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Expectations of New Skiers

post #1 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
In fact, I would go further and wonder if one of the reasons skiing was so popular from the 1960’s through the ‘80’s was that the bar was lower with respect to skill. It was OK to snowplow. It was more than OK to ski the greens and blues. If you went skiing at all, you were regarded with a bit of awe by your non-skiing family and friends, no matter what you did on the hill. Nowdays, expectations are incredibly higher, and if you are a young guy and can’t compete in an extreme skiing competition after a few times on skis, you might as well cut your loses and get out of the sport “cuz your nothing but a loser”. I think that managing expectations is an important goal for the ski industry. It won’t be simple, but telling newbie skiers that it’s OK to use “cheater” gear (ie, wider in addition to shorter), and not carve for your first couple of weeks on skis is just fine.
The above quote was taken from an excellent post by PhysicsMan in this thread in the gear discussion section.

I thought this would be a interesting discussion for the instruction section. It never really occured to before but the "face" of the sport of skiing is being changed by things like backcountry skiing and movies, the X-Games, and other park-type stunts that are projected into the media. Clearly the sport is evolving; we have known that for a long time... but is it giving newcomers to the sport a skewed picture of what the sport of skiing really is? There is such a tiny percentage of skiers in that backcountry skier category; but it seems that those skiers are projected as representations of what the sport of skiing really is... and better yet, what to expect of yourself when you are skiing in terms of ability to do tricks and what terrain you are capable of skiing on. The discussion in the gear section handles the ole that new ski gear might be playing in this; but leaves out effects on instruction and the expectations of skiers just coming into the sport.

Later

GREG
post #2 of 124
Really great questions, Greg!

Don't you think that a good deal of the issue is that it doesn't seem all the difficult to slide around on skis?
post #3 of 124
What Physicsman infers is that the early entry of intermediates to great terrain and snow may contribute to higher retention rates for the sport. Easier to use equipment and less structured instruction to increase early accomplishments are especially attractive to younger skiers, just as this approach caused snowboarding to explode.

I have two questions.

1. Who are the skiers pursuing carving today? Are they the ones who have progressed through modern ski school (<5 years experience), or the experienced skiers that expanded an already large complement of skills, and added this tool when the gear changed?

2. Should carving really the goal of a new skier; or is that something that becomes desireable long AFTER you have "conquered" the mountain, and discover the need for another tool? In other words, could new skiers (students) benefit from advancing faster to ski the whole mountain, then revisit the finer techniques at a later time?

I hope I read the question properly. I may have an opinion, but I'd like to hear from others first.
post #4 of 124
Thread Starter 
You are on point CR. I have an opinion on those questions as well. I know what my personal progression was... but I think I learned the hard way...
Later
GREG
post #5 of 124
One part of me wants to resist that statement but, on the other hand it also reminded me of a similiar statement I made a few years ago. There is no "positive" movie or film in which recreational skiing is in portrayed. My rant was on the "Johnny Tsunami", thing where the skiers are the evil force on the mountain versus the cute & cuddly boarders.

So sadly .... that is probably true ... there is no place where it's just cool to ski. I do remember many of my friends in the 60's who thought that it was a sport of "risk" .... they thought I was nuts.

post #6 of 124
Yuki, you raise the other important side of this whole issue. Greg properly says the media is raising expectations. That expectation is one of taking tremendous risks. Higher, steeper, faster, deeper, bigger exposure, farther out of bounds. I have been skiing some 35 years and suddenly find my risk acceptance ramping up significantly in the last couple years. At the age of 52? :

How much do these expectations act to deter or attract new skiers? Will some avoid peer pressure by avoiding snowsports?
post #7 of 124
I don't see much change.
Skiing boomed in the 60s and 70s because people could afford to go skiing.
I can't speak for all skiers, but for me it was to get down the hill with the greatest speed and control. I taught myself how to carve with straight GS skis at speed on groomed eastern slopes, though I didn't call it "carving"; it was just ski really fast, lean to turn and don't let the edge skid, 'cause that kills off speed. I taught my daughter how to ski recently: snow-plow, stem-christie, carved turn. Being a slow learner, she spent an extra day stuck on the stem-christie phase and didn't learn to carve until her third day out. It was the same progression I had gone through in the "boom" years.
post #8 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by cirquerider
or the experienced skiers that expanded an already large complement of skills, and added this tool when the gear changed?
That was it for me. I knew how to edge from race training. The carving came when I put on the new skis back in 2000 or so.
post #9 of 124
Compared to snowboarding, video games and other competing sources of winter entertainment, skiing tends to require more effort to obtain comparable levels of proficiency. Many both young and not so are looking for instant gratification and become frustrated when a sense of accomplishment doesn't come quickly. This may also help account for the emergence of "direct parallel" type programs to compete with wedge type progressions.

Managing expectations with initial emphasis on the pure fun aspects of the sport as well as creating incentives beyond the common three day lesson packages may help improve retention and reduce frustrations among those new to the sport. In my own case, it was sheer stubbornness that kept me from simply tossing my skis away during in my early forays into the sport. However, relying on the stubbornness factor will not likely be an effective prescription for the majority of new skiers.

I recall being coached early on to turn from my feet up the kinetic chain. I was thinking, My feet? What is he talking about!?! All I can feel in my feet is intense pain!!! I have to figure a way to turn without making my feet hurt any more than they do already! Maybe if I start from the shoulders down... My point here is that managing expectations can also be promoted by getting students in decent gear first to make the experience more pleasant and enhance the ability of the new skier to actually learn.

As far as skiing and the media, I;m not sure that the X-games, extreme skiing and park and pipe hurt skiing because of mismatched expectations. Skiing is much like surfing in this respect. Most who surf will never obtain the level of proficiency demonstrated by competitive surfers Big Wave or otherwise but that doesn't seem to have detracted from the allure of the sport much. But surfers like skiers require time to become proficient and a lot of boards spend a lot of time parked on the beach while their owners work on improving their tans instead of their skills. Since that is not much of an option for skiers during winter, perhaps the skiing experience should focus on fun while improving and encourage intruction beyond a three lesson norm.
post #10 of 124
I think it is a great question Greg.
I feel the media attracts skiers. However as media consumers we are "trained" to expect something dramatic, or sensational to happen during a film. Sort of an ESPN highlight mentality, which is the visual equivalent of a "sound bite". As proof I suggest you watch a ski film and notice how long they spend on each individual shot. Usually not more than about five seconds. There might be supporting scenes that are longer, or a series of skiing shots pasted together but capturing the sport on film is hard because we are moving across so much terrain.
Bond movies add drama by creating a chase scene (great work by Willie Bogner BTW), or a ski stunt scene. Same can be said for Miller, Stump, and just about every ski film producer.
Sensationalized danger and adventure sells the sport. Having made many ski school training films I can tell you outside of the MA training, or visual feddback for a student, most regular skiing scenes are simply too boring for feature films, or the main stream media in general.
So while it might scare some potential customer away, part of the initial attraction of skiing is the adventure. The hook for me was that it was/is not easy to master. Like golf and tennis it takes an investment of time and effort to improve. That inner sense of accomplishment is what we sell once we get people on the snow but without the initial interest created by the media there would be a lot fewer first timers.
D
post #11 of 124

60/70

"In fact, I would go further and wonder if one of the reasons skiing was so popular from the 1960’s through the ‘80’s was that the bar was lower with respect to skill. It was OK to snowplow. It was more than OK to ski the greens and blues. If you went skiing at all, you were regarded with a bit of awe by your non-skiing family and friends, no matter what you did on the hill. "

I understand the intent behind this, and I also agree with it, but I also believe that the bar was also higher with respect to skill as well. It was OK to do a lot of things on the hill, but it was much harder, and it took longer to be great/good. I have often heard Glen Plake say that the new equipment used today is allowing people to do too much too fast. I think this is one of the many reasons for people taking fewer lessons.

Back in the 60 and early 70’ skiing was more romanticized than it is now. There was an aura around the sport that no longer exists especially in the northeast. Although this next comment may belong in a different thread professional appearance mattered more in ages past. The stereo-typed hunk of meat ski instructor has been replaced by middle America in general we are not that fit, many more than admit it smoke, are overweight, more than I want to admit have personal hygiene issues at least in our locker room, and look dirty. It matters. The majority of the bell curve may not care how well they rip they are buying a service and in the 60’s a type of fantasy/ admiration. Ya I know those interested in only performance may get past some of these things, piercing etc., which is great but this is not the majority of lesson takers

"I think that managing expectations is an important goal for the ski industry. It won’t be simple, but telling newbie skiers that it’s OK to use "cheater" gear (ie, wider in addition to shorter), and not carve for your first couple of weeks on skis is just fine."


I don’t think that people believe they shouldn’t use cheater gear. I am not even sure what that means now, and I am certain that people generally don’t buy gear correctly thanks to the media and the shops. When people are new they use whatever they use rentals friends stuff etc. rarely someone buys this equipment before going the rental route for a while. I don’t think people need to be told this but they do need good professional help in selecting gear that is right for them it can make a world of difference for today’s ala carte skier. Not carve for the first couple of weeks? Many ski instructors don’t carve very well and it is a matter of weeks? I’m not interested in anecdotes about new carvers I see this en mass every winter, level 8’s don’t carve most of the time…Maybe easterner see carving differently?

It is the false impression that carving can be achieved in such a short period of time by the majority of skiers that is now (one of the reasons) reducing the roles of ski schools to a few lessons and your done.
post #12 of 124
IMO, an overweight ski instructor is a good thing. It shows that you don't need to be perfect to ski -- that is far less intimidating.

The underlying assumption of the question is that we have all become very judgmental. eg. "If you can't carve in two weeks, you suck."

What in heavens name would bring someone think like that? It's not skiing or ski movies that did that -- that sort of thing just comes from the notion that talking trash and exhibiting disrespectful behaviour is cool...

It's a cultural thing: If it takes more than a day or two, it needs too much commitment and attention. Now where's the chips and the channel changer?
post #13 of 124
I find it stupid that so many of you "experts" critise new skiers who may not use advanced techniques such as carving etc..

I say people have every right too ski whatever terrain they have the Balls to ski, regardless of abillity. I was on blacks my first day, Should I have been on them ?? Probably not (my gf sure as hell didn't think so), but I didn't and don't scare easily, and going to the harder terrain before I was ready for it made me develop MUCH faster... It only makes sense...this applies to all other aspects of life so why not skiing ??

With that said, I will go on to say that carving is best learned by experience, and well doing it WRONG for a number of years... I have a friend of mine who was an istructor teach me how to carve properly down icy slopes in the east, BUT even before that I was carving, although not smoothly like I am now, It was still a form of carving.

I will also add, that I think the east develops better carvers (or at least develops them faster) than the west. East coast terrain is NOT forgiving at all, If you want to rip full speed down a slope you better carve properly or ur falling on some hard ICE, west coast groomers are MUCH more forgiving..

But overall proper carving came to me with time, initially I was "Skidding" on my tails, because well it came naturaly to me, I then was tought to shift my weight more towards the center/front and that did wonders for my form...Finally I learned to distribute my weight evenly on BOTH skis when I turned instead of just the outside one...

I guess what I'm saying is don't be so judgemental on "NEW SKIERS" the sport is BOOMING right now, so it's obvious that you'll see lots of skiers who aren't carving, etc. give them time, they'll get there..If anything when you see someone who is OBVIOUSLY out of his comfort zone, instead of being a dick, stop for a second and give him advice, and teach him how to get down safely...THAT SHOULD BE what you "experts" should do when you see new skiers on "expert terrain" instead of complaining about technique...take a minute and show them the proper technique..



DISCLAIMER:
**please take what I say with a grain of salt I've only been in the sport for five, but at the same time don't discretic my abilities one bit I do know my stuff **

** Mod edited for language
post #14 of 124
Post a video, xtremity. We can then judge your last statement.

Did you know that any ski competitor worth his salt in the Fifties raced slalom, downhill and jumped too? Almost every ski hill had a big honking wooden ski jump and anyone could take it on.

IMHO, the biggest difference between the old days and the new is technology and torts.
post #15 of 124
Xtremity, this thread questions the teaching progressions that emphasize structured progressions towards edge control and carving; and whether a less formal approach that gets the skier to the top of the mountain might be better. At least better in terms of getting the skier excited about the sport and to continue skiing. Your experience seems to support that rapid progression is satisfying. You also indicate you have refined techincal skills. This thread is all about supporting skiers like you, that benefit from a rapid, less formal learning progression, not criticism.
post #16 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Post a video, xtremity. We can then judge your last statement.

Did you know that any ski competitor worth his salt in the Fifties raced slalom, downhill and jumped too? Almost every ski hill had a big honking wooden ski jump and anyone could take it on.

IMHO, the biggest difference between the old days and the new is technology and torts.
what's worth his salt mean ? seriously.. you lost me..

I'd love to post a video, even for just the critism so I can improve (i'm sure I can always improve like the rest of us) unfortuntely I don't have any, I think I might have one of me skiing during my first year, but that's mainly me on my buttox..hehe I'll get some footage early next season, I would love the critism of this site...

in the mean time i'll see if i can find some picts..
post #17 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Did you know that any ski competitor worth his salt in the Fifties raced slalom, downhill and jumped too? Almost every ski hill had a big honking wooden ski jump and anyone could take it on.
Are you serious? Name a competitor known for both slalom (alpine) and jumping (nordic). Tony Sailer jumped?
What ski hills had jumps?
post #18 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremity
I find it stupid that so many of you "experts" critise new skiers who may not use advanced techniques such as carving etc..

If anything when you see someone who is OBVIOUSLY out of his comfort zone, instead of being a dick, stop for a second and give him advice, and teach him how to get down safely...THAT SHOULD BE what you "experts" should do when you see new skiers on "expert terrain" instead of complaining about technique...take a minute and show them the proper technique..
Do you find it stupid to criticize new snowboarders who ride down an expert slope and never use their toe edge, leaving a 5 foot wide snailtrail behind them. To me it's the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremity
stop for a second and teach the new skier to get down safely???
If you can teach a new skier how to carve down an expert trail safely in a second, maybe you should rewrite the PSIA manual.

Skiing is a snob sport, we may be friendly with beginner and intermediate skiers, but we don't accept them as one of us until they can proficiently ski with us. That's one of the hooks of skiing, "one day I want to ski like him (dreamily thinking of your ideal skier)."

P.S. I stop all the time whem I'm on the job, and once in a while when freeskiing if they're cute.
post #19 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn
Do you find it stupid to criticize new snowboarders who ride down an expert slope and never use their toe edge, leaving a 5 foot wide snailtrail behind them. To me it's the same thing.


If you can teach a new skier how to carve down an expert trail safely in a second, maybe you should rewrite the PSIA manual.

Skiing is a snob sport, we may be friendly with beginner and intermediate skiers, but we don't accept them as one of us until they can proficiently ski with us. That's one of the hooks of skiing, "one day I want to ski like him (dreamily thinking of your ideal skier)."

P.S. I stop all the time whem I'm on the job, and once in a while when freeskiing if they're cute.

I don't mind snowboaders "scraping off the snow"....but I do wish they stayed to side when they do it...when I was learning I didn't ski down the CEnter of the black runs like some of these idiots do...I made it a point to stay out of the way of the people who knew what they were doing...

this is the only problem I have with boarders that scrape off the snow...they get in the way...I could care less if they were scraping down sides...just stay out of my way...plain and simple..

as far as teaching people...I don't mean teach them everything I mean stop and teach someone the basics so they can get down safely, or at very least tell someone who's ahving trouble to stick to the side of trail so they don't get clobered...that's all.
post #20 of 124
I should also mention that I'm being a critic in the post, because I rarely ever stop to help someone out, I just don't care enough to..but at the same time I don't complain about them either...

hehehehe...I love preaching when I'm just as bad as everyone else...haha everyone's a critic.

Actually I'm usually the ******* who carves right near them to drench them in snow....especially if they're on black runs and don't belong..

so please don't think i'm a saint on the slope I'm as bad as the next person I was just introducing a different perspective..

hahaha i'm a bum
post #21 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremity
I find it stupid that so many of you "experts" critise new skiers who may not use advanced techniques such as carving etc..

DISCLAIMER:
**please take what I say with a grain of salt I've only been in the sport for five, but at the same time don't discretic my abilities one bit I do know my stuff**
Please try to understand the difference between *critique* and *critisism*.

This forum is for the betterment of of the sport of skiing, which in turn means it is for the betterment of the skier(gear, technique, and social climate)
post #22 of 124

Plenty of salt needed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremity
I find it stupid that so many of you "experts" critise new skiers who may not use advanced techniques such as carving etc..

I say people have every right too ski whatever terrain they have the Balls to ski, regardless of abillity. I was on blacks my first day, Should I have been on them ?? Probably not (my gf sure as hell didn't think so), but I didn't and don't scare easily, and going to the harder terrain before I was ready for it made me develop MUCH faster... It only makes sense...this applies to all other aspects of life so why not skiing ??

With that said, I will go on to say that carving is best learned by experience, and well doing it WRONG for a number of years... I have a friend of mine who was an istructor teach me how to carve properly down icy slopes in the east, BUT even before that I was carving, although not smoothly like I am now, It was still a form of carving.

I will also add, that I think the east develops better carvers (or at least develops them faster) than the west. East coast terrain is NOT forgiving at all, If you want to rip full speed down a slope you better carve properly or ur falling on some hard ICE, west coast groomers are MUCH more forgiving..

But overall proper carving came to me with time, initially I was "Skidding" on my tails, because well it came naturaly to me, I then was tought to shift my weight more towards the center/front and that did wonders for my form...Finally I learned to distribute my weight evenly on BOTH skis when I turned instead of just the outside one...

I guess what I'm saying is don't be so judgemental on "NEW SKIERS" the sport is BOOMING right now, so it's obvious that you'll see lots of skiers who aren't carving, etc. give them time, they'll get there..If anything when you see someone who is OBVIOUSLY out of his comfort zone, instead of being a dick, stop for a second and give him advice, and teach him how to get down safely...THAT SHOULD BE what you "experts" should do when you see new skiers on "expert terrain" instead of complaining about technique...take a minute and show them the proper technique..



DISCLAIMER:
**please take what I say with a grain of salt I've only been in the sport for five, but at the same time don't discretic my abilities one bit I do know my stuff **
Xtremity,

Is it your vast experience that supports your position of the experts on this site being stupid? Your rash and ill considered postings may reveal more than you imagine, though (as always) you don’t know what you don’t know.

However, we all now know many things from your abundant postings:


You don’t have a clue how to help your girl friend improve, yet will not bat an eye when telling life time pro’s they’re stupid – because you know your stuff!

You quickly dismiss and criticize well known skill building exercises – because you know your stuff!

You ski in beginner boots that are not properly sized – because you know your stuff!

Experienced pro’s here with 30, 40, 50, 60 …plus years continue to work on their skills every season, though over 5 short years, proper carving eventually came to you and you can now finally use both skis – because you know your stuff!


Sorry to be harsh, however, as one who does appreciate the FREE contributions by the many pro’s who do frequent this site (and clearly do know their shit!) I suggest you take you’re trolls elsewhere - or at least set aside your preconception that you know something and see what you might be able to learn.

Chris

** Mod edited for language.
post #23 of 124
^^^^What He Said^^^^

Have fun here, you can even go so far as to disagree, but don't bang on the Pro's.
post #24 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
^^^^What He Said^^^^

Have fun here, you can even go so far as to disagree, but don't bang on the Pro's.
like i said, I never banged on the pro's, especially since they did nothing but help me out on these boards..

I simplying saying that the idea that a new skier shoud use pro techniques was stupid, I wasn't calling anyone here stupid, sorry if anyone felt that way..
post #25 of 124
Good Questions Cir,

Quote:
2. Should carving really the goal of a new skier; or is that something that becomes desireable long AFTER you have "conquered" the mountain, and discover the need for another tool? In other words, could new skiers (students) benefit from advancing faster to ski the whole mountain, then revisit the finer techniques at a later time?
We all know that the goal of a new skiier is to have fun while getting recreation. The job of instructors is to help with that and add safety to the mix. The average "joe public" who is either a new skiier, a going to be a skiier, or is a beginner novist doesn't know the difference between train tracks, a skid, a scarve or even a slide slip, so expectations of a new skiier carving after a few days skiing is unrealistic. I would rather have them learn to skid and blend rotary skills for direction changes and speed control before they even think about steeper terrain or carving. I don't want to share the slopes with a bunch of unguided mistles and I am shure no one else does either.

RW
post #26 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Are you serious? Name a competitor known for both slalom (alpine) and jumping (nordic). Tony Sailer jumped?
What ski hills had jumps?
In my personal experience, Mt. Spokane and Bridger Bowl had jumps and Montana Snowbowl still has a jump--all regular old ski areas.

The multidiscipline ethic in skiing is part of its Norwegian heritage--the all-round skier being regarded as the true champion (cf. Sondre Norheim). Those days began to recede when skiing became an Olympic event and event specialization became the norm. I should probably have said Thirties and Forties.

Interesting story: http://artdevlins.com/HistoryofArtDevlin.htm See the competition timeline, where he was Eastern Champ in jumping and downhill, 1941.

Here's another interesting link for those interested in ski history: http://www.skiinghistory.org/HistoricDates.html
post #27 of 124

life



"I find it stupid that so many of you "experts" critise new skiers who may not use advanced techniques such as carving etc.. I say people have every right too ski whatever terrain they have the Balls to ski, regardless of abillity. I was on blacks my first day, Should I have been on them ?? Probably not (my gf sure as hell didn't think so), but I didn't and don't scare easily, and going to the harder terrain before I was ready for it made me develop MUCH faster... It only makes sense...this applies to all other aspects of life so why not skiing ?? "

This doesn’t apply to other aspects of life. Would you want a surgeon to operate on you just because he thought he was ready and willing to take the risk? Would you want an airplane pilot to fly the jet you were on because he thought he could do it.

Would you want to be hit while skiing because someone on the slope you were on was skiing above their head, would you want a family member injured because someone else took a chance? Maybe permanently.

As for the rest of your post it may be a matter of semantics, when I said carving I meant really carving, it wasn’t meant to disparage people on the journey. Language and use is important so I can understand what you are saying.

As for:
" I guess what I'm saying is don't be so judgmental on "NEW SKIERS" the sport is BOOMING right now, "

The sport is not booming not in this country anyway. The sport faces serious demographic challenges and everyone in the business recognizes this truth.

"If anything when you see someone who is OBVIOUSLY out of his comfort zone, instead of being a dick, stop for a second and give him advice, and teach him how to get down safely...THAT SHOULD BE what you "experts" should do when you see new skiers on "expert terrain" instead of complaining about technique...take a minute and show them the proper
technique.."

A person in this situation should seek out instruction. Un fortunatley most people never realize they need the help. The ones that struggle try not to put themselves in that situation again, and the far more dangourous skiers are the ones that are going for it and have no idea they are not in control or even what good skiing looks like. Some injuries are forever.

post #28 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtremity
i'm a bum
That's the first thing you said I can agree with.
post #29 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
That's the first thing you said I can agree with.
glad we could agree.
post #30 of 124
OK...Now can we get back to the subject at hand?
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