or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Tipping vs. Twisting a Ski - Page 2

post #31 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post




I guess you gotta read the book. Rocky stream bed?
Page 17, in the google preview.  I remember running along rocky creek beds as a kid, I also remembering portaging in them last summer.  I wouldn't recommend running in a rocky stream bed, unless you enjoy busting your ribs, and protect your head!
post #32 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post




Rick, is that steering as I defined it in my first post or an expanded version?  I ask, because as I defined it I don't think tipping is a component of steering.
 

If your definition of steering does not include tipping, then yes, what I'm talking about is definately an expanded version.  I'm talking about steering as a method of turning.  Steering the legs without tipping the skis on edge will do little to turn your CM beyond what gravity will do on it's own.  Seldom much point in even doing that.   If an instructor is trying to teach people to turn without tipping their skis on edge, be it while carving or steering, they're not going to get too far. 
post #33 of 159

Si,

I am kind of new to skiing so I am interested in what you are asking. This is my observation on Epic. The skiers who show the biggest improvement in video over the years on Epic all seem to focus on what you teach.

I just want to emphasize my observation are based on the videos that have been shown on this site by the skiers themselves.

post #34 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post



Page 17, in the google preview.  I remember running along rocky creek beds as a kid, I also remembering portaging in them last summer.  I wouldn't recommend running in a rocky stream bed, unless you enjoy busting your ribs, and protect your head!
 

As a junior racer, running stream beds was something the coaches promoted to me.  Must have been a thing of the times.  I also remember George Capaul having kids climb hand over hand along the cable from one chair lift tower to the next as part of their training.  It's wasn't always about safety first   . 
post #35 of 159
George Capaul was my coach at Waterville Valley. I have a dryland training manual he made from about 1976. I'll look it up.
post #36 of 159
MR, Waterville is where he was doing this with the kids.  Not sure he'd have put it in black and white though.  This was in the late 80's, if memory serves,
post #37 of 159
Thread Starter 
I think that one of the reasons there is diversity of opinion on this subject (not stream bed running) is varying perceptions.   While the movement patterns for tipping and twisting the ski are different they both involve hip rotation.  Additionally an edged ski that is turning can create passive hip rotation (depending on how someone manages balance and other joint movements).  So it seems to me there's a lot of potential confusion about how to interpret the sensation of hip rotation and other joint movements received while skiing. 

I have read articles demonstrating that even top athletes can be mistaken about the movements they make and the forces they generate based on movement analysis, force measurement, and muscle emg.  This makes me wonder how accurate any particular individual's perceptions are and how much they might be influenced by conceptual models of skiing movements they have.  I bring up the models because it seems that those within particular schools of thought on ski technique seem to mostly perceive their skiing movements in line with the models of their particular school.
post #38 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Rick, in skiing tipping is a component of turning.

Exactly! 
post #39 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

I think that one of the reasons there is diversity of opinion on this subject (not stream bed running) is varying perceptions.   While the movement patterns for tipping and twisting the ski are different they both involve hip rotation

 

There's something to be said for that, Si.  In fact, the part I bolded is one of those major misconceptions about steering.  Some think femur in hip rotation is a mandatory element of steering.  The reality is that there exists a wide spectrum of options of how much of it happens, from almost nil, to mega amounts.  Too much of it (zipper down the falline) is a sure fire road to pivoting for learning skiers. 
post #40 of 159
I lurked for a while but sadly the thread hasn't offered any compelling evidence for the opinions that were offered, nor does it appear to be more than a critique of a program Si was asked to use but perhaps didn't fully understand. Especially the history of that program, which I will address later in this post.
Before that, I want to add a comment on how carefully Si tried to limit the discussion by offering his opinions as facts and how those assumptions negatively limit the possible conclusions we could draw. Here are the opening two paragraphs and you will notice the underlined parts. In my opinion, this is where the conclusions being drawn are being adversely affected by the assumptions being made. It should also explain my last post in more detail. BTW Si is an instructor so my first post was very specifically written at an instructor to instructor level but hardly represents how I would present this idea during a lesson.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Si 
It’s been a long time since I’ve jumped into these waters but it’s a foggy day, I’ve only got a Sunday-Friday pass, and the current thread on Rogan’s article has not really addressed a question I’ve had for a long time. My thinking on this was forged long ago in discussions with Bob Barnes and others in the early days on Epic, especially by the arguments in support of the need for active leg rotation. Before I get to the question I’d like to ask, I will try and explain where I’m coming from. I think that a strong focus on tipping is much more effective than one with equal or greater focus on “steering” (my definition: twisting or turning of the legs to apply a rotational (twisting or pivoting) torque to the ski in the plane of the ski). Note that both of these actions of the skis requires hip rotation (rotation of the femur within the hip socket) although the degree of active muscular involvement of the hip rotators may be significantly different for the two. Please note that I think that this issue is secondary to the much more fundamental issue of balance but still very important.  

So my question is: Why should one ever isolate and focus on twisting the ski when it is almost always more effective to tip and twist or in some cases exclusively tip the ski? I ask this question whether it is the context of a drill or real skiing. I also realize that there are a few situational exceptions where a pure twisting of the ski might be desirable – let’s try to focus on the more common skiing situations and environments, not the exceptions or drills like pivot slips.
 
 
Rogan's article is clearly mentioned in the topic sentence, so to suggest my response that included a reference to that article is somehow tangental is wrong. It's very much at the heart of the thread and the discussion. I wasn't, nor do I wish to hijack this thread. All I am doing is pointing out how specific assumptions often lead to specific conclusions but if those assumptions are only the writers opinions, that unfairly colors the whole discussion.

Si went on to write that he formed his opinion long before working in Aspen, and offers it twice before posing his question. It's exactly those assumptions that I don't see as facts. It certainly explains why he comes to the conclusions he does but it by no means represents more than conclusions based on his assumptions. Did anyone else notice how carefully crafted the highlighted question asks us to assume the superiority of a tipping focus? Where's the supporting evidence for this claim? Again all I see is subjective opinions being offers as a fact.

As far as his impression of the Beginner magic program let me share the fact that I made it a point to go to the end of the year teaching and training meetings when I worked for Aspen / Snowmass. I would add that every coach was welcome to attend that meeting. Even lowly line coaches like me. I was surprised to discover how much effort goes into a detailed review of the efficacy of every element of their programs. Especially the near and dear to their heart programs like Beginner Magic. It's this constant scrutiny that caused them to move away from the tipping bias about five or six years ago. Why? Well it was due to the ed staff's opinion that their graduates left the program riding an edge well but their students often lacked the skills it would take to do more than park and ride turns. I wonder if Si has been to any of those meeting and voiced his concerns and opinions? It doesn't sound like he has but that's just my impression.

What can't be disputed is the success of that program, their student return and retention rates are enviable. Perhaps Steve, or Weems can chime in here with even more details about the decisions made during those ed staff meetings since they both have been so actively involved in developing and tweaking the content of that program.
 

Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/1/10 at 9:52am
post #41 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post



 

Interesting interpretation JASP.  I was very careful to repeatedly use the words "I think" or "my thinking" to keep this from seeming like I was making an authoritative statement of fact (which many here on Epic do regularly and I try to avoid).  I was totally up front in terms of my opinion and where I was coming from so that no one could complain of any hidden agenda.  I did try to limit the discussion to two actions on the skis and their relative merits:  tipping and twisting.  My hope was to avoid the many arguments that surround discussions with widely varying definition of terms (such as steering)  and those that mix up joint movements with ski actions.  Of course it is very difficult to just analyze any such small subset of ski technique as technique so many diverse factors and their interactions.  I still thought it was worth a try.

My question is a hypothesis stemming from my rationale.  I tried to explain my rationale first so that people could see the basis for my question.  People have many options to respond with a contrary point of view.  They can point out where my logic in going from my rationale to my hypothesis is faulty.  They can point out how my rationale is flawed and therefore how the inherent assumptions/hypothesis in my question is flawed.  I don't see where there is any probably in answering my question with a contrary point of view.  I honestly made this post to get feedback and investigate this topic.  I went back and inserted a previous post contrary to my opinions.  It seems like there is a reaction here that since I don't agree with others I am trying to force my opinion on them.  This is definitely not the case.  I obviously think I have a logical case and want to present it.  If it convinces you, fine, if not, why not explain why not?

I was amiss in only referencing the Beginner Magic Program from such a narrow perspective - my apologies.  The Beginner Magic Program has got to be one of the best in the business.  From the terrain they teach on, to the design and consistency of the approach, to the care they take in doing the best they can for their clients, to the sincere interest and effort of the Aspen instructors, to the relatively extensive training they provide new instructors like me it is a first class operation.  Before I taught in Aspen I visited for five years and discussed the teaching approach there.  I heard (and listened) to their rationale for the design of the Beginner Magic Program.  I heard about it's history and the changes and why they shifted away from a tipping bias.  It was because of these discussions and the understanding they provided that I always started with the defined program approach. 

However, I had a strong desire to optimize the learning experiences of my students.  Having been a professor for my entire career I have always tried to provide alternative explanations and approaches to my students if they don't get it right off the bat.  As a new instructor I had the Beginner Magic Progression to work with but when I thought a student could use further input I of course had to rely on my past informal teaching experience, training experiences, and personal understanding.  What I found was that employment of these additional inputs seemed to work successfully.  I say this based on observed progress made, comparison with other classes, and student feedback.  Of course these are all subject to considerable bias and that my own interpretation may be flawed.  On the other hand I will also say that I never walked away satisfied.  I always felt that I could do better and that further experience and understanding could make be a MUCH better instructor.

When I switched to a more dominant tipping approach I didn't observe the negative results that I had heard and been warned about.  It still doesn't make sense to me.  Of course I realize that I have VERY limited experience but I was kind of looking for and expecting these shortcomings.  Maybe I just didn't teach enough classes but I would expect that if these negative consequences were prevalent enough to modify an entire program that I too would experience them.  I still don't understand the discrepancy.  Contrary to how I responded to Bushwacker in a previous post (cynically, in retort to a similar comment he made) I do not think that I know more about or am better at teaching any type of approach than others.
post #42 of 159
Thread Starter 
One more comment.  I never intended this discussion to be limited to teaching beginners.  The question about the role of tipping in teaching or working on ski movements is relevant at any stage I think.
post #43 of 159
Rick, while I agree that too much of anything is too much, the fact remains that the beginner magic program as I learned it and have taught over many seasons doesn't rely on a rotary skills bias. Representing it that way isn't accurate, or fair. Aspen choose to start with rotary because according to their studies it is the easiest skill to develop. Although I would also be very quick to point out that most of the activities we used didn't involve an isolated rotary focus. Stepping and scootering in circles, straight runs with a stepped j-turn finish, and even a wedge change up progression, all involve a pivotting of the skis / feet. But how in the world can anyone state that these activities are working rotary in an isolated way? I also hope to show everyone that Rotary skills are only a small part of the story here. Diagonal side and lateral stepping, herringbones stepping and bull fighter turns are also part of that progresion. So as far as I'm concerned a blended application of all three skills was very much a strong focus in that program, something you and I have both been talking about for quite some time here at Epic. I also feel the order of introduction of those skills cannot be used to suggest that the program doesn't revolve around real world movements and maneuvers as the means to help the students learn all three skills and very blended turns.

 As far as the example offered by Si of pivot slips not being a real world activity, I'd suggest calling B Barnes and asking him about that. The short version would be that releasing a turn and near flat steering skills occur in a wide range. From no redirection to a 360 and beyond they are part of the rotary skills pool.

Anyways I've spent entirely too much time trying to debunk the myths and misunderstandings Si offered in this thread. If only Wigs had mentioned to Si that the ed staff review meetings would be the best place to discuss Aspen's programs. Doing so here seems a bit out of place without having done that first.
JASP 
post #44 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

However, I had a strong desire to optimize the learning experiences of my students.  Having been a professor for my entire career I have always tried to provide alternative explanations and approaches to my students if they don't get it right off the bat.  As a new instructor I had the Beginner Magic Progression to work with but when I thought a student could use further input I of course had to rely on my past informal teaching experience, training experiences, and personal understanding.  What I found was that employment of these additional inputs seemed to work successfully.  I say this based on observed progress made, comparison with other classes, and student feedback.  Of course these are all subject to considerable bias and that my own interpretation may be flawed.  On the other hand I will also say that I never walked away satisfied.  I always felt that I could do better and that further experience and understanding could make be a MUCH better instructor.
 

Si - I think this is good stuff. You should do whatever it takes to get your students where they want to go.

As for your original question "So my question is: Why should one ever isolate and focus on twisting the ski when it is almost always more effective to tip and twist or in some cases exclusively tip the ski?", I've been mulling it over since your OP, and haven't come up with an answer yet. I don't see what the one has to do with the other. If I concede that tipping is the more important skill, it doesn't negate that I will sometimes need to teach twisting. As you said above, we need to give each student what they need when they need it.
post #45 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

 Why should one ever isolate and focus on twisting the ski when it is almost always more effective to tip and twist or in some cases exclusively tip the ski?
The answer is that you need to be able to twist independently as well as tip independently. If you learn to tip every time you twist, you will develop a pattern that is hard to break.  The idea behind teaching isolated skills is that you need to be able to mix in any combination of movements whenever you need them. It doesn't matter if tipping is sometimes more effective than twisting,  you still need to learn to use both skills independently.
FWIW my observation has been that more skiers are held back because they can't rotate their femurs effective than they are held back by the inability to tip their skis.

BK
post #46 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Rick, while I agree that too much of anything is too much, the fact remains that the beginner magic program as I learned it and have taught over many seasons doesn't rely on a rotary skills bias. Representing it that way isn't accurate, or fair.

 

JASP, I have no knowledge of Aspen's Magic Program, and any comments I made in this thread carried absolutely no intention to "represent" it.  My comments were in fact not even in reference to it.  I was only speaking directly to the relationship between tipping and steering or carving in real life skiing.  The message I was trying to get across was that with no tipping there is no turning.  All you get is a rendezvous with gravity. 
post #47 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

I have only taught part time for one season. However, my experience seems to support this position. I worked at Snowmass and received a lot of training in their Beginner Magic system. They asked us very specifically, as new instructors, to follow their prescribed progression. That included a focus on turning the legs and tipping the skis to initiate a turn. As I tried to employ this I saw a good percentage of my students throwing in significant upper body rotation to try and turn their skis even though we very explicitly talked about, demonstrated, and statically practiced isolation of the upper body from leg rotation. At this point (this happened in most first day lessons) I would switch to an exclusive focus on flexing for release and tipping (based on passed teaching experiences with friends and family). The results for the vast majority of my students was a dramatically improved ability to initiate and link turns, noticeable reduction in upper body rotation, and improved confidence. They still were twisting their skis some but it was in combination with active tipping. I have had similar success with a focus on tipping with upper level skiers who I have taught informally (I only was allowed to teach levels 1-4 in my first year at Snowmass except for a few privates stemming from group lessons or chair lift discussions). The most generally effective way I have found to reduce upper body rotation is a focus on release and tipping. From what I have seen this, in no way, inhibits people from additionally twisting the ski, in fact, it better sets them up to naturally add twisting of the skis via isolated leg rotation with much less guidance.




Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Aspen choose to start with rotary because according to their studies it is the easiest skill to develop. Although I would also be very quick to point out that most of the activities we used didn't involve an isolated rotary focus. Stepping and scootering in circles, straight runs with a stepped j-turn finish, and even a wedge change up progression, all involve a pivotting of the skis / feet. But how in the world can anyone state that these activities are working rotary in an isolated way? I also hope to show everyone that Rotary skills are only a small part of the story here. Diagonal side and lateral stepping, herringbones stepping and bull fighter turns are also part of that progresion. So as far as I'm concerned a blended application of all three skills was very much a strong focus in that program, something you and I have both been talking about for quite some time here at Epic. I also feel the order of introduction of those skills cannot be used to suggest that the program doesn't revolve around real world movements and maneuvers as the means to help the students learn all three skills and very blended turns.

If only Wigs had mentioned to Si that the ed staff review meetings would be the best place to discuss Aspen's programs. Doing so here seems a bit out of place without having done that first.


 

 

I don't think I ever said or inferred that the Beginner Magic Program is "working rotary in an isolated way" as you claim.  You seem to be trying to make this post about criticizing the Beginner Magic Program - please stop it.  I thought my apology above would have been sufficient -  that I was amiss in narrowly referencing the program the way I did without any other explanation or comment.   I am not trying to discuss the Aspen Program - I related my experience teaching in that program because that is experience that I have and it has contributed to my understanding (or from your point of view I suppose my misunderstanding) of this issue.  I also related other experience.

Your responses make me feel like I'm in the politics of Washington and you are on the other side of the aisle trying to discredit me and make be into a bad guy.  If you think my rationale is wrong why not simply explain why?  If my logic is faulty in going from my rationale to my hypothesis just point it out. 
 

Edited by Si - 2/1/10 at 5:33pm
post #48 of 159
Sorry Rick,
I was not suggesting that but in my haste to de-bunk the edge pressure biased myrhs I didn't seperate that post into two. As a strong proponent of learning a variety of skills in a variety of circumstances I alway look forward to your posts. 
post #49 of 159
Si,
We're not opponents, although we disagree about the idea of a tipping biased lesson producing better skiers. Skiing is a very personal sport and skiers have a very wide variety of choices nowdays. You obviously like to make edge biasd turns and it reflects in you teaching. The subjective opinion of a skier's improvements seen through the filter of how well they carve a turn is what I am commenting on here. That preference in your personal skiing isn't a problem as long as you don't let your personal bias limit what you teach. That's really all I am trying to say here. As a coach you have developed sufficient skills to land a job in the Aspen School, be proud of that. As you gain experience you will come to understand just what a remarkable opportunity you have to learn and develop an even deeper understanding of skiing. In that search to explore and offer more to your guests try swimming with the current and exploring the profound depth of knowledge in that school. I think you will find that school is one of the best learning environments for new instructors. Exploit that resource and when you have exhasted that learning opportunity, I suspect you will have developed so much more than the little something extra you want to give your students. 
post #50 of 159
Feb 2, 2010

Hi Bears:

Having followed this tread and a few others with similar contents with interest, although I admit some of the arguments are above my "skiing" pay gradel and also noticing that the technical conversation is sort of drawing to a close I would to to inject a gaper, basher ordinary skier point of view.  My daughter has a friend who is a good skier and loves to "carve railroad tracks".  She carves the cleanest set of railroad tracks at our small mountain.  Whenever I'm on the chairlift and she passes below, skiers who can appreciate her tracks never fail to comment on what a good skier she is.  One day while riding the chairlift with my former racing coach and equipment guru (tester for ski magazine), we saw her coming down the mountian.  My coach also knew her because she was the girl friend of one of his former racers as well.  I turned and asked "Doesn't she ski well".  My coach replied:  "She is going to hurt herself one day".  Three weeks later I learned that she had busted her knee skiing. Her season was over.   It seems that all she knows is how to "ride an edge and CARVE turns".  She really either doesn't know or doesn't like to "turn her skis" using rotary movement patterns.  My coach described her as a "one trick pony".  This event happened three years ago.  Last year she passed her Level II PSIA-e certification, and watching her ski now, she doesn't always "railroad track" anymore.   So as a skier who just wants to enjoy skiing, I choose to practice "safe skiing" and not just "railway tracking", even though I enjoy that as much as the next person.  Some food for thought.

Think snow,

CP
Edited by CharlieP - 2/2/10 at 10:54am
post #51 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Si,
We're not opponents, although we disagree about the idea of a tipping biased lesson producing better skiers. Skiing is a very personal sport and skiers have a very wide variety of choices nowdays. You obviously like to make edge biasd turns and it reflects in you teaching. The subjective opinion of a skier's improvements seen through the filter of how well they carve a turn is what I am commenting on here. That preference in your personal skiing isn't a problem as long as you don't let your personal bias limit what you teach. That's really all I am trying to say here. As a coach you have developed sufficient skills to land a job in the Aspen School, be proud of that. As you gain experience you will come to understand just what a remarkable opportunity you have to learn and develop an even deeper understanding of skiing. In that search to explore and offer more to your guests try swimming with the current and exploring the profound depth of knowledge in that school. I think you will find that school is one of the best learning environments for new instructors. Exploit that resource and when you have exhasted that learning opportunity, I suspect you will have developed so much more than the little something extra you want to give your students. 

I very much appreciate that sentiment, Jasp.  Thanks.  Let me just clarify that while I may have a belief in a strong focus on tipping I don't believe I am in any way carving biased.  Carving is not a special priority for me in my skiing or that of others.  My goal for myself and for anyone I try to help is to build balance that gives someone the option to easily maneuver the skis in any fashion they choose or the terrain demands.  I just think a strong (not exclusive) tipping focus is the most efficient way to get there for the reasons I listed in my first post, not the least of which is the balance that must be present to tip.  I know that other people here don't agree and believe that a more equally balanced approach between tipping and twisting is the most effective.  I started this thread to hear support for both sides to better develop my own understanding.

One more thing I thought I would clarify.  I enjoyed my part time teaching in Snowmass last year and I had originally planned on doing it again this season.  However, I was able to move up my retirement and headed to Sandpoint at the end of summer.  As a result, finances didn't really let me return there part time this year.  Also, as I had never had the chance to be a ski bum, I am taking advantage of my first year in the mountains and I'm just skiing for myself.  I still have an interest and desire in teaching but I think it's going to compete with the freedom of being on my own schedule and just skiing for myself.  Not sure which will win out in the future.  Nevertheless, I expect I will retain my interest in ski technique and ski teaching issues for the rest of my life.  BTW, your comment about "swimming with the current" is very appropriate.  I have never been very good at that and in general it has paid off in spades in my research and teaching.  I also realize that I missed out on somethings in my tendency to fight the current.  I went to Snowmass last year with a strong intent to do just as you advise.  I didn't do as well as I intended but I did my best.  I think a second year would have been much better in this respect but it's not to be.

So it's about 11:00 and now and I'll head up to the mountain and ski for as long as I feel like.  I won't spend any time on the groomers (except for the run-outs) as I'll be ranging through the steeper off-piste terrain of Schweitzer's North Bowl (like I do most every day) with lots of soft chalk, cut -up soft snow and a few fresh turns (as I better learn where the remaining stashes are).  I won't be thinking about carving much, but will certainly be searching for the balance that let's me more easily do what I want with my skis when I want.
post #52 of 159
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post

Feb 2, 2010

Hi Bears:

Having followed this tread and a few others with similar contents with interest, although I admit some of the arguments are above my "skiing" pay gradel and also noticing that the technical conversation is sort of drawing to a close I would to to inject a gaper, basher ordinary skier point of view.  My daughter has a friend who is a good skier and loves to "carve railroad tracks".  She carves the cleanest set of railroad tracks at our small mountain.  Whenever I'm on the chairlift and she passes below, skiers who can appreciate her tracks never fail to comment on what a good skier she is.  One day while riding the chairlift with my former racing coach and equipment guru (tester for ski magazine), we saw her coming down the mountian.  My coach also knew her because she was the girl friend of one of his former racers as well.  I turned and asked "Doesn't she ski well".  My coach replied:  "She is going to hurt herself one day".  Three weeks later I learned that she had busted her knee skiing. Her season was over.   It seems that all she knows is how to "ride an edge and CARVE turns".  She really either doesn't know or doesn't like to "turn her skis" using rotary movement patterns.  My coach described her as a "one trick pony".  This event happened three years ago.  Last year she passed her Level II PSIA-e certification, and watching her ski now, she doesn't always "railroad track" anymore.   So as a skier who just wants to enjoy skiing, I choose to practice "safe skiing" and not just "railway tracking", even though I enjoy that as much as the next person.  Some food for thought.

Think snow,

CP
 
Charlie, the tipping biased perspective I am talking about does not have to be linked to carving and in my case it certainly is not.  A non edge-lock ski produces plenty of turning power and allows as much skidding as you like via control of edge angle.
post #53 of 159
Feb 2, 2010

Hi Si:

Thanks for the clarification. 

Think snow,

CP
post #54 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

So my question is: Why should one ever isolate and focus on twisting the ski when it is almost always more effective to tip and twist or in some cases exclusively tip the ski? I ask this question whether it is the context of a drill or real skiing. I also realize that there are a few situational exceptions where a pure twisting of the ski might be desirable – let’s try to focus on the more common skiing situations and environments, not the exceptions or drills like pivot slips.
 
I guess, given the conditions you've imposed, that I have to admit I'm not sure how to answer your question. After all, one should indeed isolate and focus on twisting in order to be able to handle those "situational exceptions."

So, I have to ask, how is the isolation to which you refer accomplished? In all situations that come to my little mind, including the pivot slip drill, some tipping is an absolute requirement. As others have noted, without at least some admittedly subtle tipping, nothing much happens. Flat ski maneuvers still require edge control, and often very finely tuned edge control, albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum to what most people think about when "edging" is mentioned. If you avoid discussing edge control, release, engagement, etc., you will indeed get upper body motion because your students can't imagine how else they're going to turn this long thing they're standing on.

So, how about this? The goal, especially for our novice skier, but it's true for any of us, is to be able to steer and control where we are going accurately. The novice also wants to be able to do it s-l-o-w-l-y. To accomplish these goals within the context of positive movements requires more twist (so they can steer without simply putting on the brakes in a giant, high-angle wedge), less edge (so they can steer more easily), and accurate balance (so they can control edge angle, steer easily and move down the hill). One cannot, however, focus only on twist, because without the careful control of edging (i.e., tipping) and balance, the twisting may be nearly impossible. Put them together, and the twisting becomes very easy, gravity actually helps it happen (rather than just muscling the skis around), and the student starts developing a skill that will continue to be useful (in the bumps, for example) as they develop their skills and ski more difficult terrain.

I have encountered students who were so focused on tipping and relatively high edge angles that they had considerable trouble with "go there" (especially if "there" didn't happen to fit very well with their ability to tip and bend the ski) and being able to ski a line that provided them with the desired amount of speed control. Further, although good balance is required in order to control tipping accurately, good balance is not required in order to tip badly. Leaning up the hill, as many people do, may provide high edge angles and a sort of "carve," but no real precision or control. Some emphasis on balance and twisting earlier in the learning curve would have been beneficial.

Twisting can be done while centered over the feet, which is more comfortable for novices. Twisting is a major component of a complete skill set, with applications ranging from very low speed direction control to bumps, retractions in the trees, and other "situational exceptions." Twisting does not have to imply muscling the skis, uphill movements, upper body rotation or gross shoving of the skis into a skid, any more than tipping requires leaning up the hill. One could argue that it's important to focus on twisting simply to teach the student how to apply twisting effectively and efficiently, rather than letting them default to gross reactive movements just to "git 'er done."

Caution: Most of what I have said above is opinion. I have never been trained in the Beginner Magic system at Aspen. I have been known to twist my skis too much. I have been known to tip my skis too much. I have been known to twist my shoulders too much. I have been known to tip my shoulders too much. I have Hit Things. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. Keep in a cool, dry place. Etc.
post #55 of 159
. That really the crux of this discusion. Si doesn't agree with the order of introduction of the skills and that is his choice. Myself I agree with you that rotary is usually easier for a never ever student to grasp. Riding a rail and remaining standing isn't as easy since the whole idea of sliding is not something we can assume they will grasp right away.
post #56 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post

Charlie, the tipping biased perspective I am talking about does not have to be linked to carving and in my case it certainly is not.  A non edge-lock ski produces plenty of turning power and allows as much skidding as you like via control of edge angle.
 
This is a subtlety that students intent on achieving higher edge angles rarely understand. Too often, they believe that more edge is the key to slowing down. They may feel they need to get some kind of grip on the slope, and they frantically try to dig the edges in more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

. That really the crux of this discusion. Si doesn't agree with the order of introduction of the skills and that is his choice. Myself I agree with you that rotary is usually easier for a never ever student to grasp. Riding a rail and remaining standing isn't as easy since the whole idea of sliding is not something we can assume they will grasp right away.

Although teaching rotary early because it may be easier for the student to grasp may provide some motivation to do so, we have to be careful here. There are any number of dead-end moves that we don't teach at all, even though the student may think they're the obvious thing to do.

And Si does have a point that some grasp of tipping and edge control is necessary. Without it, rotary is often accompanied by inefficient, ineffective moves. Many students on their first day on skis cannot stand with their skis perpendicular to a moderate fall line and flatten them enough to sideslip. Some, on the other hand, will attempt to stand with their skis so flat on the hill that they'll slide helplessly down the hill sideways, and sidestepping up is very difficult for them (at first).

So, as you've already said, we teach a blend that will allow rotary to occur easily, without shoving, stepping, twisting the shoulders, etc. We teach enough rotary, tipping and balance to get the students comfortably over their feet and allow them to steer their tips down the hill rather than pushing or stepping the tails up.

Maybe it's my own incompetence, but I don't think I could completely isolate rotary without also including other skills to make rotary easier. Attempting to completely isolate rotary will indeed make it more difficult to teach!

To twist the skis without a struggle demands accurate balance and edge control. See Pivot Slip. Being able to steer through a short, slow, round turn with relatively little effort provides an effective foundation for skill development and will give the student confidence that they can control where they're going and how fast they'll get there. We don't teach it because it's easy for the student to grasp, although in several ways, it is. We teach it because it provides that good foundation for effective movements.

IMHO.
post #57 of 159
Thread Starter 
It's late and I think I'd just rehash what I've said if I try to respond directly.  I will just say that it is not just the order of introduction I am talking about.  It's more about a major focus on tipping as opposed to an equal blend of tipping and twisting or an independent focus on twisting.  I am the first to admit that I am a novice instructor but I'm not a novice skier or student of the sport.  The explanations provided by the "other side" include a lot of experiential reference, which I respect, but I'm still looking for counter arguments to those I provided in my first post.  Maybe the perception stuff I referred to previously is the real barrier?  I just want to clarify that I think a focus on tipping (along with all the necessary balance and other movements needed to optimize tipping) is not only adequate to develop a well rounded skier but a better way.

I hope this isn't taken as me trying to state my case once again.  I only responded because I didn't think the last two posts accurately referred to my point of view.
post #58 of 159

Si,

 

Is a well rounded skier focused on tipping? There is a lot of merit in that thought. Is a well rounded skier focused on skiing?

 

The PSIA stepping stones model says the most powerful teaching focus is to have options for the paths from beginner to expert. One of those paths could be tipping focused. When that path is chosen, the hope is that it is the better way for that student. To the extent that the instructor has made an accurate assessment of the student and the environment du jour, this can easily happen. There are lots of direct to parallel success stories.

 

When a school mandates an approach for its instructors, they often take the flexibility for chosing an approach out of the instructors hands. One reason could be that they want a consistent product. Another reason could be that they don't expect their instructors to be experienced enough to reliably make accurate assessments. When instructors are expected to teach groups of students the problem grows more complicated. What if some students would learn better with a tipping focus while others would learn better with a twisting focus? It's been my experience that the "tippers" learn twisting better than the "twisters" learn tipping. Note that when I say "tippers", I mean people that I would teach tipping to if I taught them individually. If this experience is universal, then there should be no wonder why a school would choose either a blended or twisted (sic) focus.

You said it yourself:
Quote:

Tipping the skis requires a much more balanced position over the skis that twisting them
 


What if your students don't have enough balance to tip? One argument for twisting is that it lets students ski and develop balance skills as they go. An argument against twisting is that with more than 8 out of 10 first timers not taking up the sport why should we worry about people with balance skills that are so poor that they can't tip their skis? If you can't teach them balance on day 1, then dump them. If those people represented 30% of the population (I just picked that number for the sake of argument), we'd still have the opportunity to triple our success rate with the remaining students. With a lack of any hard data proving that a focus on tipping can achieve this level of success, is there any wonder why SSM would chose not to use an approach that essentially would tell x percent of their first time customers "Sorry - you're better off tubing"? Realize that there is hard data that a beginner program can easily double the national success rate simply by changing things that are unrelated to the teaching focus (e.g. my resort routinely sells what is essentially a return ticket to 30% of our first time customers on the day of their first visit!).

When it comes to this "argument" there is no right or wrong. There are only choices and benefits and consequences. A line instructor is not necessarily going to see all of the benefits and consequences at the school level. Those with more experience will tend to have a wider perspective. Sometimes an obviously better approach is not so obvious when viewed from a different perspective. It's a rare manager who never makes a decision that doesn't "look stupid" to someone else.
post #59 of 159
Si, fair enough. You subscribe to a method where a tipping bias is preferrred.
So here's an idea that might help explain why IMO rotary skills while learning to slide across the snow are so much easier to learn. Let's begin with the idea that we stand vertical to the Earth all the time. As we walk and run we turn the legs as we stride and guess what? Over the course of several steps we turn. If we're walking down a slope we already know how to stand so we don't fall. We also know how to adjust our stance to balance as we turn back and forth across the hill as we walk down the slope. The built in edge angle (slope angle when we are standing vertical to the Earth) is sufficient to keep us from sliding sideways down the hill. On skis, this skill is still present and stepping drills tap into this knowledge / experience base as we do step turn / figure eights, etc. Scootering on one ski allows us to also tap into this knowledge base while simultaneously introducing balancing (standing) on a moving platform. Finally after putting on both skis the guest is now ready to leave the terrestrial world of a high friction contact point with the Earth. Although balance in this temporary world still involves a mostly vertical to the Earth stance. Which I may add still includes sufficient edge angles to facilitate turning the skis as they slide across the snow. Just like what occurs when we walk down that same slope. 

Contrast that to asking a student to inclinate so the skis tip to an arbitrary edge angle and then asking them to ride that ski while balancing on that constant edge angle. Without the vertical stance component they've used since they learned to walk just getting them to find balance this way is a tall order. One that usually results in using too much edging which in turn results in their getting locked onto an edge and the skis taking them where the ski wants to go, not the other way around.

So from the perspective of finding commonality between skills a student posesses and ones we're trying to develop, teaching for transfer just makes sense. As these students gain mastery of balancing on the skis, exploring more edge and more inclined stances is a matter of expanding the RoM of balancing. Not trying to do it in one step.

 
Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/3/10 at 12:54pm
post #60 of 159
therusty: [b]Is a well rounded skier focused on tipping?[/b]

I think so and I agree with Si on this subject. My improvements over the past 2-3 years are largely due to focusing on tipping to make most of my turns.

As for what is easier to learn ... it depends on the skier, although it is clear that twisting is easier to learn because the large majority of skiers are poorly equiped with ill-fitting boots, have poor fitness and lack the athleticism that leads to strong balance.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching