EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Direct to Parallel or Wedge....where, when, why?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Direct to Parallel or Wedge....where, when, why? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

JASP,

I've no doubt any student paying attention will recognize the greater drag in a Wedge vs. a Parallel turn - but if all we're teaching is a Wedge turn they'll have nothing to compare it with! Further, I like to direct their attention to the feathering of that outside-ski as their 'speed control' mechanism rather than the Wedge's opposing edges. This causes them to focus on controlling that ski's position and controlling its ski/drift rather than creating a focus on making the Wedge bigger when they need speed control.

I don't think the drag of a Wedge is even mentioned in current PSIA materials as a relevant component. In the Alpine Manual (pg. 65-66) there is no mention of drag or speed control attributes in a Wedge. In fact, the last point (#7) ends with, "... Control turn speed with turn shape, rather than the size of the Wedge."

I'm not saying that drag doesn't exist nor that students wont use it once they find it - just that we should minimize Wedge drag by encouraging flatter skis and an minimal Wedge angle, forcing (enabling!!) students to use other, more favorable techniques for direction and speed control.

With that in mind, re-read your second paragraph from the perspective of taking beginners out on a *truly Green* run (nearly flat). If on a true Green run then I think students will not experience enough acceleration for 'drag' (sped control via friction) to be an issue and they'll be able to focus on directional control rather than speed control.

Of course, if all we have available is Blueish-Green terrain, then we're probably stuck with students grabbing onto friction anywhere they find it. If so, I think we need to make a special effort to point them toward skidding that outside-ski as the preferred source of fiction.

.ma


icon14.gificon14.gificon14.gif
 

post #32 of 50

The important consideration about teaching wedge turns is getting the students out of the wedge before muscle memory sets in.  My more athletic first time students are making open parallel turns by the middle of the first afternoon of an all-day lesson.  It is difficult to break the wedge habit and two-inside-edge habit, especially with kids.  I get the class of kids yelling at the last one or two wedgers, "Pizza is for lunch, not for skiing."  It is all in good humor and they all can ski without the wedge, but they like to rely on that dead-end security move.  When I have the same group of kids for multiple lessons I teach them PMTS movements.  At the end of the series of lessons I ask them what was the best thing they learned.  The answer is always "tipping," which is lightening and flexing the inside leg and inverting the ankle (tipping the ski up on its little toe edge).  Don't knock what you haven't tried.

post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

 It falls under the UUW turn initiation mechanism.


Yes, I too am confused??  Please explain the "Up UnWeighting turn initiation mechanism".


Come on TDK6, please explain for me!?

post #34 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

 It falls under the UUW turn initiation mechanism.


Yes, I too am confused??  Please explain the "Up UnWeighting turn initiation mechanism".


Come on TDK6, please explain for me!?

post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Yes, I too am confused??  Please explain the "Up UnWeighting turn initiation mechanism".


Come on TDK6, please explain for me!?


You extend to momentarily reduce the pressure under your skis. It makes it possible to pivot or turn the skis into the new turn.

post #36 of 50

Actually Michael, the movement descriptors from PSIA-RM include oppositional edge usage (both edges continually engaged to some extent). Said another way, Failure to keep both edges slightly engaged is a disqualifier (fail) in our exams. So is a lack of a round line, or a stop in between "linked" turns on very shallow terrain. Wouldn't you agree that a stop in transition is an example of very poor speed control through the transition due in most cases to excessive edge angles?

 

So let me assure you that like you, we subscribe to feathering edges during this maneuver but not just the outside ski's edge, both need to be feathered since both are being used. Nor do we subscribe to using a braking wedge during a test, even on hard green terrain. If I implied otherwise let me correct that miscommunication. Turn shape is very much the primary speed control tactic but the extra drag of the oppositional edge usage is important feedback coming back up from the skis and shouldn't be ignored by the line instructor, or their cert clinicians / examiners. I see a lot of instructors lose sight of that and completely flatten the inside ski which means they will have to artificially keep the inside ski in a converging relationship with the outside ski.

 

To link this back to a lesson, I would say all of that changes for tenative students who are having trouble "awakening their sliding gene". The gliding wedge is a good compromise somewhere in between parallel turns and a big braking wedge. Especially if the primary objective is simply getting them moving across the snow for the first time and they are struggling with DTP progressions. Same can be said about the braking wedge though, in the very short term it might be the best option to get those really fearful students moving and experiencing the sensation of sliding. That's why IMO, we can't take those trick out of our bag, no matter how infrequently we actually use them, or how incongruent they are with current political opinions.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/17/10 at 8:29pm
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Actually Michael, the movement descriptors from PSIA-RM include oppositional edge usage (both edges continually engaged to some extent). Said another way, Failure to keep both edges slightly engaged is a disqualifier (fail) in our exams. So is a lack of a round line, or a stop in between "linked" turns on very shallow terrain.


If that makes or breaks a wedge, I don't teach one and disagree with teaching it. As a matter of fact, I got killed by one of the selectors at DCL tryouts for that very issue, but I'd rather do it the way I feel works best. Do you feel that the requirement of both edges always engaged is the best way to get to quality skiing.

post #38 of 50

 Usually if the student has skied enough to have habits, some form of wedge will already be there, so work with it, not against it. A narrow gliding wedge platform can be used to introduce and develop the same efficient balancing and releasing movements as with DTP.  The wedge platform will be let go of and replaced by a more parallel stance as the student's balance and stance skills evolve in support of their confidence that they can turn enough to control their speed while balancing more on/against the outside ski vs. standing between both of them in a wedge.  Wedge or parallel, both platforms work for introducing and developing movements that support efficient and effective parallel skiing.  Key in this process is developing a correct 'order of movement' (release right to go right & left to go left) and teaching 'enduring movements' that will support higher levels of skiing as the skill level evolves and not need to be discarded or replaced by something completely different. As skill in these movements is acquired,the wedge can be let go of and parallel skiing will evolve. It is about the quality of the movements being taught, not the platform (vehicle) used to learn them. 

Arc smile.gif

post #39 of 50

To answer your real question Epic, no I don't see things through the same lens you do and no I'm not going to get pulled into a "my way is best" circular debate. I've stated I use a parallel progression when appropriate and in my last post I detailed when and why I would use a wedge based progression. My participation here is meant to add food for thought to the discussion, not to suggest my way is always best. To that end I would like to say many of my opinions are the result of training and teaching in three different ski organizations, PSIA, NSP, and USSA and being exposed to examiner and national race team level skiers and trainers from around the world while working in Aspen, Keystone, Crested Butte and Loveland.

I didn't write the movement descriptors for RM, Barnes did. I also didn't write the PSIA training manuals, Katy, Meagan and the rest of the ed staff did. I've worked for Bob, and Katy and with many of the demo team and ed staff folks you regularly employ as ESA coaches, I am quite confident what I've written here is congruent with what they've taught me and it's also congruent with how Aspen and Keystone's schools prescribe the use of wedge based progressions. If anything I lean towards parallel first progressions but I recognize the value in having and understanding alternative methods like a wedge based progression. I'm sorry your biased opinion has led you to limit what you teach. The only thing I am curious about is why in the world you would apply for the PSIA job of teaching divisional cert 1 clinics and refuse to teach one of the reference test maneuvers? How fair would that be to the candidates preparing for that test?


Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/17/10 at 11:15pm
post #40 of 50

Interesting discussion. The direct to parallel progression as a teaching method became known to me in the 80s in France. Its been arround for some time. Lately I have seen this consept being taken even further, direct to carving. Instructing is evolving, however not always in the right direction. You know, one step back two steps forwards. I think that JASP's approach is a good one. I personally dont teach DTP but I can see that it has its time and place. Especially if students demand it. Then you have to be able to provide it. More and more people want alternative methods if for no other reason than being different. Or being convinced on the net that this is the only right way. This topic has been discussed many times at epic and two things became evident when teaching DTP: flat and easy terrain to train on and several days of time. I too dont claim Im right teaching a wedge progression but thats what I do at the moment and it only goes to show that its still being done. The main reason I do it is that I think that its very functional. Annother reason is that here in Europe DTP is not yet very common. No ski schools anywhere near where I live and teach teaches DTP. So the desision for me is easy. This is probably going to change but for now I stick to the wedge progression.

 

One thing that I think is very good with wedging is that it puts the hips into the turn and away from over the skis. This is the key to all good skiing. Annother thing is that it provides speed controll through out the whole turn. Even in the fall line there is speed controll. It keeps the students from rushing through the fall line. And what Archmeister said, some are used to weding to start with. Should you try spending most of your effort on un-learning the wedge with a student paying to learn how to ski? There is no right and wrong here. Many factors play in.

 

So whats bad with the wedge? I dont think that DTP should be chosen because of the negative sides of the wedge. I think that DTP should be chosen because of the positive sides of DTP. Stay far away from instructors ranting other sytems and techniques.

post #41 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

The only thing I am curious about is why in the world you would apply for the PSIA job of teaching divisional cert 1 clinics and refuse to teach one of the reference test maneuvers? How fair would that be to the candidates preparing for that test?


It just seems to me that they are doing it wrong. I don't think I've ever seen such a rigid definition of what a wedge is. I've learned everything I do from PSIA types and never had this come up. FWIW - the selector that judged that task was newly transferred in from PSIA-RM.

 

All I'm saying is I generally teach a wedge progression, but if that definition is what we are going by, then I do not, and I don't think that's the best way to teach people how to ski. Call me narrow-minded if you want (first time for everything), but if that means I'm wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

post #42 of 50

I'm not saying your wrong, or narrow minded. The wedge has a long history and to be honest the wedged stance is far less important than what the skis are doing and how they are working together. Lets go out on shallow green terrain and try to do medium radius parallel turns at an eighth of a mile an hour. An unintentional wedge will more than likely occur as the skis turn towards the fall line. In the second half of the turn the ski naturally match. Why? Well it's simple, the amount of edge purchase (in this case it's friction from partial edge engagement) is directly related to how easily each ski will respond to the turning input from our legs. So unless we make an active foot to foot weight transfer  the following will occur. At the beginning of the turn our weight is still more on the downhill ski, so it won't respond and turn as easily as the uphill ski. So the result of the outside ski turning faster is a wedged stance. As the turn progresses the linear momentum of our body and the downhill pull of Gravity draws the weight onto the outside ski which means it will respond less to the turning imput we've been using. The inside ski meanwhile will be bearing less weight so that same turning input we've been using will cause the ski to respond by turning more. The result is the ski have a natural tendency to match in this half of the turn. Nothing new or Earth shattering here I hope. If anything I've just given a cert candidate a pretty good model of how to perform a naturally occuring Wedge Christie. But how do you change things to maintain a naturally occuring wedged stance through the second half of the turn? Will you use corresponding edges? Nope, I just explained the natural outcome of doing that. How about a disengaged inside ski? Well with no edge engagement the inside ski will respond to the same steering input by turning faster just like we see in students who create a diverging scissored stance. Or maybe we will see a contrived wedge in the candidates who artificially hold the ski in a wedged position with muscle power. The only way to get the skis to maintain a naturally occuring wedged relationship is to use opposing edges (inside ski on the big toe edge). Said another way, both skis need to respond by wanting to continue to turn towards each other. Opposing edge use (not a contrived counter steered inside ski) is the only way to produce that wedged relationship. That in a nutshell is why the gliding wedge discriptors prescribe opposing and slightly engaged edges throughout the maneuver. How that relates to good skiing is that all we really need to change to get a wedge christie to occur is how we use the inside ski. Add a little more speed and we can change what that inside ski does even more and corresponding edge usage can produce parallel turns. Take it to an even higher level and we can define the turn size, shape, and even amount of edge engagement by what that inside leg does.

So Epic I would say the next time Barnes is out there, run this idea by him. Or if you come out here for Epic's Aspen academy, or PSIA's national academy run this same idea by those clinicians. I think you'll find we all are pretty much on the same page when it comes to how to produce a naturally occuring wedge and how it relates to what we do beyond level three cert.

post #43 of 50

JASP - why exactly does the unintentional wedge happen? What does the wedge result in?

post #44 of 50

TDK, we can cover this in detail but it's old ground. Weight an edged ski and try to steer it. Now reduce the weight and try to steer it. Which way is easier?

The second question lost a little in translation, so I'm hoping you can help me out here. Can you ask the question a bit differently, maybe htat would help me understand it more.

post #45 of 50

JASP - So the reason for the unintentional wedge is that a ski with reduced weight is easier to steer? You actually answered the second part of my question in my previous posting refering to steering. Its easier to steer a wedged ski than one that is not because you dont have to reduce weight. Here in kind of IMO lies the answered to my first q in this posting: the unintentional wedge happens because it makes turning easier.

 

Lets say a student is learning to ski DTP. How do you teach the parallel turn? Is there any unintentional wedging with such students? Or is the unintentional wedge only a problem with students that allready learned to wedge but later join a DTP class? In this case the whole ide of the DTP is lost. I would say that in my skiing there is unintentional wedging taking place. IMO the reason for this used to be sequential leg movements. After starting to platform more over both skis as one unit maintaining a close stance which was the standard back then anyway and working with both leggs simultaniously the unintentional wedge whent pritty much away totally. Also among students. This change came in the mid 90s I think. Not as a carving technique but when skiing all mountain and soft snow, powder, bumps and crudd.

post #46 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

We have an instructor at our mountain who teaches direct to parallel exclusively.  I have noticed very mixed success with his approach.  It seems, as Kneale suggests, this method tends to skip some steps involving flat ski rotary movements which some believe are the devil's workshop.  

 

Personally, I would rather develop rotary movements from a flatter ski before I develop an edge and pressure bias because people want to feel the speed control.  Using lower edge angles initially creates fewer issues for me.  As with either method, care should be taken to nip upper body rotation in the bud.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post


I should have mentioned I was comparing it to our instructor's method who only teaches DTP and is a Harby.  He uses a strongly edged downhill ski with long shallow garlands.  I agree with you the mechanics are the same, or should be the same, as is evident in many of my posts on the wedge turn topic.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

I use both but the wedge progression is almost alway my fall back for timid skiers who feel the need for riding the brakes. The rest of my students learn a wedge for the lift maze but I've found the extra friction is a disadvantage more often than an advantage. Here's why, a braking wedge offers the advantage of not allowing the skier to accelerate as much in the fall line but it also inhbits glide when we're out of the fall line. Which isn't such a good thing when it leads to stopping between turns, or perhaps worse it ingrains the habit of not completing their turns more than about 45 degrees out of the fall line so they won't stop between turns. A lingering habit I see all the time in skiers who come to me seeking advice about speed control when they ski something steep (to them) and can't make more than a few turns

 

The compromise is round turns in a gliding wedge and steering both feet / legs. Some speed control in the fall line ocurs and some glide occurs out of the fall line. IMO that gliding wedge progression isn't very far from a skidding DTP progression though. Obviously the biggest difference is that the inside ski skids on a corresponding edge instead of an opposing edge. Which is something we would be teaching in the Wedge Christie anyway. Can we get a skier sliding sooner in a breaking wedge? Yes and no, it depends on the part of the turn were talking about.


It seems to me that both wedge and DTP methods require adequate instruction and use of flat ski edging skills. Bud, from your description, it sounds like your DTP guy is leaving this out entirely. JASP, as you're well aware, some instructors using, shall we say, "legacy" wedge instruction go straight to the braking wedge, with its associated high edge angles and its movement patterns that make it difficult for the student to do something else. The student becomes dependent on the big wedge and does not turn well. We've all seen "turns" which involved an edge-locked outside or downhill ski, often accompanied by a very large wedge. The whole scenario for either teaching path is made worse by the beginning student's own perception that the term "edging" always implies high edge angles, and that's what they think they see the so-called "good" skiers doing. In addition, highly edged skis make steering with ILS rather more difficult.

 

Students need to understand that edging is indeed a spectrum, and that the ease and subtlety of a nearly flat ski is extremely useful. Tipping is hugely important. Subtle tipping is still tipping. Gently feathered edges, whether corresponding or opposed, make it easier to steer, make it easier to go there rather than grind to a halt, make it easier to allow the tips to drop down the hill, make it easier to finish the turn and stop if that's desired. And flat ski skills in the wedge progression will make it much easier to start using corresponding edges with essentially the same turn mechanics.

 

Once some of the basic skills (and associated confidence) are in place, the student can start to play with more speed, greater forces and higher edge angles. Keeping the mechanics but adjusting the DIRT will ultimately result in a pure carve.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

Oh, & I can up unweight without turning, not so sure I can steer my legs & say the same.


And I'm sure you can steer your legs without up (or down) unweighting. Contrary to some opinions, unweighting, while often useful, is not required for basic steering.
 

post #47 of 50

I'm no pro or instructor,  but my feeling this post is straight on.   A lot of vacationers go and get a group lesson.  They get stuck in the wedge.   When they get scared they put all their weight on the inside of each ski and have no clue how to ski.  I have 3 children.  I went with private lessons rather than group.  1 learned DHP,  the others started in wedge.  But we kept them in until they could parallel turn.  The DHP is a much better skier at this point.  But they all learned how to parallel.  The first day back on skis.  2 of them always start in wedge first run or two,  takes them longer to get reacclimated to skiing.

 

Unfortunately for me,  I learned to ski without lessons.  I didn't see the point in going down a hill in a wedge when all the people that knew how to ski didn't.  I looked at what they did and copied it.  Years later I took a few lessons.  My point is I think DTP is far better for private lessons,  small athletic groups.  Wedge is better for group or less athletic people.  IMHO an athletic fit person would be better off just starting in DTP.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

The important consideration about teaching wedge turns is getting the students out of the wedge before muscle memory sets in.  My more athletic first time students are making open parallel turns by the middle of the first afternoon of an all-day lesson.  It is difficult to break the wedge habit and two-inside-edge habit, especially with kids.  I get the class of kids yelling at the last one or two wedgers, "Pizza is for lunch, not for skiing."  It is all in good humor and they all can ski without the wedge, but they like to rely on that dead-end security move.  When I have the same group of kids for multiple lessons I teach them PMTS movements.  At the end of the series of lessons I ask them what was the best thing they learned.  The answer is always "tipping," which is lightening and flexing the inside leg and inverting the ankle (tipping the ski up on its little toe edge).  Don't knock what you haven't tried.

post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post


And I'm sure you can steer your legs without up (or down) unweighting. Contrary to some opinions, unweighting, while often useful, is not required for basic steering.
 



Can you describe in simple words how you turn parallel using steering without up-unweighting at initiation.

post #49 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Yes, I too am confused??  Please explain the "Up UnWeighting turn initiation mechanism".


Come on TDK6, please explain for me!?


You extend to momentarily reduce the pressure under your skis. It makes it possible to pivot or turn the skis into the new turn.


But if you have released the edge engagement from the previous turn, you can "pivot or turn the skis into the new turn" without bothering to reduce the pressure under your skis. The most obvious example is the pivot slip, which does not require unweighting, just release.

 

Unweighting of various kinds can be both useful and fun, but for a basic turn, it's not a requirement. Insisting that a novice must do it in order to execute a parallel turn complicates the process and often causes the novice to perform a lot of unneeded body motion.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post


And I'm sure you can steer your legs without up (or down) unweighting. Contrary to some opinions, unweighting, while often useful, is not required for basic steering.
 


Can you describe in simple words how you turn parallel using steering without up-unweighting at initiation.


As I near the end of a turn, I allow my Center of Mass (COM) to move downhill relative to my skis, which are still engaged as they finish the turn. Several methods can be used to allow or encourage the COM to move downhill; what's important is that my hips and knees also move downhill and my skis flatten until they release. At the instant they release, they become steerable, whether or not I've done anything to reduce the pressure on them. Altering the pressure may alter the point or angle at which the skis release, but if I get them flat enough, they will always release.

 

When the skis release, I have choices. I can guide the ski more-or-less straight until the movement of my ankles, knees, hips, COM, etc. down the hill causes the new edges to engage, at which time the ski will start to carve an arc defined by its sidecut and however much I'm bending the ski, given the snow conditions, pressure, etc. I can introduce some Independent Leg Steering (ILS) and allow/encourage/guide the tips down the hill and create a shorter radius turn. Once into the turn, I can control edge angles, pressure distribution, amount of steering, etc. to determine whether the ski hooks up into a carve or brushes out a bit (or a lot) or I can keep them flat enough to allow me to use ILS to execute a 180-degree pivot.

 

It's all a spectrum, and in its admittedly more basic forms, unweighting is not necessary.

 

This type of skiing is not necessarily particularly exciting, and it doesn't look all that interesting. But it provides a straightforward, solid foundation to which additional techniques, moves and excitement can be added. And solid ownership of this basic turn means that you can use it under almost any circumstances without the delay and energy expenditure necessary to unweight. In addition, without unweighting, the edge engagement in the new turn is solid and immediate, giving you immediate control of direction and thereby control of speed using the "go there" philosophy.
 

post #50 of 50
Wow - nice post on the topic jhcooley. Accurate, susinct and complete!

---
tdk6,

In a post elsewhere you implied that Friction was the reason that a Pivoting pattern was problematic without unweighting. To support this perspective you presented the example of Pivoting a foot on the floor when it was pressured and when it was not. Your foot-on-the-floor example works exactly as you describe - but it's not a good analogy for the ski/snow context.

A more meaningful experiment would be to place a Lazy-Suzan under that foot and try it again. In this case the amount of pressure on that foot would still have an impact on rotational friction but the difference would be minimal, perhaps unnoticeable. The friction that resists twisting on the Lazy-Suzan is much closer to that of a flat ski with a PTEX base twisting on firm, slippery snow. Of course, base-bevel & side-bevel on the edges will determine how easily those edges catch (even when 'flat') and our F/A balance will also play a role, but for the most part there is very little friction directly underneath a flat-(ish) ski resisting the twist.

Longer skis provide more twisting-resistance because even a little friction far out from the center of rotation has much more leverage to resist the twist. Likewise, very stiff skis tend to distribute more pressure further from the foot, increasing resistance to turning at a further distance from the point of rotation. Also, the more we tip the ski onto an edge, the more downward pressure will resist twisting because those edges become more firmly engaged.

Since you often advocate a big Braking Wedge and ask students to 'lean' out over a largely tipped ski it's no wonder you might find "twisting" the skis to be very difficult! Take away those high edge-angles (by reducing the size of the Wedge) and you'll find very little resistance to twisting.

.ma
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Direct to Parallel or Wedge....where, when, why?