The PSIA skills that is - edging, pressure and rotary.
I'll try to keep this short. For those who don't know me, I am a PSIA L3 working fulltime at Stowe. I teach all levels, but the business being what it is, more often than not I'm teaching the lower levels. As my understanding of skiing has evolved, and I have taught more lessons and observed what does/does not work, I find myself drawn more and more into the edging side of the skills continuum.
For me, I want my students to understand that it is the skis that turn them, that skiing is about the outside ski, that turns are all about edge change. So basically, from day one, I want them standing, in balance, on their outside ski as it moves them through the turn. The biggest obstacle they usually face is getting the other ski out of the way. Edgechange.
So anyway, I had a great student today. And yesterday. Gonna be with her tomorrow too. Taught her a few years ago and she planned a vacation to come up here and work on her skiing. I'm not going to go into everything, but basically, let's say she's level 5ish. On steeper blues, she fails to release her outside ski, and has to use rotation of the upper body to steer the skis through the rest of the turn.
Now to MY ah-hah moment. Working on garlands on the race hill. It has a very long double fall line, so you can turn right foreeeever. It's pretty steep too. She's been getting better for 2 days now, but still struggling to really release the ski. So we try some garlands. Tip the skis to release, right? I take off and do my demo. Tip, tip, tip. I look back and see a nice set of garlands. Now here comes my student. Tip, tip, tip. Nothing. I can see her tipping her feet, but she keeps going straight. Sure, she slips down the hill a bit, but the snow is pretty soft and she holds her line. Her garland is pretty much just a traverse. OK, no problem, that's why there is a ski instructor, to coach this stuff. So I ask her to add some long-leg/short-leg. As she tips, she should feel her uphill leg getting longer as she relaxes and shortens her downhill leg. Demo it again. Turn around and watch and see her tipping the skis and making a leg length change as she tips. Nothing. Even though her CM is crossing the skis (briefly, she can't do tis long because it does put her out of balance). She still holds her line and the skis don't even begin to go to the fallline. Really? Demo it again. This time I'm thinking, why is this working for me and not her? I feel that as I am tipping and moving across the skis, I am also letting my hips rotate down the hill. I ask her for that and demo it again. I turn around and watch. She does one garland, feels it working and makes her best turn to date moments later.
My point? Edging alone wasn't enough. Pressure and edging weren't enough. Pressure, edging and rotary were all needed. The cool thing about this student is that she takes everything so literally that you really have to be dead-on with what you ask.
Edited by epic - 2/2/12 at 4:35am