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Long-term skiing improvement plan

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just passed my Level 2, and was no great ball of fire in passing the skiing test last season (2 out of 3). I'd like to get to Level 3 skiing, if only to put a focus on my skiing improvement, and a goal to challenge myself. I have a game plan, but I am sure it could be improved, and there are ideas that will come from all ofyou to improve the game plan.

Situation: I am 52, a little overweight and out of shape. I am a slow learner when it comes to physical activity. My dominant learning style is thinker, but I know that I can only really learn skiing by feeling and doing. I teach skiing part time, and teach a lot of day long kids' classes with wedge christie skiers. I can work on technique while I am following the classes, which gives me time to work on finesse activities on terrain up to mild black. I also get to take these classes into the bumps, but I have to ski the bumps very, very slowly. I free ski when I can, but that is not very often.

Game plan:

Ski seasons (guessing about 3 years):Take multi-day events as offered, including Sno-Pro Jam, Spring academy, National Academy, ESA events, maybe a PMTS or CSIA event, and perhaps the RM event. Take a few bump events and racing events. Try to find clinicians with varying teaching styles, so that I can reap the benefit of alternative styles. When freeskiing approaches the Level 3 standard, start working on skiing tasks and demoes.

Off season: Exercise program emphasizing flexibility and weight loss through aerobic exercise. Roller blading, and cycling.

The challenge: getting better faster than nature diminishes my ability to improve. i.e. get to the standard while I can, which may be a very narrow time window.
post #2 of 18
Check with RicB, FOG. He passed Level III at your age.

(He may say it was the Tai Chi, a holistic Eastern spiritual discipline that teaches clunky old adults how to move like lithe cats, which I understand has been confused on this site as Chai Tea, a highly caffeinated sweet beverage that will enhance performance for about an hour then leave you feeling remorseful.)

When I went through the process I approached PSIA certification as a mission in life, and even put off having children until I passed L3. I credit coaching by Jens Husted at the Snowbird Race Camp in 1983 with the skiing pass and my job coaching 7-12 year old junior racers with the teaching pass. (I am still drawing on the crazy stuff I learned during the ten years I coached juniors -- On pole usage in the bumps, which as everyone knows are formed by nasty sleeping gnomes: "Poke 'em in the belly, punch 'em in the nose," Jolly Ranchers, "Anyone for a Gay Farmer?")

Anyway, it sounds like you have a similar learning environment. It worked for me!
post #3 of 18
Fog,

For your fitness regimen, add muscle first, then it will be easier to lose weight via aerobic work. But keep a continued focus on developing core strength (e.g. abs). Focus on ankle, femur and lower back flexibility. Also find one regular diet killer (e.g. alcohol, an excess sweet, fat snacks), swear it off and add in one healthier replacement switch (Men's Health runs a lot of eat this instead of that articles).

Target 3 years, but plan on 5. Level 3 is hard enough that by the time you think you've gotten there, you've only then become good enough to discover the 3 more things you need to work on. Plus you need to plan on the exam getting a little harder every year. You'll know when your skiing is almost there when you feel the "pizazz"/"energy factor" in your skiing compared to level 2 skiing. Consider the Master Teacher track for the teaching portion. Otherwise you will need to break out of the day long kids rut to broaden your teaching experience. You need to get into the habit of making "light bulb" changes in every lesson. Of course, that is not always doable, but if you make it your mission and you become a level 3 quality pro you will achieve it often enough to believe that it is doable for every lesson. When you're in your clinics, start asking why clinic leaders choose one particular trick out of their bag of tricks and understand the mechanics of top clinicians plan their clinic out. It's kind of like watching a movie and trying to ignore the plot to see how the director and editor did their jobs to make the movie by dissecting what is presented on the screen instead of watching it.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Fog,

For your fitness regimen, add muscle first, then it will be easier to lose weight via aerobic work. But keep a continued focus on developing core strength (e.g. abs). Focus on ankle, femur and lower back flexibility. Also find one regular diet killer (e.g. alcohol, an excess sweet, fat snacks), swear it off and add in one healthier replacement switch (Men's Health runs a lot of eat this instead of that articles).

Target 3 years, but plan on 5. Level 3 is hard enough that by the time you think you've gotten there, you've only then become good enough to discover the 3 more things you need to work on. Plus you need to plan on the exam getting a little harder every year. You'll know when your skiing is almost there when you feel the "pizazz"/"energy factor" in your skiing compared to level 2 skiing. Consider the Master Teacher track for the teaching portion. Otherwise you will need to break out of the day long kids rut to broaden your teaching experience. You need to get into the habit of making "light bulb" changes in every lesson. Of course, that is not always doable, but if you make it your mission and you become a level 3 quality pro you will achieve it often enough to believe that it is doable for every lesson. When you're in your clinics, start asking why clinic leaders choose one particular trick out of their bag of tricks and understand the mechanics of top clinicians plan their clinic out. It's kind of like watching a movie and trying to ignore the plot to see how the director and editor did their jobs to make the movie by dissecting what is presented on the screen instead of watching it.
I'm taking the Master Teacher final exam on March 30. If I pass, then skiing gets the focus.
post #5 of 18
Unless you get extremely out of breath and struggle to finish a run or 'keep up', I'd focus mainly on strength training... As you lose weight and gain muscle, you're aerobic capacity will improve due to lost fat, improved recovery rates, etc...
post #6 of 18
It seems to me (I could be wrong) that level 3 doesn't require a lot of work, just good technique, skill, and body control....

I believe that your skiing will improve as you become more in touch with your body. Aerobic exercise will unlikely help this... Strength training, Flexibility training, BALANCE TRAINING, even hand-eye/foot coordination...

In the summer, train strength/balanace/flexibility, and join a local soccer league to cover the aerobic and coordination. Playing soccer will allow you to learn EXACTLY what your feet are doing at EVERY moment.
post #7 of 18
Perhaps you could find one person to mentor you and periodically monitor your progress. I think it would be helpful to have someone who could evaluate the whole progression with you. Pilates workouts are excellent for skiing.
post #8 of 18
Congratulations on reaching L2. That's a real step forward.
You have described a really ambitious training program, but it seems to lack focus. With all those planned clinics, when will you find time to ski? You don't want to be one of those over-coached guys that don,t seem to enjoy anything. You need to ski a lot to really own all that stuff the coaches are trying to give us.

You should find a coach to work with on a regular basis. The best coach for you would be an examiner or a DCL.

Not start another flame war, but I would skip the PMTS stuff. In technique, PMTS is defined by what it excludes. There is no movement or skill that you will learn in a PMTS clinic that you will not eventually get from the PSIA Ed Staff, but there's a lot you need that you won't get from PMTS. PMTS teaching is based on movements, while ATS is based on skills. Almost everyone here misses that (except Bob Barnes, who had an excellent post on that recently), but movement based instruction- more than wedge v. direct to parrallel- is the most fundamental difference between the two systems. PMTS also uses a different vocabulary to describe things. Examiners place a lot of value on instructors using the standard PSIA terms. Why confuse yourself with the PMTS alternate universe definitions?

For physical training, nothing is more important than core strength and flexibility.

Finally, I decided to skip the Master Teacher and concentrate on skiing. The L3 teaching was not that much more difficult than L2, and I felt I was running out of time (I was older than you when I did L3).

Good luck.

BK
post #9 of 18
The three areas to focus on to improve your skiing:

Fitness
Technigue
Proper Alignment

Of the three the most immeadiate benefit comes from?......

That's right, Alignment! Get it right and benefit immeadiately!

I would suggest cycling in the Summer for leg strength, and aerobic fitness in one fun exercise! Get into a habit!

Check out the "Harb Carvers" for ski training in the Summer.

Good Luck
bud
post #10 of 18
Fog,

Good posts above. As you know, more of the same thing won't get you anywhere. What mountain do you work at? To improve to LIII, you need time skiing a big mountain under every conditions with someone better than you that is qualified to offer coaching.

Do you know the movement patterns that you need to incorporate into your skiing?
Can you switch between decellerating and accelerating short turns on blacks?
How is your one footed skiing?
Can you do railroad tracks on blues?
How is your control on solid ice double blacks?
Is there a playfull nature to your free skiing?
Can you link medium to long turns through the bumps?
Can you do open track turns while skiing backwards on greens?
Can you ski wet powder from a balanced position?
Can you ski fall line bumps on double blacks?

These are some of the tasks you will need under your belt for the LIII exam. If the answer is yes to most of the list, using an effecient movement pattern, then you will be approaching the LIII standards. If not, find a trainer at your area that is willing to help you with your skiing. Some of your training will have to be in an area other than your home area if it does not offer the terrain required.

Good luck!

RW
post #11 of 18
Good for you Fog…posting up a game plan for all to see demonstrates real commitment. Outstanding

I will leave the skiing segment for our instructors but would like to emphasize the component of health and fitness as part of your goal plan.

While you can achieve health and fitness on your own I would highly suggest you interview a number of qualified trainers with a goal of establishing a healthy diet, anaerobic and aerobic exercise program. As hydrogen_wv mentions, a weight and resistance program is as important as a purely aerobic one making a uniformed program essential. A well followed diet and progressive exercise program will become the underpinning for your skiing goals as well as other new achievements you may energetically undertake.
post #12 of 18
Attend any event you can with the PSIA demo team members.

Plan to ski more. You can't learn to play the piano WELL if you don't have good practice time often. Same for skiing. To ski WELL you have to ski often.

As Ron says, skiing better terrain is important too.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrogen_wv View Post
It seems to me (I could be wrong) that level 3 doesn't require a lot of work, just good technique, skill, and body control....
While good technique, skill and control will take you far, You better be fairly fit.

In our division (west) the L3 skiing portion is 3 days of very hard skiing. Movements, tasks, hard skiing in just about all conditions and lots of it.. I consider myself in quite good shape, (been working out to rehab a great deal) Each day, we skied about 19K of vertical but 60% of that was bumps and off piste, Sierra Cement, and bottomless spring crud. Try skiing that for 3 days straight and still have the composure to do hop turns, one legged skiing, dynamic R R turns, at the end of the day.. The lactic acid build up was painful.

Great technique will help but L3 is not a cake walk..

Congrats on the L2. Train hard keep learning. It's a worthy goal.

DC
post #14 of 18
In the Eastern division, where FOG is, the L3 exam is broken into 2 parts: the skiing exam and the teaching exam. Each exam is approximately a day and a half. Based on my experience this year, I'd say that any reasonably fit person up to 65 years of age could take the Eastern exam without experiencing physical distress.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
In the Eastern division, where FOG is, the L3 exam is broken into 2 parts: the skiing exam and the teaching exam. Each exam is approximately a day and a half. Based on my experience this year, I'd say that any reasonably fit person up to 65 years of age could take the Eastern exam without experiencing physical distress.
Just a note. I am taking the Master Teaching Certification. To be certified a Master Teacher you have to take twenty days of events, and pass two exams, which between them will ask ten questions exah on each course you took. I passed the Mid course Exam, which covered seven courses originally taken over ten days, I have taken an additonal eight days of courses (four courses) and will take two one day courses March 29 and 30. On March 30 I will take the final exam, which will cover 6 courses, ten questions each. If I get 70% or better on each set of ten questions, I will be certified a Master Teacher. After that I need only attend one Master Teacher course every two years in order to remain a Master Teacher. I will not have to take the Level 3 teaching exam if I am a Master Teacher. Therefore all of the focus is on the skiing exam, which in PSIA-E is a day and a half. My understanding is that the examiners do try to push the candidates hard physically during the skiing exam, but that is not as relevant as the physical fitness needed for me to perform the actual skiing tasks correctly. If I do not get more flexible, I will have a hard time maintaining form in my turns as speed increases. Right now I lack flexibility, and the only way for me to angulate as speed increases is to drop my hip back. Were I more flexible I could keep my form at a greater speed. Likewise, I think my form in bumps would improve with greater fitness, as would my one footed skiing.
post #16 of 18
Great advice in this post. As a fellow 50-something working on my L3, I have focused on trying to stay in shape while continually trying to improve my skiing, as we do start feeling mortal, don't we?

This season I've been working on versatility, and using my "off-time" to seek out the bumps, steeps, and crud. As I push myself, it improves my blending of skills. Here in the PNW, the skiing portion exam is very skill focused, so I hope I'm on the right track.

Mike
post #17 of 18
FOG,

Congrats on passing your L2, and the first part of the MTC.

We do have some qualified people to get you through your L3 in the mid atlantic. At Whitetail, we even bring a D-Teamer (usually Rogan) to our hill for a few days each season. We have had folks from Liberty join in as well, and I think sometimes he even spends one of his days there. But forgetting that, you have qualified staff to help train you. but I will say that you shouldn't let yourself get stuck with only one trainer all the time. Have different sets of qualified eyes look at your skiing from time to time. Especially people you don;t know too well. That way, you'll get completely unbiased opinions.

Something that came to mind, seeing that you spend a lot of your skiing time with kids, is that, when you are skiing behind them going slowly on beginner and intermediate terrain, spend a lot of time sking on one ski. And better yet, no pole plants. To be able to make a smooth, easy turn at slow speeds on flat terrain on one ski (when transitioning to the outside edge of the inside ski), you need to be moving correctly into the new turn. And movement into the new turn and balancing into the future are HUGE, when it comes to being able to make the right moves that will get you through a L3 exam, because doing that right makes a lot of other stuff come easy.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
I just passed my Level 2, and was no great ball of fire in passing the skiing test last season (2 out of 3). I'd like to get to Level 3 skiing, if only to put a focus on my skiing improvement, and a goal to challenge myself. I have a game plan, but I am sure it could be improved, and there are ideas that will come from all ofyou to improve the game plan.

Situation: I am 52, a little overweight and out of shape. I am a slow learner when it comes to physical activity. My dominant learning style is thinker, but I know that I can only really learn skiing by feeling and doing. I teach skiing part time, and teach a lot of day long kids' classes with wedge christie skiers. I can work on technique while I am following the classes, which gives me time to work on finesse activities on terrain up to mild black. I also get to take these classes into the bumps, but I have to ski the bumps very, very slowly. I free ski when I can, but that is not very often.

Game plan:

Ski seasons (guessing about 3 years):Take multi-day events as offered, including Sno-Pro Jam, Spring academy, National Academy, ESA events, maybe a PMTS or CSIA event, and perhaps the RM event. Take a few bump events and racing events. Try to find clinicians with varying teaching styles, so that I can reap the benefit of alternative styles. When freeskiing approaches the Level 3 standard, start working on skiing tasks and demoes.

Off season: Exercise program emphasizing flexibility and weight loss through aerobic exercise. Roller blading, and cycling.

The challenge: getting better faster than nature diminishes my ability to improve. i.e. get to the standard while I can, which may be a very narrow time window.
That sounds like a pretty good plan.My suggestion is to find a Jedi master and get some homework from him. I had a few things I worked on this season that I did everyday. Some simple things that helped me get some new movements. This is after getting level 3, there is always room to improve. I'd say start working on some of thoe tasks now. They are designed to show your weaknesses. If you start on them now, you can find out where you are weak and start improving those areas. I have found that once you start getting those tasks right, they move from "stupid human tricks" to "just good skiing".
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