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Teaching the parallel turn

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Do we teach the parallel turn today any differently than we taught it in 1980? What does a skier need to be able to do to learn it? Is the necessary prior learning any different today than yesterday?
post #2 of 23
Nolo,
I wasn't "taught" the parallel turn (as far as I can remember), it just kinda happened over time. Later I was taught how to refine it, and control it better.

S
post #3 of 23
Do you teach it any differently than you did in 1980?

(maybe later in the thread.)

[ September 23, 2003, 08:11 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #4 of 23
As I recall there used to be an unweighting followed by some rotary movement. Later we talked more about weight transfer.(although we had the White Pass turn)(now called weighted release)
Those elements are still present but are toned down considerably. The emphasis is more to lighten(weight transfer?) and tip. The rotary element exsists as described recently in the "Tipping" thread.
At least that's the difference that I think of in my teaching.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes, Ryan.

Fox, What do you recall about those first turns? What did you do differently to make the first spontaneous unrefined parallel turn?
post #6 of 23
I definitely learned to turn using unweighting and rotary. Trouble is I still turn that way. (I learned from my dad, himself an amateur, and by watching better, but not expert, skiers. That may explain the limited technique.)

However, I don't think I was skidding too much at the time. I remember being very annoyed at not being able to go downhill 'cause I accelerated too much, so I ended up zigzagging widely across the piste. One winter, when I was around 15, I watched how a (young beautiful) girl, local to the hill, was skiing, and saw her skidding elegantly to control speed. I was amazed by the simplicity of the idea and have been skidding ever since. And now everybody says I have to get rid of this habit!

(How did I know the girl was local to the hill? I didn't, found out afterwards, but that's a different story )
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Back in the day, Alf Engen, the Godfather of Alta Ski School, said that skiers need to do three things to make a parallel turn--change weight dominance from the old outside foot to the new outside foot, change which ski leads into the turn, and change from left to right (or vice versa) edges.

Has that changed?

[ September 23, 2003, 09:28 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #8 of 23
Since I had just started skiing in 1980 and definitely not started teaching at that time I am definitely not the right person to answer that part of the question. I would say that shaped skis have modified the time necessary to develop the skills required to be introduced to parallel turn entry in recent years. I think that we are able to reduce the number of steps taken and the amount of lateral learning involved in developing rotary, edging and pressure control motions since modern skis react to those inputs more effectively. Further, I believe fundamental dynamic balance develops more quickly on modern equipment than older equipment. Thus, I would say students are able to accomplish parallel turn entries in a much shorter time than even a few years ago.

Aar
post #9 of 23
Bend zee knees!
Don't you guys know anything?
You'll be wedeln in no time.
post #10 of 23
It's the same, and the opposite.

then, close stance and flat skis were cool.
now, wide stance and highly edged skis are cool.

then, aft balance.
now, forward / center balance.

then, unweighting - either up or down.
now, crossing - either over or under.

either way, a need for fore / aft balance AND the abililty to edge a ski to flat / highly edged AND the ability to move across the ski.

If I had only understood base bevel back then, I might have had fewer face plants.

I Ski [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #11 of 23
If my memory serves me right late ?70?s PSIA-C manual described a parallel turn along these lines: From a traverse, with slight anticipation and down motion, the pole is planted, triggering an up motion resulting in unweighting. As unweighted skis are pivoted into the falline, there is an edge change, a lead change and weight transfer to the new outside ski. The christy phase of the turn is completed with down weighting, angulation, steering and edging. The hands are in the field of vision as the skier rises to a new traverse (or so the book said).

Focus was on achieving TURN TYPE based skills (wedge, wedge christy, stem christy, parallel, ect). As an example, prior learning of stem-christy movements did little to prepare, or lead, the student on a logical learning path to parallel turns.

The system expected it to be taught in pieces from the bottom up.
Up-hill christys, fanned into the falline for the end of the turn.
Up-unweighting and pivoting on a small bump, triggered by pole plant. From falline pivot was connected to the to uphill christy.
Then the whole package was fanned thru the falline. Then linked with traverses. (maybe got in a couple whole turns by end of lesson)

Different from contemporary: Movement focus (not turn type).
Release by tipping new inside foot toward little toe edge, and guiding its tip into the falline.
Transfer by lightening that same new inside foot,
Engaging by continued tipping inside foot as outside takes over stance/balance role.

This same order of movement is taught right from first turns (whether wedgy or more parallelish) with continous evolution based on consistant focus on the same movements and an emphasis on linked rhythmical turning. Parallel happens as skill with the same core movements evolves. Variations are in terrain, speed, timing, intensity to streatch versitility and adaptability at any level. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ September 23, 2003, 10:51 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
I started ski teaching in 1980, which I consider the start of the change from discretely sequential movements to merged simultaneous movements, as Arc ably describes in his post.

I was trained to teach the parallel turn from a forward sideslip and ending in a traverse, which we progressively shortened until it was turn to turn. That was ski school training. The exam required that we do final forms -- "traverse" and "stem sideslip" among them -- that I never regarded as a means of teaching others but as an end to pass the exam.

What I did then I continue doing now. Focus on the initiation, namely the release, which allows gravity to assist. The Patience Turn was and is a mainstay of that mindshift from "gravity is my enemy" to "gravity is my friend." My method is to shorten the release phase (flattened skis) until the skier can transition from right to left edges (or vice versa) in one smooth, continuous movement.

I continue to think that the skier must be able to balance on one foot (or how will the skier have the confidence to let go of the stance foot?) to be able to advance to parallel turns.

Back in the day, some of the mantras I learned were "float-touch-sting," "tip-center tail," "pressure-release." All relate to pressure control. I'm wondering why our modern mantras, "tip'n'turn," "point'n'tip," and "right tip right to turn right" have little to say about pressure control? I feel pressure control has been hugely refined in our technique in the years since 1980.
post #13 of 23
Arc,

Great memory!!

Digging into the archives I found a copy of "The American Teaching Method" published by PSIA way back when (meaning it is undated). Horst Abraham was the author.

Here is part of the sequence shown in the manual.

* Uphill christies from a narrow wedge traverse
* Uphill chrisites in a widetrack from a traverse
* Uphill christies in a widetrack from the falline
* Vary radius of uphill christy
* Vary intensity of leg rotation
* Hopping tails of skis off snow while standing, then traversing
* Using gentle bumps turn across falline from varying traverses
* Christy without terrain help but emphasized unweighting

Just prior to presenting the exercise sequence Horst makes the following statement: "The belief that parallel skiing, as it is generally understood, is the label of the expert skier only, is an antiquated concept that hinders learning of strong effecient skiing. Parallel skiing is "simultaneous leg rotation" and should be considered a mechanical option just as is independant leg rotation".

Looking back at some of these old manuals is cool. The more things change the more they stay the same and vice versa.

In the same binder there was a pro form for Dynamic VR 27's for $140. Now that is definitely not the same!! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #14 of 23
lurking bear
I don't remember "aft balance". Being forward was more important then than now.
There were a lot of pictures of skiers "in the back seat" but it wasn't how the turn started. I guess I'm thinking a bit farther back before the high backed boots but most all the things listed above required the skier to be "on the tips" to start the turn.
post #15 of 23
Nolo,

When I started teaching in the mid-eighties the idea was to teach a wedge turn then teach a wedge christy then teach a parallel turn. I don't really remember a lot about the steps involved because I quickly discovered my own 'method' and more or less went my own way. More about that later.

It seems that a lot of what was going on involved earlier and earlier weight shift and pressuring/edging the outside ski by pushing on it. Greater speed and steepness was also one of the prime ingredents for the breakthrough to parallel. Turns were also taught from traverse to traverse with the idea that shortening the traverse would lead to linked turns.

I was well on my way to learning this method of teaching skiing when I was fortunate enough to teach a five week childrens program. The same eight kids every Sat. all day for five weeks. It was the second week when we were happily riding the lift and skiing wedge turns on the beginning greens when the words "point your toes where you want to go" came out of my mouth. I was amazed. Every child started to match their skis at some point in their turns and a couple were making parallel entries within a couple runs. Their ability to control their speed greatly increased as they started to use turn shape to slow down rather than braking and the group made it to easy blues by the end of the day. It also seemed that their balance greatly improved as they moved to a more centered stance. All this from "point your toes where you want to go". To say the least I never went back to the path I was on, espically with children. I discovered that I didn't have to struggle to communicate the idea of pressuring the outside ski to children. I was no longer teaching them to skid the left ski to go right and visa-versa. The hard part was trying to transfer what I learned in teaching children into teaching adults. I spent years talking about turning the feet, pressing on the big toe and pointing the knees before I discovered that "point your toes where you want to go" worked just as well for adults as for children.

It was my second season that I presented the idea of using the 'wrong' leg (the inside leg) to intitate and shape turns to my SS Director. He loved the idea but felt that it was something for upper level skiers so it was a couple years before I started using it in low level lessons and discovered that it leads to parallel turns in a couple hours for most beginners and is a miracle cure for terminal wedgers.

I don't teach descrete turns, I teach my students to ski where they want to go often using a series of arcs to get there. The fact that they get there with their skis in a parallel relationship is really just a by product.

My teaching has evolved over the years until it has refined itself into the point/tip the right foot right to go right etc. teaching that I use today to teach all levels but it all goes back to those eight words uttered because I asked the group to stop by a dead tree by the side of the run and one of them asked me how to get there.

I don't know if this fits into your thread but its what came out when I started to type,

Yd

[ September 24, 2003, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: Ydnar ]
post #16 of 23
Nolo,

I, also, remember clearly having to learn (for certification)
in the 1980's to teach the parallel turn from a forward side
slip ending in a traverse. I also agree that the biggest
challenge was getting the "final form" movements down good
enough to pass the exam. I did not ever find the excercise
to be much help when actually teaching people to ski. Like
you, I always had much better luck teaching people to use
gravity rather than fight it. "Patience turns", "Float, Touch,
Sting" -- still very good stuff in my book.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:

Different from contemporary: Movement focus (not turn type).
Release by tipping new inside foot toward little toe edge, and guiding its tip into the falline.
Transfer by lightening that same new inside foot,
Engaging by continued tipping inside foot as outside takes over stance/balance role.

This same order of movement is taught right from first turns (whether wedgy or more parallelish) with continous evolution based on consistant focus on the same movements and an emphasis on linked rhythmical turning. Parallel happens as skill with the same core movements evolves. Variations are in terrain, speed, timing, intensity to streatch versitility and adaptability at any level. [img]smile.gif[/img] [/QB]
Lightening???
post #18 of 23
Ya know, not quite like a lightening bolt, but a little less heavy.

If ya do it just right, you might feel a little enlightenment.
[img]tongue.gif[/img] :
post #19 of 23
Quote:
I'm wondering why our modern mantras, "tip'n'turn," "point'n'tip," and "right tip right to turn right" have little to say about pressure control? I feel pressure control has been hugely refined in our technique in the years since 1980.
Spot on Nolo. I have been wondering the same thing since I found Epicski and embarked on a few winters back in the fold of international SS. I may have alluded to this in a couple of previous contributions.

Its funny but I recall mastering crossunder\retraction and the highly balanced and finely managed pressure control that this requires in Switzerland in 1986 on "old" skis. (P9SL)

The tip n turn just turned up for me in very recent times with shorter skis making it possible to combine the two in a far wider variety of terrain.

Am I teaching different? Um sure but still using the full bag of knowledge to create a lesson plan for each individual client. At the high end it has become more about quietening and smoothing the movements out so the fine pressure control blends the tip n turn high edge angles of "contemporary" ski control.

Sometimes though a good old up n down movement is what is required to get a client beyond the fear of the skis running away from them and into the distant carpark .. oh oh

Oz :
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The fact that they get there with their skis in a parallel relationship is really just a by product.
--Ydnar

Quote:
"The belief that parallel skiing, as it is generally understood, is the label of the expert skier only, is an antiquated concept that hinders learning of strong efficient skiing. Parallel skiing is "simultaneous leg rotation" and should be considered a mechanical option just as is independant leg rotation".
--Horst

Are you guys saying that the crux of advanced skiing is "simultaneous" (nonsequential, orchestrated, blended) movements and not the parallel position of the skis? (I put the quotes there because I mean it to be an ideal and not a reality.)

Come to think of it, I could as easily have said, Do you teach intermediate skiers to advance today any differently than you did in the '80s (assuming you taught then or have access to old manuals like ski & golf)?

I'd have to say I taught a lot more linear in the old days, planned lessons, studied progressions and exercise lines. Today I'm more improvisational and spontaneous. No two lessons could ever be the same because I may frame but I do not control the experience, where before I was a directions-giver who carefully followed the manual.
post #21 of 23
Nolo. Would you say your personal advancements in teaching are a by-product of a change in external factors? ("new" teaching systems, more easily accessible information, technology) Or internal factors? (experience, better/more knowledge of skiing/physiology, maturation)

Or maybe a combination of Both? I don't have to go back as far as 1980 (I can't... still a pup) to notice a huge change in the way I teach. Much like you, (as you've stated it)I've become more intuitive, spontaneous, etc. and less "canned" and linear. This is an interesting thread!!

Spag :

[ September 25, 2003, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
If ya do it just right, you might feel a little enlightenment.
[img]tongue.gif[/img] : [/QB]
might being the operative word. I refuse to drink the kool-aid.
post #23 of 23
I remember 3 years ago when I first put skis on that they do not teach the wedge anymore.

They threw me right into a windshield wiper form of parallel skiing.

I had to teach myself how to wedge so I could slow down at lift lines.

Granted I was skiing very well for a beginner but it might be difficult for someone who has never ice skated or rollerbladed to understand weighting and unweighting to change edges.

Now I ski at an upper intermediate to low advanced level and I think alot of it has to do with learning to parallel really early on.
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