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Inspirational skiing

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
At higher levels of exams and selections, you often hear the phrase "we want to see inspirational skiing."
American Heritage dictionary says that "inspiration is stimuation of mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity?"

What is inspirational skiing? I know I have seen and been motivated by skiers that in my opinion demonstrate inspirational skiing. But what are the technical elements that qualify it as inspirational?
Are there inspirational skiers, or is it simply inspirational runs? How do you coach someone who has the technical skill but maybe not the energy, to be inspirational?

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 5
Great question Lu Whoo!

There are many ways to inspire. Some of the ways include speed, line, energy efficiency, strength, smoothness, body language, ignorance of adverse conditions and acrobatics. Each way, on it's own, may seem like it would be enough to inspire, but there is always another element that makes the difference between inspiring and just another run. What is the difference between a beginner straight lining a green run and expert straight lining a chute? An untrained eye can see the difference in speed and pitch. But a trained eye can discern fear in the posture and facial expressions of a beginner and the better balanced and subtle movements of an expert. There's a difference between muscling your skis and using your strength efficiently to achieve powerful movements. We often get coached to "have fun" and "play" with our skiing in order to eliminate defensive movements. This is a key for inspirational skiing. If you can combine this with a performance on the upper end of the ability scale in the above areas, you are well on your way to inspirational skiing. Finally, keep in mind that inspiration is relative. Many of my first time students are inspired from watching my backwards skiing as I help them down the hill, but none of my peers are impressed. Inspiration can be as simple as doing something well that others find difficult to do.
post #3 of 5
That's a tough one, for I imagine the examiners were thinking of inspiring students, not themselves, for few examiners will be inspired by the skiing of a mere candidate, though I have examined European full certs taking the PSIA L3 exam and been inspired, amazed, and humbled that our roles were not reversed.

Still, I have come to the conclusion that the only valid reason to insist that ski teachers be good skiers is in order to inspire students to say "I want that!"

To a developing skier, good skiing is inspirational. It doesn't have to be edgy or heart in the mouth exciting, just smooth, flowing and elegant.
post #4 of 5
Those are interesting questions. I know I have certainly been inspired by some skiers I have spent time with. I would say that common in all of them, is the lack of deliberate technique. By that I mean that they are not skiing a certain technique, their technique is subserviant to their own style and personality. They are skiing totaly in the moment, in total partnership with the mountain, totaly absorbed by playfull intent.

Even though, most of my exsposure to inspirational skiers has been during exams or clinics, it hasn't happened to me while watching tasks or centerline demos. It's when our skiing is taken out to the mountain and opened up, that I have witness this inspiring skiing. I would also say that skiers that have inspired me have been consistent in their inspiring skiing, they didn't just get in one inspiring run, they just naturaly ski that way, all the time. I think that many good skiers are capable of laying down an inspiring run on occassion, though, it is the consistency that sets the truly inspiring skiers from the rest. They are in full bloom, so to speak.

From a teaching perspective, my inspirations have come when the skier has made me feel like this level of skiiing might just be attainable for the rest of us if we just let go and truly danced with the mountain.

Hopefully the rest of us as teachers, are at some level, inspiring our students down the path towards their own passioned refinement and full bloom. later, RicB.
post #5 of 5
This is an interesting question. The phrase "we want to see inspirational skiing" is often used in Canada as well at the high end.....always for the high end runs in L4, and to a lesser extent L3.

From the examiners perspective what we are looking for is who to pass, and who not. Often at that level, many candidates are able to make the moves and show expert technique on easy terrain (blue groomers) but to pass the high levels we ALSO want to see expert technique COMBINED WITH strength. agility and instinct.

At exams the examiners will pick the run, say a gnarly icy bump run.....some cadidates will ski slow, round turns, and show good technique...no mistakes....arms bent 30.7 degrees, knee hip angulation at the desired 163.4 degrees, head slightly cocked outward at 8 percent off center..blah blah blah....you know the type. Hell just read 90percent of posts here. Good technique, but no demonstration of strength, agility or instinct. Result...close but still a fail, not a true expert yet.

Then there is the other guy...who attacks the bumps, shows great technique, speed, but hits some air gets chucked into the backseat, recovers quickly and is back into the rythm, then after a few more great turns at speed, hits another bump, launches big time, lands on the top of another bump and comes down hard, but again skillfully recovers and finishes the run, back in top form. This guy shows the full package, technique, strength, agility and instinct. Result? Pass with flying colours.

Great skiing is not about knees bent at 34degrees, arms out at 150 blah blah...."inspirational" skiing is about just that....the top CSIA and PSIA examiners know that. If you want to be one...they expect you to know that too......ie: show us your best....technique at speed....if it falters abit that is fine...they get chucked too on occasion.

They are not expecting you to ski without mistakes...what they are expecting is that if you do get bent out of shape you can recover...that is an expert....how many times have you seen someone who skiis well, but when they get bent out of shape, say in the bumps...they end up "riding the pony" across the hill until they dumped enough speed to get back into it? Not a true expert.

How to train for it? Easy....when I was training for my L4 our coach would simply look us in the eye and say...."follow me down here....and keep up".
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