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Level II? 1/2 Way There. - Page 2

post #31 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Second equipment related thought:

Perhaps the boots are too stiff? Flexion would then show as hip flexion, as opposed to ankle flexion.....

I took both bolts out of the spine of my Lange Comp 100's. Result: Awesome -- can now crank it up a notch, and make very very athletic moves. Full ankle flex, without teetering on the cuff....

If it's easy to soften your boots, it may open the door to huge improvements.

Hope this helps!
Cheers!
Thanks BigE. I'll be softening my Head WorldCup Ti boots to the "Soft" setting. They're currently on "hard." We'll see what happens. I'll still remind myself to ski tall!
post #32 of 56
Thread Starter 

Disbelief

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillA
bbarr
Sorry to hear you didn't make it this time around. Look on the bright side, you passed half the exam so you're half way there. You'll do better next time.
What did the trainers at your home mountain have to say about the examiners remarks?
Did they pick up on what the examiners saw?
I'm trying to stay on the brightside. And thanks for everyone's encouraging comments. By the way, I'll be out to take L II (skiing only) again in two weeks and I'll be tall and strong.

Trainers at my home hill were in disbelief. One of the trainers had picked up on what the examiners saw and, like other examiners in the past, indicated that hip flexion was not a big deal for Level II.

My Day One examiner classified my skiing as Level 2.5 -- some of it would have passed Level III standards. Similarly, my trainers thought the same. I guess that the forward hunch/lean is so pronounced that it sticks out like a sore thumb, perhaps leaving some examiners unable to see other good things about my skiing. I'll remove it and hope that Level II is acquired.

Best,

B
post #33 of 56
I left a comment about your skiing in the thread you started with your clips. I am positive you will get level II and level III down the road. How long did you get to teach on each of your assignements? Was one ski skiing done on a mild slope or relatively steep one? In MN it is usually one ski skiing with the leg of your choice and usually on moderately steep terrain. Not sure how many turns they'd like to see. Do they still give grades in performing tasks and teaching assignements? I thought it was going to be just P or NP starting this year.
Cheers,
post #34 of 56
Thread Starter 

More Details

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSki
I left a comment about your skiing in the thread you started with your clips. I am positive you will get level II and level III down the road. How long did you get to teach on each of your assignements? Was one ski skiing done on a mild slope or relatively steep one? In MN it is usually one ski skiing with the leg of your choice and usually on moderately steep terrain. Not sure how many turns they'd like to see. Do they still give grades in performing tasks and teaching assignements? I thought it was going to be just P or NP starting this year.
Cheers,
We were given 20 minutes on each teaching assignment. Technical questions normally followed for 5-10 minutes.

One-legged skiing was on a green slope and pretty long. The examiners didn't say, and we didn't ask, what they were looking for. Some form of direction change or turning was expected. We did about 8-10 one legged turns, maybe more.

No grades are assigned. Everything on the exam is now "meets national standards" or "does not meet national standards."

Thanks for the encouraging words! B
post #35 of 56
I know when I took my III skiing the examiners were looking for what initiated the one footed turn. Did the hip drive into the turn, getting the ski on edge to initiate the turn or was their a rotary twisting/tipping movement to initiate the turn. The keys I found that helped me the most with one footed skiing is to try to be perfect with my poles and to use a "phantom sk" move with the lifted foot, making all the movements I would be making if it were on the snow.

It sounds like you have some ideas to work with (softening up the boots a bit - you may want to loosen buckles too, standing a bit taller), are you going to have enough time to practice them and own em?

Best of luck on the retake.
post #36 of 56
Thread Starter 
Yes. I'll be taking a lot of time to ski before the event. I've skied tall before as well. I just don't feel as comfortable, but I can do it. We'll see what the softer settings on the boots do as well.
post #37 of 56
Ben, I have been running a losing battle on realskier forum to tell the folks who advise you chuck it all because if you teach PSIA based teaching you are just going to ruin all your student' skiing or worse yet, they advise you to give up teaching all together and run.

Please keep going for it, many of us if not most of us failed certification at one level or another. It feels lousy at first but then you correct what was at fault and you are the better skier for it.

Harald Harb has his own standards and I don't think one can go over there looking for an easier pass at certification. It is not hard to learn and convert to his way of teaching and skiing, after all that is supposed to be a fast track to expert skiing, though I think even he knows that's a little exagerated, but PMTS is not wide spead enough and it would be hard to find work unless you live close to an area where he has a franchise. That said, it is not a bad idea to put the PMTS moves into your quiver, everything you know helps.

Good luck in two weeks and remember we are all behind you, but also remember we are in your corner even should you not pass.

....Ott
post #38 of 56
I also think that if you had a chance to ski out West it would help. Imagine spending most of your time skiing down the slopes instead of raiding the chairlifts. Imagine having a chance to try different snow types instead of just basically icy snow or really compact snow. Or trying some steeps, some long bump runs, some miles long cruisers. I think that in ski terms "I became a man" while spending 10 days at Big Sky. I carved blue runs from top to bottom non-stop (either you get really tired or you learn to let the skis do the work), I skied in calf-deep powder, I did bumps, and ski the double blacks (not all of them, of course) so that once I got back, the steep runs around here in the Midwest look like dark blues at best. I was too chicken to try Castro Shoulder at Big Sky, that is serious steep (plus you have to accept to distroy a little bit your skis over the rocks as at about 50 degrees does not hold much snow). But, the true of the matter is that there is a run at our local resort I always was afraid to takle. After Big Sky I was taking advanced intermediates down it!
Go West, Ski the Best! Go East, Ski the Icy Beast!
post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl
Ben, I have been running a losing battle on realskier forum to tell the folks who advise you chuck it all because if you teach PSIA based teaching you are just going to ruin all your student' skiing or worse yet, they advise you to give up teaching all together and run.

Please keep going for it, many of us if not most of us failed certification at one level or another. It feels lousy at first but then you correct what was at fault and you are the better skier for it.

Harald Harb has his own standards and I don't think one can go over there looking for an easier pass at certification. It is not hard to learn and convert to his way of teaching and skiing, after all that is supposed to be a fast track to expert skiing, though I think even he knows that's a little exagerated, but PMTS is not wide spead enough and it would be hard to find work unless you live close to an area where he has a franchise. That said, it is not a bad idea to put the PMTS moves into your quiver, everything you know helps.

Good luck in two weeks and remember we are all behind you, but also remember we are in your corner even should you not pass.

....Ott
Yes, listen to Ott. He is a wise man! But I suggest you buy Harald's books and instructor manual. They are really high quality. The instructor manual shows an excellent organization and very valuable ideas on how to teach. Sure it is different than PSIA, but a serious student of skiing should be open minded and absorb all ideas and process them later.
post #40 of 56
Ben, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of questions were they asking to drill you for about 10 minutes after your teaching assignments?
post #41 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSki
Ben, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of questions were they asking to drill you for about 10 minutes after your teaching assignments?
They included such tid-bits as:

1. What weaknesses did candidates, X, Y, and Z illustrate while they were doing your exercises? How did you tailor your exercise to those weaknesses? How could you have better addressed their issues? (Wait for long pauses from examiners after you answer, looking at you as if you just spoke in French to them).

2. Why did you chose exercise "A"? What skill blends did it promote in your student? Why did you chose it? Out of three primary skills, which one did it develop the most? Should you have used that here? What else could you have done? How can you incorporate that skill from an exercise into final form skiing?

3. How do we "get forward" in our stance? Two examiners asked this to various students. How do we do it? What muscles do we use? How do we use them? What different set of muscles do we use when we are moving in the turn and need to keep our feet in line with our hips?

4. What are rotary movements? I won't even start on the many wasted minutes this discussion generated every day of the exam. You'll never win this discussion.

5. What other exercises could compliment what you just did? How would they do that?

6. What primary skill is addressed at the start of a turn? What skill is addressed in the shaping phase? What skill is addressed at the end of a turn? How did your exercise relate to that skill?

7. What does it mean to have a strong inner half?

8. How do we tip our inside foot/knee/leg? While most examiners wanted real world answers, this one wanted to hear from a friend of mine that you "rotate your femur" to tip your inside foot/knee/leg. My friend kept talking about how you move your foot and knee, etc. which wasn't good enough.

That's all I remember for now.
post #42 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
It sounds like you have some ideas to work with (softening up the boots a bit - you may want to loosen buckles too, standing a bit taller), are you going to have enough time to practice them and own em?
Hopefully the boots get really soft when he flicks the switch -- I doubt it will be enough. The loosened buckles are a great idea. Don't forget that prior to tightening any booster-like strap, that you flex the boot. I've actually been able to slip my whole hand between the tongue and shin!

But it is better if the boot itself can be softened. In my case, removing the bolts was way better than loosening buckles. Can the flex adjuster be removed/screwed out completely to make it really loose? I'm now a huge soft boot believer.

Cheers!
post #43 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Hopefully the boots get really soft when he flicks the switch -- I doubt it will be enough. The loosened buckles are a great idea. Don't forget that prior to tightening any booster-like strap, that you flex the boot. I've actually been able to slip my whole hand between the tongue and shin!

But it is better if the boot itself can be softened. In my case, removing the bolts was way better than loosening buckles. Can the flex adjuster be removed/screwed out completely to make it really loose? I'm now a huge soft boot believer.

Cheers!
BigE, are you a smaller sized skier or larger? I am 5'4" and weigh about 140. I'm thinking I lack the mass necessary for stiffer boots, perhaps.
post #44 of 56
I weigh 250. I can flex anything. My experiments with stiffness show that I ski way better in soft boots -- transition is far smoother, balance is better during cross-over, range of motion is huge... It feels easier to move and remain balanced at all times.

The difference is immediately obvious -- static hips and knees are a thing of the past. Lateral movement improved, since acheiving good fore and aft position is much easier... Even pushing/pulling feet through the turn is easier, since the ROM of the legs is not as restricted. I find everything about soft is better -- warp speeds may show a difference -- but at instruction speed the improvements are nothing short of remarkable.

I'm not bashing gates, so those folks may have a different opinion. But I know one coach that has, and he has removed his bolts AND has had them cut to make them softer.

At your size, I'd consider softening your boots, but first ski them with looser cuffs. Try skiing with them unbuckled! (That's zero support, so maybe not perfect, but you'll get the idea of too soft vs too stiff. )

If you can remove bolts and make changes that are easily reversed, try that before preforming major surgery. IMO, the benefits are enormous.

Hope that helps!
post #45 of 56
Thread Starter 

Boot Mods and Buckles -- BigE

BigE,

How do you deal with excess movement if the buckles are very loose and the boot is not snug to your leg?

Do other share this view? I thought it was best to get a tight, snug fit against the calf and shin so that when you did move, the ski reacted instantaenously?

B
post #46 of 56
Yes others do share this view. I was taught the loose cuffs trick by a CSIA level IV. He shoved his hand all the way down the front of his shin to show how loose he had his racing boots done up. He skied this way to improve his balancing skills, and during teaching demos. He said, "Then when you do add the boot support you can really rip it up."

IMO, since examiners are watching from the snow up, loose boots won't show them much ankle flex. A snugged but soft boot, will show them flex better.

Racing coaches at the home hill had their kids skiing with cuffs unhooked completely -- but only on drills.

I find that much looseness to be OK for practice. I much prefer a snug cuff, but soft flex. That way there is better feedback from the ski. It does not take a lot of feedback to know what is happening down there. And lateral stiffness is totally untouched.

OTOH, if you can't bend the ankle, pressure distribution at the ski is at the mercy of your upper body position. Also, balance is severely compromised as you need all joints to work to maintain balance.

It is not near "best" to have a reactive/stiff boot if you cannot bend the boot at the ankle. The ankle is the first joint used in maintaining balance. Fixing it's position is a handicap.
post #47 of 56
Sorry if this is a stupid question but: what is too much hip flexion--I can break over my hips (like touching your toes) or flex where the head of the femur meets the socket (like sitting)--which are we talking about here?
post #48 of 56
the examiners were talking about folding forward at the waist, which I would never call a "hip flexion" thing, but apparently in the Central Division of PSIA, that's what it's called. :
post #49 of 56
Thread Starter 
Bending at the waist was referred to as "excessive hip flex" or flexion at the waist.
post #50 of 56
I agree with the fact that the terminology "excessive hip flex" is not the happiest. To me hip flex means a lateral flex. And to others as well since, after I mentioned this thread, they all initially understood that you were too loose at the hip and that mightly confused them since they were taught (and rightly so) that expecially in carving flexing at the hips (side to side, not fore-aft) is good.
post #51 of 56

You started it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
The difference is immediately obvious -- static hips and knees are a thing of the past. Lateral movement improved, since acheiving good fore and aft position is much easier... Even pushing/pulling feet through the turn is easier, since the ROM of the legs is not as restricted. I find everything about soft is better -- warp speeds may show a difference -- but at instruction speed the improvements are nothing short of remarkable.
At your size, I'd consider softening your boots, but first ski them with looser cuffs. Try skiing with them unbuckled! (That's zero support, so maybe not perfect, but you'll get the idea of too soft vs too stiff. )

If you can remove bolts and make changes that are easily reversed, try that before preforming major surgery. IMO, the benefits are enormous.

Hope that helps!
BigE, You confirmed my suspisions about my boots a few weeks ago, and WOW what a difference. Im with you. It was the easiest and biggest (small) change I have made in years!!!! (PS Im 5'8" 150...Technica Carbons-fyi took out spoilers, and brought power strap inside shell)
post #52 of 56
B, I would seek to clarify the "hip flex" issue. It's critical to proper biomechanical understanding.

The hip is a socket joint that allows rotation of the femur in the pelvis.

Folding at the waist is done independently of femoral rotation. It's an abdomianl muscle issue.

The "hip flexor" muscles are those which allow femoral rotation, adduction and abduction.

So to me it sounds like someone at your exam was confused. I'd seek some clarity if I were you. And I would also try that suggested trick of skiing with your cuff buckles relatively loose to simulate a much softer flex fore/aft, which will give you some idea as to where your waist folding might originate.

keep at 'er.
post #53 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
B, I would seek to clarify the "hip flex" issue. It's critical to proper biomechanical understanding.

The hip is a socket joint that allows rotation of the femur in the pelvis.

Folding at the waist is done independently of femoral rotation. It's an abdomianl muscle issue.

The "hip flexor" muscles are those which allow femoral rotation, adduction and abduction.

So to me it sounds like someone at your exam was confused. I'd seek some clarity if I were you. And I would also try that suggested trick of skiing with your cuff buckles relatively loose to simulate a much softer flex fore/aft, which will give you some idea as to where your waist folding might originate.

keep at 'er.
Much appreciated, Gonzo! I agree that the advice given was confusing. However, I was a bit too peeved to think rationally or conduct a polite discussion at the time. "Too much flex at the hip" and "excessive hip flexion" were the terms used on my scorecard. On the snow, the two examiners who found this fatal referred to me as "bowing" or being "hunched over." I needed to "stand up straight." Otherwise, my hips get put in the back seat, forcing a "1-2 movement" to start a new turn.

I think what they mean is not hip flex but, as you described, folding at the waist. By folding too much at the waist, my hips are put further back, causing me to have to use more movement to initiate a turn. By being lower with excessive abdominal folding, I limit the amount of extension and flexion I can engage in during a turn.

No issues were discussed by the examiners concerning the role of my hip flexor muscles or my femur rotation. Hence, I think they were really targeting abdominal folding.

Thanks for your astute comments, Gonzo.

B
post #54 of 56
Thread Starter 

Good Points and More Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
It is not near "best" to have a reactive/stiff boot if you cannot bend the boot at the ankle. The ankle is the first joint used in maintaining balance. Fixing it's position is a handicap.
Some mentioned removing or altering spoilers. I have Head WorldCup Ti boots with conformables inside. They have an "adjustable spoiler" which I have not touched (it is set in its default position). I'll see if it is removable -- it barely sticks up from the back so I doubt it plays much of a role here.

I'm reluctant to make any major changes to the boots at present. I'll change the boots' settings to "soft" instead of hard. Also, I'll practice this weekend with no buckles, then with soft buckle settings. I'll do some shuffle turns, long leg/short leg, and concentrate on being "tall."

Hopefully, that should help.

Also, I have demo bindings on a track. I can move them forward or back a few centimeters. At present, they are as far forward as they can go. Should I modify this at all?

Thanks,

B
post #55 of 56
The binding position is personal preference -- more forwards is easier to turn, but being centered over the skiis is most important. All the way back and you need to press forwards to balance. All the way front, and you may need to lean back to balance. All in all, forwards is more forgiving of being in the back seat, since you've got more tail.

I'd start aligned at the proper boot mark over ski mark position, and tweak it from there.

You're on the right track, softening wise.... I'd be sceptical about surgery too, before testing out some easy fixes. You may want to experiment with heel lifts under the liners (eg trail maps) -- that too opens the ankle, but also gives you a mechanical advantage in being able to flex the boot more.

Has a boot fitter actually aligned your boots? Or did you just get conformable liners?

Imporper forward lean can also be a culprit.

With arms straight out forwards, if it is easy to squat below parallel , the lean is to far forwards. If you can't get to parallel, the cuffs are too upright (you fall over backwards). Parallel is just right. A good bootfitter can fix the lean of the boot if required.

Removing the spoiler will make the lean a touch more upright and allow you to stand taller, as it stops pushing the calf forwards (if it is in the way in the first place...).

DavidM posted some awesome "boot and balance bits". Do a search!

Cheers!
post #56 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpski
BigE, You confirmed my suspisions about my boots a few weeks ago, and WOW what a difference. Im with you. It was the easiest and biggest (small) change I have made in years!!!! (PS Im 5'8" 150...Technica Carbons-fyi took out spoilers, and brought power strap inside shell)
Glad to hear that it worked for you! It's really amazing at how much a tiny change to your boots can make.

Cheers!
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