Teaching Turn Initiation to Upper Int. & Advanced Skiers

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Suzski, May 17, 2019.

  1. Mike King

    Mike King AKA Habacomike Instructor

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    Ok, misunderstood what you were looking for. Here's my comments.

    Yes, no doubt that in gates, you need to be quicker through the transition than in recreational skiing. And it is also true that Lorenz is finishing his turns more across the hill than the video of the WC skiers. But both of those are elements of choice, as opposed to technique. Can Lorenz make quicker transitions? Can he finish the turn down the hill as opposed to across? The video here doesn't say anything about that.

    As to your point that you need to edge and weight the ski before the fall line, I don't think you'd have any disagreement with Lorenz or with most demo team members. The demo team members in Aspen are actually coaching that the weight needs to be transferred to the new outside ski BEFORE edge change -- not just before the fall line. The reason is to get the ski to bend early in the turn. So as the edge angle is built, the pressure is present to bend the ski. Our objective is to have the maximum redirection of the center of mass coming at the apex (or fall line) or very shortly thereafter. So early weight transfer, as well as establishing the platform that can accept that weight, needs to happen very early in the turn.

    The level of inclination/angulation that I see in Lorenz and McGlashin's skiing has always amazed me but it has also seemed to be unachievable for me personally. Perhaps it is an issue of the difference in speed between the WC skiers and Lorenz? Lorenz did discuss this topic in a blog post he posted a while ago: https://www.paullorenzclinics.com/blog/angulation-or-inclination-what-s-the-point -- what's your thought on what he says there?

    Personally, while I'd like to have the skill to achieve the level of angulation that Lorenz and McGlashin achieve, it looks to me to be a pose as opposed to a functional level.

    I think that there is a difference in intent between a racer and Lorenz. A racer is looking to get off of the edge as quickly as possible as being on edge is slow. So, you want to get as short a redirection as possible. Lorenz, on the other hand, is looking to get a round turn that is progressive. Different intent, different technique. Similarly, I don't think Paul was looking to get maximum frequency out of his turns. I suspect Ted was warming up and trying to get everything moving as quickly as possible, while Paul was not.

    Finally, I think your comment about being fully loaded and skeletally stacked is true, although we aim to be at that spot before the fall line.

    Mike
     
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  2. geepers

    geepers Out on the slopes Skier

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    Yep, a few hip to snow moments would be :cool:.

    At one point it was a written goal. Unfortunately the focus on putting hip down proved unproductive leading to hip dumping and moving away from the outside ski. So crossed it out as a direct goal and waited to see if it happened as an outcome.

    This season have been skiing with the better performance than ever (which merely shows how much room for improvement there was) and had some discussion with other CSIA L3 candidates on what it takes to get hips all the way down a la PL and RM. Seems some of the older CSIA instructors think it's a little extreme - those guys are young and fit. One ski buddy's comment was: if you can't do a one legged pistol squat then you've no business with your hips on the snow. I'm inclined to agree with that - the (thankfully rare) times I had an unexpected 'moment' when skiing at my maximum leads me to conclude the forces are large and the shock loading on the body is not trivial.

    Now content to leave that last bit of inclination to the young and flexible.
     
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  3. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    Yes. Ask for the right instructor(S) on staff for the job. :roflmao:
     
  4. SKskier

    SKskier At the base lodge Skier

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    1. I think it is very good for all types of advanced skiers to avoid staying too long in one direction after fall line("cross the slope") and better to "try to turn down" (faster transiotion). It helps to create high level of "automatic mode" and better control of radius and speed(if we talk about "clean carving"). When I usually see "long carved turn"
    on youtube, it is too "hesitation" in transition - and this cause then visible difference of frequency I mentioned before.

    And this "hesitation" in those long turns cause "late fully edging and loading of outside ski" - this is that my "different timing".
    "Before the fall line" - maybe other misunderstanding from my text - I mean "much sooner before apex"(I think they are little late in demos due to previous point),
    not "just before fall line".

    Generally, idea of tactics "do not stay long crossing the slope but asap finish turn and change the direction", could help many skiers with timing
    in all phases of turn(if you are late in finishing old turn you can not be in new turn just in time).

    2. too much angulation - you wrote it is a "pose" opposite function level - this is the same I wrote before with different words.

    But...I read that article from Paul and he personally describes general enhancing of angulation in his previous years. Now he clearly thinks different
    and that this emphasis of angulation is not ideal - he writes about "try many combinations of angulation and inclination and you will see what is good for you",
    with more importance of initial inclination now.I would like to avoid much physics explanations now, I could be "lost" with my limited english, Paul showed it very good in his article.

    I have to agree probably with everything Paul wrote there! My opinion is, his style is now much influenced with his history(as he said about angulation)
    and now it is not 100% possible to change his habits into more "race mode" with stronger stacked outside legs and less angulation(clear in that video "GS stars free skiing").

    Because for ideal transfer of centripetal forces in higher loads(radius vs speed) you need to be skeletally stacked(outside leg) as much as possible - see Ligety in video "slow motion". And in Paul´s videos you can see there is more "knee angulation" than in racers(this is the next difference in technique in GS).

    Sometimes when asked "what is ideal technique of carving?" I answer "free skiing of WC GS racers, but forget those active hands and have them relaxed in front of you
    in position of soccer goal-keeper". So inspiration in WC yes, but not in SL "gymnastics" and not in gates.
     
  5. SKskier

    SKskier At the base lodge Skier

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    I agree - focus on putting hip down leads to dumping(this is why I expressed my opinion about videos - it influences hobby skiers negatively when they think hips dumping is priority). One of negative impact of "hips to snow" is usually too much counter-rotation of hips and torso and backseat.

    You wrote about strenght needed and pistol squats - for sure, for advanced skiing on edges you need to be more fit than is generally considered among hobby
    skiers(no, long summer bike sessions is not adequate preparation). But as we agreed probably, hips down are not necessary in such usuall extreme position for good carving.

    From my point of view, the strenght is not usually limit of wannabe carvers, but it is a lack of mobility of "special skiing muscles"!
    The most of skiers lacks range and specific "static" strenght in hip abduction for example and they add wrong moves in their turns.

    And power? No emphasize for legs only, but a lot of for hip adductors, abductors and rotators - the most important (and often forgotten) muscles are in pelvis. Not only muscles for visible moves, but very important muscles working in isometric contraction(e.g. fixation of outer leg in place in strong position "fighting" with extreme forces).
    And nobody should say "i am too old", with good program with specific exercises everybody can have better range in those areas(besides some car crashes etc.).
     


  6. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    In a pistol squat, the load is all on the bent leg. In a high performance turn most of the load is on the almost straight leg. Just say'n.
    Also, pistol squats were one of my favourite exercises, until I became informed on how bad they were for the long term health of my knees. Just say no to pistol squats.:nono:

    The sooner you release the CM from the turn and let gravity have its way, the faster you'll be. The later you release the CM from the turn, the the slower you will be; it's a tactical choice.
     
  7. geepers

    geepers Out on the slopes Skier

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    Please read what I wrote again - about 'moments' and shock loading.

    It's not the relatively modest strength to just stand there with a long outside leg dealing with the centripetal force when everything is going well. (In any single turn that's ok although it sure gets tiring doing lots of performance turns over a day.)

    It's having the strength and flexibility to handle the situation when it goes wrong. Even if remaining upright throughout.

    No worries on the pistol squats - couldn't do one to save my life.

    May I ask how old you are?
     
  8. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Quoted for truth.
    Being strong enough to recover has saved my bacon more than once, and all the times I can remember a near-injury almost occurring (e.g. almost pulled a muscle, strained a knee, etc.), it has been while exerting maximum effort to pull myself out of a situation because something went wrong, not executing a turn as planned. Sometimes, it seems to me, being more flexible leads to being able to get further out of position and greater risk of injury.
     
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  9. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Maybe flexibility, but i think it's more strength. And you need a lot more than you think.
     
  10. SKskier

    SKskier At the base lodge Skier

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    It is not relevant, but OK, I am 40(so for some people here very young).My statement was due to fact I am in contact with good skiers who say they are too old(for flexibility), but they do not make anything to change it. And then they come for my advice to help with some PT, stretching, strenght work etc. Of course they won´t be suddenly some "yoga snakes", but can be better.

    Next thing is(in flexibility training) - most of people don´t use adequate programs(only general, without targeting their individual weaknesses, not "higher level" PIR stretching etc.).
     
  11. SKskier

    SKskier At the base lodge Skier

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    When people don´t have enough flexibility in hips, they tend to do "false" movements(bending knees in the max force phase = unweighting skis,turning torso there and back...). So they are not in good stacked position for transfer of forces in high load turn - and then think they need only more strenght. No, it is usually lack of technique and flexibility, strenght deficit is secondary.

    Of course, "you never have enough power" in faster skiing - but every 3 elements(technique,flexibility, strenght) influence each other and must be in balance.
    I have some "higher profile skiers" friends who ski with Olympian skiers, so they ski fast with high loads. When I meet them, I often discussed about strenght,
    usually I "force" them to be more in gym and do some weights. Because in ""race style" GS turn(eve they are hobby) they need to be quite strong.
    But generally for hobby skiers there is weighlifting etc. little bit exaggerated(not always).
     
  12. Chris V.

    Chris V. Getting on the lift Skier

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    I'm very late to the party, but since it hasn't been possible to ski around here since July 4 (ain't it awful?), it's time I did something to feed my skiing jones.

    Very good initial response by LiquidFeet. (The second post on the very first page of this thread.)

    LiquidFeet writes, "As far as I know, PSIA does not promote any particular 'one size fits all' turn initiation for people skiing parallel." Yes, and I've come to the conclusion that this is simultaneously a great strength and a great weakness of what PSIA promotes as teaching methods. It's a strength in that it respects the teaching skills of individual instructors, supports them in pursuing what they have found to be effective, and allows for immediately building on the skills students already possess, whatever they may be. It's a weakness in that it leads to inconsistency between lessons taught by different instructors, all too frequent confusion of students, a deficiency in the focus on promoting superior movement patterns, and poor understanding on the part of many, many instructors as to the respective merits of different movement patterns.

    Admittedly, creating highly effective one-off ski lessons, half day or full day, for upper intermediate and advanced students, is challenging. While beginners are clay to be molded, more advanced students come to lessons with a variety of established skiing styles. Generally, their movement patterns are deeply entrenched. It simply isn't possible to tear their skiing down and completely rebuild it from basics in the short time allotted. So there are a couple of possible responses to this. The instructor can try to get a student to start initiating turns in a way radically different from what the student is used to, which in this context is likely to be like the instructor beating his head against a wall. There's a high risk of it being very frustrating for the student, and of making the student's skiing worse rather than better, at least within the space of a day. Or the instructor can take steps to improve the quality of the movement pattern the student is already using. In a lot of cases, this may be just perpetuating a mediocrity.

    It can get worse. Taking part in past instructor training, I've run into an issue with dueling trainers. One school of thought will say, "This is the modern view of turn mechanics. While more than one method will work, this is the most effective baseline style of turn initiation. Learn it yourself, and teach it to your students." Then in opposition to that you have some who say,"Our guests don't have the skills to succeed with that style of initiation. Instead, we want you to practice and teach initiation through a big full body extension. That's what our guests are capable of learning in the space of our group lessons." I think this has been highly frustrating for many instructors. And being whipsawed in this way has retarded their progress in improving their own skills. I mean, it got to the point of trainers saying you were skiing badly if you were skiing like another set of trainers told you to do.

    There have been lots of other threads on the merits and disadvantages of initiation through extension. I don't want to repeat all of that here. But I do view the absence of any consistency on this point in the PSIA world as creating difficulties.

    You will run into higher-ups who say, "This is the PSIA way," or, "That is the PSIA way," and their claims aren't consistent with each other. The written materials that the PSIA has published don't have so much to say. I've read through the Alpine Technical Manual (2015) several times, and reached the same conclusion as LiquidFeet. David Chan has pointed out one passage that takes a rather mild and I would say ambiguous position on just how to initiate turns--or basic parallel turns, at any rate. As LiquidFeet has pointed out, it says "flatten the skis," but doesn't say how. Some advocate creating the flattening by extending the body. Or it can be done solely by partially reversing angulation. Or you can use flexion to promote it. The manual says to extend the outside leg as you get into the turn, but it doesn't say just where in the turn cycle. Plenty of room for interpretation. The skills model describes the elements that go into good skiing, but it really doesn't tell you how to mix them.

    So why would the PSIA not take a stronger position? As I've said, there's the need to adapt to the situations of individual students. Then, too, I suspect that it's been a conscious decision by the editors to remain aloof from the actively ongoing controversies. Others have given background in this thread that would support that conclusion.

    "Training is so very different one ski school to another." You've got it. Or even within a ski school.

    I don't have an easy answer for all of this. But I think many in the instructor community would appreciate trainers and PSIA types being more candid as to the existence of more than one turn initiation style, communicating the advantages and disadvantages of each, being respectful of varying opinions, maintaining a focus on improving instructors' skills, and having empathy for the plight of instructors faced with these choices and conflicting expectations.
     
  13. Chris V.

    Chris V. Getting on the lift Skier

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    Yes, absolutely, but first one has to make a choice of style to teach when getting students to make their first high quality parallel turns.
     
  14. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    'Style' is a problematic word. In our division, I don't think anyone at the divisional staff level would disagree with the idea that great skiing starts where the rubber meets the road; at our feet. Exams, teaching, and training are focused on snow/ski interaction and desired outcomes, the latter giving parameters for a range of tactical choices. Gear choices and preferences also influence tactical considerations as do our attraction to particular physical sensations.

    Because there are so many backgrounds, levels of commitment, fitness, and time/money resources among both ski instructors and the skiing public, varying outcomes are a certainty. Personally, I don't believe there's a PSIA 'style' or 'way' (other than an overall emphasis on student centered learning) as is often alluded to, but my time in the organization is relatively short compared to many here. There are commonalities to effective skiing across disciplines, and finding a common, mutually decipherable language to define, teach, and access these descriptors will always be a challenge.

    As in most human endeavour, where we get into trouble in the ski instruction world is when ego overrides curiosity. We also need to accept the human desire for novelty. Worm turns were a thing in 1972, not because they were effective, but because they just felt cool. Nothing wrong with that at all. If that sensation is the outcome one desires, then there you are. Some huck cliffs, others telemark and snowboard...

    Since most nat'l associations focus on more mechanically effective movements that makes skiing physically easier for a given amount of physical input, it's all but certain that 'novelty' will never find a place in the world of outcomes in certification exams, but may well occur in one's teaching methods so long as the 'what, how, and why' are clear. Anyhow, back to bed for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  15. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    In a half day lesson that helped me a couple years ago the instructor started by talking about some of the concepts mentioned here. We then did a couple drills which reinforced the concepts and the instructor gave the three of us feedback. Very simple and not overly dependent particular style or nomenclature.

    Not surprisingly, the concepts and drills came straight out of the level 3 handbook. Last year when I asked others here for a new drill to work on, Mr. King suggested hop turns, again, the next page in the handbook.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  16. rocdoc

    rocdoc Booting up Skier

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    These threads are so interesting for a nerdy relative newb like me. I have a general question/comment for the more knowledgeable though. Over the years of taking lessons, I have experienced a range of instruction, that changed as my level increased. But with that came the need to "unlearn" previous approaches to move to more efficient ones. So I wonder: why don't instructors aim for the ultimately correct way to execute technique? I understand that at the very basic level complete beginners need to be eased into movements, but starting at an intermediate level, why not try to teach the "best" technique from the get-go? To go way back to the first comprehensive post by Liquidfeet as an example, why isn't the LIII technique for initiation taught from the beginning, as opposed to the different, LII approach? I remember being taught to extend in transition, and then having to switch from that habit to a smoother, flex-to-release approach.
    I am very far from being an instructor (whatever the opposite of an instructor is, I'm probably that :) ) but I showed the basics to a couple of never-evers. I taught them the principle of parallel turns from the beginning, and they went on to really enjoy it and do very well, probably more so than if they had been taught pizza-ing and stemming and whatnot.
    I am fully aware that the above is reductive and superficial, but I wonder if the core principle of what I'm saying makes sense.
     
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  17. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    Extending and or flexing to release are BOTH useful skills. It's not one or the other. Flexing to release at low speed on flat terrain is arguably more difficult for people than an extended release. At higher speeds managing greater forces, the roles are reversed. It's always great to have multiple tools in the box. For what it's worth, there are also tactical considerations to the application of both which is why we see several types of release in WC gs races.
     
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  18. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    In New England, on low pitch terrain, at very slow speeds, in an adult group lesson of 1.5 hours, it's very difficult to get a group of grown-ups able to make parallel turns using flex-to-release initiation. There are several ways to get that turn to work, but adult beginners are unfamiliar with all of those movements and they don't easily learn to do them in the beginner group setting. The number of falls increases the group's anxiety. Anxiety leads to rigid bodies, and rigid bodies make for more falls. Some students will get a flexion turn to happen, but it's often a barely-there turn and offers no way for the skier to control its radius consciously in that short lesson, thus no user-applied speed control. You can tell I've tried.

    Turning in a narrow wedge slows the students down, which makes them happy, and an extend-to-release initiation or one of its cousins paired with rotation of the skis for turn shape control and speed control is much easier to teach and to learn in our New England short lessons.

    Instructors who teach out west in day-long lessons will have a different experience.

    On the other hand, I've taught 3 and 4 year olds (in private lessons) to make parallel turns on day one in a 1 hour lesson. Actually, they get it in the first 45 minutes, before they wear out. Children are different.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  19. Marker

    Marker XLTL Skier

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    I had an instructor teach me both extend and flex to release in the same lesson to break my previous rotate to turn method. More flex then extend actually, it seemed he wasn't a fan of extend to release and didn't want this to be my go-to move. This was in a true intermediate lesson a few years ago. I'd like to think he saw something there he could work with in a short lesson. It sure felt good to me at the time. I'll still intentionally do these alternately as a drill.
     
  20. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    To be clear, I'm not proponent of big up moves (extension). Foot tipping/ski flattening/moving works well. Big upper body moves, nope.
     

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