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Take me to your leader

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've seen a new exercise being given to numerous kids classes at Bridger Bowl I am curious about. They have the kids hold their poles straight up in the air & parallel while they are skiing. It is a pretty interesting site seeing a dozen kids skiing down the hill like this.

If I were back in Southern Oregon at my old mountain I would just assume they were having the kids do some new-age metaphysical spiritual exercise or having them try to communicate with space aliens, but this is Montana so neither of those two explanations fit. Does anyone know the purpose of this exercise?
post #2 of 12
Upper and lower body separation. Trying to keep poles up and parallel requires a quiet upper body. Easier version of this drill (seen more frequently) is skiing with poles held together parallel to the ground.


Making a turn where you have to is different from making a turn where you want to...
post #3 of 12
Basically, the instructor is having the students "frame" a snapshot of the fall line. In essence, you are trying to keep your sholders square to the fall line and turn with your lower body only.

I love to do this with adults also - especially those that attempt to initiate their turns with their sholders. It also keeps them in an active stance . . .

Rex "I can't believe they pay me for this" Road.
post #4 of 12

You guys aren't still having people "frame" the fall line are you?! If you are, STOP! Unless, of course, you are teaching wedlen. There are plenty of ways to keep people from over rotating, without teaching them this overly countered move, which will need to be unlearned. No to mention the fact that it usually makes them rotate the beginning of the turn. The only reason anyone would use that much counter is on super steep, short swing skidded turns.

I got the impression the instructor that Rio was referring to, had the kids holding the poles completely over their heads, like antanne. It's good for keeping kids from swinging their arms all over the place, and for kids of the appropriate age, helps them to start seperating major muscle groups, such as upper and lower body muscles. It makes them use their lower legs without mimicking the moves with their upper bodies. I think kids start to get this around 6-8 yrs old.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
The kids were generally between the ages of 5 and 8 as best I can tell. They held their hands higher than in the classic serving tea exercise.
post #6 of 12

Realistically, there is a 90% chance that the instructor was just playing games and giving them something else to do and think about. You do lots of stuff with kids just to keep them entertained on easy hills. These are short attention span critters, and they get bored in a hurry, so instructors start combing the depths of their brains to keep them wigging out completely. I doubt very seriously, that there was any mention or even thought of upper/lower seperation. But then again, you never know....
post #7 of 12
JohnH -
Quick response -

I use the "frame" to show that the lower body can rotate without the upper body rotating. Basically, I do this for about 10 turns.

Where are you guys getting all of your instruction info? (PSIA, Books, ???)

Reason I ask, the frame is one of the big moves that we are told to teach our students.

I'm a first year instructor and not certified from any national program/organization. I'm picking up great tips from all who post here, and a few tips from my supervisors at the mountain.

Are there other sites I should be visiting for more info????

Appreciate the knowledge in advance!!!
post #8 of 12

There are a number of us instructor types here. Welcome aboard.

Ya know. I forgot it was still in the literature. But I'll add one other "bad" about that exercise. It promotes a "posed" static position. It ends up getting people totally stuck in a traverse. Every once in a while, you'll see a skier skiing like this in their normal skiing. you can tell that they have probably spent too much time in lessons, sucking up all the exercises, but never really getting the natural feel of skiing. Basically, they just ski every exercise that they have been shown. Exercises are just that... exercises. They are not, in and of themselves, normal skiing.
post #9 of 12
Thanks for all the comments guys,
during my tagalong sessions with Lyle, he did some movement analysis "out loud". The common symptom I saw with the 6 skiers in the class was not getting their skis on edge. Apparently the root cause was "static position" and not flexing their ankles at all. One simple exercise "flexing their ankles" and the comment that Skiing is about motion not static positions fixed it for most of them. now I understand where some of this habit comes from.
post #10 of 12
"If I were back in Southern Oregon at my old mountain I would just assume they were having the kids do some new-age metaphysical spiritual exercise"

If they were from Oregon then they must have been giving thanks to the snow god because we be hurtin out here!
post #11 of 12
Bob gave a great reply as any exercise has pro's and con's and you must take it into skiing! Here is my thought as I use this exercise with adults as well. As you stretch your arms(elbows) over your head it tends to lock the upperbody from rotating which is a common problem with skiers. This enables the legs to do the turning and helps to promote upper and lowerbody seperation. Give it a try!
post #12 of 12
I HATE that exercise! It feels contrived and stupid.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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