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Misconceptions of "Good" Skiing

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I was skiing Copper a few days ago. Although conditions were great, the crowds of families and the poor visibility because of the falling snow were causing me to freeze up. I went inside the lodge and waited for the mob scene to descend for lunch. then I decided to go back out again.

The snow conditions had formed some small bumps on the easier runs, so I decided that it was finally time to get "back in the saddle," so to speak. Needless to say I was tentative, and did a bit more "bump shopping" than I would deem acceptable. However, given that they were not deep bumps, I was able to ski them continuously, even if I did "cheat" and traverse a few times. That being said, I was hardly doing what would be called "excellent bump skiing."

A guy was trying to teach his wife/girlfriend how to ski these small bumps. he pointed to me and said to her "Do you see what she's doing? Ski them exactly like that!" NOT!!!

This is not the first time I've heard someone have a misconcpetion about what constitutes good skiing, although it is the first time I've heard someone use me as an example. In fact, I've pointed out skiers whose style I'd like to emulate, only to be told by instructors that my role model's skiing was far from perfect.

What other misconceptions about good skiing have you heard your students proclaim? How do you deal with these delusions? How does a pre-conceived notion of good skiing affect your lesson?

Thoughts?
post #2 of 24
LM,

I've asked students to point out skiers on the hill that they think are better skiers. I use it as a conversation starter.

It seems that the general misconception is that movement is good, when in reality, the people here know that economy of motion is what we are looking for. Students tend to point out skiers with lots of excessive rotary and flex/extend (to the point of having to hop to get the skis to turn). They are not able to see things such as the flow of the CM across the skis or recognize how much skidding or side slipping is going on.

I think that one thing that leads to these misconceptions is that if you watch any skiing on tv, (usually racing) the racers tend to throw body parts all over the place in the name of speed and maintaining balance (linked recoveries). They don't realize that after 60 seconds, those people that train 7 days a weeks are totally spent. I don't think we want recreational skiers to get fatigued that fast.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
That's an interesting observation. It's kind of like a marathon runner trying to emulate verbatim a sprinter's technique. While some of it can be useful, it's not going to last you all day!
post #4 of 24

Steps?

Not everybody can start out skiing like <insert favorate skier here>.

There is some degree of a "standard" progression (steps) from beginner to expert.

It's quite possible that using you as an example was appropriate because you represented the next attainable step.
post #5 of 24
Not everyone can ski like an Expert. However, it is not that diffucult to crash like a rock star.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Not everybody can start out skiing like <insert favorate skier here>.

There is some degree of a "standard" progression (steps) from beginner to expert.

It's quite possible that using you as an example was appropriate because you represented the next attainable step.
Now that's an interesting thought. However, it gets into a whole other topic of self perception vs. reality. Since these are my early days of post acl surgery skiing, I feel like I could not serve as role model for any level of skier. However, according to Weems, I am a "Level 6 skier with a level 3 mind-set," so you may be on to something!
post #7 of 24
Lisa: You need to ski "internally" .... ski for you, not "for them".

That damned "fitness perfectionist" in you is the biggest block to progress and fun. Stop the analysis of every turn and every run.

Sometimes I used to just take an easy blue and soar like a bird with my arms out ..... If someone has a "look at that old fool" attitued ..... screw em'!

I am there for me ... not for .... THEM ..

Sooner or later you will have a "magic run" .... in a mindless state of joy.

You used to do ballet right? Did you ever have one where the true rapture came out and suddenly it was over because you didn't even know it started?
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
Lisa: You need to ski "internally" .... ski for you, not "for them".

That damned "fitness perfectionist" in you is the biggest block to progress and fun. Stop the analysis of every turn and every run.

Sometimes I used to just take an easy blue and soar like a bird with my arms out ..... If someone has a "look at that old fool" attitued ..... screw em'!

I am there for me ... not for .... THEM ..

Sooner or later you will have a "magic run" .... in a mindless state of joy.

You used to do ballet right? Did you ever have one where the true rapture came out and suddenly it was over because you didn't even know it started?
well stated....remember that you will only make your best turn once!

yesterday i was happy with my skiing. today my demo's stunk. why? who the heck knows and who the heck cares.

maybe i'm tired, maybe it is diet, maybe it's my time of the month....to make crappy turns!
post #9 of 24
Rusty, me, too. I was free-skiing with friends today, and just felt "off" all day. I tried to find my balance... tried to find my appropriate technique for the terrain and conditions. But, I really just couldn't bring all the pieces together.

So, I thought about Weems' book and his basic idea of every day being brilliant even if the skiing's not good. As a result, I looked at the views, enjoyed the snow falling on my face, laughed at my run-ins with tree branches and rocks, and had a good day. I'm tired, though. But, it was a good day, and I'm grateful.
post #10 of 24

Backing it off a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
Sometimes I used to just take an easy blue and soar like a bird with my arms out ..... If someone has a "look at that old fool" attitued ..... screw em'!

I am there for me ... not for .... THEM ..

Sooner or later you will have a "magic run" .... in a mindless state of joy.
This is good stuff, Yuki! I think if more of us just took a run that we would consider "too easy" and play with it, we'd learn so much. I know that this is how I feel when skiing on greens; they make me a better skier--and grant me joy, too.
post #11 of 24
yesterday I went to LT with my AT skis instead of my alpines. first run of the day, I'm skiing on mild pitch in some crud, going mid-fast, WHOOPS! ejection. I gather myself, take off the attached ski, walk up to get the other. clean out the snow. it sticks to the boots again. clean out the snow. step in. no closure. clean out the snow. step in. no closure. clean out the snow. curse mightily. begin to hate the day. step in. no closure. UH. maybe the binding is messed up? I move the heel units forward one notch to increase the forward pressure. this holds the boots in but just barely. I ski to the bottom, making turns on what feel like edgeless skis.

I felt like a beginner.

the AT skis were out of the question. so I put them back into my truck and went for rentals. got some Rossi Axioms 177cm. skied the rest of the day, 3/4 of it that is, with the trashed out, clapped out, banged up rentals.

for 2 runs after getting the rentals I felt like a novice. I couldn't find how to stand on the skis to get them to do what I wanted. they were soft longitudinally and torsionally. a delicate touch would underestimate the technique required to ski these sticks at the speeds I like to go. too much shovel pressure and the ski starts to fold (like John H described in another thread, YOWZA). too much tail pressure results in energy absorption and not tail kick/pop/rebound.

those first 2 runs on the rentals had me focused on everything but just having fun. I was worrying about skiing gaper style. of course I'm convinced the worries were justified and fulfilled.

but after 2 runs I relaxed and had a danged good day on the rentals. even skied some deepish crud with a decent amount of competence.

stay within yourself in every way, LM. worrying about how you look to others is the most counterproductive thing you can do, short of not even trying!

*******************

as with any sport or activity that some take seriously and others treat as a "hobby" or time filler, there will be uninitated folks who swear that what really is incompetence or flawed actually is "good."

still today, there are those who think that the old late 70s "instructor turn," the sperm turn/ass wiggle/sissy wedeln/mambo style of turning, is the pinnacle of skiing.

it's hard NOT to do nothing more negative than shake my head when I hear folks mentioning such stuff.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Good advice, everyone, but actually, I'm really not that worried about how I look. That's the liberating about already knowing that you look pretty awful: You don't care what people think!

What I was concerned about was someone using my highly gaperesque bump skiing as an example for someone else as the correct way to ski them. While I think njkayaker may have a point in that I represented the next step up, if that's the case, I hate to see what the first step is! :
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Good advice, everyone, but actually, I'm really not that worried about how I look. That's the liberating about already knowing that you look pretty awful: You don't care what people think!

What I was concerned about was someone using my highly gaperesque bump skiing as an example for someone else as the correct way to ski them. While I think njkayaker may have a point in that I represented the next step up, if that's the case, I hate to see what the first step is! :
LM The first step is trying. You are past that and are now challenging yourself, especially after coming back from the injured reserve. I think too many people want to be technically perfect on easy terrain before they venture out on harder stuff be it a skier who has been only on green trails not moving on to blues, or skiers who only ski groomed runs green/blue/black and never trying any bumps, crud, ice or powder.
Celebrate your sucesses what ever they may be. I was teaching an 11 year old girl today , new skier, linked wedge to wedge christie turns on green trails. She was afraid to ride the lift by herself, after a few times with me she rode up in front of me and her parents saw her getting off at the top by herself. She was so happy. I think what she was doing on her skis was fantastic for her 2nd time out but she was estatic riding the lift by herself. So if you are the model of skiing that is helping some one out to improve or explore the mountain what better ambassador for skiing is that.
post #14 of 24
Perhaps, LM, it was simply the fact that you were turning and not shopping that caught his eye?
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Actually, as I said in my first post, I was doing some "shopping." A few times, I traversed, which is a cardinal sin on a bump run!: Granted, I did not traverse the whole run, and I never stopped moving, but it was still not "model material." Oh well, if it helped the young lady get down the hill, then I'm happy.
post #16 of 24
OK, then I'm convinced he liked your outfit...
post #17 of 24
LM,
Today I had a lesson with a woman and our focus was being soft on our skis and edges. The conditions were some soft sticky snow over unedgeable ice. After she learned to be soft, we took a bump run which had some piles of snow on the bumps with the same ice everywhere else. The first run for her was not to her standards, so we went there again. Our focus was to be even softer, and have the skis follow the contour of the snow (retraction over the bumps). As she followed me, her skis were making no noise over the ice and I took it to some retraction turns on the bumps. It was a OMG for her, this is wonderfull. A big breakthrough in her skiing.
My guess is, after your comeback, you are learning to also be softer on your skis, and maybe this is what the "teacher" in this case was seeing in you. So, well done and welcome to the "less is more club"

RW
post #18 of 24
LM, you know the old musician's saying "If you hit a wrong note, play it a few more times and it will look like you meant to do it and people will call you a musical genius!". Same thing applies to shopping for bumps.
post #19 of 24
MilesB ..... sounding like Miles Davis ... ?
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
My guess is, after your comeback, you are learning to also be softer on your skis, and maybe this is what the "teacher" in this case was seeing in you.
Okay, even though I am usually much more accepting of critique than compliment, I'll accept that. I do recall a few times when people on this forum have submitted videos for criticism. While everyone else was tearing them apart, their skiing had a quality Iwanted to emmulate.

Last year at Copper, a little girl came up to me with her parents, and told me she wanted to invite me to dinner.

"You ski pretty," she said. Her parents were laughing, because she usually says this about her favorite female ski racers that she sees on TV. I must have been having a good day! But again, it was probably the quality, as opposed to the technicality tthat appealed to her.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
This is not the first time I've heard someone have a misconcpetion about what constitutes good skiing, although it is the first time I've heard someone use me as an example. In fact, I've pointed out skiers whose style I'd like to emulate, only to be told by instructors that my role model's skiing was far from perfect.

What other misconceptions about good skiing have you heard your students proclaim? How do you deal with these delusions? How does a pre-conceived notion of good skiing affect your lesson?
Thoughts?
I think this thread got a bit off track. The question you pose is an interesting one and can be a real challenge. In an earlier post you mentioned people over and under-reporting ability, some times these under-reporting skiers point out almost-out-of-control tail pushers as a model.

To counter this, I try to point out skiers or even riders who I think are doing good things on the snow and discuss it. I try to avoid being to negative or judgmental, so I don’t turn off the student. I talk to the student about their goals and development as a skier and how that relates to someone on the trail.

I like to tell stories about all the times I thought I was cool doing something not so good, like rotating my shoulders, only to figure out later what a dork I was and then how I had to get rid of the habit.

What generally feels bad isn't necessarily so awful. I've had runs I thought sucked, other peope thought were ok. Tim Thompson told me once, "It's never as bad as it feels, It's never as good as you think it is."
post #22 of 24

Critique/complement.

Quote:
Okay, even though I am usually much more accepting of critique than compliment, I'll accept that. I do recall a few times when people on this forum have submitted videos for criticism. While everyone else was tearing them apart, their skiing had a quality Iwanted to emmulate.
I think that people often "mistrust" complements. They are not always seen as sincere.

Also, if one is doing something correctly, the point of improvement is to focus on the other stuff (the things that one isn't doing correctly). Thus, the focus on critisism.

"their skiing had a quality Iwanted to emmulate" Nothing wrong with that! This, in part, is what I'm talking about regarding steps.

The biomechanics of skiing seem to indicate, basicallly, the same progression of skills and techniques. The "levels" in skiing support this notion.
post #23 of 24
I suspect, too, that the very deep understanding that you have of body dynamics and the skills of skiing contribute to your assessment of your own skills. I suspect that, were you skiing at the level of any of your heroes, you'd likely still find all of the things wrong (perhaps even more than you do now!).

I think there's something in there to consider, perhaps...
post #24 of 24
Someone (several someones, probably) once said that passing your level 3 certification (adjust to appropriate designation for your country's sanctioning organization) merely means that you are beginning to understand your own skiing, what your issues are, and what you might do to make your movements more effective.

Many L3 instructors, who are supposedly very good skiers, believe that they, too, have a long way to go before they can ski with the gods.

One of the paths to continued improvement is:

Go play!
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