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The skills... you need them all. - Page 2

post #31 of 38
post #32 of 38
Thanks for sharing Epic. For the gallery, garlands are kinda like the start of a turn and the finish of a turn without the middle. The ski track created looks similar to a garland draped across a christmas tree. In my experience, when people struggle with garlands, but they are releasing their edges and extending, typically they lack an effective directional move from their extension. What you will see then is a traverse with an edge release causing a forward slip, and then a  reengagement of the edge as the skier goes back into a traverse minus the slipping. No turn into the falline.  Add in a directional move of the hips forward towards the ski tips, and diagonally across the skis, and you will get the top part of a turn into the falline, which is then followed up by a reengagement of the edges causing the skier to turn back across the hill out of the falline.

On the rotation of hips issue, my take is that the student was not turning the skis by hip rotation but being given permission to let the hips follow the skis into the falline.
post #33 of 38

hello Epic,

if you dont mind me asking, what exactly is a garland turn?



Originally Posted by epic View Post

 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.


post #34 of 38

Read post 32...

post #35 of 38

Hello just another ski pro,

in your years of teaching how far would you say the quickest student has progressed under your tuition? you know how some people are natural at certain things? has anyone complete stood out?

Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Read post 32...


post #36 of 38

There are so many rossymcg,..

Although I must say I'm not comfortable taking credit for how fast someone learns ski turns, it's their personal growth and in many ways their success isn't measured simply by their skiing. The skills based methods we use allow a student to gain confidence and as they apply them in a ever increasing variety of situations, they will discover how well they work everywhere. That being said, here are a few thoughts about typical student progress in my lessons.


An ultra confident student going from never ever to easy groomed blacks in less than three days is not out of the question but that depends on so many variable falling into place. Weather, snow conditions, group dynamics, and even the emotional state of the student. Since all of these are constantly changing, expecting everyone to learn at that pace would be unrealistic. Never to first run down Schoolmarm (4 mile green with rolling terrain) is a pretty full day for most here at Keystone. Never to Spring Dipper (easier long blue with one steep section) is quite common as well. The most important thing is the student understanding and being able to apply the fundamental skills confidently and consistently before challenging them with more difficult terrain., or conditions. I would much rather see a student making great turns on easy terrain than to see them surviving on terrain too difficult for their experience level. Doesn't mean exploring is out of the question, just that ownership of the skills takes precedence. That's setting them up for success both today and tomorrow.


Ever here of the "T's"? They are technique, terrain, tactics, and time. The movement patterns, where we use them, and what type of line we chose can all be seen as conscious choices and they are not time bound per se. Time on the other hand marches on and challenging choices in the other "T's" might make sense only after warming up but still early in the day. Or those choices might not make sense later in the same day after fatigue sets in. That's where I feel I have the greatest influence, choosing where and when I take a student someplace. Again it's setting them up for success both today and tomorrow. That's why I focus on fundamental skills and helping students gain ownership of them. Where they take them and how fast they reach expert status is not a good measure of that personal growth.




Shifting gears a bit away from timelines and progress curves, I would like to talk about what defines success. I had a family of five in a private lesson recently. Dad and Mom were blue skiers but their kids were never evers. By lunch all the kids were ready for our short green slope called Scout. Mom and Dad learned to coach the kids with some activities I gave them to use. Dad and I worked briefly on his skiing and being much more efficient. Same goes for Mom but not as much as Dad. At lunch I was discussing how cool it was for Mom and Dad to gift the kids with a new sport that they could all share and use their entire life. It was then that Dad privately shared with me that Mom was winning her battle with a deadly disease and that is why the entire family was there. Success for her was giving that gift of a new sport to her kids and being able to share that experience with them and actively be involved in it. My small part in that was being a facilitator and guide. After two days the group was confidently skiing greens and Mom has acheived success in a way most of us will never experience. She is an expert IMO because she understands skiing isn't just about what run you ski, or what turn you make, it's about becoming immortal through your actions. God Bless her and help her win her fight!





post #37 of 38
Thanks Epic and thanks Dean for sharing. Would love to see some before and after video if at all possible. A lot of what's going on with you is what I've been working on/struggling with an instructor (also in VT!).

Thanks again for sharing.
post #38 of 38

On releasing edges in a garland or from a standing position I offer this thought:  Releasing the edges is like letting the clutch out on your car or motorcycle.  As you gradually release your edge grip the skis will begin to slip down the pitch but this is not the time to dump the clutch rather continue the gradual movement to release allowing the skis time to find some forward momentum before changing edges. 

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