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Why teach the Falling Leaf

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I sometimes hear instructors comment that this exercise is "irrelevant". Although it took me awhile to understand the real purpose of the Falling Leaf, knowing how to do it has proved to be a life saver.

This past weekend at Sunday River, I hit a patch of ice. and got spun backwards. There was a moment of panic, but then I realized I know how to turn myself around. What's interesting, is that I cannot recount the details of how I did it, but from practicing that exercise in only 4 classes, it had become intuitive.
The same thing happened last year at Bormio. I was skiing down Bimbi al Sole, an someone bumped into me. Its pretty hard to get me to actually fall, but I was turned backwards. Still I was able to "rescue" myself.
post #2 of 14
Falling leaf is wonderfull!!! Rotary with and without edges, fore/aft pressure.

Sounds like you have done the "advanced" falling leaf" where you slide forward, backward, then forward, and then rotate edgeless to face the other direction. Repeat.

It is a must in my warmup list.

Glad it worked for you. So things instructors teach can be considered life saving!!
post #3 of 14
Instructors should know that no excercise is "irrelevant"! Every movement you can make on skis has potential applications, and at the very least can help with versatility and balance. Falling Leafs in particular are excellent for fore-aft weight awareness, working on simultanious steering, learning to keep a natural stance throughout edge transitions, learning to move to truly flat skis . . . and general balance!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Great! I'm glad to see that instructors still like this exercise. IMHO, the problem for students comes about when they do not understand why an exercise is being done.

Quite frankly, when I first learned Falling leaf I was in a class where there was that highly rare occaision of my being faster than the other students. I thought the instructor was teaching this to me as something to do while I was waiting for the others to catch up, and because I seemed to enjoy skiing sequences that are "pretty".

I credit Kneale {as I have done many times} for explaining online the nuances and reasoning behind this exercise. But until I actually had to use it, I never realized that it also had a safety benefit!
post #5 of 14
Way to go, Lisamarie! Like Todd says, anything you can do on skis has a practical application somewhere, even beyond the skills it develops. Falling Leaf, as an exercise, develops many skills--rotary, fore-aft and lateral balance, edging.... And as you noticed, sometimes the ability to control a sideslip or to spin around the other way can be very helpful!

Merry Christmas!
Bob Barnes
post #6 of 14
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie:
I sometimes hear instructors comment that this exercise is "irrelevant". Although it took me awhile to understand the real purpose of the Falling Leaf, knowing how to do it has proved to be a life saver.

This past weekend at Sunday River, I hit a patch of ice. and got spun backwards. There was a moment of panic, but then I realized I know how to turn myself around. What's interesting, is that I cannot recount the details of how I did it, but from practicing that exercise in only 4 classes, it had become intuitive.
The same thing happened last year at Bormio. I was skiing down Bimbi al Sole, an someone bumped into me. Its pretty hard to get me to actually fall, but I was turned backwards. Still I was able to "rescue" myself.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Excuse my ignorance, lisamarie, but what is

'Fallen Leaf'? Is it an exercise or a ski maneouvre. Why is it so called? And what is its purpose?
post #7 of 14
It is for skill development. It is called Falling Leaf because that is the way your path of skiing looks. Start with a edged traverse forward, rotate/steer/edge slightly uphill until you stop. Change your fore/aft pressure, and now do an edged traverse backwards. Rotate/steer/edge your skiis to turn uphill(tail first) until you stop. Now repeat going forward.

An advanced version is to go back and forth two or three times, then on either "end" of the traverse, rotate your skiis (edgeless)towards the fall line, and turn facing the other direction. Now facing the other direction, continue doing the Leaf.

Great skill development for edging, steering, pressure. In a panic, good way to get down with sideslipping.
post #8 of 14
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KeeTov:
It is for skill development. It is called Falling Leaf because that is the way your path of skiing looks. Start with a edged traverse forward, rotate/steer/edge slightly uphill until you stop. Change your fore/aft pressure, and now do an edged traverse backwards. Rotate/steer/edge your skiis to turn uphill(tail first) until you stop. Now repeat going forward.

An advanced version is to go back and forth two or three times, then on either "end" of the traverse, rotate your skiis (edgeless)towards the fall line, and turn facing the other direction. Now facing the other direction, continue doing the Leaf.

Great skill development for edging, steering, pressure. In a panic, good way to get down with sideslipping.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Many thanks for that explanation, Kee Tov. By Jove, I've got it! I'm sure I've executed the Fallen Leaf last season in Zermatt when I was negotiating a very narrow and steep gully-like off-piste trail flanked by small rocks, while I was side-slipping I was shifting my skis back and forth to stop the tails and my ski tips from sliding over the rocks, while i was doing this I was standing as weightless as possible flat-footed on the centre of my skis..I remember saying to myself that this movement promotes confidence and good judgement in negotiating narrow pistes..Thanks again..
[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #9 of 14
LM

Next time you hear an instructor say that an exercise like "falling leaf" is irrelevant dump your beer in their lap and ask them what sport it was again that they said they instructed!

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 14
This one task is so important to do because of all of the skills that are blended into it. A good instructor can then "break it down" to work on individual tasks.

Spent 2 days working with Skier-j on ski patrol skills for his Senior exam. We spent plenty of time on the leaf, and kept coming back to it through out the 2 days. Yes we would intro new stuff on easier slopes, but every now and then, skier-j just needed a reminder that what we were trying to do, could be done...we did it in the leaf!!!

This was my first "Bear sighting", and it was fun.

Happy New Years to everyone.
post #11 of 14
My first "Bear" sighting, and it was way more than fun!

Kee-Tov was gracious enough to travel 2 1/2 hours to a small hill with on;ly 1/2 its terrain open to help another "Bear" improve his skiing skills! For 2 days no less!

I learned a lot during our 2 days of skiing.

The first and most important thing I learned is the VALUE of taking a lesson from a qualified instructor. I learned more from Kee-Tov in 2 days than I ever thought was possible.

We spent a lot of time on the falling leaf and advanced falling leaf. The reasons for that are numerous.

We discovered that I have an imbalance and favor my right (stronger) leg very much.

We also discovered that I have few pivot/rotation/transition skills. (Self taught for almost 40 years.)

We also discovered that my dynamic balance is not up to what I want to accomplish this year---namely the NSP senior skiing test.

The falling leaf is an excellent excercise for me to improve both pivot/rotation/transition skills and balance.

So---I have a date with the hill tomorrow---practicing my falling leaf.

skier-j
post #12 of 14
HEAR HEAR Keetov and Skier_J! Happy New Year! You're a credit to the Barking Bears!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #13 of 14
I just have to say that though it may sound simple, in practice it is anything but trivial to do (at least for a developing skier like me).

The way I try to do it is I find myself an uncrowded groomed blue slope, then mentally I'll mark a corridor for myself, about the width of a soccer goal. Then I try to go down it the way KeeTov described. After 10-15 ft I stop and look up and at my skid marks. Of course they don't have a nice symmetrical leaf pattern and I can usually tell what needs more work by looking at them. Then I try to improve on that.

One thing I found out is the importance of proper fitting boots to control subtle edging without losing balance and having to use my poles. I haven't done any alignment (since I don't even own boots) and I can see how that will be a big factor.
post #14 of 14
Defcon,

You hit on something important(other than boot fitting). Look at your tracks! Coaches/instructors will have the students look at tracks....here you are on edge, here more pressure was applied causing a tighter arc....here your inside ski lost pressure and skidded..

Back to Leaf. Intermediate slope is a good start because you have some speed that you are use to.

Go to the Beginner's Trail, with less slope you need more rotation and less edge.

Go to the expert slope, more edging, and a much quicker rotation if you want to stay in control.

This is known as taking one task and turning up the volume on one of the knobs(balance/pressure/edging/rotary movements).

Be safe.
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