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PSIA History Comes Alive Clinic at Mt. Cranmore

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Just got back from the History Comes Alive clinic.  It is a required course for PSIA-E's Master Teacher Certification.  WOW, what a blast. It was lead by Dutch Karnan.  He really was up to the task and made the whole thing fun and exciting.


The first day after some settling in and a bit of a history video we booted up with Telemark gear.  Now, understand, most of us had never set foot on tele gear before.  Me, I'm from from the half a binding, half a brain crowd.  But I decided to give it a try.  We spent the whole day on tele gear.  First learning to stand up and slide.  The feeling of going "over the handlebars" when lifting your heel is weird.  I'm still not use to it.  Then trying the Arlberg technique to throw the skis around.  I'm sure there were people on the lift looking at us.  They must have been thinking, "What are those people doing?  They're throwing their arms around.  They're downstemming.  Gawd, that looks awful."


The second day we were on our own modern gear.  We played with turns using the following techniques; Ruade, Wedeln, Avalement, Stem/step christis.  It was all great fun.  Plus we learned how and why things in skiing has changed over the years.


Oh, I'm thinking I need to buy my own tele gear.  That was a hoot, a challenge, and a whole lot of fun.

Edited by T-Square - Sat, 07 Feb 09 01:25:13 GMT
post #2 of 11

Sounds great, T2! One of the things that I think is cool about this sport is that its history is really not all that old. At least in its modern incarnation as a recreational sport, many of skiing's pioneers are still skiing. There are still members of the 10th Mountain Division who can tell stories of the early days. Even in my own brief time as a skier and instructor, I'm amazed how much "history" I've lived through.




What was it about teles that you liked most?


Best regards,



PS--Speaking of history, has anyone noticed that the Huddler developers have brought back post count, in addition to a number of new or missing features. (I don't know what happened to about 1300 of mine, but they probably weren't worth reading anyway!)



Stowe * Aspen * Big Sky 
post #3 of 11

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Kaj,  I wish I had some pictures of the group to post.  Sorry about that.


Bob,  Great question.  What did I like about it?

  • I liked the challenge of something new.  It was great fun to get out and try something different.
  • The fear factor.  It was good as an instructor to get on something totally different.  You need to go back to the beginning now and then.  It reminds you of what your beginning students are going through.  I went through the "is this safe for me" questioning in my mind.  I have some physical things to consider so now I appreciate what some of my first time adaptive students go through in making the decision to ski.
  • Getting off the lift the first time without falling flat on my face. 
  • Falling flat on my face while standing sill, kneeling down, and attempting to fix a binding.  I felt like Artie Johnson on a tricycle.
  • The crossover from Alpine Downhill.  Once I got on them I experienced the lateral learning effect from what I already know.
  •  Letting go and letting learning happen.
  • Playing and having fun.
  • Looking at a blue slope and experiencing the "Everest Effect."  "Damn, I didn't realize that blue slopes were THAT STEEP!!!! "
  • Making the first wedge turn.
  • Making the first "Tele" turn.   Yah, Yah, Yah, I know my inside foot wasn't that far back.
  • The "going over the handlebars" feeling when my heel left the ground.  This happened a few times.  WOW what a woops factor.  I figured out why.  In alpine skiing when your heel comes up it means your binding has released.  That ain't a good thing.
  • Realizing that it wasn't as hard on the knees as I thought it would be.


That's just the beginning.  I recommend that people try it and see what happens.

post #5 of 11

This sounds like a truly great idea.  If someone offered this to the general public, I would be in at first opportunity.


When you say tele gear, do you mean wooden skis with no edges and leather boots, or some form of more modern gear?


I own some large, old, wood, cable binding skis...just need to find some boots and the cojones to try it out.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

It was modern tele gear.  I got a good appreciation for the new stuff.  As a kid I skiied on looong Northland wooden skis with metal edges.  I had leather double lace up boots.  Cable bindings that held down the heel.  Ski poles that came up to my arm pits.  It must have been interesting to ski on wooden skis with no edges, strap bindings, and basically street shoes.


Oh, and back in the day I was styling with my red knee socks and brown corduroy knee pants.

post #7 of 11

Thsnks for the reply, T2--great stuff!


I have spent two days on teles in the past couple years, and both of them were a blast. Like you, I marveled at how the simplest things that I take for granted on my alpine gear suddenly became real issues. I giggled at being a rank beginner again, playing joyfully and not caring at all about how it looked, or whether it was right, savoring new sensations, and a new sense of urgency if I wanted to survive, laughing when awkwardness turned to spasticity!


Of course, the instructor in me eventually kicked in, and started analyzing the similarities (many) and differences (very few, really) between alpine and tele technique. I was accompanied by a couple top nordic instructors, who kept it interesting, and kept me out of any big trouble. They were also quick to point out when my proud new telemark turns weren't really--they were "fake-a-marks," the typical first attempts of an alpine skier to tele, with the "back" (inside) knee still forward of the "front" knee. They suggested that the defining moment in my new nordic life would come when, in a moment of imbalance or other challenge, my instinctive reaction would be to go deeper into the tele stance, rather than abandoning it and returning to alpine. I never got there!


It's fun. It's interesting. It's very good for you, I have no doubt!


Best regards,



Stowe * Aspen * Big Sky
post #8 of 11

I think that becoming aware of the  short but colorful history of skiing can add to the appreciation of the sport. A number of years ago at PSIA Spring Rally at Stowe I had the opportunity to speak with Herbert Schneider, Hannes' son. Also one of the people I taught with had been at Sun Valley in the old days. (All instructors at Sun Valley in those times were required to have tuxedos). I was fortunate enough to ski with DIck Durrance one day in Colorado back in the mid 1960's and had the opportunity to speack with him about that a few years before he passed away. When I was at school in Stowe during in the "60's" we had access to Ranch Camp, the old ski cabin complex in the Ranch Valley that was a ski lodge in the old walk up, ski down era. .So many grest times in skiing are only faint if not torgoten memories today. A lot of the adventures those folks knew so well are only becoming rediscovered recently like the resurgence in AT.

post #9 of 11

I took the HCA course about two years ago with Rick Weiss.  He offered an interesting perspective on the purpose.  He suggested that one valuable takeaway was learning to duplicate non-centerline movements, especially so we can understand how our students are moving, and to be able to duplicate their movements to show that we really understand how the students get their current movement patterns.  It is all fine and well to tell a student, just make this movement, and all will be well in your skiing, and another to show the student the movement pattern as the student performs it, and then the adjusted movement pattern, as you would like to coach it.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

This is a great quote from nolo on this same subject in this thread.



Originally Posted by nolo View Post


Roto, I completely agree: people ski the way they think they should ski. One of the activities I use in my teaching is to ask a student to teach me how to make their turn. You learn so much about what's inside their heads dictating their behavior on skis.


post #11 of 11

It sounds like an exciting clinic that could teach a person a lot.  I'd love to be taken through all the maneuvers that lead to modern skiing and watch others make them, even those I lived through.  It would be a unique learning experience that I expect would teach a person just why we changed and possibly stop us from yearning for the old days when I'm sure it worked better (teach us less resistance to change). 


I think it's a clinic that could garner excitement from many advanced skiers, especialy when bored on groomed eastern slopes.

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