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Old 02-25-2013   #11
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
Maybe you should try another instructor. As you know, that dynamic is critical. And keep in mind that since you are athletic tour form will probably prove with time as you won't have to try so hard or think so much. Give it time, and be patient.
I have had a few different instructors. My first instructor was on the second day of skiing. I was falling down Greens, and he decided that it was time to step it up a notch. When students are nervous they are not learning. Second instructor was not much better. My best instructor I had twice in a row. A tall woman with a Cert III. Explained everything well, and I felt like I learned a lot. It seems that many ski instructors are either not fully qualified or it is not their true calling in life. It is just a way to make a little money, get a ski pass, and ski all the time. They seem to look at every new student as just one more off the couch prick that is encroaching on their sport. The attitude seems to be that they are these awesome skiers, and you guys are weak beginners.
When I am teaching kayaking I never talk about the whitewater I run. Many students research me before hand, and see videos of mine or videos I am in. As a general rule though I don't speak of it. Why? Because a student knows that I am above their skill level, but they do not need to be reminded of that constantly. Also I look at every student as if they have Class V potential. If I would have had someone see that in me early on I would have progressed much faster than I did. If you look at every student as someone with Class V or Double Black potential you will strive to teach them everything, and not constantly be deciding that the student is not ready for a certian movement. Honestly I am frustrated that certain things have been taught to me that I now need to unlearn because it was the easier way to learn. I don't let people roll coming up on their back deck. This makes learning to roll take longer, but in the end they don't have to go back, and correct bad form. Same goes for skiing. I am not a ski instructor, but these teaching concepts apply to any form of instruction.

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Old 02-25-2013   #12
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
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Originally Posted by hojo View Post
Take a cue from racers. They all have, ostensibly, perfect form. Yet, when race time comes, only one wins and everyone else loses. Meaning, rarely does anyone have perfect "form" every day. If you're able to ski blue/black runs, I would wager it's time to just ski for a bit. Any bad habits you have are already established and are likely just as hard to fix now as they will be after skiing on your own five or six more days. If you really need external feedback, don't get it from others, get it from yourself. Get someone to record you skiing so you can see exactly what you're doing. Or, post it here and we'll all give you different advice! (shoulders; no it's knees; wait, pole planting will set you free; lose the poles, they're just a crutch; wear more neon colors...).
Planning to record myself next week. I can ski with out poles, and have not been using them all the time to try to focus on posture. I am also wearing close to neon colors.

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Old 02-25-2013   #13
hojo's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster View Post
Planning to record myself next week. I can ski with out poles, and have not been using them all the time to try to focus on posture. I am also wearing close to neon colors.
Look, if you're really serious you need to either wear hot pink and teal or at least dress like this and bring an adviser who's way into drugs and top hats. Otherwise, you'll suck and your girlfriend will leave you for more popular men:

On the river, I can abandon who I am and what I've done. However brief it lasts, while on the river I am nothing important and everything insignificant. I am flotsam, and happy to be so.
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Old 02-25-2013   #14
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
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Posts: 147
Hojo said:
Look, if you're really serious you need to either wear hot pink and teal
Fer sure! And be sure the dude has the right incantations. Sad to say a few weeks ago my dog noshed on my old hot pink/lime sponsor race gloves. Is a regression to bunny slope in store? Still have the lime green, fuzzy bomber hat tho, so all is not lost.

F_S_M these are all good suggestions in context, (hands may be a tad high IMO) but I'll stick by the video and a *qualified* teacher to help diagnose. You touched on bad habits, not everyone is adroit enough to pick out their own miscues, thus creating or reinforcing bad habits.

If you can swing a private and she's still around, why not go back to the LIII gal you seemed to appreciate? But also consider that while the cert. level means a certain level of performance, it may not necessarily equate to an equally high level of teaching skill. That comes with experience that takes a while (except for the really gifted teachers). Maybe seek out a well-seasoned teacher?

I agree that as a teacher you may be overly critical of another, and that there are people out there for whom teaching is more a free pass than a dedication. You should have the right to complain to the school and maybe get some redress. Just be sure you're on firm ground. Calling out can helpful for both the object person and the rest of the class. BUT, it certainly should be done constructively. The days of the Teutonic, Blond, ski instructor should be long gone. Going back to experience, how to establish rapport with a class only comes with time since it is a skill that's so sensitive to so many diverse personalities. The mountains I worked on all recognized that there are bound to be some complaints and did the best they could to resolve them. It's even harder nowadays to make a buck in skiing so perhaps the good schools are even more accommodating.

Maybe you're being a bit tough on yourself timewise. Try the chill and see what happens. Also, are you sure your poles and skis are correct for you?

I don't want to get on the soapbox about PSIA standards vs. 500+ ski schools, but there are differences and that issue has been around since the getgo and probably will always remain until robots takeover.

Maybe see if you can get your hands on a PSIA teaching manual. A lot of effort went onto the development of methods in that guide that worked. Not advocating book learning, but as an ACA teacher, you might find the PSIA book interesting.

How's you're kinesthetic sense? Maybe work on that with the videos. Knowing that you're right big toe is doing what it's supposed to in the fall line on big bumps and that at the same instant your right hand is picking lint out of your backpocket can be helpful. It'd also help the paddling, IMO.

Long hours with privates & classes taught me that friends/spouses/SOs are usually not the best teachers. Also taught me that Double-Black jocks are may not the best teachers, too.

Final thought: Where are your eyes looking? Well down the hill, I hope. The turn you're in now is history, so is the next one, and the third if you're skiing at speed. Have you some lingering antsiness about looking/facing down the fall line that's causing the hunch? With your low time on skis, it'd be natural to tighten up and hunching can be a sign of trepidation.

Any locals clinics out your way that'd make sense? There's merit in skiing balls out, over your head, with a bunch of folks as long as your guide/teacher is very good at not letting the bad habits in. Wish I wasn't so long removed from Happy Valley or I could refer you to some crackerjack teachers at Alta and Snowbird. Good luck! Maybe also think about taking a racing clinic. Nothing like time in the gates to point out probs. Maybe even consider a weekly NASTAR to benchmark yourself.

PM on way in a bit re ACA.
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Old 02-25-2013   #15
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
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Originally Posted by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster View Post
One issue I have is I am an instructor, and possibly being an instructor in another sport puts undue pressure on my ski instructors.
Completely understood. You understand instruction and how it is used to improve human performance.

Originally Posted by BCxp View Post
If you can swing a private and she's still around, why not go back to the LIII gal you seemed to appreciate? But also consider that while the cert. level means a certain level of performance, it may not necessarily equate to an equally high level of teaching skill. That comes with experience that takes a while (except for the really gifted teachers). Maybe seek out a well-seasoned teacher?
That lady LIII may not have been "perfect", but from the sounds of it, she's definitely not poor like the others he encountered. If he felt improvement in his own performance, she clearly is a good instructor for where he's at in his own learning progression.

FSM, its your money. Don't waste it on poor instruction.

And do take the time to chill. Could you hit Class V from newbie without any casual river days with your buds?

You possibly could, but you'd miss out on the richness of the experience.

I realize this page is out of a tele book. A "tray of beer" is a good visual, but this visual has always stuck with me for where my eyes and hands should be:
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Old 02-25-2013   #16
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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bend your ankles and push the bush!

from a former LIII gal.
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Old 02-25-2013   #17
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
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Tray works well for lots of folks. Another can be visualizing a bib on chest with someone downhill able to read the number all the time. Know you said tele, but on rec. alpine I'd want my upper ski a bit ahead to help the tray or better help me project down the fall line.

FSM: Warning: Long post 'cuz it's not a quickie question you ask.

If you go back to the LIII gal, ask her about figuratively "falling" down the fall line, Maybe that's old hat these days, but as g.soutiere said, driving down the hill works, not holding back. In fact, one PSIA examiner used to say that skiing well downhill is a series of controlled falls where you remain upright.

If speed intimidates, try this: Find an easy, groomed blue or steep green, very wide, uncrowded slope. (Solitude has a good one.) Start at top all the way to one side. Use easy lines at first. Prepare by standing tall and loose in a balanced athletic stance, hands where you can see them and toward the slope bottom, weight slightly on downhill ski. Release edges to commence accelerating down the traverse on mostly the downhill edge/foot ball with only enough edge to hold the traverse line (aiming at an object across the slope helps with this and has other benefits).

Then move the pressure from your lower foot to the ball area of what will become your outside foot (it's uphill at this point and becomes downhill during the ensuing turn. Lock focus on your foot pressure, the tray/slope bottom, and stay loose and proud. Make no other body movement, just trust the pressure on the correct foot.

Concentrate on that. Keeping your hands where you can see them as you begin to turn up to through, and past the fall line until you come to a stop which you will if you hold that foot pressure and tray all the way through. No other motions required.

To tighten the arc, increase the pressure on the ball area of the outside foot. (more about that later if you want it.) Keep it there and hang in. (Today's skis are mode to turn, you just gotta get out of their way

Try to make no other motions other than loosey-goosy flexibility. Keep that foot pressure constant (increase amount and pace of pressure as you steepen lines) hang in with no corrections until you arc back up the slope and gravity stops you. Have faith! If you keep the foot pressure up on the front inside of the outside foot *all* the way through the turn, and the hands/tray facing always down the fall line, stand proud and loose, you will turn across the fall line and when you get good at it actually ski uphill quite a bit as speed spools down. (Yes, there is a point where the fall line becomes behind you and you need to correct, but that's for another time. For now just try to get across the fall line to a slow speed or stop with just the above foot pressure and posture. If you chicken out, if another skier crosses your line, if there's an unexpected rock, go for the hockey stop if you need to. But keep at it. Arguably this one exercise may help you more than any other.

Look back at your track. If you did things right you'll see two rail-like tracks with a sharply defined and very narrow shape with no signs of skidding out. I.e., a pure carved turn.

(Sidebar: Can be a gas to pass skiers going downhill while you're going up faster than they're going down. But ***caution***, that's not real safe and you need to have beaucoup eyeballs and a really well defined sense of global awareness to avoid hurting someone or yourself. Not many ever get that. Upside is more downhill per buck, though. When you get really good at this you can turn each carve into a 360 and just loop back and forth from top to bottom. But getting off point...)

I'm new at this WW thing but maybe a relevant WW analogy trackwise is the difference between a carved and skidded turn where spin momentum mostly makes the arc, not the edge. On snow, you don't want your tails to wash out (oversimplifying here for very advanced skiers) like a kayak stern subject to uncontrolled spin momentum. Tail washout (windshield wiper turns) as identified by your track is a clue things are not right (unless you're doing wiping turns intentionally.) In a kayak, when I pull off a fully edged-no skid turn, it feels a lot like the above does on snow. One reaches a delicious equilibrium encompassing nature, gear, and body/mind. You are in balance/harmony.

The above rails exercise is a hoot and you'd be surprised at how it can aid your bump cruising and deep lines. Besides, it's just plain a gas. On a video, the skier looks like he/she is in stasis, no easily discernible body movement going on. Minimum effort, maximum result.This can be a very lucrative body positioning exercise and works well for newbies and advanced levels. In fact, the sooner a beginner gets this usually the faster and safer their skill set grows. However, it does require an instructor with a keen eye, full concentration on each student, proper terrain, no crowd. But once you get it, you can develop the self-analysis it takes to leave the nest just by examining your tracks.

Which brings us back to the chill: One can find that harmony at any speed. Work on achieving that state and the rest will come, especially with Lime green gaiters. When you get there, you'll have the mental and muscle memory to know when you're on your game because one feels no effort when you hit that state. And the Schlitz truly tastes better.

In retrospect, maybe the most salient point here is chilling. Trying to dial too much too fast could backfire, become a self-fulfilling prophecy and accomplish the opposite. All the great skiers took years to achieve and even they have off times.

Back to WW: In the river every line has a flow. Same is true on a mountain. Maybe you feel it on snow more than you see it, but it's there. Dance elegantly and gently with the mountain and all shall come. Same's true on the river, isn't it?

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Old 02-25-2013   #18
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
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Originally Posted by g.soutiere View Post
Hands shoulder height down hill, driving down the slope. No matter what you ride. Hands shoulder height shoulders square to the fall line. Stand tall,forward is better than the back seat
No. You are not boxing. Hands should be sternum, upper abs height, unless you are a park rat with stupidly short poles. Shoulders square to the fall line, with knees , hips and ankles all bending, but torso upright. This stance should have shin pressure on the boots without leaning forward at the waist. Other than some basics, there is too much to go into without seeing you ski.
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Old 02-26-2013   #19
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 13
I am kind of a form junkie myself and have taught ski school and taken lessons as well. Like everything how good you are at skiing is directly proportional to how many miles you have skied, and looking back on my life I think some of the most fun I ever had was learning how to ski. My one and only rule for skiing(/life) is enjoy the turn you are making. As a physical therapist I obviously care about posture, but for you my friend the posture you should care about the most is the smile on your face.
ps...if your girlfriend is better than you be sure you give her lots of compliments publicaly and privately.....will reap rewards
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Old 02-26-2013   #20
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
My two cents as a loooong time snowboard instructor:

Stop thinking about posture, too close to posing in the root word and is Static.

Think about combinations of movements that work well - not postures.

Also if your instructor can't break it down into all three of the major learning environments: visual, kinesthetic or inner brain - then you are not getting your money's worth.

Some process visually. I hate people like this personally cuz they have it too easy. From an instructors side they are the easiest and progress the most quickly. They see something and they copy it. And it usually clicks.

Kinesthetic means what you feel and how you can feel different sensory feedback points, muscles, shins, shoulder roll pressure etc.

Internal brainers ( and I am a bit of kinesthetic and inner brain guy) means you have to process with words, translate to body movements, understand what it is you are feeling and how it relates to ......

And keep thinking about moving not posture. Skiing and riding are and should be fluid. When you stop moving death sets in.

I know I am not a skier but I have taught hundreds and into the thousands - snowboarding. And my daughter's skiing. Just by translating movements over to a different platform. They are both doing great so something translates there.

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