Originally Posted by therusty
There are many tricks that instructors use to "break" the wedge. The traditional wedge progression is to ask for a smaller size wedge and then turn up the speed. The result is usually a "spontaneous" christy ..... if the wedge has been taught properly and the terrain is gentle enough.
For a variety of reasons, I like these ideas much better than working on edging skills.
I teach alot of lessons at these levels. ALOT. The wedge, in my mind, exists for two reasons.
1). For speed control. The opposing edges provide natural resistance to forward travel that can be controlled by the skier. Since most of us walk/run/stand with our feet facing forward for the most part, the skier has to actively steer the feet into the wedge position for it to be maintained.
2). Balance. A natural stance with the feet slightly outside of the hips is a VERY stable position. The inside leg also helps to support the skier from tipping over to the inside while making turns when centrifugal forces isn't sufficient to hold the skier up through a turn.
Now with that being said, if the proper fundamentals of a ski turn are taught, there is no reason that a skier will stay in a wedge, unless they choose to. There are 3 basic things one can do to help eliminate the wedge from someone's skiing. In my mind, the least of these is the release of the old outside edge (in the grand scheme of things, that may be the most important, but for simply eliminating the wedge, it isn't).
The first and easiest thing to work on is steering both feet though the turn. At first I usually emphasize the end of the turn since it might be difficult for students at this level to turn both feet from the start of the turn (although this is the ultimate goal). This task usually results in an immediate increase in skier speed since it eliminates speed control via opposing edges. Part in parcel with this is the concept of turning the feet for turn shape and speed control. Steering the inside ski prevents the skier from maintaining the wedge position since the skier would have to steer the ski in the opposite direction of the turn to hold the wedge position through the turn.
Part two, and the part that most folks have the easiest time grasping is the concept of weight/pressure transfer to the outside ski. This move facilitates the steering of the inside ski as an "unweighted" ski is easier to steer. Since most people have a parallel alignment of the feet, the weight transfer also causes our feet to reorient to their natural posture (parallel). The faster we are skiing, the stronger the forces are and the better the chance of getting the skis to match.
So both of these things in concert will produce a "natural" christie. The sooner in the turn we can get these two things to happen, the sooner the christie will happen. No magic, no voodoo, just simple physics and bio-mechanics.
The final part is the release of the downhill ski which if not taught will cause the skier to have a very slight, but distinct wedge or lifting of the inside ski at turn initiation as the new outside ski is turned against the old outside ski (which is used as a fulcrum to start the rotation of the new outside ski into the new turn). But as others have said, that takes quite the commitment from the skier, the right terrain and can be a somewhat complicated move to pull off at this level.
So for a turn parallel turn, all three parts are needed. From a physics and bio-mechanical point of view I like the above approach better.
But with all that being said, if she's happy skiing in a wedge, is functional and safe, why make her change? Most folks as they become comfortable with a little bit of speed will loose the wedge naturally, if not pushed on to inappropriate terrain too quickly. Have some patience with her....