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Edgie Wedgie Rehab

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
There is obviously some disagreement about the value of Edgie Wedgies. My general feeling is that if you have a child that is unable to point their toes inward while standing in ski boots, you should probably throw on the EW right at the start of the lesson, and then repeatedly attempt to take it off (I'm a big fan of stopping 30 feet before the lift, removing the EW, and then getting the child to ski to the lift).

However, my question doesn't apply to the use of Edgie Wedgies, but rather to "fixing" students who have spent too much time using them. I have recently had two students that have spent significant amounts of time with an Edgie Wedgie (the first student was young and uncoordinate, and the second was a victim of an Edgie Wedgie addict). I managed to get both of these students off the EWs, but I have noticed that both of them have an outrageously wide stance. Basically, when they are in a medium-sized gliding wedge, their ski tips are about 18" apart (keep in mind these are 3 and 4 year olds). I am assuming that this stance comes from the fact that while using EWs, these students learned that you have to move your feet apart to make a wedge.

I'm wondering if anyone has some tips for getting these students to narrow their stance? If we stand still these students can make a perfect wedge, but once we start moving the super-wide stance appears. Clearly they are capable of pointing their toes inwards, but they still feel like they have to move their feet apart to make a wedge. I've tried having them stand tall ("like a giraffe"), and this has some effect, but the stances are still way too wide. Hopping down the mountain sort of works, but the effect of this is only temporary I don't want to tell them to touch their knees together, since that adds more problems. Any games, drills, or words of advice for these students?
post #2 of 11
Good post SoCalSki from the real world of ski instruction..... I have had a lot of experiance with wedging kidds. Over 10y. Back when I started out I used to hate those egie wedgis but after I got own kidds I realized how useful they can be. I even started using them on my students and sometimes with great success.

My policy is that if the kidd cant perform a wede and he/she clearly needs to get going I use the EW. Or if lesson demands it, lets say its a group lesson and everyone but one can ski by themselves. Usually I ski backwards and hold the ski tipps together with one hand but that is tiring after a while. I can do it for one hour but 6 hours in a row is too much. Then I resort to the EW.

In your case I think that both kidds would have had eaqual ammount of problems with the wedge even if they never used the EW. You would be looking at different problems and in worst case kidd would have been discurraged and stopped sking. Remember our job is not only to teach skiing but also encourage our students to continue with it. Wide stance! This is IMO one of the great advantages of the EW's. They teach kidds that they need to keep their tipps apart.

Now your problem is that they are too far apart but I dont see it as such a big problem if both skis skidd over the snow equally much. However, if one ski is on the edge we are looking at a more serious problem called the wedge lock. I think you are doing a good job and that you just have to be patient. Carving skis help since they are shaped so that if put into a wedge they are naturally steared closer to each other.

If the kidd doesent want to take the EW off its because it feels safer with them on. In that case you have to work on whats between the kidds ears. Make the kidd feel safe and content.

Taking the kidds mind off the skis and the technique part of it is important as well. Have them ski on very flat terrain preferably on naturally tuning trails or easy children tracks. The staning up act is right on the dime. Having a very low stance pushes the skiis out too much. Knees together is also as you say something to avoid. Good work.

post #3 of 11
I'm with Tdk6 on this one. Flat terrain. Get them skiing from place to place. Lots of gliding, going across thehill. They're goping to have a hard time getting anywhere in that super wide stance. Also you can work on more simultaneous edging in the traverse. That's not gonna happen in the wide stance either.
post #4 of 11
Don't take edgy wedgies off.... you just change 'em to half on (both clamps on one ski).... that way kid does not go in to withdrawal....

Doesn't help the rehab but can make it easier to trial "removal" if you are using them....
post #5 of 11
One suggestion is to trap them inside of your own wedge.
post #6 of 11
Try this:

On very gentle terrain with a short distance up the hill. (A "walk up" carpet helps here). Have them do some "french fry" runs with no wedge at all. Let them glide to a stop. For the 3 year olds it may take a couple times until they "un-wedge" since they may not understand at first.

After they get the straight runs down have them do the same run in a wedge. Play "Who can make the smallest piece of pizza". Again the 3 year olds might not get it. If not, hold their skis in the size you want for a couple runs with you skiing backwards while bending over (I know - not easy on the back). Sometimes if you just set them up at the top they will hold whatever size wedge you put them in. This helps to "re-program" their muscles. If the terrain is gentle enough with them starting not far up and from a stop they will also need to make it smaller or they will not slide downhill.

Next you can try some "small pizza, big pizza" changing the wedge size as they slide...if they are ready and can comprehend it.

Now try some turns on the same terrain using the "small pizza".

Your basically starting over with them, but progression should much faster.

Do these without the edgy wedgies. One of the problems with using it is they HAVE to make the wedge bigger in order to turn, because they can't shuffle their feet independently. It requires that they start their turns with the outside ski to a certain degree and tends to push the outside ski out and away. I won't introduce my son to one. It's not an option. Will it make things harder? For me, yes. He doesn't know the difference. They progress however fast they progress.

Keep in mind though that many small children need to use a relatively larger wedge than adults. They are more top heavy because their heads weigh more than ours in comparison to their bodies and they often can't do the fine movements necessary to control a true gliding wedge.
post #7 of 11
In All my years, I have been fortunate enough not to have run into this situation. But I can try to give a suggestion or two. The problem, as you have stated, is that they have just learned to push their feet apart, and the EW forced the femur rotation without any muscular input.

How about painting two lines in the snow with dye, leaving about 2-3' as a corridor (it'll look like a race track which may be fun for them), and asking the kids to keep their skis in the corridor. Or maybe make the lines 6" apart and have then keep the ski tips on the lines (probably easier and more effective than the 1st suggestion). Make a corridor out of bamboo. That'll keep 'em inside the lines.

Get a longer EW and connect the tails together and get them to make a wedge with a maximum tail seperation. Or maybe use some patrol tape and tie the legs at the knees, so that the knees can't go more than X" apart. These would teach them to rotate the femurs and guide the skis in the intended direction.

Also, try something that is sometimes done with adults, but lay down on the snow and use your hands. Have the kid pick up one ski (give him some poles for balance) and put your palm against the inside of the ski tip and ask him to push the ski tip ahainst your hand. Have them do this as hard as they can for about 30 seconds to a minute each, so that their muscles really start to feel it. This will start to build some muscle memory and flex the proper muscles so that they might be able to do it while skiing. I find this works well in a typical level 1 lesson when the person is unable to rotate the femurs properly.
post #8 of 11

Take the skiis off...

Then, pivot one foot at a time, using femur rotation -- squish the bug.

Then on flat ground, have them jump and land with foot positions alternating between french fries and pizza. Hopefully, they'll use squish the bug movements to alternate. If they don't get it right away, tell them the bug is moving left and right.... be imaginative.

Once they get it, they can also jump off a small box/hump and do the same thing. Hold both hands, then one hand, then solo..... or just have them hop moving forwards and alternating pizza, and FF.

That will help gives them a balanced stance within their limitations of high CM, low strength and boot effects all at the same time. And it'll help you know what stance you may possibly acheive on the slopes -- because that's minus the fear of sliding downhill....

Hope that helps.
post #9 of 11
Boot games is a good idea.

Here's an easy one:

Take their skis off (obviously)

Everybody stand in a circle on flat surface.

Do some "AVC's"

Make an "A" with the boots, then a "V". You can get them making smaller size A's to narrow the wedge.

Now draw some "Cs" in the snow with boots, one boot at a time. Start off with a small arc and gradually increase until they are arcing around to the front and back.

Then put their skis back on and do the narrow A like you did in the boots.
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by MattL
Boot games is a good idea.

Here's an easy one:

Take their skis off (obviously)

Everybody stand in a circle on flat surface.

Do some "AVC's"

Make an "A" with the boots, then a "V". You can get them making smaller size A's to narrow the wedge.

Now draw some "Cs" in the snow with boots, one boot at a time. Start off with a small arc and gradually increase until they are arcing around to the front and back.

Then put their skis back on and do the narrow A like you did in the boots.
Totally agree. I NEVER relied those abominations in all the years I taught, plus the few years I taught my own kids. If you spend time to do off ski homework, then you will never need this crutch. Sometimes just five minutes is all it takes. The reason so many never-evers have a hard time with the wedge postions is that they have never experienced this leg/foot position before in anything else that they have done. Learning the senstation of pivoting on the toes and sweeping the heels out (and back in again) is completely foreign to them. It's not that hard to learn/understand with a little practice. You won't be sorry you spent the upfront time with your students.

post #11 of 11
Besides not learning to rotate the legs, edgie wedgie addicts do learn to lean back and push their heels out. When they make "wedge turns" with these abominations attached to their skis, they learn to push one heel out harder.

I like the "AVC" exercise with and without skis on. Do it on a piece of carpet so they don't skid too much. When "making an A", have them "look through the window" between their legs to see who's behind. Makes them go forward. If you can get them to pressure bootcuffs with their shins, they'll make an "A" if they just slide their feet apart (without the carpet).

For getting them "over" the edgie wedgie, go back to basics. Besides AVCs, try one-ski scootering followed by skating by pushing with one ski. Also try walking in circles on the flats with two skis on--they have to move the right ski right first to walk in a right circle. Gets them used to bringing the second foot up next to the one they move first. If you can, walk in an oval on a flat spot with just enough slope that they slide slightly on the long side of the oval.
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