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What Would You Do For This Lesson

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
This is an actual set of lessons that I conducted recently. The student is female, approximately 35, tall and lean, somewhat athletic. She uses rental equipment. Her husband and sons ski. She is learning to ski in order to be able to participate with them. (Husband is on old straight skis and is proficient.)

My first lesson with her was one run on upper green terrain. She was in the back seat and looking at the tips of her skis. She was a tentative wedge skier. She stopped frequently and did not link turns; there was always a traverse in between. We worked on two things, getting stacked/forward and looking ahead. This lady is motivated and a great student. She listened and tried everything I asked of her. By the end of the run, she was looking where she was going, she was consciously trying to pressure the front of the ski, and she was linking wedge turns. After the lesson she went off on her own to practice.

The next week she came back for another lesson. At the beginning of this lesson she was a strong level 3 wedge skier. She was linking turns; she was comfortable on green and beginning blue terrain; and her stance was improving. There was only a hint of her skis starting toward parallel between turns.

Here’s the question. What would you do for this second lesson? What would your goal be and what exercises and drills would you use?

I’m trying to see what various methods people would choose to use in this case. Also, it should make you think and stimulate some discussion. I’ll post what we actually did and the results for her in a few days.
post #2 of 24
What did she want to learn in the lesson?
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by therusty
What did she want to learn in the lesson?
Great Question! She wants to ski better and keep up with her husband and sons.
post #4 of 24
Goal: Earlier and early match; get on corrsponding edges; skid on corresponding edges. That should get her caught up. Learn to use two skis at once and terrain-handling ability doubles.

Ideas for activities:

Lead around terrain features attempting to trigger spontaneous matching.

Gradually increase intensity (turn shape, speed, or terrain) attempting to trigger spontaneous skidding.

Actively teach matching in any of a number of ways. Balance over outside ski, flatten inside ski, steer inside ski tip into turn. Details provided by the reader.

Forward sideslips, followed by turns into forward sideslips, followed by round skidded turns. Then explore different kinds of turns with different amounts of skid on varying terrain.
post #5 of 24
Easy. Seering of the feet (esp the inside foot) to shape the turn and weight transfer to the outside ski. The goal would be to get her skis to start matching as early in the turn as we can. If she got both of these I might also talk about releasing/flattening of the inside ski at the start of the turn.

post #6 of 24
and her stance was improving.
I would work on her stance and get her balanced. First checking her boot setup (rental in this case), making shure she is in the right size boot and it is buckled correctly, giving her support around her shins.
Any activity where she opens and closes the ankle from a balanced position, ie:skating, sidestepping, vertical sideslip to stops, stepping from foot to foot during a level traverse, or anything else where she can feel what it is like to be balanced on skis while moving.

From there, add bending and flexing the inside ankle and leg in wedge turns on green terrain, matching between turns to more fall line turns.

From there, fan christies, to learn inside leg sterring and add simotanious edge change.

The important item here is geting her balanced and learning how to open and close the ankle joints.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Good stuff, keep it coming.
post #8 of 24
Caveat Emptor - lots of relevant info is missing (e.g. length of lesson, available terrain, ability/terrain preference of husband and sons, future planned trips, etc. etc.). Under different conditions, any of these approaches could be valid.

Option 1 - The traditional lesson
Goal - Develop Christie turns
Start with increasing speed with a narrow wedge to develop a spontaneous christie. Control speed through turn shape vs skidding wedge. Focus on steering into and out of the wedge (e.g. tipping both knees into the hill or push inside ski ahead at turn finish). Start developing counter (e.g. TV turns) and hip movement across the skis (pole touch intro)/flexion&extention (bicycle turns). Develop edge control skills (side slips). Develop steering and pressure transfer skills (360 flat spins).

Option 2 - Direct to parallel path
Goal - Ski much faster
Start with carved traverse to an uphill stop. Fan progression to build comfort with very large radius turns with a large uphill finish. Teach pole touch as mechanism to link traverses.

Option 3 - Survival tactics
Goal - Develop bag of tricks for keeping up
Terrain reading/management. Group management. Side slips. Skidding for speed control. Big turns. How to cheat in the bumps. Self arrest. Dealing with fear. Terrain park for dummies. Sneak in Christies through guided discovery.
post #9 of 24
Yes good replies...

I have not seen listed is trying on nearly flat terrain (comfortalbe to the student) Step or paddle turns.

With step turns they force one to be balanced over foot in order to lift the other foot/ski. Always a great way to checkfor balance/stance.

look at how the lifted ski comes off the snow surface, does it lift parallel to the snow (Good balance) or does the tip lift first ( indicitive of balance is aft) or does the tail lift first and tip remain touching (forward balance or maybe just not lifting the toe and holding the ankle flexed during the lift).

If balance(CM-Center of Mass) is aft, then it will be much harder to step throught the turn.

There are lots of other good exercises too!
post #10 of 24
You are thinking along the same lines I am, getting her balanced over her skis. I did mention stepping from foot to foot while on a level traverse. One more -- hockey stops (similar to vertical slid slips) without jetting out and of course, lifting the whole inside ski off the snow in a turn , all on very easy greens.

post #11 of 24
Good Stuff from everybody, try this on very gentle almost flat terrain start skis ( parallel) straight in fall line slide a bit , turn skis back up trying to do 180 degree turn, demonstrate turning to the right that you turn the right ski 1st , if left, turn the left ski first all the way back up the hill. It really gets them to feel a flat ski, which will then make it easier to steer and match thru turns
post #12 of 24
From out of the fall line in a straight run on really flat terrain, roll an arch off the snow. You'll veer to that side. Put it back down, roll the other arch off the snow. You'll veer to that side. Keep doing this until it feels reliable. Then roll an arch off the snow and roll the other arch down into the snow. Finally, when proficient at rolling onto matching edges, add some increasing cuff pressure with the shins. You'll be ready to take this to steeper terrain then.
post #13 of 24
I noticed the first lesson was one run. Did she really only pay for one run or did you spend the whole lesson time doing one run. That is where I would suggest something different should be happening. Maybe it is different terrain, maybe it is less time talking and more time moving, or maybe you should be suggesting more than a quickie lesson.
A wedge is a braking maneuver even if it is a gliding wedge. However, if she is comfortable using it I would refine it by making sure she is using all three skills to accomplish her turns. If one is lacking target that skill.
When these skills are in place, the inside leg activity is where I would focus. Working on matching. First during the last half of the turn (instead of in a traverse). Then working on matching earlier and earlier, until she is ready to start the turn parallel.
How? There are so many ways and it really depends on the student.
Inso far as the stance issues, without a physical history (interview) and the chance to view her skiing, it is impossible to suggest anything beyond keeping her head up.
I know I'm am not being very specific but without a lot more to work with there is really not much more to say. Can you be more specific and detailed?
post #14 of 24
At this point how is her overall body posture? Is she fluid and loose and having a bit of fun? Is she mechanical and stiff?
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
I noticed the first lesson was one run. Did she really only pay for one run or did you spend the whole lesson time doing one run. ...
Her son was in an adaptive lesson. We help the parents with their skiing so they can ski as a family. The reason for only one run was me. I'm recovering from major stomach surgery and the day we went out was my first day on skis this season. It was also the first time I did anything athletic since August. (I've been in the Hospital on and off for 10 weeks of that time. ) I did not have the energy reserves to do more than one run at that time. So far I've skied 2 days and made 10 runs this year. Normally I'd have 30 days in skiing by now, but thats another long boring story.

Yuki, she is fluid and loose and she is having a great deal of fun.
post #16 of 24
Check out her body position. Is the mass and shoulder projection flowing down the hill? If it is, perhaps a half an hour on skating down the fall line on a nice groomer that is not too steep a nice green/blue. The idea is to get her feeling the edges in a familiar motion and you are getting her into a direct down the fall line frame of mind. A short chair in a quiet meadow is good for this ......have her push ten big (carving) agressive skates and stop. Repeat a few times. Then four agressive skating motions that become turns. She can follow you for this one. It has to start in an area where she has that "comfort zone" .... this is not a freak em' out excercise.
post #17 of 24
take her to flat terrain and work skating, no poles, doing figure 8s. wide ones, narrow ones.
next: skate her, uphill slightly (base area, bottom of run) , no poles, doing "s" turns...up slight grade (this way she's working divergent skis for maximium fwd. velo, with no need for /attempts at scrubbing.)
skate her down this same slight grade, wide "S" turns, skating the turns, then 'letting them run' when she feels gravity pull them downhill, hands-on-knees, wedge into turn, skate up and out.
skate back up again, after good breather, "S" turns uphill, and then skate across the hill, to a quick wedge turn, no poles skate up and out, back uphill, until the downhill wedges have the two of you at the base again. demo each drill repeatedly, have her follow you, swing arms, skate-styel, whilst skating (relaxes upper-body, washes away bad, stiffening postures)
then, up lift to easiest grade, no poles, skate across, tell her to try to run your skis over, skating the same, initiate a turn downhill, wedge, exit turn in uphill skate, all the way down, many turns, repeat.
after a good, sweaty hour of this, take a breather, and return to hill without poles, work on really feeling the sidecut in the wedge-turns, and then diverging out of the turn onto the uphill, now really working on 'feeling' that edge, as well. (don't encumber the pupil with this concept until this point)
now smooth it out by performing the same maneuvers without stepping/skating, keep the pupil flexing up and down- no need to be up at one point, down at another, not so much a vertical motion drill as it is a 'stay loose' drill.
grab poles, continue.
she will have broken outta several ruts after an hour or more of this class style.
post #18 of 24

Let me ask you, would you be happy if you paid for a lesson and you instructor skated you around for and hour ? I'm not sure I would (unless it was a nordic lesson....)

post #19 of 24
lonnie- i would base my happiness on the results, as my pupils all certainly have
in my 29 years of ski instructing, here and in europe, i've found that keeping the pupil moving and performing dynamic drills that they otherwise wouldn't perform in their spare time makes for very, very successful instruction.
newer instructors who are saddled by their awe of various teaching foundations tend to yap it up a bit much with their pupils, while seasoned, open-minded vets with the best results move, move and move.
i gained a well-earned reputation in several schools, in the 80s, for breaking pupils out of ruts. the neurophysical ramifications of this are considerable, as ruts, both figuratively and neurophysically, are cut into both the gray matter and the unconscious skier-mind.
breaking intermediate skiers out of ruts is hard work and demands such.
if results are driving the puil's happiness, then, yes- my pupils are certainly happy.
in fact, at most schools where i've worked, i've held the records for most request privates. were i to have devoted all of my past 29 seasons strictly to North American instruction, (as opposed to euro instruction, racing and race-coaching), i might have a more "centreline" (: ) approach.
thankfully, I didn't spend all my teaching seasons flashing my pin here in the land of the free, home of the grueling, overly verbose, slow-moving lesson.
back in '77, I really tried the yapping at the class, bullfighter stance, academic teaching style. the results were as successful as most others'.
i tried that way- how 'bout you try the dynamic methodolgy i cited i the above-post, then criticize it.
when we criticize things we haven't done, we're really only criticizing our own inexperience
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Here's What We Did

Here’s what we did. This was done on a long upper green/lower blue run. It is a direct to parallel approach.

First we performed what I call digital turns. First point the skis slightly downhill. Push off to start moving. Then step up the hill with small diverging steps; uphill ski moves first, downhill ski then brought parallel. Continue until you stop. Lather-rinse-repeat each time starting with the skis pointing closer to the fall line. When you get to one side of the hill, use a bullfighter turn and work the other turn direction.

I find digital turns do several good things. – They help the stance; it is very hard to pick up a ski while in the back seat. The student naturally moves forward and gets use to that position. – They create awareness of the little toe edge. The student must dig in the uphill (little toe) edge of the uphill ski in order to stand on the ski. – They foster student awareness and confidence in the ski edges. – They are a great balance exercise, both fore and aft along with side to side.

Once we did these, it was on to analog turns, simultaneous tipping of both skis into the hill and making smooth rounded arcs. Again, we did garlands across the hill and used bullfighter turns at each side. Each time we did it we got closer to the fall line. I was playing with the yikes zone here. Give the student a tool, show them how the tool works in a safe environment so they become confident with it, and then stretch the envelope of tool use.

We did about three to four traverses in each direction with each exercise.

Next I introduced the concept of simultaneous release of the skis. Roll both skis so the edges go flat and as soon as you start to move roll back onto your edges and turn to a stop. This is done without ever going through the fall line. Again, each time you do it drop closer to the fall line. (I call this a garland fan progression.) We did several traverses each way with the exercise.

Now, no more than a minute of words, with snow scratchings, stating that the first exercise was the bottom of turn and the second was the top of a turn. Lets see if we can put them together.

Do the release, wait for the skis to point down the fall line, then use the analog turn to complete the turn to a stop. Do both directions a few times to a complete stop to gain confidence.

Finally, link two turns, then three, and then more.

She is a great student and easily picked it up. Most of her turns were good open stance parallel. Every now and then there was a slight wedge christi that closed to parallel before the fall line. This was from a student that was in a solid wedge at the beginning. She accomplished this in about 1/2 of the run.

She paid me one of the best complements, “Wow, this is really skiing.”

Then we put it to use skiing. When it got steeper she kept ticking off the turns. We even got into some small lumps and crud and it did not faze her. We happened to run into her husband and sons. They were impressed by her improvement.

Great student, fun lessons, amazing progress; to take a student from a tentative wedge skier to a parallel skier in what was essentially two one-run lessons knocked my socks off. I was a happy camper.
post #21 of 24
Originally Posted by vlad
i tried that way- how 'bout you try the dynamic methodolgy i cited i the above-post, then criticize it.
when we criticize things we haven't done, we're really only criticizing our own inexperience

I have no doubt what you do works, however this is the feedback I'm looking for from my students....

Originally Posted by T-Square
She paid me one of the best complements, “Wow, this is really skiing.”
And based on your description, skating isn't "really" skiing, sorry. My personal philosophy is that I try to minimize the "exercises" in a lesson and try to work on the movement in as close to it's "natural application" as I can. You know "real" skiing. Why clutter the issue in the students mind by doing a movement that may or may not be the actucal appliaction of the skill in question. I've had too many students come to me over the years after incorporating an "exercise" or a maneuver into their skiing. Most commonly it was something they were shown in a lesson which was originally used to demonstrate a point or emphasize a skill which the student then interpreted as "proper skiing".

All of this can be done without being "verbose". Why not just go out and ski as much as you can, emphasizing the proper movement patterns and correcting the bad ones? I like to ski right in front of or behind my students giving instant feed back (while we are moving) when things are right or wrong. Again, real skiing.

If your approach works for you great, I just don't think I'd personally be happy in a skating lesson. Ultimately, I'm sure this comes down to European vs American learning styles. And trust me, most American's wouldn't stand for your progression for very long....

post #22 of 24
i hearya, lon-
maybe my description of what i'd utilize to overcome one rut is what's causing this communication rift.
I began my teaching career in the states, and developed my kinetic teaching style while working with inner-city school groups form the greater NYC area.
at the school where i started (the old vernon valley/great gorge resort ski school, the sorta mickey d's of skiing) we had long shifts of 10 or so 1 hour lessons, per day, of school groups. you gotta keep them kids moving to keep 'em interested, so the core instructors developed a much more movement conscious style which, upon flowing ove rinto other lessons, proved to generate dramatic results and wide smiles.
i've taught professionally, as i'd said, since '77, had to start with kids for the first few years. it's fair to say that i've taught far and away more ski lessons than you might realize, and my yank clientele have ravenously devoured my training style.
keep[ing 'em moving, and doing drills which they wouldn't norm,ally be executing on their own, on the hill, breaks 'em outta those intermediate and upper-level ruts.
criticize all you like, but until you've taught this way, or have taught for the better part of 29 seasons in primarily HIGH -Volume venues, save the expostulations.
i've been getting outstanding results without 'em
hey- maybe i can help you with your skiing
post #23 of 24

From there, fan christies, to learn inside leg sterring and add simotanious edge change.
Yea, that was my prescription, and getting her balanced first.

Any activity where she opens and closes the ankle from a balanced position, ie:skating, sidestepping, vertical sideslip to stops, stepping from foot to foot during a level traverse, or anything else where she can feel what it is like to be balanced on skis while moving.

Like above^


post #24 of 24
take her poles away from her for some time, and skate her, across the hill, uphill after turns, etc. etc.
get her total consciousness on her lower body.
practice the above with one pole held parallel to the upcoming terrain-horizon at all times, for a changeup.
lose the academia, get her active and aggressive.
she will imporove,
she will grin
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