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# Stem, step or wedge?

Christies, that is! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

Anyone care to step up to the plate and help us with definitions for these turns?

What is the difference between a stem christie and a wedge turn?

I apologize in advance if this issue has been recently covered.
Hi SkiSwift--
"Wedge" refers to any time the skis ride on "opposing edges" (both inside edges) with their tips closer together than their tails.

A "Wedge Turn" is a turn made with the skis in a wedge, from start to finish. While it seems simple enough, there are as many fundamentally different ways to make a wedge turn as there are to make a parallel turn!

A "Christy" is a turn made with the skis on "corresponding edges" (both right or both left edges)--like a parallel turn, although the skis can converge (tips closer than tails) and tip to corresponding edges also.

A "Wedge Christy," then (I know, you didn't ask about this one) is a turn that begins in a wedge and ends in a christie, usually parallel.

A "Stem" is like a "half-wedge"--it occurs whenever the skier brushes one or the other ski out to a converging arrangement.

A "Stem Christy" is a turn that begins, then, with a brush out of one ski tail, with a "matching" move later in the turn to bring the skis parallel, or at least onto corresponding edges. There are "upstem christies" that begin by brushing the uphill ski tail out, and "downstem christies," that begin by brushing the downhill tail out.

"Step" refers to lifting and displacing a ski, usually before transferring weight to it to initiate a turn. "Step Christies" are simply turns initiated with a step. Steps can be "converging"--tails apart, "diverging"--tips apart, or "parallel"--keeping the skis parallel and just stepping a ski sideways.

All these moves have their places in contemporary skiing, although we tend to see them, and need them, much less than we used to, before the advent of today's deep-sidecut skis.

These are very basic, general descriptions--I hope they help. These concepts have indeed been discussed in great detail elsewhere in the forum--search the archives if you would like more information.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Bob,
Thank you for a very lucid explanation-your word images give a clear picture!
One question, in a wedge christy, are both skis skidding at some point in the turn? Is that what differentiates it from a stem christy?
Hi SkiSwift--
"Wedge" refers to a slice of LIME cut alnog the latitudinal circumfrance.

A "Wedge Turn" is a turn made with the wedge, in one hand and a shot of Tequila in the other.

A "Christy" is a gal who sits at the Cantina and enjoys the dimly lit life that is provided in such establishments.

A "Wedge Christy," then is a Tequila drinking buddy!

A "Stem" occurs whenever the skier brushes ...... well this is a family show and BOB might get upset about this so we will not go there.

A "Stem Christy" ..... begins, then, with a brush out of one ... tail, with a "matching" move later ...... to bring the ... parallel, or at least onto corresponding ..... There are "upstem christies" that begin by brushing the ..... tail out, and "downstem christies," that begin by brushing the ..... tail out.

"Step" refers to .... displacing ..., usually before transferring .....to initiate ..... "Step Christies" are simply .... initiated with a YES OR NO. Steps can be "converging"--tails apart, "diverging"--tips apart, or "parallel"--keeping the condition of the participants

All these moves have their places in contemporary skiing, although we tend to see them, and need them, much less than we used to.

Great job!
Skiswift, the nit-picker difference is that the stem christie starts with one ski being brushed out while the wedge begins with formation of a wedge, which usually means both skis being steered into a converging relationship. The christie finish of both turns, that is, the portion done on corresponding edges, essentially is the same.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by skiswift:
One question, in a wedge christy, are both skis skidding at some point in the turn? Is that what differentiates it from a stem christy?[/QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No in both turns the skis end on corresponding edges in a parallel skid if you will. The difference in the turns is how they are started or initiated.

Stem Christy -
Traverse across hill in a parallel position.
Step out tail slightly of ONE ski(stem out ski)Normally uphill ski.
Make a wedge turn. (Actually skier will attain of full wedge with both skis as the skis make the turn.)
At some point before or after fall line slide uphill ski into a "parallel" position or match with downhill ski & skis skid until skier moves to the next traverse, turn etc.

This turn can also be used by more advanced skiers to obtain early weight transfer (control) with the turning ski on a "steeper than I thought" slope. The turning ski is weighted long before the skier moves into the fall line and feels a loss of control.

Wedge Christy-
Traverse across slope ......
Slightly rise up & open BOTH skis into a small wedge.
Sink back down slightly and guide BOTH skis through the wedge turn.
Christy before, at, or across the fall line.

Normally used by skiers that are begining to move towards "open" parallel turns. Allows the skier to ski a little steeper groomed slope as they progress to "open" parallel turns. Due to the equipment a lot of skiers by pass or pass through this level rapidly.

Floyd, skiswift, in the original post asked the difference between a wedgeTURN and a stem christy.

In the olden days any direction change termed a TRURN was steered. Thus a wedge TURN was steered all the way through the turn and the skier ended up the turn in a wedge. This was usually the first introductory turn taught.

Christies came much later and are as you described.

Things may have changed, especially since student now spend very little time wedging before being moved on.

..Ott
SkiSwift,

Yd
Ydnar, I asked because, even among PSIA certs, and examiners, there seems to be confusion. I was admonished at a PSIA-E event for doing precisely what y'all have described as a wedge christy, i.e. putting both skis in a small wedge, moving
into the turn, and steering both skis to match. I demonstrated the match before, in and after the fall line. The examiner's comments were that I should not have skidded the downhill ski.
According to the responses here, that would have constituted a STEM christy, not a wedge christy, and that was exactly my feeling.
I do appreciate the wealth of knowledge in this forum, and the vast experience of it's members. Thanks all
PSIA's wedge christie in Center Line starts with forming the wedge through flattening the inside ski and steering both skis toward the fall line. If you're turning left, both skis move left. This encourages CM movement into the turn.

The matching and christie phases also are steered, so some skidding of both skis on corresponding edges should occur. It's not a high-end maneuver, and a limited-slip carve is not a goal at that point.

When you say the examiner chided you for the downhill ski skidding, I presume you're talking about the outside ski of the turn that ends up being the downhill ski, and I presume you're talking about the end of the turn. Was this in a clinic/precourse or was this in the skiing portion of the exam? If the latter, I'd say he was searching for some reason to criticize your demo, and just didn't think the comment through. If you performed it as described, you should have received critical comments regarding the entry rather than the finish.

The whole point of the Center Line wedge christie is to get the body moving into the turn. Forming a wedge by brushing out both ski tails or brushing out the uphill ski would constitute movements of the center of mass uphill rather than downhill into the turn.
Hi SkiSwift--

As I said, my descriptions above were very general--you did not ask specifically about "Center Line" wedge turns and wedge christies, which are quite specific as to the mechanics and fundamental movements involved. I mentioned that there are many fundamentally different ways to make a wedge turn (and a wedge christy), but there is really only ONE way to make a Center Line version of it (fundamentally, at least--there's an infinite variety of stylistic differences that are still based on the same basic fundamentals).

Kneale has described the movements well here. My guess about your exam feedback is that you initiated the "wedge christy" by pushing the tail of the outside ski out--into an intentional skid. What then follows this initiation, almost inevitably, is pulling the tail of the INSIDE ski out toward the outside ski (pulling the tails together) to create the "christy phase."

Think instead of initiating the turn--whether wedge christy, parallel, or wedge turn, by steering the INSIDE (downhill) TIP INTO the turn, and following that move with the outside ski tip. Continue this active steering of the inside ski, "chased" by the outside ski, all the way through the turn. At some point, with enough speed and accurate movements of the feet as well as the center of mass, the inside ski will flatten and then roll to its outside (little toe) edge, which will allow the "matching" to parallel to happen easily.

Note the night-and-day fundamental difference between steering the tips into the turn--pulling the inside tip constantly away from the outside tip, and pushing the outside tail, and then the inside tail, OUT, pulling the tails together. The first is a "Center Line" movement pattern, highly contemporary; the second is essentially a Stem Christy. Both involve some skidding, but in the Center Line version, the skidding is never intentional, never a result of a push or twist to the outside of the turn. In the Stem Christy, the movements themselves force the skis into a skid.

Does that make sense? You might look into some of these discussions here in EpicSki from the last year (don't be afraid to add to them by "replying"--it will bring them right back to the top of the current list):

To Wedge or Not to Wedge (warning--long!)

(continuation of "To Wedge Or Not To Wedge")

Wedge Turns as per PSIA

Teaching the wedge is immoral (A lengthy, heated discussion and a good introduction to some of the more colorful characters of EpicSki)

And there are others--search for threads that have "wedge" in the subject line.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by skiswift:
The examiner's comments were that I should not have skidded the downhill ski.
According to the responses here, that would have constituted a STEM christy, not a wedge christy, and that was exactly my feeling.
I do appreciate the wealth of knowledge in this forum, and the vast experience of it's members. Thanks all
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

First this would not have constituted a stem if both skis were displaced at the same moment of initiation. However if we look closely at the process of "steering" our skis through the turn the downhill ski would remain on edge while the uphill ski will flatten and skid. In essence the examiner was critically correct. However we are using this turn as a stepping stone to bigger and better with normally a low end skier and we want the skier to feel perfectly at home with a skid of BOTH skis and therefore your demonstration is correct! Why you ask? because our next stepping stone is an open skidded parallel turn. Again if we truly steer both skis the downhill ski will stay on edge until we choose to "flatten" or release the edge to the next turn. Maybe the examiner misunderstood what a Christy should be? I had a trainer that only opened one side of the wedge and swore it was a wedge Christy when in fact it was a stem Christy without lifting the ski. I asked if he was sure privately and he came back later and simply said "thanks".
[quote]Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
[QB]Floyd, skiswift, in the original post asked the difference between a wedgeTURN and a stem christy.

OK, Floyd, I stand corrected... ...Ott
In days of old when we were all on "pencil" shaped skis, the stem christy was an integeral step to ultimately acheiveing the status of being a "parallel skier."

The ideas was to stem one ski out and transfer your weight to that ski, then bring the now unweighted ski in parallel to the weighted ski. The ideas was that the stems would become smaller and smaller, as one become more proficient and comfortable making these types of turns. The goal was that you would almost be parallel skiing.

Next step would be a serious and somewhat intensive lesson on dynamic anticipation [ including upper and lower body separation,] so that you would learn how to take the finishing energy of one parallel turn and let it be the start of the next parallel turn.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The goal was that you would almost be parallel skiing.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Great description, Wink! The key is that, no matter how small the stem, and how close together the "1-2" movement of one ski then the other, it still never REALLY becomes a true parallel turn!

True parallel is a different thing altogether, involving simulataneous movements of both feet and skis in unison. And simultaneous movements are also the key for Wedge Christies. This distinction is critical for ski instructors wishing to teach "correct movements" from the start! On the road to "parallel," stem christies are a wrong turn, a dead end. Wedge christies are not!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Ydnar, I asked because, even among PSIA skiswift- I copied this out of your post: "certs, and examiners, there seems to be confusion. I was admonished at a PSIA-E event for doing precisely what y'all have described as a wedge christy, i.e. putting both skis in a small wedge, moving
into the turn, and steering both skis to match. I demonstrated the match before, in and after the fall line. The examiner's comments were that I should not have skidded the downhill ski"

My take on what you said about putting both skis in a small wedge, I think my be the crux of why you may have been admonished. In a wedge christy the developing of the wedge should be caused by the release of the tip of the old outside ski (new inside) to start the turn while you steer both around the corner. Because your CM does not move very far across at this slow speed easy terrain the inside ski does not turn at the same speed as the outside a WEDGE DEVELOPS vs YOU making a wedge and then turning the corner. This is two very different moves. The first shows movement approprite for the level and movement downhill while the second shows defensive pushing of the feet away from the body more of a braking action and then steering. That is what I read into your statement. Hope that makes sense.
For once I agree with SCSA "This hurts my eyes -- to read your post."

What year is it where you guys teach skiing? 1964?
Nord, ski "teaching" of beginners, the ones who would do the wedge, isn't all that different now from 1960.

You have someone who had never had the experience of standing on anything that will slide down from under them, they are aprehensive, fearful and really worry about their safety.

Unless you had to deal with instructing beginners day after day you may not really understand.

.....Ott
Were you wearing a matching jacket to someone else's in your group?
Maybe the examiner just didn't like you.
Issues...issues...issues they have.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 08, 2001 05:22 PM: Message edited 1 time, by zeek ]</font>
I gotta agree with SCSA and Nord. I agree that teaching beginners hasn't changed much since 1964. But teaching beginners should have change with advent of shaped skis. And I really take exception with having rookies teach the first timers. They should be taught by at least Level I, preferably Level II.

Usually, the rookie has not developed a good delivery, nor has the rookie developed accurate demos. For the person being exposed to skiing for the first time, the first lesson must be accurate, both in description and in demonstration. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
You're right, RickH. It is a travesty that beginners (or anyone, for that matter) are routinely taught by instructors with minimal training, to say the least, and even less experience! It is unfair to those students who shell out their hard-earned cash expecting a first-rate lesson. And it's stupid on the part of the resorts (whose fault it is) because it fails to inspire a high percentage of students to stay with the sport.

But it's the reality we face (sigh!). As long as teaching skiing remains so pitifully unrewarding, financially, it will be impossible to retain the experienced instructors resorts need to solve this problem.

Of course, this could be an interesting season to observe. Many resorts, even the big ones, are hiring virtually no new, inexperienced instructors. I wouldn't be surprised to see the average level of teaching rise a little this year. I'll keep my fingers crossed....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Hey Bob,
Are we going to see you at Copper this season?
Jim
[QB]You're right, RickH. It is a travesty that beginners (or anyone, for that matter) are routinely taught by instructors with minimal training, to say the least, and even less experience!

Bob - I total agree it is a traversty that ski schools see so little value in their new instructors they spend little time preparing them to teach. The fact they do not have experience is probably another animal. It is the old "We are only hiring people with experience and I don't know how you get it" syndrome.

In our school new instructors will go through a (4) week one day per week program on a small patch of snow and then a teach off against each other and take a written test for hiring. If hired they will then shadow a beginner class and then be shadowed by another experienced instructor and signed off to teach alone if it all seems right with the lesson. Then to the big show. There is a good chance they will pull intermediate classes before the years is out; we sometimes are short of instructors! :

(Ott - Sonja says hello to you and Ann) [img]smile.gif[/img]
then what is a rookie instructor to do?
>>>I agree that teaching beginners hasn't changed much since 1964. But teaching beginners should have change with advent of shaped skis.<<<

Rick H, what shaped skis? You think that our rental department is just going to throw out 3000 pair of straight skis?

..Ott
Hi Zeek--

That's a good question. (And I hope my comments didn't sound disparaging to new instructors--none of these problems are their fault at all!)

Ski instruction is a complex occupation. To be effective, ski instructors must have a working knowledge of a wide variety of technical fields--education, mechanics and biomechanics, psychology, and more, not to mention expertise and in-depth knowledge of skiing itself.

A new instructor often gets hired, then receives perhaps 3 to 7 days of training, much of which is specific to working at that particular resort, rather than to teaching skiing. Then perhaps they "shadow" a more experienced instructor a time or two. Then it's Thanksgiving and they're sent out with a group of 10 eager new never-ever skiers.

Talk about being thrown into the fire! But that's the way it is.

For those who aspire to become instructors--and I'd love to encourage anyone with an interest to do so--should expect to work hard to develop the expertise that your basic training will not provide. Join PSIA (if in the US) and attend clinics. Participate in every learning opportunity you can--a PMTS clinic, a Mahre Training Center, an "extreme camp," anything. And study up on education theory, physics, sports psychology, as well as sales, and even techniques for "small talk" if you aren't blessed with the "gift of gab."

Active participation here at EpicSki and other skiing forums will also help. The best instructors seek to learn as avidly as they teach and ski.

Most importantly, seek a mentor or two from the ski school. Pick his or her brain. Watch him/her ski and teach, all you can. And ask for honest constructive critique of your own lessons, as well as your skiing.

You CAN become a reasonablly competent instructor fairly quickly, if you have the talent and temperament, and if you take the initiative. But the basic training program of even the best-meaning ski schools that I've come across are not sufficient (in my opinion) by themselves.

I don't know if that helps. The problem is not with the rookie instructors, but with the environment that they are thrust into. It's simply not a job that can be mastered with a week of "training"!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Todo--I think we are saying the same thing-the result of steering the inside ski into the turn, the outside ski taking a longer track, would be a small wedge.
To the other responses, I am a very long way from being a rookie instructor! [img]smile.gif[/img]
Have taught in France (ESF), Austria, and in this country, in Vermont for 10 years full-time, and 2 years part-time in California. Would be level lll, except that I was seriously injured by being run into by another skier-major neck surgery.
Have been level ll for several years now.
My question was posed to get a perspective from the accumulated wisdom on this board, for which I am very grateful.
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