New Zealand Advanced Training takeaways, 2019

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by mike_m, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @SkiMore, that's a great image.
    foot sole triangle.png

    So now I think I know why it might be advantageous to visualize the foot tipping along one of those outer lines instead of down the foot's middle. The inside foot will tip along the little toe edge (LTE), and the outside foot will tip along the big toe edge (BTE). Feeling those entire linear edges pressing down means one would feel the heads of the big toe metatarsal and the little toe metatarsal pressing into the snow. Visualizing tipping from the middle wouldn't emphasize those metatarsals like the triangle would.

    When we feel those mets pressing downward, even when the majority of our weight is appropriately balanced over the back of the arch/front of the heel (in mike's notes somewhere), then we are directing good pressure to the shovel of the ski. Thinking in terms of the triangle would notify us whether the met heads are doing their thing.

    Yeah, I know this is nit-picking. But I like nit-picking.

    @mike_m, does this go with what you experienced?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  2. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @mike_m, I lied before. That question about hip-to-snow wasn't my last question. Here's another.
    I get that all-terrain versatility was the goal of your three weeks. But I think carving was a focus for each of your coaches.

    In open bowls, where the snow was ungroomed and chopped up, did they have your group carving that snow up high where it's steep? I saw that you wrote that if terrain is too steep to carve given the speed that would entail, your group was encouraged to add some steering at the top of your turns.

    --If your group was encouraged to carve the steep part, what were the difficulties and the realizations you experienced that made it possible?
    --If your coaches promoted a steering approach for that steep part, would you have the time to describe what they said to do instead? What were the challenges and successes doing this for your group's members?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  3. Thread Starter
    TS
    mike_m

    mike_m Instructor Skier

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    SkiMore: Indeed, that's a perfect image. Thank you!

    LF: In regards steeps, the key takeaway was using a lower edge angle and embracing some skid. I'm sure you can picture why!

    Best!
    Mike
     
  4. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    The foot triangle tip reminds me of some other discussions on this forum about carving. Something to do with actively holding the feet (at transition) into the hill. At transition, the body tends to unwind and this can cause the skis to steer down the fall line. At transition, you may need to think about turning your feet in the opposite direction of your next turn (ie steer right to turn left) to engage the new edges. I believe this 'foot triangle' is another way to teach this idea.

    I tried finding the other posts about this, but gave up.
     
  5. Mavira John

    Mavira John Travel and Foodie Lover Skier

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    Thanks for sharing great stuff
     


  6. Thread Starter
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    mike_m

    mike_m Instructor Skier

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    You're welcome! Hope it stimulates playing with some new things this season.
     
  7. 4ster

    4ster Now with more photos! Instructor

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    @mike_m Thanks for the synopsis of your camp.

    From a technique standpoint was there one or two main takeaways that you felt were new or carried more emphasis from this season compared to last? What is the current buzz? :ogcool:

    Apart from the technique aspect what qualities or traits make these coaches masters? What insights did you glean from them that can help make you or others better coaches/teachers, communicators, demonstrators, facilitators &/or leaders?

    Thanks in advance ogsmile
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  8. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    So, Mike_M, was the idea of the triangles that one pressures the edges of the feet along the line appropriate for the direction?
     
  9. Thread Starter
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    mike_m

    mike_m Instructor Skier

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    4ster: As far as totally new concepts, I'd say the idea of tipping toward the back of the "foot triangles" in each foot. Most of the other focuses I'd heard before to one degree or another, but never with such clarity. The explanations of what we were trying to achieve and why, and the drills/practice we did to explore various aspects of skiing (timing and technique of release of pressure into transition, early and complete balance on the new outside ski, appropriate use of inclination in hip and knees, extreme ranges of motion, for example) were presented in a way that clarified the concept and enabled us to feel the sensations more effectively than any of us had previously. That was one way these coaches were exceptional. The clarity and accuracy of what they presented was remarkable. We could tell they truly understood contemporary skiing and when we incorporated their focuses, the results were striking. In addition, the progressions they used were superb. After each concept was explained, it was explored in bite-sized pieces, usually in short skiing segments, to ensure the concept and task was understood and executed properly. Their eye for what each individual skier needed was noticeable also. When an concept was being explored, it invariably was appropriate to correct a bias or weakness in each of us we could see. There was a lot of individual coaching and feedback, and all the coaches used video extensively each day, usually both morning and afternoon, so we could see what we were actually doing and our progress. (By the way, I strongly recommend instructors pull out their iPhones and video their students each day before lunch and then review it in the cafeteria together. Very helpful and illuminating! Most students have never seen themselves on video and it makes a big impression!)

    Kneale: If I understand your question correctly, the answer is yes. An identical angle of tipping is done along the "triangles" of both feet diagonally toward the heel, with pressure primarily applied by the outside foot, with just enough pressure along the inside edge of the inside ski to feel contact with the snow.

    Best!
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
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  10. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    It sounds like your coaches taught each new movement pattern or concept by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and having the group practice each of them in short skiing segments until they got it. Have I got that right? That's my favorite way to learn and to teach.

    One weekend some time back I had a very good experience in an afternoon training clinic at my mountain. It was led by an examiner who offered a Sunday clinic to our staff each week. She took us to the top of the mountain, and through the afternoon session she slowly brought us down on groomers. She had planned the session ahead of time, breaking down the big concept/movement pattern that she wanted to teach us into small, manageable sequential steps. We tried each "baby step" on a short segment of trail as she called us down one-at-a-time. That way she could watch each person's performance individually and offer immediate feedback before the next person started.

    This examiner structured each small step so that it built onto the thing we had done immediately before it. By the time we got to the bottom of the mountain, the "baby steps" had gotten stuck together and we were adding small refinements to what had become one single, complex movement pattern. At that point, and only then, were we able to see the point of all those little bits. Then she took us back up the hill and we worked on embedding that movement pattern into our skiing as we made our way down. She again called us down one at a time. She never had the group go down together in a group swarm. so she could continue to give us individual feedback.

    I complemented her later on the clinic's structure and asked how come she didn't follow this teaching strategy every Sunday. She said most instructors found it boring to do baby steps in short segments, and most would not return to her clinics if she taught this way on a regular basis. She added that it was her favorite way of teaching because that was the best way to get a new concept across.

    Thanks for the continuing explanations of what goes on at Rookie Academy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
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  11. 4ster

    4ster Now with more photos! Instructor

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    Thanks @mike_m for the detailed response.
    I have seen a few of the MA videos from some of your camp coaches pop up recently. It is fun to see high level skiers implement incremental changes & adapt so quickly.
    Good stuff!
     
  12. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    And the "towards the back" bit is meant to assure the heel senses involvement along with the rest of the edge of the foot?
     
  13. tomabcd

    tomabcd At the base lodge Skier

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    I read this post with great interest. I have had a few private lessons over the last 3 years. Can anyone tell me why my ski instructors taught the opposite of what the above course taught??
    Eg, To rise on transition, a wide stance and weight on both skis carving, minimal anticipation to later in the turn etc. A full transfer of weight to the new stance ski was mentioned in the post above before edging which is a major difference from my instructors wide stance ski methods.
    It seems to me that expert skiers use methods that my ski instructors did not teach at all?
    Am I correct in this judgement?
     
  14. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
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  15. Chris V.

    Chris V. Getting off the lift Skier

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    Sigh. Old-fashioned teaching pathways, or terminal intermediate teaching pathways, IMHO. Very common. While there are some legitimate differences of opinion as to style, the package of elements you describe is often adopted on the theory that it makes it easier to teach something functional in the space of one-off single day lessons, possibly widely separated in time from one another.
     
  16. tomabcd

    tomabcd At the base lodge Skier

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    Before my last private lesson I was doing a full carved long radius turn. I could see clear edges on the snow on the lift up. I asked for input to tighten the radius as my main lesson desire. First thing he suggested was to widen my stance, be more square on the skis and delay anticipation to later in the turn. He wanted me to pull free foot back more which was the only thing of value I got from the lesson. Funny thing was that he skied narrow stance himself.
     
  17. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @Chris V.'s comment on the length and infrequency of lessons is important. If a client wants and expects a quick fix, and many do, the type of instruction provided by Rookie Academy in New Zealand is not practical. This thread's instructional camp involves all day instruction for 3 weeks.

    Beginner lessons also play a role in this dilemma. Short beginner lessons that get a new recreational skier onto the hill in one day, or in one morning, result in deeply embedded movement patterns that are very hard to replace, especially if the skier skis a lot before taking another lesson. Starting over and building new fundamentals takes serious effort and time at that point, and most recreational skiers are not willing to face that work.

    Also, ski instructors are given a lot of autonomy in what and how they teach. The only hope for consistency from resort to resort, from ski school to ski school, would be for professional ski organizations to somehow control what individual instructors do when they are teaching a client out on the hill. That isn't going to happen. Those organizations don't have that kind of power.

    It also needs to be said that there are different technical approaches to making turns. They don't all work to the same level of effectiveness on all terrain. That said, there are multiple types of turns that can get recreational skiers down the hill on the terrain and conditions where they choose to ski. We don't all need to be skiing alike. Variation is inevitable, and versatility rocks.

    @tomabcd, you are very specific in what you want to learn. You're going to have to choose carefully who you get as an instructor/coach if you're going to get the instruction that you're after.

    All of this is why it's so good that @mike_m chooses to do these write-ups, and why some of us pay close attention. Thanks again, Mike.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  18. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Or you can go ski with the folks @mike_m trains with.
     
  19. Mike King

    Mike King AKA Habacomike Instructor

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    Well, even though I'm personally a believer (most of the time) in pressure exchange before edge change and in not rising through the transition, these are not the only ways to skin a cat or, more appropriately, to ski at the expert level. It is possible to ski at a level beyond anyone on this forum rising in the transition -- watch Brignone skiing GS at where she took first at Killington two seasons ago as an example. And I have a lot of colleagues in Aspen who believe in delaying pressure exchange and allowing it to occur naturally.

    But here's the argument to the contrary. The idea of early weight exchange has to do with establishing a platform high in the turn that is capable of accepting the pressure that will build through the shaping and finish phases of the turn. If you delay weight exchange until after the ski is edged, it is possible that the ski (the outside ski) will not have enough pressure to effectively bend, and the result will be that the edge will fail to become engaged. Ideally, we want the outside ski to bend as the edge angle is increased, so that the bend in the ski is what is going to redirect the skier's mass across the hill.

    Not rising in transition has another couple of advantages, although it is definitely possible to ski at an expert level while doing so (in addition to Brignone, watch Richie Berger or many Italians). In part, it's a matter of efficiency -- it's quicker to have the skis simply cross under rather than having to have the body go up and over. In part, it places more emphasis on tipping first of the feet followed by the lower leg, resulting in the knees moving inside while the feet move outside; e.g. angulation rather than inclination. In part it also tends to result in the body moving with the skis, rather than the body moving inside and away from the skis, a movement pattern that can result in pushing the feet away from the body to find edge, inclination rather than angulation, and a loss of bend in the ski as the platform mentioned above isn't built.

    So, can you achieve an early platform that can accept pressure, early edging, and early bend while delaying pressure exchange and rising in transition? Yes, but it is, IMO, more difficult to achieve and less efficient.

    So, perhaps @tomabcd instructors were not leading him down a blind alley. I'd agree with you @Chris V. that trying to sort out and change long engrained movement patterns in a couple of lessons is a task that's unlikely to be successful. It takes a lot of work and a commitment to a lot of practice, time, openness to feedback, discovery, and did I say work? to figure out, adapt, and master.

    For me, it's been a 10 year+ process.

    Mike
     
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  20. tomabcd

    tomabcd At the base lodge Skier

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    Hi Mike,Thanks for a great post. I just find flexing to transition feels so much nicer and smoother than rising to transition. When I watch expert skiers like Reilly McGlashan I see flexing and a super smooth turn.

     

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