A lesson for the ages.

Ryan

New member
Question for anyone.

What is the single most effective/fun/enlightening thing you have ever encountered in a lesson? Have you ever run into a tip that just turns on a lightbulb in your head and screams "why did I never see that before"?


For me personally it was the day many moons ago when someone made me make turns while constantly feeling pressure on the tongue of my boots. Yes I know how basic that is but up until that point I was WAY in the back seat with my skiing. That first day that I really truly got forward in my stance and felt what a shaped ski would do when you let it do it's own thing.
 

JimG.

New member
For me, it was the day I was told to keep my hands positioned parallel to the pitch of the slope I'm skiing on. Once I started keeping my uphill hand a bit higher than my downhill hand, my hips naturally angulated and I discovered the joys of good edge angles and carved turns.
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
JimG.":3dg7kook said:
For me, it was the day I was told to keep my hands positioned parallel to the pitch of the slope I'm skiing on. Once I started keeping my uphill hand a bit higher than my downhill hand, my hips naturally angulated and I discovered the joys of good edge angles and carved turns.

That's one I need to work on myself.
 

Ryan

New member
That is a good one. When entering a turn with that in mind it seems to get everything moving in the right direction nicely and allows earlier edge engagement

I think that it is really funny that for everyone, something like this is different. There is that one thing that just hits you and it makes sense. Those funny little things that pull everything else together. The strange part to me about it is you never know what little thing that may be inconsequential to the last 15 people you told it to, all of a sudden there is that one person that it clicks for them and the take off. That may be my favorite part of teaching... watching someone have one of those "eureka" moments.
 

woodi7259

New member
I personally have never taken an official lesson on skis. :shock: When I was a little kid I was scared of the instructors and never wanted to so I learned from mom and dad. I have learned alot of stuff free online and through skiing with others. Last year I skiied with a PSIA certified tele instructor but it wasn't really a formal lesson. I think what has really helped me progress in my skiing especially in the time span of the past year is learning how to tele. It really made me focus on parts of technique I never thought about before because I had never learned. Such thing as body position, keeping faced down the fall line, poles pants, getting good pressure on the tongue of the boot and the forebody of the ski for good turning initiation. If you want a tele ski to really work for you, you have to be doing all these things. I could get by and be a pretty good skier before but now that i'm picking this stuff I can really carve and do things I just couldn't quite get on less then ideal conditions before.
 

riverc0il

New member
while i haven't taken a lesson since middle school, i raced in high school and college which is a good if not better equivelent. i was an aweful racer in high school (bad skier too), then i learned about angulating the legs with my college race team... also about squaring and leveling the shoulders. so overall body posture and how it effects the turn turned me from a pretty crappy skier to an expert skier with huge development potential in almost a single week.
 

hamdog

New member
SNOWBOARDING TIPS:

went to Mt Hood for a summer camp 4 years ago. they told me to turn on
my heal edge and squat down like i was taking a dump (no! lower!). silly
as it sounds, it became more natural to ride in that position than what i
was doing before......and i felt more stable. what do ya know? they
knew what they were talking about. it was basically a method of teaching
to get people to bend there knees. i see to many stiff legged riders out
there now after knowing this little tidbit of info to help the "form". it really
does help too.

the other thing i learned at camp was to absorb the wall in the halfpipe
and not try to pop off to get that little extra bit of air. if you want to go
bigger, go faster, but don't ever pop off the wall (bad habit). you end up
in the middle of the pipe, and landing flat. while Danny Kass may like
this, his ankles will not......given time. just coast off the wall and launch
out of the pipe. that's all you have to do. haha. ya, that's all. first you
gotta get used to the moch 10 speed you need in superpipes. that takes
awhile. whew!
 

Cannonball

New member
On alpine skis I was better than average in the bumps but still had a long, LONG way to go to. When I switched to tele I figured the bumps were a lost cause and that knee surgery was a given. Then I got the "log-stepping" advice. As you approach the next mogul simply intiate your stance shift and "step" over the bump. Sounds way too easy to actually work, but it does. You end up "walking" a virtually straight line down the fall line with very little upper body movement. After two days of hammering out that technique I actually felt more confident in thet bumps than after 15 years with a fixed heel.

The absolutley most basic and most valuable piece of snowboarding instruction came on day one. Weight your front foot, NOT your back foot. Same concept is true in sking but WAY more critical in beginning snowboarding. Weighting the front foot automatically staightens out the board and brings you directly down the hill (scary but good). Weighting the back foot swings the board around parrallel to the fall-line. Usually right after this happens you hit the ground so hard that you get a chance to taste you spleen.
 

Ryan

New member
Cannonball Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:58 am


The absolutley most basic and most valuable piece of snowboarding instruction came on day one. Weight your front foot, NOT your back foot. Same concept is true in sking but WAY more critical in beginning snowboarding. Weighting the front foot automatically staightens out the board and brings you directly down the hill (scary but good). Weighting the back foot swings the board around parrallel to the fall-line. Usually right after this happens you hit the ground so hard that you get a chance to taste you spleen

Yea... I'm not a good snowboarder. I was out last year in March and caught a toe edge by doing this and adding in some bad rotation. Next thing I know I'm sitting in front of my orthopedic surgeon because I blasted my patella into a sheet of ice.... not a good day.
 

Cannonball

New member
Yikes!! That's the tough part about snowbaording and inuries....compared to sking there's a much lower chance of twisting something but the severe blunt trauma is what gets you!
 

JimG.

New member
While I'm a skier and have no experience with tele or snowboarding, it's so interesting to see these responses and the thread that runs through all disciplines...that moment of clarity followed by a steep jump on the learning curve. It's funny because sometimes others don't see the improvement but you definitely feel it yourself. Can be real subtle.

It's great to hear this stuff from Hamdog, Woodi, and Cannonball and it's what you should expect after a good lesson, especially if you pay for it. It isn't supposed to be like going to school, and most of the time you learn the most when you aren't in a formal lesson but just sliding around having fun. An instructor who has taught me alot always told me that the instructor's job is NOT to teach skiing, it's to teach movements and body positions that are always seen in good skiing. When students do these things, they naturally ski well and they feel it.
 

Ryan

New member
JimG.":5irakqqr said:
...it's so interesting to see these responses and the thread that runs through all disciplines...that moment of clarity followed by a steep jump on the learning curve. It's funny because sometimes others don't see the improvement but you definitely feel it yourself. Can be real subtle.

That right there is the crux of what I wanted to talk about. That moment when the change happens. I knew all along that it hits you in skiing when everything just "clicks" but it is REALLY cool to see that it happes in other disciplines like snowboarding or tele. I can't wait for my next moment like that.
 

Jay Suds

New member
It's been a few years since I took a lesson, and I probably could use another one since I feel like I'm skiing pretty crappy this year, but my breakthrough "ahha" moment in skiing was probably focusing on looking down the fall line, and keeping my uphill hand in front of my body ... overall, this keeps me forward in my stance and my upper body quiet.
 

JimG.

New member
Jay Suds":10tro16f said:
my breakthrough "ahha" moment in skiing was probably focusing on looking down the fall line, and keeping my uphill hand in front of my body ... overall, this keeps me forward in my stance and my upper body quiet.

Pretty much the same as what I mentioned above. Hand position is a skill that most skiers need to focus on, and most will tell you how much better they ski when their hands are in the right place.

BTW, I saw your post about BC gear in the equipment section...I bought the Garmont Adrenalins that Marc also has. I have previous AT experience, but never liked the generally soft AT boots available. The Adrenalins have removed that complaint and I use them as my everyday boots, even with alpine gear due to the option of changing the soles from the rocker AT soles to DIN compatible ones.

Also, take Marc's advice and make sure to buy skins with a tailkit!
 

knotty_ski

New member
One of my favorites was at the PSIA First Tracks event at Hunter Mountain this past March. Instead of bending the inside knee to initiate my turns, which I tend to do much too aggressively, Eric (my facilitator) told us to use the pad of the foot directly behind the little toe on the INSIDE foot and to just push it into the snow.

That closes the gap under the edge of your ski and allows it to tip on edge and initiate the turn.

This made a big difference in my bump skiing.
 

Chromer

New member
<bump>

I haven't taken many lessons, nor had any "eureka" moments during them. Actually, they've mostly been pretty disappointing.

I can attest to the plateau, breakthrough, rapid improvement, plateau, breakthrough cycle though.

The first one was probably my first carve, back in the bad old days of straight skis. I was going way too fast, needed to change direction, and it just... worked...

Other breakthroughs have been because of various things: Imitating racers and freestylers, improved equipment, focussing on improving various elements, ie. hand position, pole plants, upper body "quietness," looking in the right place, "centeredness" and balance... And all of the technique things seem to involve "doing less" with muscles and more with the skeleton, which makes sense biomechanically...

Chasing skiers who are much better than me also seems to drive the breakthroughs, unfortunately you don't get time to think about what you just did until you get to the chair.

I may need another lesson soon though: Last year I made some major improvements and got a lot smoother, but I'm starting to plateau again and I'm running out of ideas on things I can change. I should probably join a race league or something -- I probably need a "coach" more than an "instructor."
 

JimG.

New member
Chromer":4wadf7gx said:
I probably need a "coach" more than an "instructor."

You're probably like me and just need to hang with skiers who are at least as good as you but preferably better (that gets to be a tough bill to fill, but there are usually 5-10 skiers on your home hill who are better than you at least at one part of the skiing equation) and then go out and rip the mountain apart. I always ski better when I'm pushed to my limit.

Having spent time as an instructor, I've seen lesson plans that have no hope for success, and I've heard complaints from many who feel they gained nothing for the money spent. When I took lessons as a kid, I never seemed to get alot out of them and began to ski at a higher level only after I stopped taking them and just went out and figured it out for myself.

As I've said before, too many instructors love to hear themselves talk.
 

Ryan

New member
JimG.":rjv8w5wj said:
As I've said before, too many instructors love to hear themselves talk.

This could be part of the problem. Some people learn by being told what to do but far more learn by simply being shown it. What is necessary IMHO for a lesson to be a success, the insturctor needs to be able to look at your skiing and figure out where you could use some help mechanically and then devise a drill, thought, or example that will work on that one mechanic. If you try to mess with too many different things at the same time it will never work. if you can focus on one specific thing and run it from a couple of angles (not sit and talk about it) the end effect of the lesson is usually a lot better.
 
knotty_ski":e0vtpl68 said:
...Instead of bending the inside knee to initiate my turns, which I tend to do much too aggressively, Eric (my facilitator) told us to use the pad of the foot directly behind the little toe on the INSIDE foot and to just push it into the snow.

That reminds of my third ski lesson (also at Hunter)! The instructor was trying to explain transition us from wedging to turning. He was trying to explain weighting and everyone looked blank until I said, "In other words, your weight should be on the INSIDE edge of the OUTSIDE ski!" The instructor was QUITE impressed!
 
knotty_ski":3l9mu9t9 said:
...Instead of bending the inside knee to initiate my turns, which I tend to do much too aggressively, Eric (my facilitator) told us to use the pad of the foot directly behind the little toe on the INSIDE foot and to just push it into the snow.

That reminds of my third ski lesson (also at Hunter)! The instructor was trying to explain transition us from wedging to turning. He was trying to explain weighting and everyone looked blank until I said, "In other words, your weight should be on the INSIDE edge of the OUTSIDE ski!" The instructor was QUITE impressed!
 
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