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Help! Still plowing after 8 Years!!!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Awdbugga wrote:
I’m still a relative beginner, but it amazes me why instructors don’t teach hockey stops as soon as someone can snowplough. In fact, even before you can snow plough. What allowed me to attempt reds on my first time on a mountain was the knowledge that if things started to run away from me or I was starting to go slightly faster than I was comfortable; I could put in a hockey stop. This allowed me to regain my composure, reassess what was in front of me and carry on.

There’s no way I can stop myself with a snow plough when the speed gets beyond a certain point, or where the slope is steep. But knowing I can hockey stop gives me more confidence and helps overcomes my fears. But that’s just me. Confused


Whilst a popular strategy what you are describing is not skiing in control of your speed. Rather, you are accelerating a little bit more with each turn until you reach the point you aren't comfortable with it, and then using a lot of energy to come to a sudden stop. A nervous skier is likely to want to remain in control of their speed at all times, so it's not a helpful strategy for them. They'll need to learn to ski properly wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Technically the best thing she should be taught is slide slipping (facing both directions). Once mastered can provide a safe way to get down any slope. It's the first thing I learnt after snow plough (40 years ago). Once mastered, the confidence boost is massive.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Gämsbock wrote:
Awdbugga wrote:
I’m still a relative beginner, but it amazes me why instructors don’t teach hockey stops as soon as someone can snowplough. In fact, even before you can snow plough. What allowed me to attempt reds on my first time on a mountain was the knowledge that if things started to run away from me or I was starting to go slightly faster than I was comfortable; I could put in a hockey stop. This allowed me to regain my composure, reassess what was in front of me and carry on.

There’s no way I can stop myself with a snow plough when the speed gets beyond a certain point, or where the slope is steep. But knowing I can hockey stop gives me more confidence and helps overcomes my fears. But that’s just me. Confused


Whilst a popular strategy what you are describing is not skiing in control of your speed. Rather, you are accelerating a little bit more with each turn until you reach the point you aren't comfortable with it, and then using a lot of energy to come to a sudden stop. A nervous skier is likely to want to remain in control of their speed at all times, so it's not a helpful strategy for them. They'll need to learn to ski properly wink

Totally agree, just would like to add trying to learn hockey stops too early invariably leads to excessive shoulder rotation. -
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Quote:

Many tourist skiers get very lazy when it comes to skiing easy blue pistes. Instead of using these as an opportunity to work on their technique, they cruise these slopes without thinking much about trying to improve. My advice to these people would be to work hard on improving their body position, turns, edging, etc. on these types of runs to really perfect their technique. Then, hopefully, when it comes to more difficult runs, they can carry their technique onto these, without thinking that they’ve got to treat them somehow differently. Trying to do something different, and perhaps harder, on steeper pistes is a recipe for disaster.

Have to agree with this. She makes the most of sliding at a reasonable speed without any thought of technique on the flattish smooth pistes.
On our next trip in March to Alta Badia we can hopefully encounter some gentle runs and work on some simple drills to improve technique and confidence. In the meantime she is having a course of 'ahem Embarassed improver' lessons at the local fridge. Fingers crossed!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Chris_n wrote:
Totally agree, just would like to add trying to learn hockey stops too early invariably leads to excessive shoulder rotation. -
One of a number of bad habits it promotes.
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Gämsbock wrote:
Whilst a popular strategy what you are describing is not skiing in control of your speed. Rather, you are accelerating a little bit more with each turn until you reach the point you aren't comfortable with it


I find it really frustrating when beginners do that, but it seems to be a common behaviour. I struggle to understand what makes them think "I'm going out of control, how should I handle this? I know, do another turn!" I've been with beginners who were doing this, so to try and help them stay in control I'd ski down a couple of turns and ask them to ski to me and stop. They then proceed to ski to me, plus a couple of turns past me and fall over. These are skiers who know how to stop, they just forget in their panic.
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Maybe you other half needs orthotic footbeds. Whilst a lot of skiing is in the head, it does help if the skis do what they are supposed to do when you try to turn parallel above low speed. I speak from experience. I can only ski parallel with orthotic footbeds. But no boot fitter or instructor ever spotted my problem, which is that my feet supinate, even though that would have been obvious to a podiatrist. If your other half's shoes show signs of uneven wear, consult a podiatrist asap.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
This was me for many years. I developed the most impressive and solid snowplough. It was so good I could go down reds safely (rightly or wrongly). I had just not had that light bulb moment. For me it required a private lesson spent learning how to slide and also to step through. So if turning left my right foot was allowed to perform snowplough but my left had to step through beside it. That gave me the confidence to use my edge to control the speed. I ski in a really tense position. I am frightened but really want to be able to do it. My husband skies so much faster than me and I know I’ll never match him. Don’t give up on your wife. If she says she wants to do it keep supporting her. It is very frustrating to be in her position. Private lessons are good and a 10 day skiing stint in Whistler in the max 4 lessons helped bring me on loads as well. I now ski reds confidently but slowly. Can’t see that changing but it is good enough for me.
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They forced me to spend 4 hours on wedge turns before letting me get on with learning to ski. I assumed it was a sort of hazing ritual, some pointless thing which you just had to get past before you could get to the good stuff. That's precisely how it was for me. I dumped it completely in hour 5 and never, ever did it again.

The whole thing mystified me, and still does. What's that all about, then?

The slowest way to learn to ride a bike is with training wheels: they delay the point where you have to learn to balance, in the guise of "giving you confidence".
I'm unconvinced that the snow plough isn't the same. Except it's worse, because it's a terribly hard habit to break, it seems.
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@philwig, there are definite uses for a snowplough- just watch the guys that same people off the Piste in stretchers! That and staying behind my daughter when she is going VERY slowly.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
The snowplough also is an essential tool to stop you wiping out people in the chairlift queue Laughing I think it is really important to be able to stop quickly without needing any space to put in a turn. However I agree too long is spent on it. Snowplough turns aren’t necessary for long and you should learn that ‘step through’ much quicker.

I also forgot to mention that buying my own boots was essential. Turns out I have wide feet, gleefully informed by the expert who fitted my boots to me. I was struggling with rentals big time which caused my loss of confidence.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Many years ago, before the Magna Carta was etched into history a rather inventive man by the name of Cliff Taylor in Ye Olde USA concocted a copyrighted system to progressively get neophytes accustomed to skiing via his "GLM" (system), or Graduated Length Method. Fact is, it was brilliant in its face....... The little ducking adult would commence on day one one in ski boots with maximum flexation a set of skis hardly bigger than their boots and progress via his unique teaching method to larger skis. Within the course of three lessons they'd still be on tiny skis (say no more than 80 to 90 cm) but the increased length was progressive, eventually leading "back in the day" to skis around 120 cm......., ultimately standard 175's, 180's, 190's, 195's plus eventually in respect to the new skier's height/weight, above all ability.

It looked silly and was somewhat here and there lightly ridiculed by accomplished skiers, but it worked...... As was so often the classic case by which a pure beginner got their start was say on a set of say 175's............. Who's kidding who? Small wonder such disorientation. That was skiing back then.
Gurney Slade's other half might v. well benefit from getting OFF the skis and going back to a point of "zero", beginning with trying to find a simple short and most gentle slope regardless of locale - at a ski area or not, in the process instructing herself - her body - good, needful balance, body english, etc. - all the basics so essential to standard ski posture balance and the like and simply try to slide - "ski" - with "turns" (feet relatively together/legs working independently, essentially balancing herself both lower and upper body in general parallel manner) perhaps no greater linear length than 100 feet and in simple athletic footwear, yes, athletic footwear to see if she can mimic what she to date has failed to achieve on boots and skis which I suggest are too disorienting to her. The (athletic) shoes are something she is more than comfortable with and if she could teach her body the numerous balance/pitch points, the proper positions, this might prove to be a huge step forward beginning with confidence. From there, try it in ski boots. No snow or summertime.........? Sand dunes, if same is available. Seriously. Unless this individual possesses neither rudimentary athletic skill and/or interest, I'd wager this take on the GLM system might do the trick. From there, seek out a ski school that might be agreeable to trying to offer such latter-day GLM process, combined with compassion. Madame should not be afraid of falling which in its very self could also be at the root, too. Remember, skis, as extension of the leg/foot, "simply" replicate as final extension our body's weight, balance, resistance to force, etc.

I am bothered that any viable ski school would possibly countenance a gruff punim in the face of a pupil who is lagging. I thought ski schools were supposed to be compassionate with beginners and other assorted ducks out of water.

ps: Given my background I am a huge advocate of ice skating, unparalleled in assisting ski movements, balance, etc. I know, many newbie ice skaters throw fits and get off the ice swearing they'll never try that again.......................


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Thu 31-01-19 23:31; edited 1 time in total
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A good snowplough, taught well, is a strong foundation for all the skiing we do. It is not disconnected from "real skiing", it is not tossed away when the skier is confident enough to ski parallel, it is the basis of skiing parallel. An instructor who knows what they are doing will from Day 1 use the snowplough to start building up the movement patterns which allow the skier to progress to skiing parallel as soon as they are ready. I don't stop the clients I teach from advancing from the snowplough, I do not teach them to "stop snowploughing", I focus on the core skills which are necessary for them to ski well-rounded, linked turns with parallel skis. If those skills aren't developed the skier will usually employ bad habits to make a facsimile of well-rounded, linked turns with parallel skis. When those skills are developed the snowplough will normally disappear without really thinking about it.

Trouble is, not everyone is taught a good snowplough, nor is it used as a foundation for further progression. It becomes a mental crutch when the skier is anxious, and inhibits further development. A typical sign of this is when the skier thinks, or exhibits, a wider and wider snowplough, pushing their feet apart right at the beginning of the turn as a response to steeper terrain.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
rob@rar wrote:
A good snowplough, taught well, is a strong foundation for all the skiing we do. It is not disconnected from "real skiing", it is not tossed away when the skier is confident enough to ski parallel, it is the basis of skiing parallel. An instructor who knows what they are doing will from Day 1 use the snowplough to start building up the movement patterns which allow the skier to progress to skiing parallel as soon as they are ready. I don't stop the clients I teach from advancing from the snowplough, I do not teach them to "stop snowploughing", I focus on the core skills which are necessary for them to ski well-rounded, linked turns with parallel skis. If those skills aren't developed the skier will usually employ bad habits to make a facsimile of well-rounded, linked turns with parallel skis. When those skills are developed the snowplough will normally disappear without really thinking about it.

Trouble is, not everyone is taught a good snowplough, nor is it used as a foundation for further progression. It becomes a mental crutch when the skier is anxious, and inhibits further development. A typical sign of this is when the skier thinks, or exhibits, a wider and wider snowplough, pushing their feet apart right at the beginning of the turn as a response to steeper terrain.


+1

I am doing a lot of training right now for L2 and have never spent so long doing a snow plough! Lots of exercises in the plough allow you to focus on particular parts of the turn (especially initiation). And my daughter who races also spends an inordinate amount of time in a slow plough. The fact is, most people actually cannot effect a proper snow plough, which really shows up deficiencies in their core skills. In fact it is a very useful tool to diagnose problems with core skills and judge overall skiing ability. It certainly shows me up when skiing with my daughter in a very slow snow plough and trying to replicate exactly what she does!

As an aside my 8 year old became so proficient in the snow plough he was skiing in control down steep pistes with no problem. Then one day we noticed his skis had become completely parallel just like that. His movement and technique is now so natural, especially his balance. He handles bumps much better than his siblings and often does jump turns on the steep just for fun. Spending so long in the snow plough, with very good instruction, has given him a very strong set of core skills which are completely embedded. His instructors never insisted on his skis being parallel and encouraged me to avoid doing so (which I found hard to do), instead letting it develop naturally for which I am very grateful.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
rob@rar wrote:
good snowplough, taught well, is a strong foundation for all the skiing we do. ...Trouble is, not everyone is taught a good snowplough, nor is it used as a foundation for further progression. It becomes a mental crutch when the skier is anxious, and inhibits further development. ..

I disagree with the first bit only there.

For most of my friends the snowplough was an "expert beginner" trap.
They enjoyed straight-lining to a snowplough stop, and never went back to the beginning as I did to learn to ski parallel.
The wedge did form the foundation of their skiing but not mine.

I'm aware of the history, but I suspect the plough is actually taught because it lowers the barrier to starting the sport.
Snowboarding has a different learning curve, so doesn't need the same twin-path learning system.

--
Sure, pulling a sled is one use of a snowplough; skiing roped up is another.
And of course many lower level ski instructor candidates have to learn to actually snowplough to get their badge, which seems odd if one believes that the plough is the foundation of their skills.
Most recreational skiers in lessons have zero interest in any of those things, yet quite a lot of them suffer from bad habits which appear to have been acquired whilst snow-ploughing.

I'm not denying that the snowplough is a turn; I'm just unconvinced how much use it is as "a foundation".
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
philwig wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
good snowplough, taught well, is a strong foundation for all the skiing we do. ...Trouble is, not everyone is taught a good snowplough, nor is it used as a foundation for further progression. It becomes a mental crutch when the skier is anxious, and inhibits further development. ..

I disagree with the first bit only there.

For most of my friends the snowplough was an "expert beginner" trap.
They enjoyed straight-lining to a snowplough stop, and never went back to the beginning as I did to learn to ski parallel.
The wedge did form the foundation of their skiing but not mine.
OK, we'll have to disagree then. Can you explain the difference between a good snowplough and a good basic parallel turn? In what way do they use different movement patterns, in what way do they steer the skis in a different manner?

If people can advance to parallel turns very quickly that's great. I'm not saying that beginners need to be held in the plough phase for a specified length of time. Simply that a well taught snowplough won't hold them back from advancing to the next stage.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
philwig wrote:
I'm just unconvinced how much use it is as "a foundation".
Every national training and licensing system would disagree with that, if the plough is taught well and used as a platform for developing foundation skills.
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zikomo wrote:
I am doing a lot of training right now for L2 and have never spent so long doing a snow plough!
At Inside Out Skiing we run a clinic which looks at the fundamental building blocks of skiing, often employing the snowplough for developing the performance skiing of some of our more experienced clients. I think it's one of the best indoor clinics we run, and can be a very powerful tool for improving the skiing of even very experienced skiers.
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you may not like the idea of my way forward but I am in same boat so this is what I have done. it may be not as exciting for you for the 2 years but I am hoping it pays off
1, accept it private 121 lessons will always be best & even better if you can get 1 of the UK firms that work out of the alps.
2, defiantly get her, her own boots & you carry her skis to the lesson & meet the instructor, as a beginner the whole getting ready experience is so hard before you even ski.
3, I acknowledge this costs, so if it means only 1 week a year for a couple of years to get her enjoying it, then bite that bullet.
4, Pick a resort that has lots of easy greens & blues & go back to that resort every time so she gets to know the runs.
5, don't underestimate the recovery power of a good lunch.
if all that fails then I am on weekends with my mates for life.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@philwig, I have to agree with @rob@rar, here. Although it is a very common misconception that you have. The snow plough does indeed, when taught and executed well, build a solid foundation. And continues to be extremely useful to very advanced skiers. As I said before, you will often see racers in particular working in the snow plough. And you completely miss the point when you say "many lower level ski instructors have to learn to actually snowplough to get their badge". It seems to me your knowledge of both ski technique and the ski instructor training is very limited from your comments. I am a pretty advanced skier recently retired and for the hell of it have decided to follow the BASI path to see how far I can get, and improve my understanding and technique. Feedback so far is I should have no problem from a skills perspective reaching L3 and if I really committed L4 could be achieved (I am less convinced of this!). I do not work on snowplough to "get my badge", rather I accept and now better understand how useful it can be.

And there is no doubt in my mind, from an educated perspective, that the snowplough is indeed the best way to build the fundamentals and it is also something that all advanced skiers should return to in order to both diagnose bad habits and refine their skills. I would encourage you to give it a try, really try and focus on making perfect rounded turns in the snowplough at low speed. Trust me, it is not easy and will quickly show up elements of your technique that could be improved as well as giving you a platform to do so.

As an aside another bugbear of mine is the obsession with carving. Too many people in my view start to carve well before they have embedded core skills, at pretty high speeds where they are being driven by their skis rather than actively piloting them. It can be dangerous in the extreme and gives a false perception of skiing ability. ALL types of turns should be part of your armoury and many would do well to spend more effort perfecting other turn techniques instead of trying to carve at every opportunity. Rant over!
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@zikomo, yes, when I’m on the lift having a look around at the slope below I often see someone’s skis taking them for a ride instead of the other way around. And I think to myself, that’s not going to end well at some stage or another.
I agree about the snow plough and plough turns if taught well, it disappears on its own soon enough and the person is skiing parallel before they know it without really thinking about it too much.
I’ve done my BASI L2 ages ago now but I do remember right at the beginning in ski school my snowplough disappeared very early on and before I knew it I was skiing parallel. At the time I didn’t know how it happened but it did.
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Spike107 wrote:
Unfortunately for me, I met my now wife a few years too late when it came to skiing. Sad She won't go a near another mountain because she injured herself by being pushed into going "too high, too soon" by more experienced friends who got bored before we met Evil or Very Mad


LoL - I always used to say, half-jokingly that I would never get married to someone unless we passed the test of a week's skiing together. If you can get through the tears, tantrums etc. of taking a girlfriend skiing (particularly a non-skiing girlfriend) and still be sleeping in the same bed at the end of the week then your realtionship stands a good chance of lasting a few years.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
As far as the OP's wife is concerned I raised my eyebrows at the suggestion that he should carry her skis to lessons. If she CBA to carry them herself I'd suggest that her heart really isn't in it!
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@foxtrotzulu, I won’t teach Jane. It ends in tears. Usually mine.
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@pam w, +1

@rob@rar, Laughing
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
zikomo wrote:
The snow plough ...continues to be extremely useful to very advanced skiers.

But the discussion is about learners.

zikomo wrote:
.... I am a pretty advanced skier recently retired and for the hell of it have decided to follow the BASI path to see how far I can get, and improve my understanding and technique. Feedback so far is I should have no problem from a skills perspective reaching L3 and if I really committed L4 could be achieved (I am less convinced of this!) ... And there is no doubt in my mind, from an educated perspective, that the snowplough is indeed the best way to build the fundamentals and it is also something that all advanced skiers should return to in order to both diagnose bad habits and refine their skills. I would encourage you to give it a try, really try and focus on making perfect rounded turns in the snowplough at low speed. Trust me, it is not easy and will quickly show up elements of your technique that could be improved as well as giving you a platform to do so.

I would encourage you to strive for the L4 and to make fewer assumptions about others.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@pam w, you really do have a way with words, she will be stressed about the upcoming lesson so anything you can do to make it less stressful the better. She will not only be learning to ski but also learning to walk in ski boots (remember that unnatural feeling when you first started) , so I don't see it as she CBA more like lets make it as stressless as possible for her.
I carry the shopping bags when we go out, not because she CBA but just basic manners.
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@Jonny996, What one man may consider basic manners some women may consider rather patronizing.

I turned up at work a couple of weeks ago with a rucksack, wheely suitcase and skis, to go skiing for the weekend after work. As I made to leave, our young intern offered to help me carry my things to the bus stop less than 5 mins walk away. I politely refused. "But really" he said, "I do not think you can manage". My second refusal was considerably less polite...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Gämsbock, To be fair, I would have accepted the offer, but one has to get used to carrying skis
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Gämsbock, after 25 years of marriage, I think I know what my wife would prefer, I was only offering some possible solutions to the OP, he can decide if it is advisable or not to help her.
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@holidayloverxx, omg no, it took me 6 months to get him to stop jumping up to open the door for me every time I left our office! And I’m well used to carting skis about so it really was no great hardship. However it wasn’t so much the initial offer but the suggestion that I wasn’t capable that peed me off.

@Jonny996, I have no doubt you know your wife best Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Gämsbock, lol. I am used to carting skis with a wheely case - that's enough for me, never mind a rucksack as well! I am with you on the jumping up to open the door - back to work young man!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@holidayloverxx, lol, I *wish* he was as devoted to his work as he is to his courteousness!
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I carry a wheelie bag, skis on my shoulder and rucksack on my back whenever I go skiing (by plane anyway) and it’s not as bad as it sounds, I’ve got used to it now after all this time. The trick is the wheelie bag has to have an extendable handle despite the extra weight otherwise if not then I do find it a bit uncomfortable if the handle is down behind me too low.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Plenty of good advice here. I think the advice of heading to the same resort for some time is a good one. Then she can get used to the slopes, in all conditions and become comfortable that she knows what is coming next. If every holiday she has the anxiety of not knowing what is around the corner there is unlikely to be much progression. You can then leave her on said slope and head off for a few hours yourself. @sj1608, how did you get booked with Lynne? I asked him last Easter but as I had 'fessed up I was in LC he was not overly keen.
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@Cheesie168, I know Lynne's had problems when people staying in places other than Flaine have no-showed due to weather. That's not so much of an issue if you have a car, in case the links are closed, and don't book for first thing. We stayed in Flaine when we first took lessons with him. We had a lesson last weekend, he always makes everything seem so straightforward when he explains it......
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@sj1608, I can see that he'd have to be careful as I am sure he'd been left high and dry before. Thanks for the PM. I really like this forum it has been a lifesaver for me.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

She will not only be learning to ski but also learning to walk in ski boots

No she won't. She's been skiing for years. Some of the responses to this thread are essentially about trying to persuade this woman to get to like skiing, when the evidence presented to us suggests that she's had plenty of time to find out about it and really, really, isn't that bothered. Indeed, not just unbothered, but positively scared and unhappy when taken out of her comfort zone.

FWIW if I'm walking up a road with a man who is stronger than I am who offers to carry my skis I'll happily accept. But that's not the point. It is not "courteous" to try to persuade someone who has spent 8 years not getting to like skiing that they are mistaken and have to keep trying. If my partner decided they knew what was good for me, despite my own feelings, I'd not be persuaded by any amount of "courtesy". One doesn't have to be a militant feminist to find such an approach unacceptable.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Did a couple of private lessons for a new client this month, each 90 minutes long followed by some video feedback. We didn't once work on "not snowploughing" just focused on the core skills and movements necessary to develop a foundation for further improvement. Those movements are the basis for all the skiing she will ever do. It's just the start of her skiing journey, but hopefully the progress she has made so far will stand her in good stead.


http://youtube.com/v/zYBsjlNqlxw
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Have to agree on the lessons. One on one would be best. Alternatively, I found the You Tube lessons (no, don't laugh) by Elate Media Ski School incredibly helpful. I only learned to ski a few years ago and I did so entirely by following these videos. I was pretty much parallel turning and hockey stopping within a couple of visits to the slopes. The lessons are concise with areas of focus to move the skiier forward with simple practical advice. The "clutch-accelerator" lesson was a revelation but only makes sense if you're familiar with manual transmission cars. It jumped me from snow plowing turns to parallel during my second visit.
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