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Teaching kids

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I am trying to get my 9 year old daughter to make the transition from wedge to parallel turns. She can, and often does, make parallel turns, but my vocabulary is lacking. I try to explain what she is doing and encourage the positive aspects when she makes parallel turns, but I think that skiing is such second nature to me thta I cannot put it on her level. Any kids instructors out there that can give me an edge? I am willing to put her in lessons for this if that is best, but we started skiing to spend more time with eachother and we both would enjoy doing it together. (Ithink, and hope)

post #2 of 36
1-Stay off the steeper stuff. Gentle terrain with rolls is best.

2-Pick the speed up a little.

3-If her wedge is bigger then scholder width, work on making it smaller as an intermediate step.

4-Thumper turns. Pick up and put back down the tail of the inside ski as you are turning. "Thumper" because you resemble the turns namesake from Bambi. This will lead you to...

5-One footed skiing.

6-Hockey stops-tell her she is to good to stop with a wedge. If there is room, hockey stop.

Don't overload her. Just ski, and do a drill or better yet a game, once a run or so.
post #3 of 36
Mileage, fun times on the lift, more mileage. Ski easy terrain and look for speed while turning. Various turn shapes on concave, convex (and) on and off camber terrain. Side slip and hockey stop contests. Do her one big favor and ski steeper slopes AND gentle terrain. Mix it up. If you see her bracing in a defensive posture go to easier terrain. Look for powder, little bumps and find friends her age/ability and a little better to ski with her. Ski club? Enjoy her and she will surprise you with her rapid development. DO NOT focus on technique for now. At least don't let her in on it. She will ask you when she feels the need to "improve." Have a good local coach check her equipment for her. You both are blessed to have one another. ENJOY!! Do not push her too hard and celebrate each moment together. Bolter
post #4 of 36
To remove the wedge, get her to roll her inside ski to the other side. Do that when the inside ski is pointing down the fall-line, and not before. By that time, her weight ought to have been shifted onto the outside ski, and the inside ski should be light enough to roll over easily.

You lay down the tracks she will follow on those turns.

Then don't forget to make her rise at the fall-line, and flex at transition.

Make ANY movements you can that involve the hips knees and ankles. eg. Thousand steps.

Teach her to skate on skis. It's great for the flats, so show her how first on a very gentle slope. Make sure she puts the ski down on the OUTSIDE edge and rolls onto the inside edge before pushing off. This is the movement pattern you want to instill for launching turns of the uphill edge of the uphill ski, except she won't push off, she'll balance against the pressure.

Then of course, one ski traverses of both upper and lower ski, working up to launching turns off the uphill edge by relaxing the downhill ski. When you can do all that, she'll be fine.

Add tipping the inside ski during the launch later. STAY AWAY FROM TWO FOOTED SKIING! Make sure that every turn is outside ski dominant.

It's up to you to make doing all that FUN. If you are lecturing, she won't be listening.

Good luck.
post #5 of 36
Put her in a lesson.

I have a nine-year-old daughter too, and at best, I can get her to keep her weight forward for five turns. Her coach tells her to do stuff, and she'll try until the chairs stop.

Have fun with her, and leave (most of) the work for others.
post #6 of 36
Put her in a season-long weekly kids program.
post #7 of 36
I try to explain what she is doing and encourage the positive aspects when she makes parallel turns, but I think that skiing is such second nature to me thta I cannot put it on her level
When the skis are both going the same direction call it matching and play a game of matching at different times in a turn, with both of you working on getting good at matching, maybe take turns as doer-watcher giving feedback on when the skis match--shout something (Bingo!), tap your poles, etc.

I find kids your daughter's age respond well to "can you do this?" games, so long as you make "this" achievable and fun to do. The ability to balance on one foot is the prerequisite skill for parallel turns, i.e., standing on just the outside foot in turns. Start by lifting just the tail of the inside ski and work up to lifting the ski all the way off the snow, finally to keeping the ski on the snow with only enough pressure to maintain snow contact and control direction (matching).
post #8 of 36
nolo, I'm genuinely curious: why do you think it is necessary to lift the inside leg that high?
post #9 of 36
It doesn't have to be high off the snow, BigE, just high enough to be off the snow. Why? So it's unequivocally unweighted.
post #10 of 36
But that'll be the case when the heel is up too..... I'm concerned, because when you lift, you block the pelvis. Now edging is hard. Sure, as a first step, the instructor needs this visual feedback to ensure that the outside ski is being weighted, but the end goal is to relax the inside leg.

That is why I've suggested roll from the wedge after the weight has transferred instead of lifting.

For the record, I disagree with lifting as a rule. As a "learning tool", it can be ok, so long as that is not the last thing you leave with the student.
post #11 of 36
Originally Posted by Bendski2 View Post
I am trying to get my 9 year old daughter to make the transition from wedge to parallel turns.
One option that friends of mine have tried and been happy with:

MBSEF Mitey Mites
post #12 of 36
Also, thumpers (thumping the inside ski on the snow during the turn) are a good intermediate step to putting all your weight on the supporting foot. (That's what we're after, BigE. Not lifting for lifting's sake. Remember the goal is to be able to stand on one foot. It's not a technique, just a way of ascertaining that the child can do the prerequisite skill to skiing "matchy-matchy all the time".)
post #13 of 36
Good advise here below/abowe.

One of the most challenging custormers are parrents that want their kids to get away from the wedge. IMO this is usually impossible during a one hour privat lesson but that doesent mean that it cannot be done. Question is rather whats the point! In our ski school program kids go through different levels and moves on to jr coaching. The ones that come this far are still many times wedging at 8y although they have been skiing for 4y's but we dont make any number of it since the best way of getting away from wedging is just ski ski ski and the faster they ski the quicker they go parallel. This doesent mean they never retard to wedging in certain situations but so do I.

A funny thing is that in the good old days when wedging and a wide stance was considered beginners level the transition to parallel included abandoning the wide stance and bringing the feet close together. With the feet close together wedging was impossible. The progression to parallel from wedging happened through the stem or through wedge christie but the funny thing was that even though students wedged or stemmed they felt like they were skiing parallel since their skis run parallel between turns.
post #14 of 36
Yes nolo, I agree, balancing on the outside ski is the primary goal.

Then we can add movement -- vertical, fore/aft, lateral, rotational. And while the V,F/A,L movements are going on, we're workign on balance, edging and pressure control.

It is no accident that rotational movements are last in the list.
post #15 of 36
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
It is no accident that rotational movements are last in the list.
Yeah, kids past wedging on short carvers nowadays just stear. They een have a hard time skidding.
post #16 of 36
I think we agree on most of the technical stuff, BigE. I am not a fan of lifting but I love lightening. An image that works for me is thinking of weight moving from leg to leg like water flowing up and down two pipes in synch, with the sensation of the weight pulling up on one side and pressing down on the the other, gradually, and gradually reversing the action at the instant when one leg is empty and the other is full.
post #17 of 36

It is no accident that rotational movements are last in the list.
Why?? To ski parallel, don't both skis also have to be rotated the same direction at the same time along with a simotanious edge change?


as stated above
shallow varied terrain
slightly faster
seasonal kids program
one leg skiing(in small doses)
any situation where a wedge won't work
good boots and skis and add poles if not using them already
uphill christies
edge rolls
side slips vertical, diagional and into a turn
hockey stops

post #18 of 36
People learn different things at different rates. My daughter caught on fairly quickly. I explained that the wedge turn was one way to turn and another way was tipping to carve. Once she could turn using a wedge, I taught her to parallel by tipping both skis. My son is still working on the wedge, with the same amount of on-snow time that my daughter was arcing at.
post #19 of 36
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
Why?? To ski parallel, don't both skis also have to be rotated the same direction at the same time along with a simotanious edge change?
Most kids are not strong enough and are certainly not balanced enough to rotate the skis in the same direction at the same time. The first three forms of movement are within their grasp. But there is a lot of roadblocks with kids and rotation. The strength issue being very critical.

How many kids do you see that are actually solid on top of their skis? Often the skis are swimming around under them, knees locked, hips back. Teaching rotation to that sort of kid skier just frustrates the kid.

How about having fun with 360's? Is it effective if they stop and make steps to get the skis around? What would they learn from that?

Maybe doing it with fore and aft pressure, timing with a pole plant and lateral/diagonal movement? Gotta have the balance, strength, coordination and a real good handle on all the other movements first.

Maybe intro via hockey stop? Very few can manage that at any age without throwing the shoulder and ending up looking uphill.

Things can be different if you are teaching very athletic kids that have tremendous natural balance. Those are the kids everyone is looking for. Add confidence and fearlessness and you have a potential world champion. That's not everyone's kid -- they are very few and far between.
post #20 of 36

We are talking about a 9 year old, not a 4 year old. She is using leg rotation to wedge turn (or should be). Developing rotary movements forces people to balance over the skis rather than against the skis which keeps them out of balance. To hockey stop, you must allign over the skis in order to pivot (or rotate the legs). When wedge skiers rely on edge to turn, they have to brace against the inside ski keeping it stuck in the wedge position.

post #21 of 36

I'm talking about 9 year olds too! I just lived through the experience this weekend, high novice to intermediate skiers, ages 8-13, two large full day groups) . Rotation was very hard for all of them, regardless of their skill level. Many have been skiing for 7+ years, some for just 2 or 3, and none were absolute beginners.

Their balance improved purely by moving. Since you won't balance if you don't move, we first try to get all leg joints functioning. That by itself is quite a challenge for many of these kids. Most will have a limited number of days on snow, which is also a huge problem, especially since kids need to repeat drills may times, inside slow progressions.

Sure they can use leg rotation to wedge a turn, and some of the stronger kids can ski "mostly parallel", but without simultaneous edge change. All will eventually have to deal with rotation, but the target of simultaneous edge change is far away -- a few might reach it. Those that do will practice than just one day per weekend.
post #22 of 36

edging and pressure control.
I do believe that edge change is a fine thing to work on, but I got the wrong idea from your post when you stated edging, rather than edge change.

Rotation was very hard for all of them
Sure they can use leg rotation to wedge a turn

These 2 statements seem like they contradict each other, but I am not talking about the leg rotation used to form a wedge, but rather the leg rotation used to guide the skis through the turn instead of edging and pressing their way through. While changing the edges, they need to guide the inside ski the same direction as the outside instead of blocking the motion by guiding it the wrong way (forming a wedge with the inside ski).

post #23 of 36
Ok Ron, I see what you are saying. We were not on the same page is all.

Yes a 9 year old can be taught to guide the inside ski -- some 4 yr olds can too.

Funny thing, I was thinking more along the lines of teaching a turn where lots of pivotting is used, by both skis at the same time -- like a very slow hockey stop, or a 360 by spinning on what look like parallel flat skis. That sort of rotation is much harder than the minimal rotary requirements to make the skis track together. My view of rotary was of a far more intense application, which is why my above statements are not contradictory to me.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

post #24 of 36
IMHO, it is a good idea to get a private lesson for your daughter now and again. It could be some simple issue like fore-aft balance or something else that is making things harder for her. An experienced teacher would spot it right away. I got my son a lesson on the weekend, and the instructor straightened a few things out, for a big improvement.
post #25 of 36
I read the thread with great interest as I have two girls 6 & 8. The younger one is grounded now due to a broken bone so I concentrate on the older one.
This is her third season, in total probably 40-50 days, dad-schooled so far.
She is pretty much parallel most of the time, gaining speed as confidence grows.
Skating with a good balance on one foot, sliding/skidding and hockey stops both ways, doing 'falling leaf' on pretty steep slopes and more and more often leaving a nice tracks, recently we even introduced awareness of hips over the skis movements. I'm quite happy with the progress. All of this done without the ski poles but with a stick held in front to keep her forward over the skis. She bugs me when she gets the poles. Is it the point to add them?, if yes what useful drills to employ so she uses them to advance her skiing? I feel that my instructing 'prowess' are coming to an end...
post #26 of 36
Would someone care to comment/advise, we want to go tomorrow to hit the slopes..
post #27 of 36
Give her poles. Buy her a lesson. Let her proudly show you what she learned on her own. Then go have fun.

Poles can be a reward -- she earned them. The lesson is a sign that she's gotten so good, she deserves to be instructed by a "pro". Make sure you get a real good one, I always recommend level III, but also feel free to let the hill recommend an instructor, and book them. Don't just show up at the bell.

Have fun!
post #28 of 36
BigE, thanks for comments.
We ski at Blue Mountain, I'm guessing you must visit there too. Any recomendation, instructor wise?
post #29 of 36
Sorry kazo, wish I could help you there.

Good luck!
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 
Had a great three day weekend with my daughter. She makes parallel turns on occasion now, and I encourage her when she does so. It seems that it will just be a matter of time before she loses the wedge alltogether.
I think back to my own beginnings and do not recall anyone teaching me to parallel. It just seemed to happen naturally, and then was fine tuned by instructors and coaches.
The secret appears to be simple: lots and lots of time on the hill.
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