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Is hopping passe? - Page 3

post #61 of 80
Thread Starter 
I was responding to the question you posed, Oz:

Yes I included speiss in two lesson plans this winter. Both where for the Lev 9 attitude, Lev 7 skills crowd that where having trouble in the bumps\short turns because their basic skills coordination\foot steering was being initiated from the upper body. Not with major upper body moves but rather quite subtle moves. Speiss assisted us with highlighting the problems associated with their lack of "turning from the feet" skills. It is also fun for the client and answered many questions of the client by a simple demonstration and emulation process.

Do your have an alternative to speiss? What would your Lev III (no speiss) instructor use to achieve the similar aims?
Oz, Could it be you are projecting some of your pet peeves onto me? I reveal that I think hop turns are cruel and discriminatory to the older candidates. Suddenly I am the Queen of Tip'n'turn. The conclusion is not supported by the facts.
post #62 of 80
Thread Starter 
Oz, Do you have PSIA certification? What level? Other international certification?

I have been PSIA Level III certified for 20 years. I resigned my positions with PSIA last June to focus on new interests.

If I had to guess, I'd say Full Certification (now Level III) was modeled after the European systems--probably chiefly the Austrian and French systems. Since Horst Abraham and Mike Porter both passed through the Bundessportheim, I would say the Austrians have had the most profound influence on PSIA certification.
post #63 of 80
Help! I’ve found most of the posts on this topic fascinating and enlightening but alas, also occasionally very confusing.

I thought Nolo’s question started out focusing on whether hop turns should be one of the exam tasks for a Level III candidate and if so, how the task should be set up in an exam to measure or evaluate the skill or skills involved, or whatever it is the examiner is legitimately seeking to measure. There, Ott and FastMan focused on the hop turn as defined and tested in an exam and both, I thought, found the exam task to be inappropriately designed to measure the skills involved in a hop turn. It was my understanding that both Ott and FastMan thought the exam task was being administered on terrain that was too flat and that a hop turn on flat terrain is far harder than a hop turn performed on steeper terrain.

It was also my understanding that others of those posting here agreed that as administered the task was more of a measure of stamina than of skills mastery. As I understood matters, however, some of the comments concluded that stamina or "athleticism" is something that was to be tested.

Is stamina something that examiners are testing? If they are, why is that task, hop turns, the task that seems to be chosen when it probably has more “age bias” in it than other exam tasks, and as a tactic, depending upon definition, is something rarely used outside of narrow chutes or emergencies? That is, why would a long string of hop turns on the flats, without a break, be a task that should be used to measure stamina when it clearly has a bias that other exam tasks don't? In a recent exam, according to a count by one of Ott’s colleagues, on one day we did 30 runs of one ski skiing on blue and black terrain. Even here, in the vertically challenged Midwest, that is a fair amount of one ski skiing. Clearly other tasks could be used to measure stamina, or aerobic capacity, if that is what that aspect of the exam is supposed to measure.

If stamina is not what is being measured, how many hop turns, as FastMan defined them, in a row on flat terrain, would an examiner need to observe to see if a candidate has the skills to perform the task, if, that is, it is the skills that are being tested?

* * * * *

Having thought that was what Nolo was driving at, I am confused by several of the comments pertaining to the use of “hop turns” in a non-exam setting, including some of Nolo's. I think this may be a problem of nomenclature, and I disavow any real knowledge of the terms used in skiing steep chutes, but, the “hop turn” used in the exam setting seems to me to be a far different maneuver than at least I have utilized in skiing steep chutes – except very rarely. The “hop turn” used in exam settings, in my very limited experience involves simultaneously hopping from BOTH feet (or very nearly so), i.e., simultaneous extension, to up-unweight, followed with a simultaneous retraction and rotary to land 180° across the slope on edged skis. On very steep terrain, by contrast, the downhill leg is almost fully extended. Consequently, there is very little extension, or “hop” that can come from the downhill leg. Accordingly, a pedaling action is used: while the uphill leg is pedaling down, extending, i.e., “up-unweighting,” the downhill leg is pedaling up and starting to turn across the slope. The up-unweighted uphill ski then begins to turn across the slope and “catches-up” with the earlier turning downhill ski so that both end up directly across the slope.

My description is probably a very bad one. But the hop/pedal turn, or whatever its proper name is, that I use, and have seen others use in steep chutes is generally very sequential, with a great deal of independent leg action rather than the simultaneous “hop” of the exam task. I seek enlightenment here. Is this correct, or have I missed something pretty fundamental? Spare no words, I can even learn from sarcasm. If what I have described for skiing steep terrains, is an apt description of a "hop turn," and that is the value of a "hop turn," why do the examiners test using such a radically different task? If what I have described for skiing steeps is commonly referred to as a “hop turn” then I am at a loss to understand the following point that Nolo made:

“On the other hand, skiing at Bridger I see a lot of hopping. I think they should learn the Lazy Woman's Way to Ski. I'd love to teach this low impact technique to you and Si some time. It's the secret of my success.”
If the term "hop turn" when applied to skiing includes what I have described, What is the “low impact technique” that she is referring to? Why won't she share the secret of her success?
post #64 of 80
What is the “low impact technique” that she is referring to? Why won't she share the secret of her success?
From first hand experience it's eerie skiing with Nolo. She looks like she's skiing half the speed using one third the energy but every time you turn around she's right on your heels. I think she uses witchcraft.
post #65 of 80
I think that hop turns have long since transended any pretense of logical validity as an exam task. Their current use mearly supports the "look what I've practiced and can do" egotists and have very little to do with the core movement patterns of modern skiing. Hop turns drag us back to an era of "final forms" performed with precision resulting from narrow scope practice by skiers who's free skiing abilities lacked any transfer from what was practiced.

If testing raw skiing ability is the goal, I am pretty sure I could come up with a number of arguably easier tasks outside the exam practice zone that the L-3 candidates (and a few examiners) would struggle to replicate on demand, but the truely good skiers would probably figure out in short order. I think a valid case could be made that such ad-hoc tasks that are adaptive vs. practiced represent a more valid test of skiing skills.

As for the fact that hop turns are used, if a skier is good enough to be on the kind of terrain where a hop turn is really needed, they should to be good enough to pull one off. No one ever taught me how to do a hop turn, some circumstance I got myself into demanded I do one to get out (long before I ever heard of PSIA).

So for me personally, given that I might need to depend on a hop turn when I have no other options, I am saving the few I have left in me for really important occasions and would consider it wasteful to squander them on anything else (like showing off).

post #66 of 80
1. I do not think hop turns (speiss) (a drill) are passé.
2. I think Lev III should be made more difficult than it currently is.
3. I think attempting to make Lev III easier for "older" candidates only covers up the fact that the industry has trouble attracting "younger" candidates. Sort of polishing the leaves instead of watering the roots so to speak.
4. Whilst pivot slips do invoke similar skills as hop turns they do not invoke the dynamic action that I believe should be the benchmark of Lev III skiing. Lev III examination in Oz, Austria, France, Suisse, Sweden etc WILL find you on steep terrain with variable snow. What better way to impress the examiner than show him a full bag of tricks in marginal conditions?
5. I think drills play a very important part in displaying the depth of skiing skills of a candidate.
6. I think drills should be used in conjunction with "real skiing" to test this skiing depth of candidates.
7. At the skiing exam time a candidate should EXPECT to be tested until they "break".

When one looks around and sees so many instructors that cannot string a few decent all mountain turns together I see three things happening.
1. Pros getting older and loosing the fire
2. Newbies getting younger and finding nothing to ignite the fire.
3. Certification following instead of leading

.... adds up to the same thing ... no fire.

Emphasis on teaching and customer service is well and good BUT part of customer service is delivering on the ticket price of a lesson ... this includes being able to SKI anything (at Lev III or at least having once been able to ski anything for our more mature pros).

Nolo my only pet peeve is to much DISCONNECTED TALK not enough CONNECTED ACTION.

Rusty say hi to SCSA and enjoy the day ... tell him Oz wants to know how his pivot slips are coming along [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Finished on this topic.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ April 08, 2003, 12:00 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #67 of 80
Thread Starter 
Nolo my only pet peeve is to much DISCONNECTED TALK not enough CONNECTED ACTION.
I hope you would stay a bit longer and explain the above comment, Oz. Also I'd like to say that I agree with many of your points. After this session, I could argue either side of the question: do hop turns belong in the PSIA Level III exams?

Seeing all sides is good, don't you think? That's my intent in asking all these dumb questions.

How are we to act wisely, make good decisions, design good systems, be change agents and all that--without taking the filters off? What is it we don't know about hop turns? What is it we pretend not to know? Then we might be able to say what we know about hop turns.

I think every required maneuver in the exam should undergo intense scrutiny. A cost/benefit analysis, you might say.

Weems talks about the Leadership Diamond, with four points of Courage, Vision, Reality, and Ethics. In this dialogue, I have heard Vision and Courage in your arguments. In mine, Reality and Ethics. Somehow we need an exam that incorporates all four points of the Leadership Diamond.
post #68 of 80
Disconnected talk = no wedge ... um well maybe for some people etc, etc
Connected action = fixing the problem of meaningless certification in an industry driven by avarice. Meaningless cert being "why bother" part time is all they want me for.

Is not courage and vision fuelled by ethics and reality?

As for hop turns (speiss) they are a drill in a long line of drills. They demonstrate dynamic skill blends. They are a specific drill. Do you need to examine a string of hop turns on the flat? Probably not. Does a Lev III candidate need to be able to do them .... absolutely, on demand, like pivot slips, hanger turns etc etc.


[ April 08, 2003, 05:56 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #69 of 80
Thread Starter 
Lou asks: What is the “low impact technique” that she is referring to? Why won't she share the secret of her success?

I copied the following passage from a post by Holiday in another thread (Do you unweight in the steeps?) because it captures exactly the low-impact absorption-release technique that flows through instead of creating a stop at the transition. I don't know what we call this turn. I wouldn't mind calling it the Billy Goat, but I'm not sure that this would be in keeping with current usage and I'm kind of leery of naming turning movements.

Ever see the Fellowhip of the Ring. If you have, you may be able to visualize the elven queen descending from her treehouse to meet with froto. She moves down the stairs almost as if flowing like water. As the foot touches the next stair, the weight doesn't settle on it, but flows through toward the next.

This is my image of steep skiing when I'm on and when those skiers I look up to are skiing steeps. there is no active unweighting, just the absorbtion of the g's, the consequent release of them and establishment of a new momentary platform (the next step) This can be offensive as bob barnes likes best, or even somewhat defensive, as in the case of my favorite turn due jour, the billy goat turn. (a slow speed, short swing turn in steep chutes and cliff bands, with a "relaxion" instead of an extension or active retraction.

...sometimes we need to actively unweight the skis, but it sure feels better and is more fun when we're tuned into the "point of contact" enough to just flow through the transition.
I've never had the pleasure of skiing with Wade, but I'll bet we ski steeps a lot alike.
post #70 of 80
I like the description of "flowing".

The smoothest most flowing skiing is created when pressure between skis and snow is as uniform throught the arc as possible (vs. spiking between complete all or nothing). This is the nature of skiing by allowing all you can, and causing only what you need to.

The essence of skiing this way is a relaxing of legs coming out of the falline, releasing of the flow of the CM down the mountain (before the edge change), allowing skiing with minimal conflict with the mountain. When you unweight and dis-engage, you have to re-balance when you re-engage with the snow. When you relax and release the CM, balancing is continious around the dominant flow of the CM, not by bracing across the skis against the terrain. This can be done effectivly on very steep slopes, even in crud snow where there are advantages to maintaining not only ski-snow contact, one being a continously tactile relationship with the smow and terrain.

Sometimes less is more.
post #71 of 80
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
I like the description of "flowing"...

...When you relax and release the CM, balancing is continious around the dominant flow of the CM, not by bracing across the skis against the terrain. This can be done effectivly on very steep slopes, even in crud snow where there are advantages to maintaining not only ski-snow contact, one being a continously tactile relationship with the smow and terrain.

Sometimes less is more.
Okay, Arc.

I agree with you (and Nolo) completely.


Tell me, if you would, how you recall that pitch we skied from the top of the downhill course at Snowbasin?

Was that full contact, relax and release, continuous balance for you? It might have been, since I couldn't see the length of my poles.

I know it wasn't for me. I was doing quite a bit of "bracing across the skis against the terrain".

I'm just curious. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

post #72 of 80
Bob, on that pitch I don't think I was doing any jumping out of my boots. I remember it as just a mogul field I couldn't see. Of course had I been able to see it I'm sure I would have skied much more defensively.

Watching an old Scott Schmidt/Glen Plake movie of those guys skiing steep powder, it's nothing but hop turns. I'm glad skiing/equipment has progressed beyond this because it's rather ugly to watch after awhile. (Oh, here come the flames)

Once a chute is sideslipped, it is nearly impossible to actually make good turns in it as the softer snow will then be turned to hardpack! This is total lack of consideration for other skiers...-AltaSkier
Alta, but how would all those not so good snowboarders get down? Oh yeah, so this is why Alta doesn't allow snowboarding?

Last Sunday I went snowboarding in the afternoon. I'm certainly not better than 97% of boarders, but I don't think 97% are better either. (o.k., I suck..) Anyway, coming down a steep for me on board pitch(this is highly relative here it's really a steep blue) I'm thinking how am I going to go heel to toe? So then I just start sideslipping down and think oh yeah, now I see why they do this!

hop turns - SO WHAT? so friggin' what? use 'em. big friggin' deal. my god, this is pathetic.



Oh I love it when he talks like this. Gives me goosebumps all over. I think next year he should be assigned to ski with Alta and Harpo.
post #73 of 80
Scot Schmidt is in the most recent TGR movie skiing pow, and he isn't hop turning. He looks great, but of course, so did the old Scot Schmidt.

BTW: I heard he has a signature ski coming out from Stockli next year. That could be cool.
post #74 of 80
Hey Tog,

I personally don't think you should be allowed to post on this thread until you get a pair of popsicle sticks or their equivalent. Relating to your snowboarding experiences just doesn't make it. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img]

AC, I expect you to back me up on this!
post #75 of 80
Hi Folks,

Whew! Hot topic here! I hesitated to wade in, but I do feel that I can add some small insight here....

I think hop turns are primarily a *diagnostic* tool used by examiners, and I think they're a legitimate exam task. Here's why. In order to accomplish the task the candidate must properly blend his/her skills concept (balance, edging, rotary, and pressure control movements (BERP)). If one of the skills is diminished or lacking than the candidate won't be able to accomplish the task.

For example let's say that a skier is not exhibiting enough rotary movements in their feet and legs. If this happens it's likely that the skier will have to hop and turn with the *whole* body which is an inefficient movement. By using the whole body to turn I mean that the skiers upper body is aligned with the tips of their skis.

Now, if the skier has to turn their whole body it's highly probable that they won't be able to get their skis far enough across the fall line to control their rate of descent. When this occurs it's common for the skis to take off, as they're designed, down the hill, and the skiers CM will move back onto the tails of their skis. From there the skier will often have to do a big adjustment move to get back on top their skis.

When applied to our regular skiing a lack of rotary movements would hamper a candidates abilities to ski bumps and steeps.

Now let's look at pressure control. If the skier isn't using the appropriate amount of flexion and extension it's likely they'll land too hard, and because of the hard landing, a skiers balance could be thrown off, and again the skis will take off in an unintended direction.

Without appropriate pressure control a skier will have a difficult time absorbing moguls, and various other snow snakes which in turn compromises balance.

So, are hop turns a legitimate exam task? I would have to give this question a qualified 'yes.' Hop turns are a handy tool that allows instructors and examiners to see if a person is exhibiting the proper amount of skill blending to accomplish the task. If the person can't complete the task successfully it's likely that there is an underlying problem with one of the core concepts (BERP) which would hamper a persons ability to ski some types of terrain. After using this particular diagnostic tool (there are many others) an instructor can then formulate a lesson plan to address a specific skiers movement needs. Granted this would be a rather radical movement analysis tool.

There are some things I don't like about hop turns though. The primary one is the radical up unweighting of the task. Generally, this aggro move isn't so desirable since it can put the skiers balance in a compromising position. Tactically speaking hop turns can be useful, but probably not the first turn to grab for though.

A sincere thanks to nolo for bringing up this provocative question. It's important to continually challenge our concepts, and sometimes misconceptions, of what "good" skiing is. Thanks again nolo!

If we were to eliminate hop turns what task would we put in their place? (hmmmm....Chad shuffles off...scratching chin in deep contemplation...)

post #76 of 80
If you thrash your client with dastardly drills, totally connected to the task and there is no tip at the end of the day, does anyone hear?

Drills (speiss etc) are like rapids in the river on the path to FLOW.

Surfs up today, 3m+ ..... a powder day for wet people.

Oz [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ April 17, 2003, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #77 of 80
>>>Drills (speiss etc) are like rapids in the river on the path to FLOW<<<

Oz, a question: I've been around skiing for over fifty years and never ran across the term 'speiss', where does it come from and how does it relate to skiing?

post #78 of 80
Thread Starter 

Thanks for weighing in. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #79 of 80
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
>>>Drills (speiss etc) are like rapids in the river on the path to FLOW<<<

Oz, a question: I've been around skiing for over fifty years and never ran across the term 'speiss', where does it come from and how does it relate to skiing?

Spiess "skewer" in German, also known as Hop turns.
Leap and pivot the skis landing on locked edges. repeat with minimal forward movement.

(thanks to Bob Barne's encyclopedia for that explaination)
post #80 of 80
Originally posted by man from oz:

Drills (speiss etc) are like rapids in the river on the path to FLOW.
Which means they can be challenging, fun, and get you there faster!

Hopefully Chad's post will remind everyone here what the original post is about... having HT as an EXAM TASK (as opposed to HT being a way to ski or a teaching tool frequently used with clients)
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