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question about beginning

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks,

I have been teaching alpine for the better part of 2 decades. In the 90's I rode a little, but it's been 10 years or more since I have been on a board. I have a rotten lower lumbar (all five vertabrea and the discs between starting in early childhood and continually but slowly degenerating. I am in my late 50's now). When I started riding back then, one of the trainers at the resort where I worked suggested using poles until I find my sweet spot to act as aids in eliminating the fear of a heal fall ... which would at least put me to bed for several days, if not find me in a wheel chair forever. (OK, maybe a little melodramatic, but you get the picture.) The suggestion was brilliant in that before I was incredibly tense ... the worst never ever on the hill. Then miraculously, with the poles, I was carving blues within a couple of hours.

Business demographics demands being multi discipined and at Keystone the only realistic other option for me is getting back on a board. Something I am actually looking forward to.

It seems to me as an educator, that any tool that assists in reaching a desired goal is appropriate, as long as said tool does not become a crutch. The question I pose to you - the Snowboard pros - is to ask your opinion of using poles or some other aid in assisting me (or any student who is having a specific difficulty) to overcome a very real demon.

thnx for your ideas.
post #2 of 24
Wow, that is a tough one. Ok, you are going to be labeled a kook using poles while snowboarding. Then again he freakin' cares, I really hate it when people tell me how I "should" enjoy my sports. FU! I will enjoy stuff however I want.

Poles may help, though I think you will still have a hard time avoiding the sudden "flyswatter slam" even with poles.

The other thing is, I do ride with poles frequently since I mostly ride backcountry. The only way to get out is with poles. I can say they suck when you are cruising along. No way I want to have a pole in each hand. It just screws up the balance and turning dynamics on a snowboard. I can do it, but there is a certain "swing" involved in snowboarding that is more dramatically effected by poles than with skiing. When I am moving along, I generally grab both poles in the middle with one hand and carry them horizontally to reduce their effect on my balance.

So use them, but I think rather quickly you are going to out grow the usefulness for them. Maybe ass pads, something to reduce the shock would be better. There are several out there, and you people can't really tell you are wearing the "pad diaper". If anything, it just looks like you have a little junk in your trunk. I had a bruised tailbone and of course I couldn't take the time of to let it heal right, so I used arse pads for that year to help minimize the pain if I should take a "seat" suddenly.
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
[snip]

Poles may help, though I think you will still have a hard time avoiding the sudden "flyswatter slam" even with poles. [snip]
Regarding using poles to avoid slams, I think this sums it up. Plus the dynamic nature of catching an edge hard while riding would put you at more risk of skier's thumb, or in this case rider's thumb, imo.

Regarding using poles to help with timing of turns, angulation, etc. there have been some old posts on here concerning this. Vlad had some great drills that he posted last year that I found helpful. I can attest that poles with a snowboard draws some stares, but again who cares.

While I don't teach, imo for skiers crossing over having moderately forward angles helps a lot in avoid the worst of caught edges. A Burton LTR program might be a good way to get back into it initially because those boards are designed to be very forgiving. I'd personally get off those boards asap though and onto something torsionally a bit stiffer for better performance, but when you do this make sure to detune slightly at nose & tail in addition to having a 1 degree base bevel, basically just what you'd do to keep slalom skis from being too grabby.

But, in truth you're still gonna take some slams. If your doctor really thinks this is problematic, telemarking might be a better way to diversify if you don't tele yet. Obviously there's lot of potential slammage there too, but more directed towards hips knees & nose imo and less tailbone, shoulder & wrist.
post #4 of 24
Pardon me for moving the thread just after it started to get popular, but I view this as a technique question.

I used poles for a while when I was learning to ride. Our school had an alpine board program that had these goofy pads you held in your hands that worked as cushions if you slammed, but also provided support if you leaned too far. So I thought, hey why not try poles to work as support the same way. It got me over the fear of slamming, but also got me frustrated because I was not using the board edge to turn either.

After I learned to ride the hard way and started teaching, AASI came up with some new teaching approaches. With these approaches, my students slammed much less in the lessons. So first off, I'd recommend an level 2 or higher AASI certified pro as one option that will get you going again with less slamming.

Second, I'd recommend the full protection route: helmet, wrist guards, butt pads, and somewhat controverially - a back belt. I'd recommend dropping the back belt ASAP, but I think the extra protection might be worth it for the first few days until you get up to speed.

Next, I'd recommend taking it easy. I worked my way up to riding by doing an hour, then 2 and so on until I finally got my own gear, took time off for a trip out West and dedicated a couple of days to riding hard in soft snow (but still alternating riding days with skiing days). As a ski instructor, you can easily sneak an hour here and there to try the sport out.

Finally, I'll offer one more option. One controversial teaching technique that I've mastered is something I call "power assist". This involves me riding side by side with a student with me holding on and providing as much control as necessary. With some people, it starts out like a tandem skydive, the student is just along for the ride and I do all the work. Sometimes we fall, but I can lessen the impact dramatically. Most of the time I can prevent falls entirely. As the student gets better, I provide less and less support and more direct hands on feedback (e.g. touching the front knee to move it forward, repositioning the head and shoulders, etc.). The beauty of this teaching approach is that it can get you through the catch 22 of not being able to "feel" what riding is about until you do it and not being able to do it until you feel it. Please note that are some very excellent instructors who think this teaching approach is VERY bad, that you will learn much quicker without this handholding. My opinion and my experience is that this approach works extremely well for those who are overly concerned about slamming.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

that's your job, rusty

Thnx guys for the input. I am not sure whether I am going to risk it. Certainly I have considered other disciplines tele, kids, adaptive are all vaible options, however at Keystone we only teach alpine and riding. Specialties - racing and freestyle are also recognized. SO - the decision is health vs. business. I hope more opinions are forthcoming.

best - z
post #6 of 24
In adaptive snowboarding, we often use hand-held outriggers to provide students with more support. You have probably seen these - short little "skis" mounted on the end of an arm crutch. Since the outriggers glide along the surface, they allow the students to flow smoothly through turns. I will also often tether a beginning snowboarder to allow them to get the feel for linking turns without having to worry about speed control. This has allowed many students to reach the point of being comfortable riding green slopes with minimal falls (we taught one skier cross-over last season with only 3 minor falls in a 2 hour lesson).

Good Luck!

Chris S.
Level I Adaptive Snowboarding
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

big thanks

Hi Y'all,

Thnx for all the advise. I bought ass pads today and hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday I start the cross over. Wish me luck.

Those that I have spoken with here at Keystone will not let me in class with poles, or should I say teaching aid. I have a big philosophical problem with this as mentioned in the thread intro, but I have to deal with the politic. (I have big philosophical problems with a lot of the Vail &/or Keystone policies ... another thread maybe!!!)

I will let y'all know how it goes in a few days.

best to all,
post #8 of 24
Good luck Ziggy,

Having tried to learn riding with poles, I can see where some would see the potential for injury. I can also see where a resort would prefer not to have to deal with monkey see monkey do. Do you have wrist guards? (#1 injury is wrists)
post #9 of 24
Dear Ziggyskier,

Using poles makes sense. I've seen teleboarders using poles, but have never done it myself: http://talk.teleboarder.com/pn/print.php?sid=3

Before you go the pole route, you might want to try Pete Egoscue's book "Pain Free," which I thought was a joke from the title, but it really helped me with some chronic back/foot/neck problems. Turns out he is a big pro sports trainer in San Diego who knows his stuff.

If that helps, try to reconstruct your technique on the relatively simply guidelines here: http://www.extremecarving.com/tech/tech.html


I've had many beginning students go this route and learn to board easily in a day, mostly on their own, once I show them how keep their weight 50/50 and rotate.
post #10 of 24
The ExtremeCarving guys I think are sincere, if a bit heavily branded and promoted, and really fun to watch. But, their technique is very different from what seems to work best for either freeriding in varied conditions and terrain, or freestyle-oriented riding, not to mention many types of alpine riding, and may be a bit far from what a prospective snowboard school instructor needs to learn and then teach in all events?

Ziggy, hope the crossover has been going well with a minimum of Vitamin I in the mix!
post #11 of 24
I'm mostly a skier, but I do a little easy snowboarding.
I broke my tailbone learning, so I still stuff some padding in my pants. The padded shorts I've seen don't look thick enough for a really hard fall. I use the foam kneeling pads they sell for gardening (about 1 ft by 6 inches by 1 inch). They stay stuffed under the waistband of my pants, with the loose end under my coat.

For awhile I was stacking two of them, but that seems a little paranoid.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

thnx eveyone, keep it comin'

Hey y'all,

I rode almost a couple of hours each W and Th last week and about four hours on Friday. I am linking turns (not very well) on the carpet on top of Keystone. Next time I go down Ranger, the chair serviced beginner trail. Am very proud of my progress.

What is really interesting is the discovery that despite having ones feet strapped there is definite independent foot action. More upper body usage than skiing (of course). AND THE MOST DIFFICULT OPERATION IS STRAPPING IN THE SECOND FOOT THE FIRST RUN AFTER LUNCH!

The jury is out as to whether I will continue though. Yesterday (Monday) when I was free skiing a little, my wrist hurt real bad while poling in the bumps and I did not fall that much nor that hard (I thought) while riding.

(For those of you who do not know Keystone, we have a fenced off learning area at the top, approx 11,500 feet. It affords the student a great alpine experience in a protected enivonment. There is a carpet and a very nice short run that is chair serviced. Nicely designed although terribly crowded during holiday periods. Come up on the weekdays between holidays!!!))

Keep the info coming. thnx
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
The ExtremeCarving guys I think are sincere, if a bit heavily branded and promoted, and really fun to watch. But, their technique is very different from what seems to work best for either freeriding in varied conditions and terrain, or freestyle-oriented riding, not to mention many types of alpine riding, and may be a bit far from what a prospective snowboard school instructor needs to learn and then teach in all events?
The Extreme Carving guys are very sincere and fine students of the sport. They are always open to new ideas and cross-discipline influences. True, they they might be promoting their board, but their version of the rotational technique is efficient and easy to learn. You can take it anywhere in any sort of conditions. Since its an energy saving style, you can do it all day long. I am not talking about their Eurocarving, where they lay the board on its side. That is very advanced. I've seen guys try this, unsuccessfully. They crank up the speed, lay it over, and hit a chunk of ice buried under the snow. That's a good way to break an ankle. But, the basic rotational technique is widely used in Europe. The Swiss SSBS teaching is based on it. That's how I learned. It does adapt well to all terrain. It is not good for racing, though.
post #14 of 24
Ziggy,

Congrats on learning how to cross dress!

It sounds like you've been falling with your hands out. This is a natural move, but it's also the cause of the number one injury in boarding (sprained or broken wrists). Try kneeling on the snow, then making both hands into fists, crossing your arms over chest then falling face first into the snow. As you make contact, make an oomph or unnnh sound. If you practice this a little, you can fall this way without thinking about it. Which is good, because most of the time you fall you don't have time to think about it. In the mean time, try wearing wrist guards. After you "get it", you won't be falling like this enough to worry about it.

Or are you still trying to ride with poles? If so, it's time to leave them in the locker. That's the whole point behind cross dressing - changing gear - all of it.

If it's any consolation, when Rusty tried boarding, he did it for an hour and then said "That's enough of that!". I wasn't impressed or depressed. I'd just had enough. If you keep at it until you get to the point where you can work the edge and start carving a little, you'll "get it". At that point it's cool enough to keep doing and you can decide to continue or not for time and gear management issues vs it's not fun enough. It is fun enough.
post #15 of 24
Ski poles are an excellent asset to teaching snowboarding.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaw View Post
Ski poles are an excellent asset to teaching snowboarding.
Shaw, welcome, glad to see you posting in this forum!
post #17 of 24
This thread is refreshing. It actually gives me hope that I might try snowboarding. My problems are similar to Ziggy's. I tried it once a few years ago but there was not enough Advil in the bottle when I got done.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
This thread is refreshing. It actually gives me hope that I might try snowboarding. My problems are similar to Ziggy's. I tried it once a few years ago but there was not enough Advil in the bottle when I got done.

I think the first day riding is similar to the first taste of whiskey: generally unpleasant, maybe a little painful, but with hints of pleasures to come. There're lots of ways to have fun sliding on snow, but if you felt one or two moments of "" the first day on a board, I'd always say come back for a second day, those great feelings start to overwhelm the unpleasant ones really quickly.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

been a while

Thanx for all the support and kudos here and in PM's. The jury is out and I have been working in my discipline so much that I really haven't had time to ride since my last post. Also I don't think I will be able to find the time till after the holidays. ... Then I am slamming myself in training for the LIII skiing which I am getting obssessed with!

Rusty - I never used the poles - I say proudly. Also, I learned a long ago to fall with closed fists, so ... well as I write this I can't really be sure if I had the presence of mind to do this as I went down. It was not second nature, just body of knowledge.

In all reality I had fun and am proud of the progress in such a short time, but without calling the age card, I think I'll cross dress in tele or adaptive or kids accred.

I have to say though that I did learn a new appreciation for the sport. Not that I ever was an "US" vs. "THEM" guy. There are a--holes in both sports. However one chooses to slide it's mo betta than a day in front of a computer.

Happy holidays to all
post #20 of 24
Hey Ziggy, How is the learning curve? I have been thinking of grabbing the kids board and trying a run or two at a time, what do you think? worth the effort?

BTW are you the Ziggy that was at Brighton ESA?
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 

yep, that's moi!

Hi Ryel, How ya doin?

Hmm - the learning curve is different, a little harder, but once one gets the hang of it, if one is a skier, I think (isn't that always the problem - thinking) the control comes quicker than with a never ever. Wear ass pads and wrist guards unconditionally, and expect to get a little beat up the first day or so.

Worth it is a personal decision. I feel good, even great that I accomplished what I did, but truth be told I am a skier and probably will not go back. This is not a final decision, I am very flighty. My intention was to teach both disciplines and that is a wise business decision considering the business demographics. As things turned out I did not ride enough to have the confidence to be in front of group of new riders. Also, I am thankful that my supervisors have kept me pretty busy.

This is a decision that is yours alone, but certainly, it is absolutely cool to have experience on all the toys on the mountain. Have you been on a bike/ski yet? Now that is cool! AND - I can imagine that floating on a board in 3' of fresh in a back bowl here in the West might be quite a wonderful experience. (The ski industry should be thankful to the snowboard industry for shaped and fat skis.)

You can feel free to contact me at ziggyskier@yahoo.com if you want anymore specific info or just to catch up.

best to you and yours - z
post #22 of 24
Ski bike? I think these are going to be like snowblades in a few years. A great way to tell who is from out of state! Though they do seem to be a great way to instruct people how to ski or board. Of course your students might find it weird that you are on a ski bike and they are on ski's or a snowboard.

I agree that all the sports have their merits and do what you want. Snowboarding is definitely not for everyone and neither is skiing. It's kewl that you gave it a try and can relate. If you go on kudos to you, if not kudos for exploring. All that matter is that you are having fun. Who would have thought that strapping one or two planks to your feet would be so much fun?
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
Who would have thought that strapping one or two planks to your feet would be so much fun?
You know KILL, I have very strong feelings that my mission is not to teach people how to slide down a mountain on some slats and be safe, but rather to get them to get in touch with the simple fact that we have lost touch with our environment. That it is OK to lock the office door behind us and turn the cell phone off and get back to the instinctive animal that has be processed out of us in the last 4 generations. Damned right - sliding is good!
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggyskier View Post
You know KILL, I have very strong feelings that my mission is not to teach people how to slide down a mountain on some slats and be safe, but rather to get them to get in touch with the simple fact that we have lost touch with our environment. That it is OK to lock the office door behind us and turn the cell phone off and get back to the instinctive animal that has be processed out of us in the last 4 generations. Damned right - sliding is good!

Beautifully said!
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