comment from the examiner was "very nice, but I would like to see a bit more range of motion in your turns" To me range of motion still says flex and extend. Smoothness is still the key in your flexion and extension, another instructor at my home area really drilled me a lot last season about the abrupt extension in my bump skiing.
We had a dryland clinic last night focusing on movement analysis and the examiner who facilitated the session cautioned us about the "trying to nail the move" -vs- "improving our use and understanding of the skill blend" as we focus on the exam prep

Hocky slides and patience turns are great drills for any of us as we approach this exam

best of luck on the big day!!!!!
post #10 of 19
If you are doing edge-sets, then that suggests you need a bit of speed control, which suggests your balance still needs adjustment. I wonder if you are stilll banking and pushing against the outside ski, rather than balancing on it, riding it?
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, jp and Big Dog, that helps, especially the "actual" L2 requirements regarding flexion and extension and unweighting, and the focus on smoothness.

Ant, I am not actually doing edge sets that most people would pick out; just that I am holding the edge long enough, and with enough pressure, that I allow the tails to break free just enough to create the dreaded "Z."

This is what I have been told I need to get rid of for L2, and, as bigdog suggests, I am working on forward sideslips, patience turns, hockey slides, pivot slips, whirlibirds, etc, etc, to retrain the old brain.

Thanks, guys.
post #12 of 19
Whirlibirds?? = 360s? They are not required in PSIA-C (my friend is preparing for his level 2).

Skiing bumps in the Midwest which are not icy and all chopped up is probably more challenging than skiing them well. Most resorts in the Midwest, unlike in the East have usually only one run devote to bumps. You find snowborders, beginners, intermediates, Johnny Mosely wannabees, all in the same spot. A few days ago the ruts were so ruined that I could not even fit my two skis jammed together in a particular through and I was on 70mm skis not Big Daddys!
Unless we have another few Summer days, those bumps are getting worse and worse by the hour. Maybe if the temperature raises enough, they will go away. I always think I am nasty in bumps out here, then I go out West, hire an instructor and when he asks me how I can ski bumps I always tell ..."like sh.t" and then he/she always get surprised for I can actually ski them fairly at ease.

I think that short turns are more difficult than long and medium ones since you have less time to react, so a good approach is to take them at slow speed instead of going down at Mach 5 to show WC prowess and then jam the skis, legs, and whatever you've got to loose a few mph's. Don't build up speed and you will be fine for most examiners at the L2 level.

One ski skiing is very important over here, but at Level 2 is usually done on the leg of choice and on green or moderate steep blue runs. I always thought that this is kind of funny and I will explain why. One ski skiing is undeniably useful. But, what does the fact that one skier can ski much better with one leg than the other say? That he is probably going to be kind of asymettrical in his performances showing a good side and a weak side. Shouldn't skiing be done with some kind of harmony in the body. It is like having two tempos in the same person skiing! And, will this not show when this skier teaches?

Hop turns (180 degree turns) are also in demand. They are fun, but I suggest you pretend to be an extreme skier on the verge of doing the impossible because if you try them on a green run it is kind of laughable (it were not you can fail an exam) besides sort of painful if your spine has seen a few too many Winters.

If you can afford it, my suggestion is to bring a lot of ski shapes since the examiner will probably not make a case for you if you happen to be a poor guy who can only afford one pair of skis so that you can ski out West (real skiing) or out East (sort of real skiing too) those few times a year. I still remember a poor candidate (quite good actually) who had a nightmare of a time because the poor soul had a pair of Bandit XX as his only skis. Try icy narrow bumps on those! Or try short radius turns as well.
You will see a lot of candidates in very narrow waisted skis: they are much easier to handle unless you have a bad case of knock-kneed legs. I always like to ski on wide skis not to lose the touch for skiing out West, but Midwest is not the RM division, unfortunately and like a good golfer you should have at least a few clubs in your bag.

PSIA does the best they can, I am sure, but it does not always look that way. Who is worse? A candidate who skids short turn on Bandit XX or one that skid 1 turn out of 10 on pencil waisted skis that turn if you blow against them? Surely they have to test the candidates somehow, but still two wrongs don't make one right, in my opinion at least.

In any case, I am rumbling, just unsatisfied with Winter in Midwest I assume, ice, rain, sun, more ice, ugly snow, ugly to teach, ugly to ski, all brown around our poor ski resorts, ugliness everywhere. Why can't I move to the RM or Intermountain division too?
post #13 of 19
Come on Johnski you know the sayings here in the Midwest. "It ain't the arrow its the Indian" and " There is no bad snow or bad moguls, only bad skiers". The snow is always perfect
post #14 of 19
Pierre, are you saying that all arrows are perfect? Quality control is a big problem. Have you checked the bow as well? The problem may be neither the arrows nor the archer, but the bow, the third element. But, most of all I insist, that I can tell when I am having fun and when I am just going for a bumpy ride. Never claimed to be a great skier, besides what is the purpose to be a great skier if you don't win anything? It is more about having fun and, while I can make it down our crap.y bumps, my fun level is next to zero. I take mine Rocky Mountain style, you can take yours iceberg style.
And, to go to the next element, there is snow and snow, and while I may agree that the worst snow is the one you are forced to look at in postcards or from far away, just skiing ice is not fun. It is ok once or twice, but overall variety is good. I acknowledge the possibility that in Ohio you have a little different conditions than we do here in Minnesota and hence you cannot understand my bumps. Try the same bumps made 35 days before with only 3-4 inches of new snow since they were originally machine made.
They ain't pretty to look at or to ski .
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
Come on Johnski you know the sayings here in the Midwest. "It ain't the arrow its the Indian" and " There is no bad snow or bad moguls, only bad skiers". The snow is always perfect
Yeah. Tell me about it Pierre. Around these parts, after the freestyle team kids had their way for a few days, about the only smooth line down is the zipper line. And my more than half-century legs ain't about to do no zipper line.... even if I could : .
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdowling
Make it easy on your self and get a short radius, relatively versatile, mellow ski. The short radius will help you make short turns without excessive skidding, and make it easier to ski on one ski. A race ski can be harder to ski, and sometimes it's difficult to release the edges of a high performance ski, which can lead to a little stepping at transition, which is also unacceptable.
Good luck.

John
I wish I had done that for my level 2 skiing. I passed in all segments, althought I was wiped out by the end of the weekend. My Atomic 9/20s (20m turning radius) are a bit stiff and at 170 cm a bit long to easily, well, more easily ski in the exam with. I wish I had a pair of 14-15 m radius skis in the 160-165 range! Oh well, Its NOT the equipment, right guys?

Best of luck when you go! Remember to have fun. Even though its an exam, you still learn quite a bit.
post #17 of 19
Well, this thread is back. Did JoeB take his skiing yet? My suggestion is to worry a little less about the transition, and make sure that you OWN a really good wedge christy and a really good wedge. I second bringing a nice pair of slalom skis. I didn't, I figured I'd bring a stiff GS ski so they'd know it was me doing the skiing and not the ski. Be sure to do all of your demos slow, especially in practice. It's easy to speed them up, but tough to slow them down. Finally, don't worry so much about skidded or carved. I don't think that's what they are really looking for, they are looking for the movements taht get you there. That's the point of all these different tasks, to see if one of them will make you fall apart or not.
post #18 of 19
JoeB good luck on your exam

Just a thought - Several people have mentioned an up move to the start the turn, and up move is a bad idea at a L2 exam. Sometimes the up move is a relic of the good 'ol days.

But sometimes it is a balance issue, a lot of our candiates have had his problem. Through the bottom part of the turn, forces bulid up and they absorb them by bending their knees. When you absorb more out of the knee, you but drops down and puts you in the back. Not severly in the back, but enough to necessitate a corrective move.

If you sink at the bottom of the turn, you can not move in the direction of the new turn you must get up to get over.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSki
Pierre, just skiing ice is not fun. It is ok once or twice, but overall variety is good. I acknowledge the possibility that in Ohio you have a little different conditions than we do here in Minnesota and hence you cannot understand my bumps. Try the same bumps made 35 days before with only 3-4 inches of new snow since they were originally machine made.
They ain't pretty to look at or to ski .
You do know that I was taking a friendly poke at cha in that post above. You have been around long enough I thought that I could do that.

Most of the people who have been around here for a while know that I am a bump whoe. I won my first bump competition in 1968. I have skied bumps in Minnisoooota and practically every other state with a ski resort. In the last 40 years I have never met a bump that I did not like. I have probably skied more than a million of them. Until recently they were the only thing I skied at most resorts. I ski bumps 80% of the time on telemark equipment. Bumps represent the best challenge at most resorts. They are a hell of a lota fun.
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