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If you could Re-Write Ski Technique

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Can of worms? Nah! Just a fantasy game!
We've already discussed the issue of direct to parallel.
But supposing...

You had COMPLETE control over how you would teach a never ever. You did not have to be a clone of the other instructors at your ski school, nor did you have to answer to a micro managing ski school director. Your school was not selling a technique as a product. How would you teach a first timer?

I once had an instructor who told me of a time when she had to teach two women from Jamaica. They had never seen snow until recently, and were terrified of the concept of gliding. What she really wanted to do was put them in a sled, so they could experience a sliding sensation in a relatively safer situation.

So use your imagination. What would you do?
post #2 of 14
This should be interesting!
post #3 of 14
I'd set them up on cross country skis with edges, build on their walking skills, introduce sliding, gliding, climbing, and turns, and transfer these skills to the Alpine set-up.
post #4 of 14
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nolobolono:
I'd set them up on cross country skis with edges, build on their walking skills, introduce sliding, gliding, climbing, and turns, and transfer these skills to the Alpine set-up.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow. Exactly my fantasy Kids program.
post #5 of 14
Vail Ski school did some kind of a test case study in the '80's starting ski weekers out on CC gear for first 1 or 2 days, then alpine gear and it got them to parallel faster than the regular program as I recall. What I don't know is if it was popular with customers. Also don't know if it is still avaliable.

Begs the question: Would our ideal view of the "best" way to teach beginners be one that would give them the most satisfying experience? I think that should be a cornerstone criteria of "best". Continuing on that theme, maybe defining outcome objectives should be the first step of the design. :
post #6 of 14
To idealize this situation, you'd have to specify that folks are coming to the ski area for a period of days and are totally committed to learning to ski with some proficiency. Today, a "ski week" might start Monday morning and end Wednesday afternoon, and the deciding factor for a guest may be the size of the hot tub.

Horst Abraham describes his ideal ski school in "Skiing Right" as a training center incorporating a health center with lecture halls and conversing areas, libraries specializing in related topics, a gym with swimming pools and sauna/hot tub equipment and areas for practicing martial arts, dance, etc. He proposes a program where customers book repeated multi-night stays because the resort is so involved in the learning process it has dedicated slopes for different teaching situations and ability levels and complete facilities to train guests to become athletically healthy.

My experience teaching alpine skiing to beginners with cross country experience is that unless they've done enough cross country to become fairly adept at it, they have little advantage as alpine beginners.

Skiing beginners who have ice skated or rollerbladed regularly generally seem to catch on more quickly than cross country skiers.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Defining outcome objectives. Good point, Arcmeister. But I think step one is to realize that different students may have different objectives, and like a parent and child, these may differ from those of the instructor.

It saddens me a bit when I see an instructor almost take it as a personal offense when a student does not choose to ski more challenging terrain. Perhaps that was never their goal in the first place.

Needless to say, I love Horst Abraham's idea. I wonder how come it never came about.

With everything I've learned this year about feet and kinetic chains, I would start students indoors, in their socks. I would then check for toe clenching and try to correct it. Then I would instruct students in the FUNCTIONAL way to activate their core, by instructing them in just a few simple balance exercises, which would include lateral weight transference, as well as fore aft balance.

Keep in mind I am not talking about a workout. This should not take more then 10, 15 minutes. It would also guve me an asessment tool, so I could predict who may be having frequent wipe outs due to poor balance skills.

Since this is WELCOME TO FANTASY SKI SCHOOL, we are not married to any boot company.There are a few boot choices, and students recieve guidance as to what is apropriate for them. A brief explanation of the relationship between ski and boot would follow.

Next, would be the kind of stuff Rick H talks about. Exercises in boots alone, before putting on skis.
Since I'm not an experienced enough skier to think up an entire progression, I will not attempt to do so. But I will say that I think the side slip should be taught very early. I did not learn it till level 3.
post #8 of 14

topic away !!!!!

First up as an instructor my goal is to get the client to return year after year to skiing. This does not mean that they have to ski parallel in the first week, rather the beginner progression should start with ENJOYMENT with a goal as set by the client of FUN. (we are on holidays after all)

First up a ride up the lift for a birds eye view of the mountain and the surrounds. Back down the chair to the base to give them a sense of accomplishment and "oneness" with the environment. This said I would never introduce someone to the alpine environment in a blizzard. (would not beginner windsurf in a hurricane either)

Next up is equipment. Comfy, correct fitting boots and short skis. Lost of sliding around on the flat, walking, climbing, slipping etc (everyday movements with big slippery feet)

Lunch. A long one with good cheer followed by an easy walk in hiking boots using poles to a lookout over the mountains.

Some straight runs on a little hill to introduce a "weeee" factor

Dinner, good company and a feeling of inclusion to the alpine environment.

And slowly we go.

My "ideal" progression would of course require an "ideal" mountain. Thats the hard bit.

LM Basic sideslipping is introduced in the very first days where I come from.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 07:32 PM: Message edited 1 time, by man from oz ]</font>
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Great ideas, Oz. What got me past my slight fear of heights and in love with skiing had as much to do with the mountain lifestyle as with the skiing itself. Love the hiking idea. Some people just need to get used to snow. I started with snow shoes, for that reason.
Great that you introduce side slipping in the first days. I wanted to say that, but was afraid I'd get flamed!

BTW, there's a post with you name in the subject in Health and Fitness that I think you should read!
post #10 of 14
Hey OZ, you left us hanging. So do you bang her after dinner? :
Seriously, I think the idea of not strting in a blizzard is great. Even one step further, perhaps a warm April afternoon?
post #11 of 14
I have been teaching "never evers" for a long time using the usual inside activiies, then outside boot activities and then one ski, etc, etc, etc, etc... One day last year I was trying to find a new approach to teaching never evers and I began to think about the fact that my best first timers are usually people with skating experience. So, I decided that I would first make my never evers into skaters, and THEN into skiers.

The results were amazing!!! I did NO boot work, etc, and instead put BOTH skis on right away and began skating on flat terrain. Little or instruction, just moving around, pushing around, sliding, EXPERIENCING. Maybe a few words to someone who was having trouble pushing off against a flat ski, but otherwise just moving around, having fun on the flats. Before I knew what was happening many of the guests were skating up the hill, a little, and sliding down in a gliding wedge, with good balance and stance which they developed all on their own. I never used the words "balance", or "stance" or "wedge".
I tried the same technique 2 more times with the same results. It is a wonderful way to teach - you give feedback as needed and things progress quickly. Give it a try.

Think about why the skating EXPERIENCE automatically creates the proper movements and balance - it truly works!!

My ideal ski technique would allow for this type of teaching/learning where appropriate. I am fortunate to work for people who allow me to think outside the box once in a while.

(ps: Horst Abraham also said that he wanted the ski instructors to own the ski school - fat chance!)
post #12 of 14

I like the idea of the skating start. I will have to try it, since I well know I'm not going to teach any beginners on cross country gear at my school.

Thanks for the tip.
post #13 of 14
Hey, Blizzard, what length ski did the skaters have?

Sounds like a teriffic idea.

My beginner routine starts outside in the boots. We do the touchy-feely boot stuff and then sidestep up a rise and back down and try to walk/draw a circular line to the left and line to the right with the outside edge of the inside boot. Then we "scooter" with one ski including sidestepping up the rise and sliding down. Then we put on two and skate on the flat, but I've never taken skating beyond this initial effort. I usually get into stepping around to the right and left, and then head for the beginner tow. Most beginners I see are in rentals and that usually means bad boots at the area where I teach, along with 160 or so pencil skis.
post #14 of 14
We use 110-135 mm shaped skis for beginners.
I usually put anyone under 120# on 110's and anyone over 180# on 135's
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