First a question for you...I'm curious as to why you believe this particular practice of instruction hails only in the east?
Anyways, hold on cause here it comes; I believe for a number of reasons the falling leaf works. This particalar drill although some what a primative means of getting down the hill serves a purpose. There are a number of valuble board performance concepts (tilt/tip, pivot, twist, pressure) and movement concepts (flexsion, extension, etc.).
It does establish a bit of a two dimensional learning platform, meaning that as mentioned in a previous post all the rider could do to get down the hill was a falling leaf (either heel or toe side). I generally will have to agree with the level of frustration at seeing that happen. Couple of things to consider;
- Not all area have the most ideal teaching terrain (a mellow/flat) type pitch that allows the rider head down hill at a comfortable speed is key. Meaning that at a relatively slow path down the hill the rider will be more comfortable learning how to ride. I'm talking pretty much both a combintation of plentiful space (not happening in most resorts and a pitch that is not too flat nor too steep (even if in most case slated to be "green" or beginner terrain. The joke of the east is I like to call it is a double headed monster indeed. I have worked at my fair share of eastie resorts, only to have to then formulate a teaching model that works. In the most ideal cases you can omit the falling leaf and get the rider more comfortable with learning to make a straight glide to direction change (j-turn). This task in it self taps into a number for key movement & board performance concepts to make a ride eventually with enough practice to make safe direction changes down easier terrain.
- Where it does get tricky...the moment of truth starting to make turns or even at a later point riding switch.
- Teaching a garland may sometimes speed up the transition into succesfully linking turns.
This particular topic is going to get run through the shredder I can already feel it now. I know that there are many of you out there now reading this that are saying ok Jonah, you're onto it...or just plain off the map.Bottom line you can post this in Epic Ski , AASI site and get fifty different answers. Just as there is a base formula/model of teaching, these are tools. Look at it this way some times you get lucky and hire a really good contractor to remodel your house...sometimes hopefully in very few cases you get a lemon.I have paid big bucks to go and take clinic from "professional Educational Staff / Demo team riders" only to have my ears and eyes bleed. This is buy no means a knock on any of those indivduals..possibly they were not having the best of days..or I was just plain and simply in the wrong class. Look it, my advice as I have always said is not gospel, I'm just speaking from the gut.
In closing a note to you and your friends experience, I most certainly can not make any rash assumptions on the lesson contents especially the falling leaf. (what resort did this take place at again)?
What I would have hopefully ask did happen was; at the lesson end the person taking the lesson should have had the goals and objectives of the lesson reviewed. The instructor hopefully should have ideally recommend specific terrain and future tasks to practice. Last but not least recommend a follow up session.
P.S. - Did the instructor at least tell the person taking the lesson their name (please do not e-mail their name)?