EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Wherefore the Wedge Christi.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wherefore the Wedge Christi.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is one I’ve been pondering for a while. Back in the days of the PSIA centerline progression of wedge - wedge christi - open stance parallel - dynamic parallel we taught wedge christies as a natural path to open stance parallel. Now we are in the era of “Pathways to Parallel” where we determine the best way to lead our students to parallel skiing. Has this affected how you teach people?

Over the past few years I’ve found myself teaching more and more a direct to parallel route. I’m ignoring the wedge christi as a teaching reference point. If I have a student that is a wedge skier or a wedge christi skier I go edging skills as quickly as possible after stance and balance. As they learn to turn, if a spontaneous wedge opens up I don’t make a big deal about it, wedges happen. I’ve had great success with this and I think my students benefit from this approach.

Now, here are the questions for discussion. With the current equipment should we be teaching wedge christies? What do you do when you are teaching a wedge or wedge christi skier to get them to parallel?
post #2 of 22
:
post #3 of 22
Our ski school requires that a student have a reliable wedge turn to leave the magic carpet area and ride the beginner chair. I've been using a variety of inside ski flattening movements to introduce wedge turns over the past half dozen seasons. This season, I started using a slight movement of the hips toward the turn direction to flatten the inside ski. This results in an automatic increase in outside ski edge. I coach as necessary to avoid overweighting the inside ski. Previously I used rolling the inside foot flatter with the same goal in mind, but that meant I later had to suggest increasing edging with the outside foot.

Both these approaches result frequently in a spontaneous christie phase that I've normally encouraged. The hips-into-the-turn move leads much more rapidly to use of corresponding edges, and all but the most timid clients usually end up making a basic parallel turn by the end of two hours with only a little coaching about pressure controls to create appropriate turn shapes for speed control.

Shaped skis help considerably in allowing early success, but I've found that the occasional student who shows up with older gear benefits more from the slight hip movement than from rolling the inside foot flatter.

I'd have to say I've always viewed the wedge christie per se really as more of an exercise than a "turn technique" to be taught.
post #4 of 22
Find nice easy terrain.

Stress "looking down the hill" .... (skiing the fall line)

Then have them "bicycle" ... simple extension and retraction.

Follow the leader or I stay behind them (prompting) ... never letting them get deep into a turn where they will have time to wedge.

: Das' why the easy terrain is critical.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
Now, here are the questions for discussion. With the current equipment should we be teaching wedge christies? What do you do when you are teaching a wedge or wedge christi skier to get them to parallel?
We've only had this discussion about 1,000,000 times but here goes.

If you're focusing on the proper skills (turning both feet to shape the turn and managing weight/pressure as it transfers to the outside ski), you shouldn't have to "teach" the wedge christie. It should just happen. Additionally, if you continue that same skills progression, the wedge christie should naturally evolve into the parallel skiing without any difficulty...

99% of my lessons are from never evers -> basic parallel.....
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Lonnie,

I'm mostly teaching direct to parallel too. I'm just asking this question because I see people teaching the wedge christie.

Now, for a further question. Should we drop the wedge christie as a required demo move? Why do we demo something that should just happen with the teaching of proper movement patterns? If it is demoed, people will think it is a necessary step, when in fact it really isn't.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
I'm just asking this question because I see people teaching the wedge christie.
What do you mean by "teaching"? I don't teach direct parallel (what I ment with that was most of my lessons are level 1-6), I teach the wedge with proper movement patterns. Now I point out to people that they are doing the wedge christie when it starts to happen, but I don't "teach" it (per se). I also let them know that it's only a transitional stage in their skiing development.....
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've actually seen people "teach" students to make the wedge from parallel and then let it slide back into parallel after the turn. I'm not saying its the right way to go, just that I've seen it done. I'd rather see people teach proper movement patterns and let a spontaneous wedge open up and close during the turn.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
I've actually seen people "teach" students to make the wedge from parallel and then let it slide back into parallel after the turn. I'm not saying its the right way to go, just that I've seen it done. I'd rather see people teach proper movement patterns and let a spontaneous wedge open up and close during the turn.
Sorry but can you explain the difference between the two! And what are the proper movements you are having in mind?
post #10 of 22
tdk6, I think Bob gave a pretty good explanation in the thread: wedge to wedge christy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
All right, I'll bite. It's a good question, and an important one for understanding ski technique, troll or not.

[EDIT: For those who are already lost, a couple simple definitions: A "Wedge Turn" is a turn made with the skis converging--tips closer than tails--and with both skis gliding on their inside edges all the way through the turn. A "Christie" (or "Christy") is a turn or any part of a turn with the skis on "corresponding edges"--both right edges or both left edges. Usually, in a "christie," skis also tend to be roughly parallel. So a "wedge christie" is a turn that starts with a wedge, and finishes with a more parallel "christie phase."]

As others have very well said, the progression from wedge turn to wedge christie to parallel turn is the natural outcome of developing skill, increasing confidence, and perhaps going a little faster, with the EXACT SAME fundamental movements. Or at least, it WOULD be if the movements were taught correctly from the beginning (they often aren't).

The important movement of any ski turn is, of course, that the skis TURN--like the front wheels of a car. Whether this happens due to skis carving or the skier actively steering them, or a combination, is not important. It must happen either way, and if it doesn't, the skier won't turn!

For a turn to actually cause the skier to go in a new direction--as opposed to just one that slows him down--the front ends of the skis must turn IN to the turn, rather than the tails twisting out (into a skid). For this to happen, the inside tip (right tip of a right turn) must start turning first--otherwise it is in the way of the outside ski.

So a very simple thought for initiating a good turn, whether in a wedge or parallel stance, is "right tip right to go right, left tip left to go left." And everything else will follow from here. With low skills and low speeds, most beginning skiers will show a bit of a wedge as they turn both tips down the hill to initiate a turn, even if they start from a parallel stance in a traverse. Why? The downhill ski is simply harder to turn at first, because it is difficult to completely flatten it on the snow, and because it typically supports a little more weight. (Flattening it completely to initiate a parallel turn becomes much easier if you have enough speed and confidence to tip your whole body downhill/into the new turn--not the case at very low "beginner" speeds.)

So "right tip right to go right" typically causes a gentle wedge, even as BOTH tips are guided down the hill. Then speed picks up as the skier glides downhill. The skier tilts into the turn for balance, helping flatten that inside ski, and weight moves progressively toward the outside ski, lightening the inside ski. At some point it becomes easier to turn the INSIDE ski, so the same "right tip right" effort brings the skis parallel as the skier continues to steer both skis through the turn. Voila--a wedge christie!

Soon, with a little more speed, and a little more skill and confidence, the skier will be able to completely release the downhill ski at the start of the turn. The wedge christie becomes a parallel turn. But the movements and the skier's intent and efforts all along remain exactly the same. We do not teach wedge turns, then wedge christies, then parallel--we teach fundamental movements and help skiers develop skills. The wedge--wedge christie--parallel progression simply identifies typical "milestones" that skiers pass by/through as they become more proficient.

I agree with Wigs that the progressions and exercises that lead to these movement patterns are the same in both "wedge" and (good) "direct parallel" progressions. As I have often said, the wedge/parallelness of the skis is irrelevant to these movements!

But a "wedge progression" that teaches skiers to push out on the outside ski, or to make what I call "negative movements" of the body to the outside of the turn does NOT develop these movements. It could properly be termed a "dead-end progression."

Likewise, a "direct-parallel" progression that teaches negative movements is also a dead-end progression. The little spontaneous wedge at the beginning of the wedge christie could be avoided by shifting the weight completely to the uphill ski first, but this shift involves a movement of the body uphill in order to balance on that uphill ski--a negative movement, a dead end.

Here's a graphic from my book that illustrates very simply the correct movements for a wedge christie ("matching") and the incorrect, "tails out" (negative) movements of "closing."


Of course, the "tails out" movements, while inappropriate for an offensive TURN, are quite appropriate for defensive intent or braking. They are the movements of the classic "Stem Christie." If you want to "go that way," you need the TURNING movements. If you just want to "stop going this way," the defensive movements are just right!

Those who find fault, categorically, with the wedge in a beginner's progression, or who assume that any "direct parallel" progression is "good," simply don't understand these important concepts.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib View Post
tdk6, I think Bob gave a pretty good explanation in the thread: wedge to wedge christy?
I gotta read the Classic Threads more. Thanks for showing that one. Here is another. Need Review of Wedge Christi Mechanics...
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib View Post
tdk6, I think Bob gave a pretty good explanation in the thread: wedge to wedge christy?
That is "one" explanation yes but is that the "ultimate" movement pattern? Or lets say the "only" correct one?
post #13 of 22
Well, tdk6, I don't think so.

I was reading the other day on Epic and came across another post suggesting a glossary of ski terms on Epic (a concept I agree with.) Of course, it was immediately replied to with the typical type response along the lines of "Good luck, we tried that once and couldn't agree on the first word to add, so it never went anywhere." It was at that point I had a BFO. We don't need to agree on the definition. When I look up a word in the dictionary, I can get a pretty numerous array of definitions for that word. And they are all - correct!

I think that totally transforms the process and viability of creating our glossary here! It frees us from the impossible prospect of arriving at "the only correct" wedge everyone agrees on and turns it into the very achievable, and enlightening, identification of all the possible wedges, and their various means of execution and application that we can learn.

Could it be possible that all wedges are correct?

I'd say so, at least until a specific application is defined. Which causes me to recall another mantra of Bob's I expect you are familiar with: "Intent dictates technique"

Chris
post #14 of 22
To morph a wedge into a wedge christi you need to go from parallel to wedge and then back to parallel again.

That you can do by:
1 stem the uphill ski
2 open up a wedge with both skis simultaniously

To initiate the turn you can:
1 shift some of your weight onto the outside ski
2 stear the outside ski into the turn while you relece the inside ski from its edge

Back to parallel you can do by:
1 stemming back the inside ski
2 closing down the wedge with both skis simultaniously

Im usually doing a 111 or a 212 or a mix lets say 112 or 211 depending on situation. Normally if I stem the uphill ski at initiation I also stem the inside ski at the end of the turn and if I open up the wedge with both skis simultaniously I close them simultaniously as well. I know that stemming is not a popular thing in some parts of the world so its good to be able to do both. However, I dont do a 121 or a 222.
post #15 of 22
Actually, Tom, with shaped skis, from a moving-forward, traverse-like, position on corresponding uphill edges, if you begin to steer the skis toward the fall line, you will flatten the downhill, more weighted, ski, and it will form a wedge shape with the uphill, less weighted, ski as its tip begins to turn downhill. There is no need to displace the tail of the uphill ski. The flattening of the downhill ski moves the hips slightly into the turn, resulting in the inside edge of the uphill ski becoming engaged in the snow. That edging and the steering will transfer weight to the outside ski automatically. Continued steering of both skis will lead to application of corresponding edges again.
post #16 of 22
Hi tdk6,

OK, your definition of a wedge christie is different than Bob and Kneale have described, and sounds close to what I know as a stem christie. Do you execute a turn such as they describe? If so, what do you call that type of turn?

Is stem christie in your lexicon? If so, how would describe the execution of a stem christie compared to the description of the wedge christie you provided?

Chris
post #17 of 22
cgeib, yes you are right. A stem christie is not the same as a wedge christie. My misstake. I do teach a wedge christie as a natural progression of morphing a wedge into parallel skiing but I use an active weight transfer insted of the american "gliding wedge" as described by Bob. No big deal really. The stem christie I use for more advanced purposes where I try to get the students into the parallel phase earlier. In the wedge christie the student remains in the wedge allmost through out the entire turn. Both have their advantages and their place in my teaching. The stem has lost much of its purpose after the introduction of carving skis but there are still situations where especially adult students benefit from learning the stem. Here is the wedge/stem/parallel progression as demoed by me a few years back:

http://ski.topeverything.com/default...nt&ID=1A66D83A
post #18 of 22
In most of my lessons, I do not teach a wedge. I believe most students can ski very close to parallel from never-ever never learning a wedge. I have little experience with "complete lack of appropriate terrain" which forced me to teach a braking wedge. I wholeheartedly question whether the wedge really provides a "stable platform from which to turn". I do believe it is easier to turn from a small wedge due to the slight opposing edges at the tips.
Given all this, I still encounter skiers who control speed with a braking wedge. In order to play on their field, I must be able to ski like they do.
Wedge christies happen as a skier seeks to discard the wedge. They frequently need to be demo'd and should be part of required training.
post #19 of 22
for telemark skiing... personally i am not a fan of teaching the wedge telemark turn as step towards the telemark turn. i had to learn the proper PSIA stepping stones for that progression, AND keep my mouth shut while taking my exam...

but i think it is pretty rare to have a 'never ever' who is going straight to learning telemark. i know they must be out there, but if that student is athletic enough, and motivated enough... i think 99% of the time, i would try direct to parallel first. there are enough other things going on with telemark skiing with lead changes, telemark stance, etc.... better to try and keep things as simple as possible.
post #20 of 22
Dont teach the Christie, it happens on the way......You must teach the Christie to yourself,,,so you can ski like your students and understand why they are in this phase and what to do to get to the next.


My understanding---similar to Lonnie.
post #21 of 22
Always a good question to ask other instructors while riding a chairlift...Is the wedge christie a skill to be taught or a bad habit to break?

I've been teaching never-evers to turn a wedge by flattening the ski on the side they wish to turn towards. Add lightening that ski by moving their center of mass over the outside toe by tilting their shoulders to the outside of the turn--and tilt to the outside of the new turn before they begin the new turn, a release along with independent foot action. When this is working well and they're sliding like with their skis together like string beans (no more pizza wedge and no transfat laden french fries), tell them to lighten and flatten the new inside ski and point the little toe of that foot in the direction they want to turn. Most of the never-evers are making parallel turns in four hours of instruction. If they're in good balance, I have them start parallel turns by tipping the inside ski up on its little toe edge and simply balancing over the outside ski. This is a much better movement and would be faster to parallel if time wasn't spent on the required wedge.

Know where the Christie turn originated? In 1868 a potato farmer named Sondre Norheim won a ski race near Christiana, Norway, the old name for Oslo, using a sliding turn that hadn't been seen before. Thus was created the Christiana, or Christie, turn. It really should be called the Norwegian Potato Farmer Turn.
http://www.sondrenorheim.com/skisbindingsstyle.htm
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
Always a good question to ask other instructors while riding a chairlift...Is the wedge christie a skill to be taught or a bad habit to break?

I've been teaching never-evers to turn a wedge by flattening the ski on the side they wish to turn towards. Add lightening that ski by moving their center of mass over the outside toe by tilting their shoulders to the outside of the turn--and tilt to the outside of the new turn before they begin the new turn, a release along with independent foot action. When this is working well and they're sliding like with their skis together like string beans (no more pizza wedge and no transfat laden french fries), tell them to lighten and flatten the new inside ski and point the little toe of that foot in the direction they want to turn. Most of the never-evers are making parallel turns in four hours of instruction. If they're in good balance, I have them start parallel turns by tipping the inside ski up on its little toe edge and simply balancing over the outside ski. This is a much better movement and would be faster to parallel if time wasn't spent on the required wedge.

Know where the Christie turn originated? In 1868 a potato farmer named Sondre Norheim won a ski race near Christiana, Norway, the old name for Oslo, using a sliding turn that hadn't been seen before. Thus was created the Christiana, or Christie, turn. It really should be called the Norwegian Potato Farmer Turn.
http://www.sondrenorheim.com/skisbindingsstyle.htm
FWIW,

A "Wedge Christie" is not a skill...but rather a maneouver...big difference.

On the development front...the wedge is created by turning one leg (the outside)...this is then followed at some later point by turning the inside leg to match to parallel...hence the progession is:

Turn one leg at a time (wedge christie)
Then turn both legs together (parrallel)

They are not mutually exclusive...or "different" except in basic timing...the parallel turn requires abit more lateral balance...but typically not more then can be gained within a few hours for most people.

Interesing tip on the origin of the word.
But it is not quite right to say it is any alpine turn....the official defination of a Christie is : Any skidded arc....hence a pure carve would not be a christie.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Wherefore the Wedge Christi.