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Should ski schools teach extreme skills?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This is a take off triggered by a conversation going on in several other threads

By Ott

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> OK, Holiday, I've been out of teaching for 15 years and you are right, we did not teach or even consider teaching cliff jumping techniques, but if it is now what the student strives for, I presume it should be incorporated.
The same with WC racing, in which the racer tries to get down the hill the fastest way possible while we used to teach students to ski at moderate speed and lots of control, not that many didn't disregarded that and bombed anyway.

I presume that I concern myself with the 3000+ skiers who take lessons every single day during the season in our two hills with 240 vertical. Pierre, Powdigger and zeek will have to teach them and I think that they strive to give the skier a solid base from which to advance. I never mentioned anything that could be considered a dead end maneuver, did I? Maybe I did, but what is it? The check, unweighting, abstem, telemark, platform or what?



I did not see any "dead end moves" in any of Ott's posts.

I ask the question because as a new instructor, we are being told to teach the basics and get the student sliding and having fun as quickly as possible. But make sure the fundamentals are there. Balance, Rotary skill, Edging and pressure. and yes using a wedge, (gliding of course) and we have to demo it exactly right. The student may not get it right off but we need to be deadly accurate with our demos! All the time we are the advocate for the SS and resort. We are to encourage the students to return for higher learning and if we can make it an enjoyable experience, and show them what is possible that they will come back for those advanced classes or week long clinics that will give them the "extreme skills" that "all experts do but don't know what to call them" Those week long clinics and specialty classes Holiday, Eski and others are offering are just another stepping stone to better skiing!
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
I guess I should have voiced my opinion too.

The basic school I think should not teach or confuse the students with this info as Ott and others have advocated but there are places for all these moves in expert skiing. Allmountain ski pros, Lito's clinic, HH ski camps at the advanced levels, XTeams, AJKitt's clinic, and numerous other programs are where we can and should be going/sending students that want to progress past the "stay on the groomers and have fun 2-3 times a year" skiing. (and nothing wrong with people that want to stay at this level)
post #3 of 10
We had discussion during HH thread the infamous DEAD THREAD about getting to parallel in the first lesson.

The new equipment allows the beginer that advantage to experience parallel maybe even CARVE at an early AGE as Tag would put it.

In the DEAD THREAD I posted that it is good we get the beginer parallel early however it is misleading in that they have alot of miles to go before they FLY, well not those words exactly but you get the drift!

Extreem Skiing is for those who have not just a basic but an advanced or if you will develped a STYLE of their own.

STYLE - the use or choice of several techniques applied is such a way as to effect an outcome"

At never ever or even 2, 3, 4, maybe 5 the student is really not ready for BIG STUFF. THere will be alot that debate this and it is very GRAY to even go out on a limb and say that. (as most students with the "Gondas and Strife' issue may be out jumping before or after a Never Ever class. However due to INSURANCE and other issues of the Litigation ilk. I personaly would not want to TEACH anyone less than a 9 and only after I ski with them for a while, before we venture to the BIG STUFF

First priority for me at least is that IF I GET YOU INTO IT I MUST BE ABLE TO GET YOU OUT OF IT, principle of LEADERSHIP or TEAM LEADER. YOU are responsible for the STUDENT at all times!
Take em in where they are over their head and have an accident and well, it is alot of paper work!

MOUNTAIN GUIDE is best left to those who are just that! (skilled, versed and extreemly knowlegeable in ALL facets of RESCUE, Altitude and Exposure skickness, Avalance and Terrain Management, not to mention SKI! Oh did I mention the ability to coach, read and facilitate the student or team members experience while out there in that stuff.)

Some of the best examples here on this continent would be Heli Ski teams. Their guides are all of the above and more. Simply the Psychology of the individual in this type of enviroment is very different than ANY instructor will see at GROOMED MOUNTAIN ski area.

Different kettle fo FISH.

To Ott's credit and as a direct answer to the question posted above, The ski schools already do teach the skills that are needed in EXTREEM SKIING. (MOST ALL OF THEM, THEY ARE CALLED THE BASICS) The BASICS - those tools you will need to survive when all else fails!

Yuki's example of the hardwoods looming large!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 30, 2001 11:00 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Dr.GO ]</font>
post #4 of 10
Fearing that my reply would be less than scientific, I would take a shot anyway.

I think that ski schools need to offer variety of lessons for all levels and all types of skiing if you will. I doubt that there will be significant demand for 50 foot jump lesson, but within reasonable limits upper intermidiates and "less experienced" experts would be interested in exploring stuff off the beaten path.

Here is a couple of examples I could think of
- Northstar-at-Tahoe had free ski lessons for skiers level 5 and above. The place clearly does not have the level of advanced terrain that Squaw offers but being able to get advanced level guiding/instruction was good enough reason for me to go back there a number of times;

- A number of specialized afternoon lessons at Alta (moguls, powder, steeps) looks attractive to me. And the fact that definition of the level requires ability to confidently ski on the ungroomed stuff gives me some reassurance that others in the group would be on the same level as me. Not much better, not much worse. Both alternatives are frustrating in their own way.

Another consideration to throw in the mix is that when I am visiting an area like Whistler or Squaw I do not need a guide/instructor to show me marked trails, but if there was an option of taking a lesson that covers reasonable terrain that is hidden somewhere or located in the places where you can get in trouble on your own, that would be very helpfull from my point of view. E.g. certain areas at Squaw or Whistler I would not venture to unless I was following someone who knows a way out and can make a call if that way out is a reasonable alternative for me.

Hope that made some sense,
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
good points Eugene and Dr Go,

There should be places for all forms of learning.
Eugene, FYI your point about guides for hidden areas. Alta offers this in the Black diamond Challenge (requires level 9 skills) and most other destination resorts have something simular. most with multiple levels of skills. (mountain tours) (early riser specials/guides) and there is always semiprivates that you can put together yourself. Most of them include an instructor level/type pro that can give little tips but it's not geared to be a "lesson" but just pointers along the way for the specific terrain you are skiing. Great fun and usually a great value..
post #6 of 10
I would say yes.

Dr GO and Eugene put it very well, so I won't repeat. As long as there is a demand for such instruction, there should be a supply as well.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
On the other side, we should also not admonish those who are charged with getting those 2 weekend a year skiers on the slopes sliding and enjoying the slopes as quickly as possible for not teaching "abstem" or similar moves. Just because we are not charged with teaching these movements does not make them "bad or wrong"
post #8 of 10
A couple of additional points:

- Skills to ski steep and narrow terrain for example are in one's head as much as muscles. I totally agree with Dr. GO that technique is being taught alreay. However, first time you go through excting chute and then look at it from the lift is usually followed by "No way I just went through there.". From that point sky is the limit.

- Also the above freedom is the key to converting people that ski 2 - 3 days a year to 20 days/year skiers.

post #9 of 10


BUT remember that chute you spoke of Eugene could go WAY BAD for some one. Lets say a face plant in the Granite! (OOOOCH)

Then what?

Ever go white water rafting?

In the WAVIER that you sign. (a good lawyer would tell you you can not WAIVE any rights given to you as a citizen of the good ol USA)

But it is cool casue the WAIVER asks for the name and address that you would want your body sent to in case of DEATH.

Yeah, maybe with some sort of disclaimer that, you know if you should be clumsy or something that we don't know you and will ski down to the lift without you!

Just kidding! (but this is real stuff and it can BITE back!) Or just BITE depending on how your day is going! hehehehehehehe WEEEEEEE

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 30, 2001 05:15 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Dr.GO ]</font>
post #10 of 10
Hi there,
sounds like my ideas were a little misinterpreted. Let's go back to the reason I mentioned dead end moves.

"Holiday, I can't really equate cliff jumping with skiing, it's a speciality which is practiced by a fraction of one percent of skiers and not many of us ski like that, nor can I equate the students we have taught in our classes with World Cup racers" Ott

As dchan said, ott didn't espouse any dead end moves. I just extrapolated that by discounting the highest end of ski technique (not the air), there almost has to be a dead end. This cliff jumping, extreme idea, keeps coming up as well, but I was speaking of the entirety of the clip shown, not the fact he gets some air. Some yahoo going straight off this same cliff in a full face helmet, out of balance to the rear, and rolling down the windows would still be "cliff jumping" but it would not be what I felt this discussion was about. If you look at that clip, and see solid basics, with an emphasis on relaxing to release the old turn, stabilized by a strong upper body and pole plant, and the cm flowing across the skis into the new turn (albeit, 15 feet farther down the hill), then you can equate this to skiing. It is taking the solid basics and putting them to work with more forces to deal with and the stakes a little higher. anyway, sorry for beating the horse. I didn't mean to offend you Ott, I just had trouble with that paragraph.

As far the rest of dchan question,
I'm with the majority of the clan here, if we are student centered we should try to give the student what they want. One persons moderate, is anothers extreme (although I dislike that word as well). If some 17 year old wants to learn to drop a cornice, the school should have an instructor that can deliver that product in a well thought out progression. But I also agree with dchan, maybe you should refer them to some other group that specializes in the upper end of the spectrum.
Anyway, hope I didn't step on my keyboard with this one.

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