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Lessons on artificial snow: Yes or no?

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This less common way only works if you also bend forward at the ankle and your belly button forward. So it has three parts to learn. It sure does put the skier in the back seat if those other two aren't working. This is why it is rarely taught.
I have noticed some of my friends do this. The people I ski (or I should say: tag along with) with are very strong skiers, most started as children. I was quite curious at the time why this is working, and I heard back that the skier discovered this as working best.
I am glad to know there are many ways to get the skis to maneouvre, and some may suit me better than some others. It has all become more fun recently, when I am trying various things out. I will report developments for sure. And now - BIG THANKS everybody. This was golden advice. I am glad I asked.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I have noticed some of my friends do this. The people I ski (or I should say: tag along with) with are very strong skiers, most started as children. I was quite curious at the time why this is working, and I heard back that the skier discovered this as working best.
I am glad to know there are many ways to get the skis to maneouvre, and some may suit me better than some others. It has all become more fun recently, when I am trying various things out. I will report developments for sure. And now - BIG THANKS everybody. This was golden advice. I am glad I asked.
People who learned to ski as children over 30 years ago were taught slightly different techniques because the skis were designed differently. Those techniques still work with current skis, but there are easier ways to make use of the shape of the skis. I only skied for 2 years as a young teen (1960s) but still had plenty of habits that had to be shifted when I started skiing more after 2004. I was never a parallel skis on straight skis. That turned out to be an advantage compared to my ski buddy who is/was very good at making parallel turns with his boots/legs very close together (narrow stance). When we are in a lesson together, I sometimes am told to get my skis closer together while he is told to get his feet farther apart.

As I took lessons with different very experienced instructors (PSIA Level 3) at my home hill and at destination resorts, I started to appreciate that there are many different ways to get to the same objective. The advantage of working with an instructor who had 10+ years of experience over a relatively new instructor with less than two years experience is that the more experienced instructors will try different approaches as needed. @liquidfeet is great because she can write down suggestions in detail and find good pictures to illustrate her points.

Have you ever thought about your "learning style"? I'm very visual so seeing what an instructor is doing in person helps a lot. For me, learning from a book only has value after I already know a fair amount about a particular aspect of ski technique. Some people find videos useful. I find them a bit confusing at times.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
LOL! For American ski areas, there are lots of seniors skiing midweek mornings. While most are men there are also plenty of women over 50 or 60 who have a very good time. While some of the women have been skiing for decades, there are those who didn't ski much when they were busy with family and work responsibilities. Multi-day clinics for women only have become pretty popular.
I think this is where we are heading. It has been very interesting to watch the development of sports/fitness in the general population since 1989. Up till then, sport was something very difficult to do, unless you showed early promise of becoming one day a competitor; then you would be channelled into sports clubs, with equipment, coaching, etc. Otherwise nothing. Skiing used to be exceptionally hard, because it needed equipment, and amid general shortages skis and bindings were not top of the list. There was secondhand traffic in equipment from Austria, Switzerland and France, but the cost was sky high. You could not hire equipment either, it usually being in a ramshackle state and poor quality to start. Plus nowhere to stay in the mountains, unless you lived close by, or had relatives who could put you up. So my age group at large very rarely got a chance to try skiing. But then, since 1990 , a boom has started in all recreational sports. Every year new villages announce opening up a chairlift on the nearby hill, the majority of children get sent to ski camps of one sort or another every winter and so many people go to the Alps, especially Austria, that there are now special arrangements made for skiers who only speak Polish. So I guess , when this new generation hits retirement age, they are not going to let themselves be sidewayed.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Have you ever thought about your "learning style"? I'm very visual so seeing what an instructor is doing in person helps a lot. For me, learning from a book only has value after I already know a fair amount about a particular aspect of ski technique
Hard to tell. I think I do not easily follow visual examples. I need to have things broken down in detail on a rational level, then I make sense of what I am shown. (If that makes sense).
At any rate, thanks to you guys I seem to have moved forward, and am very grateful indeed!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I think this is where we are heading. It has been very interesting to watch the development of sports/fitness in the general population since 1989. Up till then, sport was something very difficult to do, unless you showed early promise of becoming one day a competitor; then you would be channelled into sports clubs, with equipment, coaching, etc. Otherwise nothing. Skiing used to be exceptionally hard, because it needed equipment, and amid general shortages skis and bindings were not top of the list. There was secondhand traffic in equipment from Austria, Switzerland and France, but the cost was sky high. You could not hire equipment either, it usually being in a ramshackle state and poor quality to start. Plus nowhere to stay in the mountains, unless you lived close by, or had relatives who could put you up. So my age group at large very rarely got a chance to try skiing. But then, since 1990 , a boom has started in all recreational sports. Every year new villages announce opening up a chairlift on the nearby hill, the majority of children get sent to ski camps of one sort or another every winter and so many people go to the Alps, especially Austria, that there are now special arrangements made for skiers who only speak Polish. So I guess , when this new generation hits retirement age, they are not going to let themselves be sidewayed.
Makes sense to me. In addition to having traveled with my parents in Eastern Europe in 1976, my family (including older brother just out of college) spent a few weeks driving around in Eastern Europe in 1967 (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary). A lot changed between those eras and the last decade or two. I've also seen the changes in mainland China first hand since the 1990s.

Recreational skiing in the U.S. started after WW II and didn't really get going until the 1960s. The evolution of the industry is quite different between regions. In particular between the big mountains in the Rockies where relatively few people lived and what happened in the northeast with lower mountains but far more people who could do day trips or weekend ski vacations. Having an entire family fly for a 1-week ski vacation is still relatively new and not that common. Although it may not seem that way reading news reports and online ski forums.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Hard to tell. I think I do not easily follow visual examples. I need to have things broken down in detail on a rational level, then I make sense of what I am shown. (If that makes sense).
At any rate, thanks to you guys I seem to have moved forward, and am very grateful indeed!
Makes perfect sense. I know a Diva who needed to have detailed explanations to think about before she could really learn a drill.

The instructor I've worked with the most at my home hill is an explainer. When I first started working with him, there were things he said starting at the first lesson that took me a couple seasons to really understand. I thought I was doing the right thing based on what I could see, but can't see inside ski boots. At the start of a multi-week clinic for locals (mostly adults over 50) I did one season after I'd been taking lessons for several years, he once asked "What are your feet doing?" None of us had really ever given that a thought before, even the ones who had been taking lessons for a few years. Most were advanced intermediates or low advanced, but didn't ski that much anywhere else and few had been taking lessons. Massanutten (2 hours west of Washington DC) is a tiny hill and even the longer slopes take less than 5 minutes for an adventurous intermediate who doesn't stop to finish.

When I was in school, there wasn't much thought given to "learning styles." Now American K-12 teachers and college professors are much more aware of the differences. Everyone can use all the different styles but for a ski lessons, usually one works better. Especially for a new skill or drill. Very experienced instructors who get to teach a student more than once will adjust as needed.

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 8.57.47 AM.jpg
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I guess on the whole I would be best with learning things on intellectual level, judging by what I can learn fast and easily, (languages?) and what comes slowly and painfully (physical skills). Learning any sport has always been hard , though by certain dogged stubborness I can get to a place where it all becomes easier. But I know I have to be very patient till I reach that point.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
In addition to having traveled with my parents in Eastern Europe in 1976, my family (including older brother just out of college) spent a few weeks driving around in Eastern Europe in 1967 (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary). A lot changed between those eras and the last decade or two. I've also seen the changes in mainland China first hand since the 1990s.
Ah, so you have a fair idea. It is often hard to explain things about experiences which are 100% unfamiliar.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I guess on the whole I would be best with learning things on intellectual level, judging by what I can learn fast and easily, (languages?) and what comes slowly and painfully (physical skills). Learning any sport has always been hard , though by certain dogged stubborness I can get to a place where it all becomes easier. But I know I have to be very patient till I reach that point.
Would like like a few ski instruction book recommendations? I would guess most could be bought online.

Stubborness helps a lot. My local friend had a very long day her first time on skis. The beginner package included 2 1-hour lessons. First hour was in the teaching area using a magic carpet. Second hour included riding the chairlift for the long very easy green run a couple times. She ended up doing the first hour 3 times before she was ready for the second hour. That was the first day of ski school until 2:00 for her kids, ages 4 and 6 at the time. I and my daughter kept them company while she did the second hour from 2:00-3:00.

Working on 1-leg balance a few times a day, for a few minutes at a time, will help in the long run. Just shifting the full weight from one foot to another without even lifting your feet is helpful too. Can do that pretty much anytime and no one else needs to know. :smile:
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I guess on the whole I would be best with learning things on intellectual level, judging by what I can learn fast and easily, (languages?) and what comes slowly and painfully (physical skills). Learning any sport has always been hard , though by certain dogged stubborness I can get to a place where it all becomes easier. But I know I have to be very patient till I reach that point.

I can SO relate to this! I have always felt I was non-athletic, and had a lot of difficulty learning any new physical skill (dancing, throwing/catching a ball, balance beam, whatever). The way physical education classes were structured while I was in school (late 50s through 60s) was no help at all - it was competitive and others seemed to come with their skills already honed. I really never understood that these are learnable skills that take time and practice to develop until adulthood. My intellectual ability, in contrast, led to a Ph.D.

In my early 40s I undertook karate. It was slow going but since there was instruction 3x/week, I did make progress. In my late 40s, I tried ice hockey. I had skated as a child and adult, but skating for hockey was another level. I did learn many of those skills, although one could never describe me as a competitive hockey player! When a number of teammates (younger than me!) were quitting for fear of injury, and being replaced (on my team and those we played against) by highly skilled women who just finished playing hockey in college, I had to stop. It was getting too risky.

And now, in my 60s, I am becoming a skier! Karate and hockey taught me that the skills will come, and practice and instruction are needed. It's working!
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I can SO relate to this! I have always felt I was non-athletic, and had a lot of difficulty learning any new physical skill (dancing, throwing/catching a ball, balance beam, whatever). The way physical education classes were structured while I was in school (late 50s through 60s) was no help at all - it was competitive and others seemed to come with their skills already honed. I really never understood that these are learnable skills that take time and practice to develop until adulthood. My intellectual ability, in contrast, led to a Ph.D.

In my early 40s I undertook karate. It was slow going but since there was instruction 3x/week, I did make progress. In my late 40s, I tried ice hockey. I had skated as a child and adult, but skating for hockey was another level. I did learn many of those skills, although one could never describe me as a competitive hockey player! When a number of teammates (younger than me!) were quitting for fear of injury, and being replaced (on my team and those we played against) by highly skilled women who just finished playing hockey in college, I had to stop. It was getting too risky.

And now, in my 60s, I am becoming a skier! Karate and hockey taught me that the skills will come, and practice and instruction are needed. It's working!
Oh, I loved your message! It feels so good to be among women who make such a good use of their mature years! Yes, it makes such a difference to have proper instruction! When I was growing up the understanding was that unless it is a professional pursuit, people should learn from each other and just sort of pick skills up from thin air. Learning by doing, learning by imitating others. Sure, some willl acquire new skills that way, but most will not. And the age is just a number, express it in a non decimal system and you may get a 25. Let's keep going!
 
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EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This whole body lean does two things, one good and one bad. It edges both skis, so their built-in turning function starts to work; they bend and turn you. It also positions your upper body, where most of your body weight is, over the new inside ski.
I am going through everything you were saying , to really make it all sink and I have found this bit, which makes me ask a question. In my mind I went through the manoeuvre which you describe accurately. Yes, I did that. I thought though, that this what weight shift ought to be: stepping on the inside ski just before it becomes the new outside ski. Where was the error of my thinking? BTW, I do not question for a moment that this was not really working, as I have tripped up many times, especially on steeper terrain. But one always imagines that with more mileage and more practised balance things would work better.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@EdithP, what do you do professionally? You have a head for converting detailed written material about movements into sensations -- you can feel in your mind what doing those movements would be like. Do you use this skill in your day job?
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ah, I did not write that in my intro post. I am a freelance translator/editor , mostly dealing with non fiction: handbooks, manuals, draft agreements, etc. Actually I thought YOU did an excellent job of describing involved physical sensations in words, which made it easy to follow. Few people I meet can do that. A great thing to have for a ski instructor!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh, a translator! That's why your English is so strong. And non-fiction... that's technical talk, like what we are talking about. The English words for ski technique must be unfamiliar, but you are used to learning technical terms I'm guessing.

Unfortunately, in the world of English speaking ski instruction, the terminology is quite fluid. There is no industry-wide affirmed glossary to help understand what instrutors are talking about. Terms frequently have several uses, and they can be quite misleading if the user is intending one thing and the listener is understanding something different. I don't know if European instructors use language in the same fluid way as they describe skiing.

Bob Barnes' Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing is very good, but it's dated. However, it's still quite useful for many terms you may run into as you continue to take lessons. I recommend it. Amazon has it in paperback, and maybe in digital form too.

Oh wait. Wow, here it is for free online. Enjoy!
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
This is interesting to me because I am so completely a visual learner, at least when it comes to skiing. Show me how to do something, and I can imitate it enough to get it right. Explain it to me -- all the mechanics involved, why we should do it a certain way -- and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Just goes to show: We all have our learning styles.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
And non-fiction... that's technical talk, like what we are talking about. The English words for ski technique must be unfamiliar, but you are used to learning technical terms I'm guessing.
Oh yes! Things I had to do with electronic devices, or computer software troubleshooting handbooks are very far away from English literature , Shakespeare, Twain or Emily Dickinson. But the best fun is editing scientific papers, like for quantum mechanics physicists, where I have no idea what they they may be about, but sentences still need unambiguous grammar. And things you may learn on such occasions, simply mindblowing!
Many many thanks for the encyclopedia link. I will try to put it to a good use. Though I am a little wary of unsupervised learning : I may have avoided many present bad habits if I had not tried to figure hings out on my own. (That is why skiing is a double whammy: if I try to learn by imitation it does not do much, but if I try to learn intellectually I acquire a whole lot of wrong ideas).
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This is interesting to me because I am so completely a visual learner, at least when it comes to skiing. Show me how to do something, and I can imitate it enough to get it right. Explain it to me -- all the mechanics involved, why we should do it a certain way -- and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Just goes to show: We all have our learning styles.
I wish I were like that!
 

SkiBam

Angel Diva
Something that's a great learning tool for me is video. Once I know how something SHOULD look, then watching myself doing it (or more likely, not doing it!) helps immensely. This was extremely helpful in my skiing (what do you mean I have too much weight on the inside ski? Oh yeah, I can see it. And see my tips diverging - never felt it until I saw myself). Now I'm using this for golf. (What do you mean, I'm not twisting enough? Oh yeah, I see it - felt like I was twisting a lot, but I wasn't) With our phones today, it's pretty easy to get video.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
"What do you mean my skis are too close together and I tend to stem when in tight situations?" Oh that. Videos are great, sometimes humbling but great feedback.
ETA: been skiing over 40 years
 

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