or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

short cuts or long delays?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
The newest iteration of the carving thread in the general section has got me thinking about this.

The last year or two I started to instruct my kids how to ski. I had taken my kids skiing when they were very young, and they got a kick out of sliding on snow, and though my instructions to "not make an X" were quite amusing as they laughed when falling due to crossed ski-tips saying "I made an X". That great start got paused, however; career, money shortages etc, meant we missed a few years and had to get restarted.

As I was in the habbit of carving everywhere at high speed when I skied, I explained the concept to my teen-aged daughter who caught on quite quickly. After only a very small amount of time skiing she was carving turns, but though she could carve a nice turn, she also rapidly ran into problems on difficult terrain. She had problems with confidence, and I surmise speed control was a big part of that; it seems that when she skied as taught (by me) she would exceed her abilities in short order. She once rented a ski that was just 10-cm too long and it was a disaster. It seems she had not yet developed other skills to a level that would befit a person skiing steeper blue runs at, say, 25 to 30 mph.

Looking back I can see three identifiable ways of skiing that I went through: 1, forcing my skis to go where I wanted them to go; 2, adjusting angle and presure side to side and rear to front so that the skis would grab more or less where I wanted them to grab and thus have the snow make the ski go where I wanted it to go; and 3, proper carving.

I'm wondering now, if it's not better to spend more time on the snow before one learns carving.

Whadaya think?
post #2 of 24
I think it's essential to learn to control your turns before learning to rail and carve. I see inexperienced instructors teaching beginners how to rail, which they love on the flats, but I can see situations like that with your daughter developing, where the skis "take charge".

People need to understand where railing fits in the skill blend. I think many of them have taken a short cut to turning by using the railing ability of modern skis, and ultimately it holds them way back the minute they're not on a groomed expanse.
post #3 of 24

From the "Coffee Break With Weems" thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stache
Thank you LM, (Weems via LM), and Rick,
For giving me the proper "foundation" for my personal argument against "Direct to Parallel". By skippng the gliding wedge on the beginner hill, and the exploration, guided discovery, and experiential learning of making direction changes using either pressure or edging the outside ski (or playing with different combinations of both) without any more rotation than the original turning in the tips, folks fail to learn the individual componets that make up a turn.
IMNSHO This is why later on they have difficulty trying to identify and work on these elements in the middle of linked turns on blue groomers.
I have said in a different thread the reason I like teaching upper levels in the morning and then beginners in the afternoon is because I am more dedicated to teaching the beginners the four fundamentals (balance, rotary, pressure, and edging ) so they have a more solid individual knowledge of these basics when they start blending them together later.
I feel direct to parallel requires teaching multiple skills all at the same time. I have done it and with some success (if you measure success as getting them up to the "real greens" in the first two hours). But if given my druthers I prefer the "old" progression for this reason.
post #4 of 24
I skied on straight skis when I was younger, before I started racing, and I was taught very well. When I strapped on a pair of "shaped" skis for the first time, I was just able to carve, getting my feet outside my shoulders. I still used the skidding on steeper pitches until I started racing, but having good fundamentals made learning carving easy for me, as I had already mastered good edging skills. I would spend time concentrating on learning to get forward and use edges effectively before one worries about carving race-like turns.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
It just hit me. It's like driving; she doesn't know how to skid. It's a lot like someone learning to drive a car, without doing any skidding practice. they're fine if the wheels are tracking, but if traction is lost (over cook a corner a bit) they're in panic city. Only difference is most people learn how to ski by skidding first and drive by not skidding first.

Everbody who learned how to carve the quick way needs to go out and practice skidding, just like everybody needs more skid control practice. At least that's what I always tell my wife when the car gets going sideways on wet roads.
post #6 of 24
Probably the most undertaught exercise is sideslipping. It's a true key to understanding edge use.
post #7 of 24
I couldn't agree more with the general sentiment that the emphasis on carving
has been at the expense of broader skill development. Recalling the time a few years ago when the new shaped skis were coming out, I remember the overpowering marketing campaigns in which the word CARVE was used so often that it virtually replaced the word SKI. Those days seem to be over, thank God, but we seem to be left with a generation of skiers who can't work their skis, but the skis sure work them. Up here, in the great white north, we seem to be returning to teaching some basics, like sideslipping and all its variations. It feels like a steamroller has passed over us and we are finally returning to some sanity!

cdnguy
post #8 of 24
There had been a long period since I did a short shot as an instructor back in the 60's and when I renewed in the 90's.

In between was responsible for more than one train wreck. Trying to teach friends to ski. Thankfully, I never gave my wife or kids lessons and refused to do so.

That said, the short of it was that I had to "UNLEARN" skiing and learn to teach. The two are NOT related.

If you have followed my varied posts you will know that I won't return to teaching this year for a variety of reasons but, I fully acknowledge that the systems of instructon are reasonably well thought out and despite your ability as a skier, you are probably clueless as to how to teach.

The most important thing you learn over time is the way and how of presentations .... an instructor with a few miles on the snow will know what to say, how and when to say it.

Off the top, it sounds like your daughter has some fundamental issues with "mechanics" and body movement and position. Gear changes won't solve the problems only hide them.

What you have learned to do (perhaps), via trial and error over your years of skiing is pretty hard to sift out and convey.

Treat her to a good lesson and make sure that the person is both senior and certified and the higher cert the better. Make a few calls and don't take whoever the "desk" tosses at you.

There are some very good instructors who have dropped out of or where never in PSIA .... I'm fully aware of that ..... but unless you know of the person (via the Bears) or whatever ... be wary.
post #9 of 24
A guest at Smugglers' Notch actually paid for an hour long private lesson with me for one reason only. She made it clear that the ONLY thing she wanted to learn in that lesson - and the ONLY reason she paid for a one hour private - was to learn to HOCKEY STOP!!

She said that fear was holding her back. She's been taught only to "turn uphill" to slow down or stop. She accurately said that such technique was not sufficient in many cases to avoid hitting someone or something. She wanted to have the ability to STOP, and that meant where and when she chose to do so.

She was a deicated student - came to me as a Level 3. By the end of the lesson, she was ecstatic - SHE COULD HOCKEY STOP!!!! Gave me a nice tip, too.

Not being a long time instructor and being a skier of merely modest accomplishment and capability myself, perhaps I empathize more with the struggling newbies and the plateaued intermediates. Carving has been emphasized to the degree that many are under the impression that it's the only legitimate technique out there. It's pleasing to know that people are coming to their senses.

That said, I see no obstacle with "direct to parallel". After some "railing" on the bunny hill, then skidding is the next item on the agenda. The problem with the wedge for many skiers is that, once learned as the first skill, it's what the skier falls back on, polluting what could be a nicely carved (or even "scarved") turn by abstemming.

Unless and until directed otherwise by the boss, I'll stay with "direct to parallel" as the first lesson and tell all guests at the end that they next must learn to skid to a stop. I've seen almost all guests who can learn to ski AT ALL will learn best by this method. When, and ONLY when, a guest has convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt that she WILL NOT LEARN that way, I will teach the wedge to a beginner.
post #10 of 24
Oboe - I find it interesting that she felt the need to stop to NOT hit someone..... I think I felt safest in this regard when my instructor convinced me that skiing was just like driving on snow & sometimes the brakes were NOT your best friend..... he started(I say started because I am a slow learner & am still working on the lesson) to teach me that often I am safest going DOWNHILL FAST....

His theory was I am rarely near the limit of my skill to control my skis due to speed.... and that UPHILL or STOP was likely to land me INTO the oncoming disaster site (usually another skier who would also TRY to turn uphill/stop)....

So his orders were to head DOWN the hill & then get the speed back to what I prefer when the danger had passed (been left behind)
post #11 of 24
disski, if that worked for you, it's good. That may not work for everyone. Many people would have the confidence to let their skis run a bit IF they believed that they COULD stop if they WANTED to.

It's not the hockey stop that helped my student - it was belief that she COULD do it.

In any case, there certainly are times, for all of us, when a hockey stop in the quiver has come in handy.
post #12 of 24
Not her need to STOP - we all need to stop... but to hockey stop to NOT HIT.....

sort of indicates that she felt her control of steering was lacking in some way I would think....

My problem was I was terrified of BEING HIT BY..... when I discovered that going downhill worked better most of the time I felt much happier.... snowboarders that make noise do not catch up so easily when you head downhill..... the quiet ones are rarely an issue

I don't recall being scared of HITTING someone for quite some time....
post #13 of 24
Telling her that she really needed to control her turns better would have been futile, since she'd already formed the belief that she NEEDED to know how to hockey stop.

As I said, what works in her own brain is what counts for her. Bear in mind she was only a Level 3. Her concern about "hitting something" seems to be the norm for that level, and it does hold people back. There was no way she'd even consider skiing faster unless she believed that she COULD stop short if she WANTED to. With the confidence that she could hockey stop, she was willing to ski faster, improve and add to her skill set.

It worked for her.
post #14 of 24
Good advice Oboe!
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe
The problem with the wedge for many skiers is that, once learned as the first skill, it's what the skier falls back on, polluting what could be a nicely carved (or even "scarved") turn by abstemming.
The problem with the wedge is that too often it is taught as a braking maneuver rather than a reliable, stable stance from which initiating turns is safer. If you teach the wedge by teaching pushing out the tails, you're only adding to the problem.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
The problem with the wedge is that too often it is taught as a braking maneuver rather than a reliable, stable stance from which initiating turns is safer. If you teach the wedge by teaching pushing out the tails, you're only adding to the problem.
Here! Here!

a wedge properly taught, as a turn in the desired direction, rather than bracing against the turn is a means to skiing offensively, as I have seen quite often in students.

Right tips right to turn right, Left tips left to turn left works whatever type of turn you're performing (or teaching). I challenge you to try to make a parallel turn at an extremely slow (or better yet, from a stop) with tips in the direction of the turn without making a wedge. (I had that discussion last year with Rusty Guy, so he had me demo it in front of the rest of the instructors in the clinic, you naturally make a wedge when initiating the turn correctly.)
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
The newest iteration of the carving thread in the general section has got me thinking about this.

...
As I was in the habbit of carving everywhere at high speed when I skied, I explained the concept to my teen-aged daughter who caught on quite quickly. After only a very small amount of time skiing she was carving turns, but though she could carve a nice turn, she also rapidly ran into problems on difficult terrain. She had problems with confidence, and I surmise speed control was a big part of that; it seems that when she skied as taught (by me) she would exceed her abilities in short order. She once rented a ski that was just 10-cm too long and it was a disaster. It seems she had not yet developed other skills to a level that would befit a person skiing steeper blue runs at, say, 25 to 30 mph.

...
Whadaya think?
Ghost,

Your observations are EXACTLY what we observe where I teach. We teach the direct parallel method (I'm regularly reprimanded for referring to it as the "directly into the woods method" but that's not really relevant!). We have a tabletop flat, very large and very long beginner area that has a nice chairlift and magic carpet. We use this with a good deal of success to teach new skiers how to turn without relying upon the wedge as much as in a traditional progression.

What we've found, though, is that once they start to move up the mountain -- even onto a very slightly steeper incline -- they lose their ability to turn without the wedge. Some of us have even started calling and teaching this as more of the "direct wedge christy" approach because that's exactly what we see them doing when they move up the hill. Worse yet, they find that they can't control their speed because their skills just aren't there yet.

I think that this is true for two reasons:

1. It takes a reasonably refined balance to be able to stand against the edge of the ski and over the center of the ski throughout the turn and particularly at turn initiation. Once the skis start skidding, it is difficult to stop them from skidding and instead make them carve.

2. Because of the lack of balance, the skier is often unwilling to release that stable downhill edge at the same time or the same speed as the uphill ski which results in a bistem and poof a christy.

While I will give you that there are exceptions to the rule (the hockey player, the gifted athlete, etc.), generally, spending more time on the snow skidding around before being brought to "carving" is probably a more successful approach.

Just my thoughts.
DB
post #18 of 24
There's no reason direct-to-parallel can't be taught with a skid. They guys who use it where I teach do a lot of falling leaf and vertical sideslips after they spend all that time hiking and sliding around the bottom with one ski. I usually can get a gliding wedger of equal athletic ability just about as far as they do, though, and my folks often can maneuver a liftline better.
post #19 of 24
I do believe there's a place for "wedge to parallel" and "direct to parallel." When I see a gifted athlete spontaneously begin making carved parallel turns, I don't immediately train them back to the wedge, rather, I begin helping them learn how to control their turns utilizing terrain and turn shape.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
There's no reason direct-to-parallel can't be taught with a skid. They guys who use it where I teach do a lot of falling leaf and vertical sideslips after they spend all that time hiking and sliding around the bottom with one ski. I usually can get a gliding wedger of equal athletic ability just about as far as they do, though, and my folks often can maneuver a liftline better.
Agreed, and direct parallel usually is taught with a skid regardless of what the aim actually is. It's just how a new skier is most likely to accomplish the task. Our is actually initially taught as more of a stepping maneuver to steer the skis and eventually brought to steering.

We also see something similar to what you are describing. The first few times through the lift line are a horror show because they aren't used to using the wedge as much and it's pretty foreign to them.

This is one of the reasons that we seem to find direct wedge christy a better approach.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lennyblake
I do believe there's a place for "wedge to parallel" and "direct to parallel." When I see a gifted athlete spontaneously begin making carved parallel turns, I don't immediately train them back to the wedge, rather, I begin helping them learn how to control their turns utilizing terrain and turn shape.
Agreed. You should never hold back progress. The part that we find difficult is that we teach our new instructors primarily direct parallel. They see the opposite effect since they don't have the wedge progressions to fall back on and they relentlessly present it to the students. When a student starts to instincively make a wedge, they push them away from it instead of embracing it and building from it.
post #22 of 24
Ghost,
Your daughtor needs to develope rotary steering skills which she can't do effectivally from a high edged carving ski. Adding steeper terrain just adds to the edge angle she is on. A lesson from a highly qualified instructor is good advice, and unless you have an instructional secquence for improving her rotary and edge control skills (on very easy terrain), you probabally can't help her yourself. Good skiing is about blending the skills to meet the situation at hand, and if some skills are underdeveloped, lack of control is the result. You want her to enjoy skiing and not dislike it b/c she is afraid from being out of control.

Good luck,

RW
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Rotary and edge control skills need work. Check! That's the way it seems to me. She just went straight from plow to wedge to stem to carve in about a day, not enough time to develop. I'll be sure to have her specify that when the instructor asks what she wants to learn.

I'll also try and bite my tongue when I see my son could mentally learn to tip and rip a carve without spending enough time slip-sliding away to develop those balance edging and rotary skills.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Everbody who learned how to carve the quick way needs to go out and practice skidding, just like everybody needs more skid control practice. At least that's what I always tell my wife when the car gets going sideways on wet roads.
Excellent analogy and great point. Its not a good time to learn skidding technique at speed and unexpectedly, in either sport.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching