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Who gets the best training? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
Greg,

I think what you have written is a very fair assesment. I would like to hear your opinion on one point.

I have a twelve year old daughter. She raced for a year and could not stand it. I have left her in the very capable hands of an examiner for instruction. When she skis with me I bite my tongue.

I know you probably don't get the powder/crud that we get here, however, I have noticed that a lot of the kids who are involved in race programs are fairly limited in terms of their abilities "off-piste" or in bumps. That's actually being polite.

There is no doubt their ability to tip their skis on edge is superb. Put them in 12-24 inches of busted up powder or in even an intermediate bump run and they flail.

Any thoughts?
I'm not pretending to speak for Greg, but I'll share this:

when I started back into skiing in 2000, I skied a few times with a gal who was selling ski eqpt at Bob Ward's and doing some instruction at Marshall Mountain. she grew up racing and skied groomers and ice almost exclusively. I invited her to Club LT for a Powder Thursday and took her straight to Thunder, a nice feast of crud and pow and bumps with a couple of steep-ish pitches. she complained that it was all foreign to her, and her previously enviable turns became unsettled and her timing was off.

she admitted that this was a result of spending most of her free-ski time doing the same types of turns simply without gates. does that make it a coach's shortcoming, or the skier's choice of free-ski terrain, or a bit of both?

would a "good coach" INSIST on diversity of terrain and challenge, including those conditions NOT encountered on race courses?
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
I should introduce myslef
I often wonder how you manage to do it. And, yes, before you ask, I am a bit jealous!
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
she complained that it was all foreign to her, and her previously enviable turns became unsettled and her timing was off.

she admitted that this was a result of spending most of her free-ski time doing the same types of turns simply without gates. does that make it a coach's shortcoming, or the skier's choice of free-ski terrain, or a bit of both?

would a "good coach" INSIST on diversity of terrain and challenge, including those conditions NOT encountered on race courses?
Which type of person am I? Do I seek new challenges, new ways of getting down a mountain? Or, do I stick with what I know and what is comfortable?

I was coached for a couple of years in high school. My coach was a egotistical tyrant who knew far less than he realized. One of his classic quotes: "If you fall, you deserve to break your leg." He didn't stop me from free skiing, though.

I know that with many of the programs these days, there just isn't time to free ski. It may also be that many coaches do not encourage it since they do not understand the value of a well-rounded technique that one grows by spending time in widely varying conditions.

Ultimately, though, it is the choice of each individual whether or not he/she will take on the breadth of skiing that's out there.

For me, the next step is backcountry. I don't know when I'll take it, but I do intend to take some clinics to get started this season...
post #34 of 50
Gonzo,
The accepted USSA mantra is we develop good skiers who race. A 70/30 through 90/10 ratio is what they propose. The majority of time should not be spent in the gates. Taking a movement into a course after refining it elsewhere, not the opposite.
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Gonzo,
The accepted USSA mantra is we develop good skiers who race. A 70/30 through 90/10 ratio is what they propose. The majority of time should not be spent in the gates. Taking a movement into a course after refining it elsewhere, not the opposite.
that's closer to what I would have guessed intuitively. thanks!
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I often wonder how you manage to do it. And, yes, before you ask, I am a bit jealous!
Just as an example....
I am currently doing contracts prior to departing for Ireland for 12-15 months work...
Due to being unsure about departure dates I have no contract work booked ahead (normally you would open bookings at least 12 months out in my line of work)....
I worked a bit in my home town... then the regular agency girl went on holidays & I did not really fancy the work the other offered - so i have been skiing for a week... now I have an offer of work next week... so I will ski until wednesday or so... then I will drive a few hundred kilometres(about 8 hours driving from memory) ... stay in accomodation provided... work 13 hours on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.... I will be standing in 1 spot all day without even a coffee break... if I am lucky i can run to the loo without interuption.... In return I will be paid well enough (weekend days attract some penalties) that i will earn about twice the average weekly wage in those 3 days(39 hours work)... hence I can afford my lessons & new boots...
I sleep on friends floors or at youth hostels when i ski.... generally I buy a season pass... I would normally return to the hostel for lunch (made by me) & cook my own dinner.... so I don't spend a fortune to ski for a day ... (lift tickets work out to $10 a day if I ski enough)...

In a normal season I ski 3 days a week (long weekends) & take all my leave (4 weeks) to ski the main month of the season....

I may cut back a bit in the next few years (need to try to have a few less lessons & spend the money skiing more places.... also surfing calls)
post #37 of 50
Just a couple of thoughts on the kids who go into the race programs at my mountain. I think most of the above posts are right on the money when it comes to development of the young skiers going into racing programs. Alot of them have very little all around mountain skill. Now I'm talking about the 8-maybe 14 year olds at my place. The parents seem to be the main culprit. They take out junior from the regular ski school (which I'm a part of) way too early as far as I'm concerned. These kids are barely a level 5 skier, (wedge christie) on anything steep and groomed, never mind any other type of snow condition. I can't believe the race coaches really want to work with this level of skill in a potential racer but I think they are forced, bribed etc. into it. There seems to be some cult like status attached to being part of the race "team" it is really just a club but whatever.Don't get me wrong there are some really fantastic skiers in the race program but I think it is in the 5% range of all the participants.

I do take some responsibilty in this in part that the ski school is not offering anything but the standard program 1 hour lesson Sat or Sun for 6 weeks. I can see how some kids could get bored and some parents want more instruction / supervision for their kids. I have proposed to our ssd that we try to develop a 1/2 or full day explore the mountain type program (MRG, Stowe, Sugarloaf are some that offer something like this). I think that type of situation would work really well for developing all around skier skills in any conditon and give kids a better base from which to go into racing if they so desire. Sometimes I wonder where the desire from these kids come from, I think for some its their parents living through them .

As far as the original topic of this thread as a PSIA instructor I definately do have the opportunity to ski with very high levels of examiners at the various events , (mostly I go to the trees and steeps events) and I think it is a fantastic value. The general public really would have to look far and wide to get this level of instruction and they would be paying far more than the $110 for a 2 day event at MRG or Stowe that I've attended. Maybe the ski schools should try top capitalize on having these examiners and D-teamers on their staff by advertizing them more, of course charging more for their lessons and see if there is a market for their level of skill with the general public. My take is that apart from members of Epic ski they really would not find many takers becasue I think most people have the Wal-Mart mentality looking for cheap prices.
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Gonzo,
The accepted USSA mantra is we develop good skiers who race. A 70/30 through 90/10 ratio is what they propose. The majority of time should not be spent in the gates. Taking a movement into a course after refining it elsewhere, not the opposite.
Nice theory.
I don´t think it´s realistic. How many (young) racers have conditions to be developed that way?

Fall (Sept-Nov): little snow, training on glaciers, later on technical snow. First refresment of technique, later training in gates to be ready to enter the first races in Nov/Dec, to achieve best results to improve the points for the new FIS point list which is decisive for the main part of the season.

Winter: races, training in between. Occasional off-piste skiing possible (yes, desirable) if conditions permit (may be problematic in some mountains/resorts like the US east, Dolomites, practically impossible in our mountains).
Would you get your racers ski in powder or crud if they have to race on brutal ice next day? The days of soft, hardly groomed runs old heroes like Toni Sailer were racing on in the 50s are over...

Spring: now you have time to work on technique. It´s practically the only time to let the racers ski off the groomers. Supposing there´s still snow enough there (again, not all mountains are so) and the racers are available (they finally have time to attend school and 2-3 months to catch up with their classmates).

Summer: if you are lucky enough you have some training on the glacier but there´s not much snow (if any) left to ski on. You only have limited time early in the morning before the snow turns into slush.

Now, is there really time to devote 70 or even 90 percent of the training to skiing outside of the gates?
Sure, those little pros in specialized schools in the mountains who can ski every day might achieve some fairly favorable ratio. It´s good for them and they make most of the later champions.
For the majority of racing community the "mantra ratio" will always be a theory.

Btw, do you believe that skiers who are the best or among the top three at the age of 15 (like Janica Kostelic was) really had spent 70-90 percent of their skiing outside of gates?
post #39 of 50
Checkracer,
The idea is to develop a whole person, and a versatile skier. Not just a ski racing machine.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Checkracer,
The idea is to develop a whole person, and a versatile skier. Not just a ski racing machine.
Sure, I know. A correct idea and correct development. I just wanted to say that only few are lucky enough to ski in conditions enabling this.

Otoh, alpine ski racers don´t get points for their powder skills. Anything which makes them faster and better in the racecourse is beneficial but almost any sport on a top level is to some extent anti-versatile, say specialized.
"To develop a whole person" you probably shouldn´t be doing any sport with the aim to be the best. You can hardly become the best skier and at the same time a versatile personality (at least if we both mean the same). No chance today.
(How many university graduates you know among the Worldcuppers? Even the Austrians with the whole sophisticated system including Ski Gymnasium Stams have always had serious problems if they wanted to study on at the university.)

There might be some rare exceptions and it´s possible to catch up later.
Sorry, we are rather off-topic now.
post #41 of 50
In most programs here, a code of conduct contract is signed by the racer and if they violate it they are gone. This usually includes maintaining the same grades that they have in the off season, they are also expected to developing and maintain a good lifestyle, cooperate with and support the rest of the team, and be an inspiration to the younger racers/spectators. IMO being a good role model does not take away from their racing career.
post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
In most programs here, a code of conduct contract is signed by the racer and if they violate it they are gone. This usually includes maintaining the same grades that they have in the off season, they are also expected to developing and maintain a good lifestyle, cooperate with and support the rest of the team, and be an inspiration to the younger racers/spectators. IMO being a good role model does not take away from their racing career.
Gee, if only I was seeing a correlation between the winning kids and the "good" kids. What I am seeing in the division my daughter races in is the druggies and drinkers winning races. How does that look? I keep telling the other kids "Imagine how much better they would be if they lived a healthier lifestyle! They'd be on the US Ski Team!" But it's a bit hard to get people to believe this when you've got the hot shots telling the others that it helps them to focus.
post #43 of 50

...

Information access with virtually Everything has always been the key to potential growth for those who make the time, and I think mediums such as the Web have opened up information sharing to almost everybody. Those who have dedicated themselves more to the topic at hand, excell....and can assimilate more...at a quicker rate....I think.

$.02
post #44 of 50
Ahhh yes, totally off topic and into the powder skiers vs. hardpack skiers debate. First post on this forum, have been lurking for a while. The best argument to be made here is that it's much easier to take a racer and put him into a powdered bump field than it is to take a STRICT powder skier and put him into a race course. When I was in college (Colby College in Maine) there was a guy from boulder who told everyone how great of a skier he was. Of course, the guy couldn't carve a turn to save his life, he just wanted to let it be known how good he was. "It's too icy at Sugarloaf," he'd say. "Just wait until we get some powder. Then you'll all be floundering." Well, one night we got 15 inches and lo and behold, everyone who was supposed to be "floundering" was whooping it up in the trees and bumps.

There are example on both sides of powder skiers who can't race, or racers who can't bump, but if I had a kid, I'd put him into the race program as soon as I could because I'd much rather have him become Jeremy Nobis than that guy from college.
post #45 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
In most programs here, a code of conduct contract is signed by the racer and if they violate it they are gone. This usually includes maintaining the same grades that they have in the off season, they are also expected to developing and maintain a good lifestyle, cooperate with and support the rest of the team, and be an inspiration to the younger racers/spectators. IMO being a good role model does not take away from their racing career.
Yes, that´s nice and good. You try to develop the personality as good as possible within the limits of a top racer status. There´s always some sacrifice. You either have a top racer or a versatile young person speaking French, playing piano, involved in some interesting school projects and pursuing various hobbies.

I think it would be no use to argue. I just want to say that there are only a couple decisive years to develop a top young racer. If you don´t pursue this aim 100% with all sacrifice necessary you have no chance to succeed. (You most probably don´t bring it to the very top even if you do but that´s another story).

That´s not to say top worldcuppers are semi-educated idiots. On the contrary. I could talk to many of them and have always been pleased to find a nice young woman or man who were able to formulate on a very good level.
(A friend of mine who spent 8 years as a coach among the the best tennis players just enviously shook his head when we came to talk about this...)
post #46 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
(How many university graduates you know among the Worldcuppers? Even the Austrians with the whole sophisticated system including Ski Gymnasium Stams have always had serious problems if they wanted to study on at the university.)
Checkracer, I would agree with that - around the age of 16/17 I noticed two distinct groups amongst my class-mates at Stams. Those who hadn't made it on to the Austrian team no longer raced seriously, and were able to graduate (Matura). Those who had, were away for much of the time and almost none of them were able to graduate.

And we also had the commendable example of Regina Sackl who came back to school in her early twenties, after winning the Slalom World Cup, to complete her Matura.
post #47 of 50
I thought you would reply, Martin.

I wouldn´t have written that if I had not known from a friend of mine, a Stamser as well (older than you). She made it to the Matura (I even knew the topic of her essay) and she made it to the team, Olympics, WC podiums, etc. But she wanted more and it was, so she says, simply undesirable.
Werner Nachbauer (now a University professor and the man behind the calculations the FIS gear limits are based on) was another example, she told me.

It only surprises me that the better part you mention simply didn´t get the graduation because of their top-racer status. It shows how tough the race life is - otherwise they would have been able to graduate in theoretically optimum conditions.
post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
It only surprises me that the better part you mention simply didn´t get the graduation because of their top-racer status. It shows how tough the race life is - otherwise they would have been able to graduate in theoretically optimum conditions.
The problem for them was catching up on the missed syllabus after extended periods away racing.
post #49 of 50
I feel the higher the level of instructor, the higher the level of instruction a clinicion can give. The higher level shows higher understanding of technique, and terminology. It is part of the evolution of an instructors knowledge.
I have the opportunity to ski and clinic with an x-national demo team member and it is interesting how she relates what she sees and knows to instructors with a wide range of experience and skiing ability. Her instruction is equally good to all, but her critique is more nitpicking to those instructors who are going to an exam at level 3 or above than one who is taking level one. Her approach is very different for the paying public, but my point is, all is good. Instructors should evolve with their experience and clinicing at a very high level is waisted if there is not a good understanding of basic skills and movement patterns. She also tells us that racing is good for your bump skiing and bump skiing is good for your race technique. My lowest NASTAR handicap was after skiing to it down a wicked bump run to get to the start shack!
I feel that PSIA events are a very good deal for the money and the higher level the event, the more I get from it. I also ski with an x-eximiner who is a ussa international coach now, and I highly regard his feedback and his approach to instruction (changed my skiing). I felt after getting my level 3, it was time to learn how to ski and teach more effectivitly. I am working on both and getting help from the sources mentioned above.
RW
post #50 of 50
Despite the sneering that goes on in Australia toward PSIA, I've only ever had one mediocre PSIA experience: the rest have been excellent. In fact, the best training I've had has been in America, at PSIA events, my own hill's training, and skiing with learned and expert trainers and colleagues.

I guess that being instructors, we want to get better as we've devoted a large chunk of our lives to the sport. I keep saying to my guests that no one takes more lessons than instructors (they get all astonished).

And the people who teach instructors are generally those who've grown in the sport to the appropriate level, have been measured and assessed and worked their way up the ranks. So they tend to be pretty good at what they do.

Instructor training is also a bit different from ski lessons in general, because the participants have a very different mind-set... no one's there because their husbands made them, and no one expects the trainer to teach them by osmosis without reciprocal effort and engagement. The trainer can be frank and even harsh at times without fear of complaints to ski school. And egos are swiftly dealt-with. So our learning is distilled and concentrated... "no frills" if you will.
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