I think you've already answered your own question...
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
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
- 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...