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definitive dictionary of ski terminology

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Seems like we need a definitive dictionary of ski terminology. One that people could refer to in the midst of a complicated discussion, one that could get everyone using the same word to mean the same thing. Such an instrument could give the history of a term, its dominant definition, its use in instruction and performance on the hill, and maybe even lay out the unresolved issues surrounding its use. For instance, right now people here on Epic are actively discussing pivoting, steering, independent leg steering, femur rotation in the hip socket, countersteering, and probably more. Much (admittedly not all) of what is argued in these discussions seems to arise because people are using words in different ways and trying to find common ground without clear agreement on use of the terminology.

But if we had such an animal readily available (online, perhaps within Epic???), would people adjust their use of terms to match its definitions, or just keep arguing that those definitions were wrong? How useful would such a resource be to you? Then again, might the discussions be less fun?
post #2 of 28
Liquidfeet,

You are asking a lot here. Every country's ski instruction institutions tend to have their own definitions for the buzz words involved in skiing and ski instructions so posters would have to work with one definition when talking with their fellow in country instructors and another when posting on Epic. This is even more complicated when you add in the problems that come about from translations from different languages. Your idea is good but I just don't think its practical considering how fractious the worlds ski instruction is.

What we can do as posters is avoid the buzz words and use short descriptive phrases to convey our ideas.

fom
post #3 of 28
There is such a book by Bob Barnes, The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing.

Sadly it is no longer in print. However, you can get a CD-ROM copy from PSIA-RM at this page of their website. Just scroll down and you will see it.

To have a handy reference you can print it out and put it in a binder. I like having it where it is a quick reference. For 10 bucks it is well worth it. Heck make it 20 bucks and you can get Weems' Brilliant Skiing, Every Day too. (How's that for shameless plugs?)

Hope this helps.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
There is such a book by Bob Barnes, The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing. However, you can get a CD-ROM copy from PSIA-RM at this page of their website. Just scroll down and you will see it..
Thanks, T-Sq. I'll get that CD.

As for the challenge of reading and understanding technical posts on Epic when people clearly use terms differently, I more than like doing it. I think of the process as sifting. I've found that creating a filter and using it to figure out which assertions I salute and which I ignore is a creative one that involves much thought. It keeps me on my toes, and who knows, perhaps helps me be a better skier.

Do others feel the same?
post #5 of 28
Of course a standard of definitions which is ubiquitous is a must. Otherwise we are, in effect, wasting our time. While we should be concise and elemental in our communications at the same time. There is nothing impressive about reading a complex term that is used in a vague context. It turns the reader off and then you've lost him. Speak to the reader, and this is not to condescend, as if they are naive to your concepts so that you are forced therefore to spell out the points in a clear and concise fashion. This will result in a posting that the less indoctrinated will be able to follow as well.
EJ LEVY
post #6 of 28
Bob is also in the process of updating the Encyclopedia.
post #7 of 28
1. Problem is, who's standard do you want used? More than one exists. None are wrong within the context of their system. A one size fits all approach simply doesn't fit all the different systems.
2. IMO the problems start when someone gets too anal about one particular definition.
3. More active listening / reading would solve a lot of these mis-understandings.
4. This forum is for technical discussions and in depth analysis. Other forums are already in place for less technical discussions.
5. Bob's book is a good start but he will tell you that it isn't the only reference out there.
post #8 of 28
Via Wiki it is indeed possible since you can have any number of contributors to a given section.

Name of Term ..... then successive definitions by each "school"

PSIA, Harb, The Austrians .... even Thigh Cheese ....

Wiki has moderators who edit the content (clowns) and nut balls ... it may be worth exploring.
post #9 of 28

I think you've already answered your own question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
Seems like we need a definitive dictionary of ski terminology. One that people could refer to in the midst of a complicated discussion, one that could get everyone using the same word to mean the same thing. Such an instrument could give the history of a term, its dominant definition, its use in instruction and performance on the hill, and maybe even lay out the unresolved issues surrounding its use. For instance, right now people here on Epic are actively discussing pivoting, steering, independent leg steering, femur rotation in the hip socket, countersteering, and probably more. Much (admittedly not all) of what is argued in these discussions seems to arise because people are using words in different ways and trying to find common ground without clear agreement on use of the terminology.

But if we had such an animal readily available (online, perhaps within Epic???), would people adjust their use of terms to match its definitions, or just keep arguing that those definitions were wrong? How useful would such a resource be to you? Then again, might the discussions be less fun?
...meaning that you're never gonna get everyone, including but not limited to the Epicers, to agree on anything, let alone the definition of steering, to pick one example. However, let's pretend for a minute that we could come up with such a glossary of terms. What would that do?

- There's sort of this subtext every time we get off into one of these (ahem) discussions which is "This time we're gonna do it...we're finally going to be able to describe, once and for all, with a Six Sigma level of precision, what skiing is." That could happen, but I'm not sure it would put us any further down the road than we already are. A Six Sigma level of precision can be a dangerous thing, because, IMHO, it's easy to lose the forest for the trees.

I've always liked Ron LeMaster's approach to things. In an article he wrote last winter in Ski Racing, as he was discussing...some aspect of skiing, I forget what it was, but it could have been anything...he said, essentially, and I'm paraphrasing "If this sounds like something out of Warren Witherell 25 years ago, it is. Skiing hasn't changed."

When Ron talks about contemporary skiing, what he generally does, at least for me, is to remind us of how important the fundeamentals are, and that we already know what those fundamentals are...we just have to get back to our roots and revisit them on a timely basis. For example, at last winter's presentation in Boulder, he said that from his observations and from what the WC coaches are saying, coaching, here's what's important:

- Quiet upper body.

- Target the apex of the turn.

- Weight predominantly on the outside ski, bend the shovel early to get the turn started.

- Early outside knee angulation to get the edging started early.

Pretty simple, huh? Now just go try to implement that stuff and see what it does for your skiing, as opposed to spending a whole bunch of time going "Is it rotary or is it not? Is it real or is it Memorex?"

- Along those same lines, let's pretend I have a neo-Einstenian understanding of skiing, fostered by the Ultimate Ski Glossary. Is this going to make me a better teacher or coach? One of my coaches, an ex USST member, was a man of few words and simple thoughts...but whatever words he came out with, you'd better pay attention and do something about them.

The last year he coached me, he said "Not bad...but you're not going to get any faster until you stop sliding the top end of your turns. Here, I'm gonna show you how it's done..." Which he did, for about a total of 8 or 9 days on snow, until I finally got the joke. Carving drills, turn initiation drills, big round GS turns, short radius slalom turns, turns in a tuck, turns in bumps...until it finally sunk in. Which is the next corollary, which is, Just because something is simple doesn't mean it's easy.

So this winter, that's going to be my approach to skiing/coaching. Skiing is complex enough, let's focus on the big picture, because human beings can only maintain, plus or minus 2 thoughts, 5 thoughts in their heads at one time...and that's while they're sitting down. Subtract another 2 or 3 thoughts if you're doing 45 on a pair of GS skis. Like this:

"So, campers, on this relatively steep section, we're going to make big, round GS turns focusing on feeling a clean finish to the turn, because without that, you can't start the next one. And if you weren't so clean on that section, here's some individual feedback on making it happen. Camper A, no park and ride. Quiet, not frozen. Camper B, opposite problem. Quiet upper body, no disco dancing allowed...it gets in the way of what your lower body is trying to do at turn completion. Camper C, balance is the overriding skill, and you are out of balance at the beginning, middle and end of the turn. Balance is a dynamic balancing act, not your inherent sense of balance, so for you, we have the one ski drill...and so forth.

Next, down here on this flat, we're going to make turns in first a low tuck, then a high tuck. Why? Because it'll teach us to be real subtle with all our movements so we don't overturn and lose speed. What, everybody overturned and scrubbed all kinds of speed? Okay, no turns allowed. We're going to learn to get into a bullet and ride a flat ski. Hey, being able to ski a flat ski is an edging skill, right?"

And so forth...
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiracer55
I've always liked Ron LeMaster's approach to things.
You don't say?

Skiracer makes a worthy point here. With so many variations on how particular pros and organizations use terms, we'll never see a consensus.

I think what needs to be done is two fold;

I) Posters need to take the time to explain the concepts behind the terms they use, when they use them. Don't just toss terms around without explaining what they refer to. ,,, and

2) Responders need to question the poster when they don't understand how the term is being used, then back off from arguing the validity of how the term is being used, but instead try to focus on the concept it's referring to and direct conversation to that.


Skiracer is right. Skiing is not all that complicated. There are basic principles that have always held true. We need to focus on those principles, and get beyond arguing over the terms we use to explain them. It's really not an efficient use of time. It would be better spent helping people come to understand the principles behind the jargon, and how to achieve proficiency in adopting and learning to execute those principles on snow. That's where the time needs to be spent, because it takes a bunch of it to develop the skills needed to make those principles come to life when sliding downhill.
post #11 of 28

Thanks, bro...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
You don't say?

Skiracer makes a worthy point here. With so many variations on how particular pros and organizations use terms, we'll never see a consensus.

I think what needs to be done is two fold;

I) Posters need to take the time to explain the concepts behind the terms they use, when they use them. Don't just toss terms around without explaining what they refer to. ,,, and

2) Responders need to question the poster when they don't understand how the term is being used, then back off from arguing the validity of how the term is being used, but instead try to focus on the concept it's referring to and direct conversation to that.


Skiracer is right. Skiing is not all that complicated. There are basic principles that have always held true. We need to focus on those principles, and get beyond arguing over the terms we use to explain them. It's really not an efficient use of time. It would be better spent helping people come to understand the principles behind the jargon, and how to achieve proficiency in adopting and learning to execute those principles on snow. That's where the time needs to be spent, because it takes a bunch of it to develop the skills needed to make those principles come to life when sliding downhill.
...I needed that...
post #12 of 28
Make sense, LF, EJL? The ski community has so many problems when it comes to poor communications. Assuming a term is universal has tripped me up on several occations but I am always willing to explain how I intended the term to be used. I've been corrected on several occations as well. In some ways that has helped me write with as few terms as possible. Which is IMO better because it forces me to use descriptive phrases instead of the shorthand jargon so prevelent in our industry. Yes we need to know those terms for certification but what's more important is that we know what they mean in the real world. I have a friend who started a practice of explaining things at a sixth grade level and used grammar check to keep himself honest. I can't do that as well as he can but someday when I grow up I'll be able to take advanced concepts and explain them to my grandkids while they're still that young. it really takes effort and talent to do so. At least IMO
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
Make sense, LF, EJL?
Of course. Several great insights here, all spoken eloquently.
post #14 of 28
Let's keep the terminology correct here: "All written eloquently."
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Let's keep the terminology correct here: "All written eloquently."
Whoops.
post #16 of 28
We had a similar issue after lots of moans that people were using terminology too much and I have assembled a Glossary of Skiing terms here which could form a starting point for you

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewt...=762658#762658
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimottaret View Post
We had a similar issue after oats of moans that people were using terminology too much and I have assembled a Glossary of Skiing terms here which could form a starting point for you

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewt...=762658#762658
Excellent.
post #18 of 28
Okay... this will be harsh. (because you guys actually read... yet don't learn crap.)

One Terminology for SKIING? WTF is this? - backyard badminton?

Entire countries war because they don't speak the same language. Tell me how many US troops on the front lines spoke Arabic when Mr. Bushie decided to send them in... yeah- none. It took a fricking year for our own government to say.. "We need translators." (I know- I'm a linguist and remember the email vividly.)

When we tried to enter a mosque for security purposes, the general Iraqi public thought we were going to shoot it up and formed a human wall. The only way we made it past the locals was by setting our guns on the sand... literally... Why? because we couldn't say: "We don't want to blow up your mosque." Troops literally had to set their guns on the sand because they didn't speak Arabic!!!

"Seems like we need a definitive dictionary of ski terminology."

for who? .000001% of the population?

No... we don't need a "definitive dictionary of ski terminology" ... we need to just STFU and listen to what other people have to say.

Yeah... other people have things to say... and they likely agree with you.

Yet, I'm betting that you believe that this post is actually an argument...

sucker...
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
we need to just STFU and listen to what other people have to say. Yet, I'm betting that you believe that this post is actually an argument... sucker...
Why such aggression? Does this topic mean that much to you?
post #20 of 28
Would you like me to quote your entire post? - or just one of your questions?

It's hard to tell since my post was chopped into a single sentence and deluded into another context not representative of what I was aiming to deliver.

Are we misunderstanding each other already?
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Via Wiki it is indeed possible since you can have any number of contributors to a given section.

Name of Term ..... then successive definitions by each "school"

PSIA, Harb, The Austrians .... even Thigh Cheese ....

Wiki has moderators who edit the content (clowns) and nut balls ... it may be worth exploring.
I agree Wiki (not just for terms but also techniques, gear, etc.) is the way to go. I think the admin board had considered it before when it was brought up. The toughest part about a wiki for this group is to come up with the resources (volunteers, server, etc.).
post #22 of 28
samuri, I think you and I agree. See post 10. Even though we said it a little differently.
post #23 of 28
Rick- we do agree, and we did say it differently.

Me- with my fully-automatic shotgun, and you- with your sniper rifle.



All in all, what I failed to articulate was...

STFU and LISTEN !!!

for some reason people cover their ears when scolded.

This is the nature of forums... and I hope I made that (at least) clear.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Rick- we do agree, and we did say it differently.

Me- with my fully-automatic shotgun, and you- with your sniper rifle.



All in all, what I failed to articulate was...

STFU and LISTEN !!!

for some reason people cover their ears when scolded.

This is the nature of forums... and I hope I made that (at least) clear.
Samurai,
You may have something worthwhile to say, but shouting it while hurling expletives and abuse at your listeners may not be the best way to get their respect nor their attention.

Yes, it is important to recognize that there are plenty of reasons why there is no commonly used set of definitions for terminology here at Epic. Different countries, different instructional traditions, and so on and so on. It is sad that battles are fought over such semantic/syntactic trivialities, both between nations and among the posters here. I suspect people don't want such a common set of definitions because they are happy to muddle around clarifying what each other is saying. There's fun in that, clearly, and who would want to let go of their own way of using a term and have to use someone else's? It's just not human nature.

But so is the frustration when a thread begins to deal with an issue and gets side-tracked by confusions about what people are talking about in the first place. Pages progress with endless debate over what a thing is, intermixed with the more substantive debate. It can be entertaining to figure out what each post is addressing, but also discouraging when the whole thing disintegrates and people start getting angry.

This thread teases out how people differ in their ways of relating to this issue. So far it's seemed that everyone has been happy to hear what each other thinks about the issue.
post #25 of 28
Liquid- you identified the whole point.

I recognize internet anonymity and often thoroughly enjoy self-deprivation to make people realize how trivial forums are. (I'm Samurai, nice to meet you.) I'm not here to actually form relationships, nor am I here promote my business. I'm on several forums to promote (and experiment with) language and communication because it's interesting to me and also a very important aspect of my industry (online education). Plus, I rip on a pair of skis...

I find it amazing how many people take anonymity personally. (I often do myself) It's kind of like a facet of evolution as we enter this world of social-networking software and learn to recognize its place in our society. Some people haven't yet learned the difference between a conversation while anonymous and a conversation amongst actual colleagues. Some have never even contemplated the concept, and some of us who are aware of it, forget.

What I find even more amusing is when people start threads with questions they know the answers to... just to generate fictional feedback. (kind of like my intentional shout-offs) I see that happen quite a bit. (not in reference to this thread by any means.) I'm quite sure that that behavior is both a combination of running a business and wanting content, and simply enjoying reading one's own words... depending on who started it. (mods) I've learned not to answer your questions.

On the topic of forums.. let's consider the word YOU. Spanish speakers don't have these issues on forums because of Tu, Ti, Usted, and Ustedes can leverage individuality or generality. (forgive me for not being on a Spanish keyboard.) (Now is when you realize I wasn't actually speaking to your individual, but rather the collective.)

English speakers have quite a difficult time I find. REALLY interesting forums are international ones where Brits and Americans think they are actually speaking the same language because they're using English.

We did the research last year- 81% of our online students encountered an argument when put into an anonymous group. This is quite contradictory to in-class group work.

Anyway, back on topic...
post #26 of 28
Apex
Steering
Passive rotation.


We'll start with those and move on to the hard ones.
post #27 of 28
I have Bob's encyclopedia and I actually read it!!!!
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
I have Bob's encyclopedia and I actually read it!!!!
I'm working my way through it now. Still in the A's, have barely begun, but boy what an informative way to tap into ski information.
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