Real quick before I hit the rack. Ant. An alternative to the "picture frame" turn would be the "Whisker Turn". I'll start with an explanation and end with its benefits. Once again, this is an EXERCISE... not to be confused with a TACTIC or a CHARACTERISTIC.
The whisker turn (if you haven't heard of it) involves using the poles like antannae - extensions of the arms. Have your student (or yourself) hold both poles upside-down by the handles, much as you would a sword. Watch closely and you'll see little kids whack each other with their poles... that's how you hold them! Next, stretch your arms out to the side with the poles straight out. The arms and the poles should be in a straight line, no breaking at the wrist. Now lower both pole baskets until they touch the snow. You'll find that on each side of your body there will be a triangle formed by the snow surface, the side of your body, and the length of your arm/pole.
Now ski. Never let either pole basket leave the snow. As the student moves along, he/she will be leaving two ski tracks, and two pole tracks. Keep the arms/poles straight, and the hands even with the hips. There will be a tendency for the student to lift the downhill basket off the snow during the last half of the turn... DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. It is crucial to this exercise that the poles drag on the snow surface, like whiskers. Whisker turns can be done for any level of skier from beginning turners to Bode Blow-up (oops, I forgot I'm not allowed to call him that any more. Maybe it should be Bode Damn-near-blew-up!)
What does this do? It acts as a stabilizer for the upper body, if taught correctly, and allows for the proper rotating of the legs underneath. (I'm not saying it CAUSES proper rotation, you still have to teach that!) The student will be forced to make flex/extending movements down low and tipping will have to happen in the ankle/knee/hip chain. Any rocking done in the spine or tipping of the shoulders will set off the basket alarm!!! The student will not be able to "pull" the skis around the corner by twisting or banking, because the basket will lift off the snow and they will know they have blown it. In light of that, it acts as a solid kinesthetic feed from which a student can get an idea of where they should be standing... particularly at the lower half of the turn. And finally, it places the skier in a position where the shoulders will tend to be parallel to the slope, the upper body true to the direction of travel (that doesn't necessarily mean "down the Hill"), and the hips/legs will have to remain soft in order to help keep that downhill basket on the snow.
I use this exercise quite often when I come across a student who tends to use full body rotation to start turning, or twists away from the fall line after the turn is complete. In the right circumstances, it can also help alleviate that pesky rotary push-off. (I use it on myself all the time for that very reason)
Pitfalls. This exercise does nothing to remedy fore-aft problems. It must be done on terrain that the student feels absolutely comfortable on. The blocking pole plant will not be there to save them!!! It is an exercise that will not allow for MUCH upper body involvement. A good skier will figure out how to make it work, a beginner will feel "locked up" from the hips up.
Anyway, just one of the many. It seems pretty invloved, but once you try it out yourself a few times, it should make alot of sense. Who knows? You may hate it!! I know I did at first.
Remember folks.... It's just an EXERCISE. The WAY YOU SKI will be up to you.
Gotta git gone,
ps. I watched Blizzard Of AAAAAAAAAAH's for about the 500th time tonight. I'm ready to ski.[ August 05, 2002, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]