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instructor needs help

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have been teaching for 20 years, but lately my "bag of tricks" has gotten stale.  I have a few groups this year that have proved challenging. They are all in transition from wedge to parallel, but are stuck in the wedge. They can make parallel turns, but as soon as we get on something steep or they get too much speed, they go back to their comfort zone in the wedge. I'm looking for new ideas to try and break these habits....thanks
post #2 of 27
Old habits are hard to break.  This sounds like a case of fear lock up for most of them.  1000 reps to instill a new movement pattern in the student.  At this point I would go back to the very basics of all skiers and start from the boots up, balance, rotary, edging and pressure of the ski down on the flats until they are all right in the groove.  I personally inspect and adjust if needed every pair of boots in my class every time.  I spend 10 minutes at the start to save an hour on slope.  If everything works, then it is practice, practice, practice.  Check the wedge turns for stepping.  Then I suggest you talk to your TD at the ski school and get to some PSIA training clinics.  Have fun and let us know what happens.
post #3 of 27
One of the tricks I use for such skiers is the tug of war drill. Stand uphill from them and have them try to pull you down hill with both of you holding the same set of ski poles. Show them the difference in how hard they have to pull when you are standing with your skis flat, close together and you facing the side of the trail vs standing with the feet separated, skis edged and upper body in a countered position. Switch positions and get them to feel the power of position 2.

Some times all you need to do is back up from parallel to Christie turns. On the steeper terrain, ask them to start their turns in a bigger wedge, then close to parallel at the finish.

Another drill I do is a fan traverse. Start with a shallow traverse, uphill carve to a stop via tipping the legs to get the skis edged. Gradually increase the starting angle of the traverse/speed/uphill finish at the end, then start linking them. Emphasize maintaining shin contact to maintain ski tip pressure and a countered position to maintain balance.

When crude solutions are called for, make sure the turns are going across the hill and have them slide the uphill ski forward to break the wedge and shift into the fan traverse mode.

When even crude solutions don't work, I'll go the opposite direction from trying to increase edge angles and work to develop skidding: side slips and hockey stops. Lengthen the slip/stop and then add drift to turn into the end of a turn. This is the back to basics approach of relying on spontaneous Christies as a stepping stone to parallel. Normally, we'd start this on flatter terrain with faster speeds, before expecting Christies on steeper slopes, then parallel. The assumption here is that, for whatever reason, going back to easier terrain is either not practical or has already been tried.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
thank you for the ideas. i am PSIA cert. but i havent taught for 3 years. like i said, my bag of tricks has gotten stale. do you know where i might find some free material to help me refresh/expand my drills?
post #5 of 27
 One source of information regarding drills, etc. is the Movement Matrix on the psia.org website. This costs $14.95 for a year's subscription and has many videos arranged in categories such as edging skills, etc. Well worth the money if you have internet access with a DSL or faster connection. Better than a hard copy because of the dynamic videos. 
post #6 of 27
 They need to release the old outside ski and be patient in the fall line. I'd start there. Garlands are probably in your bag of tricks, you can use those to help with the release.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
thank you rusty. that has been the most helpful info so far...got my brain twisting in the right direction. take care
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by doit686868 View Post

thank you for the ideas. i am PSIA cert. but i havent taught for 3 years. like i said, my bag of tricks has gotten stale. do you know where i might find some free material to help me refresh/expand my drills?
 

You're most welcome. "Free" material? Well, technically, the info here on Epic is free. You may have to sift through the threads to get what is useful for you. And we might appreciate a supporter donation if you find us really helpful. But in the end, if we all just share what we know we'll all be the richer for the effort.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 They need to release the old outside ski and be patient in the fall line. I'd start there. Garlands are probably in your bag of tricks, you can use those to help with the release.
 

Hear, hear!

Change the focus. Many (most?) skiers stuck in the "wedge" are actually stuck in the stem. It feels safe to hang on to the edge of the old outside ski while they're getting the new turn started with the new outside ski, especially when it gets steeper.

Release, or letting go, is critical.

So, change the focus from the new outside ski to the new inside ski. Flatten it, release it, drop the tips down the hill. When the inside ski releases early, when the guiding is early and active, the "wedge" will be greatly diminished. Keep the focus on the new inside ski, so that it releases and can be steered so that it stays parallel to the outside ski.

Yes, garlands will work well, if each segment is started correctly with a release of the downhill ski (which would be the new inside ski of a complete turn) and dropping the tips downhill. Also, side slips might be used to refine balance and flat ski edging skills.

Then, of course, they need to finish their turns so the speed stays in the comfort zone...
post #10 of 27
Take them out on an easy Blue and teach them to TIP their skis and wait for the turn.  Move on from there.

Garlands suck they're a waste of time.  PSIA crutch.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Garlands suck they're a waste of time.  PSIA crutch.

Are you gonna back that up? Or should we just take it as fact because you said so?
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post




Are you gonna back that up? Or should we just take it as fact because you said so?


You mean am I gonna back up and slide slip this statement?    Garlands: something you wrap around a Christmas Tree?
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

Take them out on an easy Blue and teach them to TIP their skis and wait for the turn.  Move on from there.

Garlands suck they're a waste of time.  PSIA crutch.

I must say I do like having people do big patience turns with just edging and NO active rotation.  If they pick it up, great.  But some people don't like the speed (in the middle of the turn), or panic and start flailing.  For people like that, you need something tamer to start with.  Say, doing drills with garlands or traversing.

Is it a "crutch"?  Of course it's a "crutch" for the student, just like training wheels are a "crutch" for a kid learning to ride a bike.  If they could do flawless parallel turns already they wouldn't need drills that simplify the task...
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Quote:


I must say I do like having people do big patience turns with just edging and NO active rotation.  If they pick it up, great.  But some people don't like the speed (in the middle of the turn), or panic and start flailing.  For people like that, you need something tamer to start with.  Say, doing drills with garlands or traversing.

Is it a "crutch"?  Of course it's a "crutch" for the student, just like training wheels are a "crutch" for a kid learning to ride a bike.  If they could do flawless parallel turns already they wouldn't need drills that simplify the task...
 

Garlands a real waste of time.   Some instructors teach garlands because they don't know what else to do.  If you watch closely you will see Expert garland instructors that can't really ski.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Garlands a real waste of time.   Some instructors teach garlands because they don't know what else to do.  If you watch closely you will see Expert garland instructors that can't really ski.

Now I can't tell if you're just being silly or not.  (My sarcasm meter must be on the fritz.) 

Okay, so you've got a student who you want to get to edge the skis and not rely on rotation to start their turns.  When you tell them to "tip the skis and wait for the turn", they start to do it, but freak out as they begin to pick up speed and can't finish the turn.  Clearly, you need to try something else.

Please, enlighten me with your teaching wisdom.  I'm all ears. 
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Quote:


Now I can't tell if you're just being silly or not.  (My sarcasm meter must be on the fritz.) 

Okay, so you've got a student who you want to get to edge the skis and not rely on rotation to start their turns.  When you tell them to "tip the skis and wait for the turn", they start to do it, but freak out as they begin to pick up speed and can't finish the turn.  Clearly, you need to try something else.

Please, enlighten me with your teaching wisdom.  I'm all ears. 
 

First, theres no wisdom here !!!!  I really do think garlands are phoey.  I would start on an easy wide blue or green.  Teach them what it means to finish a turn (most people have no idea what this really means).  Demo of course and have them do it.  Just could never understand the garland fascination of PSIA.   Oh and yes you were partially correct  with some staunch PSIA stuff is fun sometimes.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

I really do think garlands are phoey.

Wow, try not to get so technical.
post #18 of 27
Shameless plug for Weems.

http://edgechange.com/

http://edgechange.com/

http://edgechange.com/

He's got some good stuff there.  Plus you can get his book free as a download.  Of course you can always buy it along with the DVD!!  Hint, hint, hint.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

First, theres no wisdom here !!!!  I really do think garlands are phoey.  I would start on an easy wide blue or green.  Teach them what it means to finish a turn (most people have no idea what this really means).  Demo of course and have them do it.  Just could never understand the garland fascination of PSIA.   Oh and yes you were partially correct with some staunch PSIA stuff is fun sometimes.
You are correct in the "no wisdom here !!!" observation. For someone who has recently revealed in an EpicSki forum that you just discovered tipping, perhaps the reason that you have come so lately to edge release is because of your strong "phoey" feelings about PSIA and garlands in particular. 
Garlands teach both the edge release of the beginning of a turn as well as the edging of the last portion of the turn. Try doing them on the downhill foot only and let's see how your edge release skills are  progressing.  
 
post #20 of 27
I don't wish to add to Pete's bashing but do want to state my love for Garlands in teaching at all levels.

I can get the skill blend practiced many, many times down a hill in the space of several long radius turns. I can help them learn their first turn, their first parallel turn to improving the last turn they made with Garlands.

Garlands, fan progressions and basic half turn ,full  then connected turn progressions allow for the instructor to tailor his lesson to the needs of his students and for the instructor to apply his creative use of these to make significant improvements in the understandings of new or overlooked concepts.

Do Garlands with people who can't turn in both directions easily and they will learn to do so with confidence. Do Garlands with an older student who doesn't like the speed the fall line brings to taste it and come back soon for another sip with a larger sense of confidence it will be a good trip.

Garlands are one of the most versatile drills available and can help folks learn some great stuff when used to offer a new outcome to the student than what has been occurring.

post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
 If you watch closely you will see Expert garland instructors that can't really ski.
 
If you watch closely, you can find thousands of instructors who can't "really ski". If you watch Epic closely, you have to be able to really ski or else you won't be able to keep up.  If you watch him teach, you might learn something. I've done both (didn't think I was watching didja Epic?). 

So please tell us why garlands really suck and why PSIA has a fascination with them.
post #22 of 27
Garlands only suck if you don't understand and express the related movements and goals.

You can't blame PSIA for the folks who don't take advantage of the training, especially the updating infomation available.
post #23 of 27
As full time instructor since 80/81 and PSIA L3 in alpine and tele I also hate garlands.

On busy days on the (generally) narrower runs of the east any exercise that has you or your group moving across rather then down the hill is an invitation for a collision. My personal main problem with garlands is I'm starting one turn then finishing the other. I much prefer exercises that work whole turns rather then pieces of turns.

I happily go whole seasons with nary a garland preformed, but if the student needs them, they need them. If I feel they can be a safe and productive for someone they're still a useful thing to have in the bag of tricks.

Back to the OP, Go somewhere flat and have them take their skis off. Walk around a bit and feel how you turn when you walk. If you're like most people you tip both feet onto the side of your foot in the direction you're turning. More to your point you plant the outside foot, then the first thing to actually turn is as you twist the inside foot into the turn. So to turn left, you step on the big toe side of right foot, turn your left foot to the left and put it down on the little toe side. After walking in circles both directions while feeling how both feet tip and twist into the turn start down a gentle slope. Have them try turning where they turn the downhill foot down the hill to start the turn. After a few splits they should get a feel for how much shorter a turn radius they get turning both feet at the start of the turn and show how the shape of the turn controls speed much more comfortably then hitting the brakes every turn with the stem or wedge. If you pick the right slopes and people aren't stuck in the wedge because the width of their stance leaves them stuck on both big toes you should be able to eliminate most wedges fairly quickly.      
post #24 of 27
Beats the hell out of Helmet threads.   Don't take this little Christmas tree ornament discussion too seriously.  The fact is I couldn't do a garland if you asked me or is it I wouldn't do a garland - either way. Besides I really don't know how to ski, just like to BS on the internet just call me Garland Star. 
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcarlson View Post



You are correct in the "no wisdom here !!!" observation. For someone who has recently revealed in an EpicSki forum that you just discovered tipping, perhaps the reason that you have come so lately to edge release is because of your strong "phoey" feelings about PSIA and garlands in particular. 
Garlands teach both the edge release of the beginning of a turn as well as the edging of the last portion of the turn. Try doing them on the downhill foot only and let's see how your edge release skills are  progressing.  
 

Personal attack!  Called my stupid huh.   I know you're full of it, no one has ever seen you do a Garland.   Way too foggy at schweitzer to see anything.
post #26 of 27
Dave has a great point on the proper setting for garlands. They do take a lot of space and we have some really wide trails to work them in but doing so on a narrow trail is selfish and not considerate of other skiers.
There's a time and place for everything . All the work garlands do can be done in another way but I do enjoy the repetition they get learning basic skills or adding skills to the very experienced to familiarize them with a new feeling and then taking it to full and connected turns

To each their own. There are many ways to get the job done and we don't all have to be Garland Stars but many can be garland trained to learn a new movement.

Pete.  That's pretty funny . Maybe it's time we don't do garlands somewhere and have some fun.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post

Dave has a great point on the proper setting for garlands. They do take a lot of space and we have some really wide trails to work them in but doing so on a narrow trail is selfish and not considerate of other skiers.
There's a time and place for everything . All the work garlands do can be done in another way but I do enjoy the repetition they get learning basic skills or adding skills to the very experienced to familiarize them with a new feeling and then taking it to full and connected turns

To each their own. There are many ways to get the job done and we don't all have to be Garland Stars but many can be garland trained to learn a new movement.

Pete.  That's pretty funny . Maybe it's time we don't do garlands somewhere and have some fun.

 

     Yep, been looking hard at Red and Whitewater but they aren't getting any fresh either.  Maybe TAOS would be the answer. Waiting for eve report from my bud in Tahoe, he skied Sugar Bowl today.  Got caught up on top at Silver yesterday when Gondola burned out a bearing on the bull wheel.  Long day ugh.
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