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Wedge & Beginning Parallel Turns

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
A person advised me once to not think of the wedge turn as a technical dead end, but as simply a skier's first attempt at making a parallel turn. That put it in a whole new light.

Does that make sense to you?
post #2 of 7
One of the lasting mental images from the first PSIA clinic I attended in 1969 (hard to imagine anything mental lasting so long) was someone demonstrating how the physical movements to make a wedge turn (a snowplow, in those days) were the same for making a parallel turn. He started out making turns in a wedge, then as a stem christie and then parallel.
post #3 of 7
To agree with the opening statement I'd need to qualify that the movements being used would have to be the same as the ones used to make an "efficient" parallel turn. One where the first movement is the release of the edge and leg of the old downhill ski, allowing the Cm to flow into the new turn with the tipping of the inside foot leading the way thru the e/c and driving the turn shape. If these movements are working any wedge tendancy would quickly dissolve to become parallel turns.

I'd respectfull suggest that this is a very different scenario than the traditional transition of changing movements in KB's flashback clinic experience. In the past we were sold pig in a poke that the wedge turn and parallel turn movements were the same. This was only plausably true if you were willing to accept terminal pivot/steer/skid, big toe to big toe "parallel" as you ultimate outcome. If you wished to progress beyond that a signifigant change in the order of movements was in order.

One thing shape skis have exposed is how many formerly percieved "good" parallel skiers lack the necessary order of movements to go arc-2-arc on shape skis. We readilly notice how out of sync these traditional movements (however polished) appear on shpe skis. But many alert skiers are making the changes and goov'n with them.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I think you have to take the statement at face value, and not try to qualify it according to how closely the student's movements approximate the desired skill-set. The point is that if a teacher regarded the wedge turn as a fledgling parallel, it would change how it could be taught.

If we see it as nontransferable, that is, not as flowing into a larger movement pool, we will teach it as such.

Teach the wedge as a gliding turn with accent on flowing into the next turn and you won't have all the problems that have led many very skilled, experienced, and intelligent folks to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

How you think about skiing determines how you ski; how you think about teaching determines how you teach. That's why I spend a lot of time trying to help people with their thinking...
post #5 of 7
The intent of my "flashback" was not to say that a 1960's snowplow turn and platform-based parallel equate to today's gliding wedge/carved parallel. Rather it was to indicate that appropriate movements in a wedge stance can contribute to appropriate movements in an advanced maneuver.
post #6 of 7
Yes, Nolo--this is THE issue, isn't it?

By definition, according to the Center Line Skiing Model, the wedge turns we teach are supposed to be introductory "parallel" turns. Or at least, introductory "expert" turns. As you know, I do not equate "parallel" with "expert"--or "wedge" with "beginner"--in any way.

Even B.C. (before Center Line), since I began teaching, all my supervisors and mentors have always emphasized the gliding wedge as necessary for good turns, with dire warnings and serious threats to any instructor who gets students stuck in a braking wedge.

The key is the intent. Good turns arise from the offensive intent to GO where you want to GO--not from the intent to slow down. That is the intent of expert turns. It is the intent that governs expert skiing. As long as beginners learn to turn for the same reasons that experts turn--as long as their intent is the same--they will be on the same road. Their movements in those first turns--wherever their stance falls in the spectrum from wedge to parallel--will "beginning expert movements." They may not be very good at these movements at first, obviously, but they will be practicing the "right stuff"!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 09, 2001 07:40 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>
post #7 of 7
I, of all people, must certainly agree with the philosophy of what you are suggesting. For each of us, our thinking and decisions reflect our perspective. I personally look at the first direction changes any of my students make as the fledgling turns of potential expert skiers. However, I do so with the knowledge that the movements I teach them enable that potential and don't inherently handicap it. Not from the naive assumption that anything old thing I do with them that creates a direction change is self-justifying.

I only intend to differentiate from that view of instructors who see any old wedge turn made any old way as an end that justifies the means. It should be the rare exception that results in this being viewed as a successful outcome either for their teaching or the students learning potential. But is so rare?

I agree as well that if we can change the perception of the role of beginning turns to be as vehicles to deliver the learning of expert movements instead of outcomes of achievement in of themselves, there is great potential to change the overall perspective of the process of learning to ski to become one of learning to learn to ski. The most important thing a student learns ,after the fact that they can indeed turn, is what movements they used to get their skis to respond to their desires. It's about the movements that facilitate the learning, not the name of the turn.

I see that, more so than at any time in our history, there is a much clearer distinction between what are efficient and in-efficient movements with which to learn to ski. Especially to learn in such a way so as to have the necessary options available to fulfill that expert potential.

But hey, I recognize that with the level of the audience here I may be preaching to the choir and do not intend to besmirch those who have already expanded their perspectives and continue to explore new options to meet their students needs.

I am looking to create some hmmmm or wonder in any instructors that only have a perspective or foundation in how we used to ski, which supported what we used to teach.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 09, 2001 09:25 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Arcmeister ]</font>
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