Clendenin method camps//

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Codger, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. DavidSkis

    DavidSkis Thinking snow Skier

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    Please forgive this response for its imperfections.

    To give some context: My reason for bringing up the organization as a whole is that LF and Josh Matta both present the same argument in favor of turning up the hill as how advanced skiers ski, as do many other PSIA instructors. I had jumped to the conclusion that PSIA was internally consistent. Please forgive me for that error.

    ...but I'm confused. Are you saying that the demonstrator's job is not to demonstrate a standard model?! If the PSIA's interski team cannot present the US approach to skiing, where every other nation presents their approach to skiing, what are they there for? I get that the US has a big population, but the PSIA is already a national body; it has the platform and implicit authority to create a PSIA approach to skiing.

    That said, I am really glad that some demonstrators are teaching skiers to use speed control (progressive drift) at the top of the turn rather than grinding through the bottom to slow down. Acceleration at the end of the turn allows for more options for change of direction, line, and turn shape, with better balance through the top of the arc.

    Great. I myself have experienced instruction from the CSIA, PMTS, the CSCF, and some Italians, so I share your openness. As you are open to other approaches to ski instruction, I'll point out that it's worthwhile to explore this concept of gliding and drifting into the top of the arc for your speed control. It's not the only way to ski... but I'd say it gives you more options for managing speed and shaping the turn while allowing you to stay in balance. (I say this based on my experience and observations of having done both.)

    Wade, I'd say it's important to differentiate between enjoyment and expertise. Many skiers ski slowly and fully enjoy themselves. And yes, you should enjoy the way you move on skis. The reason we ski is to have fun. And to be blunt, aside from your parents and spouse, very few people actually care how well you ski. Even your ski gang, in their heart of hearts, really only cares enough that you can keep up. When your goal is to just have fun as you ski now, definitely keep using the movements that you use.

    Regarding expertise, there is no High King of Ski Levels (although some organizations do have things like an "intermediate parallel turn" or an "advanced parallel turn"). This makes judgement of expertise subjective. Expertise was extensively discussed in EpicSki, and as you can tell, no international consensus has formed. Personally, I think of skiing expertise as how well a skier demonstrates compared to instructor levels, where a level 2=intermediate, 3=advanced, and 4=expert. Some folks think of expertise in terms of the 1-9 levels, where an 8-9 is expert. Other folks think of expertise in terms of hucking cliffs or doing inverted aerials.

    Picture the skier who claims to be an an expert, but can't ski a performance turn at higher speeds, can't ski bumps, can't ski a glade run, can't maintain balance in powder, and can't ski steeps... Are they an expert? In their own mind, sure. To me, well, not really.

    As for the skier who skis slowly, but can ski most of the mountain: That was me 7 years ago when I taught in Whistler as a level 2 instructor. At the time I thought I was "advanced"; now I feel I was a middling intermediate with great survival skills. And I would go out on a limb to say that the Clandenin camp can probably raise a lower intermediate up to that point. And lots of folks would be happy with that. Realistically, that's probably a tall order for a typical 10 day/year skier anyway. But the next step for a skier at that level, if they choose to take it on, is to develop their skiing to enable some performance.

    To me, advanced and expert skiing are connected to performance. Sure, an expert can ski without performance. I see level 4s do it all the time. They sometimes even ski with some of those intermediate movements, like turning up the hill, because it's actually a fun feeling to be on a carve and feel that pressure. One of my favourite level 4s does "loopy turns" that do take the skier back up the hill, and it's very enjoyable. But to me, the expert must be able to ski with performance, which means skiing with more efficient movements that enable higher performance and better terrain management.

    And so when we're talking about moving from intermediate to (what I consider) advanced or expert skiing, that's where I see some of the Clandenin movements as problematic. From a learning psychology perspective, the things we learn first, we tend to learn best. If you learn these Clandenin tactics, they will become your go-to tactics and it will take more effort later to replace them. There are two cases where I think Clandenin courses might be a good option for lower intermediates:
    • You just want to ski the whole mountain and you don't plan to progress beyond the intermediate level, or
    • You want to ski the whole mountain, and you are are OK with the idea that you may need to work harder later to reconcile the Clandenin stuff with new knowledge down the road
    Outside of those cases, there are other options that might be good, including just seeking out an awesome instructor at your local hill for some regular clinics.

    Anyway, I think I've now beaten the horse to death on Clandenin, the idea of expertise, and drifting the top of the arc. Bedtime, then back on snow tomorrow morning for more turns.
     
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  2. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I know plenty of people who can ski the whole mountain with out ever going fast using as carved as possible turns I’d consider them an expert. They have no issue with any of the conditions outlined above.

    I also posted going up the hill as one form of speed control I never said it’s the only way:
     
  3. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    I think the thread jump the shark.....
     
  4. Mike King

    Mike King AKA Habacomike Instructor

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    Well, the Americans (and the Canadians for that matter) are a more diverse lot than, say, the Austrians, Italians, or French. We recognize that there are several ways to obtain ski performance, and PSIA is not dictatorial in how that should be accomplished. CSIA has a divide between east and west (evidenced by their selecting demonstrators separately from the east and west), and even within the west, there is a bit of a divide between the big mountain Level 4's and the rest of the lot.

    Turning up the hill for speed control may not be the best approach to obtain flow in your skiing, but it is a pretty necessary, even mandatory, skill and tactic when skiing a big mountain line with serious consequences of a fall or blown turn -- sure, drifting a turn from before the fall line is a great technique, but when slope angles get into the upper 40's and above, that ain't going to provide all the control you need to keep you safe. Does that make such skiing "non-expert?" Expert skiing, in my opinion, is about two things: outcome=intent and versatility. Being able to manipulate the skis so that the ski performance is what the pilot intended to achieve is a big thing. But just as important is versatility. An expert is not a one trick pony: they should be able to ski initiating turns with pressure on the outside ski, on the inside ski, etc.

    That's why some of the best instructors out there are certified in more than one model. Jonathan Ballou is a demo team member for PSIA and an examiner for NZSIA. JF Beaulieu is a demo team member for CSIA and has extensive experience in the French system. Here in Aspen, we're fortunate to have instructors from all over the world. Demo team members from New Zealand, Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and many high level from Europe and South America. Diversity brings versatility. And versatility, IMHO, is the hall mark of expert skiing.

    Now, if only I had more versatility...

    Mike
     
  5. Tim Hodgson

    Tim Hodgson PSIA Level II Alpine Skier

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    DavidSkis said... "but I'm confused. Are you saying that the demonstrator's job is not to demonstrate a standard model?!"

    In bump training yesterday, our mountain's Trainer said there is not a standard model in the bumps, the bumps and the seen and selected line dictate the turn type and shape.

    As you know from the old site, I am trying to learn to ski bumps. But my, Dr. to me: "when do you want your knees replaced?" 64-year old knees will likely limit my line and speed control selection. So, to me it is not the "best" technique that any given student should strive for, but the "best technique for that student's physical limitations."

    I bought the "Clendenin Ski Method Finding the Love Spot" and was and remain confused by seemingly contradictory weight on the inside ski to weight to the new outside ski statements.

    Yesterday our mountain's Trainer made me practice what DavidSkis said below:

    "I am really glad that some demonstrators are teaching skiers to use speed control (progressive drift) at the top of the turn rather than grinding through the bottom to slow down."

    I like it.

    From my review of Clendenin's Method, I have thought about attending one of his camps because I think older skiers like myself could learn from him.

    And my guess is that skiers of all ages and abilities could learn from Clendenin because he is an instructor.

    And likely a great instructor.

    And great instructors are inevitably "student centered" and as a former two-time World Freestyle Champion Clendenin, likely has the ability to tailor his instruction to each student's ability.

    Could already accomplished bump skiers learn something from a former two-time World Freestyle Champion who is a professional instructor at Aspen?

    I don't know. But I bet that less accomplished bump skiers can.
     
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  6. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    I think there is a lot of misconception about this. From my experience, a fairly direct aborption-focused line is easier on the knees -- my knees at least -- than so-called easier lines. I'm not talking about a full-on competition line, but one that uses absorption as the primary tool, adding some "tipping into the trough" after going over the bigger spine-shaped ones and some smeary swoops for bigger bumps with a well-defined path like you find in a gulley.
     
  7. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    I agree with the knee misconception mogul skiing is not hard on them if you have the technique. The problem is, as one ages, the range of motion becomes limited if these range are not fully utilized in every day life, going into a squat with the knees is one of them. The other problem is fear, it becomes a mental challenge even at low speed to absorb with the knees and weight the downhill ski.

    That's why getting into a comfort zone is the biggest step for skiing around or in the bumps.
     
  8. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    I think part of the problem is learning an absorption-based technique. It can be jarring if your timing is off, so maybe you have to learn to do it before your knees get old. Catch-22.
     
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  9. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    I hesitate to advise since I am very much a beginner when it comes to bump technique compared to others here who live for moguls. However this touched something in my experience of learning moguls (which I only seriously started about 10 years ago and to which I have very limited access - only several times per year).

    I've noticed that good mogul skiing (unless you are content to just ricochet off every third one at SG speeds) is just a simple combination of two things: 1) A good speed controlling short radius non-arced turn, and 2) absorption extension.
    If you have 1) down, then you can ski moguls at a snails pace, but a little faster works a little better. Point being you can slow it down enough so that your knees will not get hurt by the impact.
    Slowing it down allows you to work on 2). Once you have 2) down at a slow speed you can gradually ramp up the speed.

    Problem for most folk is failure to work on 1) (which can be worked on even on a smooth groomed run) enough so that 2 doesn't have to be learned at a speed that's hard on your knees when you get 2 a little bit wrong.

    It's not old knees that's the problem; it's not being able to go slow enough that old knees don't mind.
     
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  10. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    For most of us, physical limitations are very real. Exceed them and bad things will happen.
     
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  11. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    A good speed control short radius turn does involve a carve at the first part of the turn. IMO, using the tip/front of the ski is a subtle or lost technique yet still used in the bumps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  12. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Jack do you have video of you doing such a turn?
     
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  13. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    carving/pressuring with the front pat of the ski is a standard technique taught by most if not all mogul coaches,

    On the flats, at 9:16


    And in the bumps, at 14:00



    BTW, I know this is out of the context of the OP given that this applies to skiing a direct line in the bumps.
     
  14. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Out on the slopes Skier

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    A French definition of an expert skier: any terrain, any snow, any speed.
     
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  15. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    In the spirit of beating a dead horse, going off topic and maybe informative to some ........as far as speed is concern, it is weighted in judged events.

    "The Japanese skiing population are obsessed with technical skiing and have a thriving technical skiing competition scene. These competitions involve tasks that challenge skiers in most disciplines of the sport. This includes short turns, slalom turns, race carve turns, moguls, rhythm changes etc. Participants are judged on their speed, ski performance and efficiency of movements."

    From Lorenz's blog
    http://www.niseko.com/features/the-forgotten-art-of-turning/
     
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  16. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    This issue of attention to ski turn technical precision, and different types of turns, deserves a thread of its own ... especially the part about Paul Lorenz working his way through the Japanese competitions.

    Jack, want to start one?
     
  17. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    LF, you start it if you want. You were perceptive to pick this topic from his blog. To me precision is a necessity to ski a direct line or in the Technical Comps zipperline in the bumps. In addition, the narrow trails we have in NE.
     
  18. Tom Holtmann

    Tom Holtmann TomH Skier

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    Taken literally that leaves an empty set of skiers, but figuratively the point is a good one.
     
  19. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    Going to bring this back to the OP....

    I just did a lesson with one of the Clendenin Method coaches for a day. My wife did as well. We did not do a camp, but were taught the method. Here are my main takeaways:

    1) Lesson content is consistent with other lessons I have taken. The words are different, but fundamentally it fits with other instruction. But the focus here really is to promote success in the bumps. This guides their approach.
    2) Big emphasis on removing stem entry to turn. Their mantra is to tip the new inside ski first to start the turn. This prevents a stem entry.
    3) Soft edges and drifted turns. Carving is not taught and method is not a fan of carving. Why? They see it as a less versatile way to turn. Also, I think they think it is more prone to causing a student to revert to stemming.
    4) Stemming in the bumps prevents good bump skiing (their idea). So they focus on narrowing stance, drifted turns, starting turn by rolling the new inside ski first. These turns look kind of 'yawn' on a groomer. But they work well in the bumps.
    5) They have some unique terminology. It's purpose is to communicate ideas more compactly. I think it does succeed, but is not really meant for the kind of person on this forum...
    6) They don't take you if you are not at least intermediate. The concepts don't really work for a never ever skier.
    7) Focus is for you to ski the entire mountain, not just groomers. This means bumps... I'm not sure what they teach for crud.... I think their approach would work well for turns in powder.

    Everything was done with the goal to narrow stance, promote soft edges, even pressure on both skis. All good things for bumps. Lots of these kinds of turns on groomers. Not a high performance looking way to ski. But, they want to get you to where you can ski all day with no pain and little effort. This way of skiing definitely does that. It will get you into the bumps and skiing them easily (especially if they are aspen quality bumps... TBD if this works on icy bumps).

    Skiing this way did improve my awareness of my feet, edges, balance, stance, and therefore, mogul skiing. I still need to play with this some more, but I was able to do some zipper line in blue bumps where I may have meandered more before. Disclosure: I have spent a lot of time prior working on bumps specifically, so I did have some skills in bumps before, but definitely more of a meandering/turn shopping approach. I found the instruction beneficial for bump skiing and did feel an improvement.
     
  20. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Using the soft edges, drift turns (assume its a guided slip) and A&E, its possible to do a zipper line in an "icy" (hard snow) low angle bump run. The drift turns should direct you to the upcoming bump and help in terms of accurately approaching the face of the bump. The A&E prevents the skis from jetting out from underneath.
     
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