Originally Posted by nolo
This thread is an offshoot of the one in the General Skiing forum about the percentage of experts at a given ski area. It made me wonder about the influence of terrain on a skier's development. Can a skier become an expert if they don't have lots of exposure to expert terrain?
A second question has to do with pushing students to ski terrain that's tougher than they thought possible for themselves. I know there's a school of thought that believes skiing terrain that's a level above your comfort zone can reinforce defensive movements and stunt the development of offensive (go-there) movements. I'd like to hear from you folks as well as those who believe that says challenging your technique in tougher terrain is a form of lateral learning that strengthens technique (having to apply all that stuff you learned on comfortable terrain) and confidence (having never believed you could do that). I suspect that we will decide that the two schools of thought can be blended, but how do we know when tougher terrain is going to make a skier regress or progress?
Yes a skier can ski "expert" successfully, IF they have the opportunity to ski "technical terrain" where they learn to plan and map their skiing such as a nice blue/black bump run or trees etc. No, they will not be an expert without expert miles.
Lisamarie makes mention of Weems and his technique; actually that is good teaching hopefully followed by all upper end instructors at the least.
That being said moving students on to terrain that is beyond their comfort zone is accomplished strictly by building faith and trust with the student; if that trust is lost by the instructor in the slightest way, unless the instructor is really quick on their feet, it will never be re built.
I move students to more difficult terrain when I believe a) they are far enough along that once they start the run they begin thinking more about skiing than the terrain and b) I believe they have enough trust in me to accept my decision to ski the run and c) they agree this is the next nervous stage of their development.
There are various ways to make this move from skiing in from the side to take away the visual fear of “looking over” to finding a run where the student can move on to and off the terrain at will such as skiing “bimps” to bumps etc. There is no “comfortable terrain for the students next challenge but when I think the students total thought of terrain over comes the students thought of skiing i.e. the student after a few turns won’t find some type of skiing rhythm, we are not ready for the next step.