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Back to wedge basics: Rotation, do we need it? - Page 3

post #61 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister
Quote: “The wedge is a fundamental position that is used by all skiers, at every level, and should be refined by each student.” :

Why would we want to "refine" something that reflects advancement only when it is discarded?

One might find it enlightening to ponder the fact that the wedge was conceived more than half a century ago as a “fundamental position” specifically relevant to learning to ski in low-cut leather boots, on 7-foot long wooden skis with no sidecut or metal edges, in ungroomed snow conditions!

I invite any logical, rational correlation as to how the relevant concepts that required a wedge based upon those historical constraints transfer and apply to learning to ski with modern equipment on groomed conditions?

If ski instruction were re-invented today from a clean sheet to take full advantage of modern equipment and groomed terrain, employing what we know about biomechanics, motor skill acquisition and learning theory, who in their wildest imagination would suggest that we should base the process on a wedge position rather than teaching and applying the same efficient fundamental movement concepts employed by expert skiers? Duh??
Sad that when someone invented an inline skate some other fool went & decided that people shoild be taught to skate with "snowplow" & "reverse snowplow" type stances too..... but it must be some nasty conspiracy - not that for the non-athletic these stances may be easier to start off with....
post #62 of 142

Disski - can't tell from your post if your serious

It's hard to tell in forum speak when people are being sarcastic or not.

It sounds like you are using a reference about a modern device - inline skates - and refering to a conspiracy since people teach wedging with them. This sounds like you are tying to illustrate Arc's rather obvious observations are not relevant because of someone teaching inline skating badly.

How do you wedge with inline skates without dying? Do people actually teach a wedge with inline skates? It's one thing to be on opposing edges on a ski. You can resist the modern skis effective edging and keep the skis from crossing their tips, but on inline skates with high friction wheels on pavement, in what fashion and you successfully wedge? Why would anyone take that approach and create that type of dangerous situation with inline skates? Black snow is hard!

Usually a good inline skater that picks up skiing are some of the fastest progressers in skiing precisely because they tip the inside foot laterally to initiate turns just like some skiers do. Inline skates resist direct rotation and stemming because of the coefficient of friction of their wheels. This is one of the reasons carvers work so well as a ski development tool. Less than optimal movement patterns don't work well where skis will forgive such movements.

Just curious if you were seriously trying to diss Arc's logic with wedge+inline skates example.
post #63 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister
Quote: “The wedge is a fundamental position that is used by all skiers, at every level, and should be refined by each student.” :

Why would we want to "refine" something that reflects advancement only when it is discarded?
You shouldn't be so shocked by my statement Roger. Skiers employ the situational use of converging ski angles (wedge positions) on a daily basis,,,, you know that.

Any postion/technical skill that carries application within the totality of skiing should be explored and refine by developing students. Open minded thinkers would not find this such a far fetched concept.

That the wedge position provides such a confidence inspiring position for the introduction of a myriad of broadly based skills that will be used in every future aspect of skiing only adds to the appropriateness of pursueing mastery of it early in the learning cycle.

Once mastered it's not discarded, as you suggest. It's just put in our tool box to be pulled out later when needed. This is what we do with every micro skill we develop, Roger,,,,, we store it away, and keep it always within easy reach. Every skill is not utilized in every skiing situation. True efficiency is found in proper selection and implementation of the skills we possess to fulfull the intentions we conceive, and spontaneously negotiate the sudden situations we find ourselves in. Technical craftsmen who possess a vast assortment of tools in their box, and understand how to use them, can build magnificent works of art that are beautiful to behold.



Quote:
One of innovation’s primary functions is to frustrate the mindless tyranny of tradition. Let go, explore and grow.
Mindless tyranny of tradition?? Holly smokes Roger! :

A reluctance to blindly latch onto every new philosophy to emerge in the world of ski instruction should hardly be attributed to mindlessness. For every new innovation that acts to change the status quo for evermore, there are countless others that prove through trial less effective than that which they're trying to replace.

My eyes are always open to new ideas, Roger, and I explore them with a wide open mind. Anyone who read my INSIDE LEG EXTENSION thread, or numerous other out of the box theories I've offered here on Epicski will know this to be true. But exploration carries with it no obligation of agreement, and in this instance I do not.


Quote:
It is unfair to stifle any students desire to learn with one own refusal to do so. :
Or,,,,one might say:

It's unfair to limit the spectrum of a students learning in the name of innovation,,,, and through the instuctors selfish desire to be viewed as innovative.
post #64 of 142
OK John Mason - you had better race off & save all the skaters from the dreaded "wedge" as well......
because IISA instructors all seem to teach the skate equivalent of a "SNOWPLOW" as part of their progression...... ie converging angles & opposing edges rather than corresponding.....

Yes skating is a good task to cross- train for skiing - actually the "hip" or "CM" transfer & the steering(yes rotary : ) are at least as important as the "tip" ....unless you are HH.... but that is the skill set the IISA instructors I have worked with teach .....

The parallel edges is used for "inetrmediate" skaters - not for teaching basic skills....

Note also that skills such as "swizels" teach DIVERGING skates & opposing edges as well..... ie we are taught to have a set of skills (edging rotary pressure) & to combine them to meet required turn shape/type etc (intent) .... Sounds vaguely familiar to me : I wonder why?.....
post #65 of 142
Roger, It would be "unfair" to deprive beginners of the ability to use a stance that gives them a better opportunity for balance and also gives them a head start when making their first turns.
post #66 of 142
Blizzard, I suggest rethinking whether the wedge really is that great an advancement in feeling stable.

I think that the hardest part is trusting the sliding experience beneath the foot. as a human walking, a sliding foot is a danger sign, a sign to prepare for something unexpected. this translates to fear and anxiety.

the wedge has no magical property regarding offsetting fear and anxiety. there are many ways to combat fear and anxiety. the wedge is but one of many tools.
post #67 of 142
I believe the first thing most want to do when put on skis for the first time is feel speed control. The wedge offers this instantly. The wedge takes little time to master on a flat slope.

Now let's move past the first five minutes of the experience when we decide to begin turning.....

Given the skier is on a very flat slope and speed control is not an issue (I realize this is a big, huge, assumption) the wedge should be quickly "set aside" not "abandoned" in favor of speed control through turning. This is where instruction has maybe missed a fork in the evolutionary road. Should we continue teaching "wedge" turns as a PRIMARY source of speed control and balance or should we take full advantage of newer technolog's Short skis, and Sidecut?

The wedge has become such a crutch (that DOES work to control speed and offer less than efficient direction changes which have to be unlearned later on to make parallel turns) that it will probably be seen on ski school beginner hills for many years to come.

However; does there exist a better way? A more offensive way? A way that may take a bit more dedication and time intially but will pay large dividends later in the evolution of the student?

I think so!
post #68 of 142
Thread Starter 
Nice to se that you guys have a fired up conversation going. Sorry I cannot partisipate, Im on skiing holliday with my family, but I shure enjoy reading all of your posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I did the opposite with my 8-year-old. I only taught her edging skills (initially). She tipped one way, then the other, and arced RR track turns down the beginner hill. She quickly learned that she could turn uphill to stop. Instructors in the area commented on her clean arcs--her first time skiing alone.

Which skill would you like to start kids using?

I think that younger kids might be able to do this, too, since upper/lower independence isn't required.

My older daughter had more of a struggle with this, but was getting it by the end of the day. Her biggest challenge was the fear of moving forward on the skis and balacing while moving.
Good to hear. Skiing is not about an 8y old laying down rr tracks on her first day. Theres more to it. It takes years and years to become a good skiier and to learn how to ski all over the mountain. I did an evaluation of your own skiing here some weeks ago. You never replyed to it. I have a good eye for skills, I have good experiance with skiing and I have a good experiance with teaching skiing for over 10y. Im happy for your kidds, but Im allso happy for you. If you read a ski instructors ski teaching manual you will find that its the parrents that has the highest expectations, not the kid.
post #69 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzard
Roger, It would be "unfair" to deprive beginners of the ability to use a stance that gives them a better opportunity for balance and also gives them a head start when making their first turns.
How does a stance that has minimal dynamic balancing requirements and offers minimal challenges to stimulate the further development of skier specific dynamic balancing skills, give "them a better opportunity for balance"?

The pathways exist providing for most beginners to make first turns far more easily by giving up the wedge than they ever could by hanging on to it. And they can do so using skills that will serve them far more effectivly in support of rapid continual improvement that quickly surpasses any short term "head start" attained by spending time mastering the wedge or wedge turns.
post #70 of 142
Rick,
Please re-read my posts for actual content, paying closer attention to specific qualifying language I deliberately used to avoid interpretation of my opinions being exclusionary in nature.

I tried to make clear my position that the wedge has an appropriate place in skiing.
I did not state that it has none, as it seem popular to misrepresent me to imply.

I personally know a significant number of instructors who have made the effort to explore and learn to skillfully teach one, or more, of the various alternative pathways to the traditional wedge based approach they all learned to teach with. I know of none of them who would contend that the traditional wedge based approach should be the first, much less the only, choice pathway for all beginners.

I advocate developing a variety of teaching skills using a variety of tools.
The wedge approach remains an available tool and warrants use, but only when most appropriate.

Only when it is the only one the instructor knows, is it the only option.

When all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.
- Abraham Maslow

Which is very different than being able to recognise the best option of all that are available.
post #71 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister
How does a stance that has minimal dynamic balancing requirements and offers minimal challenges to stimulate the further development of skier specific dynamic balancing skills give anyone "a better opportunity for balance"?

The pathways exist providing for most beginners to make first turns far more easily by giving up the wedge than they ever could by hanging on to it. And they can do so using skills that will serve them far more effectivly in support of rapid continual improvement that quickly surpasses any short term "head start" attained by spending time mastering the wedge or wedge turns.
The wedge platform is an excellent place to deal with fore and aft positioning (call it balance if you wish) while developing leg rotation skills. Its a secure place at low speeds to work on these things. If you're back, which maybe 90% of skiers are, you can't turn the skis very easily. If you're centered, you can. Its also a comfortable place to begin making lateral movements of the body in order to balance against the lateral forces that edging develops. If you think in terms of SKILL DEVELOPMENT and PATTERNS OF MOVEMENT it makes great sense and it does serve them well. It works well because it allows new skiers to work on these skills w/in their comfort zone. To paraphrase your comment, you can work on balancing in this stance BECAUSE it has no great balancing requirements. The alternative is to ask a student to work on a skill they do not have much of by putting them into a position that requires a skill (balancing) they do not have. Yes you can make turns more easily by other means if rapid apparent progress is your goal but usually at the expense of bona fide skill development. On the other hand, you can rush them along and keep another generation of ski instructors busy doing remedial instruction.
post #72 of 142

Interesting - polar opposite views

Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin
On the other hand, you can rush them along and keep another generation of ski instructors busy doing remedial instruction.
I wonder if there is a middle. Oisen believes people that skip the wedge as a waypoint towards high level skiing maybe are not high level skiers because they have left out a key component. They need remedial instruction.

My personal observation all over the slopes is terminal intermediates who granted my have only had that wedge lesson and never had a lesson again that ski with wedge entries, wide stance, rotation instead of edging generating roation.

My personal view is that starting with the outdated wedge is the foundation that sets up these people for staying at that level. I've been to camps where people coming in have this as their story. After a week of one ski balance development, learning how to use pressure to release turns, and how to control their edges they often look like transformed skiers at the end of that week. Except for one individual, all of these people at these camps looked directly at the wedge and wide balance avoiding stance as the main culprit that frustrated their skiing for years. That one individual that didn't see a problem with the wedge also happened to be the only person at the camp that was still making golf cart turns at the end of it.

Is there a middle view since Arc and Oisin have polar opposite views? I've seen Arc ski. I haven't seen Oisin ski. Till I see Oisin ski, I'd lean with Arc's view. I wonder how the transition between turns looks between the two skiers and if the views of the value of a wide balance avoiding stance and rotation creep into the skiing style. That would explain the insane defense of giving people their first experience on skis of fighting opposing edges that are trying to cross their tips. Why do people argue that a wedge is a comforting approach for a beginner. It wasn't for me. It was the oppisite. It felt bad on my knees and since I'm a over 200 pound guy, the amount of pressure I had to apply to keep the tips from wanting to converge was quite high.

Disski - we usually disagree so why not one more. Your phrase "unless you're HH" is highly inaccurate. The largest seller of private lessons in the Aspen ski school (by far) also disagrees. I've met tons of top skiers that disagree. 2 of the bear coaches disagree.

Adeui for a while. I'm going to an all mountain camp at Big Sky all next week. This camp marks the end of my 1st two years of skiing. It's all fresh in my memory. I remember my first wedge lesson at Breckenridge. Wedge - bad. On shaped skis, very very bad. As a way to slow down in a lift line where there is no room to side slip a bit, a breaking wedge can be quite useful. As a first foundational experience for new skiers? Why. Is the use of the wedge one of the components that results in the ski professions abysmal retention rate?

I do find it fascinating that thinking individuals that are obviously sincere can be debating a concept that is so logical or empirically provable on the slopes.

I would imagine in spite of facts, there will be lots of agree to disagree by the end of this thread.
post #73 of 142
I took my 10 year old son skiing for a couple of hours of night skiing a week or two ago, his second time on skis. The first time I was occupied with my daughters and left him with my wife; I spent very little time with him and he had since declined several invitations over the last two years.

Having an overinflated opinion of my own skiing, and thinking that I had done all right learning the old-fashioned way, I taught him the controversial wedge, hoping that he would quickly give it up in favour of the stem christie and then the pure carved parallel turn. After an hour he was really enjoying himself on the hill, off the bunny carpet and onto the chair lifts. He even requesting to explore more difficult hills (one blue one sent him back to the greens). He was skiing parallel between turns, but was not ready to give up his snow-plow turns. He also didn't have the confidence in his turns to go right to the edge of the trail (wisely so) and avoid staying on the middle of the run. Hence he made more LR turns and gained more speed than he really wanted.

Here's what I noticed. Some people are less physically gifted than others. These people need the stability of a wedge to make them feel confident enough to explore such things and edging control. He is also quite gifted intelectually, and understands the mechanics of skiing, but does not have the skills yet to allow him to do such things as pick up his inside ski and place it next to the outside ski in a wedge. In fact he barely has the skill to put more weight on the outside snowplow edge. I'm looking forward to trying out the releasing of the inside wedge edge angle (I just never thought of it, until i read it here).

Some people need more crutches than others. Either that or they are just smarter; I seem to remember falling a whole lot more when I learned how to ski than my son did.
post #74 of 142
oisin,
I am curious in your approach that some how introduces new skill movements without asking "a student to work on a skill they do not have much of by putting them into a position that requires a skill". If you use a position that is not conducive to use or application of a skill, and does not present opportunity for cause and effect awareness to create learning of skill in the context of some functional application, how does that position serve the learning environment in support of any skill development?

Progress at any level of skiing is dependent upon development of dynamic balancing skills that provide a foundation for movement. Movements by which all other skills are learned.

Contrary to your implication, the wedge offers no inherent advantage to the acquisition of fore/aft balance skills, and actually impedes the exposure to, and development of, lateral balancing movements and skill development. A wedge at best offers a relatively static position “leveraged between opposing edges”. The wedge offers no opportunity to learn to “balance on corresponding edges” whatsoever. A skill which is fundamentally necessary to progress to any level of skiing beyond the wedge. Unnecessarily extended use of the wedge predisposes skiers to become dependent upon it, and as such less likely to easily of comfortably progress very far beyond it.

The traditional wedge approach, regardless of any theory supporting it, has through practical application created the present generation of wedging, stemming, stepping, almost but not quite, still wannabe parallel skiers. The theory has proven itself ineffective by it’s transfer to practical application.

And wouldn't your implication that the present (if as you suggest we are creating "another") generation of ski instructors busy doing remedial instruction appear more as a condemnation of the wedge approach than an endorsement of it? Considering the empirical results, maybe you were freudianly suggesting just that?
post #75 of 142
I have to disagree with you Arcmeister. In my experience the wedge provides an opportunity for a new skier to quickly be able to get on the hill in control enough to have a great time and want to learn more. It makes it easier to do a stem christie (I think that's what you call it though my terminology could be off -skiing in a wedge turn put your inside ski parallel to the outside ski). The stem christie introduces a skier to parallel turns. The stem christie put me in in a parallel turn (at the end of it). Then, not knowing exactly how I just said hey I know how to ski in a corner with skis parallel and I know how to ski straight with skis parallel, so I just went straight from straight parallel skiing to being in a turn parallel skiing.

I have to admit that I am grateful to that ski shop owner who showed me how a ski worked and what I was doing. I am also grateful to Steve Podborski and the other crazy canucks who taught me to keep my speed up by avoiding skidding. To say that a wedge is not effective is just not true in my experience.
post #76 of 142
[quote=Ghost] The stem christie introduces a skier to parallel turns. The stem christie put me in in a parallel turn (at the end of it). Then, not knowing exactly how I just said hey I know how to ski in a corner with skis parallel and I know how to ski straight with skis parallel, so I just went straight from straight parallel skiing to being in a turn parallel skiing.

How does a stem christie put you in a parallel turn?

When most of us talk about parallel turns we are eluding to the initiation or edge change as being parallel. This is where all the miles in a wedge and stemming turn does nothing to develop the skill of making a parallel edge change. The primary difference being that in a parallel initiation the center of mass move from one side of our corresponding edges to the other (ie:a crossover). Using a stem or wedge entry negates the use and development of this skill because there is no crossover.

Oisin,
Please tell me what advantage a wedge has over a wide track parallel stance in improving fore/aft or lateral balance?

The wedge is fine but should not have a whole progression for refinement built around it! It is time to evolve. Today's equipment allows us to use a wide track parallel platform from which to develop effective progressions for turning and controlling speed.

New skills should be learned and practiced on flat, easy, unintimidating terrain so the student can focus on the skill development not survival (remember back to what your ski area's begginner run looked like to you the first time you stood atop the precipice). Too many are rushed to the steeper (relative to their abilities) terrain too quickly. Consiquently the wedge or stem becomes an ingrained crutch and an adversary to progress. This happens all too often and is a primary reason for many to rethink teaching and developing the wedge in favor of teaching offensive movements that will have the skier progress and refine parallel movements sooner on easier terrain THEN take these new learned offensive skills to slightly more challenging terrain to develope and refine.

The wedge is a great way to get down a hill if all you want to do is survive the descent. It is not an enjoyable way to ski. To be able to say "I skied that slope" when all they did was survive the descent. If that is your goal, the lift attendant could probably give you all the information you needed to do this while you were loading the chair lift.

If on the other hand, you want to ski comfortably down the hill in a parallel turn, you will need to develope a different set of skills that a ski lesson might provide.
post #77 of 142
JM
I think there is a middle. I think the wedge is a useful tool. Used properly I've found that my students progress very quickly beyond it but retain the skills it has helped them to acquire. I don't think its necessary to use the wedge though. Its just a tool that can be useful when appropriate. I think that people have often misunderstood its function. I've seen a surprising number of instructors teach it improperly. This is probably the best argument against its use, that the improper teaching of the wedge by poorrly trained instructors leads to learning faults and dead-ending. I don't know why they do it, perhaps they think they're supposed to be teaching the wedge as an objective in itself, instead of a means to an end, I grind my teeth evertime I see someone teaching students to make a wedge by pushing their heels apart or encouraging them to develop a braking wedge and then to turn it by moving the knee in. Remember its a WEDGE, not a Snowplow! A wedge, used properly is just a slightly wide platform with a slight wedge shape. Its a turning platform not a braking device. It might not even look like a wedge to the average observer and for some the skis may not even be wedged. The important thing is for the students to be learning balance, edging, pressure and leg rotation skills in a comfortable environment. As for what you describe as a "balance avoiding stance" I am mystified. How can you avoid balance while skiing? As for learning one legged balance while skiing around balancing on one leg, I think you are missing the point. The point is to learn to develop forces by edging and to learn to balance against those forces. Most people learn to balance by standing above one ski all too well. They never move their balance out of column very much. They edge their skis by moving the knee in. They develop edging forces but cannot hold a carve because their bodies are not in a stance which can resist the force. I've found that a wide stance is often a comfortable stance for learning to move laterally. It's well within the comfort threshold of even beginning skiers because they can control it by staying w/in 2 footed balance. I've often made this movement the outcome for students who are skiing very well in their second lesson and, blended with the other movements developed with wedge turns, often produces a very natural "automatic" wedge christie that sometimes appears almost indistinguishable from an open parallel turn. I suppose you could argue that most of these students began developing that lateral movement albeit ever so imperceptibly, while making wedge turns in their first lesson.
Its clear from your description that the "wedge" you are describing is not the wedge intended by the American Teaching System at all. That wedge is a relatively flat ski wedge and is created and maintained lardgely by leg rotation not pressure. I understand your experience. A fdriend of mine took the same kind of level one lesson as you experienced and experienced such knee pain that she decided to take up snowboarding instead. That was just plain bad teaching.

As for "edge generating rotation", you are confusing two different skills. I didn't say that people who skip the wedge miss learning a key component, by the way, but it is true that people who are hastiliy and poorly taught often neglect to develop good leg riotation skills and often develop other difficulties such as difficulty flattening the ski and releasing the edges. Both lateral movement and leg rotation are key components of advanced skiing, although their use changes as speeds increase. Just watch any World Cup level racer and you will see both.
post #78 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcmeister
oisin,
I am curious in your approach that some how introduces new skill movements without asking "a student to work on a skill they do not have much of by putting them into a position that requires a skill". If you use a position that is not conducive to use or application of a skill, and does not present opportunity for cause and effect awareness to create learning of skill in the context of some functional application, how does that position serve the learning environment in support of any skill development?

Progress at any level of skiing is dependent upon development of dynamic balancing skills that provide a foundation for movement. Movements by which all other skills are learned.

Contrary to your implication, the wedge offers no inherent advantage to the acquisition of fore/aft balance skills, and actually impedes the exposure to, and development of, lateral balancing movements and skill development. A wedge at best offers a relatively static position “leveraged between opposing edges”. The wedge offers no opportunity to learn to “balance on corresponding edges” whatsoever. A skill which is fundamentally necessary to progress to any level of skiing beyond the wedge. Unnecessarily extended use of the wedge predisposes skiers to become dependent upon it, and as such less likely to easily of comfortably progress very far beyond it.

The traditional wedge approach, regardless of any theory supporting it, has through practical application created the present generation of wedging, stemming, stepping, almost but not quite, still wannabe parallel skiers. The theory has proven itself ineffective by it’s transfer to practical application.

And wouldn't your implication that the present (if as you suggest we are creating "another") generation of ski instructors busy doing remedial instruction appear more as a condemnation of the wedge approach than an endorsement of it? Considering the empirical results, maybe you were freudianly suggesting just that?
Hmm
I scarcely know where to begin.
First, "leveraging between 2 opposing edges" is not the wedge as envisioned by PSIA. You are describing a braking wedge. I can see where all your misconceptions derive from.
A Gliding Wedge, contrary to your assertion, is anything but a static position. It is an excellent but by no means essential means of learning dynamic lateral movement at the earliest levels. In truth I think it is often scarcely necessary with todays short skis but it remains a good tool.

As for your statement: "If you use a position that is not conducive to use or application of a skill, and does not present opportunity for cause and effect awareness to create learning of skill in the context of some functional application, how does that position serve the learning environment in support of any skill development? " contrary to your assertion,the wedge is conducive to the use and development of edging and balancing in conjunction with lateral movement. If, while making a wedge turn, you allow your inside leg to flex slighly and relax a bit while straightening slightly your outside leg, you will experience edging. You will, moreover, be in a position, structurally, to resist the force that is developed thereby. Work on this a bit, in the context of the nice controlled balanced wedge turns you have been learning and you will find yourself after awhile making what are often quite nice parallel turns. The wedge just goes away, to be replaced naturally by the movements it was intended to develop. Unlike the person whose learning has been shortcutted by learning to turn only by using edge pressure, your turns will be controllable because of your ease of varying turn radius. Because you are learning to incorporate lateral movement properly into your skiing you will be nicely set for progressing toward advanced skiing. Not bad for your second lesson on skis.
How do I know these things to be true? Because I have taught these lessons or some variant, probably no two quite alike, hundreds of times and observed the sucess of my students.

I have to agree with you that the wedge, improperly used by poorly trained instructors, is sometimes the source of inumerable faults that require much remedial teaching. I think that, if I accepted the incorrect desciption and use of the wedge that I believe you have in mind, which is probably more often the norm than the exception in ski schools actually, then we would be pretty close to agreement. I'm not defending it's misuse though or even maintaining that it is necessary. I'm simply stating that it has often proven to be a useful tool for me. Should PSIA or others consider developing a teaching system that acknowledges and accepts the shortcomings of ski instructor training? I think thats an interesting question. Possibly we've already dumbed down the art of ski teaching enough as it is. What after all do our customers have a right to expect for all that money they'vespent?
post #79 of 142
[quote=bud heishman][quote=Ghost] When most of us talk about parallel turns we are eluding to the initiation or edge change as being parallel. This is where all the miles in a wedge and stemming turn does nothing to develop the skill of making a parallel edge change. The primary difference being that in a parallel initiation the center of mass move from one side of our corresponding edges to the other (ie:a crossover). Using a stem or wedge entry negates the use and development of this skill because there is no crossover.

Oisin,
Please tell me what advantage a wedge has over a wide track parallel stance in improving fore/aft or lateral balance?

The wedge is fine but should not have a whole progression for refinement built around it! It is time to evolve. Today's equipment allows us to use a wide track parallel platform from which to develop effective progressions for turning and controlling speed.



QUOTE]
Bud
Re the movement of center of mass from side to side:
Try flexing one leg and extending the other while making a wedge turn. What results will be lateral movement leading to flattening one ski and increasing edge angle on the other.

I think that with todays short skis that a wide track parallel stance is often fine for developing lateral movement and fore and aft stance. You're right changes in ski equipment ought to provoke a corresponding evolution of teaching/learning systems.

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding though in the terms I see used here. A gliding wedge is not a braking wedge. It is not made by stemming the skis out or by pushing the heels out. It is made by turning the legs while widening the stance. Your fore aft stance should be centered. If it is not you will have difficulty turning the skis. If you are pushing your heels apart you are in the backseat. If your skis are so highly edged that you are "leveraging two opposing edges" as one person put it, you will never be able to turn the skis using leg rotation except possibly if you have extraordinary leg strength and you will put your knees at risk.

The wedge was intended to be a comfortable stable platform for learning to balance and move on skis, to learn to turn the skis, to develop a centered stance, and to experience edging and pressure at a rudimentery level. I think it was very useful when taught properly, especially when skis were longer. It amounted to a sort of built in pre-turn for each ski, which was usefull when beginning skiers were issued fairly long skis. As I mentioned in another post above, I've seen it misused more often than not. I wouldn't throw it out of my tool quiver though if you know how to use it properly.
post #80 of 142
tdk6

When I look back at your original post I see old school thoughts and reasoning.


To demonstrate a wedge turn by adding pressure and/or edging or to emphasize rotation of the outside foot all predicate the future of that skier to sequential movements and braking movements that will have to be abandoned in order to make a parallel turn initiation.

To use good mechanics in a wedge turn, I believe one must focus on releasing the resistance from the inside ski by flattening it and maybe throw in a little rotary if you like on the outside ski. Take away resistance to turning not create more to overcome the resistance of the opposing ski.
This little difference in initiation is actually HUGE! in creating the beginning of beautiful parallel turn because it is the same exact mechanics needed in a parallel turn initiation and should be introduced in the very first turns and nurtured into parallel initiations. Forget the stem progressions...Forget them or I vill send you das oct foot long vooden skis und leather buuts!
post #81 of 142
oisin,

let's assume we both agree on what a gliding wedge is by PSIA definition. I ask you if our ski tips are turned inward the same amount our tails are turned out (pivot point under the feet) are we not in a wedge? If we are on opposing edges albiet ever so slightly, are we in a wedge? Now I ask you is this gliding wedge increasing our speed or maintaining/decreasing our speed?

A wedge by definition is a braking position. There is a spectrum from gliding to braking sure, but any and all forms of a wedge are braking to some extent. Any time you are on opposing edges you are slowing (unless maybe your skis have no side-cut).

That's the point, we are not using long skis anymore

You said "try flexing one leg and extending the other while making a wedge turn". That seems to me a different way of saying what I said.... If you simply flatten one ski while in a gliding wedge the turn happens. This simple move starts that kinetic chain of events that includes moving the cm into the turn direction, lengthening outside ski and shortening the inside ski. It was just said in fewer words.
post #82 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
Disski - we usually disagree so why not one more. Your phrase "unless you're HH" is highly inaccurate. The largest seller of private lessons in the Aspen ski school (by far) also disagrees. I've met tons of top skiers that disagree. 2 of the bear coaches disagree.

.
I was talking about SKATING lessons..... which internationally certified skate instructors teach only TIPPING in inline skate progressions (ie to beginners & intermediates)?
then again - which inline skate instructors with international cert teach NO pressure or rotary to ANY level of skater? Except for a particular job the ones I know all teach a BLEND of all 3 skills....
Read the post - not select a "piece" you want to play with....
I inculded HH because he "sells" himself as an inline instructor as well(with the carvers)
post #83 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
To use good mechanics in a wedge turn, I believe one must focus on releasing the resistance from the inside ski by flattening it and maybe throw in a little rotary if you like on the outside ski. Take away resistance to turning not create more to overcome the resistance of the opposing ski.
Bud
How about making turning/guiding BOTH skis the focus of your wedge turn? Now you're doing it correctly, at least the way I've always taught it.

As for the rest, there is a HUGE difference between a braking wedge and a gliding wedge. That is the issue in a nutshell.

I can't beleive I've allowed myself to be drawn into another one of these inane wedge debates!

My own fault.

No more phantoms of the foot shall I debate with the heads of pin!
post #84 of 142
[quote=bud heishman]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
The stem christie introduces a skier to parallel turns. The stem christie put me in in a parallel turn (at the end of it). Then, not knowing exactly how I just said hey I know how to ski in a corner with skis parallel and I know how to ski straight with skis parallel, so I just went straight from straight parallel skiing to being in a turn parallel skiing.

How does a stem christie put you in a parallel turn?

When most of us talk about parallel turns we are eluding to the initiation or edge change as being parallel. This is where all the miles in a wedge and stemming turn does nothing to develop the skill of making a parallel edge change. The primary difference being that in a parallel initiation the center of mass move from one side of our corresponding edges to the other (ie:a crossover). Using a stem or wedge entry negates the use and development of this skill because there is no crossover.

Oisin,
Please tell me what advantage a wedge has over a wide track parallel stance in improving fore/aft or lateral balance?

The wedge is fine but should not have a whole progression for refinement built around it! It is time to evolve. Today's equipment allows us to use a wide track parallel platform from which to develop effective progressions for turning and controlling speed.

New skills should be learned and practiced on flat, easy, unintimidating terrain so the student can focus on the skill development not survival (remember back to what your ski area's begginner run looked like to you the first time you stood atop the precipice). Too many are rushed to the steeper (relative to their abilities) terrain too quickly. Consiquently the wedge or stem becomes an ingrained crutch and an adversary to progress. This happens all too often and is a primary reason for many to rethink teaching and developing the wedge in favor of teaching offensive movements that will have the skier progress and refine parallel movements sooner on easier terrain THEN take these new learned offensive skills to slightly more challenging terrain to develope and refine.

The wedge is a great way to get down a hill if all you want to do is survive the descent. It is not an enjoyable way to ski. To be able to say "I skied that slope" when all they did was survive the descent. If that is your goal, the lift attendant could probably give you all the information you needed to do this while you were loading the chair lift.

If on the other hand, you want to ski comfortably down the hill in a parallel turn, you will need to develope a different set of skills that a ski lesson might provide.
How does a stem christie put me into a wedge:
At the beginning of the stem christie, before the turn begins I am in a braking wedge (I guess the term I should have used is snowplow). My cm is between my skis. As the turn begins my cm may move a little to the inside to maintain balance. WHEN I pick up the inside ski to put it beside the outside ski, All my weight is on the outside ski, it is tipped, it is bent into and arc, and my cm is definately on the inside of the curve. After I put it the inside ski back down beside the outside ski both skis are parallel, both skis are bent, I am in fact in a parallel turn.

You are quite correct that it does not TEACH turn initiation; it merely gives one the endpoints and lets the skier connect the dots. A little explanation of how a ski works and balancing forces should be included. I just made the jump between where I was (skiing parallel down the fall line to gather speed) and where I wanted to be (skiing parallel while turning).

Rushed to Terrain:
Everybody is different. You are your own terrain control board. For my part I would have found skiing very boring if I had not gone on to more difficult terrain before I had learned proper technique. I agree that nobody should be rushed beyond where they want to go, and nobody should be where they are not safe (minimum requirement is to do a propper "snowplow" to get them safely down the hill).

Enjoyable way to ski:
Agree fully! Doing a snowplow for extended periods of time is a means of torture. Even when first learning I only used the snowplow when I wanted to initiate a turn.

Permant crutch impedement to progress:
I guess everybody is different. Your experience exceeds my own in this respect. I can't fathom how someone could spend years and not get it (the parallel carve). Maybe my experience is different because I have always loved speed.
post #85 of 142
having been lucky enough to ski with both Bud Heishman and Arcmeister at ESA Big Sky, I can say that oisin is doing a fair, but only partial, job of defending his own position and trying to weaken Arcmeister's.

oisin, after many discussions with Arcmeister at ESA, I can tell you that his perspective on the utility of the wedge is spot-on FOR THOSE WHO INTEND TO BECOME TOP SKIERS.

for someone who just wants to slide around and feel comfortable -- the RECREATIONAL SKIER, the person who just wants a "vacation" -- the wedge has more of what YOU (oisin) are describing.

it distills to the goal. if you want to become the best skier YOU can be, you should not see the wedge as anything other than a safety tool, a braking tool, a manner of sliding at very slow speeds under constant braking.

I would hasten to add that since you have been a New Englander for so long, and have skied for so long, that you might find it impossible to imagine learning skiing without the wedge.

as one who re-invented his skiing in 2000 with much help from others, I can tell you that the wedge-fundament turn is the one thing I hated having to unlearn.

there are vestiges in my skiing still. Arcmeister had me follow him on some RR track drills. I'm pretty good at making clean RR tracks. even my clean tracks have vestiges of wedge-based braking turns. Arcmeister started pulling away from me after the 3d turn. his RR turns had no braking component, and successfully integrated ACCELERATION components, at VERY slow speeds.

I think one doesn't need much more concrete proof than that.

take from this what you will. I speak in full candor with no sniping or joking here.
post #86 of 142
Gonz, without knowing more about your skiing background than what you've offered here in this thread I would speculate that your difficulty in breaking out of the converging skis habit was not because your learning started in a wedge. Rather, it was because your learning stopped there.

Oisen and I are not talking about teaching the wedge as a primary technique, we're talking about using it as a learning vehicle. I personally use it (when teaching newbies) to introduce many of the important technical elements that will be needed to achieve mastery of the sport. These include the concepts of lateral CM movement, fore/aft CM movement, balance, manipulation of edge angle, flexion/extension, basic steering, and general rotary skills.

Yes, all these skills can be very effectively introduced to new skiers in the wedge. I like to introduce them there because the student can focus on the specific skill without the distraction of fear, and can therefore better focus on the effects of different movements within each skill area.

But, I don't stagnate my students in the wedge. There are bigger fish to fry, and once basic understandings and skills are developed they're carried into new levels of training. If progressions are done properly and timely no unlearning needs to take place, just new learning.

In fact, my students better not try to unlearn the skills I've given them, dang it, because each skill I help them acquire has a place in upper level skiing. Expert skiing is not all about carving and parallel skis, it's about the ability to do it all on skis, anything a particular situation calls for, and do it effortlessly. There is no skill that carries no usage, and therefore no skill that should be unlearned. Converging skis is part of that mix.

The problems arise when learning stops, and a single movement pattern is allowed to dominate ones technical model. It's then that single movement patterns become internalized, and the addition of alternate movement patterns to ones technical repertoire becomes more challenging. I speculate this was the conundrum you found yourself in, Gonz.
post #87 of 142
By the way, Disski, you're abolutely right. My racers get their fair share of wedge review lessons also. Skill element refreshing is served well by the wedge, regardless of skier ability level.
post #88 of 142
Rick

Hear, Hear! Well said.

(He breaks own vow of silence)
post #89 of 142
As you ride the lift at any resort, you see countless people, often including me, skidding and wedging their way down the mountain. Most would probably tell you they're carving. Their smudgy tracks tell a different story.

If the wedge is such a great learning tool for parallel skiing, why do so many people wedge and skid their turns? And why do people spend so much time and money trying to remove wedging habits from their turns? Surely it's not because most instructors are awful. I think most instructors do a good job. Maybe it's the wedge itself. It's worth considering that the wedge's usefulness, other than for braking, has passed. I'd be curious to hear what other ESA intructors have to say about this issue.

By the end of ESA 2005, a student from Archmeister's group, who skied with me, displayed truly beautiful carving skills. I'm sure he didn't learn to do this by perfecting his wedge skills.

At ESA, Carolyn started my group on the road to better turns by working on turn initiation. The exercises helped me to begin to rid myself of my tendency to lock my outside leg and drag my inside ski throughout my turns.

This last week, my family and I took carving lessons from George Mosher at Grand Targhee. It was epiphany time for me. He had us do exercises that taught us to use both edges of both skis throughout our turns. It's a great feeling. Now I know what Carolyn meant when she said that turns should feel slippery. I can now leave some rail road tracks. Yippee!

While at Targhee, we saw another instructor teaching never-evers. He had everyone using just one very short ski. On flat terrain, he had them find their balance point on that one ski. They could put their other foot on the snow at any time. Then, the instructor had his students play with the ski's edges to see how it would turn. This approach seemed like an interesting way to start beginners.

I'm lucky to have had two terrific instructors this year: Carolyn and George. If you're at Brighton, see if Carolyn will give you a lesson. At Targhee, be sure and get a lesson and a mountain tour from George. Both of these people are terrific. I only wish Archmeister lived in the Rockies or in the PNW. I don't often make it to Wisconsin, and I'd love to get a lesson from him.
post #90 of 142
I think that to equate Rick's race coaching with a basic PSIA class on never evers is bogus and specious.

thanks for the lecture Rick. you didn't tell me anything I didn't know already about my own skiing. I suppose that if you assume my learning stopped at the wedge, your assumptions carry on perpetually in error.

wedge-based skiing is wrong.

wedge as a tool used judiciously and as a complement to other tools? yes.

if you know that most skiers do NOT make it a lifelong learning process, but instead take a few lessons and stop there,

WHY would you teach the wedge?

WHY?

this is the problem.

Rick, you coach athletes whose dedication to a life of improvement is indicated by their choice of ski RACING.

For the most part, ski instructors teach basic safety, survival, comfort UNLESS they know the student is as serious as one of your racers.

I think I know which one I'd want to be doing -- coaching, not instructing.
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