or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Direct parallel; conclusions?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Direct parallel; conclusions?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Can we talk?

So to me, the facts are there. Direct parallel, no matter what you call it, PMTS, or any other name, is now the "new" way to teach skiing. Right?

Students should seek out an instructor who believes and teaches the Direct Parallel "thang", right?

Then, for the first time ever (or is it?), skiers don't need to be taught wedge turns, right?

They still need to be taught the wedge to slow down in lift lines, but that's it. They don't and shouldn't be taught the wedge for any other reason, like making turns, right?

I'm trying to get some conclusions here; is it possible? Some will still claim they have to teach wedge turns. To me, that's nutzo, even though I have no scientific evidence to support my bombastic (I got that word from my pal nolobolo -- the esq.) attitude.

So there you have it.
post #2 of 20

I am in agreement that WITH the NEW technology it is not IMPORTANT to take the student through a WEDGE or STEM progression.

However as you pointed out it is a TOOL that they may need later of ect., ect..

Also IF you have a student that is NOT GETTING IT, Parallel or something resembling edge control with skis pointing in the same direction. THEN you may NEED to go the STEM or WEDGE route.

I am not going to salute any FLAG here, PMTS or PSIA with this comment just to issue my thought on the student of TODAY and what I SEE and Experience.

MY END GAME, is to see that people can get into the sport of SKIING and enjoy it, continue to bring more people in and we live a happy life everafter.

DOGAM will not get us there. Now do not go and JUMP "DOGMA" cause I am not accusing you of that I meerly state that DIRECT PARALLEL, ATM, GLM, "whatever" is not going to get us there TODAY as efficiently as another effort might.

I am a proponent that we should RETHINK this thing for todays students paradigm!

So yes!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
No no, no dogma here. Although by definition, a forum is dogmatic (is that a word?) though, isn't it?

Just trying to get a feeling for where everyone is at...

I asked Elway about dogma. And he's like, "Whoof"?
post #4 of 20
Now calm yourself down Elway or I will put up the Eagle Ranch Web Cam again!

I gotta get a clip of Heraldo ducking bullets in Afganistan, that is pretty funny too! wwwiiiizzzzzzzzz

Oh how easily I digress. (for the rest of you that means get off topic)
post #5 of 20
THE WEDGE GONE? Huh, gone from beginers "Book of Knowledge" I think not. The shaped skis allow a teacher to get a student skiing paralel much quicker than before, but how are you realy going to teach them about weighting a ski, body motion, and all that good stuff. I tell you, the wedge is the best place to learn a lot of things. I constantly go back to the wedge in my own skiing. If something in my skiing is not clicking, where do I figure out how to fix it? In the WEDGE. The wedge will never die.

post #6 of 20
I have learned something from everyone and have found there is no "perfect single way". PSIA, PMTS, Heckelman, Leto, Carmacle, these forums, each has something and I don't want to miss a thing. The only time I have ever found that there is a single "right way" was when I was taking an exam. What ever the examiner wanted, that was the "right way".
post #7 of 20
As far as the wedge is concerned, make it a case by case scenario. I still say, lose the traverse [except for balance exercises}. Not only is it dead end, it makes everybody else hate you!
post #8 of 20
We don't need to consider the wedge "dead", just finally religated to an appropriate status as a laterally learned activity or last choise when all else fails option for beginners. With what we have learned and now know can be done on the new tech equipment is is a disservice to our customers to continue defaulting to first teaching them the wedge trap terminal intermediate path and deny them now avaliable opportunities to more quickly become parallel skiers with greater growth potential.

If ski teaching were re-invented tomorrow, with the equipment and knowledge we have today, can any of you out there concieve that a teaching system would be created using the wedge as a foundational learning platform? Come on, recognise the wedge is a dino left over from 60 years ago learning on 7-foot skis in low-cut leather boots in unpacked powder!!! It has been slowly evolved to a gliding wedge with the slow evolution of equipment simply because there has been no revolution taking place to instigate radical change.

Well, now the radical change has taken place and we as the professional community should be jumping at the opportunity to offer a faster, less frustrating learning path to newcommers to our fabulous sport. We should be knocking ourselves out to LEAD in developing, packaging, and marketing "guarenteed parallel" programs to re-vitalize this industry's flat (apathetic) non-growth over the last 10 years. If our industries pathetic beginner retention and capture rate of 10-15% proves anything it is that we are not providing a worthwile first day experience to beginners. We are not sharing the passion we have for this sport very effectivly. Dentists do better with their new customers! A beginner making parallel movements and turns can look at other parallel skiers and identify that they are on their way to progressing up the mountain. Beginners cramping their hips in a wedge have no such relative vision avaliable to them. Is it any wonder they don't come back? If we offered a worthy first day they would not only come back but be dragging their friends with them. It's time as professionals we start teaching people how they can potentially ski in the future, not keep retro-teaching them how we learned to ski in the past, simply because it represents our comfort zone. Time to let go (of the wedge dogma) and grow.

(I'm frustrated that there is no snow in the mid-west so don't flame back) :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 07, 2001 01:47 PM: Message edited 3 times, by Arcmeister ]</font>
post #9 of 20
SCSA- Great Post!

I'm in Cincy and will be back Sunday. I really appreciate the tone and tenor of your message although I smell a trap! You know it's the leopard and spots thing.

I think direct parallel is viable with a great many students given the right circumstances. One is the need for wide open terrain.

I can't quantify percentages, however, it's significant. I simply say the wedge is appropriate in many cases and the key is a prompt progression to the wedge christie and then open parallel turns.

Let's ski soon!
post #10 of 20
I have to say this about direct parallel: teaching to students is pretty gratifying. They move from never-evers to skiing most green in a day. Some of the quicker learners get into easy blue runs.

I think that there needs to be a caviat here. Direct parallel really needs modern shaped skis to work 100%. The area that I work at has had Elan SCX for the past few years. I understand that we may see Head Cyclone this year. We have not opened, but I will be there tomorrow. If we get the Cyclone, the new skiers are in for a treat! I have had a pair for a year. They are my teaching skis.

I have taught students with old skis. It is more difficult for them to learn, because the skis do not react very well. I am going to suggest that these students be seperated into their own group.

In conclusion, direct parallel is easier to learn, easier to teach and very gratifying to the student and teacher. If a student shows up in with a pair of old skis, teach them the gliding wedge first.

If I start to have problems, I don't go back to the wedge. I do shuffle turns or traverses on the little toe edge of the uphill ski. That will get my balance and timing back better than anything.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Arcmeister is the man/woman!
What Arcmeister says!
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Dr. Go,

Just so you know, Colorado natives have no problems with Texans. In fact, some of the finest women I know are from Texas.
post #13 of 20

Arcmeister is a man. He is Blue Accredited in PMTS, last I heard. I believe his a PSIA examiner in Central. If you took the PMTS Fall Camp, you have met him. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 20
I have said it before--beyond its admitted marketing potential, "direct parallel" is a false goal that misses the point entirely. Skiing is not about "learning to parallel"--parallel is perhaps the least relevant part of ski technique. Skiing is about MOVEMENTS. Neither a wedge stance nor a parallel stance (they aren't much different!) guarantees good movements, or precludes them. Arguing about whether it is important to use a wedge or a not makes about as much sense as arguing whether blue cars or red cars are faster....

All good skiers are adept with the wedge, braking and otherwise. Even the most adamant "no-wedge" teaching "systems" (ie. PMTS) teach a wedge--even if they call it something else and relegate its use to lift lines.

But good instructors have long recognized that it is movements we teach. Not wedge turns. Not parallel turns. MOVEMENTS! Good instructors recognize that the wedge has uses--and pitfalls--as does "forcing" a parallel stance. Both can allow good movements--or lead to "dead ends." But I think the greatest disservice that this discussion does to skiers is to perpetuate the myth that "parallel" is the sign of an expert. How can it be--when skiers can "parallel" from the start?

Exercises that do not involve a wedge are, and always have been, extremely important in beginner lessons. Stepping, gliding, skating, pushing around with the poles, finding a good neutral stance and learning to enjoy the sensation of gliding--these have ALWAYS been important in ski lessons. I do not know any instructor who believes that anyone needs a wedge to turn, at any level--they need MOVEMENTS.

The perceived "de-emphasis" of the wedge these days is surely a good thing. But actually, the incorrect perception is that there was ever an "emphasis" on the wedge in the first place. It is a tool, with many functions. It is NOT the "foundation" of beginners' turns, even in a progression where it is taught. Successful instructors since I began teaching have always played around a lot with "non-wedge" exercises and gliding for a good while in beginning lessons, before introducing a wedge.

And it has always been a mistake--most instructors have learned this the hard way--to introduce a wedge--especially a braking wedge--too early. Even here, the braking wedge is not the mistake. Putting students in a situation where they NEED a braking wedge from the start is the mistake. Teaching defensive movements can be important, but teaching them from the start can indeed create bad habits that are difficult to break.

Again, the debate over "wedge vs. parallel" entirely misses the point of what is important in learning good ski habits--MOVEMENTS!

While the "instant gratification" promise of "direct parallel" programs has definite marketing appeal, I think that it does a disservice to potential skiers, as I noted above. The reality of Arcmeister's "Pathways to Parallel," Aspen's "Beginners Magic" program, PSIA-RM's "Three Steps to Success," and even PMTS's "Primary Movements," is that they all attempt to develop good foundational movement patterns. And they all "de-emphasize" the wedge--even as they allow it to exist and recognize its uses. That's as it should be. It is unfortunate, though, that some students have been lead to believe that there is something inherently "wrong" about either wedge or parallel, or that somehow "parallel" is some sort of goal, the mark of high achievement. Good turns--that's the mark of achievement. Not "parallel."

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yes, you're right. The emphasis should now be to teach skiers primary movements from day 1.
post #16 of 20
Yes, SCSA--primary movements, but not necessarily "Primary Movements"TM. Frankly, I prefer to simply call them "fundamental movements," "principle movements," or "foundational movements." "Primary" suggests "first," while I submit that these movements we introduce to beginners need to be "permanent," "ultimate," .... What do you say we introduce beginners not to "primary" movements, but to "ultimate" movements?

When are you skiing this coming week?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi Bob,

We're saying the same thing...

Turning again on Tuesday at the Beav. Then Friday at Copper.
post #18 of 20
Somehow, there's not much to debate after reading that. Just a bunch of retrospect and thinking "how the hell can I argue with any of that?"

Well put to say the least!!
post #19 of 20
Wedge or not seems like a question on a few threads and many comments above. I think this is a question that does not need to be asked. If you ask do I teach a wedge? Answer is NO. I teach people to balance on 2 skis and 1. I teach them to turn there legs, edge there skis with the ankle, leg, hip and full body. I teach them to flex the ankle, knees and spine to absorb terrain. I teach them to balance against the outside ski and let pressure develope on its own.

The result is many times a direct parralle skier and sometimes a wedge skier, the students decides based on there athletic ability, speed and fear. Hopefully I help them by deciding on snow conditions, pitch of terrain and positive approach and building of confidence. In the end they are skiers no matter what shape there feet are in!
post #20 of 20
that's beautiful man.....

As it relates to teaching movement you are on the money. I have put that in my LTS (Learn To Ski) instructor clinic outline.

thanks for the words,
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Direct parallel; conclusions?